Friday, July 13, 2012

My first hater.

I've been writing this blog for a while now, and I've never, ever had a hater. Well, not one that I knew about. I just figured that most of my haters probably didn't even read my blog in the first place. Because why? Unless you want to relentlessly make fun of it and, oh my goodness, please do! This is all nonsense! All of it! Useless drivel! Self-referential and embarrassing and stupid and dumb.

But now that I have a hater ... I've arrived! Yes! Finally! Now that someone has anonymously called me out on my own blog, I've achieved miniscule Internet relevance. Wait. No I haven't. But it kind of felt like that for a minute.

But hater...why are you anonymous? If you "welcome" my honesty and "cherish" my perspective, why not have an honest conversation with me about my perspective? Why should you get to enjoy my vulnerability while hiding behind anonymity? And why, if I don't know who you are, should I feel compelled to answer any of your (kind of hurtful) questions?

Because the Internet, that's why.

So I'll do it. Because I wrote the post. I kept it deliberately ambiguous. I threw it out there. So here we go.

[I]s there any selfishness in your explained thought process?
Of course there is! This blog is a dumb blog because it's about me. It's a place for me to post my thoughts and my feelings. It's public because all my writing used to be public. People said, "why don't you write a blog?", so I did. And sometimes, the things that prompt me to write are, well, about me. So yes, I was thinking of myself. I know how my friends feel, and I know how the more outspoken church members feel, but for stuff like this, I'm my only real reference. Now I know how you feel. Thanks for sharing.

Don't you think that other people have part of themselves hidden a closet as well[?]
I mean, yeah. I don't think I said they didn't. But on the topic I was discussing (which I left deliberately ambiguous because this is my blog and I can), I was responding to a cultural atmosphere which is felt by many, many people. Everyone has shit buried in the backyard. And I would never dream of taking that away from them.

Maybe ... there is enough crap in their own lives, that watching "Breaking Bad" is just a little too close to home.
You're right. Some people do deal with drugs, and death, and cancer, and living in New Mexico. I don't. I have a charmed freaking life. Nothing to complain about here. But I only brought up "Breaking Bad" because it has swears and adult themes. Correct me if I'm wrong (and I know you will—winky eye smiley face), some Mormons would condemn me for watching a show like that.

[A]ren't the same people who claim they never can be accepted fully the first ones to sit in the back row, or text someone else or joke in the car ride home about how that person is so abrasive or full frontal?
Sure. I mean, I guess so. But Rob and I sit in middle of the chapel during Sacrament Meeting, then we go teach Gospel Doctrine (from the front of the room), and then, if I don't have to rush to work, I sit in the front row of Relief Society and participate. I figure, if I'm going to be there, I might as well pay attention. On the car ride home, we usually listen to Beirut.

You say that you want to be totally yourself and allow others to see you fully, but maybe a part of you holds on to the precious fact that you are too unique to give everyone all of you? 
Since this is a criticism (I presume), I'm inclined to agree with you about me, because I hate myself. But no, I actually don't think I'm unique. I'm a dime a dozen! I literally think there are at least a dozen other Mormon girls out there just like me. Like you said, aren't a bunch of us all just co-writers on the same old song?

And what does liberal even mean? 
 Well, I don't know what liberal means to you. I don't even really know what it means to other liberals or even non-liberals, for that matter. But when I describe myself as liberal it means this:
  • I support gay marriage.
  • I do vote democrat. (I know, right? Such a cliché.)
  • I question (and even disagree with) some Mormon church policies and traditions.
  • I claim attachment to the "Mormon" culture, since I was born, raised, and educated in it. Also, graduate students. (But everyone hates graduate students.)
Maybe when you stop focusing so much on your feelings of exclusion or polarization you might realize that there are more people out there than you think that are trying to figure out their own feelings on things.
You're right. I am self-absorbed. Maybe I should have a baby.
But I'm not necessarily delusional. If there are a whole bunch of us who feel this way, as you say, then couldn't our feelings be somewhat valid? Or are we all just making it up because we can't stop thinking about ourselves? If there are more people out there trying to figure out their feelings, then shouldn't we all be a little more sensitive to multiple perspectives? You know ... embiggen the tent, as it were?

