6/1/10

Rhinos, Magic Bracelets & Mirages

*written on Sunday*

I'm sitting in a hotel room by myself. Melissa and Kristen had earlier flights today and so they're gone. (sad face)

There's an ad on TV right now for a bracelet you can wear that will solve all your problems. Seriously, I need one. According to the riveting infomercial this bracelet makes you feel happy and sleep soundly and also keeps you from tipping over when someone pulls really hard on your arm.

When I pushed the 'on' button on the television I realized that this is the first time the zone-out box has been on in this room the entire time we were here. And just look at what we've been missing! (sarcasm)

It's really good for me to do things like this. (Not the TV watching, but the attending of the blog conference.) What I mean by that is that it's good to step out of my comfort zone while trying to work through fears and anxieties. This wasn't comfortable for me at all. I would have benefited from a magical bracelet, let's just put it that way.

But I survived. You can tell, because I'm typing this right now. I guess that's because most of the time, that's what ends up happening, no matter what our worst fears, we survive.

Yesterday (Saturday) I spoke in front of people three times. Before that, I traveled alone (until I so happily ran into Lori and Holly at the Denver airport), trying not to worry that I'd miss my flight or mess something up somehow. Or drink. As it turns out, I really honestly had no desire to drink, and for that I'm so grateful. Sure, I thought about alcohol and knew it would momentarily remove some of the butterflies from my stomach, but I also realized it would only exchange my butterflies for stomach rhinos in the end, and who wants that?

The Nervous Tummy Rhinos show up all on their own for most of us anyway, so I had no desire to add more to the group.

Anyway. I would stand there and talk to people at parties or sessions at the conference and I'd see in their eyes that they too were battling their own large pachyderms. I would realize I wasn't alone in my insecurity, it was stomping around everywhere I looked, at whomever I looked in the eye, and I wished we could all put on bracelets to cage those rhinos.

Our insecurities and fears, rhinos that rear their heads at exactly the times we'd prefer to appear our most poised and confident, they were there, in eyes and fidgeting hands, and I didn't like that. I mean, a group of stampeding rhinos is called a crash for a reason. That's what they do, they crash because they can only see 30 feet in front of themselves as they run at about 30mph. But they don't slow down, they just go, a lot like our insecurities, the way they crash us around.

I realize that insecurities and nerves are totally natural in a new situation with many new people, or when meeting someone you know for the first time. But the reason I say that I didn't like seeing the rhinos is because sometimes we bloggers get insecure around each other for the wrong reasons. We believe in this big blogger-small blogger thing, and do I dare say that I disagree with this idea altogether? Do I dare say that no matter who knows who or how many readers someone has, we're all the same? That these ideas we have of blog-fame, well, they are mirages created by misconceptions and flashy ads and bells and whistles and photoshop and insecurity? Yes, I believe what I'm saying here is true, and even if you've met bloggers with large readerships who acted like they didn't have the time for you, a "smaller blogger," like they were somehow more confident and important? Well...please remember that even that behavior is born out of insecurity. A true crash, indeed.

That said, I do realize that I edit my photos and I have ads on this site, and sometimes I just want to strip it down because of this very thing. I want to erase any misconceptions that I am somehow different or better. But then I remember that how I'm perceived is only partially my responsibility. Because I love editing photos and I appreciate the pocket change that comes from ads on a site that gives me a voice. But the reasons for the bells and whistles on my blog end there, truly. I am not trying to be anything that I'm not, and I whole-heartedly hope that what you find when you meet me in person is acceptance and a happiness in talking with you that seems genuine, because it is. I don't care how many readers you have or where you live or what you believe. I will like you. I will most surely like you. Unless you hit me over the head with a hammer and call me names, I will like you.

So please. If you see me at one of these blogging events I've come to love so much, let's make a pact to cage our rhinos. Please know that I don't think much of myself at all (working on that) and I think much of you. Please know that I think we're the same. If you are someone who is known or unknown in the blogging world, I truly don't care. So let's put on our magical bracelets and have a good time.

Don't fake anything with me. Don't believe that you are in any way less than, and please don't act like you are more. Both are crashes, and neither of us need more of those.

Maybe my desire for all of us to see that we're all the same is born of insecurity, I'm not even sure. If so, that's a personal rhino I'd like to keep. Because what I'm saying is that there may be valid reasons for this big blogger-small blogger thing, and maybe some people want to be seen as big, but I am not one of them. I am just me, here with my rhinos like yours, and I just wanted you to know.







