Archive for the ‘ Blogging ’ Category

Dissent, haters and angry white people

How many times are you gonna use “silo of privilege?” It’s about as worn out, as your using the color of your skin as an excuse for all the world’s wrongs. Maybe it’s just that you’re arrogant, and that’s why whites don’t care for you. And if you hate Maine so much, just leave and move to” black is beautiful” Boston. (BTW: If you dislike Caucasians so much, then why did you marry one? It’s hugely hypocritical.)-Jamie a blog commenter

“What about us white men who were harassed by cops or treated unfairly by cops when we were younger, do we go around saying it was because of this or it was because of that? No, income class has more bearing on how a person is treated in our country than race. I’m sick of all these people saying that I must’ve had it easy because I’m white. I’m sure Will Smith’s kids are going to have a easier life than I did, confrontations with cops included. Stop the BS”- Kevin a poster on the BGIM Facebook page

“Shay never responds to questions, or even thanks people for commenting. I guess that it’s beneath her. She can complain all she wants, but at the end of the day it’s all about “race card.”- Chris a blog commenter

“U sound like a racist…your peeps! Come on black girl dont be such a fool. But i guess its a good thing u have come here to work and not sell drugs like 80% of black folk that come here.’- Shawna a blog commenter

I am not a writer by trade, I am a non profit administrator, researcher, and consultant with a background in both non-profit management and African-American studies who spent a number of years in the trenches of social services.  One could say that my background is rather eclectic. Writing was a long lost childhood dream that I reconnected with back in 2002 when I convinced a local newspaper to let me write a column. On the strength of my early pieces for the Portland Press Herald, I convinced a local indie paper to give me a column focusing on diversity. My Diverse City column with the Portland Phoenix celebrated 10 years last year. It was a little over six years ago when I decided to throw my hat into the blog arena.

One thing I learned early on when I started writing for an audience larger than myself is that people aren’t always going to agree with you. There will be readers who really think that your ideas, your writing and you suck. The first few times you receive less than stellar feedback, it hurts like hell but you learn to brush it off. Yet there are times when it is hard to brush off criticism and times when maybe you shouldn’t brush it off and this is one of those times.

Over the years, I have had my share of haters and dissent. Civil dissent I can respect, I have no illusions that my words will resonate with all. That would be absurd, this is not circle time in kindergarten where we must all get along. I can even say that at times, I have honesty dropped the ball in this space. One of my biggest challenges with this space is that as someone who has simultaneously ran organizations as my day work that require me to go above and beyond lest my staff nor I will be compensated, while juggling my family and household I am not always great at replying to commenters. I admit that and if ever someone was offended I do offer apologies.  Though as many readers have learned direct email is often the best way to get a timely response from me.  I am a flawed human being as we all are, and I try the best that I can. If that offends, I am sorry.

However in recent weeks and months, the level of virulent emails and comments (that I often don’t approve) that I have received has reached a level that frankly scares me. I shared a few of the tame ones at the beginning of this post because I am tired. My day job is heading up an organization that organizes for racial equity, I am well aware that racism exists but to have so many actively telling me that I am wrong or attempting to silence me is also wrong.

To put ones words and thoughts out for public consumption is to invite dissent or “trolls” but personal attacks or a general lack of civility is one thing I can’t tolerate. I write about race and it is not just my personal views, the research supports my words. As a researcher I know that my opinion needs to be backed up and I can do that. To answer my critics I don’t hate white people, my life partner of almost 20 years is white but I refuse to stuff myself down to appease anyone who is uncomfortable with reality as it is.

Today I came very close to shutting this blog down and committing digital suicide because in a moment of humanity, it hurt like hell to know that as someone committed to equity and justice, this space is a source of pain for me and my family. Yet to do that is to allow ignorance to win and well…my plucky side just can’t do that.

We don’t have to agree but if you are troubled by the words that I share here, I would ask why? Why is it uncomfortable to hear a Black person saying that we are not post racial and that racism is real? Why must be my words be met with statements that I should leave the state of Maine or to cut the BS? Why am I not entitled to stand in my truth as much as you stand in your truth (at least when it is truth; some of you make assumptions about reality that aren’t backed up by facts/research)? Why do you think you have the right to silence me?

