Thursday, January 3, 2013

Almost Famous

Man, yesterday was a weird day.  First, I got an email from Julep telling me I had the most referrals so they were sending me the Big Red Bow set.  This was not at all what I was expecting, as Mina Slater had me by 9 by my count.  Did they send it to both of us because we were so close?  Is there some reason they didn't count some of her votes?  I have no idea, but I'm not going to complain.  

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR THIS AWESOMENESS - I needed this in my life.  Not in an "I don't have enough nail polish for my poor naked nails" way, but in a general life morale sort of way.     

THEN, I got the craziest email of my blogging career:  

OMGWTF, right?!!  She is talking about the post in which I discuss how I'm very strongly anti-gun, but we got one anyway as a marital compromise.  I was asked to share my story along with three other guests in a show discussing the struggles couples go through when making this decision. 

Of course, my first thought was my anxiety.  Did I really have the guts to go through with it?  Would I say like 7 zillion times?    Would I make sense or would I be so incredibly nervous I'd come off as a babbling idiot?  With a little encouragement from my Twitter friends, I knew there was no way I could turn it down.  It's pretty much a once in a lifetime opportunity.  

I called Justin to tell him about it, and he seemed pretty hesitant ("do we need millions of people knowing whether or not we have a gun?").  He also brought my attention to this story, which is pretty freaking insane.  However, he basically said it was up to me and to do whatever made me happy.  

I then called my parents, more to ask if I could do the webcast at their house since our internet is down then to talk about whether or not I should do it.  My dad proceeded to give me quite the earful on the dangers of participating vs. the (in his mind) negligible benefits.  He also made some totally ridiculous dad-like comments, including:
  • What if someone from work saw it, and the VP of the company likes to hunt?  You don't need to miss out on opportunities at work because you spouted off about being anti-gun.  [What?  I'm not allowed to work for corporate america AND have opinions?]
  • What if someone starts to look at Justin differently because of this?  [Implying that people will feel that Justin needs to do a better job "keeping me in line".  I CAN'T EVEN.]
I was pretty annoyed at having my bubble burst, and the rebellious teenager in me was still screaming "I do what I want!"

However...I CAN'T just do what I want.  I have two little girls to think about.  And once you hear that your actions might in some way cause harm to your little girls, no matter how miniscule the likelihood, you can't unhear it.  Gun control is such a heated issue right now.  I have never been one to shy away from controversy, but the people who feel differently from me on this topic OWN GUNS.  That can SHOOT PEOPLE.  That is scary to me.  

Okay, that last part is kind of a joke but kind of not.  Maybe if I had grown up around guns or was a less anxious person I would feel differently.  However, as of right now, guns make me intensely uncomfortable.  I have spent much of the last year trying as hard as I can to pretend ours doesn't exist, because that's the only way I can relax in my own home.  I want as little attention drawn to my gun as humanly possible.  

I am aware that this is totally inconsistent with the fact that I blogged about owning a gun.  If I didn't put that out there, HuffPost Live wouldn't have found me in the first place.  However, it's one thing to put it out there on a tiny blog that maybe a few hundred people (almost all of them part of the same amazing online community I belong to) would read.  It's totally different to put it out there in front of millions of people who are complete strangers, in a time when emotions are intensified due to Sandy Hook.  

Plus there is the whole issue of whether or not participating in this show would have resulted in a mention of my blog.  On the one hand, that is the biggest reason to do it, right?  Catapult my blog into fame so I can quit my job and live the American Blogger's Dream (ha)?  But if my blog is mentioned, I'm no longer anonymous.  People could probably figure out EXACTLY WHERE I LIVE if they read close enough.  People from work would inevitably learn about it.  So the obvious answer would be to participate, but agree to only use my first name and to not mention the blog.

