Friday, January 22, 2010

Out to Lunch

I will turn very few sugar-based foodstuffs away. If it's made with sugar, dipped in sugar, and then sprinkled with sugar, bring it on. If there's also some sort of cream involved, serve me a double portion. But sometimes...

Sometimes something is so rich and so amazing that a very small portion of it is all I need.

I know some blogs like that. And I've been thinking about them lately. They are beautifully written by wonderful ladies, but when I visit, in general I have to skim or I'm overwhelmed by the richness. Then I'm off to drink my fill of other frothier confections.

I see this as a failing on my part. I've tried to figure out why some of the most honest blogs out there are a hard place for me to be. I'm not talking about the ones that are trying to wring your tear ducts out on a daily basis. That's not real. Those are the same folks who assume anyone crying in testimony meeting when they talk  is feeling the Spirit. Not so. That sniffling is just me, begging for you to STOP. TALKING. NOW.

No, the rich blogs I'm talking about often take on hard or difficult things. Just as often, though, they take on sweet and tender things. But it's still hard for me to go there regularly or stay there long. I'm in the minority. I know because they've got boxes overflowing with comments and followers fist fighting in the sidebar widget to be top dog. 

I've thought about why those blogs are hard for me. I love fantastic writing, which is a hallmark for these bloggers. I love honesty. They are all honest. 

And it took a while but I figured it out. These ladies are very PRESENT in their lives.

I am not. In my life, I mean.

Sometimes I am. But it's not the default setting for my personality. Unless I'm absorbed in a book, I'm either doing two things at once or doing one thing but thinking about the other that I should be doing and I'm not, or thinking about what I'm going to do next. Playing with my kid, making dinner, watching TV. Doesn't matter. It's how my brain works.

I've always been that way. It's made me incredibly effective in certain situations. Trust me, whatever job you're trying to fill, you'll want me doing it. But in doing the mom's not actually an asset. 

I think I like a little distance from my life. I filter everything through an intellectual lens. Sometimes things slip through to my emotional filter, but rarely. I like to examine everything with a buffer between me and it, no matter what the experience is it. If it's at all emotional, I need a safety zone that may not ever be breached. My buffer is usually either logic or humor. They work well for me.


But as I examine this phenomenon of keeping this safe distance from me and things in my life, I wonder. . .

Maybe this is one of those times when a strength has become a weakness because it drives me to limit my exposure to anything that might push me out of my emotional comfort zone.

I'm going to have to think about this. You know . . .pick it apart, analyze it. Logically. 

Of course.


Kazzy said...

I try to mix it up a bit, because that is my personality. I can be pretty introspective sometimes, but a goofball at other times. I just write to convey my own feelings.

But I get what you mean. It is hard to have a temporary investment in peoples' struggles some days. I skim too.

Kristina P. said...

You know, I used to compare my blog to the same types of blogs you talk about. Which was sooo stupid, because that's not what kind of blogger I am. And I've grown OK with that.

There are all types of blogs. And then I started getting comments from women who I know deal with some rough crap, on a daily basis, who have said that I provided them with a much needed laugh or outlet that day. And I realized that was just as important as being really honest and introspective all the time.

I LOVE your blog. You have such a great balance and you write like I think a lot of the time.

I have found that when someone is going through a trial, and they are continually blogging about it, I don't read as much. I can't. I feel bad about that, but it depresses me, and sometimes I feel guilty because I'm not going through that, and then I worry that I will go through that. It's a hard balance.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

So now we're all thinking, "Is it me? Is mine the blog she can't stomach?" Great, now I feel insecure. :)

I try to have a nice balance, but I'll admit I'm a little "rich" sometimes. (I know that's just a code word for "so long, wordy, and philosophical, it's disgusting.")

Carolyn V. said...

Oh, I feel like that too! Both the fast Sunday cryings and the blogging. I mentioned it to my critique buddy. I have to skim over some of the incredible writings because I'm ready for sugar posts.

wonder woman said...

Good, deep thoughts Melanie. I love the "rich" blogs because they make me slow down and think. Sometimes. Sometimes I just think, "Wow. That was deep. Moving on...."

Kimberly said...

I understand this so, so well. I have quite the mix of blogs I read and I find I save the rich ones for last. For the moment when I feel in the right mood to handle whatever emotions they're going to provoke in me. And even so, sometimes it's hard to take it all in and I have to resist the urge to skip to the end. It's exhausting at times, truth be told, and what gets to me is the realization that so often now I write exhausting blog posts. They're real, and important, and they mean a lot to me, but it's a wonder to me that anyone actually reads the darn things.

I love the mix you have here. The silly and the serious beautifully mingled. I aspire to be a bit more like you.

Karen said...

I understand what you mean. Sometimes (and increasingly, lately) I get really introspective and attempt to be deep and profound. But too much of that and I go crazy. So I try to make things light and fluffy again when it starts getting too heavy.

I like the balance in your blog a lot. You're real, but not in a woah-is-me sort of way and I really appreciate that.

Becca said...

Do you want to move here and be my neighbor? We can pretend it doesn't snow, and just enjoy the froth of life. What do you say?

Sarah M Eden said...

I, too, tend to deal with emotion through humor. Drives my husband crazy--but he LOVES it and he knows it!

DeNae said...

Whatever, Steph. I'm not the least bit concerned that Melanie is talking about MY blog.

May I just echo everything Kristina has said? And having spent quite a bit of time with her, and also gotten to know you outside blogging, let me tell you - we're three peas from the same pod, and I'm not just talking about the humor thing.

