Keeping perspective in blogging

I had a rare moment of ranting yesterday. I suddenly realised I felt irritated. Irritated by people I don’t know talking about emotions I no longer understand. And I again doubted whether this blogging world was something I could be part of.

(For readers who aren’t bloggers, blogging behind the scenes is a community of people who connect on social media to read and share each other’s posts. It’s a supportive community, but like any large gathering there are always people you relate to more than others.)

I try hard not to let my grief cloud my judgement of people’s opinions, but sometimes it sneaks up and catches me unawares.

I’d been catching up on some blog reading. I read lots of the big professional parenting and lifestyle blogs as well as plenty of what I call ‘normal’ blogs, of all sizes. I’m not saying the big blogs aren’t normal, they’re just in a different league.

I came across yet another post where the writer was expressing emotion at blogging. Stressing about upcoming awards. Crying over it. Seeking love. Wanting reassurance. (I’m not naming names, this isn’t what this is about.)

I usually comment on the posts I read, but I found I wanted to write something in anger. To shout at these blogs in writing. But that’s not me.

I don’t hide my feelings as such but I’m very careful about stating an opposing view and starting arguments unnecessarily online. Just because I don’t like what was being said, or it upsets or offends me (and this post wasn’t terrible by any means), doesn’t mean it’s wrong. I believe if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

So I closed the internet and took myself off to do something else. But it played on my mind.

Later, I sent an irritatable tweet.

People are way 2 emotional about their blogs. A lot of work yes, but worth crying/stressing over, no! Get some perspective!

I’m not annoyed about people sharing that they feel stressed. If they are sweating the small stuff – in fact worrying about day-to-day things is one way I knew I was adjusting to life without my eldest child. I support the need to vent. But it does matter if you lose perspective. If you chase the wrong thing so much it breaks you. So I put my feelings out there, expecting people to get defensive.

I know bloggers need to be able to feel like they can be honest and reach out for support in difficult times, I’m not trying to deny them that. I understand that for some people blogging is their job, their income. They work all hours to keep stats up and networking. It must be exhausting physically and mentally. I know my mind is always churning over ideas for blog posts and sometimes it drives me crazy! But when you care about something you created, it can take over.

I’m a freelance editor and when I started my business, over ten years ago, I worked every night to get it off the ground. I would do a day job (my career), put the children to bed (two at that point) and then work on our basic, outdated PC.

I was proud when I began to do well. But I had a client who really put the pressure on and treated me badly. I spent nights sobbing over the work through sheer pressure. I so wanted to offer the best service but felt I wasn’t good enough.

Eventually, after months of stress, I decided to drop the client. They had tempted me with regular work but I realised that they weren’t going to change and I was slowly losing my mind and becoming ill. It was the best thing I did and it was a real reality check. When you start out in business it’s easy to get swept along by clients until before you know it you’re doing something you didn’t really want to. It’s hard to say no!

Once I found that inner confidence and realised the world didn’t end just because I dropped an unprofessional client, I was able to think more positively about my business and in fact was able to take on other, better paid, work. I’ve never looked back.

So I know what it’s like. To have a personal project consume you. Your baby. Your bit of me-time. I get that.

But now my mind is clouded by grief.

My daughter Abi died suddenly in 2013. I’m living with the aftershocks in some way every day. I write about that in my blog, Chasing Dragonflies, and it’s been a big source of therapy. But I also am still me. I still want to be ‘normal’ and chat about the weather and holidays and stuff. I don’t want to be just ‘the grieving mum’.

But it’s hard.

MummyWrites is my space to write about the other things that go through my head. Sometimes they overlap the grief, other times it’s just general mummy stuff. Read my posts though and you’ll see I generally look at life rather than the trivial stuff. Thinking big and deep is what I do now, and I need an outlet for that or I’ll go crazy!

In my grief, I try hard not to judge others too harshly. I have to ignore my emotions. If they are stressing about something trivial. If they send a flippant tweet that ‘there’s nothing worse than walking to school in the rain’. If they share photos of their child on instagram just after they’ve thrown up, looking pale and shaky. If they post about how annoying their children are…

I want to run from it. But I have come to know many bloggers and I like them. I enjoy reading what they write and seeing their pictures. They are simply living the life I had. In mostly blissful ignorance. I’m just standing on the outside of the bubble, looking in.

Whenever someone has their first baby I can’t help but think now they will know.

Now. From this point. They will totally understand. Understand that fear of losing the little person they made and gave birth to. Perspectives on life change the minute the test turns blue.

But they also won’t ever know the reality of that fear. They will never know the true feeling unless – God forbid – it actually happens. This is the ‘deeper knowledge’ that I have to live with, find a place for, every minute of every single day.

I could rant at everyone about everything because I have this deeper knowledge. I could shout at people for complaining about their kids, the weather or the fact they missed a train. Anything. Everything. But I don’t, because my grief isn’t like that. But I found I will when I think someone really has lost perspective.

I find I almost avoid revealing my loss to those who don’t know me. I might relate to a post or a comment but I sort of stumble over what to say, being careful not to give a message which says ‘look at me, my life’s much tougher than yours will ever be because my daughter died, so what are you feeling sorry for yourself for?!’ Because people might think I’m a crazy grieving mum and I’m the one who’s lost perspective! That I’m the one who thinks deeply all the time. That I’m reading between every single line looking for faults. Besides, people just don’t like being reminded that we, and our children, are always living at death’s door.

