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Entries in blogging (9)

Monday
Oct292018

Oh, Hey. I Found My Password. That I Never Lost.

Oh my god, y'all. It took me like twenty minutes to get back into this blog.

This is like when you avoid calling someone you were close to for a long time, and you're afraid it's going to go badly:

Me: Oh, hey, Friend Who I Haven't Talked in a Long Time and Totally Don't Have an Excuse for Not Calling, this is Faiqa!

Friend Who I Haven't Talked in a Long Time and Totally Don't Have an Excuse for Not Being Better About Calling: I'm sorry... Faiqa? I don't know who that is.

And, you know, with a name like "Faiqa", they clearly DO know who I am, but they act like they don't because... THEY HATE ME NOW.

That's never happened to me, but I am terrified that it will. Anyway, this is how it was when I was trying to log in to my blog tonight. 

I type in my login.

I type in my password.

It tells me it doesn't recognize me.

MY BLOG DOESN'T FREAKING RECOGNIZE ME, Y'ALL.

Anyway, then, I go to the Customer Support thing for Squarespace and it's all "DOMAIN NOT FOUND."

I am looking at the website. It's right here. It exists. 

I KNOW I STILL EXIST ON THE INTERNET, SQUARESPACE.

I go through what feels like an infinite loop of asking questions and trying to email customer support until... I find the answer! LEGACY PLATFORM.

Apparently, I have to go to the back entrance of Squarespace because I'm that irrelevant on the Internet now. Like, hey, the front door is only for people who have still have a Twitter account and would never bother to follow Taye Diggs back. 

Anyway, here I am at the back entrance, and I've only kept up with my blog the way one keeps up with vacuuming the coils under one's refrigerator. FTR, one vacuums coils under the refrigerator when one's refrigerator keeps freezing all the vegetables and the refrigerator repair dude comes over and charges one $85.00 to tell one that vacuuming coils is even a thing.

Yes. I am that level of grown up now. It has been a while, Internet.

I read an article yesterday that sort of tipped me over the edge on getting back into blogging regularly. It was an article called "Can Blogs Rebuild America" on Parent Hacks which is curated by author/blogger Asha Dornfest.

(Are they still called articles? Do you still curate content? Is everyone just an "author" now? They did not give me a guidebook to terminology on the way in through that back door. All I got was shame and confusion. Like my childhood).

Asha writes about creating community once again through blogging in order to transcend social media strictures and identity lines in a way that inspires change and connection: 

I don’t think it’s unrealistic to say that if we did this [started blogging again], with the influence we have now, it could light a spark that could eventually make a difference in the state of our country. Idealistic? Yes. Naive? I don’t think so. Actually, I don’t care. America is fractured, and I’m willing to throw ideas at the wall for fixing it. Let’s bring an experimental mindset to this. Ask ourselves, what if? 

I will not kid myself into thinking that I have enough influence to make any significant impact. I am, after all, someone who just arrived through the door embarassingly marked "LEGACY PLATFORM," but I think I can make a little bit of a difference.

Like, enough of a difference.

I can maybe connect with people again without the Facebook algorithm deciding whether I make it into someone's consciousness or they make it into mine. Maybe I can be heard if the people who are listening actually WANT to listen to me. Maybe I can connect with someone who would never show up in my social media feed.

So.

::DEEEEP BREATH::.

I'm going to blog every day until November 30th.

In case you're wondering, no, I do not have time for this, and the ruminations of why I don't care about not having time in and of itself will take up about three blog posts so that's good. The writing and content over the next thirty days are going to be so baaaaad most of the time.

Pictures of the dog.

Leaves changing colors.

Family vacation.

Stupid food pictures.

Boring stuff that probably matters to, like, three other people besides my family members who are too scared to say they don't care. 

But, sometimes, it is going to be good.

And that might matter. 

 

 

Wednesday
Nov052014

Compulsory "Here's Why I Left, And Now I'm Back."

It's difficult to do something without a definite purpose. At least, for me it's difficult. 

I have no idea why I still want to type words into this space. I want someone to read them, but not lots of someones. It's been two years since I wrote in the space where lots of someone's read what I was reading. 

