The Benefit of the Doubt

Oh, hey there, friend.

First I want to say THANK YOU for yesterday.  I was overcome with emotion from all the kind, wise, loving words you all left here.  I am in a bad place right now, but you are all right, I am doing all the right things to get out of that place.  And I will.  Get out of that place.

So…today’s business…

It’s Wednesday.  That means it’s Sluiter Nation Recruit day.  Don’t know what a Recruit is?  Start here.

I am pretty dang excited about today’s Recruit.  I have probably been reading her blog for about a year and a half–although I was a lurker for a LONG time because I was a bit intimidated with her savvy awesomeness.  And then I started chatting with her on twitter here and there and realized that she is also very sweet and lovely.

And then I got to room with her at BlogHer.

And my head exploded.

Yes, it’s Gigi from Kludgy Mom.

And no, I don’t just like her because she laughed so hard she almost peed at some of my jokes.  (Don’t worry, that vlog is coming soon).

I LURVE her because she is smart and funny and a really awesome friend.

And she tells it like it is.

And here she is.  Telling it like it was…and is.

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Katie said, if you can’t figure out something to write about for me, write about belonging.

So I will.

Katie has Sluiter Nation. People who write for it belong to something.

For many of us, blogging creates a sense of belonging – whether it be a feeling that you’re part of a community, or a greater good, or just NOT feeling alone – part of the allure is this sense that you are one spoke in a very large wheel…but that without each and every spoke, the wheel doesn’t turn quite as well as it otherwise would.

What happens when you have an opportunity to meet part of your community in person?

It should feel like that wheel is rolling on the smoothest surface possible.

But guess what?

Sometimes, blog conferences or in-person meetings cause that wheel to hit a few bumps. Spokes get knocked out of whack.

Maybe a person feels like she doesn’t belong.

Maybe she has no real connection with a person that she expected to.

Maybe another blogger hurts her feelings.

Maybe she hurts someone else’s feelings unwittingly.

Maybe she is coming to the party with lots on her mind.

Maybe she is coming to accomplish goals that are different than her friends’.

Maybe she just feels “off.”

I read a lot of posts about BlogHer.

A lot of people had hurt feelings. Or felt left out. Or felt they didn’t belong. Or felt misjudged. Or they had more going on than met the eye. Or..or…or.

I experienced some of those feelings. I caused some of those feelings. And if you were there, or you’ve been at any blog conference, you likely have experienced or caused hurt feelings, too – intentionally or not.

It can cause a rift or make you feel out of sorts about your community.

 How do you keep your sense of belonging after that? How do you continue to feel like a critical spoke in the wheel?

I’ve concluded that it’s in how you handle all of that fallout – that shrapnel.

I could carry around that hurt.

I could bemoan how I was wronged.

I could profess shock that I would have wronged anybody. I’m a good person, dangit!

But I’ve decided that I’m going to give people the benefit of the doubt. That people’s feelings and adrenaline and emotions were in high gear that weekend – mine included.

I am choosing to believe that under different circumstances, every single one of us would have done SOMETHING differently.

We all made mistakes.

I am choosing to believe that under different circumstances, we wouldn’t set our expectations of other people to a level that couldn’t possibly be met.

No one is perfect.

I am choosing to believe that no one can really understand exactly what each blogger brings with them to a conference – what pressures, insecurities, joys, goals, medical conditions, family issues.

We aren’t ever able to fully know – to walk in their pointy-toed stilettos.

So I am choosing to own my experience at BlogHer. No blame, no judging anymore. I am choosing to show compassion, forgiveness and patience for the people who may have hurt me. I am choosing to accept that I may have hurt others and by this post, apologize and ask for compassion, forgiveness and patience in return.

That’s how I will feel like I still belong. That’s how I will repair my own spoke and make that wheel turn again.

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See what I mean?  YES!  I had that same feeling when I flew home from BlogHer, but Gigi said it exactly right here.

So, you want more of the Kludgy Mom?  Yeah you do.

I read this post months ago, but when I found out we were having Baby #2, I went back and read Brother-Sister Language.

Gigi makes the most rocking, hilarious lists…check out Why Blogging is Good For You.

She also posts about food…and this has been on my crave list.  Now if I just wasn’t so dang lazy…Chocolate Angel Food Cake.

So there you go.  Check out Gigi on a daily basis.

You never know what you’re gonna get, but it will be GOOD.

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