What must you think of me?

I’ve been thinking a lot, since my fall from grace mental stability, what you all must think of me. I actually first started pondering it during the confrontation with my friend, who felt that my posts here were expressing such a dark side of myself as to leave me completely unrecognizable. And this was to someone who was there, in person, to witness some of my most difficult years.

It’s true what I said to her, that this place is not an accurate representation of who I am. This is where I come to unload. And I’m not predisposed to unload unicorn farts and fairy queefs. I can share the happiness of my life with everyone I meet, with the people I see face to face. Here is where I go to exorcise my demons, to process the less savory things I think, to take shelter from the shit storms that swirl in my head. This is where I go to make sense of myself, and to come to terms with what I’m going through.

In real life I am a(n almost) completely different person than I am here. And I’m actually kind of cool.

A couple of times during my (continuing) mourning-period about not being a BlogHer, I’ve tried to convince myself that it was for the best that I couldn’t be there since I am such an emotional cluster fuck right now. But as the group assembled there and I thought more and more about what it would be like to be with them, I have been even more despondent that I couldn’t meet them face to face because honestly? They would probably like me in real life. I’m actually really fun to be around. I’m smart and funny and humble (might not seem that way in the middle of this sentence, but honestly, I am) and thoughtful and engaging and enthusiastic. A lot of people consider spending a couple hours with me is a decent way to kill time.

So all my blogging friends are together, having a grand old time, learning what each other is like in real life, and I’m stuck here all woe-is-me on ovulation watch (CD18 and still no sign of it, by the way), writing a series of increasingly down trodden posts, sinking into an ever deeper, and less and less manageable, quicksand pit of despair.

Mel recently wrote a post about a Friendnaissance she’s enjoyed of late, explaining that she’s made a lot of good friends in past years, despite a recent Cafemom post she read claiming it can’t be done. It got me thinking about how hard it’s been for me to make friends as an adult, and how sometimes I wonder (or actually, I downright believe) that my blogging has hindered my ability to make friends IRL because it has raised the bar so high that the people I meet face to face can’t possibly measure up. Actually, it’s not the people, but the interactions that I find lacking. Here, in URL (I think that is such a clever acronym for the blogosphere, or social media in general) I get to know people deeply, and intimately in just a few weeks. I immediately get to the meat of who they are and I feel, after following them for short time, that I truly know them. Meanwhile I can enjoy five coffee dates with a woman and barely remember her child’s name and if she has a partner and what she does. We never get to anything compelling and I get tired and frustrated waiting to break past the pleasantries inherent in budding, IRL relationships. And I want to reiterate, this lack of connection is not about the woman herself but buried in the fundamental impossibility of truly connecting with someone when you only have a short time to do so and you’re constricted by the social expectations implicit in fledgling friendships (basically, that you’ll only talk about happy things for the first however-many meetings).

That’s not to say that every URL friend I meet in real life becomes an insta-friend. I’ve met several that I liked just fine but that I had little or no inclination to pursue as a lasting IRL confidant. Sometimes, despite connecting very much via each other’s words, in real life we don’t have much to say to each other. There isn’t that spark.

But, when you connect online and then meet in person and find that connection grows even stronger, now those are incredible friendships. And like those little pill sponges that immediately spring into the animals they were always meant to be once they hit the warm water, when you click with a URL friend, an incredible friendship can be forged in just one day.

That’s why I’m so thankful for the two bloggy friends I’ve made. Without them my life would be infinitely lonelier and more difficult to manage. One of them is actually at BlogHer right now and I’m living vicarious through her (and iMessage), hearing all about the people she’s meeting and the stuff she’s learning.

So yeah, I wonder what you all think of me. I wonder if, were we to get coffees on day, you’d be pleasantly surprised (or downright incredulous) at how not-awful, and even enjoyable, I am to be around. Because truly, I’m a lot of fun. Despite what my posts here might lead you to believe.

Is your blog an accurate representation of who you are and what you’re like IRL? Why or why not?

29 responses

  1. I think you’re funny, caring, warm, fun, extremely thoughtful and wonderful to hang out with. So I can attest that these words here on this space (that is completely necessary to you and your health) are simply that…the words you need to get out so you can keep being everything I said above and you said here in this post. And if people can’t see that, they’re missing out on an incredible person and an amazing friend that I’m so lucky to have.