I'm a fan of being vulnerable, but not when I don't know why I'm doing it. From the very start, all I wanted this space to be was a place where you could find some love when you expected to find passionate stands and moral certainty. I surprise people every day with my flexibility. There are walls that tell them that I am otherwise. That I'm tough. When, really, to be misunderstood as condescending, rude or rigid is one of the few things that will actually make me cry. I think, "It's okay if you don't like me, but you have to NOT like me for the RIGHT reasons!! I am not stuck up! I don't think I'm better than you! I have a thousand real flaws and you should pick one of THOSE as your deal breaker!"

A few years ago, a few people on the Internet said some things about me. People who didn't know me or what I was about and it impacted me far more than I thought. It's not being disliked that's eviscerating to my will to write. It's being misunderstood and being judged on qualities which I do not possess. But the waslking away has left me empty. It is not just here that I've stopped writing. It's everywhere. Other than an e-mail updating a friend or a facebook comment, I no longer write.

And this is not okay because writing is part of who I am. It's time to let go of that small moment where I was misunderstood. For someone who doesn't hold grudges, it's unsightly -- dare I say pitiable -- to hold on this long. I don't know who's still here, but thanks. And I'm sorry. I shouldn't have walked away for so long. You mattered to me and I didn't even tell you why because I felt like it was a silly reason. People said mean things! They called me a racist! They said I was condescending! Rude! WAH!

But that's it. And, now, it's not it. And I'm back because I can't really not write here. It's too much of who I am and it's felt very wrong to pretend it's not.

Thursday
Sep202012

I've Been Writing. Just Not Here.

Did I mention I got a day job? I did! You are now reading the words of an assistant to a montessori elementary class. I'm having a terrific time, etc., but have been regrettably busy "assisting" and what not. 

This doesn't mean, of course, that you've lost your full access pass to all things Faiqa.

Here's me being self righteous about world hunger.

From "Children Are Starving in Africa. So, Eat That." on Babble.

“There are children starving in Africa.”

I’m not making this up. That’s exactly what she said.

The kids hadn’t finished their lunches or something. She thought they were being wasteful. With a heart full of beautiful intention, she sought to imbue them with perspective. Instead her words plunged me into a deep state of irritation and anxiety.

There are children starving in Africa.

 

And then here I am being very un-self righteous. Because consistency is for weenies. 

From "Helicopter, Free Range or Honey Boo Boo Parenting? Who Cares" also on Babble.

According to Lenore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids, I’m a negative symptom of the stranger danger campaigns of the early and mid-eighties and am hindering my children’s developing self reliance and their independent social maturity. Parents who won’t let their children ride the subway alone or play in Central Park unattended are control freaks — obsessed with their own sense of security rather than their children’s good, don’t you know?

Wait, there's more. Let me tell you about my mutha, Dr. Freud.

From "Coming Soon to a Theater Near You: I've Become My Mother":

"Even thinking about the movie The Exorcist creeps me out. Like, just now, my husband just walked into our room while I was typing this and I almost peed in my pants because I thought it was the devil. I once tried to read The Exorcist, but couldn't finish it. The book makes the movie feel like that episode of "The Cosby Show" when they sang on the staircase and Rudy was all "BAAAABY!!" Which is to say that the movie is a cake walk because every time I finished a page of the book… I almost peed in my pants because I thought the devil was under my bed.

These days I find myself living in a benign, yet twisted version of my own horror movie."

 

BUT.WAIT.

There's even MORE. 

"I just wish that I could, like, possess the body of the body of someone who does PR for Mitt Romney. I'd be like, 'So, the good news is that we have a celebrity endorsement. The bad news is that it's Nikki Minaj."

From the Hey! That's My Hummus podcast episode "Voter Registration Laws and Creationism".

That title makes it sound like creationism and the attempts at revising voter registration are somehow related... which they probably will be if some people have their way.

Anyway, it was good catching up with you.

How are YOU?

 

Wednesday
Aug082012

Not a Recap: #BlogHer2012

My first BlogHer conference was in New York City in 2010. 

I almost didn't go. The tickets were purchased and the rooms booked. My baby wasn't even a year old, though. I was still nursing him, and I thought he would be very uncomfortable without me. Truth, of course, being that I was going to be uncomfortable without him. I received an e-mail the very day I planned on canceling my travel arrangements that informed me that I would be a Voice of the Year and had also been selected to read at the Community Keynote. 

