by DaniGirl on December 18, 2006 · 24 comments

in Uncategorized

You know how sometimes you’re in a room crowded full of people, and everyone is practically shouting to be heard, and all of a sudden you say something particularly intimate as loud as you can – just when the rest of the room falls silent? Or when you’re in the middle of telling an anecdote and you’re suddenly so aware of the people listening to you that you lose the thread of your story?

That’s how blogging feels lately to me. I’ve suddenly become aware of all of you out there on the other side of the fourth wall. I’m self-conscious, and I can’t seem to shake it off.

This hasn’t been a problem for me up until now. I’ve been content to just blather on shamelessly, without really contemplating who might be reading. Usually I am thinking of a particular person or a small group of people when I write something – sometimes it’s just for me, and I’m remarkably good at blocking the rest of you out – but lately all I can hear is your collective expectation. All of you, even the random googlers looking for information about pineapples and infertility  <>or the Ikea dog weiner <>.

When I write intimate stuff about the boys, or how I’m still coping with the aftermath of the miscarriage, or any of the personal dreck, I am suddenly picturing some of you out there tapping your toes and checking your watch and wondering when I’ll get on with it.

But when I blog about the world outside my head (sometimes it’s hard to remember there IS a world outside my head), I feel like I’m trying too hard, like I’m fishing for comments. And when I write what I think is a really great post and I get minimal feedback, I’m perplexed. (I know, I’m spoiled for comments. I know.)

More than a year ago, a friend of mine was talking to a friend of hers who happened to read my blog but didn’t know me in person. The comment that got relayed back to me was something along the lines of “I can’t believe how open she is about personal stuff” and I was never quite sure how to take that. Is that a compliment or a criticism?

And more recently, as the news of my miscarriage spread through the gossip channels at work one woman, instead of saying ‘Did you hear about Dani?’ asked our mutual colleague ‘Have you read Dani’s blog lately?’ You know too many people at work read your blog when…

I think that’s part of the reason why I’ve been posting so much lately (and this is the third post I’ve written today, and so far the only one remotely worth publishing), because I am so self-conscious that I want to put up not just any post but a good post. Every day. Just don’t ask me what the criterion are for a good post, because I have no idea. I’m holding myself accountable to a set of rules that don’t exist.

(Plus, my head is overfull these days. Too much time in my head leads to both an excess of blogging and an excess of neediness. Bear with me, this too shall pass.)

It’s a classic ‘be careful what you wish for’ scenario. All along, I just wanted this little blog to be popular in a way I never was. I’d love to be cool enough to admit that I write for me and that the rest of you out there don’t matter, but you do. I’m an attention junkie to the core, and I thrive on the affirmation that you like blog – through the comments, the hits, the eco-system ranking. I kind of wish I could get over that, but it’s not likely to happen any time soon. And yes, I’m well aware of the fact that you just bathed me in the affection of your votes for the CBAs just two short weeks ago. What can I say, no matter how good the high, a junkie still needs another fix.

In closing, I either want you to remain silent and ignore me so I can forget you are all there, or shower me with comments and compliments so I can bask in the warmth of your affection. I’m not sure which. Can you do both?

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 DaniGirl December 18, 2006 at 2:20 pm

Please ignore the funky formatting on this post. I couldn’t get the blogger beta interface to work today, so I tried to send in this post via e-mail. Interesting to note that it worked, but that it didn’t like my links and that it kept the same font.

2 Suzanne December 18, 2006 at 2:51 pm

Okay, I am typing this post while closing my eyes and sticking my fingers in my ears, saying “Lalalala, I am not listening to Dani, I am not listening to Dani,” just like Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop.
Seriously, though, I understand what you mean. I feel the same way sometimes — exposed and yet eager for attention. And I’ve never gotten the sense that you spill your guts to us; I think that you are honest about your life yet respectful of your, and your family’s, privacy. Keep writing!

3 Phantom Scribbler December 18, 2006 at 2:56 pm

I love you, Dani. Seriously.

4 Myra December 18, 2006 at 3:05 pm

Please don’t stop writing… you’ve inspired me to get my own blog going and… well.. I honestly care about what you have to say and admire your honesty and writing style.
So there!

