There’s a scene halfway through Some Kind of Wonderful where Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson) tells her best friend Keith (Eric Stolz) that perhaps they shouldn’t hang out any more. Keith’s pursuit of the popular Amanda Jones (Lea Thompson) is driving Watts crazy.
She says “I’d rather have you not see me and think good things about me than have you see me and hate me. Because I can’t afford to have you hate me, Keith. The only things I care about in this life are me, my drums, and you.”
This morning I woke up to zero comments on my Bead Snowflake post. Turning on your computer to zero comments is like standing in front of a bemused Simon Cowell. He shakes his head sadly: “You can’t be serious. That was bloody awful.”
I’ve been thinking for some time about turning off comments. I talked to Marie about it back in September, as a way to make sure that you’re blogging for the “right” reasons, and she pointed out that turning off comments can seem snobbish, as if you don’t care what anyone else has to say.
Well, the truth is, I care too much. Oh, not about what others think, exactly. In fact, I like nothing more than a well-thought-out disagreement. (See the great comments on Bloggy Prostitution or Kids and Cars).
But the comments, or lack thereof. It matters too much, and I hate that it affects how I feel about myself AT ALL. Even encouraging comments mean too much.
Every time I see her, my grandma tells me how much she enjoys my blog. I’m so “unexpected,” she says. (I think Grandma is a bit sheltered, in a good way).
If I can make Grandma happy, what care I for sponsors and trackbacks and followers?
Still. My visceral response to zero comments (or, on days when NOTHING would appease the insatiable comment monster, NOT ENOUGH comments): It’s something I can stomach no longer.
(I’ve tried less drastic remedies. Reaffirmation mantras like “I am a worthwhile human being whether people comment or not” and the Neti Pot. (Not really on the mantras and the Neti Pot was great for my sinuses.) But I did set up a protocol in GMAIL where my comment notification emails bypass my inbox and get quarantined in the WAM Comment folder. Didn’t help. Much. Except I can now check my email without facing my neuroses. Most of the time. And ol’ Sitemeter? We parted ways months ago.)
I’d rather have you not read me and not comment than have you read me and not comment. Or something like that. Really I’d love it if you read and commented and came to sponge my fevered brow while the dinner made itself and the dishwasher deigned to actually CLEANSE THE DISHES when I push Start.
This may be a short experiment; who knows? Blogging is great for the freedom to make a complete idiot of yourself and then make as many corrections as necessary in trying to get it right. I do know that one of my favorite things about NaBloPoMo was that I was too busy thinking about what to write that day to worry if “enough” people liked what I’d written the day before.
As always, I welcome your emails (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I cannot thank each of you enough for the kind words you’ve sent my way. I’m just afraid that if I end up in a mental institution for Acute Comment Anxiety, I might not get the serious drugs such a condition would require.
Would the doctor even believe that Acute Comment Anxiety exists?
If she’s also a blogger, I’m willing to bet she would.