Now that I’ve started blogging, I think I’m starting to understand what high school was like for my friends. Because I was legally blind back in high school, too, I couldn’t see all the hideous changes everyone’s bodies were going through. I couldn’t tell that my lab partner had big ears or that the head cheerleader’s hair was frizzy that day or that the President of the student body had gorgeous eyes. I could tell a few things about myself, but I’m grateful to have been spared the gorier details. My friends, though, would obsess over every little thing: is that a zit? My jeans are too short. What is going on with her hair? Do you think he likes me? I wanted to slap them, but I loved them, so I didn’t. I just told them they were wonderful, because they were.
I did laugh at my guy friends when their voices started to change, though, ’cause when you’ve got super-sensitive hearing, that sh*t’s hilarious.
Now that I’ve been blogging for a few weeks, I’ve become obsessed with my stats. How many people have visited my site? How many comments do I have? Why hasn’t anyone “liked” this post? Should I leave a comment on this other blog? Are my posts too long? I seriously want to slap myself. I’ve been in the game less than a month, and I’m feeling unpopular because I don’t have as many hits as other blogs that have been going for over a year. Like I shouldn’t be massively flattered that total strangers have visited, “liked” what they saw, and left comments, especially once I see how awesome their sites are compared to mine. The popular kids “like” me! It’s a quantifiable fact.
But then there’s the dark side of blogging: the seduction of commenting in anonymity. I’ve gotten nothing but cheers and support in my comments, which makes me think either my blog attracts really cool people or I’m not posting about anything very interesting. No reason it can’t be both, I guess. On some of the blogs I visit, though, there can be some really vicious comments, ones that I didn’t think people would have made face to face until I remembered high school. There was nothing wrong with my hearing back then, and I remember being shocked by some of the things that would come out of people’s mouths, just like I’m appalled by some of the comments I read on other blogs. I would self-righteously prim up my mouth, scroll down, and congratulate myself on not being like that.
Until I left one of those comments.
I’m not going to go into the details. I recently left a comment on a blog I follow that was substantially less than positive. To my utter horror, the blogger responded and had clearly been hurt by what I had to say. Dismay! Consternation! My new-found blogging power has Gone To My Head! I promptly responded with a Public Groveling and timidly extended the Olive Branch Of Recommenting, which the blogger graciously accepted.
So I’m wondering at this point if I’ve turned into those people I avoided in high school, who said the nasty things and didn’t have the wonderful friends? If I have, please find some way to slap me. I don’t give a rat’s hind quarters if my ears are too big or my jeans are too short, or even if my posts are too long, but I’m not in this to hurt anyone. Mock with abandon, yes, but not just tee off and be nasty. With election issues heating up lately, I think the news media has pretty much got that covered. I’ll leave it to the professionals.