Who Needs Ya, Baby?

Lots of people need me.  Rely on me.  My kids are two such people.  My husband is epically self-sufficient, but it doesn’t strain credulity to imagine he might rely on me now and again.  My office also needs me to produce my work product.  My friends rely on my supportive texts and listening ears.  My therapist, of course, relies on the steady flow of my income; my local Costco, my steady business.  While it’s not the population of a small country, there are a handful of people who are counting me regularly to perform certain tasks.

She's adorable. She's famous. She's perfect. She does NOT need me.

She’s adorable. She’s famous. She’s perfect. She does NOT need me.

You know who doesn’t need me? The Bloggess.  Or the Pioneer Woman.  Or Dooce.  Or that Dad or Alive guy.  None of those people– the big time bloggers– need me.  Know how I know that? Because before I ever see their posts or their witty Facebook status updates, they’ve already got hundreds of “likes.”  In some cases, there are already thousands. (I’m looking at you Humans of New York and Pioneer Woman.)  I’m nothing to those people, though I am sure they don’t wish me any ill will.  They’ll never know my name or count on me to do a vital task.

In consideration of my insignificance to the Big Guns of blogging and social media, I have rarely, if ever, “liked” or commented on their stuff.  I’ve scrolled through their Instagram feeds quickly and reserved my energy for scrappy underdogs like myself.

For the entire time I’ve been blogging, I’ve basically ignored them (with some exceptions for Dooce).  It’s not really bitterness, but it’s in the ballpark of bitterness.  It’s like semi-sour grapes, the kind that quench that little thirst in the back of my throat.  The one that says I’m small potatoes and makes me feel bad about my insignificance.  The logic is impeccable: I’ll never be as big as they are, so I pretend they don’t exist.

Then I stopped pretending.  Something made me “like” one of Pioneer Woman’s extraordinary photos of cattle on her land in Oklahoma.  Then, the same thing happened with Dad or Alive on Facebook.  My edges started to warm and melt around me and these Big Guns, and that iron curtain I thought I needed to protect my ego became more permeable.

I stopped shielding my eyes from their good fortune. I no longer felt physically ill when reading about their book deals, TV scripts and renewed contracts.  Somewhere I adopted a new attitude and a new tolerance for other people’s wild, beyond-my-dreams successes.  I saw them as people for the first time, instead of as marketing geniuses who know “how to brand” and go viral.  I saw in their pictures, stories and posts the same thing I see in the blogs I read and comment on religiously: inspiration, humor, grace, black comedy, yummy food, and humility.

Not every blogger has won my heart.  I still speed-scroll through a certain blogger’s endless photos of vacations in the breathtaking American West, but maybe I’ll come around to her too.  Anything’s possible.

In the meantime, I enjoy the peace I’ve made with them, because even though they don’t need me, I need them.  To show me the way.  To provide inspiration.  To be lodestars.  To push me to improve and stretch myself.  To make me burn with an envy and awe that hasn’t killed me yet, and most likely never will.

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80 thoughts on “Who Needs Ya, Baby?

  1. They might notice you, you are worthy! Cindy wrote a post about being BFFs with the Bloggess and she actually commented, remember? It’s not the same as need, but it was something!

  2. I thought you WERE one of the big guns. I hope I’m not the crazy lady posting tons of pictures of the American West. Anyway, I totally get what you’re saying here. For some reason, I tend to read blogs that are “in my league.” It doesn’t make any sense. Why wouldn’t I read the the super good ones, the Freshly Pressed? It’s a strange phenomenon.

  3. You know what? I do the same thing. Maybe I need an attitude adjustment. You’re right, if we want to get to the same place they are in, maybe we need to read them and figure out how they got there. Great post!

  4. I was going to say what Bill said, to read them to learn from them. And if you’re entertained a bit along the way, so be it. For what it’s worth, I think you could be right up there with them.

  5. i wrote to the bloggess once when i first started blogging and she kindly wrote me and offered a bit of advice. it was very nice of her. but i too, remain the puppy in the window panting at all the pretty bloggers going by… pick me! pick me!!

  6. One time a super popular blogger that I love and really, really admire commented on a post I wrote on my blog. I floated for days. And I agree with Michelle. You are one of my favorite writers and bloggers of all time, and I think you could be right up there with those big time bloggers. I can’t wait until you are.

  7. I know what you mean. On those rare occasions, I post a comment to one of the big guns on their site and it always gives me a thrill to see if they spell my name right. Those are the people who really read what us small bloggers have to say 🙂

      • I do not go viral every quarter, lol. And nobody reads MY blog. They read my posts on OTHER PEOPLE’s blogs. I am not sure what that translates to, but I am serious, I was a little confused at first! Obvs, neither of us is Ree Drummond or Heather Armstrong or Jenny Lawson, but I do think of you as a blogger who has her stuff together!