  2. I wish I’d had the opportunity to meet more blog friends in real life. Unfortunately, most of my best internet friends live very far away. I actually tried to arrange a meetup between my sister in Bangalore and a blog friend in Hyderabad once, but it fell through (still makes me sad – at least I’d get to hear secondhand what she was like IRL). But anyway, I think we all blog for different – if overlapping – reasons. I do feel like it’s important for my readers to know the “real” me, and I try to write about a variety of things. Or you could just say my mind is all over the place! So I think people who read my blog get a pretty good sense of who I really am. But if your blog isn’t that kind of space, that’s totally fine. I think that people also get a sense of who you “really” are from the comments you leave on their blogs, and that balances out the picture a bit.
    So, um, this comment ins’t coming to a natural conclusion. Except that I totally agree – the combination of meeting people online and then being able to connect IRL is amazing. You are lucky you have Jjiraffe and Bodega Bliss!

  3. I think my blog accurately represents me; what I’m thinking and feeling at a certain point in time, anyway. That said, I’ve heard from bloggers I’ve met that I’m a hell of a lot more positive in real life than I am on my blog.

    Probably that’s because I am a lot more honest about my feelings on my blog than I dwell on in my real life.

    I am not at BlogHer either, and I wish I was. But meeting people I read in one big group kind of terrifies me, too. Until I have more time to devote to blogging and/or making something more of my writing, I just don’t feel like I would ‘fit in’ there.

    Anyway. I think you’re struggling right now, and I hold no judgment for that. Just hugs. :)

    xoxo

  4. I think your fun side shines through despite the demon exorcising that goes on here. Some day I hope to vacation in your neck of the woods, and meeting Esperanza would be on the to-do list!

  5. I think you’re stressed out.

    I’m who I WANT to be on my blog. In real life I’m anxious. I don’t talk about anything beneath my surface, I smile (grimace) and say “fine” when asked how I am. You have to dig to hear the words I offer up so easily on my blog.

    I do swear and drink a lot though. Those 2 things are the same.

  6. I’ve always thought that if I were to meet you IRL I’d really like you.
    ;-) Although, thinking about it, I might not be cool enough for you ;-)

  7. I think you’re wonderful! So intelligent, honest, strong and self-aware. I often find myself feeling a deeper connection to my bloggy friends than most of my IRL friends lately. I am blessed to have such wonderfully caring and supportive friends IRL, but I think the bond we make pouring out our hearts unfiltered can make the connections stronger. I hope you continue to meet and find women you connect with – whether they’re from this world or yours. HUGS!

  8. So obviously, I know you are an awesome fun person because we’ve hung out in person.

    I miss you and wish you were here. And it’s not all rainbow farts here. I’ve had significant moments of rejection and just felt so out of my depth sometimes, like, why the hell did I think I could come here?!

  9. I use my blog to process as well – I’m surprised when I’ve made friends in URL because I would think it might make people run away… I’m more pleasant but also less open IRL.

  10. K, I can tell from your photos especially you’re truly a happy, fun-loving person and this is your space to let off steam. I have that at my blog too, my IF blog is not all of me, but a place where I let out things I struggle with. I have a family blog, too, that’s the other side of the coin and is probably overly sunshine-y. Neither are a perfect representation of me.

    I’d love to meet you some day. I think you’re a caring, vibrant, smart, busy, beautiful, funny woman. Yes, your posts haven’t been unicorn queefs (ahahhahahaha) but they shouldn’t be. They should be honest about whatever it is you’re struggling with right now, that’s what this space is for you (and my space is for me)