If we cannot even agree to disagree in a respectful manner, maybe we should ask ourselves why? Acknowledging reality is not painful but avoiding it sure as hell is and in the end we all lose and we truly won’t ever move ahead.

Effective immediately comments are no longer allowed on posts older than 7 days. Also, be aware that if you cannot conduct civil discussions with other commenters or myself on this blog, you will likely be barred from commenting.

 

PS: There is no race card, I tried to get this mythical card but like the Amex Black card, no one knows anyone who has this card. In reality the term race card is how we stifle uncomfortable discussions about race. 

As a novice yogi looking to move beyond the poses (asana) and looking for the deeper connection and integration of body, mind and spirit, I have been reading The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and studying the 8 limbs of yoga. One of those limbs is yama (moral restraint) and breaks down into  ahimsā (non-harming), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), bramacharya (directing one’s energy towards the Divine), aparigraha (greedlessness, non-hoarding). Now that you have your yoga lesson, I must confess that I am struggling with truthfulness (satya).

Speaking my truth has been something I have been intentional about doing both in this space and in all areas of my life; but it seems merely speaking my truth is no longer good enough. Back in 2008, when I started this blog as I have said before, it was my corner to speak my truth and having few readers made it pretty easy. After all, I didn’t have to worry about upsetting anyone.

However the only constant in life is change and even in blog land, things change. As more and more people are online it means I have picked up more readers than I used to have. I once thought that was a good thing but honestly, I am not too sure anymore. Long story short, there are many people in my offline life who are now reading this space and to be honest, it isn’t comfortable.

Living in a small state, means the degrees of separation between people isn’t six at all; it’s more like two or maybe three degrees of separation. My professional life here in Maine is pretty public due to the nature of what I do and as a result, keeping my private life private is harder than it is for most and I fear this blog isn’t helping things. Closer to home, it’s clear that there are people who the Man Unit and I thought were good acquaintances, maybe even friends who after reading this space or following me via social media channels have clearly had second thoughts about us.

I won’t lie, it hurts to know that being myself and speaking my truth is starting to backfire on us personally. I have thought about calling it a wrap on the blog but this space has given me a way to make professional connections for my other passions such as writing. I was asked to be a contributor in an anthology on mothering that is being released in winter 2014. It’s not my own book, but as someone who has dreamed of being in print, it is a damn good start. After putting my heart into this space for 5 years, the idea of shutting it down because of other people hurts more than I care to admit. As a truth seeker though, I know that intentionally creating discomfort for others is also a problem. In short, I don’t know what to do. Professionally the people who employ me are fine with this space; several of my board members follow the BGIM fan page on Facebook and read here. Yet when donors bring up my disclosures and question why I am basically opening myself up online, I admit it gets sticky. Granted I have always tried to balance what I share publicly with making sure I keep private things private.

Yet in a world that is increasingly open and connected, I wonder if my worries are for naught? I don’t know but I do know that it feels like a problem that needs to be solved and as someone who values’ being able to solve problems, not having the answers is hard to stomach.

Cheap laughs and the loss of courtesy

The internet and more specifically social media are literally changing the way we interact with one another. Information that used to take days, if not weeks to make the rounds can now be disseminated in a matter of hours. Thoughts and ways of being that used to be considered private are now routinely discussed with any and all. There are strangers who I have never met, yet I know more about their peccadilloes than I know of some of my oldest friends.  In some ways, it is the best of times and the worst of times. In moments of crisis, social media is a thing of beauty. Yet too many times in our excitement of embracing these new ways of being, we forget that common courtesy and respect never go out of style.

In many ways it is easy to forget when we blog, Facebook, tweet, and so on that at the end of the day we are real people dealing with other real people. When we forget that we are dealing with fellow travelers on this journey called life, it becomes easy to other and de-humanize one another. Most of us don’t start off that way but there have been times when I have been caught up in the moment and made a flippant comment not aware that my words are being read by someone else and that those words hold power. That a quick and dirty laugh is being made at the expense of someone else.

