Friday, April 17, 2009

Just The Way You Are

"Don't imagine you're too familiar, and I don't see you any more."

You gotta love Billy Joel.

A few posts back I pointed out that I have always had the privelege of being surrounded by smart, gifted, and above all KOOKY women. I don't know how I manage to attract people of that ilk. Must be my shampoo.

And one of the things I observed was that the comments you leave after my posts almost always reflect your having sort of 'jumped on board' whatever loony train of thought I had chuggin' down the tracks, and how fun it is to see that happen.

I write a post using fake scriptures, you comment in fake scripture lingo. I write a post starting with "Don't you hate it when..." and all your comments start with -- say it with me -- "Don't you hate it when..." I write a post composed of whatever random debris I find lying around my psyche -- like the loose change and hairbrushes one might find way down in the mental couch cushions -- and your comments are all equally quirky and random!

Too dang funny!

Now, I am not a blogging savant like Kristina, who, I have on other occasions speculated, is actually the control specimen from which a zillion blogging, researching, and above all COMMENTING clones have been spawned. She assures me she comes in peace, but when did Captain Picard ever trust a bloggy alien in a blue Snuggie? The answer is NEVER!

And that's how he kept the galaxy safe for democracy and reality television.

But my point is not to aggravate Kristina, for whom I have nothing but admiration and whose slave I am as long as she and her Snuggie-with-the-alien-hole-cut-out-of-it promise to eat me last.

No, aggravating Kristina is just a happy coincidence.

My POINT is --hang on, I need to read what I've written so far; I think I've forgotten my point -- hmm hmm Billy Joel yadda yadda kooky commenters uh huh uh huh couch cushions yeah yeah Kristina is totally gonna kick my small domesticated farm animal -- OH YEAH!

My POINT is, I don't get a hundred gazillion comments on my posts. If I get in the teens I host a small celebratory gathering, complete with hors d'oeuvres. The 20s, it becomes a catered dinner party. The 30s, a luau complete with roast pig, ukulele-ists and hula dancers. (They're the entertainment; I don't roast them.)

Well, wouldn't you just know it. After five months and 50 posts ranging from thoughts on authentic living to speculation on how ancient Israelite women handled their week o' rage, from the dark mists of depression to the glorious light of the Atonement, from the mountains to the prairies to the oceans white with foam -- in short, after 50 separate and distinct essays covering the wide spectrum of human experience, the first post to ever receive more than 40 COMMENTS... the one on falling down in front of other people.

And of course, in keeping with the time-honored tradition of Guests of the Backordered Life, you all told the most hysterical stories of when YOU fell down in public.

Oh. My. Word. I haven't laughed so hard in a long, long time. If you get a minute, go back and just read the comments. They trump my post. In spades.

So. What does Billy Joel have to do with all of this? Well, I'll tell ya.

I lost a follower today.

And it felt just like it feels when you glance across the room in time to see that one friend -- the quiet one who has been by your side for years, who is bar none the most loyal and trustworthy and proven friend in the place -- slip away from you and your new, popular pals, and leave the party early.

Especially since, I am ashamed to say, I couldn't actually tell you which follower left. I would like to think, if I went to that list and looked, there would be a her-shaped hole, and I'd know immediately who it was that decided she wasn't having fun any more.

So, I just wanted to take a minute, you know, a break from all the laughing and story-telling and general feminine mayhem that is the typical order of the day pretty much anywhere I go, to tell all of you...

Thank you.

Thank you for stopping by and investing a little of yourself and your gifts and your heart in making the time we spend together so joyful, so edifying. So fun.

Thank you for reading and responding, encouraging and supporting, lifting and loving this almost complete stranger whom most of you only know from the time we spend laughing together in my virtual den.

I try to visit every new follower's blog at least once. I want to know you, what you're about, what brings you to that computer and compels you to put yourself out there for the rest of us to, well, more than anything, to notice.

