The Daily News

LFCA Latest Issue: Friday, September 25, 2009.

Latest Post on BlogHer: Parenting after Infertility.

My Status: Fed Josh's almonds to the squirrels. They needed them very badly.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Crash

Some people reading this may become very confused if you've missed the comments and posts on various blogs this weekend. I apologize, but you can either skip this post if you have no clue what I'm talking about a few paragraphs in, or you can keep reading. It's really up to you.

A while back, Tash had a thought on her blog that went: "the only people reading my blog for a while were those googling things like 'cat liver problems' and oddly getting plopped into my life." Movies like Grand Canyon try to explore the ways in which we crash into each other, how we enter each other's lives. And more importantly, why.

The Internet didn't create the concept of crashing into each other; it only enlarged it. Now, without leaving my home, I can crash into people, hundreds an hour. Or they can crash into me. My blog is a sliver of my life, translated into words, and so if you read it, you are also connecting with a part of me.

I have often thought about what I write and how my words could affect someone Googling and finding me for the first time (or, anyone who reads me regularly for that matter). Sometimes I get the words right on the first try. Other times, I need to have someone tell me how they read my words to fully understand how they could help or hurt. And I have certainly thought long and hard before I've run full steam ahead with an idea, though it may seem as if I didn't pause at all. An example came recently with the life coach who offered sessions in exchange for ad space. I turned over the sessions to someone in the community instead of using them because my right sidebar is my gleanable space. But I really sat with that decision a long time because I wondered what my responsibility would be. What if the person who took the sessions had a terrible time? What if it was emotionally damaging? It wasn't--the person told me it was very helpful and I had a huge sigh of relief.

Crashing into one another brings with it responsibility. That responsibility needs to be kept in check--I can't be everything for everyone--but it does need to be noted. It is a fine balance: I am upset when I hear that someone feels I didn't respond as they wanted me to respond or that they felt slighted. At the same time, I am human and fallible and have limited amounts of time. So, it is a balance, though I am mindful of the responsibility even as I keep it in check. It is sort of like carrying water--it can be done, but only so much, and carried so far.

I was not going to write outside that post about the comments that unfolded on the emotional fraud on the Internet post but it has reached a point where I feel like even with keeping it from its own post, it has grown so large and spread so far that I'm not sure if anything is lost or gained by discussing it.

An anonymous comment was left on the post that asked a valid question. I answered it as best I could. She asked follow up questions and I answered them as well, and in doing so, found something that could help me do this better next time, if there was ever going to be a next time. And I state this to everyone considering asking the community to crash into each other's lives: troubleshoot. I wish now that I had emailed every donater directly rather than posting on the LFCA and having Vee post on her blog. I assumed back in March that when no one stepped forward, that everyone had read it and was fine with it. I really wish now that I had sent out an email too and apologize to everyone who participated who didn't see the change in plan or why the plan changed.

The comments lead to hurt feelings. People love Vee and Max intensely--they have both been blogging for a long time--and added their words in their defense. People love Kathy (the anonymous commenter who revealed herself on her blog) intensely--she donated her leftover embryos recently to another blogger who is currently pregnant--and added their words in her defense. And then, to bypass the trouble of any of the trainwreck sites from declaring my comment box on that post a trainwreck, I'll just state it for them. It became a trainwreck that hurt many feelings. And for that, I am truly sorry--to Vee, Max, and Kathy--and to all who walked away feeling scorched from this.

Wiseguy--who is much wiser than wiseguyish--had a parable on her blog that really put into perspective for me why Niobe's post that I wrote about for the post in mention affected me for so long. Because while I consider myself fairly circumspect and cautious on one hand, I also know that I embrace people without question the moment they figuratively knock on my email or blog door. I think you need to read the parable in order to understand why I felt the need to respond to this at all because it applies in two ways to this post. I'll wait until you come back to say this next thought.

It is certainly scary to think about opening up your heart to another person and having them take advantage of your trust. It is equally scary to think about how we could ignore a person in need because we are so skeptical--so sure that everyone poses a possible threat that we see all people as an actual threat. Because that was certainly happening for me as I read Niobe's post and considered the enormity of trust that needs to occur when forming relationships from afar and over a medium such as the computer. I haven't been disappointed yet--I have made amazing friends and met wonderful people and have only had good experiences. And yet, perhaps because I had heard of how the horse had been deceitfully taken away (I told you to read the parable!), I started to think that all people were looking to get my steed even when no one had really asked for anything more than directions. I was starting to not trust anyone and that is not who I am.

And so, the only cure for me is to write it out and also take a step back to find my balance, breathe, and refocus.

