Thursday, July 08, 2010

Knowing me, knowing you

WARNING: Long post ahead. Strap yourself in...


I’m going tell you a little story – you’ll see the point if you manage to work your way through to the end of this post:

About 30 years ago, I was on holidays with a friend. My friend needed cash (there were no ATMs back then – and yes, dinosaurs were roaming the earth. Shut up), so we went into a bank. She joined the queue and I sat down on a chair to wait, putting my largish tote bag on the floor at my feet.

As I was idly looking around, I saw two young girls walking towards me, making their way to the other end of the bank. It was a narrow building and I realised that there wasn’t much room between the queuing ropes and my seat, and that my bag would be in their way. Having been taught manners by my parents, I picked it up and moved it to the side of my chair to leave room for them to pass.

As they passed me, one girl said to the other: "Did you see that? She didn’t want us to touch her bag". The girls were aboriginal. I was gobsmacked that they could even think that of me, and stupidly embarrassed too, even though I had no cause. Geez, I was just trying to be polite; their racial background hadn’t registered on me at all; it wasn’t the slightest bit relevant. All I saw was two humans needing to get past my crap.

But of course, it had nothing to do with me, and everything to do with their self-image, and their life experience - which, sadly, had apparently bestowed upon them massive shoulder chips.

You Think You Know Me?

You read a blog regularly, over months or years, and you think you know the author. After all, you know their favourite colour, the kind of work they do, their fashion style (or lack of), how many kids they have, that they never got over the bust-up they had with their BFF in year 8, and that they have a weird phobia about toenails. They express opinions on all sorts of things, and you usually agree – or maybe you disagree, and that’s what keeps you coming back, because you love a good argument.

Whatever, you know how they think, what they feel and have filed them in one of your mental slots: fitness nut, doting mum, crafty homebody, extroverted party girl, shy and tortured (but incredibly smart and sensitive) type. Maybe you’ve developed a real relationship with them, exchanging regular comments and emails, or maybe you’re just a lurker or an occasional commenter.

The thing is, you may not know that person at all. Bloggers share what they want to share about themselves. Sure, some share everything, warts and all (sometimes I find myself thinking “Whoa, dude! Too much information. This blog should come with a warning...”). Others confine themselves to writing about a specific subject, and keep things superficial when it comes to their own life. Most of us share some, but not all of our lives, our thoughts and our feelings. That’s our right – maybe we’re shy, or maybe we respect our family’s privacy, or maybe we just prefer not be continually defending our opinions or lifestyle choices.

And yet we judge people by what they say, even though it may not be the full story, or by what they don’t say – we fill in the blanks with assumptions. And you know the old saying about what happens when you assume. We can get a bit miffed if we comment regularly on a blog, but the author doesn’t return the favour. But you know, maybe they haven’t been offended by something you said, maybe they don’t dislike you, or think they’re Ms Hoity-toity-better-than-you. Maybe, just maybe, they simply don’t have time to read every blog in the universe, or to comment on every one they do read. Or maybe they’re dealing with their own shit and don’t have the energy to deal with yours or anyone else’s.

My point is, we don’t have any idea what’s going on in someone else’s head. And yet we still assume... So what are we doing when we make these assumptions? That’s an interesting question.

I’d say that when someone goes all “Waaah, she hates me! It must be because I’m [insert hangup here]”, what they’re doing is projecting their own unhappiness and insecurity about themselves. Like the little aboriginal girl all those years ago, that person is walking around with a major chip on their shoulder. And when something somebody says or does disappoints them, they immediately jump to conclusions about that person’s intentions.

In the end, it’s all about YOU, not about anyone else. If you’re constantly worrying about what other people think of you, chances are the real issue is that you don’t like something about yourself.

My advice: Stop the whining and blaming and change it.