A few weeks ago, a blogger I admire deeply wrote a blog post that many took offense with. In the end I believe she spoke her truth, yet many were bothered by her post which is their right. However rather than deal with her as a fellow human, many resulted to slandering her character and making assumptions and attacks on her. People were so caught up in the moment that rather than take a step back to breathe and attempt respectful discourse, shallow and simple attacks became the rule. Behaviors like this are more and more common online it seems. Personally when I read anything online that riles me up, I take it as sign that I need to step back, unplug and plug into the people right next to me.

Today I came across a blog post from a blogger that I am not overly familiar with and while I understand that the post was written in a style that the blogger is known for, it broke my heart. Once upon a time as a society we knew instinctively that using children for cheap laughs and conversational fodder was simply not acceptable. That taking pictures of children that we have no connection to and posting them on our blogs or Instagram accounts even with their faces blacked out is simply not acceptable. To judge a child that we don’t know speaks to a certain level of depravity within ourselves.

In the course of our daily lives we encounter and see many things, some good and some bad. As someone who has spent years working with people in need, pretty much every day in my professional life brings an eyebrow raising moment. There have been many times I have wanted to crack wise online about a situation but I don’t. For starters, it is unprofessional. More importantly, what is the point? What do I get out of turning someone else into a punch line or talking point?  Nothing but a temporary buzz and if I need that buzz so much so that I will harm another, it is a sign that I am not healthy.

I am all for  sharing, but there is a time and a place and sometimes, some things are simply not meant for public consumption on a large scale.

Wear a hat, network or just let your hair down

When I was 20 and my Mom was 38, my Mom decided that after twenty years of being what used to be called a housewife, she was tired. She went out and got a full time job and declared that Friday nights were hers. That on Friday night she was not cooking, cleaning or doing anything for anyone else other than herself. She was going to meet up with her friends and have fun! When she first made this declaration despite the fact that I was already out of the house, it caused huge ripples in my parents’ marriage and in our family. I mean why was she going out?

At the time, I admit it was rather confusing to me but it was clear that having one night a week that was hers and hers alone made her very happy. She still had one underage kiddo at home, my brother who was about nine or ten. But who was also at an age where not having Mama home at bedtime wasn’t going to cause him any great stress.  My mom continued to work full time and take her Fridays as well as an annual trip to the Upper Peninsula with her girls until she died a premature death at 50.

As the years have gone by and I have gone through the ups and downs of navigating motherhood, marriage and a professional life; suddenly a night a week to myself started looking good. So last year I decided to follow in my mother’s footsteps and take Friday night for myself…the result? A happier mama/wife/ worker who revels in knowing that weekly I will get time to myself, guilt free time, where sometimes I get together with friends for margaritas or just relax with a coffee and a book. For me taking a break from the world allows me to better manage the stresses of daily life and if Mama is happy, everyone is happy.

I admit it took time to get over the idea that I was being a “bad” mama and doing something wrong by putting myself on the calendar every week. In today’s world of hyper-parenting it occasionally feels wrong to take care of ourselves because somewhere along the way, the parenting rules were rewritten and it seems mothers are only mothers. Too many times if we do something for ourselves, we feel the need to justify it and the question I have is why? Who said mothers are just mothers? We existed before our kids were born and as the mother of a 21 year old man, I am learning that we will exist after our babies grow up and have their own lives.  For whatever reasons, the guilt that seems to be part of mothers lives is for the most part absent from father’s lives. Can we say double standard?

It seems last week when I was out playing the role of Grinch to poor kiddos, the Wall Street Journal published a piece on “mom bloggers” and insinuated that blogger conferences are nothing more than a “guilt free, child free” reason to leave home. Plenty of bloggers have responded to this piece and while I personally have never attended a blogging conference I have it on good authority that are more than just this “But they also will get decked out in ornate hats as they sip mint juleps at a Kentucky Derby party and will don capri pants for a 1950s-themed barbecue on a cliff overlooking the beach. Throughout the conference, they can stroll through the expo that will be set up to let event sponsors connect with attendees. Organizers hope the expo space has the feel of a French market: chalkboard signs, fruit and flower carts, cypress trees.”