5 Andrea December 18, 2006 at 3:11 pm

I don’t think comments mean jack-shit (pardon my language). The posts that get the most hits, for me, never get a lot of comments–they’ll be linked to from a dozen other blogs and I know people are coming through and reading it, but comment? No, not so much. Or even better, they’ll come through a link, read it, and go back to the other blog to say how much they liked it. I don’t know why, but it makes me giggle.
Of course, comments are nice b/c you know what someone is thinking when they read it. But personally I’ve come to the realization that I just don’t have a commenty blog–for whatever reason. A lot of people read it, but they don’t seem to want to talk back to me. And that’s ok. It’s just my own little weird bloggy vibe.
And actually I think the blogs w/ the most comments are typically the really jerky assholish judgemental ones–which you’re not. A thoughtful, moderate post is simply not going to inspire a lot of rushing to add to the converastion. IMO.
But, yeah. Welcome to the self-conscious club. When I figure out the answer, I’ll let you know. Unless you find it first. In which case, let me know, ok?

6 Not So Little Sister December 18, 2006 at 3:15 pm

I struggle with a couple things you’ve mentioned as well. I want people to read my blog and leave comments, but at the same time I want to pretend everyone who reads my blog is faceless. I recently found out that a good friend of mine was reading my blog and that creeped me out a little. She said she’d stop reading it if I wanted her to, but I’m trying to not let it bother me.
And as I’m relatively new to the blog world, I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog. It’s exceptionally well written and I think it’s amazing that we can all let our guard down a little in this setting.

7 cinnamon gurl December 18, 2006 at 4:04 pm

I know exactly what you mean. If people read my blog and don’t comment I figure it means they disagree and don’t have anything nice to say, or they were offended. But then I remember that lots of times I read blogs and just can’t come up with anything worth saying.
So I’ll tell you a secret. I LOVED your baking post. Was thinking about nominating it for ROFL award but then I thought your blog is too popular and you’re probably above such things and it would look like I was trying to get attention for myself or something. But the bottom line is I just really liked it and thought it was hilarious.

8 DaniGirl December 18, 2006 at 4:36 pm

“too popular”?
“above such things”?
**shakes head**
Are you sure you’re on the right blog, cinnamon gurl?
Seriously, I’m so grateful to all of you for commiserating AND ignoring me at the same time. It’s okay if you laugh at me, too, cuz I’m laughing at myself. (NOT laughing at Blogger this morning, though. Arrgghh!!)
Oh, and Myra, inspired? Really?? That’s the bestest compliment ever! And where is your link??

9 dean dad December 18, 2006 at 4:40 pm

Hmm, remain silent and ignore you while still conveying affection and approval. That’s a toughie.
It requires the ‘bad boy’ thing, which, um, isn’t my strength.
Wait, I’ve got it…

10 Fryman December 18, 2006 at 4:50 pm

D –
Hate you. Really. I do. Always have. No idea why I come here every day. Sure as hell ain’t the cooking. Ignoring you??? Remember the back of the school bus??? Tried, and failed.
Seriously, my perspective is that we comment for the same reason you post – something you see/hear/feel makes you want to share something. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t – nothing you write can actually change that. We all get tripped up by different things, and that is why there are like a kabillion blogs out there. If we all felt about the same thing with the same intensity, they would be only 1 blog. Yours. Of course.
By the way, is assholish really a word???
Still laughing at you after all these years….

11 BubandPie December 18, 2006 at 5:03 pm

You’re so funny.
That blog anxiety is unavoidable, I think – and I always find it reassuring, somehow, that even the “big” “popular” bloggers feel it too. For me, it’s always related to what’s going on with me outside of the blog: when I’m feeling particularly raw and vulnerable, I suddenly become really obsessed with comments and numbers and things. When I’m well-rested and trauma-free IRL, those stats suddenly don’t seem to matter so much.
Sometimes I put up a post and then feel this flood of shame – I’m sure that nobody wants to read it, that it’s an embarrassing, stupid post – and then I come back and find a few really heartfelt comments and realize that I’m stupid.
So, yeah. I totally get this. Thanks for expressing it so well. It’s really something when you can write a post all about your insatiable need for attention but still come across as wry and funny instead of needy. How the heck do you DO that?

12 Skyangel Annie December 18, 2006 at 5:47 pm

Hug, hug, hug, hug!!!
By the by, I really enjoy reading your blog, and I’m amazed at how you’re able to write what you do.
So I’ll shower you with comments and affection. Besides, I’m not good at ignoring people who don’t deserve it. LOL.

