ask for what you need and don’t be attached to the outcome

November 25, 2012 | 90 Comments

Stranger in a car give thumbs up

When I started blogging in 1998, it was anonymously. My readership was strangers with blogs. I wasn’t confident enough to be openly involved in something atypical, and most of the blogging community blogged anonymously, so I followed suit.

About two years in I told the least judgemental person I know: my friend Annelie. It was the right choice. She was excited for me and promptly joined in the fun. It was the perfect amount of satisfying.

Soon after, my friend Audra (a stranger then) contacted me to represent Alberta for her ezine of Canadian bloggers and issues. Marigold was a fantastic community of people. I learned so much about myself, life, feminism, fisting (I’m not kidding), and being a decent human.

I read Audra’s invitation email, ran down the stairs of our very first piece of real-estate (it was a townhouse in Calgary near Mount Royal College that cost $80,000!), and told Steve with my body more than my voice that someone besides him liked my writing. Somewhere in a rubbermaid, I still have the response I sent Audra that is the equivalent of a leg hump. I had been Discovered.

I started coming out to the people in my face-to-face life. Most weren’t super receptive. They either completely ignored my coming out emails, or responded as if I’d announced my freezies were freezer burnt. In the last six years, more and more people who know me in person leave comments, share my posts, or talk to me about my blog, but it’s rare and the majority of my fans continue to be strangers.

If I’m honest, I don’t totally get it. I mean—this is it, friends: this is my Thing, this is my Art. If you’re waiting for me to get legit published before you show up for me, it may never happen (except IT WILL). I sometimes wonder if I sold pottery or knitting or the most beautiful paper art, or if I still ran marathon distances, if the people in my life would show up in tangible ways? Ways that show me I’m supported and celebrated and making you proud?

You don’t read blogs? Okay, that’s fair. Can you read one entry every season or two? I doubt I’d come to all your art shows or every award you won, but I’d show up when it mattered. I’d cheer you on along the way. I’d come out to a couple of your races and drop you a note letting you know you inspire me.

I’d buy one of your paintings for my wall and another for a friend. I’d read your book and tweet about it. I’d tell everyone I know that you have a big brain and hook you up with others who might find your thesis topic fascinating. I’d attend your accordion recital. I’d attend your kid’s accordion recital.

I get blogs are nothing special these days. But, I am. To you, I am.

Do I need you to read this blog? No. Do I want to guilt you into talking to me about it, liking it, commenting here? No. Then why this post? I dunno! I wasn’t even going to write anything, but dammit I’m so close to successfully posting every day for November’s Nablopomo, so I sat down to write and here’s what came out.

Sometimes I don’t get why I’m being cheered on by strangers more than anyone else. It seems bizarre to me. Awesome and bizarre. When you mentioned you don’t read my blog or you might some day, maybe I’ve lied a little to make the space comfortable by saying, “Phhhbbbbbbtttt. Doesn’t matter.” When what I really want to stay is, “Well, check in every once in a while, because it’s where I really fucking shine, you guys.

It where I make the most sense and feel the most in my skin and show up in ways my scrambled brain won’t let me in person. It’s where you can keep up with my heart and find out things I don’t even know I’m thinking. And if you do pop in every once in a while, let me know! It’s sunshine in Vancouver to read even one syllable marking your presence.”

Yeah. Abso-fucking-lutely I need to work on doing my art for me. And I am working on it. And some day (soon, I hope) it won’t matter if you show up or not (unless by then I’m selling something, in which case I really need you to show up—with cash), because some day I’m going to be my biggest fan. But, for now, I still need you.

I’m sorry I’ve been lying to you. I wanted to be okay with it, because that’s what I thought healthy looked like. I was wrong. Healthy is telling you what I want, and giving you a chance to say, “Yeah, I can show up for you like that.” Or, “I hear you Shannon and I love you, but that’s not something I can do.” Then it’s my turn to trust.

Don’t fill my comments section with apologies or angry words; that will get awkward for all of us. How about exclamation marks and hearticons? If you continue to say nothing—I still love you and you still love me and we will remain in love. We will.

Steve said only about 10% of people actively participate on the internet. So… you’re normal!


Please join the Truthfully Facebook page. I’m funny there. 

Joining up with Yeah Write for BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo. No guilt. Just fun. Also linking up with Yeah Write’s Open Grid this week.

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