Friday, March 11, 2011

It's not you, it's me

It's the most bizarre thing, walking down the produce aisle of the grocery store or sitting at the hospital admission desk and having someone mention that they enjoy reading my blog.

Thank goodness it's only happened a few times because I don't react well to that kind of social situation. I'm incredibly uncomfortable being the center of positive attention, probably because it's something that so rarely happens to me. I smile and blush, then stumble over my own words until I manage to spit out an "Uh.... thanks you. Um, I mean, thank... to you" or something equally as charming.

Then I stand there silently willing the ground beneath my feet to come to life and swallow me whole, just to break the awkward silence that inevitably follows a conversation like that.

I mean, obviously I know that a few people read this blog because there's a handy little widget somewhere over there to the right that says 'Followers'. See it? Pretty neat, huh? There are even a handful of people who comment somewhat regularly (thanks for that, guys).

I just never expected more than a few people to read this blog. Even when I started to gain a small following, it consisted mostly of my fellow cystics (people I only know online) and a few of my family members. I guess I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that people I actually know... like, in real life... might be reading this. It's not that I mind or don't want them to. The opposite is true, really, I'm flattered. But when I find out that someone I know (outside of my close friends and family) has been reading, I immediately think a couple things:

1) Why are they reading my blog? I've known some of these people a long time, but it's not as if we've ever been great friends. I went to school with some, church with others. Some are neighbors of mine and some are old acquaintances. So my question is this: why are they taking an interest in my life now? If I wasn't important enough to want to know back then, why take the time to read about me now?

Again -- I can't stress this enough -- I love that they are reading, I just don't understand their desire to. My life isn't anything out of the ordinary, really. Do they read simply because I so willingly put it all out there? Maybe. Is it because I'm just that damn funny? Highly doubtful. Is it because every single one of them has a secret crush on me? I like to think so.

2) What do they really think of what I write? Do they really like it, or do they keep coming back because it's so grotesque and they enjoy discussing it with their friends over a Sprite later? (What? It wouldn't be realistic for me to say they'd chat over coffee or beer since the majority of people here are Mormon.) Maybe I'm better off not knowing what they think.

My blogging friend The Unknown Cystic hit the nail on the head when he recently said
"If there’s a blogging downside, it’s finding your own internal editor to tell you when you pushed too far, what’s gold or crap, and whether to hit 'Publish' or 'Move to Trash'.” 
I never used to worry about that. I didn't care what people thought of my writing, but that was before the real world started reading my posts.

Knowing my family might not like what I write is fine because, well, they're obligated to love me anyway. But knowing that I might actually run into someone on the street who hates what I write is a little scary; they don't have to love me, and they may or may not feel like hitting someone in the face with a brick today.

So, if you happen to see me and you make a comment about my blog, please don't be offended if I don't stick around very long to chat. Please understand that I'm just trying to figure some things out. What other cliche can I use? I need some time... It's not you, it's me... That's a good one.

It's not you, it's me. Except that it is you... a little bit.

P.S. I really am grateful that you come here
and whatever your reason is for reading,
I hope you don't stop.


  1. I've had this happen a lot, with people I don't know that well (like, hardly at all). I've actually come to enjoy it. I have developed some close friendships that I probably never would have had had someone I didn't know well not read my blog and that provided a stepping-stone for a friendship. It's always kind of weird, though, I agree! ;) My mom (who also blogs) and I have talked about this - she is now friends with a person she's known for years but never was close to, all because of her blog. (In fact, she suspects her new church calling may have been because of that blog-created friendship.... weird, or what?)

    It's certainly an odd dynamic though. I think that our generation, the digital generation, sort of has a tendency to "do" relationships differently because of all the social media - blogs, facebook, email, etc. It's interesting to see how that all plays out.

  2. this is a wonderful post and exactly what I am dealing with on MY BLOG. I wonder if I could publish your entry on my blog (giving you credit and linking to your blog like hell). What do you think?

    Beth "cystic gal:

  3. It's a weird phenomenon...blogging.

    I started reading your stuff because you have CF, but I continue to read your stuff because you have so much more to say and it's smart, wise, and speaks to people. That's a gift not everyone has. Thank you for sharing it.

  4. Cindy - I think I could come to enjoy it as well, if I could get over the awkwardness of it all.

    Beth - I already tried posting this comment, but after publishing I realized that I accidentally called you "Betch". Oops! Anyway, I am honored to have THE Cystic Gal commenting on my blog. And please feel free to post/link away!

    And Josh - You, my friend, are simply awesome! Thank you for always having such kind words. Have I ever told you how much I have come to love you?

  5. I discussed your locked into the vest story over some beers, It got some laughs but the laughs quickly turned into some OMG's ;)

    I love reading your posts you are witty, funny and you get your point across. I think anyone can relate Cf or no Cf. You have a true talent my friend!

    A follower for life... Or at least until you stop ;)


  6. Been there, done that... It is very awkward. Over dinner one night my girlfriends brought up my blog and that they enjoy reading. I immediately started to put it down and try to change the conversation. These people know more about me than I would care for them to know...but it's my own fault. I'm getting much better with it now.

    Also, people keep reading because you are adorably charming and witty! You are also a very talented writer!

  7. Somer - glad they got a kick out of it. :)

    Stacey - You're right, it IS our fault that people know so much about us. It does make me a little uncomfortable at times, but probably not enough to change the way I do things here. For now, anyway.

    Thank you for your compliments, ladies. I feel very lucky to call you my friends.

  8. Jenny, It sounds like we're in similar places lately regarding the blog. I wonder if the internal angst is necessary and just part of writing and pushing into territory we're not comfortable with? I wish there was a roadmap. As you know I received a lot of good advice and reposted the Bukowski post. So I guess that's the cool thing about your post - talking through these feelings so we can move on. I am going to publish what I want to write. I know my heart is in the right place, as is yours. That will come out even when we're not sure it does. And sometimes what we intend to say may not come out the way we want it to. But we'll get it right in the next post.

    Keep writing what you think is important and I'll keep reading, as will others.

    Thanks for the shoutout.

  9. Jenny,
    I love reading your blog. I miss hanging out with you, we had so much fun! I love keeping with your life and seeing what's going on, it kind of makes me feel like we are good friends once again. Even though I read it and don't comment all the time so you don't know that I read it all the time. Thanks for being so damn funny! You have always had amazing writing skills! I remember reading some of your papers or notes that we exchanged once in a while in school and wishing that I could write like you. So thanks for keeping up on this blog and keeping me informed of your life. I love reading it!


First of all, thanks for reading my blog. Whether you visit regularly or this happens to be your first time here, I'd love to hear from you!