Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wellness Wednesday: Keeping It Real...

This has been an interesting couple of days. I heard a lot and have read a lot of public posts about BlogHer and the events that took place there, both the good and the bad. It brought something to mind.

BlogHer is not something that would interest me. While I like and admire plenty of people whose sites I read regularly and would enjoy meeting them, the marketing aspect would be a real turn-off. I don't want to know "tricks" to make my readership increase and as I've said many times in the past, there will never be an ad on this site.

If my readership grows, I want it to be because people like what I have to say, are challenged by what I say - or even disagree with me but find my thoughts worth the two or three minutes it takes to read a post.

I don't like the idea of promoting consumerism in any form or fashion, especially when it's framed in the notion of community, friendship and fun. The whole thing feels slimy. My stomach couldn't handle it. I'd be heaving buckets before the first day ended.

The things I was told about, some of the group dynamics, some of the things that happened, upset me horribly. Even though I am fairly assertive and opinionated, I'm not heartless.

Some people went with open hearts and open minds and were hurt as a result. They were hurt by unbecoming behavior that smacks of unresolved high school issues. The idea is repugnant. We're all adults here - and we know right from wrong. We know how to treat other people. We know about civility and we know about kindness.

And I will take a stand when it's necessary, even if it pisses someone off - which I inherently hate doing. Sometimes we have to defend what's right. We have to keep it real, even when that isn't the easiest or most expedient option. Even when it's risky.

The Wellness Wednesday application of this is that I don't believe we can feel whole - or clean - or integrated - if we don't take a stand for the things we know are right. As the old country song says You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything.

In the final analysis, it is behavior, not words, that shows what we're really made of. If you know what's right and choose to do what's wrong, that's a testament to personal character. If someone knowingly tries to elevate themselves at the expense of another, that is a testament of personal character. "Mean girls" are not cute or funny. They're just mean. And I find them disgusting and incredibly boring. Carrie Bradshaw wannabes just need to grow up.

Those who deal with me.. here or personally... need to know who I am. I want you to know what I stand for, what I believe. I want to be trustworthy - and I can't do that unless I always tell the truth. No matter what.



Angeline said...

Isn't that what's its all about? What's the point of writing on a blog or anywhere if they weren't your true thoughts? true feelings? true experiences?

I can't imagine people blogging about what they are not. But I know there are such people out there.

For me, its transparent, its the real me you see on my blog. The real me that is so often not shown as a transparent that my sis tried to protect me and say...I shouldn't reveal too much...

maybe yes, maybe no. But my stand is, if I want to say something, I say everything, if not, I'll shut the hell up!

Rebecca said...

Amen, Sistah!

Defiantmuse said...

w o r d.

and it's the truth that really cuts through the bullshit. I think sometimes that's where the "mean girl" stuff comes from, people resistant to the truth or scared of it. Or maybe they're just so oblivious they wouldn't know what "truth" is if it hit them in the face.

In a way I feel sorry for people still stuck in those patterns but at the same time....we all have to grow up at some point and own our shit.

jen said...

i had the honor of being in the same room as a blogger who consistently posts about beauty this weekend. she said one way she escapes the negativity online is to consistently combat it with kindness on her own blog, not in a personal way but in more of a global one. it stuck with me, the thought of yet another way of using your power to stand up for good.

Mary said...

Catching up! Sometimes I get sick and tired of the whole blogging thing. The reason? It's me. I get bored easily. And I get very tired. After a rough few weeks, I'm back and choose to be lighthearted. Other than a little venting and a good rant, I like to keep it light. I come here to enjoy spirited comments and a little controvery ;o)

Chani, I like the look of your blog. Now I'm going back to change the name of your blog on my blogroll. Finally!


Mary said...

