Monday, March 29, 2010

At least everyone else was funny.

The blogosphere lately has been seized by panic. Hyperventilating, can't-see-or-think-straight panic.

Or at least the parts of the blogosphere that are going to the Casual Bloggers Conference in May. The panic has something to do with people revealing their true personalities. Some people seem to be sitting on the fence about going because they have a deep fear of people getting to know them in real life. They're afraid they'll be unmasked for who they really are. "What if people don't think I'm funny in person?" "What if they figure out I'm a nerd?" "What if they don't like me?"

And I have sat back and felt


I know. I suck.

I guess smugness is a luxury if you're not going to CBC and don't have to worry about being outed for who you really are. But that's not even the cause of my smugness. Oh, no, it's way worse than that.

Mine was rooted in vanity and conceit.


See, I couldn't see what the big deal was. I never worry about meeting new people. I make friends easily. Everyone likes me (except for posers, people who suck, and booger eaters) and I never have a hard time being myself. I make everyone laugh and always have something to say. Why would I worry about meeting people in person?

What's that old saying, the one about pride going before . . . ?


I got to participate in my own little blogger meet up when Kristina P invited me to join her and some blog friends at Disneyland. Since the baby was cooperating that night and Kenny graciously and bravely agreed to handle the kids on his own, I went. And I wasn't nervous at all. Because I'm stupid.

The only two people I "knew" virtually were Sister Pulsipher and Karen, and then I got to meet Kris, Kristen and Nikol. And I had some good guacamole and very average carne asada. And I listened to and enjoyed the banter around the table. And then I opened my mouth to speak. (Cue ominous music here.)

Thanks to the properties of sleep deprivation, I have been wandering through the last two weeks like they were one, long out-of-body experience. 
Unfortunately, this allows me to have a weird clinical detachment about myself while at the same time having zero control over my filters. I can hear myself making an ass of myself but I have no ability to stop it. It's lovely.

So we're sitting there at dinner and I'm listening to myself talk and everything out of my mouth, EVERYTHING, was an opinion. A STRONG opinion. That's okay. Except for where then I started spewing strong, JUDGMENTAL opinions about every.single.thing that came up. Other blogs. Blogging styles. Loud tables in the restaurant. Jennifer Love-Hewitt. Television. My stupid carne asada.

You could have thrown out nuclear proliferation and I would have been like, "Let me tell you . . ."

I shared my thoughts like I was the Oprah of Tortilla Jo's, a fount of dubious knowledge.

My Other Self, the clinical observer, watched and listened to all of this and eyed the steak knife, wondering if I could use it to give myself a tracheotomy before the next topic of conversation came up. The actual me just kept talking, and talking, and talking.

It was NOT me, though. It was some crazy girl who clearly thought being pompous equaled hilarity for all. 

It led me to wonder if I'm always so awful but I needed severe sleep deprivation to recognize it. 

It was humbling. So now instead of obsessing over what I can find to wear to the Storymakers conference that looks cute on my 6 week post baby body, I am now going to obsess over "how to be a good listener and shut the heck up" when in the presence of other humans.

I suppose it's a good lesson but it leads me to wonder exactly how long and how often I've been a total tool (or whatever the girl version is) over the years. 

Dear friend: if you've hung in with me because you have to (i.e. our husbands are friends, we are blood related, Jesus said be nice to everyone, etc), please know I will be much better company in the future. Even if I never open my mouth to prove it.

P.S. Proof it happened:


Kristina P. said...

I would never have said any of this about you! You were delightful!

And hey, I don't look like as much of a drowned rat as I thought. I don't know why I bothered to straighten my hair, and then go fake river rafting.

*MARY* said...

I'm just worried about going to the CBC because people might find out I'm acutlally a guy.

Kimberly said...

"And I wasn't nervous at all. Because I'm stupid."

I don't know why but I busted out laughing at that.

I found you DEE-lightful in person. Sardonic and witty yet also warm and friendly. You're lovely!

That said, I do that thing where I hate what I'm saying all the time. If I'm really quiet at Storymakers it's because inwardly I'm suffocating myself lest I say something completely inane. Again.

Kristina P. said...

Mary is actually Carrot Top. Have you ever seen them together? I rest my case.

Annette Lyon said...

Way too hard on yourself. I don't recall anything remotely like that when I met you last April. And I get to see you again soon. Weeeee!

That Girl said...

Giggled from beginning to end.

I'm the nervous type. With extremely good reason.

L.T. Elliot said...

While I don't believe any of that about you (because I have met you and thought you were pretty darn wonderful) I can empathize. I've watched myself do this before and literally thought, "Shut up! Stop now! Are you mad?!"