I look forward to hearing from you, every day. I love reading your blogs, too. Many of you are more than virtual pals; I feel like we have trusted each other beyond what may even be sensible, and carved out a place in our lives for a new, different kind of relationship with someone we may never meet in the outside world.

Don't imagine you're too familiar, and I don't see you any more.

I see you. I really do.

Especially when you fall down the stairs, off the stage, on the ice, in the ocean, through the attic...


Kristina P. said...

First, we are literally talking about Billy Joel at work right now. How weird is that?

My German coworker was just saying that she thinks he's really cool and smart, but he's not hot so she wouldn't marry him. This conversation is going on in the background, right now.

And second, I will let you in on a little secret. I lose a follower probably every 2 days. No joke. And then I gain one or two or three that week. This happens weekly. Blogging is fickle, and I don't let it get to me anymore.

tammy said...

The posts I have second thoughts on and almost delete, always end up being the ones that get the most comments.

I lost a follower the other day too, right after I got political. But then I gained three more so I'm still happy. I'm actually just amazed that there are people following me in the first place. You know, besides my mom.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I never even knew those were the lyrics, but I like them.

I'm not even a real "follower," but I read every single one of your posts. At least once. Sometimes again with a Urim and Thummim. (kidding.)

And I was delighted in twilight zonish kind of way of the breakdown of your comment numbers celebration scale because it's exactly what mine would look like if I wrote it out.

And (gosh, you've solicited a swarm of comments from me today), when my blog was still young and had thin skin, I nervously posted an entry that included a picture of me unshowered and talked about how gross I look most of the time. That day, my statcounter went through the roof. I was mortified. Who were these people and where were they coming from?! I almost pulled that post about 12 times that day. But I told myself to get over it, and I did. And I was shocked at the kindness strangers showed when they could have easily said, "Yep, you DO look ugly. Get it together girl."

In short (a little too late for that, isn't it?),I'm so glad I "met" you. Really.

InkMom said...

I think if I had 40 comments on one post I might have a heart attack. Seriously. I'm feeling pretty good about myself if I have 40 comments . . . total, on 4 different posts!

You're awesome, my friend. We know it. You may not know it, but you are. Your comments are always my favorite ones to read because they are actually relevant and substantive. I would rather get one really great comment that adds to what I've already written, and makes me think about things a little more, than 17 that say nothing. That's why I never comment with . . . fluff, because I think all the other writers out there deserve more than one-word feedback. I hope I haven't offended anyone here.

I think one of the greatest things about blogging is being upstaged on your own stage. So, thanks for letting us upstage you! I expect you to return the favor frequently.

Your addition to the blogosphere filled a big empty hole. Kooky, yes. But who isn't?

SO said...

I love Billy Joel. And you crack me up. I'm sorry you lost a follower. It's their loss.

Hel said...

DeNae.... I am secretly very pleased with myself for being one of your first five followers.

As I have watched the number of "followers" climb in your sidebar (which I knew would inevitably happen) I wondered if you would be able to keep up with each and every one of them. And now I know. You are incredible to be able to do that.

Just so you know... when I lost TWO followers in one day, I thought I stank. It turns out the two of them were rearranging their blogs and came back after a week. Didn't stop me from some serious self doubt in that week, though.

The family said...

What a fun post. I am here( waving) usually I lurk but today I decided to let my self be known. I lost a follower once and it really bothered me in a weird sort of way. Later she came back - I guess she was switching her blog over to a new format. DOnt worry your follower will return too =0)

Shawn said...

Lucky you! I freakin wet myself if I get 20 comments!!

And I don't really know how to stop being a follower---is that possible?

How does one do that?

Not that I want to in your case....(clearing my throat)

MommyJ said...

Your take on losing a follower is much more heartfelt than mine was... I wrote about it a month or so ago. It let to me truly defining my internet self... deciding what I wanted to focus on and all that other reflective stuff. It sounded good in words, but it still totally sucked to have someone break up with me, you know?