We are all growing and changing at various rates and you never know where someone is at. 
I totally agree with that statement. Except for the fact that it ended with a preposition. ;)

I hope you find a way to marriage[sic] your two selves and progress with success and hopefully find the humanity that you seek.
Thanks. Me, too. I might find it, if I can locate the co-authors and co-producers of my tired old song. After all,  the Grammy nomination deadlines are coming up.

Oh, anonymous. I was hoping I could find some of that humanity with you. Instead, I will try to make myself a better person so that you can find it with me.


Zen Mama said...

Your last sentence really resounded with me. Thank you for that.

shaunita said...

I love your original post. I meant to comment, but was reading via my phone, and I'm never sure my phone is going to cooperate.

I went back and read the comments, since it sounded like they were getting juicy :) and I don't think your hater meant to be a hater. It is too bad that s/he decided to be anonymous making it harder to explore the conversation further. Maybe s/he'll decide to fess up.

In any case, I know a lot of people feel excluded from the tent because they don't fit the jell-o mold. Some even choose to leave the church because of it.

Luckily, I have been blessed with many friends who I can be totally real with (sorry, with whom I can be weird?), and great neighbors/ward members who accept me--quirks and all.

Thanks for posting and sharing. Giving voice to these feelings will hopefully allow all of us to be more accepting of one another.

Anonymous said...

Ill leave it to you to post this or not. I'm sure you could write a whole other post about it. And then I would read that too.

I apologize. I didn't mean to come off a hater, I completely understand it being taken that way. I even wondered if I was phrasing things how I meant them to come out. Obviously, I didn't. I apologize if I caused you nasty feelings and judged you.

You are completely right, your blog is your space to be you and write all about you. That's why people love it. That's why I love it. I shouldn't (and ironically didn't even realize I was) judge you for what I thought was your judgements.

Hate and defense apparently were the theme of my writings, without intent. In the process of you explaining your thoughts and then responding to others it just felt like misplaced judgement and understanding. I realize it was more a reflection of yourself than others. I meant to point out that church is a small petri dish to analyze folks and to feel/or receive all that is needed for spiritual or personal growth.

I think there are roles that people take on in the Mormon culture and roles we assign to others with assumptions. I recognize my own mistake in both.

No more hate from me. Alas, I'm not going to fess up. Your last post explained a lot (not that you should have to explain) and I don't think further discussion is needed.

Anonymous said...

I know. I swore I would stop. I just wanted to say once again that I apologize. "Selfish" was unfair of me to say. Not only because as you said and then I repeated, your blog is for you, but also because as far as I can tell from your writing you are incredibly generous, loyal and loving.
My attempt was to get you to think, never to make you feel bad.

Jen said...

Three things.

1) You know I loved that original post, but I hadn't read the other comments. Good stuff, that. Makes me think the tent might already be bigger than we think it is, and that maybe those in the middle should turn around and check out how many folks are on the fringes, if you'll excuse the mixed metaphors.

2) I'm jealous. I've never had a hater before. Of course, I don't share my blog on Facebook...maybe if I did I could get some mean comments too...

3) "Some people do deal with drugs, and death, and cancer, and living in New Mexico." HA! Still cracking up over that. Stupid New Mexico.

Gretta Whalen said...

Thanks for the support, everyone.
@Jen, I'm glad you thought my joke was funny. I try to keep it light around here ;).

@anonymous Thank you. I'm not sure I understand the petri dish metaphor, but I appreciate the explanation. If you'd like to actually discuss some of these things, feel free to email me. grettawhalen at gmail dot com. If you'd like to remain anonymous, that's fine, too. Now I'll just wonder which one of my friends you are....

The Big Hert said...

this is genius.

Victoria Blanchard said...

Wow, all (referring to the relevant posts and comments) very interesting. I like how you responded to anonymous and how anonymous responded to you. And I like you. (And now that I've left a comment on all this, you can take me out of the possible friends that might be anonymous. Wink.)