62 clicked right here to comment:

happygeek said...

LOVE it. And if we ever meet I do promise not to hit you over the head and call you names.
(Which is now my new favorite line.)

AzĂșcar said...

Well said. If you think you are small, there is someone smaller. If you think you are big, there is someone bigger. It's almost an illusion, if you know what I mean.

Denise said...

Mav, my dear Mav, I've missed you man. And, not surprisingly, I adore this post. So true. So important to remember. So many times in the past, I rose to a situation, and I rose out of fear and insecurity. Love the image of caging my rhinos. Love it.

And I have a magic bracelet I wear (actually four of them) that I'd like to send to you, my dear on-line pal. We'll tawk.

Love,
Goose

Christine said...

Deeply appreciated this post. I'm all for keeping it real. That's what motivates me to stick with it. The real stuff. Thank you.

NotJustAnotherJen said...

Hi Heather. Nice to meet you. I always wonder why we would want to do anything other than keep it real. I look forward to reading more of you. Cheers!

Elouise82 said...

Sometimes (often) I get that whole "I'm a nobody blogger, I only have six people who even read my blog, how could I ever leave a comment on HER (or his) blog?" So thank you for the reminder that this type of thinking is just utter nonsense, and every time I don't leave a comment somewhere because I'm "too small," I might just be missing out on the chance to make a new friend.

Melissa said...

Love , Love, Love because you are all acceptance and happiness and so so genuine! I love you, miss you!

Kimberly said...

Heather, I think at least half the reason you're "big" is because you don't want to be. Don't need to be. You are warm and genuine and REAL and that draws people to you. There is no arrogance to you. No swaggering or strutting. You're the you that we love all the time and that is amazing and marvelous.

mandiegirl said...

You are great. You speak so deep and true. Love it, and you too(if that's ok to say, chick).

This reminds me a bit of The Beatles..."I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.?

The Hollywood Memoirs said...

Wow. What a great analogy. I only discovered your blog a few weeks ago but I really look forward to your posts. I love your honesty and I'd like to think that if met in person one day, we'd have a great conversation.

T said...

spent a lot of time there feeling like the small blogger in the big blogger pond... I still enjoyed it certainly - but yeah - flashed back 20 years to high school insecurities for just a second :)

Kristina P. said...

What a great post. I told the audience in my panel that there will always be a blogger who is bigger, better, funnier, etc., than you. Always. I still have insecurities, even with my comments and larger readership.

And I was so freaking nervous the night before that panel. I slept like 3 hours. You weren't alone.

Corinne said...

I think you're right, I think the big blogger little blogger thing is blown completely out of proportion. We're all just people, trying to give our voices an outlet, trying our hand at this community, trying to find likeness and compassion and all in all, love.
So much love for you, Heather :) Can't wait for BlogHer.

Wendi@Every Day Miracles said...

I've had the insecurities a time or two - and maybe, perhaps, even the beginning of the competitive blogger feelings. But then I realized I blog because I like it. Plain and simple. I am not a bells and whistles blogger and a perhaps only a handful read - but boy do I love it!
You have such a great way for putting things into perspective.

H-Mama said...

hats off to you, my friend. so so true. i heart this post... and you.

i need to watch tv more... i miss out on good stuff, like magical bracelets. who knew? ;)

Molly said...

I love this post. I am alternating between my excitement about BlogHer 10 and my fear rhinos stomping around. It's quite the balancing act. But posts like this make me feel SO much better! SO thank you for this.

InkMom said...

Sigh. Well said. I love this post and if I weren't nursing I would have more to say.

It was great to meet you this weekend -- and I say that with all sincerity, a stomach full of pachyderms, and a wish that I could have had a more meaningful exchange with you, a fellow introspective thinker.

Bina said...

...and this post, right here, is why I (((heart))) you so. Not because it was a great post...but because you are able to (on a Sunday before my Tuesday) read minds...knowing that I, yes me (a "small" blogger) would be doubting...over-thinking...wondering...over my own purpose. So hats off to the Sunday version of you...cuz this Tuesday version of me loves you muchly.

BIIIIG huggles,
Bina

vanessa said...

Oh see I still feel like a small time blogger even though they had me speaking. And I was nervous and felt not good enough to talk to certain people. I think I need the magic bracelet too!

MommyJ said...

You know what I thought when I met you? I thought you were radiant. That's what I loved about meeting so many in person this weekend. Because now when I think of the blogs I read, I can think of friends, who happen to blog, rather than thinking of bloggers who I wish were my friends.

