Because It Needs To Be Said

Social Media and Blogging Blog Nosh Magazine {Originally published on Okay. Fine. Dammit.}

One of my best friends lived for some time with her great aunt in the finest home in which I have ever set foot.

It’s not that it was a mansion or anything, although I suspect by some definitions it was. Auntie was a wealthy woman, advanced in age and experience, and the widow of a founder of a large grocery store chain. Her home was modern, tucked like a jumbo gumdrop on the curved cul-de-sac window of an elaborate gingerbread-home-neighborhood in a wealthy Minnesotan suburb. From the outside it looked like your average run-of-the-mill parade home, as cookie-cutter and interchangeable as any McMansion. On the inside, it was anything but.

At the time, back in 1997, Dave and I were newlyweds and we had just purchased our first house. It was large, and fine, and I was utterly intimidated by it. When I went to visit my friend I had lived in my new home for several months, but the overwhelming majority of my belongings were still packed in boxes. I was so afraid that I would ruin my beautiful new house with my silly, shabby, adolescent stuff. I used to walk through the door of my own home and feel like an uninvited guest, or worse, like the girl invited out of pity, out of place among my fancy, rich, important peers. The modest apartment we’d moved from may have had sloping floors and a two foot gash through the front screen door, but it was home. It didn’t make me feel inferior, unworthy.

Auntie’s house changed my life. Even all these years later, I still recognize and honor the impact. I don’t know how to describe the decor, and that’s the point; She didn’t follow a single rule. She didn’t care what you thought, or how you defined her. She was patently original.

There was an entire room devoted to her ethnic roots, wallpapered in the colors and traditions of her home flag. There was art everywhere, and mostly in unexpected places – like above the dog bowl, or sideways and at eye-level next to the couch where you might like to lie. There were books everywhere, and places to sit and dream at every turn. Each room was markedly different. My favorite room, the one my friend set aside for me to sleep in, was wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling pictures of nude pinups from the 1920s and 30s, a mosaic of unabashed, unapologetic beauty in a long-gone era when that would have been considered especially daring. I fell asleep to dreams of women who felt no fear, no tethers, no stifling mandate to fit themselves into box after box built by others. Nothing in that house matched, and yet as a whole it formed the most appealing thing I have ever seen. I went home after that trip and unpacked every last one of my boxes. I made my house my own.

I’ve read so many posts lately by people searching for their voices, reaching to define themselves and their places in the ‘blogosphere.’ So many are on hiatus, planned or unplanned, or they’re feeling uncertain about what to say next. So many are worried about how they’ll be perceived. Some are worried about popularity, about contests and lists and rankings. Others are worried about hiding their moods, about alienating their readers by being funnier than they’ve come to expect, or more depressed than they’ve come to expect, or basically altogether different than who they think their readers think they are. I’ve been there a hundred times myself. I hate writing “About Me” synopses or pulling out for you my most definitive posts. I don’t think there are any. I don’t want to meet anyone else’s definition. I don’t want to fit neatly into any Technorati tag.

If I could have one wish for you bloggers (and me) in the new year it would be to release yourselves from these shackles that never existed. Don’t worry if you go a week or two or three or nine without posting. Don’t apologize, or explain. Don’t read blogs you don’t want to read. Don’t comment to build your own traffic. Don’t write words mimicking the voices of other bloggers you think have got it made. Don’t post obligatory anythings. Hang each post upon the walls of your space and don’t worry about whether or not it matches the hangings around it. If you are being honest and true to yourself only, the entire thing will speak for itself. It will be its own mosaic of unabashed, unapologetic beauty.

I wish for you all a brave, authentic 2009.

Editor’s Pick by Megan Jordan from Velveteen Mind:  Maggie is a writer’s writer.  She is also, and I can’t lie here, a favorite go-to of Blog Nosh Magazine.  The first time we published her, we were still relatively new and hadn’t noticed that she was on a bit of a blogging hiatus.  As such, we dragged her kicking and screaming out of it…  and she’s never looked back.  (This, Noshers, is why I am a huge fan of the blogging hiatus.)  It was no surprise that this post popped into mind while I was thinking of what would be a good complement to today’s Nosh Notes.  Subscribe, dammit, and be sure to follow Maggie on twitter.

Maggie is more than just a powerful writer.  She is a powerful advocate.  In addition to her personal blog, Okay. Fine. Dammit., Maggie recently launched Violence Unsilenced, a site “created with the sole intention of shedding light on the epidemics of domestic violence and sexual assault by giving their survivors a voice.”  It deserves your ear, if not your hand.

Comments Closed

7 Comments to “Because It Needs To Be Said”

  1. Megan, I love you. You are amazing and wonderful and awesome.


  2. mrlady says:

    I loved this post. I loved the one she posted right after it, too. Maggie rocks because she is, above all things, humble. She’s real…just who she is, no pretense. Great pick, Megan!

  3. adam says:

    so glad to be directed here from @northernchick (did I just miss the point?). I can’t wait to finish decorating my house AND my blog with these thoughts in mind. thanks.

  4. Mel Menzies says:

    Of course now, I hardly dare admit it, you’ve ruined my spontaneous comment and replaced it with a self-regarding, guilty attempt at pretence because how can I now not wonder if I’ll be perceived (perhaps accurately, who knows) as someone who is commenting merely to bring more traffic to my website? I have no alternative now but to go off and sulk. And anyone reading this will simply have to wipe it from their minds, because of course it isn’t really here – any more than the posts I try to do daily (and fail) are there.

    Oh well. At least I can sulk in my own voice. And you can’t tell me otherwise. Chins up! :-) ))) All of them.

  5. Nithya says:

    This is exactly what a new blogger needs to hear. Throw out the rules and be you. Perfect.

    Thanks, Maggie.

    Nithyas last blog post..How jump starting your car can have a profound effect on your view of life

  6. @Mel Menzies: The way I *WISH* I’d written that sentence is, “Don’t comment JUST to get traffic.” We all comment to build community, to get people to come and see what we’re saying, too. Nothing wrong with that. I was talking about the people who really could care less what you’re saying, and are ONLY commenting to get people to come visit their island.


    maggie, dammits last blog post..Thursday

  7. Sugar Jones says:

    Oh… after the title and the first line, I totally remembered this post! One of my fave Maggie Dammit posts. Loved the idea of having my own ME house when I’m an old auntie or granny. Something that just screams SUGAR!!

    That’s what I hope for my blog. My ME house of today. I want it to scream “This is the house that Sugar built! You are welcome to come inside and sit for a spell. But if for some reason, you don’t like it, don’t look. I won’t mind. I’m busy being Sugar.”

    That’s a whole lotta screamin’!!

    Sugar Joness last blog post..My Un-Lent Plan