I want to state a final apology to Vee, Max, and Kathy and to everyone who had their feelings hurt by this incident. I'm not sure the way forward except for everyone who read the post and what followed to take a step back, find balance, breathe, and refocus.

I considered closing the comments for this post, but I didn't because doing so felt too much like sticking tape over a mouth. Or, at the very least, taping together your fingers. Therefore, I leave them open so you can speak your mind, though I've closed the comments on the post discussed. My one request is this: that before you type anything, you think about the grave responsibility we have when we crash into each other's lives. I will delete any comments that involve name-calling, that fan the flames, or are pure vitrol. And, of course, in saying that, also admit that I am imperfect and may leave something up that you wish I had taken down or vice versa. But alas, I own that too.

A good rule of thumb would be to write a comment that reflects your own feelings rather than talking about another person.

I will also readily admit that I need to step back in order to get work accomplished. I lost too much time on Friday and I'm behind with a deadline. I also think it would be good for me to literally find my breathing space by stepping away from email for a day or two. So I apologize in advance if you email me directly to discuss this and I don't email you back for a bit. Or email me about anything. Because I will not be online a lot and when I am, I will most likely be catching up with reading the Show & Tell posts.

25 comments:

LJ said...

I don't want to imagine what my life would be like without having crashed into you. I know you. I. Know. You. The good, the bad, the sensitive. Okay, not the bad, because really? You don't have a bad bone in you.

You are amazing. You are the essence and definition of love. You make things happen, you bring people together. As shy as you are, you - YOU are the reason I know 30 of the most amazing women on the planet.

I am so sorry you are hurting, and I know how you take it all to heart. Know that for each prick of the rose you feel, I will shower you with 20 times that in petals.

Parenthood For Me said...

As someone who started a not for profit to help raise money for those undergoing ART or adoption, I am reminded that cynicism is embedded in our brains due to people getting scammed for causes they thought were worthy and legitimate. I think it sucks that often times people in need are overlooked because we cannot trust people. I face this as founder of a non profit. My biggest job right now is creating and proving legitmacy because I know that it may be difficult for me to get donations from complete strangers.
Mel's post was eye opening and informative. I will now be more careful when reading certain blogs and posts and when I receive emails from strangers seeking my help. I do not like that I have to be this guarded when I am generally a very trusting person, but the fact is that there are people out there committing fraud.
I also want to state that Mel's work for the ALI community is outstanding and quite frankly inspiring to me on a daily basis. I started my non profit before finding Stirrup Queens but ever since my computer landed on this site, I have turned to it as a source for building my non profit and reputation and I certainly wouldn't do that if I felt in any way that I was entrusting myself to someone who is not genuine.
Mel, you are wonderful. You keep me going. As I mentioned to you once before I consider you a mentor as I continue down the path of volunteerism and hope to simply help those that need to be supported.

Queenie. . . said...

I LOVE that parable.

Truthfully, I think this is all much ado about very little. People can have differences of opinion about how situations can and should be handled (look at parenting!). There is no perfect, right, one-size-fits-all solution every time. It doesn't make anyone a bad person--nor should it make anyone feel bad--that they might have made or preferred a differnet choice. You did the best you could at the time. Maybe you wouldn't do it the same again. But that's just LIFE.

And let's keep this in perspective. You did a good thing for some other human beings. Some other human beings had a good, positive experience as a result of you reaching out to them. And THAT is what really matters at the end of the day.

angrycanrn said...

Mel, you do a great job as always. I will miss you. I'm sorry if my initially innocent question hurt you but thank you for being gracious enough to pretend you learned something from it.
I confess I didn't keep up with blog posts after my aneurysm incident. The fault was mine, as I continued to try to explain myself and only managed to fan the flames.

Good luck with the book and best wishes.

CJ said...

It's sad when misunderstanding breeds bad blood between good people. (Wow, try to say that five times fast!)

The internet makes it all the more likely, when we can't hear people's inflections or see their faces, and the psuedo-anonymity makes it easier for things to get nasty.

You handled this perfectly, Mel.

Kristin said...

I feel so bad for everyone invlved. It seems like a lot of really good people (including you) got hurt and I wish I could make it all better.

battynurse said...

I have seen most of the posts and some of the comments. It makes me sad that this all became so big and so hurtful for some.
The parable is a good thing to keep in mind I think and I think it's also important many times to slow down when reacting. Not always easy to do.
I hope your step back helps you in feeling better about the situation.
Know that I too am one of those people who thinks of myself as incredibly blesed to have you crash into my life and all those I've crashed into through you. Hugs to you Mel.

MrsSpock said...

“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”

Albert Schweitzer

Dora said...

PLEASE, EVERYONE! JUST STOP!

I've sent emails, but have publicly stayed out of this until now. My heart is breaking for all involved.

