Ever had one of those days where basically everything you do is wrong?
One of those days where you wake up feeling pretty good in the morning but by late afternoon you feel like the townspeople are gathering up their pitchforks and lighting their fucking torches? I call them my Frankenstein days.
I had one of these days today. I need to write about it so I can either convince the virtual townspeople stop chasing me, or at the very least get it all off my chest.
It started on Facebook, of course.
No, wait – it started when my husband left for a four-day business trip and accidentally took my car keys with him. I didn’t realize that I had no car keys until the kids and I were showered, dressed, and ready to go out for the day.
<Insert frantic two-hour search for the car keys, which I didn’t find (because they are in my husband’s car, aren’t they?) along with a whole boatload of self-hatred because I never replaced the spare keys that were lost.>
I was supposed to be at Miraval for the free Mommy Blogger Me-Time trip they were giving me. But I couldn’t go because of my husband’s
silly business trip.
Then, like a contagious disease, that Frankenstein thing spread to Facebook. (Disclaimer: I would not have been farting around on Facebook if I had my car keys.)
Facebook is a tricky terrain, for me. In general, I don’t use it to mouth-off about my political or religious beliefs. My status updates are generally neutral and pretty harmless, like this one:
But occasionally (twice in the last two months, actually) I’ve been unable to keep my mouth shut. I broke my own “Facebook is for fluffy stuff” rule and used it to hawk my opinions to my 388 friends (although I’m sure this number will plummet as they read my rant and de-Friend me…)
The first status update was about gun control. It was right after the Batman shooting in Colorado. It was also after I had just heard that my 14-year-old nephew who was in psychiatric lockdown in a children’s hospital had told the doctor that he had a plan to kill himself with a gun. In the meeting with her ex-husband, my sister listened as the psychiatrist told them that her child had a plan to “buy a gun and shoot himself.” My sister pointed out that her son had no need to buy a gun because his father owns two hand guns, three rifles, and five tasers – all within easy reach at his home. When the doctor asked her ex-husband about his guns, he shrugged and said, “They’re locked up.”
So you can imagine, I am insane about gun control. I am against guns and gun ownership, period. Guns are within reach of America’s children. My nephew’s access to his father’s legal array of guns and my sister’s powerlessness to do anything about this makes us both beyond furious. I can’t see straight, I’m so fucking angry, okay?
After the Batman shooting, I was so pissed off about people on Facebook insisting that the average citizen has a right to own AK-47s that I crossed a line and posted this:
I caught some shit from a guy I went to high school with who is now a born-again, gun-toting Christian (I am a Christian myself, an Episcopalean one, in case anyone is going to take offense at me for labeling him). His response (“…What are you gonna do, take everyone’s drivers’ license away because a few crazy people drive drunk?…” etc.) made me so angry that all I could do was eat an entire bag of Doritos and let it go.
Then yesterday I posted another non-controversial Facebook status update (that was sarcasm) about another topic that doesn’t at all polarize people: gay rights. (What was I thinking? What is going on with this newfound verbal logorrhea that’s splatting out of my pissed-off mind and directly onto my Facebook status updates? Is this what happens as you age – you just lose the ability to censor yourself?)
Some back-story: Last week I was at the mall and found myself surrounded by thousands of people lining up to eat at Chic Fil A. It got my attention because hardly anyone ever lines up for Chic Fil A, and on this day the line was going out the door into the parking lot. I later discovered that these people were turning up at Chic Fil A’s all over the nation in their thousands, to show support for the CEO’s stance on gay people (he’s against gay marriage, in case you haven’t heard). So I posted this:
I got into a pissing match on Facebook (34 comments worth) with that same person from high school who had given me flak over gun control. I hardly even knew him all those years ago anyway so why on Earth do I care? He and I are polar opposites. Our exchange was awkward, and public, and it went on and on and on, and I just couldn’t bring myself to stop compulsively pressing the Reply button until I had said too much. Afterwards I started feeling crappy and insecure about my virtual townspeople – a few people stepped in to say something, but most of them said nothing.
Finally, in a moment of clarity, in response to my Facebook friend’s impossible bigotry, I let a song speak for me – I posted the song “Yellow Triangle,” by Christie Moore.
At the same time, in a parallel universe here on the blogosphere, I had just returned from Blogher ’12 and had written this post, Blogher ’12: What It Was Like, and I hit Publish. You know that white-faced feeling you get after you press the Send button after writing an email that maybe you shouldn’t have? Or after you state your opinion at a dinner party when you’re surrounded by Republicans and you suddenly realize that you are the only liberal – and you get that dreadful feeling of uh-oh in your stomach? I had that feeling. And it was compounded because with one hand I was writing the Blogher piece which asked the controversial question – Why are there men at Blogher? – and with the other hand, I was compulsively pressing Reply on my Facebook page, stuck in a pissing match with a right-wing Christian who hates gays and loves guns.
“Step away from the computer, Mom.” – Fiona
Most of the peeps who read my Blogher ’12 piece commented that they appreciated it – mainly because I didn’t vomit on about the parties (that’s because I didn’t attend many, ahem, Howard Hughes much??), and because I gave an honest (read: somewhat critical) view of my experience at Blogher. But there were many more on Twitter, apparently, who disagreed.
I had asked a nagging little question: Why are there men at Blogher? I knew it was an awkward question, one that would cause some controversy, but I had heard it discussed at the conference and felt that it is a legitimate question that merited discussing. Other veteran bloggers have since contacted me and said that this very question has been raised at each and every Blogher conference since its inception (I didn’t know this because I’m a newbie, and this was my first conference). The fact that this question keeps coming up year after year means that it is a question worth asking, one that maybe doesn’t have an answer yet.
I got a response to my post from Shmutzie, one of the bloggers I admire the most and had gone out of my way to meet and say Hi to at the conference. She tweeted that I really hurt her feelings.
It crushed me. I was horrified to learn that I had hurt Shmutzie’s feelings.
Cue the mad townspeople.
I wanted to tell her that I am from San Francisco, I am a gay rights activist, I have gay and transgendered friends – and I’m so sorry I hurt her feelings and made her feel left out, because that is not what I intended. I just wanted to know why there were men at BlogHer.
So – I have offended, hurt, and alienated Shmutzie. People think I am a gender-biased, anti-gay, anti-everything, assholic, man-hating cretan whose aim is to exclude and offend the entire male, gay, and transgendered populations…yet at the very same time, on my Facebook page, I am being attacked by a right-wing born-again Christian for being “close-minded” and for hating people with “core family values.”
Well now, that is some accomplishment.
Just look at the math:
Lesbians and gays
People with family values
= Oh My God: I’ve offended everyone on the planet in a single day!
So here’s what’s been going on in the Twitterverse over this topic. My friend Erica from Yeah Write, who is the type of person who will stand up and say something, has sidled up to defend me:
So I’m going to do what Frankenstein did and go find an old blind man’s cabin and have a hot cup of tea, lay low for a while, wait for the mob to run past. While I’m there I’m going to think about why it is that asking the blogging community an honest question feels so wrong.
“A blogger who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; a blogger who does not ask a question is a fool forever.” – Ancient Chinese Proverb (-:
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