13 JF, scientist December 18, 2006 at 6:41 pm

Well, I think you’re a lovely writer and I would miss all the stories and emotion you share with all us random readers. (Hug hug hug).

14 DaniGirl December 18, 2006 at 8:07 pm

Okay, this is officially one of my favourite comment threads ever. I am going to bookmark it and revisit it every time I’m feeling needy.
Bub and Pie, you nailed it when you said that when you’re feeling raw IRL, you are more blog-needy. Exactly! And the whole, “Oh, that was a stupid post, I should go back and take it down” thing? Totally did that with this post, and lookit what I got in return. Seriously, how do you know me so well???
Fryman, I actually had the ‘back of the schoolbus’ thing in this post originally. I guess my themes have been constant in life.
Dean Dad, there was a blog crush meme going around at the end of last week, and had I been in time I would have outed my blog crush on you.
Thanks my friends for laughing with me and not at me. Or, at least, MORE with me than at me.

15 Miche December 18, 2006 at 8:52 pm

Hey Dani. I envy your openness about personal stuff. I imagine it’s so freeing and liberating. (At least, realitive to the Cage Of Fear where I reside.) I had hoped that I could be half-as-open as you. And try as I might, I can’t seem to muster the courage.
The comment thing as pay-back is a double-edged sword. It’s nice when you get them. But not getting them doesn’t reflect negatively.
We love you! Keep up the great work!

16 Batman December 18, 2006 at 10:43 pm


17 Sayre December 19, 2006 at 12:27 am

Hi, Dani!
I can understand your feelings about this commenting stuff. I LOVE getting comments because it says to me that I’ve made someone laugh, think, or otherwise consider what I have said. I write my blog as an open letter to friends and family, and with them in mind. I try not to write anything that would hurt feelings or embarrass anyone. And I know my family visits regularly but don’t always feel comfortable responding in the comments section. I do get almost daily emails from them though.
The other side of that coin is not knowing what to say. I have read almost every post since discovering you. Most make me laugh out loud. Others move me to tears. Sometimes it takes more than one visit to formulate what I want to say (thus driving your hits up!!!) because I don’t know you, really, and I don’t want to come off as flippant when funny isn’t warranted.
Am I ignoring you enough?

18 JanB December 19, 2006 at 12:44 am

I keep wanting to scrap my whole blog and start over with one completely anonymous ~ even to my husband ~ so that I can talk about EVERYTHING without wondering who is reading. More than likely I don’t have to worry, no one is ready any way. But how can I horrible ‘venty’ things about people when I know that they might read it?

19 nancy December 19, 2006 at 2:18 am

I can do both. But I don’t want to ignore you.

20 Ed December 19, 2006 at 6:01 am

It’s nice to get comments after writing away in your blog for awile. You are lucky as I see a myriad of responses to articles you have written while I get maybe one comment every six to eight weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I kind of like not having to respond to a comment because usually the comments have a tendency to be hostile because of what I write about.
You have a great following here Dani. Don’t kid yourself. Just remember, you have been nominated for a weblog award (don’t know if you won or what as I don’t follow them)so you must be doing something right.

21 twinmomplusone December 19, 2006 at 3:03 pm

i may be silent and sparse with my comments (blame it on lack of time and/or mental fogginess) but ignore you? NEVER!!!
one of your groupies…

22 mamatulip December 19, 2006 at 8:02 pm

Dani, I can really relate to a lot of what you’ve said in this post. I felt similarly when I took a break from blogging, and I did a lot of thinking about it before I realized that I really did want to return.
I started reading your blog just before I took that break, and I continued to read it while I wasn’t blogging. I read you not just because you’re Canadian (it’s a big bonus though, ~wink~), but because of your voice. The way you express yourself, how you weave words. It’s a pleasure to read you.

23 Sue December 20, 2006 at 7:32 pm

Dani — it’s like you’re living inside my head!
I’ve been having the same feeling about my blog since I started self-censoring my migraine-related whines. Something about leaving those posts out of the blog feels less than genuine, but then, I don’t think anyone really wants to hear about my sore head…. ack.
Please keep writing Dani. I love to read your posts!

24 kris December 21, 2006 at 1:29 am

Ha! I wish I was 1/2 as clever as deandad. I don’t always comment as I’m usually not feeling witty or insightful enough to post anything, but I won’t/can’t ignore you. XXOO

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