Epilogue: Assume Nothing

I don’t read or comment on some blogs for dozens of different reasons. In many cases, I’ve just never got around to bookmarking the site and have forgotten about it. Mostly, I don’t have enough hours in the day – I read many, comment on a few and get on with my life. (And if people don’t comment on my blog, I’m not about to get all depressed about it... )

Of course, there are some blogs I choose not to read, because I violently disagree with most things the author says and I have better things to do with my time than read stuff that makes me want to throw things at the computer screen. I also can’t stand poorly written, misspelt and grammatically disastrous pieces... unless the content is outstandingly good, in which case I might overlook the shortcomings. Probably not, though; I'm a spelling and grammar nazi. Boring tripe isn’t going to hold my interest either – we all write banal stuff at times, but there are blogs out there that are just filled with utter, utter drivel (definitely not yours, Deb).

And the ones I hate the most? Endless pages of negative, whiney, misery. Go ahead and vent now and then; if life is really terrible, let it all out, go on. But you know what? People get mighty sick of reading “Poor, poor me” posts, day in, day out. That’s usually the reason I take a break from blogging – because I’m struggling to find my happy place and anything I wrote would turn into a great big whinge. And who wants to read that for any length of time? Not me, that’s for sure.

What provoked this post? Well, yesterday I was accused of avoiding somebody's blog because she's fat. To quote the blogger:

"...when I was right into the diet and fitness.. I had quite a few comments and words of encouragement from the likes of KEK ... but now?

See ... being fat is not 'socially' acceptable.. and no one really wants to know a fat chick.

For the record: I do not avoid any blogs because the blogger is fat. Hell, I used to be a fat chick. I don’t give a rat’s arse what you look like, as long as you write something that interests or entertains or touches me. If you don't though, why would I stick around?

It's true that I don't read that particular blog any more, but it's for one of the reasons I've mentioned above. I'm not shallow; I am discerning.

The End


Casey said...


if someones main reliance on feedback, encouragement & comments is from blogger, I'd say other parts of their life need re-evaluating. Hope ur feeling a lil more jazzy today Kek.

Kek said...

Perzacly, Casey.

The caffeine withdrawal is easing off - no headache today, yay! I'm sure I'll be feeling tip-top by the time I go back to work. Yay.


kexkez said...

Well done.

oops I better get my 14 year old grammar /spelling nazi to proof read my blog in future.. :)

I enjoy your blogs along wiht many others. I'm not so great on throwing our comments though.

Casey said...

ewww work. I'm off now til the 26th.
You probably didn't want to hear that.

Kek said...

kexkez, I read yours too - but don't always comment, as you well know. Lack of time, mostly - I do most of my reading while eating breakfast and ALWAYS end up late for work.

And your spelling and grammar is FINE.

Kek said...

*sticks tongue out at Casey*

Sara said...

That's like.. internalising. Taking a neutral situation and thinking it's about you. Then, thinking it's about your weight. I'm sure I've just read a study on that actually. Binge eaters are prone to that... good lord, I can't even hold a regular conversation any more... *wanders off*

I hardly ever get comments on my blog and don't know how many people read it, nor do I care, although I used to care a lot and check Google analytics obsessively. I blog now for self gratification. It gets me my secret thrills to see my pics and words on the interwebs.

Kek said...

Yeah, blogging should be fun. Or cathartic. Or something that satisfies a need in you, without it being about what anyone else thinks.

I love your blog anyway. I get some of my craziest... um, I mean best food ideas from you.

I can't believe three people managed to read through that entire post.... I did try to edit, but gave up.

Kathryn said...

I read through it.

Crazy stuff - I think you go out of your way to provide advice and support to other people.

I have no idea who said that but I bet they are the kind of person who also notices when someone defriends them on facebook!

Kek said...

Well, thanks Kathryn. I try.

OMG. People can defriend you on Facebook? (yeah, I don't usually notice either...)

Raechelle said...

Very well said. Yes, that person is working out many issues.

AlleyCat Runs said...

Nicely said Kek. Some people get so wrapped up in themselves they fail to see the bigger picture. Forever.