The invitation to read my post at the Keynote made me assume naively that being a Voice of the Year was going to ensure that I would be welcomed with big, warm hugs as soon as I arrived at the Hilton. This was not the case. Everyone who has gone to a blogging conference will agree with me: your first one is a mass of people looking for people and it always seems that they're looking for everyone other than you. Being lonely is terrifying and depressing. It is only exceeded in misery by being lonely in a room full of people. Of course, many people insist in response to these sentiments that every conference is "what you make of it". 

I agree… mostly.

When a new person enters a space, it's very difficult to break into existing groups. Ideally, we would walk towards a group, make eye contact with a member of the group, smile, say hi and introductions would be made fluidly and easily. Even though ideals are the measuring stick for evaluation, they are almost always a description of exceptionality. The majority of the time, our hearts lurch into our throats and we can't imagine walking up to a group of strangers and inserting ourselves into a conversation that is already in full swing. Also, nobody is making eye contact with us. Nobody is talking to us and we are standing RIGHT HERE, I mean, COME ON. 

This state of separation is not only the responsibility of the new person in the space. And the separateness doesn't have to be overcome only by them. Newbies don't always have to step outside of their conference comfort zones, and, frankly, I'm tired of people judging them for not doing it. The people who are part of the group are also basking in their comfort zone. They are also not taking the time to introduce themselves to new people… so, you know, lay off already, people.

Three years ago this month, I met Peter and Anissa Mayhew. Interestingly, Anissa and I also went to high school. She worked at an after hours coffee shop next to a night club that I practically lived at between 1995-97, too. Seriously, I think I may have paid them rent at some point. We met, however, on the Internet in 2009. She e-mailed me because we were on a group e-mail together and Adam mentioned something about high school. After a few exchanges, we figured out that we'd both attended the same high school at the same time. Unfortunately, she was a slacker and I was nerd queen, so never the paths shall cross.

I was pregnant when Anissa and I met on the Internet. She sent me a baby shower gift even though we'd never met in person. I'll never forget that. It was such a kind thing to do. It was sort of like that thing I was talking about earlier. I'd only been blogging about a year, I was standing on the outside of a group and one of the people in the group gave me a smile. Except it wasn't a group, it was the internet and it wasn't a smile, but an ill thought out nursing cover up that I never really used because after all the weight I'd gained it made me look like a five foot four giant baby in a paisley bib. But, it was a nice gift. It meant a lot. It still does.

A few months after that, Anissa had a stroke and was in a coma for several days. Her road to recovery was long and it is still not, in apparent ways, a full recovery. She was different than before, most notably she was in a wheelchair. But she started blogging again. She continued to amaze people, be popular, to own her imperfections with grace and, wow, be followed by, like, everyone.

She showed up at BlogHer three years ago this month to do a panel. It was then that  I met Anissa's husband, Peter, and he mentioned how he was nervous about speaking at a panel they had the next day about grief and loss. I told him I'd show up if he thought it would help and plus I wanted to finally meet Anissa in person. After their panel ended, I quickly introduced myself and gave her a hug. There were a lot of people wanting to meet her, so I let her move on to being gushed over by them. 

Later that night, the CheeseburgHer party was in full swing. CheeseburgHer is my favorite party -- the vibe of it is laid back and fun and everyone knows each other a little better by then. It's more relaxed. Anissa's stroke had left her sensitive to noise and light, so she was in a wheelchair at right outside the front door of the party with Pete when I arrived. At that moment, I didn't care about going into the party. At that moment, I remembered the woman who had sent me that large baby bib-slash-nursing cover and all I wanted to do was stand outside of the party with her. I wanted to be near this person even though she was on the outside because when I was on the outside of the party, she noticed me.

Three years later, my new friend is one of my dearest friends. We work together, we worry together, and, goodness, we laugh together. Anissa is the reason that I try to smile and say hi to every person I walk by at a conference. She's the reason I introduce new people to the people I know. Because you never know when you're about to start something beautiful and you never will if you don't try.