Clearly blogging is work, with many women using blogging as a way to earn a living and expand their professional horizons. For many bloggers, conferences are a way to move their work ahead and yes they do provide a break from the usual routine since most bloggers aren’t traveling with their kids in tow.  But even if a mom blogger is just attending a conference to catch a break from the daily grind and just wants to get decked out in an ornate hat and let loose …what is the problem?

Why must we as women constantly justify our choices to the world at large? Who is creating these standards that define us and put us in boxes? I am sick and tired of grown folks needing to feel any type of guilt over their choices. Frankly I think we all need breaks, but if someone else doesn’t feel that way, that is fine too. Variety is the spice of life and we all need to strive to live in a manner that feels intentional and honest to us without fear of judgment.

As for the Wall Street Journal, quit demeaning women’s work and creating an environment that stokes insecurity. Besides that piece was filled with assumptions and you know what they say about assumptions….

 

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I have tip-toed around this topic before, never really wanting to say what I felt for fear that I might be “blacklisted” as a blogger. Yet the truth is the longer I don’t say just what I feel and I keep stuffing it down, the more it keeps oozing up like my muffin-top when I buy the wrong jeans.

In the past year, I have written the occasional post where I whine about blogging and wonder out loud whether or not I should just give it up. The truth is I don’t want to stop dumping my thoughts/blogging/writing, I enjoy it, and it’s brought me many things including wonderful friends. I have appeared on national TV, done a roundtable for a feminist publication that I have long admired and even appeared on the local NPR affiliate. I suspect none of these things would have been possible if this space didn’t exist since as much as I adore being a freelance columnist for The Portland Phoenix, the range of exposure there is limited.

That said after five years of blogging, I have a bone to pick with the blogging world. Yeah I admit I probably shouldn’t have fell for the okey doke but I did, so sue me. But hey, maybe I can stop some other soul from getting off course like I did.

Can we just be honest and state the obvious, with estimates as high as 4 million “mommy” bloggers in North America alone the reality is that the economics and ROI of blogging are rarely ever going to fall in your favor. Look, it’s like going to Vegas and thinking you are going to beat the house on the Blackjack table. You “might” get lucky but chances are you aren’t going to leave Vegas with more money than you started. Likewise if you start blogging and think you are going to be making consistent money at it, chances are…you aren’t. There, I said it.

I spent the first three years in this space toiling away with barely anyone reading this blog, and when I only had a few readers I didn’t have any expectations of anything other than a comment. To be honest, I often find myself wishing that things had never changed. At least back then when I wrote, I didn’t have expectations. I didn’t have my inbox filled with empty offers from people all wanting something from me and offering nothing in return except “exposure”.  Yet life as we all know is a series of change. In the past two years, I have had so many near misses for paying work and so called opportunities that at times I have driven myself crazy with anticipation.

In the past couple of years I have found myself reading and listening to the social media “experts” and spending way too many hours with Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram and basically sacrificing time better spent with family and friends because I started chasing this rather inane dream. I started plotting how I could get to the blog conferences after all; Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess met her agent at a blogging conference or so I was told. I am so ashamed to admit that last year when I got my first credit card in years; my first purchase was a one day ticket to last year’s Blog Her conference. Of course in the end, my day job got in the way so I truly threw my money away chasing a dream that mathematically doesn’t favor me.

I mean let’s take a minute to discuss the “conferences”, those babies aren’t cheap. This year’s Blog Her 13 is being held in my hometown. I figure from my neck of the woods a trip to Blog Her would set me back a good thousand bucks plus and for what? Opportunities to write about shitty ass products I most likely don’t really use. More swag than I need or even want? Sessions on branding and marketing? A chance to rub elbows with “the” stars of the blogging world? Back when I was chasing the dream before I realized what that would really look like, I would have done anything for one of these chances. For some people these are wonderful things, let me be clear about that, but for me, they are not.