Raechelle said... I have that stupid song in my head! aaarrrggghh!

Kek said...

Alleycat: bigger picture, oh yeah. When we're in the middle of wallowing in our own misery it's easy to lose sight of that, but at some point you have to pull your head out of your you-know-what and take a look around, don't you?

Sorry about the song, Raechelle - LOL. Hope that ear worm finds another home soon.

AlleyCat Runs said...

Yes, that's exactly what I meant. I do get that some people take longer than others to work through their issues, some issues are ginormous. I've been guilty of becoming self obsorbed myself when on a mission, but you do have to take stock & analyze where you are at along the way :0)

LizN said...

Right on sister. I don't read blogs that use poor grammar and spelling. If I read about someone trying to "loose" weight, I go into automatic pilot switch off mode.

I agree also with continual whining. Take responsibility all you blog whiners and get on with it :)

Kek said...

Hmm, how did I know we'd be united on this point, Liz? ;)

Responsibility. Now that's what I'm talking about. You have to own it before you can resolve it, right?

sallyb said...

I read this post this morning, have thought about it most of the day and now have come to a conclusion: I read blogs to gain knowledge and inspiration and for a good old laugh. Why bother reading a blog - or even commenting on it - if it does not offer what I'm after? And why should a blogger take this personally? I've read your blog for about 4 years Kek, and this is the first comment I've ever posted! I don't think you've been waiting around for it! Good to have you back on though.

Chelle said...

I just found your blog through Liz N, what a great post girl! Chelle =)

Kerry W said...

Hi Kek

This is the first time I've read your blog. Great post! I really enjoyed it. Liz has been giving your blog a good plug, but in all honesty, like you say in your post, I have so many to read, that I've just never got around to doing so. And even the ones I subscribe to, I don't always get the change to read them all. It depends on what mood I'm in, and like you say...if I find what they're saying is interesting enough for me to want to read them. It's also about 'connection', and what we're going through in our lives which often determines which blogs or people we're drawn to. And as you probably already know - that can change. can thank Liz for finally getting me here, thanks to her latest post. As always, Liz's (you'll probably need to correct my grammar posts will always remain interesting, because she always seems to cause enough of a stir in blogland, to keep everyone going back for more! :P

Kek said...

Well, hello sallyb, and thanks for delurking! I think I'm well and truly back, and don't plan on staying away that long ever again.

Chelle, it's nice to meet you - I think I've seen your comments around a few blogs (probably mostly the ones I don't get time to comment on).

And Kerry, you're right about Miss Liz. She paid me a compliment the other night when she told me I do cranky almost as well as she does... LOL.

Sairs said...

Ahahahahahaha - *wipes away tears of laughter*
Oh my goodness. I know it made you cranky, but I am laughing so hard right now. Yes, m'dear. You DO give lots of words of encouragement when chunky monkeys like me make our attempts at getting leaner and fitter. I believe that is called 'being a friend' or perhaps 'being a PT and encouraging folks not to be boombahs if they can help it'.
Call me old fashioned, but I still have these strange delusions about it being a fun personality, good sense of humour and generous spirit that makes people want to connect with you? Perhaps I have been sadly mistaken. Then again, I am a 'fat chick' (as your blogging bud so nicely put it) and therefore am probably also misguided.

If anyone gives you grief about not liking fat folks, point them in my (oversized) direction. I will sit on them and that will shut them up good and proper.

Kek said...

*puts on stern face* Now, now... There will be no sitting on people on my blog, thanks Sairs. You might spill your champers in the process.

You, my dear, are what is lovingly referred to as "a cack". Thanks for making me laugh out loud.

Boombahs.... Bahahaha!

Kathryn said...

OMG the "loosing" weight thing, I hate it so much. I won't read those blogs either. If it's a typo, yeah okay but if someone does it constantly then I'm out of there.

It's not just bad spelling, it gives me the mental image of someone who's lost weight and has all this loose skin... one of my greatest fears.

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