Oversharing online? Is it possible?

Tis the season for separations or marital disharmony, everywhere I look it seems once happily partnered couples are calling it quits or taking breaks to reassess their relationships. I suppose it is a sign of growing older especially in my circle, where most of my core folks are in the 35-45 range.

I have actually spent most of my adult life married, while the first marriage fizzled when my son was thirteen months old; it actually took years to have the union legally ended due to our inability to agree on anything. So by the time I was legally free of husband number one, I was actually already planning the upcoming union to the current Mr. BGIM. I imagine that sounds bad to some but life is messy like that.

The thing about marriage or unions is that when we are partnered with someone especially when it was supposed to be a lifetime deal, that relationship is a part of who we are. Sure we strive not to lose ourselves because well it’s not all that happy to do so but the person who shares your life is a huge part of your world. Much like when you become a parent, kids too take over your life.

So when love goes a tad sour like that jug of milk from two weeks ago, it is hard to not discuss it at some point. I mean sure you might be having some issues but when the issues rise to the level that someone needs to leave the house, it becomes hard to not share it with the world and sometimes the ensuing messiness that happens in the aftermath.

Queen of the mom bloggers, Dooce recently revealed that she and her husband have separated and while I have yet to see anyone speak nasty about the split, some have questioned whether or not she gave us more than we (the reading public) needed to know. I have seen many a reference to oversharing, call me crazy but anyone with the guts to share publicly about mental health issues probably is someone who is okay with sharing the general messiness of life. Part of Dooce’s success frankly is because she does share, most of us don’t, so when we read the parts that Dooce is comfortable giving it feels like overkill. Yet is it really overkill?

Now if you have a certain type of job or lifestyle, maybe there is a thing as too much sharing, hell I have been accused of oversharing on this blog. Yet you can trust that for what I do feel comfortable putting out for public consumption, there is more that I know is no one’s business. In the case of bloggers who rise to prominence by sharing their lives with us, not sharing actually is a lot harder to do. The thing is in the case of Dooce, she and her husband built their media empire, so it makes sense based off what they both have publicly shared that they reached the point they needed to tell the world they are taking a break. I imagine that behind the scenes long before they made the announcement that they were separating that there was plenty we will never know. Thus making claims of oversharing seem strange to say the least, yes in the post she wrote informing us they were separating she made reference to possible suicidal ideation but even that doesn’t seem terribly strange for someone who publicly has admitted struggling with mental health issues to the brink of hospitalization. I read her entire post less as a cry for help but more like, here I am.

Sure we live in a time when it appears that everyone is blabbing their business and yes those of us who blog often do share, but I believe in most instances we do know the line between what is fit for public consumption and what is not. The flip side for many of us who do share publicly is that often times we share because it keeps us honest and authentic. Personally the older I get, the more comfortable I get in my skin, the less I care about the judgment of others yet I do know that holding back can be hazardous to me in numerous ways.

 

So the next time you wonder is So and So oversharing, think more deeply….look none of us want to know the details of last night’s orgy yet truthful sharing about real life shit should never be made to feel dirty.

PS: I won’t bug you daily about this, but do consider helping send this blogger to a few conferences this year. Read more here, to date I’ve raised $100 in donations and still have a way to go. Any and all help is greatly appreciated.

Queen of the Mamas…just an average Jane or not?

I swear I do not hate so called Mommy bloggers but after a week that not only found me needing oral surgery (seems a piece of my wisdom tooth that was removed 10 years ago was still left in my gum and decided to abscess…so my next stop is an oral surgeon) to add to that fun I was on pins and needles waiting to learn if my breast discomfort was the big C (its not). So I need to go light and lively for a bit here. Gee, this was a vacation week too; nothing says vacation like health issues!

So last night found me taking a break from my more serious reading of spiritual matters and cozying up with Ree Drummond’s new literary gem (smirk…cough) The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels. Now for those not in the know, Drummond is better known in the blogosphere as The Pioneer Woman. I must admit I am not a big fan of her blog, to be honest it’s too busy for my taste but last year I stumbled on her cookbook at the library and after trying a few recipes the Spousal Unit bought me my very own copy. So when I heard The Pioneer Woman had a book coming out, I figured if it was available at the library I would check it out…wouldn’t ya know, my library had it and I checked out.

To be honest this book is the perfect book for reading when you have eaten too much spicy food combined with chocolate, topped off with red wine and your ass is in need of the toilet for a while. Oh you know what I am talking about. When you have a case of the bubble guts and you know aren’t leaving the bathroom any time soon. When bubble guts strikes you need something to read to pass the time and The Pioneer Woman’s love story is just the book.

Look, in all honesty it’s a sweet little story, she was a big city gal (though if you are born and raised in OK and spend 4 years in LA, not sure that really makes you a city girl. Anymore than my 8 years in Maine makes me a Mainer) who fell in love with a cowboy, it was love at first sight and now they live on their little ranch with their 4 kids living happily ever after. Problem is that in Drummond’s decision to protect her family’s privacy she leaves a lot out of the book, in fact a quick Google search this afternoon revealed that her cowboy affectionately known as the Marlboro Man is really a very wealthy rancher and in fact his family is well known. Now like I said earlier I have never been a big fan of her blog but between her cookbook and the most recent book, she tries to give off an air that she is just like you and me. Just regular old Jane, problem is anyone with any type of intellectual curiosity can quickly figure out that she is not quite what she pretends to be.

This leads me to the bigger issue of Mommy bloggers and the more well known such as Dooce and Katie Allison Granju (note: I really like Katie’s blog and the fact that she has been so open in sharing about her son’s drug addiction and death makes her pretty damn real to me). In fact I just read this piece in the NY Times, Motherlode section talking about the Mommy bloggers. Look, I realize that people are only going to show us what they want to see, but the truth is at a certain point it starts to feel like what much of the bigger and well known Mommy bloggers show us is not real. After all, yes they are Mommies like the rest of us but some of these women are earning some serious cheddar, report’s put Dooce’s salary at $30-50K a month! Um…she makes more in a fucking month than I make in a year, nope we aren’t alike at all.

I don’t have issues with folks getting paid to blog, shit I wish I could but I am too lazy to take the next steps or rather with my full plate I simply can’t fit it in. Yet I firmly believe when you get to the point you are earning a living doing it, it will change the nature of what you share. I know if I were earning that type of bread, I might not be as inclined to bitch and moan about crazy parents, bills, you get the drift. Instead I would go out of my way to share the good shit in hopes that it makes you feel good. After all if you feel good, you might come back thus I get to earn more scratch. The thing is the authenticity of sharing the momma experience is lost and the blog is simply a means to earn money and get your brand out there.

I have said it before and I will say it again, the fact that there is a severe shortage (dare we say almost a lack) of women of color represented in the high earning Momma blogs also sets my radar off. When the fuck are our stories going to be worth sharing? What about low income Mommas? Most of the blogosphere’s top earning Mommies already had a foot in the middle class door.

Anyway, just my quarterly bitch fest on the lack of diversity within the top earners in the Mommy sphere of blogland.