Everyone needs a dream and if yours is to write about products and get some remuneration; go for it. Seriously, just do it as Nike used to say. (And probably stop reading this post too) Yet if growth for me means reviewing products and weaving the details of the XYZ product into  posts while trying to sound natural as hell, I will pass on that. I think the sad truth is there are only going to be a certain number of high performing bloggers and while the blogging experts and networks get us all hyped up about the possibilities, they are often selling us a dream (and making plenty of money at our expense as we try to find out the so-called secrets of success) and we need to stop and discern what we truly want and need.  We need to see if what they are selling is even feasible, does it better us long term? Lastly, is it realistic? Dreams are fine, we all need them but dreams at times need to be balanced against reality.

I can’t get back the time I spent striving to be what I am not but I can spend time being intentional about who and what I am. Sure, making money is great but this space isn’t going to be that place for me unless all of y’all have hit the lottery and are feeling good enough to leave something in the tip jar. Otherwise I better stick with my day job and what I do well and keep this as my fun space to play with my writing voice.

 

It’s a Family Affair

As much as I love writing and blogging, it seems this week I have to ramp it up on my day job. Considering that is the work that helps keep the lights on, I really can’t complain. I mean I could complain but what good would it do? Not much and all it would do is bring me down.

However after dropping hints to the Man Unit forever that he should get into the parental blogging game and after reading this piece in the New York Times about the rise of the Dad blogger, the ole Man is throwing his hat in the ring. Lucky for y’all he is a real writer with a couple of them fancy journalism degrees and decades of experience as a writer and editor who earns enough to keep us in our lavish lifestyle. No comma splices for him!

So if you need some new reading material, go check out his new space Raising the Goddess where he will be talking about life with our little goddess and real talk on fatherhood. Maybe we can become a power blogging couple…or not. In any event, we won’t be giving up our day jobs and at least we will have something else to talk about.

Catch y’all later!

I am not Mommy, I am a grown woman

Dear Mommy Blogger ~

I’d like to introduce you to blah blah; blah blah is a great product that will enhance your life as a mommy, please share news about blah blah product with your readers, followers, friends and whoever else. If you need high resolution photos or more information, please contact the Blah Blah PR firm.

Sincerely,

Blah Blah Blah

PR Rep

Every single day, my inbox is filled with some variation of the above “letter”, someone asking me to take my time (which is in short supply) and promote their product. Apparently the fact that I have birthed humans and I write on this thing we call a blog puts me in a certain demographic…and I am sick and tired of it.

First off, yes I am considered a “mommy blogger” but considering that my eldest kid is now able to go out and legally buy himself a cold brew, calling me a “mommy” sounds a bit silly if you ask me. Hell, even the seven year old is moving away from “mommy”.

More importantly though, now that the act of mothering has become “commercialized” it offends my personal sensibilities that my primary identity as seen through the eyes of marketers and public relations folks has been reduced to “mothering”. Make no mistake, having become a mother at 19, the backdrop of mothering has always been a very important part of my life but just as I don’t solely base my identity on being a non-profit administrator nor is my identity based on being a mother.

Rather it is my belief that all humans play various roles at various seasons in our lives and part of being healthy is recognizing that all of these roles are part of who we are as a whole. In my case, I am a mother, partner, lover, worker, boss, sister, daughter, friend, writer and the list goes on. Sometimes I wear all these hats at one time and sometimes, I wear them as needed.

Lately, my mothering hat has had a little less wear as I navigate the world of my son coming into his own as a young man. He is involved in his first serious adult relationship (he is bringing her home to meet me soon), he moved out of his dorm and into his first apartment, he is going on tour and will even being doing a showcase at South by Southwest in a few weeks. Yet the last string that connected us in a mom-child relationship was severed when he told me to use the money he receives to live on to instead help my ailing Dad who is currently without an income. That means at 21 he is truly on his own and off the family payroll as I call it. As a mother and parent that is a huge milestone, one that is both joyous and bittersweet. Yet it is part of raising kids, they need to stand on their own and our relationship will continue to evolve as it should into an adult child and parent relationship, but it is clear our mommy relationship is over. It was a good run.

While I can’t officially hang up my mommy hat just yet, it’s clear that even at seven and a half, I am seeing the sign of change as the girl child spends more time in her lair creating art and less time hanging onto me. My, we have even started being able to sleep in, this morning I slept until 10am and this is becoming more common as Seven wakes up and occupies herself until the Man Unit and I get up.