I don't want to get in the way of genuine introspection or a sincere desire to make a positive change. If you feel this really is a problem, hats off to you for working on it.

However, I tend to look at it the way I consider my eyesight. As I've aged, I've found that sometimes I have to be closer to certain objects in order to see them properly, and other times I have to be farther away. Does this make me any less "present" in the experience, just because my vision has changed? Am I more "engaged" if I hold a book really close, despite the fact that I would actually read, understand, and assimilate it better from a greater distance?

Different doesn't mean better or worse. It just means different.

And I adore you. Your blog, your outlook, your genuineness.

Susan said...

And this explains why you write chick lit and why I write message driven stuff. But you're right about one thing. Sometimes it needs to be a mix of different things. I can't always handle mush--that's why I watch the Office every Thursday night. I need a good laugh.
Keep working on it, Melanie and I'll keep reading your blog because you give me that laugh I need.

Ambrosia said...

I pretty much agree with what has already been said. When you find your voice, you must stick with it. I know that my blog can get very heavy at times. And, the very next day, it can turn light.

Something that I really value in your writing (and DeNae's and Kristina's) is how silly you can be. I cannot write that way. I try but it comes out unnatural. So, I turn to you three to keep my laughing.

charrette said...

So THAT's why you never stop by any more! (Just kidding...I know I mostly haven't been blogging for months.)

I'm the opposite. I skim when I'm bored. I delve when I'm engaged. And I run pretty deep. But I follow a whole smattering of different blogs because I've come to love the women they represent.

Debbie said...

I completely understand! Or, at least I think I do. I often do the same thing at some blogs - I just have to skim. Some days I'm just not mentally prepared for deep stuff on here. Bring on the fluff:)

Dedee said...

It's all about mood for me. If I can handle the deep stuff, I'll dive in. But some days I test the waters and realize that there's no way I'm going in, for whatever reason.

You're awesome, regardless.

L.T. Elliot said...

I love Kristina and DeNae's comments. They said it right so I won't try to fill their excellent shoes.

Just know that I woudln't be here if I didn't like you and what you write. Be you. That's the best thing to be.

Terresa said...

I'm with Steph. Sometimes I write something and then go, "Oh, crap. I sound like I just returned from a self-inforced Buddhist camp." Yikes.

I like to keep things real, but at the same time, being uber confessional is just too much for me. So I tightrope walk somewhere in the middle.

Love your blog, love you.

Lara said...

You know, I am the same way about those blogs. I really appreciate them, but most of the time I can't read it all. I skim like mad. I get the point, but I am not focused enough to really sit down and think about what they are saying (or even really read it, apparently).

What you said here: "But it's not the default setting for my personality. Unless I'm absorbed in a book, I'm either doing two things at once or doing one thing but thinking about the other that I should be doing and I'm not, or thinking about what I'm going to do next." is totally me, too. Sometimes I really like this about myself, other times I loathe it. I feel it's detrimental to my children, because I can't seem to focus on the moment with them. And that hurts a bit.

Yes, it takes all kinds of people to make up the world and the blogosphere, but this is something I've been working on as well. I don't know how successful I am. I definitely live in the future much more often than I do the present. I want to be better. The end.

Faith Imagined said...

I was very humbled yesterday when I read a blog by a woman who helps (loves) the homeless, drug addicted, criminal. I was humbled than inspired.

This is a very 'real' and honest post!

-Alisa Hope
First Friday Fiction

Shelane said...

Amen to Lara.

See, what I love about this whole bare you soul to the world on the internet thing is that you come to see that you're really not so different once you get past the hair color and the social awkwardness.

It's nice to hear it's not just me, you know?

Erin said...

Melanie, I've actually been thinking a lot about this post since you wrote it. So I decided instead of keeping my feelings to myself, I wanted to come back and say thank you for posting it.

I think some (or a lot) of it comes down to why we read blogs. While I definitely appreciate good writing, and thoughtful life lessons, I generally read blogs to make friends or be entertained. My mind wanders on some of the "thoughtful" stuff too. And last week I was feeling really bad about myself because my blog is mostly "fluff." Then I remembered I can blog about whatever I want, and people can choose to read it or not.

Also, yours is one of my very favorite blogs, because of your voice. I know that this is not necessarily reciprocal, and that's okay. We're all different!

Melinda said...

I'm a lot like you, always thinking about the next thing, or something else, but there's a LOT of thinking. I'm always thinking! But I'm super emotional, I'm constantly assessing my feelings, so thats why super deep blogs are hard for me. I need something light, I need to laugh otherwise I would get swallowed up by everything that I feel so deeply. I love humor and for the most part I deal with things in a funny way, but inside my head isn't always funny and reading blogs is very much personal and inside my head, so I'd like to fill that time with happiness and humor! Thats just me! I love the way you think, and I love reading you!

That Girl said...


Sometimes I think I would just skim my OWN blog were I not the author. And sometimes I just plain bore myself.

I think balance is good. I think some of the really 'deep' blogs (SOME - not most) are really genuine. That said, I'm with you. I only drop by once in a while, read everything, and take a breather.

I don't read "Miracle of Forgiveness" in one sitting, either.

Alison Wonderland said...

I know just what you're talking about. There are blogs that I swing by occasionally that are fantastic, beautifully written and heartfelt, but I just can't bring myself to add them to my reader. I thought it was because of the inferiority complex that they gave me but I like your explanation much better.
(That and I need a little salt, just a touch of snark, with my sugar. But that's probably just me.)