Celeste said...

It's no wonder I keep finding myself stalking your blog. You. are. Awesome. I wish I had one of you in my 'real' life.

jaime said...

I loved this post. I definitely feel like a small blogger (I don't have ads on my site and few subscribers) but it doesn't bother me. I blog for me, and family members and a few friends. Because it's fun, and I don't want it to ever not be fun. So thanks for pointing out that we're all alike in many ways...big or little!

moosh in indy. said...

Photos of me? Always photoshopped. Especially my neck. If they're not by me, I ignore their existence.
Deep Breath.
I'm working on it.

I adore you so.

NatTheFatRat said...

Isn't it all sort of a head trip the way we try so hard to compare ourselves to others in any way we possibly can? Is it a distinctly female thing or does it only seem that way? In any case, this post is truer than true, and very well written. Down with egos and lack there of! (And I have a crush on you, by the way.)

Andrea said...

So looking forward to meeting you at Blogher! Loved this post. I'll be caging my rhinos and leaving them in NC!

amommymous said...

Awwww... What a genuine and sweet person you seem to be! It's interesting, I really had no idea that the world of bloggers had such a thing as "big time" bloggers before I started blogging regularly about a month ago. Honestly. And now, I can see how easy it is to fantasize about going big time (though I'm the smallest of potatoes). But still, no matter how big we feel in our own world (whether it be blogging or bowling or bonsai trees), the truth ALWAYS is that there is a much bigger world out there and we're all just wee little people made of dust with our own insecurities and weaknesses and messes and talents and gifts and abilities. The attitude you have is such a great one because ultimately, caring about people is the only way you can make a difference in an eternal sense. That's the only way that really matters, right? So glad I found you in this big ol' little blog world. :)

Sarah said...

Yes. We are all the same. You. Me. Them. Us. Minute by minute. Writing and not writing. Editing and not editing. The same.

Instead of a hammer, I'll give you a hug. Do you think that will suffice? And push the rhinos away?

Kelly @ Love Well said...

In my way of thinking, you have a lot of wise owls in you to balance out the crashing rhinos.

And speaking as someone who has met you and who does like you, you rock. You could stop blogging altogether and nothing would change that.

Meredith said...

As a very small and very new blogger, I really appreciate this. I hope that I actually make it to one of these blogger conferences one day and I hope I actually meet you there. No hammers, promise.

DeNae said...

I was so happy to meet you. And I thought it was great that so many people hadn't heard of pretty much any of the bloggers I know. And they certainly hadn't heard of me, although that wasn't surprising. It was wonderful to be with so many folks who just love blogging - same as me! And honestly, Heather, meeting you was one of the true highlights of the conference for me.

Laurel said...

Just for the sake of honesty, I was at the conference with a friend. We left early.

"Casual Blogger"??? Really?

So much of what I saw was anything but and I left thinking, "that's so not what I do or why I blog. I don't ever want to get 'caught up' in that world."

But, I was impressed with you in the Saturday lunch panel and I wish I could have heard more from you.

This post confirms what I thought during that panel.

I KNEW I liked you.

thanks for this.

xoxo

Emily said...

The more I read the more I regret not spending at least five minutes of quality time with you at CBC. Great post.

Lori Allred said...

I didn't have the opportunity to meet you, but I did get to hear you speak and you we amazing. CBC10 was the first bloggers conference I'd ever been to and honestly I'm one of those many bloggers that is surprised to find that more then 3 people read their blog...but I don't blog for many readers, I blog for me. Thank you for your wonderful post and I agree with you, let's avoid the crashes and next time we're together I will for sure bring my magic bracelet and introduce myself. Thank you!!

alexis said...

heather heather heather. i probably didn't get this across to you at the conference, but i was very much moved by your part in the depression panel. i thought you were truly glorious. i didn't know people who are so unassuming and sweet could be so honest and verbal (i guess i just assume honest people have to be loud and obnoxious, like me). thanks for opening my eyes.

Stacie said...

I too felt the Rhinos at the CBC. I am a small blogger. Maybe 3 readers if you count my mother. I didn't get a chance to meet you, but wish I did. Maybe next year, I will also bring the bracelets.

Megan said...

I so wish I had read this/thought about this before the conference. I'm a small blogger who loves blogging but doesn't have ads or a huge readership. I thought the casual blogger conference would be more casual. I was seriously so freaked out that I think I talked to 5 people. I wish I had talked to you though because I seriously love how you think.

