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Closing Time

Normally on the 28th of the month, I post the new IComLeavWe list.  For over 7 years, we’ve come together to celebrate the almighty comment for one week each month.  But the project has run its course.  I can’t say that this is forever, but for the time being, IComLeavWe is going to go live on the farm.

It’s really hard for me to write that.  I’ve closed a lot of projects over the last 9 years, but none have felt as personal as this one.  I love comments.  I love writing them, I love receiving them, I love reading comments on other people’s personal blogs.

Celebrating commenting is how I chose to celebrate my blogoversary back in 2008.  It was originally called NaComLeavMo for National Comment Leaving Month.  It ran from May 25th to June 25th.  214 participated in the first one.

We had so much fun that I decided to host it monthly.  The name changed to IComLeavWe — get it?  I Come [Alone, but I] Leave [as Part of a] We.  International Comment Leaving Week.  It’s been kicking around monthly ever since.

My hope is that one day I notice an uptick in comments, and it makes me wonder if the time is ripe to host IComLeavWe again.  And that we all get back together to talk about each other’s posts.

A major thank you to all the Iron Commenters over the years.

Thank you to everyone who signed up and commented during one (or more) of those almost 90 months of IComLeavWes.

Side note: tomorrow is #MicroblogMonday.  Get writing.

June 28, 2015   21 Comments

551st Friday Blog Roundup

Thank you for the blogoversary wishes as well as proving me wrong with the 14 comments statement.

It is an accomplishment to write in the same space almost daily for 9 years. And sort of bizarre to think about.  When I started this space, I had no clue that it would continue like this.  But it’s hard to stop when it feels part of your very being.  Like an organ that floats around outside the body.

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I didn’t say anything about Father’s Day last week, but I really loved Chris Hardwick’s post about the holiday.  Especially this part:

Honestly, this day is a little weird for me. Sure, it’s a greeting card holiday, but now one that carries more weight with me than when I was young, ignorantly blissful and had a wealth of dads—a wonderful father (Billy), and equally amazing stepfather (Jim), two grandfathers (Jim & Hugh) and even one 96 year old Italian great-grandfather (Alfonso). Now they’re all gone and yes, I’m sad. I’m not trying to whine about it or bum you out. I simply want you to be cognizant of the people you have and appreciate them while you are able.

The piece is well-written because it so clearly comes from his heart.  And I love his advice to be a person that you would be proud of — as in, not focusing on what others think about you, but instead focus on what you think about you.

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Stop procrastinating.  Go make your backups.  Don’t have regrets.

Seriously.  Stop what you’re doing for a moment.  It will take you fifteen minutes, tops.  But you will have peace of mind for days and days.  It’s the gift to yourself that keeps on giving.

As always, add any new thoughts to the Friday Backup post and peruse new comments in order to find out about methods, plug-ins, and devices that help you quickly back up your data and accounts.

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And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

There’s a post on BlogHer about things the author would tell her younger self about IVF.  I highlighted it in the Health section because I liked how it showed how we can shed our long-held beliefs when faced with different facts.  It’s a testament to the fact that we have that ability: to have our opinions evolve.  It gives me hope.  And I love that she told her younger self to ignore the stories coming out of Hollywood.

Finding My New Normal has a post about why she can’t befriend people who have children who are the age her child should have been.  She writes: “I’m sure you are a lovely person, but you have a child who will turn 5 this summer so we can’t be friends.  After all this time you would think I could look past it, but I can’t.”  It’s a moving piece.

Lastly, in honour of Father’s Day, Middle Girl recounts the best day she had with her father.  It’s a beautiful moment in a difficult relationship, a small island she can mentally go to that is part of the larger story.  I was grateful that she shared it with us.

The roundup to the Roundup: Thank you for the blogoversary wishes.  A thought-provoking Father’s Day piece.  Your weekly backup nudge.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between June 19th and June 26th) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.

June 26, 2015   9 Comments

This Blog is 9 Years Old

9 years ago, I started this blog.  I feel like I’m supposed to say something profound to mark the occasion.  Explain how I’ve kept up almost daily writing for 9 straight years without a break.  But I don’t really know how I’ve done it except show up.

I show up, every day, at this space.  95% of the time, I write something.  And about 80% of the time, I also post something.  I write a lot more than I post.  I don’t know why.  Sometimes I just need to write something and other times I need other people to read what I’ve written in order to release it.  And then there are other times when I have nothing to write but I really need someone to read.  It’s very complicated, this word thing.

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Nathan Bransford wrote recently about missing the blogosphere.  One part of me completely understood what he meant.  2007 – 2009 was a different time in the blogging world.  This blogoversary post is a case in point.  On my second blogoversary, even though my readership was less than a third of what it is now, I received 117 comments.  Lots of people were celebrating with me; we celebrated each other’s spaces.  This year, I’m guessing I’ll get around 14 comments.  Maybe?  The way we talk to each other online has changed.

And then another part of me doesn’t miss the blogosphere because it’s all still here.  It’s different, yes, but I always have blog posts to read.  There are always people out there, expressing themselves.  You do need to be out there yourself to find them, but as long as you are still clicking through people’s comment section and finding new bloggers, your feed reader will always be full.

It’s sort of like picking strawberries.  In the middle of the season, the strawberries are easy to pick and you can go home with so many strawberries that you don’t know what to do with all of them.  Some inadvertently end up rotting before you can turn them into jam.  But right now, we’re closer to the end of the season.  The strawberries are a little harder to find, but when you do, they are sweet and bright red.  Maybe you cherish and use them a little better because they took a little more work to find.