Can't wait to see you again in April!

Kazzy said...

I make friends easily too, but every time I replay things in my mind I wonder why. :)

Glad you had fun!

DeNae said...

Ha ha everyone who isn't me, I got a text AND a picture from KP and MJ in REAL TIME while they were at dinner together! Yep. I'm that cool.

And there is always at least one voice in my head screaming 'SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP!' whenever I get together at those kinds of things. Fortunately, I'll be a complete newbie at Storymakers so I don't think I'll do much conversation dominating, and I'll actually be speaking on assignment at CBC, so hopefully that will vent off the worst of it.

Wonder Woman said...


I think it's the sleeplessness that does it to us. I blurted out something totally crazy at church the other day. And I'm really smug about it, too. I'm not very funny on my blog, or very smart, so I assume people have low expectations of me and I'll just blow them out of the water with my awesomeness.

You've got me really scared, now. I'll just be sure to get like 12 hours of sleep the night before. (Riiiight....)

LisAway said...

I've experienced that before, the whole, who AM I and what on earth am I saying!?! I think it's just proof that even if you don't think you're nervous, you must be a little.

Susan said...

Don't worry, you're not the only one who has these moments. And at least you can blame it on something. Most people, including myself, do it just because...

Amber said...

I had my own experience recently like this. I haven't written about it because it was too painful. You are brave.

MommyJ said...

Oh this is the story of my life... whenever I leave any sort of public gathering of women, I always think... "Holy cow, I heard my own voice much more than anyone elses."

peewee said...

HUH? You never ONCE shot down the Vajazzler. Or how I was the only total sinner in the group. And all I ever care about is what people say in regards to ME. I am SURE Kristina feels the same way. I NEVER noticed you complaining about blogs! What does everyone else think? Post it in the comments.

NIKOL said...

You're being too hard on yourself, girl. You were nothing but pleasant. And seriously, complaining and mocking people like Jennifer Love Hewitt are two of my favorite pastimes.

Also, as peewee said, you never said anything mean about the Vajazzler. So you're aces in my book!

Don said...

Sleep deprivation is wonderful that way.

Last Storymakers I was dealing with some serious antibiotic-induced brain fog, which is very similar. Fortunately, the people I met continued to be my friends after the conference.

But now that I read your post, I have to wonder if anyone will still like me if I show up clear-headed this year?

(Whew! At least my writer's neurosis is still intact.)

Karen said...

You were (and are!) absolutely delightful and we were so glad you could make it!

Seriously, anything you may or may not have said was wholeheartedly in response to or agreed upon by everyone else at the table.

At least, I'm PRETTY SURE we all had matching opinions about Miss Hewitt. And a blogger or two... :-)

Karen said...

And by "opinions of a blogger or two" I was OF COURSE referring ONLY to the awesomeness that is DeNae. Nothing more. :-)

NIKOL said...

I think what Karen means is that everyone agreed on MY awesomeness.

Becky said...

On a scale of one to witch, how bad is it that I'm glad things like this happen to other people, too? :)

I'm not going to CBC, though if I were, I'd be in the same boat. I'm totally funnier on paper.

Charlotte said...

I suffer from severe PCSD (post conversation stress disorder) and I can usually tell in the middle of talking that I'm monopolizing again and I just can't seem to shut my mouth. So I can relate all too well to your experience.

CaJoh said...

Even if I ever did go to one of those conferences, I am confident that people who read me will know who I am because I strive to be the same person in real life as I am on my blog.

I always knew that listening was important, but it wasn't until last September that I learned how best to do so. I just hope that I can get enough practice so that I can get to know others whenever I do finally attend.

Nishant said...

I don't know why I bothered to straighten my hair, and then go fake river rafting.
data entry work from home

Heather of the EO said...

That was hilarious. I mean, reading that, not you making a fool of yourself. Which I'm sure you didn't. SURE. We are truly our own worst critics. But please don't judge me.
(that was a joke)

I'm going to go to CBC and be the same person I am on my blog-neurotic and over-thinking and rambling. What fun for everyone.

Sarah M Eden said...

Question of the day: Why was this post so darn funny?

Answer: Because we have all had moments like that--moments when we realize something about ourselves (whether or not that realization is exaggerated in our own minds) that we want to change and wonder how long we've been that way. Meanwhile everyone else is oblivious to our moment of realization because we aren't nearly as bad as we think we are.

Emily said...

Why am I totally laughing!? This post was fantastic. Melanie, your personality comes through EXACTLY on your blog. I love you FOR your opinions!

I'm sure everyone had a great time. :)