I know the traditional BlogHer post is supposed to be a recap, but this is what BlogHer and blogging is about to me. It's about people taking a genuine interest in one another. It's getting out of your own way - your expectations, your hopes, your fears, your arrogance -- and taking a chance on a new friendship.

And completely succeeding.

 

Faiqa, Anissa and Una (She's my Ethel).

 

Thursday
May172012

When It Comes to Trolls, You Always Have the Upper Hand #Blogging

Were you anything like me when you started experimenting with the Internet?

I imagined that within a few short weeks of starting a blog, I'd maybe make some friends. Then, in a year or so, I'd achieve international super stardom when my blog was deemed the best blog ever. While the verdict on being the best blog ever is a matter of debate, I'm not an international super star. At least, I don't think I am. It's possible that the hope of being given expensive Italian shoes and French designer clothes for free is limiting my definition of success.

Along with dreams of super stardom, there was another naive assumption in that I thought everybody was going to behave online as they do in the real world. By this, I mean that I thought if someone didn't agree with you, there was a 99% chance they'd just move on to another forum where the people they did agree with congregated.

Confessions of Matured Blogger

Four years later, I'm having a very difficult time not laughing hysterically at my naive assumptions. While there's definitely beauty, laughter and friendship on the Internet, levels of cruelty exist in this space that are unsurpassed when compared with the non-virtual life.

The upside of the virtual life, though, is that it offers you the opportunity to face cruelty in a controlled environment. In real life, if someone says something cruel to you, you may react the way I do. I usually start off with doubt.

"Did they really just say that?"

Then, shock. "They really DID just say that."

Doubt again. "Did you just say what I think you said?"

Anger. "Are you KIDDING? What the hell is wrong with you?"

Regret. "I should have just let that go."

All of the above occurs in less than five minutes which, of course, makes me feel even more looney toons.

You Got This

The Internet gives you an opportunity to ... (is it possible?!) stop and think before you express and, importantly, before anyone even knows you're upset. It's a modern day miracle.

For the most part, Internet trolls, known in non-virtual terms as a-holes, jerks, or bigfatSTUPIDS, are mostly unaware of the disadvantages they have in the online space. The funny thing about new bloggers is that they, too, are unaware of some of the distinct advantages they have in the online space.

Emotional distance. When someone's in your face, there's a natural instinct to react immediately. Furthermore, your face can give away a myriad of emotions that you'd rather not have your "aggressor" see. In the online space, you have time to construct a response that is value based instead of "get the hell out of my face" based. Meaning, you can react in the classiest way possible.

Blocking. How nice would it be if, in the non-virtual world, you could physically block someone as soon as garbage comes out of their mouth? I envision a large box just falling from the sky and trapping them inside long enough for me to move away from them. Don't be afraid to block people from your blog, Twitter account or Facebook account if they're being obnoxious. And don't let anyone tell you how much obnoxious you have to tolerate before you do that.

Engagement. Sometimes, it's possible that a troll isn't really a troll. More than a few times, I've come across people who are simply unaware of online etiquette. If this is the case, I may politely point out that I understand their overall point, but I don't like the way they're saying it. If it's someone I know, I might e-mail them separately. Being online gives you the advantage of conscientious construction. As opposed to, "Just shut up already, you're a moron."

La, La, La, I Can't Hear You. My absolute favorite way of dealing with a troll is pretending they don't exist. I had a friend who was being harassed by a troll and her approach was to simply skip that comment while replying to others. It was terrific. I think the worst thing you can do to a troll is act like they don't exist.

Always Be You. The Best, Kindest, Most Awesome Version of You.

I'm sure there are more strategies and advantages that can be shared in the comments here, and I invite everyone to share how they deal with trolls - whether they appear on Facebook, Twitter, on blogs or under bridges. I do want to leave you with this, though: the manner in which you react in both virtual and non-virtual situations is always up to you. Your reaction is ultimately a statement of internal beliefs and values. Don't let some troll tell you who you are.

Unless who you are is someone who is getting free designer Italian shoes. Which would be awesome.


Photo Credit

Speaking of dialogue (wait, what?), we've resumed recording Hey! That's My Hummus!. This week, we discussed that six year old kid that got suspended for singing LMFAO and the concept of "brown" face. If you're not subscribed on iTunes, you can stream the audio directly from our site.