Catching up! Sometimes I get sick and tired of the whole blogging thing. The reason? It's me. I get bored easily. And I get very tired. After a rough few weeks, I'm back and choose to be lighthearted. Other than a little venting and a good rant, I like to keep it light. I come here to enjoy spirited comments and a little controvery ;o)

Chani, I like the look of your blog. Now I'm going back to change the name of your blog on my blogroll. Finally!


we_be_toys said...

I'm with you girl - I'm not big on crowds or people who need to be snotty to feel empowered. It's just bad karma to stomp on others and I do believe it's visited back upon us.

thailandchani said...

Angeline, I think it depends a lot on someone's objective. Some people are highly invested in the masks they create. It covers up their feelings of separation maybe?

As for blogs, I don't know. Sometimes I think blogs are really no different than any other social interaction - with the incumbent culture. (Using 'culture' loosely because I'm too lazy to think of another word.)

As long as you speak your truth, people will show up. In the end, I believe people appreciate truth.


Rebecca.. :) I hope you are feeling okay.


Defiantmuse, you're right, I suspect. Mean girls are really scared people who believe we are survival machines. They need to feel in control and "on top", one way or another.

Just because I bawl them out doesn't mean I completely lack compassion. Mean girls, just like mean anyone, are products of an unstable and mean society. Really, Thich Naht Hahn would say that we owe them compassion just the same.. but I think accountability is part of that, too. They need to be called on their sh*t.


Jen, that's a sound principle whether it's on-line or off-line. Some people do make that extremely difficult.. and maybe that's the inherent lesson for us. How do we show compassion to people who are anything but lovable?


Mary, your lightheartedness is necessary.. for many of us! When I need some of that, I know I can go to your site and find it. Beautiful pictures and pleasant thoughts. It's important.

By nature, I'm rather dark and ponderous... not so good at creating lightheartedness.

As for blogs, I know what you mean. Sometimes it makes me weary, too. Not bored.. but just tired of the same old stuff - whether it's my same old stuff or someone else's.


We-Be, yes. I understand. The whole thing is that it has to be pulled out at the root.. and sometimes that feels gargantuan. Like.. can we really make the changes necessary to keep people from behaving that way.

Marianne Williamson always said that we have two choices: love and fear.

Maybe she's right after all.


QT said...

Chani - while the consumerism part of BlogHer is gross to me, it isn't like they make it a secret. It is very obvious from all the materials what it is about. Those disappointed in the experience from that level of it (like me) just need to take personal responsibility for their decision to go and not return. BlogHer isn't to blame. They are very transparent.

As for the mean girl aspect, it exists on many levels. You say actions speak louder than words. Well, what is interesting about this comment is that the words of others can sometimes paint you with the same brush simply because you are an acquaintance of that person. I am a firm believer in free speech. I don't believe it is MY job to police what others say. However, if my actions truly speak louder than my words, well, I shouldn't have anything to worry about, according to your theory.

I'm here to tell you that isn't how it works in the real world, unfortunately. Luckily, I'm a big girl, and I can move on.

thailandchani said...

QT, I sent you a note offlist that's a bit more detailed.. but essentially I do believe we are all responsible for our own actions. We aren't responsible for what others choose to do. Tacit support would be an issue though. If we sit at a table with 14 people, all of whom use the 'n' word, we are supporting that. In my opinion, we should remove ourselves. That's not telling them how they should be.. or policing their actions. It's just saying "I don't choose to be a part of this."

Just off the top of my head...


Amy Y said...

I didn't go to BlogHer, either. I wasn't really sad about it because I only read a small collection of writers that are out there and most of them aren't "big", so they wouldn't have been present. I have no desire, either, to write for an audience, I write for myself. I don't need ads or traffic or confirmation of my writing ability (although the latter two are flattering, they don't define me).

But the more I hear about how it went, the more I'm glad I wasn't there. Though I'd have loved to spend time with my favorites that attended, to meet them and hug them and tell them in person how much their writing means to me... Well the catty mean girl stuff on the side I just have no desire to participate in. I feel like I left that behind when I graduated from high school ~ and good riddance!