(If guilt will help, this isn't good for my baby!)

Faereyluna said...

I recently "crashed" into this site after having "crashed" into Vee's site. I am glad I crash-landed where I did because it is a great site to crash into.

I can say that you and Vee both do a good job of keeping it real. I hope you continue to keep it real anything watered down would be unfair to you because after all this is YOUR site and if people don't like how you feel or what you what you say or their feelings get hurt, they get hurt, and they need to move on, and you should not be forced to change a thing about you for the sake of others. Only change because you want to do it for yourself because you want to improve upon yourself.

I understand that you feel bad that feelings are hurt and it is your compassion that is part of your charm. You did not intend for people to be hurt by the things that happened. You did not force them to open your blog and read your post, you did not force them to make their own interpretations, you did not force them to post a comment. They did that themselves and in the process their interpretations and comments hurt others. That is in no way your fault.

I find it admirable that you at least looked back at yourself and found where you could improve.

Self enlightenment rarely comes without turmoil that precedes it. How else would we learn to grow if we water down who we are for fear of stomping on someone else's rose garden. Some times we need our rose gardens stomped on so that we can learn something about ourselves.

I'm not saying that you should throw caution to the wind all the time but the fact is that this is YOUR site and we are visitors and if our feelings get hurt from something on it, it is our fault and not yours.

If our feelings get hurt then we should all be responsible and take a step back and ask ourselves why we were hurt BEFORE we post comments. If in the end you come to conclusion that seems reasonable then you should post.

If you are a poster and are posting a comment and you get some backlash and you don't understand why, you should go back and re-read your post and maybe evaluate what you can improve on.

In the end we all need to be adults and take responsibility for our actions and the best way to do that is to apologize then spend some time looking at where you could improve on yourself.

You have been a good role to us in the self improvement department and we should all take notes from you. Even though you are blameless in this weekends debacle, you still stood up and took responsibility, apologized and spent time in self reflection and came up with ways to improve on yourself.

Kudos to you. We need more people like you in the world.

Best,
-Adela

CreoleInDC said...

*sigh* You are one of the most positive people I "know" and it bothers me that this situation hurt you. I am also bothered by someone thinking you were "...gracious enough to pretend you learned something..."

I often wonder if people understand the power of energy and how it affects our Universe but I guess some people just don't believe in being good first and letting the chips fall as they may.

I'm of the mind that I'm going to do what is in my heart to do and if it turns out that I've been misled...no biggie. Why? Because I did what was in my heart and my blessings will show this.

I'm actually REALLY upset by this now as I know you're not the type of person this type of speculation should touch. Wow. Just...wow.

*sigh*

Thank you for being such a lovely person always. I have always felt you were the type of person I wish everyone would strive to emulate.

I'm going to stop now because I'm evil too and my evil azz really wants to cuss now. I'm SERIOUSLY annoyed by this.

Heather said...

This is one great example of why I have such a love/hate relationship with the internet.

nh said...

I think a problem that we all struggle with is one of only 'partial communication'. We limit ourselves by not being able to see expressions. We limit our words. And so we limit ourselves and our ability to understand what others are trying to say.

We have a community, with a lot of common understanding. But as with any relationship there are going to be misunderstandings. I live in the UK - there are things that seem normal to me, that will be totally beyond belief to someone in the US. Even our common language, isn't.

Remember the good that has been done. That to me outweighs anything else. We all have something to offer to someone else, and we should celebrate that.

As I have said before I started my blog for me - as I way for me to cope. But I am in awe of the community that is hear in the blogosphere.

And Mel - the amazing things that you do mean that everyone who crosses your path has a reason to be thankful.

serenity said...

I'm just sad that there were so many hurt feelings over something that really shouldn't have gotten this big. Like Kristin, I just want to FIX it.

xxx

angrycanrn said...

I think my leaving, in a permanent fashion will go a long way to FIXING the issue.

And that is the plan.

Best wishes to all.

Dramalish said...

Mel.

I sit in awe of you. How can you handle stuff like this with such practical grace? Please know that I am forever thankful for the crashing of my world with this community that you have worked so hard to build.

Thank you.

Geohde said...

After reading this post, I went back and read the involved bloggers.

Feelings were hurt on all sides it seems, which is sad. But everybody meant well, and that's something I love about this community.

g

Lorza said...

I have just been getting caught up with all my blogs, and this is new to me. First off I love the parable. Awesome.

Second- I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't crashed into all of you. Just b/c I crashed into you doesn't give me the right to tell you how to arrange your groceries in the back seat.
I am of the FIRM belief that a blog is person's little bit of their world. If you don't like something- click off.

