June 28, 2011

"When I Think, I Must Speak."

Do you not know I am a woman? when I think, I must
speak. Sweet, say on.
(As You Like It, III.ii)

"Pardon me, but I have a few things to say on the matter."
I must express a huge thank you to everyone who commented on my post yesterday about sharing controversial opinions. All this time I've been worried about offending people when the consensus seems to be from everyone: this IS my blog and I shouldn't hold myself back. It's all a matter of tact and approach, which given my mood on any given day could be stellar or disastrous ;)

This is all very timely as I mentioned with JJiraffe's recent post about blog comments and today's assignment for SITS31DBBB. For today's activity, we're supposed to spend time commenting on other blogs and exploring why we leave comments in the first place.

I've realized that I leave comments on other blogs because I've connected in some way with what's been written, whether I can relate to the experience and thoughts shared, am responding to a call to action or call for support, or responding to a question. In a niche that has some incredible Good News posts and some truly heartbreaking Very Bad News posts, I at the very least try to keep up and say a quick Mazel Tov or I'm So Sorry, respectively, at the very least.

I also would love to engage more in the conversation happening ON my blog. If Blogger didn't suck so hard*, I would respond to comments directly in-thread. I tried to do that on my last couple of posts but again, since Blogger suuuuucks the most I can do is comment on my own posts with a lil "@So-and-So" mention, I couldn't really keep up with the comments.

*But you know where you can reply in-thread? WordPress! And that's why I'm moving there folks. Mark your calendars: August 1, 2011 - Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed is moving to WordPress. Props to Mel, after her frank advice about self-hosting + WP when we met last November and hearing it repeated by many other bloggers since. I'm going the self-hosting route with much trepidation and excitement. I will blog about the big move more after July 1st.

Wait, what exactly does commenting have to do with what I post?

In thinking about why I leave comments, it's allowed me to really think about the comments people left yesterday about whether or not they would be offended, comment or not comment on posts that might be otherwise controversial.

So yes, I'm going to man up and write about all of those things I threw out there yesterday. Bear with me though - I need to plug them into my calendar to really set aside the time to shape them into well-thought out, tactful posts.

But before I let this conversation come to a close, I wanted to highlight a couple of comments that stuck out for me from yesterday's post:

From my dear friend Evedelilah:
We as infertiles understand better than most that life is messy. Its not all happy feelings and smiles. And I believe that since the blog is mine, or in this case yours, that you have a right, and an obligation to share all of it. The good and the bad.
She reminded me of the very title of my blog: Hannah wept, Sarah laughed. The good AND the bad and all the messy in between. That's why I started this blog in the first place, as a safe place to just get it all out there.

From TeamBabyCEO:
I am also of the mindset that I respect your right to an opinion different from mine, because I may learn something, or think about something differently than I once did.
This goes right back to the idea of blogging as a dialogue. If we read nothing but things we agreed with all the time, the blogosphere would be pretty damn boring.

From Esperanza:
Your blog is different because while much of your content is just about your life and what you think and feel, you do put up well-researched educational post about infertility and other topics that are important to you. Does this mean that you can't put up what might be controversial opinion pieces too? I don't think it excludes you from doing so but it might make you think twice before you do it.
Esperanza brings up a great point. While the blog was started solely as a personal emotional outlet, since everything exploded with my video, I feel a genuine commitment to give back to this community in responsible ways.

I say that because when I wrote my post about getting a mammogram, I got called out by a physician who said that I was giving the impression this was standard testing for women with POI. In fact, it was just my doc at the time being an overcautious wackadoo. This physician initially wanted me to remove the post because it sounded like I was giving out bad medical advice for women with POI, but I kept it anyway for a variety of reasons.

Esperanza's comment reminds me of the level of social responsibility that has inadvertently become a very key aspect of my blog.

The next three comments gave me insight on how to approach all this controversy.

From Junebug:
As for my philosophy as a blogger: I don't get controversial very often but when I do I discuss my issue with respect and I don't call people names. I do worry about offending people but I work hard to respond the way I would want people to respond to me if I was on the other side.
From Jonelle:
The worst time was when my best friend (who has her own history with IF and pregnancy loss) was pregnant. There were so many emotions going on with me and I didn't have the heart to click 'publish' because I was afraid of hurting her feelings and jepordizing our friendship. It killed me that I couldn't express myself in my blog. I finally did write a post which I expressed my feelings, but it was so lightly glossed over and not remotely the post that showed all my true feelings.
From Whitney:
I, too, blog publicly with my name and my friends and family follow me -- sometimes that limits me as I'm afraid to post certain things. But, I discovered that instead of just making a blanket statement about things that were hurtful, but rather really explaining it in depth worked.
The takeaway message from all three is context and authenticity. I need to be genuine about the way I feel on these subjects, but I also need to write about them in a way that doesn't alienate people in the process.