I'm going to attempt to cage my rhinos in the future.

Kristen {RAGE against the MINIVAN} said...

I love this post. Love it. And yeah, I had my rhinos going on, too. In particular, my ridiculous unwillingness to walk up to a certain person and tell her how much I liked her reading. I won't say it here. But her name rhymes with Fortney Mendrick.

The blogging world is so weird. It is seriously like some alternate universe. I told my husband that there were aspects of the conference that made me love it, and aspects that made me hate it. I think you are hitting on some of the loathing in this post. I think it is imperative for any blogger (small, big, what-have-you) to have a good anchor of friends in the real world, who will mock you just a bit if you take this virtual world too seriously.

"I whole-heartedly hope that what you find when you meet me in person is acceptance and a happiness in talking with you that seems genuine"

That's exactly what I found. Love that about you. You are the real deal, girl. So blessed to have finally met you in person.

Hope said...

I am so out of the loop that when I read CBC '10 I thought you had found my country's national radio channel. Seriously. I did.

Blogging often shows me my ego, which is just another word for insecurities. I want to both embrace and run from that at times.

rbse said...

I don't blog Heather, though I have enjoyed reading your thoughts on many things that I can relate to, motherhood and insecurities being high on the list! (and also, how they seem to intersect...)

Do you feel like bloggers often (as at the conference) are more able to be honest about their feelings, more confident, etc in print than in person? I find this with myself a lot too.

For me, writing seems to loosen up the chains I keep on the emotions, but I struggle with how to do that when be-ing with people as well.

Lara said...

I love your perspective. And it is all about perspective. I have friends that think I am a HUGE blogger, because my measly 150 hits a day is unfathomable to them. I know better, but I like how you put it. We are all the same. Period.

One Crafty Mother said...

Wait - I can use photoshop to make myself perfect? How did I miss this memo?

Just kidding.

Well said, as always. And I am keeping the rhino image close to my heart, it helps so much. I am finally in a place where I realize if someone thinks they are better than me, it only means they are insecure.

What I'm working on is my perception of myself, my worth, not in terms of readers but in terms of belonging. Anywhere. That middle school insecurity of "oh, they won't like me anyway" rears its ugly rhino head, and I hate it.

I can't wait to introduce my rhinos to yours and have ourselves a crashing good time.

Love you!

-Ellie

Heather said...

rbse-

YES. I love that on momalom.com it says, this is the place I am most myself.

Because the deepest parts of us do come out in the written word, especially when we start to feel that we've connected, that someone out there GETS US. Like Ellie (One Craft Mother) said, it's about belonging. In blogging, it's a beautiful thing that you have this chance to find so many like-minded, like-hearted people who are feeling the same things as you are. That truly does free you up to be more honest, if you fend off your rhinos anyway :)

Heather of the EO said...

and that was me, up there, named Heather. Sometimes I forget to log in.

And also. Dear Hope, YES! What you said. Perfect. I should have just said that, this post would have been much shorter. :)

MollyinMinn said...

You are brilliant. And strong. And, again, brilliant. So well said.

kasey said...

I follow you on twitter but i don't think ive ever commented on your blog before.
This is a wonderful post.
Every blogger is special!
xo

charrette said...

You'll be glad to know I'm doing a better job "resisting my own baking" ever since I let one of my rhinos out of the bag!

charrette said...

Thanks for all these reflections, by the way. It's all so true, and I love seeing the world through your particular lens.

Charlotte said...

Great perspective. I must admit I didn't comment on your blog for a long time because it was a "big one" for me, but I was so glad I did.

It was lovely to sit at lunch with you, even if that was the only real time I had to meet up with you. I definitely felt the rhinos, though, trying to crash in from time to time during the conference, but I managed to keep them a little at bay.

Elena said...

Heather,

I just want to say that I really love the blogging community, but I also find it daunting. Completely. I LOVE people, but sometimes when I'm reading blogs the words, the posts, the pictures... they don't seem genuine.

But with you? It always feel genuine. And real. And heartfelt. And honest. I really appreciate that in you.

I most often talk to you on twitter and you always make me feel like what I say to you matters. My 140 characters (or less), they matter.

Thanks for always being so honest and brave and pure and for acknowledging the difficult pieces while reminding all of the important pieces.

(I can never get the openID thing to work.
LaReinaElena.wordpress.com )

Motherboard said...

I absolutely LOVE this post. It resonates with me in ways that I can't even begin to explain. My rhinos were out of control this past weekend and they crashed around me everywhere.