Unfortunately blogs and the internet in general are still attached to real live breathing humans and all the problems there of. You still get all the emotions- good and bad. The bad I dont' really understand b/c JUST CLICK THE X ALREADY!

I honestly still don't really know what is going on- but I hope that you keep up the good work. So many lives are touched b/c of you Mel.

Lorza said...

TOTALLY unrelated- but I think I am going to keep the book. Maybe I will put it on my coffee table for a conversation starter. I think it will bring me much enjoyment in the years to come...but not for the reasons the authors wrote it. I am still super exicted to get your book. :)

Soralis said...

Sorry to hear that you are hurting. I think that you are an inspiration.

Take care

Ms. Perky said...

I love you. I can't imagine my life without you in it.

That is all.

Christy said...

I, for one, am intensely glad that I crashed into you. Which, in turn, led to me crashing into so many of my many bloggy buddies. For that, I am forever grateful. I'd also like to point out, I have never met a more genuinely thoughtful (and I mean that in the truest manner . . . FULL of thought) person on or off line. As such, I'm not likely to question your decisions or motives for anything you do.

I'm so sorry that you are hurting so much over this. I wish I could take it all away. Just remember all of the hundreds of people your thoughtful words help each and every day. Just remember all of the people you have brought together in support and friendship. I will.

Lori said...

Angrycanrn: I disagree. The internet is not a better place without you. Our community is not a better place without you.

We are elastic enough to weather this intact, aren't we?

Anonymous said...

Hi.
I am not really a blogger. I am a fellow infertile who has checked out Mel’s site a few times for advice, but that is pretty much my experience in this world. I also lurked on your blog for a short while many months ago. Last week I spontaneously looked over Mel’s site a little more closely and found this whole controversy surrounding Angrycanrn and everyone else. I then jumped over to Vee’s site and read the post about it all. Imagine how appalled I was at this first major experience with all of you.


I know the wonderful story of you and Angrycanrn well because I have been fortunate enough to be “AC’s” IRL friend for many years. We have seen each other thru a lot of very bad times. She is truly the most kind and generous person I know, despite going thru a lot of (excuse my French) fucked-up stuff. Watching so many people write so harshly to her and about her was heart wrenching for me, as I am sure it has been for you. She has given SO MUCH of herself to this community: her support, her time, her story, even her money---and that is not even mentioning what she has given to you. It is tragic that she has been driven out of this community by this chain of events. Yes, I know she said some harsh things too, but what do you expect when you all blasted her so hard—and most of you with a pretty limited knowledge of the major events?!!



So after I read all that I mentioned above, I jumped over to your blog to read your take on the whole thing. And I see nothing. Nothing. You have a unique perspective on all of this and yet you remain silent. I find that no less than astounding and really quite insulting. You utter not a word publicly to defend someone who gave you one of the greatest gifts in the world? That little life growing inside you. A gift utterly and completely without strings. One where she sacrificed her own dream of a final FET so that you would have the BEST chance at conceiving. You more than anyone know her generosity and her soul and you are going to sit idly by while she is hung out to dry??? While she thinks her only recourse is to give up the community she is such a big part of???? You don't get to sit this one out because you are pregnant and you don't want to upset the baby---it is because of her that you are pregnant at all. Grow a set and defend your friend. Shame on you! Are you really going to know her the way you do and keep silent?



Thank you for the opportunity to put in my two cents. I hope you will share this comment with your community and maybe also something from your heart.



Sincerely,

Friend of Angrycanrn
Ps. If anyone has comments, I can be reached at friendoftheangry at yaho.o.

birdsandsquirrels said...

Somehow I missed checking back to read the comments on this post.

Angrycanrn, if you are still out there reading, please know that I am deeply saddened that you were receiving death threats and horrible emails, and that you felt you had no choice but to delete your blog. I know you commented here that you felt that deleting your blog would go a long way towards fixing the problem, but I respectfully disagree. Your voice is important in this community, your story is amazing, you are generous and kind, and this whole thing just snowballed into a huge huge mess of misunderstandings and hurtful things being said.

I left a comment of support for Vee and Max, because I care about them too, but I was unable to leave one for you because you deleted your blog and have said your email will be unmonitored. I did not post about the situation on my blog because I didn't want to fan the flames, and I did not want to take sides, as I care about all parties involved, but from the comments on Dora's blog, I guess you and your friend have taken that to mean a lack of support. My point in posting here (as there really is no other appropriate venue to discuss this at this point), is to say that there are a bunch of us that care about you and support you, despite not further fanning the flames by posting about it.

It horrifies me that you have been chased away from this community. There is room here for everyone. There is room for disagreement. I wish you would restart your blog. If you would feel safer, perhaps you could go invite only...