  11. I’m curious as to why you are so desperate for a second child? Everything in your life as you describe it here seems to point out that the sole reason is to follow some arbitary benchmark you have set for yourself for your kids to have siblings close in age, however looking at it from the outside and very far away, it just seems like you are torturing yourself and it is placing a huge strain on yourself not to mention your husband. Your mental health is suffering and while you are vehemently claiming that you are a positive vibrant person, it seems on the inside you are an anxious wreck. Why are you subjecting yourself and your mental health to this? You have a beautiful wee family, your struggles with mental health are common to many but it befuddles me as to why you are so obsessive over this second conception, when it seems like you are struggling to hold it together. And good effort in keeping it from your daughter and husband as you claim- it must not be easy having two such distinct persona. How come happiness and mental wellbeing come second to your white-picket-fence and 2 kids with the right spacing? Good luck with your life, hope it all works out for you… I’ve been reading your blog for over a year, and i think your friend is correct to be concerned… I don’t know you in real life so of course my comments are to the 2D personality you project from your blog… and from a strangers viewpoint- your writing reflects someone who seems seriously depressed and with the lack of perspective and anxiety that comes with that- have been there, it is not nice. Having read previous similar comments on your blog and seen how defensive you become, i’m sure my comments will be met with the same response- that you’re fine, you’re ok, this is just temporary till the conception and pregnancy – how is it going to improve once you have a newborn and a toddler? Please just get some help. From someone who sees tragedy every day it seems such a shame to see how much you suffer within yourself when you could easily feel better with help with therapy +/- medications.

  12. Fairy queefs…best phrase ever! I can see hints of what you are like IRL in your posts and I’ve seen nothing that would scare me away :-) I’d love to meet you and hope I have the chance! I think what some forget is that for some of us, our blogs are hyper-focused on one area of our life and it’s a mistake to think that it represents all of who you ate when it’s just a slice.

    BlogHer…scares the hell out of me. I think that I am pretty close to being IRL who I am on my blog, but if you knew me from my previous IF-only blog, you’d commit me. Again, it was just a slice of me. A huge slice, but still only one aspect.

    I really want to go to BlogHer but there’s another part of me that worries I won’t enjoy it. I don’t do well in sorority-like atmospheres and I worry that’s what it would be like.

    Hugs. You’re fine!

  13. E, I have just read the most recent comments.

    While I can see that Aisha has concerns and her urging for you to focus on getting “better” most likely comes from a caring place, I really can’t understand the questioning of your desire for a second child.

    Yes, you have expressed in the past that you would like the spacing between your children to fall into a certain range. And yes, perhaps at the end of the day this is not the most important issue.

    (I personally think that part of your motivation behind child-spacing is really about control – you have had so little control over your family building endeavours that the spacing between your children becomes something you CAN try to control. If your second child is born within the time frame you desire, your family will look more like you always imagined ii would, and therefore you’ll feel like less of a “failure”. But I could be way off base here). But I digress…

    I think what comes through in your writing, Esperanza, is that your longing for a second child is about much more than meeting an “arbitrary benchmark” or “obsessing” about ideal child-spacing. It is a visceral longing, a need that knows neither rhyme nor reason, a biological and emotional imperative over which the mind can only have so much control.

    Aisha, I’m not sure if you are part of the ALI community. But I do know that most people within this community can understand acutely Esperanza’s desire for another child. Would you question someone spending their life savings on IVF? Would you consider it “obsession” for couples to spend years (and tears) on adoption in order to build their families? Just because something is hard, doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile.

    While I’m sure Esperanza appreciates your input, personally I don’t think you really ‘get it’.

    • So once child number 2 is safely in the crib it all sorts out? Highly unlikely. Husband seems really reluctant and the focus is so intense.
      Western women are lucky to have the chance at IVF! Talking to women in Tanzania who struggle with infertility- they shrug. If they cannot conceive their husbands will find someone who can. So while it’s a rocky road in the ALI community there are thousands and millions of women who don’t even have the option to attempt their “visceral desires”.
      I agree with Aisha- the toll this is taking on Esperenzas mental health and the effects on those around her can’t be healthy. I feel sorry for all three of them!

      • How is her husband really reluctant? They’ve been to couples counseling where her husband voiced a strong desire for a second child as well. They’ve worked on through this and come to an agreement that works for both of them. The question was always the timing and getting in the right financial situation. Don’t judge other people’s situations that you don’t know anything about. don’t allude to the fact that B is going to leave her if she can’t give him another child. That’s absurd.

