I haven’t been a popular kid.
Now that’s a big surprise…
I had a few friends. Some of them the good kind, but most of them were books.
The kookyness I embrace today didn’t go so well with the middle and high school crowd.
There was a lot of rejection and much loneliness.
Years later, I understand it was a blessing, that being a lonely girl made room for books and trees and tenderness that I wouldn’t have developed had I been popular and busy with a social life.
The same is true for most of the people I love.
Think about it, is any of the people you adore now a recovering popular kid?
(I tried linking to the best part of the movie Almost Famous, do you know the scene I’m talking about? But couldn’t find that clip. If you can post a link in the comments I will drink a toast in your honor.)
Look! Story’s first comment has delivered the link. Thank you so much Story! What would you like me to toast with? It’s your honor, you choose the drink.
Sometimes these embedded clips don’t work. if that is the case, click here to watch:
But the yearning to be accepted by my pears never disappears. No matter how much I practice sovereignty, weening from the dependence on outside validation, getting validation feels good. Really good. Better than it should.
My painful childhood also means that whenever anything remotely resembles a popularity contest shows up, I feel that familiar fear of rejection and I want to cry.
A couple of weeks ago I got an email from Circle of Moms telling me I’ve been nominated to the top 25 mental wellness blogs by moms.
The trigger word there is nominated. It’s a competition, eeeeeek!
And it’s clearly a ploy designed to get users to that site, they are asking folks to vote every day, so yep, more about website traffic than democracy, right?
So my first reaction was: I don’t want to play. I also noticed that the biggest players in the PPD field, Postpartum Progress, My Postpartum Voice, and Beyond Postpartum, were not playing the game. Kathrine wrote a brilliant post about why, and I agreed with every word.
But my endeavor is such a young fledgling (less than 9 months old) that ignoring this entirely would be unwise. A contest like this is a very good place for moms who could use what I got to find me, therefore it behooves me to get out of my own way, right?
So I got over my fears enough to mention my nomination on twitter. Once. I didn’t even put the link button graphic on my blog until now.
There you go:
Then this happened: people who love me and care about my work picked it up and ran with it. Especially my rare gem of a friend — Casey. She rallied our friends towards this “cause.” She created this goal: to make it to the top ten. Friends voted and cheered. Friends of friends were posting to their facebook walls and tweeting about this. I was floored by this reaction. In two days we were at the top ten. Then we were ahead of bigger (and better) bloggers like Miranda, Robin, Ivy, Katie, Kimberly, Jamie, Cristi (In my facebook posts I’ve been asking people to vote for them too. You can find links to their sites, as well as the biggest blogs I mentioned above right here: http://www.ppdtojoy.com/community/). That seemed just plain wrong. Being in competition with my friends and with other mammas pouring their hearts out feels wrong.
And then there were blogs I never heard of before that were absolutely stunning. Especially http://www.notyouraveragewidow.com/ and http://extraordinary-ordinary.net/. Talk about brilliant work that comes straight from the heart. I urge you to visit them, connect and comment. I read those blogs and was inspired and enchanted by the strength and beauty I found.
My people continued voting for my blog. Casey kept tweeting and posting on Facebook. A week later we were at 5, two days later at 3. Now we are 3 votes away from the second place. The top spot is over 200 votes ahead which is great because it’s the best blog ever (Band Back Together, a user content generated awesomepool) and it would be utterly wrong for my blog to be ahead of it, or even nip at those heels. So if you vote for me again, please vote for Band Back Together as well, OK? And then go to BandBackTogether.com, and read the amazing words or post your own story. It is the brilliantest place.
But I may get the second spot, which kind of makes the little girl inside me jump up and down with excitement and pinch herself. When the monsters hurl this mud balls: “It’s just a popularity context”, the little girl (her name is Yaya) laughs and says: yes it is a popularity contest, and for the first time EVER, we’re doing well!!!!
The monsters hurl another ball: “the bloggers you passed will hate you!” And Yaya gets scared. Terrified. So Knowellia hugs her and makes some popcorn.
And me? I know that my friends online and in real life know better than to put too much stock into all this anyway.
There is another important benefit: since most people who read my blog (or any blog) do not comment or subscribe, it is so easy to feel lonely and alone online. It’s so hard to tell if you are reaching or helping, or making a real difference. So this? This really helps.
By the way, we do not sneer at 3rd place. We love third place. The blog at number two (notyouraveragewidow.com/) is amazing, standing next to her, being in the same room with her and the rest of the bloggers there means I’ve been finally invited to the party with the cool kids. And the best part about this? These cool kids are not the ones wearing the right cloths, driving the convertible cars. I get to play with the truly deeply amazing kids because they are smart, funny, and compassionate. They do really good work in the world. They matter. The pecking order doesn’t.
By the way, since I started writing this post, we moved up. As of Sunday night, we are at the 2nd spot. I’m floored. Did I say that already? I did. I’m so floored I’m repeating myself, that’s how floored I am.
Multitude of gratitude of the highest magnitude (I love rhymes, humor me) to every single one of you for clicking, voting ,and most importantly, reading my words.
I would be very lonely without you.
Comments magic: I really would love to know how your inner child is responding to this sort of thing, and what the grown up you and your wise old woman have to say. Stories of lonely childhood, rejection and redemption are welcome too. And jokes, kind hearted jokes would be nice too.