Friday, February 26, 2010

Mommy Blogging In Real Life (IRL)

I went to a cool event tonight at the Women's Bookstore. It was to celebrate a book called Mothering and Blogging: The Radical Act of the Mommy Blog. (So I mean, how could I not go?) Also it features works by the fabulous Jen Lawrence, the brilliant Ann Douglas and the notorious Catherine Connors (had to give her a bit of a "bad" sounding intro).

I haven't read the book yet, but I bought it. Not quite the beach read I had in mind for our Florida trip next week (first beach vacation since our honeymoon 10 years ago -- there better be sun Universe!), but from what I heard read aloud tonight I'm quite certain I'll enjoy it.

Let me just put forth what I love about mommy blogging, because I realize sometimes it may seem that I'm a mommy blogger who hates mommy bloggers. (Not true -- though a certain segment bug the shit out of me.)

Since my children were born, some of the coolest events I've attended have been, in essence, an excuse to go out with mommy bloggers. Maybe that's because I'm reading liberal, feminist mommies and feel like my IRL friends just wouldn't get my desire to go to these kinds of cultural events instead of watching The City. (They wouldn't.)

Maybe it's because my IRL friends don't blog, and therefore, have no idea what it means or what it feels like to sincerely care about strangers and think of them as friends. Let's face it, not that long ago this meant meeting up with someone from a chat room or message board, who may or may not have turned out to be the person you thought. There's still a stigma to meeting people online and taking it to IRL.

But then a funny thing happened on my way through the blogosphere -- mamasphere -- whatever you want to call it. I met friends online that I actually REALLY enjoy IRL. In fact, some of my best friends IRL are people I met through this forum (who hilariously -- and sadly -- no longer blog).

I have always been the square peg. I have always had ideas and dreams that fell outside the sphere of the average Armenian girl growing up in Scarborough. In Scarborough you were supposed to grow up, do some sort of post-secondary education that got you the sort of job that made you attractive to men so you could marry into your race, have babies, the house in the suburbs, two cars, etc. You were supposed to love Must-See TV and go to mainstream movies, listen to Top 40 hits and dress like everybody else.

To be radical woman often meant going outside your social circle. And as the daughter of strict Middle Easterns, this was hard. I was expected to hang out with people who were "like us", who had the same curfew rules and the same expectations for their girls. Italians, Greeks, etc. Basically people who had different rules for their daughters than their sons. I rebelled some, but eventually I conformed a bit to make my life easier. Some of those friendships stuck.

Some days it seems really weird to me that I have this life online. My childhood best friend, my sister and my husband all know about this site but don't read it. The girls don't think this is the true me (which I find odd). Admittedly Scarbie Doll is a persona, but I get to be SO HONEST here that I wonder if it's just that they don't want to see this side of me.

My husband just thinks you all know which way his penis bends. He hates walking into a coffee shop or my office and having someone look at him as though they "know" him, when they really shouldn't. (Hence I've stopped writing about his penis.) But his issues about this are... well they need to be considered... but I digress.

Via the Internet I have found a group of women I really and truly identify with. They get me. I can be a super nerd. I can admit that I'm full of shit. We can geek out over tech gadgets and the fact that our third children are our PDAs. We can use nerdy acronyms one second, and discuss pop culture the next. We can laugh at ourselves, laugh at each other and it's OK. We understand each other.

When I talk to my best friend there's this weird feeling that she's trying to keep up with me, trying to be a certain kind of mom for me. I don't really get it. I'm not stupid, I suppose on paper I can be sort of intimidating. For someone who is constantly skint, I lead a very fortunate and charmed life (which can come crashing down when interest rates go up, but I doubt I'm the only one skating on that ice). In fact my whole life could come crashing down at any moment. The seemingly dazzling things about me are all superficial. Strip it all away and this is what you get. But IRL, that doesn't seem to get across.

I'm just me. I want you to like me. I want to talk about cool shit with you. I want to make you laugh and giggle my head off with you (but without being mean-spirited if possible). I want it to be OK with you that I am checking Twitter while we watch TV. I want my life to be a constant stream of ideas and discussions, no pressure, just good energy. I don't care what kind of car you drive or what you fed your kid last night. I just want to be real. And the people I've met through Mommy Blogging seem to be the only ones who get that.

Any ideas on why that is? Is it because only in blogland is it OK to have your head so far up your own ass? I'm I a self-absorbed, crappy friend IRL? I dunno. But you complete me Internets. If loving you is wrong, I don't want to be right.

15 comments:

Kelly said...

I can't speak for the rest of the internet but I love you and if you are ever in New Orleans (or VT during a few weeks in the summer) I'd love to buy you a drink.

The Insatiable Host said...

hey there so I am new to your site..I was literally browsing through blog names and was immediately attracted to the martinis...right? who wouldn't be?

anyhoozle, I am also Canadian (just outside of TO, ON) and I too have a blog. I feel like some mommyblogs are just like the real scary moms at play centers. The ones who make crazy faces and eat organic grass sandwiches..but then there are real Mumma-Hood Bloggers...maybe it's their real voice, maybe its because they have removed said head out of their ass! Either or, the real ones is where it's at! (Yah, that's you too!) I really like your post here and the "so you think you can blog"...there are a lot of forums out there that really try to get the point across, and I feel that this is as simple and real as you can get!

anyhow, i am getting all serious and shit, but I like your blog, i think your the shiz...thanks for the martini too!