I have no tolerance now, at almost 31, for meanness... for utter disregard of our common humanity.

But if I could fly a small group of people to dinner at my house, to meet and conversate in a comfortable atmosphere where there was no pretense or competition... I'd jump at the chance.

(sorry for the longest comment in the history of long comments ~ guess you struck a nerve a bit?) :)

RKK said...

You don't have to engage any type of promotion to grow your readership...your posts are real and genuine and they make us think. That's what keeps us coming back to hear what you have to say.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I just finished a very harsh book, but also a very honest book that focuses on the need for people to take a stand. It looks at that from many different angles among a community in the Lower East Side in Manhattan that's dealing with a very random murder. You might find it interesting. It's Lush Life by Richard Price. I'll be blogging about it tomorrow. It may be too harsh for you in your present journey, though. It can be very upsetting.

slouching mom said...

you said it. much more succinctly and directly than i've managed to do on my own blog since i've returned from the conference.

thailandchani said...

Amy, I'm glad I didn't go, too. Those things are hard for me.. not because they make me feel insecure or anything - but I have a temper and probably wouldn't be able to keep my mouth shut. That would end up adding to the bad feelings and there's no point in that. It's just not worth it. I don't need to pay money to be witness to that kind of thing. I can turn on the TV.


RKK, thanks. I vacillate on that issue a lot. Sometimes I feel a responsibility to build the site - and then I just get overwhelmed by the prospect of doing what it takes.. and I end up saying to heck with it.


JenA2, I will definitely take a look at that book. It's something that is becoming more and more important - especially given news reports that people are left to die in emergency rooms and old men can be run over in the street and no one pays any attention or calls for help. Geez, and nearly everyone has a cell phone. There's just no excuse!


Sarah, sometimes I just can't bring about the desire to be diplomatic - so I plopped it all on the table. I hope it's of value to someone. :)


Ian Lidster said...

I have an award for you, if you wish to check out my blog.

thailandchani said...

Ian, thank you so much. :) I appreciate it.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I have had my blog for two years and am delighted with the people who visit and comment. I have no interest in learning tricks to gain more readers, or in marketing anything on my site.

Even though BlogHer was in my city this year, it didn't occur to me to attend. The blog world is huge. There is a place for each of us in it but hurt feelings can arise when we try to fit in with those whose life style and purpose are an uncomfortable fit.

Water seeks its own level, and building dams to keep people on ones own is always a doomed endeavor.

Anonymous said...

ANd that's why I keep coming back here.

thailandchani said...

Susan, wow.. I like that! Building dams to keep everyone on one's own level. I hadn't considered that.


Emily, thank you :) I'm really glad you do.. keep coming back, that is. :)


niobe said...

I've really been troubled by some of the things that people experienced at Blogher. And I like what you say about it.

Staci Boden said...

I went to Blogher and wrote one post about how I navigated some challenges that came up for me. I haven't been able to do a lot of research but my experience of sitting in the big room of 1000 people wasn't so much of a conglomeration of "mean girl" moments. It was simply awkward to find meaningful ways to meet in such a large crowd.

I was also at the Beauty session which I plan to write about in the next week. While it wasn't as packed as other sessions, the charge in the air was electric with possibility.

While I'm not into denial, I am into choosing where to put my energy. I highly recommend checking out the two blogs, one live and one almost live, that described the Beauty session. I'd be interested in knowing if you can feel the charge that was there and if so, how does it inspire you?

That is the ultimate question I am taking away from my experience at Blogher '08 and if I had to travel some personally rough terrain to get there, it was worth it.

less live but great summary:

live blogging:

Thank you, Chani, for raising these important issues and encouraging conversation--and connection:)!

womaninawindow said...

Refreshing. I'm trying to sort the conference out in my mind. A little odd to me BUT yet there were so many good people there.