Luckily, things have a way of coming back around, so I’m hopeful there will be another beginning, middle, and end of blogging season again and again and again if we continue to replant and tend the rows.

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Or maybe you just read that and thought, “Melissa is such a fool!  She thinks this blogging thing has a future.”

I do.

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All I know is that I need this space.  That this space completes some missing puzzle piece in my heart, and I need to keep writing it regardless of whether any other blog exists in the future.  It feels like home as much as my home feels like home.  It feels like a part of who I am, how I define myself.

It’s something I need; in the same way that I need hugs and books and flashlights.  None of those things are akin to water or food or air, but they are things I need to feel comfortable.  I need my body to be touched and my mind to be challenged and my fears to assuaged by hugs and books and flashlights.  And somewhere in there, I need a space where I can write that is entirely within my control.

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So that’s it.  Not very profound.  Maybe not as eloquent as I’ve been on other blogoversaries.  But it’s what I felt like saying, and I can do that because this blog is a me-shaped space.

Thank you for being here with me in this me-shaped space.

June 24, 2015   46 Comments

On Being Likeable

I have spent a chunk of my life attempting to be likeable.  I know I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, but in general, I try to be helpful and kind and all those other positive adjectives that we apply to “nice” people.  Being liked seems like a good thing to be.  Or, at the very least, the inverse seems like a bad thing to be: not liked.

No one wants to be the cauliflower*.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gave a speech a few weeks ago that resonated with me.  She states:

I think that what our society teaches young girls … is that idea that likability is an essential part of you, of the space you occupy in the world, that you’re supposed to twist yourself into shapes to make yourself likable, that you’re supposed to hold back sometimes, pull back, don’t quite say, don’t be too pushy, because you have to be likable.

You can actually see the whole thing here.  She addresses the girl writers around the 3:30 mark.

It’s a powerful statement: “Forget about likeability.”

What would you do if you stopped worrying about how it would be received?  I don’t mean that people should act like a dick, but I think about all the times I’ve held my tongue because I’ve been scared that someone would laugh at my ideas or that it was out of place for me to suggest one of my ideas.  (Who was I to actually have opinions?  And thoughts?  And think it was okay to express them?)

Or the times I’ve apologized when there was nothing to apologize for — think about how many times you begin a sentence with “I’m sorry but” when you haven’t done anything wrong.  (“I’m sorry, but do you know what time the meeting begins?”)

There was something very freeing about my thirties and leaving the stage of life when you care about popularity.  Maybe that is why it is all the more painful when I find myself caring about likeability.  I know better.  I know it doesn’t matter.  And yet I still twist and turn myself into more likable shapes, as Adichie would say.

I don’t know what the answer is.  I worry about sending the message to girls not to strive for likeability because will they get the nuance of that statement and not go off in a negative direction?  Perhaps it is more helpful to let girls know that their natural state of being is likeable.  As is.  Maybe not to everyone, but at the very least, to someone.

It’s about being okay with the someone vs. the everyone.

* Some may disagree whether cauliflower is an unliked vegetable.  Feel free to substitute in your own unliked vegetable here.  Crap, see — that’s how concerned I am with being likeable!  I’m worried about offending cauliflower lovers.

June 23, 2015   24 Comments

#MicroblogMondays 43: Public Pet Peeves

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

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Last weekend, we went to the beach for the day.  The experience reminded me why I like to go to the beach mid-week during high season.

Beyond how crowded it is on the weekend, there were two types of things that annoyed me that I rarely encounter during the week.  The first was the breaking of established rules where the activity affected other people.  For instance, smoking on the beach.  We ended up moving two times due to smokers.

The other was more slippery: playing music on the beach.  As far as I know, there isn’t an established rule against playing music without headphones.  But we all know that it is annoying unless the person blasting the music happens to have inadvertently chosen music that you also enjoy.  I’m sure those people wouldn’t want to hear my music, and I certainly didn’t want to hear their music.  But I had to hear their music because they decided to play it aloud.

I feel that way about cell phones in cars — it’s breaking an established rule that is there to protect other people — and perfume — not a rule but certainly annoying and affecting others when a person wears too much in public.

The answer is, obviously, to never leave my house.

What are your pet peeves in public spaces?

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Are you also doing #MicroblogMondays? Add your link below. The list will be open until Tuesday morning. Link to the post itself, not your blog URL. (Don’t know what that means? Please read the three rules on this post to understand the difference between a permalink to a post and a blog’s main URL.) Only personal blogs can be added to the list. I will remove any posts that are connected to businesses or are sponsored posts.

1. Eryn – A Glimpse Into Eryn’s World 15. Unpregnant Chicken 29. Journeywoman
2. Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) 16. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled) 30. Savannah (Countless Tomorrows)
3. Jessica 17. Isabelle 31. Savannah (Because I Can’t Have Babies)
4. Karen (River Run Dry) 18. geochick 32. My Path To Mommyhood (Jess)
5. Casey 19. Don’t Gel Too Soon 33. torthú il
6. Lori Lavender Luz 20. Rachel 34. Mali (No Kidding in NZ)
7. Middle Girl 21. Junebug 35. Mali (A Separate Life)
8. Just Heather 22. Wide Eyed in Wonder 36. Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
9. Cathy @ Still Waters 23. Shail 37. deathstar
10. Shilpa 24. Good Families Do 38. Infertile Girl
11. My New Normal 25. Lovely Transitions 39. Mary Francis
12. Jen (Days of Grace) 26. Traci York, Writer 40. Sweet are the uses of Adversity
13. Solo Mama 27. Barbara Torris 41. Kasey
14. illustr8d 28. Jess

June 22, 2015   33 Comments

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