      • (sorry that shouldn’t read “allude to the fact that.” should read “suggest that B could leave her for not giving him a second.” )

      • I’ve never understood the argument that goes along the lines of “the situation is so much worse in Place X so therefore we shouldn’t bother trying to improve the situation in Place Y”.

        While the situation in Tanzania sounds lamentable

      • I’ve never understood the argument that goes along the lines of “the situation is so much worse in Place X so therefore we should just put up with the situation in Place Y”.

        By that rationale, we shouldn’t grieve the death of a baby, we should just be grateful that they had the chance to go to a NICU? And in many countries the death of a child is accepted as a common occurence, so really, it’s just self indulgence that we grieve.

        While the situation in Tanzania sounds lamentable, I’m really not sure what the relevance is to Esperanza.

    • Agree with TIO’s comment above. I also have an intense desire to have another child and I will go after it. Why do I have this need? I’m not sure, but it comes from the same place that told me I had to become a mother in the first place. Becoming a parent is never a logical choice. You have to give so much financially, mentally, physically. But the desire to parent and to love overtakes all of those other more logical reasons not to. I can’t really defend my desire to have a second, I can’t put into words WHY I really want another, but I shouldn’t have to and neither should K.

      Like K, I expect to struggle on my journey to a 2nd child. I expect there to be tears, devastation, loss, and a lot of venting on my blog, my safe place, just as K has done here. This is her place. she should be able to voice every emotion without judgement. Getting it out on paper is cathartic and receiving support is priceless.

      When that second baby comes? It will be so, so worth all of the struggles.

      • I agree with AL and Tio. Most people have lived with an idea of what their future family will be like since they were young. The phrase “arbitrary benchmark” in the comment above strikes me as odd – because everyone’s ideal family is equally “arbitrary” – I have a friend with three daughters who wants more kids and I have a friend with a boy and a girl whose husband got a vasectomy immediately after the second. Are they wrong for pursuing their ideal families? I agree that the pursuit shouldn’t be at the expense of E’s marriage or mental health, but she has carefully documented all the components of their decision, in which they came out (together) in favor of trying to conceive another child. The last thing she does is gloss over the complexities in relentless pursuit of an arbitrary benchmark. E has given us such a window into their lives, but it’s still just a window, from which we can see some but not all of the picture. In my view, expressing concern is fine but judgment is not.

  14. Just catching up on all this. I am so sorry some of your commentors seem to misunderstand you and your blog. I think you have made it perfectly clear that part of the reason for the existence of this blog is to air your emotions and demons in a safe, healthy way. Obviously “in real life” you are a wonderful mom, partner and friend, and fun and engaging to be around. As I’ve said before, I would love to meet you and hang out. Don’t let any of this get you down- there are always going to be those who misunderstand us- just know there are a lot more of us who do understand.

  15. Wow. Whatever I was going to say left my head as I read the comments. Things went on a completely different track.

    I will just keep it simple. I don’t have any perfect friends. The foibles of the people I’m drawn to probably contribute to why I’m drawn to them. I have enjoyed reading you and getting to know you for over a year now, and the fact that you are going through a rough time now doesn’t change that. I really missed you the past few days and I feel that when we DO meet we will hit it off well.

    How’s that for pressure? ;-)

    As for the question you posed, I don’t know. I suppose I would have to ask the people who met me at BlogHer how close my URL and IRL personae are!

  16. why does it matter what anyone thinks? Are you happy? is your husband happy? is your daughter happy? it sounds like apart from your daughter who is relatively sheltered neither of you two are very happy- another child is not going to fix your problems, try therapy, going back on your meds and exercise. This may help you get some perspective- you seem to have extreme tunnel vision- your comments like “everyone else is pregnant without trying” how do you know?? even your friend commented about her pregnancy and how you didn’t know the whole story. Your lack of perspective and ability to turn everything into a negative moan/whine is incredible. Good luck.

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  18. …ps. My blog is a pretty fair representation of me (mostly the negative parts I noticed during our wait). I do have to say it’s been difficult lately to know what I should posting or not. I vacillate between being sunshine and rainbows, and “educating-like” or just letting it all hang out.

  19. Pingback: This is My Space, Right? « All the Sun For You

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