Danon

www.insatiablehost.blogspot.com
www.pantypyramid.blogspot.com

Emma said...

I've been lucky enough to spend a decent amount of time IRL with some bloggers lately, and it's been completely awesome. And I'm glad that includes you!

There's something to it, all the commonalities, that are just fantastic to talk about in person. And of course the gossip. Ah, women. :)

La Blogueuse said...

I was fortunate to meet you first IRL, but got to know the "real" you on your blog...and yes, I say the real YOU. Not that IRL, you're not a different real you. No one in the world can know us inside and out completely. Not our mothers, sisters or soulmates, and that's what makes life interesting, that we continue learning about eachother as life goes on. It's like that when you are in different circles of friends: you might behave differently around longtime family friends vs work friends vs old highschool chums vs "smug marrieds" GFs vs "singleton" friends.
The mommyblogger YOU is just another side of yourself that I am lucky enough to get a glimpse at. Not better or worse than your IRL you, and every bit as much a part of YOU. Because let's face it, if you are like me in any way (and I have a suspicious feeling you are), before the invention of the blog, you were probably walking around with a monologue in your head during the day, precisely doing that in your own head, "blogging" about everything and anything. Like singing silently in your head. Like writing in a diary that nobody read in the past cause it was only going on in your head. So nobody can say it's not a part of the real you. Enjoy yourself and your blogger friends, they're real too, and enjoy inhabiting that side of themselves with you!

kgirl said...

And, of course, ditto. I think about this a lot, about why some of the people closest to me in life don't read me, don't get the on-line thing, don't want to - I don't know - deal with that part of me.

But I do know that I will defend my on-line, and now happily irl friendships with the amazing people I met blogging, until the sun stops shining in the sky.

melissa said...

What I've found so neat about meeting bloggers whose sites I read (and/or their Twitter accounts) in person - including you - is that there's a lot of small talk that just doesn't need to be made. We can get right to the good stuff (be it gossip or more refined subjects). We've gotten most of the of the basic stuff out of the way, and there are less awkward pauses.

Given that many of us can be shy around new people, less awkward pauses are definitely appreciated.

Jen Lawrence said...

You rock. IRL and virtually! Fun to see you Friday. Here's hoping for some sun!!

zeeeeeeeeee said...

I think you are a totally awesome chick and I love you any old way!

moplans said...

If loving you is wrong, I don't want to be right either. Its luck, partly, this cool group. I view the group like any another; I have 'work friends'' friends from highschool' and 'kickass mommyblogger friends'
I felt a bit weird about it at first, but honestly I love you all so much, you got me through the trenches of early motherhood, I will love you forever.
Every once in a while I check back in on Marla. So sad...

Its not always finances, but we all are skating on thin ice. Life is precarious so having good friends matters wherever you find them.

Anonymous said...

I challenge you to write a blog that encapsulates the support of a friend who props you up when you are about to fall apart because you are going to visit one of your parents graves for the first time. I challenge you to find text that replaces the look in their eyes when you tell them that you are going to be a Mom for the first time. I challenge you to write a punch line that invokes a laugh that leaves you rolling on the floor, literally because you can’t catch your breath. I challenge you to create a phrase that will make someone trust you with your children. Love based on written words is surely not wrong. Just remember that when you need love the most, you will only get back what you put in. Identifying with people is not the same as truly knowing them. If your friends in the real world don’t try to see the online you, maybe it is because they prefer to put their efforts where they know it really matters. I have always known that I am better at writing my feelings then saying them. However, I have never blogged and I never will so I hope we can still be friends despite the fact that you will never know the online me. No, I am not your best friend or even a friend you have ever confided in. I am a friend who knows you in the real world and that is all I need.

愛情遊戲 said...

若對自己誠實,日積月累,就無法對別人不忠了。........................................

Run ANC said...

I take breaks every once in a while where I just don't feel like writing, but I always keep coming back because I no only know my friends online, but have met them in real life too. I'm in a kick-ass Blogger Book Club thanks to "mommy-blogging", and I'm so glad I got into it.

玉鳳 said...

廢話不多,祝你順心~^^........................................

Karen MEG said...

Well I'm glad to have met you IRL, and you DID make me laugh, and think, and I wish I had more time and opportunity to hang out with you and more mom bloggers, or blog as much as I used to, for that matter, 'cuz we're just such a cool bunch, who "get" each other on a level that only other bloggers do.

And having grown up in Scarborough in a fairly strict Asian household (where I totally bent the rules...) - and I still ended up in the burbs with two cars, one of which is a minivan, this blogging this is the only piece of "cool" that I allow myself (and I know I'm kidding myself that I'll ever be truly that cool, but humour me).

I love you right back.

I'll have to check out that book too...

kittenpie said...

I'm with you - I love the community, the feeling that there are people who get you and who you get, I love the ease of communication - and I love the moms I have now met IRL as a result of blogging. Some of my best friends are now bloggers.