I’ve written several posts in the past that have received a surprising response. My Husband Is Not A Jerk is definitely one of them. Other responses were not so surprising, such as the post where I suggested that those who advocate for gay marriage, should, in theory advocate for the freedom to practice polygamy as well. My SAHM post was one of those surprising posts, as I expected a response of something like 30-40 comments (that’s a great response for any normal Sunday post), but the response has been much greater.
This was the first post that had me questioning whether I had done more harm than good. I wrote it to answer some questions I had raised when mentioning what I believe to be a basic tenet of the LDS belief system. Several people sincerely asked what I meant by my remarks, and I wanted to answer them. Unfortunately I didn’t take into account the overwhelming number of other tenets of the LDS belief system that are essential to understanding how any of this be something I, as a person who I think most of you consider to be an intelligent, informed, somewhat “with it” woman would accept so easily. I’ve done my best to try to clarify things as questions were raised in the comment section (I’m still not done reading and responding to all I intend to, it’s going to take me some time), and I think the subject has been mulled over from pretty much every angle at this point, but I did want to tell you a few things I learned from this experience, things I’ve come to know after several experiences in the same vein.
Variety of Viewpoints
Royal City, where I grew up, is a small town, and as with most small towns is rather conservative. There was a moderate amount of diversity, but it was best to “be and think like everyone else” if you wanted to be accepted. I learned that the hard way a few times in high school. BYU isn’t really meant to be diverse, it’s meant to be an environment that provides the opportunity to learn about both secular and religious topics in a place where all have agreed to live by the same standard. Most of my friends here in Dallas are LDS because I spend my time at home or at church for the most part, and that’s what these women do as well.
Blogging has provided me the opportunity to interact regularly with people all over the country with pretty much every belief system imaginable. Often I think I understand the variety of ways an idea can be interpreted, but the comments prove to me yet again that I still have a lot of growing to do. I really appreciate all of those who take the time to leave a comment explaining what they think and why they think that way.
Learn to Accept Criticism
This is something I’m still working on, but my ability to accept criticism has grown tremendously. It started with Weddingbee, where readers often seemed to forget that a real bride, who loved the ideas she was presenting, was behind the posts. On That Wife I don’t think anyone forgets it’s little old me behind the wheel, and sometimes commenters use that to their advantage to try to hit me where it hurts most though. Comments like that though are the exception, as the majority of those who take the time to leave their input are genuinely nice people attempting to lay out some constructive criticism that I can grow from.
And I have grown! I’m working to take things less personal, to realize that most people aren’t trying to be malicious. My opinions have been repeatedly altered for the better. Instead of getting defensive, I’m working on accepting the suggesting and seeing where I can change.
Though it might not seem this way when you read the comments that say things like “I’m so offended” or “You’re judgy McJudgerson” or my personal favorite “I’m not going to be returning to read anymore”, but I think there are several people that I’ve come to respect more, and maybe, have come to respect me a bit more as well because of the posts I’ve written and the comments I’ve made. Sure I’ve made mistakes, but these are good people who can see that I’m human and that I’m trying. We’ve found that we can disagree and move on. Sometimes I send out clarification emails, sometimes they send them to me, but I’ve found that sometimes disagreeing can be a good thing. We’re able to recognize that we aren’t the same, and I think it’s often a good thing.
I mentioned on Formspring that I’m thinking I won’t write posts like the SAHM one anymore. Maybe that was a little harsh (I am a bit of a comment addict after all). I might approach similar topics in the future, but I am going to make some changes to how I go about it. One of the most important changes being consulting some of the regular commenters who I know believe very different than I do. Hopefully this will prevent me from needing to return to the comments over and over making clarifications that could have easily been prevented. A thank you to those who have contributed in the past and I’m always working to make this a place where you feel like your voice can be heard. I hope you will continue to do so in the future!
Whether you are a blogger yourself or someone who comments but doesn’t write in their own space, how has blogging expanded your horizon and strengthened your character?