I kept finding myself thinking "who I am? I am just a silly "mormon" mommy blogger with nothing of importance to say..." See? The rhinos.

My biggest regret is that I didn't get to talk with the people that I have so admired from afar and who I had actually practiced dialogues in my head with (ahem... you...). I would do things differently if I could go back in time... but hindsight's like that.

You are a gifted wordsmith and I thank you for sharing your gift with the world. Your words feed my hungry soul and help me feel peace. Thank you.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I was just thinking about this today... I'm going to BlogHer in August, and it's only just occurred to me that I could be nervous about it. I had this really great attitude about just appreciating the people directly around me and not searching the room for others I want to see (that's why you set up meet times in advance right?) And then I had a moment of self doubt. For me it was hearing about people with twins being asked to write advice for a blog friend who just had twins and BAM I'm wondering why no one asked me, and maybe they don't like me as much as I thought they did, and maybe they won't really want to see me when we're all in NY and they're just being polite to the tag along blogger...blah blah blah. High school much? Luckily - I noticed the slippery slope of that and immediately got over myself, assuming that I wasn't asked because there hundreds of bloggers out there with twins and you can't include EVERYONE. And that of course people will want to see me in NY because at the very least they'll notice that I'm pretty awesome in person (what - you don't call upon your inner Stuart Smalley in times of need?). And even IF there really are people who don't have an interest in spending time with me, I probably won't notice because I'll be too busy with the ones that do and will just think, "Oh - I never really did get a chance to talk to so and so...too bad." So yeah - no rhinos here. Of course, the pills help...

deyoder said...

Beautiful words, beautifully written, that make the future Christian Psychologist in me happy! I wish we could shed it all! But, I do believe that God uses it to bring us together. Those insecurities. For the more vulnerable we are the more soft we are at recieving others vulnerabilities! Good stuff! Thank you!

Anti-Supermom said...

Exactly why Cupcake was so perfect. I mean, I felt like that in the beginning, of course, but by the time we were all wearing PJs and crying in the circle, I was pretty sure we were all in the same boat.

Awesome post!

Rebecca said...

Thank you, Heather. This "little" blogger thinks you are truly something special.

Kelly said...

From my rhinos to yours, love love love.

Jenny said...

I actually had a discussion with my therapist about this very topic last night. As much as I enjoyed the conference, I came away wondering what, exactly, I have to offer to the blogging world. AFter all, there were so many talented, worthy ladies in attendance, so why even bother to add my voice?

I'm still struggling with this.

I wish I could interact with incredible people like you without my inner middle-schooler telling me that I'll always be on the outside looking in, that I don't deserve to be noticed, that I'm somehow less than everyone I meet.

So thank you for this. I really do love you...even if I'm a little scared by you. Don't take it personally. I'm scared by just about everyone new.

And much like the e-mail I first sent you, I'm just going to push the button before I overthink it. Please forgive any major errors I've made, but if I reread my comment, I'll just delete it.

Jenn said...

Girl, that is why I LOVE your blog. Your words ring so true! Thanks for making this insecure little blogger feel accepted.

Alyson (New England Living) said...

You are so awesome, Heather! I wish I could have been there to wear my magical bracelet with you!

Melissa Bastow said...

So did the magic problem solving bracelet say that it took care of rhinos? Maybe if they put that in their ad they'd have a better pitch.

I need to read your blog more often. (And possibly be less stalkerish, more commentish.)

Travelin'Oma said...

This post says it all. I came home from the CBC very conflicted, feeling like I didn't belong there, wondering about the whole blogosphere and why I love it so much online but am uncomfortable with it in real life. I've become too much of a writer. I easily talk with my keyboard. It comes out mushy when I do it with my mouth.

It was so good to meet you, and participate on the panel with you. I wish there had been time to get acquainted but I'll do that here on your blog. I've read it often enough to know your story in a general way, but I'm going to discover the real you.

You express things beautifully.

marta said...

ooh i loved this. cute that i'm commenting right under my mom. she spoke on the panel with you. you guys did an amazing job, great work. i loved your attitude and your easy going ways. i love how you summed it up right here. you are so true. amen to that. congrats on a great panel. was happy to get to hear you. xo.

Janie said...

I loved your analogy of the rhino. yep, right on. Right now I have this insecurity that what I'm going to comment to you won't be good enough. But that won't keep me from saying I am proud of you and love the humility and honesty that is in your heart. We are all the same. Thanks for this blog..so enjoyed reading it. Jane

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