  8. I used to get that way, but then I realized I was hurting myself and no one else with my sour grapes. Also, the happier I get with my own life, the happier I can be for others. That’s just science. 😉

  9. Thank you for posting this! I feel the exact same way and do what you used to: ignore the big-time hot shot bloggers and spend time commenting on all the little guys’ stuff. You’ve made me question that attitude. 🙂

  10. I’m hype averse. I’ve been afflicted with it for as long as I can remember. I don’t read a BIG BLOG just because it is popular. I read blogs I connect with…real people who share beautiful stories and heartbreaking realities. I do read Ree b/c I love food porn and because whether she knows it or not we are twins…we both lived in Oklahoma, we both married a man we met in a bar in Oklahoma, we both lived in California, we both love to eat. I much prefer swimming in a small school of like minded fish that chasing after the catch of the day.

  11. For what it’s worth, I think you’re a terrific writer. Keep at it and maybe you’ll have those things you dreamed of.

    • I definitely plan to keep at it. I can hardly picture being a big time blogger— is that what I really want? Maybe I should get clear about that. Thank you for the kind words.

  12. I read Wil Wheaton’s blog for a while (he is on TypePad instead of WordPress– why, I don’t know– David Byrne is on TypePad too) and I stopped after a while. Why? Because I felt I honestly had no chance of being part of the discussion, let alone get a reply from Wil. Comments numbered in the hundreds.

    I do follow a few WordPress blogarockstars (not megablogarockstars, but, still), who have scores of comments, like Raurasaur and Le Clown, but, they do take time to reply to me.

      • Oh he scared me at first, too, but that’s a comic swagger, really. Eric’s been really nice to me; I can assure you he’s a great guy who really cares about his blog audience.

        No, seriously, I said on someone’s blog that he terrified me, and he came by and talked to me. It’s all good 🙂

      • Hahaha! I don’t think so, because this was on a blog post that he personally had some input on, by a blogger he inspired to start a blog. If I remember right.

  13. I do the same thing and I recently warned up as well! I do feel we can learn from them and even though we don’t always get a response, classy people like The Bloggess, read their comments. They don’t need us, but I think we still matter. They appreciate their followers. (Not that you said they didn’t.)

    I’m new to your blog, but I love it so far. I really enjoy your style of writing and looking forward to reading more.

    ~Deanna

  14. This is a good reminder b/c sometimes when I go to one of their posts and see 8 zillion comments, I wonder why I should even bother. What could I say that hasn’t already been said? But they are people too, right? I try to find the ones I really identify with and follow them. I also find that it’s easier to “talk” to them on Twitter a lot of times.

  15. Totally get this.. While I wouldn’t say that I’m all sour grapes on bloggers that have larger followings, I do find that I tend to conserve my energy in terms of things like commenting unless I feel that I have a particularly unique perspective on the subject.

  16. It’s a good thing that you have started communicating with other people through your ‘likes’…. You know in this world no one truly needs another person….Every person is replaceable…. But can’t we fight to be the ones for whom people ll at least feel pain if they’d lose us……..
    I know I sound weird but that was the thought that came in my mind. Everyone needs to be admired equally as much as we do….. Liking means caring in the blogging world 🙂 See I have liked your post 🙂 Keep writing and keep communicating with Love 🙂 Hugs xx

  17. Oh, I am feeling very much the small insignificance of who I am within the blogging world so this post really speaks to me. Sometimes, I’m like, damn, I just wrote an awesome post and I’m unsure why “so and so” has 350 comments on something I wouldn’t really give a rat’s ass about. But then, maybe that’s my problem. I try to leave lengthy, thoughtful replies on blogs I truly admire but I hardly see the same in return. And I have to wonder if I”ll ever fit in anywhere.

  18. I’ve spent a lot of time “in the ballpark of bitterness” — what a perfect way to describe it! This post is such a great reminder not to waste time begrudging other people their successes. It reminds me of this Theodore Roosevelt quote: Comparison is the thief of joy.

    • As Alison Slater Tate said, it’s all about perspective. and when I come across great writing or picturs or storytelling, I just respond because I love it, not because of the size of the blogger. THis is giving me great food for thought.

  19. For what it’s worth, there are two blogs I check every day: yours and The Bloggess. I read others occasionally, but so far yours are the two I feel compelled to read because I don’t want to miss a single post. So, there’s that.

  20. This is great – so great. There are so many blogs I love and so little time for me to read them. Blogging is fantastic and also completely overwhelming some days. I look forward to the day I read about your book deal, and movie option and renewed contract. You deserve it.

  21. Like so many others what you said resonated with me as well. Well said too. You don’t sound bitter to me. I also tend to root for the underdog. Probably because I’m small potatoes myself–not even, more like the eye buds on the potato!

  22. I don’t know how I missed this post- it’s like you’re in my kitchen and we’re jittery from too much coffee and I am nodding along to the thoughts that spill out of your mouth. I am, and always will be a little guy- and I’m ok with that. I decided a while back that if I stuck to my purpose as to why I write what I do- and WHO I do it for, that’s all that matters. So my daughters in law will understand why I’m so crazy, most likely.

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