Then again now that I am no longer playing the role of Mommy full time, all the time with no break, I can now take time for myself…to dream, to play…to just be. To find myself and to see who I have become over the years and to wear whatever hat best suits me at any given time. So, please don’t reduce me to just Mommy because Mommy is me but she is only part of me… I am a full on grown woman with a variety of interests and tastes and taking care of me as a whole is my first priority, so what products do you have for me now?

 

This year has barely started and already it has been packed full of excitement, most of which if I had my way would cease to be…but do I really get a say? Of course not! In the midst of dealing with my father’s health issues, it seems I passed a milestone (actually a few, including my eldest turning 21…yikes!). Last month this blog turned 5 years old. If you know anything about the blog world, I am nice and middle aged now…gee, the blog and I are running on the same trajectory.

This week has been an interesting time in the life of this blog, one of the challenges of having a larger and more diverse readership is that frankly I am feeling less open. I started this blog in 2008 when I was in the midst of an 18 month period of unemployment. I was doing some grant writing for a few clients and desperately looking for a permanent job. I had briefly worked with a life coach and one of the areas of career interest that I had identified from that process was writing. At that time, I was already doing a column for the Portland Phoenix and wanted to expand my writing. Back then I thought a blog might be able to lead to something more substantial that would bring in some income. It was also a way for me to experiment with my voice in a way that neither grant writing nor my column allowed.

Back in the old days of this blog, I wrote whatever I felt like writing, safe in the knowledge that very few people were actually reading what I wrote. I am not sure when things changed, but they have changed and this week, for the first time ever, I am feeling the impact of sharing myself with others and really I am feeling at a crossroads with this space.

In the past few years, I have embarked on a personal journey to make peace with myself. Part of making peace with myself is being radically honest with myself and by extension this space being part of me is where I strive to be radically honest. The problem with radical honesty is that for many people, it’s hurtful and can come across as rude. This is the point at which I have to say I am looking at the wall and not really sure where to go.

A few days ago, I published a piece on this site, which came from a deeply honest place in my spirit. While many replied either on the blog or directly to me and understood the spirit in which I wrote the piece, not all agreed. In fact a long time reader who did reply to that piece said she was done reading, as she felt I didn’t get it. I have had other people unsubscribe in the past several days and in one instance I was informed that they found my material offensive. As a Black woman in a state like Maine, hell in America, I am well aware that discussions on race are hard. Yet at what point must my reality be blunted to accommodate another’s reality?

Moreover what responsibility do we owe to others when living our truth creates discontent for them? I believe that we are all connected as part of the human family and when we look out not just for ourselves but others, things are simply more harmonious. I believe that a great deal of the tension and stress that is so prevalent in our culture is because we value surface appearances to the detriment of truth. As a result many of us stuff ourselves down to avoid conflict, but eventually there are limits to how much stuffing down we can do and what we stuff down, eventually comes back up.

Anyway, I am sitting and wondering what my next steps are for this space as I have done many times in the past. Someone recently asked me what my plans were for this space and the truth is; I have no idea. In many ways the goals that I had when I started this space are no longer applicable. I have been wondering if it is time to take it all back to the old fashioned journal and say good bye. I don’t feel quite ready for that but when I no longer feel that I can honesty speak my truth in this space, I do have to wonder, is there any point in going on?

Life Update: For regular readers, I did want to give an update on my Dad. He is stable and pain free at present as we wait to hear the final diagnosis. We are starting to deal with the day to day impact of his illness which includes lots of paperwork and phone calls for things like disability payments. As a result, my plans for the e-book are on hold since I am holding down my day job and trying to secure as much freelance work as I can to ensure that my dad’s needs are met in the short run. I did have a couple of readers who pre-ordered and because of life’s interruptions I am offering a refund for anyone who wants one since with everything going on, it’s become clear that rushing to get the book done is a bad idea. Too bad, I can’t get more than 24 hours in a day to get everything accomplished.

It’s a small world now….