But when your child dies you live and think on a different level to other people, and that is tough let me tell you.

My blog MummyWrites is just me writing my thoughts and sharing them. I would like them to be read, and I hope enjoyed or appreciated. That’s it. I’m not trying to be like other blogs, though I’ve learnt so much from them. I think I’ve found my voice at last. I just want to write about life.

So if you’re reading this, you don’t have to start worrying about death every day, or feel guilty that you’re complaining about something that stresses you out. But please, if you ever feel it’s all getting too much. Stop. Think. And reclaim your perspective.

 

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17 thoughts on “Keeping perspective in blogging

  1. Very well put, Kelly. I’m like you – I understand that people need to vent sometimes but there’s a fine balance between sharing emotions and being perceived as being needy and lacking in perspective – like those football fans who rant and rave on radio phone-ins every time their team loses a game, or those who threaten violence against others for supporting a different political party.

    I’m a pretty calm, rational person for the most part, so when I learned that I hadn’t been shortlisted for any awards recently I had a few moments of disappointment then shrugged my shoulders and moved on (taking the opportunity to write a wry blog post about it, as you do). The big dramas in my life are actually pretty small in the greater scheme of things. Perspective.

  2. Well said. I admire blogs who grow and grow and make the dizzy heights of glitz & glamour but I struggle to read and follow them anymore as to me it’s not a “real” blog. I lie on the sofa in my pjs watching trash TV of an evening not jetting to exotic countries, going to posh red carpet events or dressing them in ridiculously expensive stuff. It’s not relatable! People may want escapism when they read blogs for me I love the real life, true, raw and also funny blogs. That for me is what I want to read not bleating on about how hard it is to turn down a massive contract as you’re jetting off around the world!

  3. Really well said..
    I see a lot of tweets about people getting hung up on stats and stuff and it annoys me. I keep an element of humour to my blog but it’s all real.
    You have been through something unimaginable to most of us. It’s a parent’s worst nightmare and it’s bound to affect how you perceive things. I remember looking out of the window at my mothers house (after finding her dead) and feeling so angry that people were queuing up for ice-cream outside while she lay on the floor. I remember how annoyed I got at people and their trivial crap but you’ve lost a child and your pain is on a whole different level. It’s understandable why people making a big old drama out of something petty would annoy the crap out of you. When bad things happen, our perspective shifts and things that we tolerated before become intolerable.
    While we can’t control what other people say or write, we do have the power to mute the annoying gits. X

    1. Thank you so much, while I felt sorry that you have experienced loss too your comment actually made me smile! Thank you for helping me feel a little more ‘normal’x

  4. So well said Kelly and I think it is good to have the reminder to put things back into perspective. Hearing people say “I can’t think of anything worse” about really trivial things is something that irritates me too and it can be easy to get caught up in complaining about the little things and not really just how lucky we are sometimes. I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful Abi xx

  5. Kelly, I think you’ve writen very well about an important issue related to grief. I remember after my son died feeling very angry with people who focused on trivial things. So I retreated and spent most of my energy with people going through the same thing I was – they became my support and solace. But the isolation that grief caused was horrible and after many years I stuffed down feelings so I could “be like a normal person again.” I didn’t mention my dead child because I didn’t want to upset anyone – things like that.
    But I healed from my anguish and sorrow. I remember my dead child and speak of him often now. I think the angry part of grief is the part I am most grateful to leave behind. It is all part of the process; I am so sorry for what you are experiencing. One day, it will get easier. I offer you hope of that because I never believed it was possible.

  6. Oh yes, yes, yes, Kelly. So much of this resonates with me, as you’d expect. People who make mountains out of molehills wound me up before Hugo, and now….like you say, people are entitled to moan. Like you, i want my blog to be about life in general, not only grief.

    Perspective is so important. Is a trivial thing really ‘the worst thing ever’? Of course not. Xxx

  7. Very wise words, as ever. You have way more perspective than any mother should ever have, but your words are a reminder to us all to keep perspective and focus on what’s important (with perhaps the odd moan about the weather thrown in, because we’re only human!). Totally with you on ‘if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all’. x

  8. This is a really great post. It puts everything into perspective. I’ve blogged for years & love my blog. I’m far from a pro blogger & I have a job so I would around it. I wish i didn’t have a career that took me away from my kids but I do & that’s who I am. I’m honest on my blog & do tend to stress at times, but you’re right life is too short. My heart goes out to you lovely & here if you ever want someone to talk to. Hugs xx

  9. Thank you for writing this Kelly, I hope that people read and absorb your words because they’re so important. I cannot really relate to anyone who gets that stressed or upset over blogging or awards, it’s simply not worth it. But I do realise that people have different perspectives on things and I just move on. Your story is one that should bring us all back to reality and for me, it does, every time I read one of your posts. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, as always. xx

    1. Thank you Suzanne. It feels wrong for me to judge others just because they get emotional about what is important to them. Who am I to judge? But occasionally we all need a little reminder to keep certain things in perspective. Thanks for reading x

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