Which essentially means I'd be participating just because it's a cool experience.  I would be part of the national conversation.  My thoughts would count.   Which is all very valid, but is this the demographic I want to represent?  People who hate guns but couldn't even keep them out of their own house?  I hate I am even IN this situation.  A marriage in which I get my way all of the time and never have to compromise on issues I feel THIS strongly about would be awesome.  Sign me up - compromise sucks!

Basically, when it came down to it, I just didn't think it was worth it for this particular issue.   If they want to call me to talk about my experience as a working mom, or as someone who has a bajillion dollars of debt that doesn't qualify for forgiveness, or as someone who did a complete career change?  Cool.  But let's keep the discussion about my own personal gun situation over here, where it's a little more private.  

This whole thing has me thinking a lot about the issue of privacy and whether or not I'm putting my kids in danger by just having a blog.  How do you address these concerns?  Where do you draw the line with opportunities offered to you as a blogger?  Do you ever say no or do you accept anything that comes your way?  What would you have done if you were in my place?


Erica said...

Wow these are all really good thoughts. I would have wanted to at first but then decided against it like you did. I enjoy being on the down low.

Preppy Mama said...

I know exactly what you mean. But I would have done just what you did. Its such a heated topic. BTW, that newspaper is my local paper and we are all furious that they would publish what they did.

Alicia Curley said...

For one, congrats about Julep AND being requested by HuffPost. Both very cool things that you should feel good about!

I love all your thoughts about whether or not to do the HuffPost... I feel like a lot of Bloggers would say "SIGN ME UP" immediately without really thinking through what could happen.

in 2011, a few of my clients found my blog and sent me some messages about it. It made me extremely uncomfortable and I immediately wondered how my blog changed their professional impression of me, were they stalking me, do I feel comfortable with them knowing these things... It totally rocked my world about how much attention I want to draw to myself. I'm really careful about it now, not just in blogging but social networks too (I try my hardest not to let people know I'm not at home, or where I am, etc - had a weird on Twitter that forced me into privacy)

Anyway, the point of this obnoxious comment is to say I'm proud of you for sticking to your guns. I won't do anything that compromises my authenticity or family just to get blogging fame, and it sounds like you won't either. That's awesome, admirable and (in my opinion) a measure of true success as a blogger!

Ginger said...

So, about 4 months ago, I wrote a blog post that went viral, all about politics(sorta). And suddenly I had ALL SORTS of people...well, lets just say disagreeing with me. It made me sick to my stomach. For weeks. Which is why I told you not to read any of the comments if you did it. :-)

There's no way I would have done the HuffPo thing. Because while most of the people *I've* interacted with in blogging are nice people, people out there in the rest of the internet aren't always. And with topics where people get so heated (politics, guns, etc.), you just...never know.

I don't really fear for my kid, and I'm pretty open about what I share of him online. BUT I think you can find the balance between sharing and oversharing, between being open and opening yourself and your family up to less than positive outcomes. One of the best ways to do that, I think, is to follow your gut on stuff like good for you.

Besides, internet fame is fleeting. Your family is not.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

This is a wonderfully written blog post, Laura. So thoughtful on so many levels. I think you raise some really good points and the fact you turned down the opportunity to be on a spotlight program says a lot about you.

Me? I have lot of very strong opinions about a range of subjects from gun control to taxes to women's rights, etc. And I think my biggest disappointment about these big issues is not that people disagree with my opinions, but that people don't like to talk about the things that divide our country. And by "talk about the issues," I don't mean be assholes to one another (because, we've perfected that). Rather, I mean putting on our responsible and reasonable adult shoes and sit down and talk to each other, learn about those who differ from us, explain our own roles, maybe even find some common ground. I know it's possible - we wouldn't be such a great country if it wasn't. But, lately, it just seems people would rather be divisive than united ... and it's a shame we are at such an extreme place that we can't even talk about those things that matter most to us.

That said, if I were in your shoes, I'd very likely make the exact same decision you did. We all have to make decisions that are best for our families, even if the exact opposite decision would be best for resolving some of the hard hitting issues our nation faces.