And then there was this very humbling comment from reader Mirjam, who runs a Children's Rehabilitation Home in the Ukraine:
I am also afraid offending people and I work in a country you need to be wise, how you express your self. In Ukraine we don't have the freedom to express our selfs.
I had no idea anyone from Ukraine read this blog. I have such an American ethnocentric point of view that I'm always amazed even when someone from Canada leaves a comment ;) Mirjam's comment really made me stop and think about the incredible privilege I have of free speech. It just made me appreciate that privilege I have as an American blogger and maybe I shouldn't be complaining about self-censorship in the first place.

Sometimes, I should write what's in my heart if only for the privilege of writing.

So be on the lookout this summer. I'll talk about why I don't want to be a mom to twins and why life without kids can be actually, quite rad. (I already know my "life without kids" post is going to be centered around five days with a little black and yellow Corvette and copious amounts of oysters, butter fat, and wine.)

I'll try to approach the whole posting about your kids on FB posts with some practical advice and honesty and not sugarcoat the reality of how I feel about it.

And if you're lucky, I'll get to cervical mucus and birth control before the autumn.

Thanks for helping me remain in perspective and for keeping this dialogue going.


Lynda said...

Great post. Awesome that you addressed the comments you received!

Sometimes the flames will come and it will hurt. You just need to remember you're not writing to those people. (There's no help for them, probably.)

marriage20 said...

Great post, yesterday and today! I have been mulling over your post from yesterday, because I recently read a post on a blog (not from our community) that really offended me, and I've been thinking about it a lot.

What offended me about the post was that the blogger was offering her opinion on a topic, but she wasn't presenting it as an opinion. She was making broad, sweeping generalizations and was presenting them as fact.

I have never experienced that kind of post from you, and I have rarely experienced it from within our community. What we all have to say is so intensely personal and subjective, and I think that as long as we are aware of that and present it as such, it's really valuable to experience a wide variety of opinions and points of view.

Looking forward to future posts!

Marissa said...

Visiting from SITS! I enjoyed this post - I'd never considered all the points you made about comments before. Now I have something to think about :) Like you, I do wish Blogger made it easier to comment directly to people. Good for you for making the jump to Wordpress (and also for not being afraid to state your opinions...I have problems doing that sometimes.)

Audra said...

Congrats on making the move to wordpress! I moved about 7 months ago. I hated the Blogger comment system as well so I installed Intense Debate. I used that until I decided to make the leap and all those comments transfered nicely! I still use ID on wordpress and love it!

Michelle D said...

First off...I love that picture :) It made me smile and giggle a little. Looks like fun. Also great follow up post to yesterday :) And I apparently need to learn more about WP as I hear many good things about it.

Whitney Anderson said...

Glad we'll be seeing some great new posts. And...YAY for wordpress!

Katie said...

Yay for controversial posts! I can't wait.

I've been trying to move to Wordpress for weeks (I currently self-host through Blogger), and I have been experiencing major issues trying to transfer my old posts. Someday I'll get it sorted out, but I am ready to move. The platform is much more user friendly.

mommyodyssey said...

Nothing truly eloquent to say... But I just had to tell you I LOVE THAT PICTURE!!!

Natalie said...

Great posts - I'm so happy you are moving to Wordpress - you will love it! Also, you had me at Awesomesauce and I'm so sorry if I've been insensitive in mentioning overcoming our secondary infertility. Sometimes I am such a blockhead.

Stinky said...

Ahaaaa. It was your post before this that made me click on jjiraffes post and then post on my own blog about comments (I had, like, 20 pages open on blogs to read, so couldn't really isolated where it had come from without opening them all up again?).

I try and be completely authentic in my blog, real to my feelings, hence all the ranting. For that reason I have kept it completely private, only 1 person knows I 'started a blog' so I could get credited some hours for it. If I want to get carried away I will do, as I see that as my private space to spew out the mindfuck as well as practice out writing and playing with words.

Have also considered moving to wordpress simply for that individual reply function, but not sure if I am ready to self host yet. Easier on blogger atm.

Kristin said...

Keiko, there is a way you can respond to comments on Blogger. You can install a commenting system called Disqus. You can find the instructions here. I am pretty sure I'm going to switch to this myself.

Jjiraffe said...

That photo made my day. Really!! So. Awesome.

I have really loved these last two posts. You have a wonderfully funny voice that isn't always showcased. You just seem like you're having a blast with the SITS project.