Now that I've decided that my writing muscles simply must be flexed, I find myself somewhat overwhelmed by the number of things I want to say. Sometimes I honestly don't know where to start. But there's this thing that's been on my mind, and I decided just to lay it out there, because it's been bothering me. And maybe some of you have experienced it, too.
When I started blogging in 2003, I wasn't even sure what blogging was. I treated it like an online family diary.
Over time, I met people. We shared the stories of our families, and formed relationships. There are still people that I am friends with to this day, whom I have never met in real life. But they saw me through Sarah's death, and the following pregnancy. They've seen my through Autism diagnoses, and Liam's pregnancy with his encephalocele. They saw me step back and re-evaluate everything I believed, and then step onto another path with a completely different faith.
That's kind of a lot.
But I'm mostly a pretty open book. I may not share every single private detail of my life, nor would anyone want me to. But I don't lie about myself. I can't figure out what good it does anyone. If I were to be dishonest about myself, the connections I make through blogging wouldn't be real. Nor would the insights that I gain from writing these things down. I wouldn't just be false to the two of you who read this (Love you, Mom!) but I would be false to myself, too. And, naively, I tend to think that other people feel the same way about it.
So, color me shocked as hell when I find out that someone I invested time and energy into, is a big-fat-faker.
It's not a new story, I know. As long as there has been an internet, there have been people making things up on it. Sometimes, though, it really hits home. A few years ago, a friend who I'd met through a message board but had developed a real-life friendship with (we took our kids to the zoo together, spent time in each others homes, talked often, and I thought we were close), faked her own suicide online. I was devastated. I really thought she had died. I called her home and left a message, trying to get details for her funeral. When she called to tell me she was alive, my first feeling, was total relief. Then I was mad. Really mad.
We are not friends anymore. I can forgive a lot of things, but I'm not going to allow my friendship and my feelings to be abused that way again. Which is good. It turns out she's on another website making things up now. One of her wild stories even got published on Slate, before they took it down, realizing that it was not likely true.
When I was pregnant with Liam, I reached out to a local Minnesota Mom and blogger whose son had been born with an often fatal health issue. I had followed her and her beautiful family, thinking of them, praying for them, commenting on her blog, especially when her son was having problems. I thought, with all the love and support poured out to her during her pregnancy and her son's health problems, she would pay that forward. I mean, that's what people do, right? I thought she'd give me some advice, express some understanding, offer some support, something. She did none of those things. She ignored me. I'll admit, I was hurt. I was scared and thought she'd have insight on how to get through it.
I've recently found out that she was found to have not been totally honest. Apparently her way to get through it was to milk it for all the attention (and money) it could get her. And when things got boring, it seems she made some things up entirely to keep it interesting. Her blog doesn't even exist anymore. Her son's problems were real, and I'm not sorry for the energy I spent on him. But I'm frustrated that so much goodwill and time was spent on her, when she wasn't being honest with her audience, and wasn't willing to share generosity of spirit that she had been shown.
So, if you decide to read this blog, I can tell you a few things. I'm sometimes going to be funny (I hope). I'm sometimes going to be serious. I'm sometimes going to be sad. But I'm always going to be honest about who I am, what I'm thinking, and what my experiences are. This is it, right here. This is me. In all my stretch-marked glory.