Let me tell you now that some of you will hate this post. I’m not entirely comfortable with that right now, but I’m going write it anyway because… well, it’s what I do.
I’m using that disclaimer, in part, to avoid starting.
I’m never sure where to begin when I’m unraveling my fears.
The short version of this story is that I want to go to BlogHer this July. And I want someone (and by someone I mean a company, not a YOU) to sponsor the trip. If that sounds like an idea out of left field to you, I assure you it is not. Not entirely. Companies sponsor bloggers all the time for major blogging events like this.
Perhaps the idea of asking a company to pay me to go to a conference sounds obnoxious and egotistical. I’m certain it does. Hell, it makes me nauseous just to say it.
I have to be honest.
I have been doing this blogging thing or a long time now. I’ve seen amazing things happen for people because of their blogs, myself included. And most of the time I think, “Wow! Blogging is amazing! Look at all of the ways people have been touched by this crazy thing we do!”
Most of the time, I am proud of my peers for their accomplishments. I am in awe of my new friends and extensive support system and girlfriend road trips and jobs and writing opportunities and amazing life that has been created because of this blog.
Most of the time it is more than enough.
And then sometimes it is not. Sometimes, when my hormones are surging or I’m overly tired or the moon is slightly more shiny than usual, it is not enough to have friends and loved ones cheering me on. It is not enough to have a place to be heard and the chance to listen. Sometimes all of that is drowned out by the sound of one nagging question. And all I can hear is
Why in the hell don’t any of those corporate sponsor mucky muck types take me seriously?
(Yes, you can insert crossed arms and stomped feet >here<. I am.)
The thing is, I’ve talked shop with a lot of bloggers. When bloggers talk shop, we talk about traffic and visitors and subscribers and pageviews. We talk about who’s doing what and who’s noticing who and who got what freebie and trip and book deal and paid writing gig. We talk stats and figures and rankings and all of the things that are impolite to talk about in front of your readers.
And there really is no polite way to say this, so I’m just going to say it.
I know from all this shop talking that this blog gets at least as much traffic as other blogs that get major freaking sponsorships. And in some cases – more.
And tomorrow we’re going to discuss how much money we make and what size jeans you wear.
I realize that’s tacky to say and tantamount to “but I’m so much prettier than her! And I weigh less than her! Ad I am just as awesome as SHE is so why doesn’t he like ME?!?!”
But there it is.
To be clear, I’m not resentful of the success or opportunities that other bloggers have gotten. I’m a firm believer in abundance and cups running over and all that shit. But I have wondered “if they can do it, why can’t I?”
“What’s wrong with me? Is it because I’m not classy enough? Is it because I’m not conservative enough? Is it because I let my hair down and say fuck and write about things like my life?”
I can practically hear my mother telling me to count my blessings. I can see her pointing at my friends, hear her singing my praises. And just like I did when I was 16, I imagine myself reminding her that “you’re my mom. It doesn’t count. You have to say that about me,” as I try to explain to her why someone else’s approval means so much to me.
I can draw the parallels just as easily as you can. I’ve given my own son the same lecture about focusing on what he has instead of what someone else has that he doesn’t. I see the flaws in my thinking and the holes in my self esteem. But seeing them isn’t doing much to patch them up right now.
I feel like the odd man out in the mommy group. Again.
Or the cheerleader in the advanced math class. Again.
Or the fuck up in the room who laughs too loud and talks too much while everyone else laughs and talks at exactly the right volume and quietly wonders “who the hell let her in here?”
I’m afraid that it’s a fluke that I’m here – or rather that you’re here. Reading this. Despite my mediocrity and inability to truly be one of you. I’m afraid that you’re all buying into some great big myth while the real judges of What Makes A Worthwhile Blog recognize me as nothing more than a wanna be phony.
I let myself obsess about the opinions of those who don’t see me.
And then, inevitably, I think fuck that. Because I’m defiant. And because you are here. Damn near 25,000 of you were here last month and opened this site almost 40,000 times to see what I had to say. And dozens of you have been coming here for years and sharing my life with me with your own stories and comments and empathy. And who the hell needs a corporate sponsor to say that means something? Damn it!
And then, eventually, I think and you know what? I can do this if I want to! I can reach out and introduce myself and network and mingle and pitch and position and buzz word here and jargon speak there and god damn it someone will notice me too! I am just as worthy of that Big Wig Stamp Of Approval as the next guy! Damn it!
And someone who knows these things will take the time to talk to me and say “of course you can! Of course! Just write a proposal. Tell them who you are and what you offer and make a………………………….zzz…”
And it all goes black after that.
Something about explaining who you are and what you have to offer. I see promotional letters with my name and web site on them and pathetic attempts at making me sound like a big deal to someone besides my nine year old.
The cold sweat kicks in.
The scenarios unfold in front of me.
“We appreciate your interest,” they’ll say.
“We don’t even do that kind of thing,” they’ll tell me.
“Who the hell do you think you are?” they’ll ask me. “Do you have any idea how ridiculous you look standing next to the likes of Amalah and Girls Gone Child and Dooce and People Who Actually Belong Here? Do you feel as stupid as you look right now? Because you should,” they’ll tell me.
And I’ll slink off to my corner, embarrassed and ashamed and humiliated, and put back in my place.
I’m not even sure which issue to start with. The fear of rejection, of looking stupid, is obvious in my inability to put myself out there as an official corporate sell out. But it’s also mixed up with guilt for even wanting to put myself out there. I worry about what that says about me. I know what other people will say that says about me. I hate the fact that I feel not good enough. I hate even more that I care.
And yet, there it is. Still. Churning in my belly with the self doubt and the guilt and the embarrassment. I want to succeed at this. I want someone with a big rubber stamp and an official sounding name to say This Blog Is Worthy.
And I want to believe that it’s true.