Thanks to the ever changing world of technology and social media, it’s become clear that there is no such thing as “six degrees of separation.” Frankly, I think it’s one-two degrees of separation at best. This point was brought home to me a few days ago when I learned that a local follower of mine on twitter had attended the same college as the Man Unit. Granted, the Man Unit’s alma mater is very well known for its journalism program but it is in the Midwest and we are in New England. In a case of how small the world really is, it turns out that this woman had not only attended the same program as my husband but they actually had in the same graduating class and once I told her who my husband was, she knew who he was. Talk about a holy smokes the world is small moment.

Lately I have found myself thinking about how small the world is as readership of this space grows.  I am still amazed when someone in my local offline life tells me that they have read some of my work. Offline I actually don’t talk about my writing life. Until recently, I kept my career as a non-profit administrator separate from my blogging and writing hobby (possible second career), but in recent months that has proven harder to do as local papers here in the state of Maine have spoken with me on various issues. Some months back, a well-known Maine journalist tracked me down for some of my insights and a day after his piece ran, I found myself in a yoga class with a several people who had read not only my thoughts from the other writer’s piece but who had looked up my writings.

Last night, I came across a piece from a writer I admire on twitter, who had a friendly rant about how there is no separation between our online lives and our offline lives. The internet is here to stay and gone are the days when you can hide behind a fake photo and name and say whatever you want without it eventually being connected to you. I agree.

It’s one of the reasons that despite many well-meaning people suggesting, I tamp down my online hijinks or at the very least use locked accounts, I refuse to. For starters, I live in a small rural state and being online allows me better networking opportunities than I have available to me offline at the moment. Then there is that pesky fact that as a transplant who is over 30, meeting people is just hard. A decade here and while I know of a lot of people, I really have few people locally that I consider friends and the slightly sad fact is I met most of those people through online ventures, namely a now defunct local parenting discussion board. Lastly, I enjoy being online, it doesn’t interfere with my offline life. The day job gets done, the family is tended to, everyone’s needs are met, so why not?

I admit it is slightly unsettling to know that local people are reading read my work, but it actually means they are getting a chance to know me. Too often, we only see people in one dimensional ways often based on what they do for a living. Here, I strive for honesty at all times and if it offends, that’s okay too.

The world is an increasingly small place and no matter how some of us feel about that, no longer are our lives neatly compartmentalized. You don’t get be one person online and another offline and as uncomfortable as that feels it is reality. It means we all have to be a lot more intentional about who we are especially online since in this brave new world, even seemingly unrelated things such as jobs have been lost because of the disconnect in our lives. As crazy as it is, I am not sure that is a bad thing. In the past I have been told I over share, at least online, trust me there is nothing that I say in any space that I wouldn’t admit or share publicly.

It’s a small world now and it’s getting smaller yet it’s a great chance to define or redefine ourselves and be intentional and authentic in that process. So if you do nothing else in 2013, my two cents of advice is to be intentional in all that you do.

Where are the words?

I typically start the weekdays out working from home (the one real perk of my job) and then later head into my office. But with a large community event tonight, it means my usual work schedule is out the window so I am taking this day in reverse and relaxing now since this evening I will be standing out in the cold with a gaggle of joyful singers trying not to freeze.

As a result of my upside down day, I figured I would take things slow with a steaming bowl of oatmeal and my mug of coffee and catch up on some blog reading.  I would read a book but since I can’t afford to get sucked into a full length book, I figured reading some blogs would fill my craving for the written word this morning.

The only problem is everywhere I turned this morning, I couldn’t find many words. Oh, I found some gorgeous pictures and amazing eye porn, but damn it! Where are the words? While I am not quite an old head at this blogging game, with four years under my belt, I have noticed a shift, gone are the luxuriously long posts where I felt like I was getting a snapshot of someone else’s world. Oh, I know the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” but can I just say that I miss words, all 1000 of them. Hell, in my dreams I fancy myself as wordsmith, so I will even take 2000 words.

Anyhoo, can I put in a request to my fellow bloggers and aspiring bloggers, can we get a few more words? I know y’all take amazing pictures (I envy you photographer types, I really do…hell, even my phone photos look like crap) but I am missing the old days when I could sit down and read your tales.

On that note, I am always looking for a few good reads, so if you know of any must read blogs, send me a link.

Have a happy Friday!