I LOVE meeting kooky women. I have a new friend, like an actual, lives in my town, gets together for lunch friend that has been so fun, as of late, to get to know. My husband just said the other day, "I'm so glad you met Valerie... I know you guys will be great friends cause she's just as nutty as you are."

It warmed my heart to be complimented so. Thing is, he's totally right. And we have SO much fun together. I think I would have fun with you too.

I think I'm calling you nutty right back there. But nutty and kooky are so close to being the same thing, I don't think you'll be insulted. :)

myimaginaryblog said...

I think I already said this somewhere else, but I'm a fairly recent reader who came because your comments elsewhere were so funny.

(But I don't follow. I mean, I do follow, but I don't use the following thing to show that I'm following. (Follow?) I think it's because of some sort of deep inner pride, but I'm unwilling to bother to root it out of my bosom.)

(Wow, you do bring out the kooky in me. It's so nice to be kooky and fit in.)

Sarah Jane said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melanie J said...

I didn't realize I wasn't already following. Shame on me.

And the smartest thing I ever did was move my follower thing further down on my sidebar so I have to scroll really far to find it and now I almost never see it. I did that two weeks ago and I've felt much better ever since. I have no idea how many followers I have right now but the number changes so rarely that it doesn't really matter. I go up one, down one, whatever. I'm so much happier not thinking about it but I'm not quite ready to move the widget completely. I'll get there. With therapy and interventions.

Melanie J said...

I meant REmove the widget completely. I just said that I moved it. It's so late. Must go sleepies.

But I really like you. Just so you know.

Loretta Valenta said...

Being sort of new to blogging (since Sept 08) I guess I didn't realize the trauma of losing followers...maybe you have to HAVE followers to appreciate the slam it is to someone's self esteem. Guess that tells you I have no followers! Well, okay...I have 5! Maybe I should check to see if I STILL have 5..... :P

Mallory said...

I think the most comments I have ever had on a most is 8. I will follow you forever, because you challenge my bladder control with every post.

Lisa Loo said...

After I read this I had to go back and look at your followers list. 70??!! Holy leathered hoofed beast Batman---you are packing 'em in!!! Just remember that I was in your 1st 10---REMEMBER!!!

I remember the 1st time I lost a follower--I was devestated--then I went to see who it was and I couldn't even tell who was missing! So I decided maybe I was attaching a little too much of my self esteem to my blog--silly me. I amy or may not have then written down the name of every one of my followers and hung it on my bulletin board.

AS Amber said...

Why are people conspiring against us??? I lost a follower yesterday, too! Jerks.

I just went back and read our cousin and aunt's falling down stories and yeah...that's some funny crap!

I just thought you should know that yours is my most favorite blog to read. I'll be your most loyal follower FOREVER!! Love ya!

aunt dyanne said...

Gosh - I think myself and my next door neighbor are my only followers...

and comments.... I think my high is 6. and that was because the "poll" stopped working and a couple people wanted to vote more than once to up the ante.

Do I stink or what?

Lucy said...

Well, I for one, love you blog and look forward to the posts. I even loved this one. And is a strange feeling when you see blog followers have jumped off. Two of mine have plus that other one of a few weeks ago. Does that mean three now? Oh who knows. I have to keep reminding myself I'm not trying to be 'popular'. I tried that in high school and it didn't work there either. I just like to write things and save pictures and LOVE meeting new friends and having them drop by. That's the icing.

Lara said...

Be proud. It took me 2 years of blogging to get up to about 10 comments per post, and another 2 years to get where I am now. Which is basically where you are. You have an amazing gift. And we love you.

When I lose a follower, I just tell myself that they still read, they just don't understand the way following works. :)

wendy said...

Can you see me now?? That was one of the reasons I took off my follower thingy majiggy (authentic computer talk) cause I have relationship issues and "breaking up is hard to do" so it's best I don't know who reads and leaves. I AM NOT A READ AND LEAVE KINDA GAL

Launi said...

"Be brave, little piglet..." you will likely be gaining more followers this very moment. I sorta, kinda thought I was following in a cheap, hap-hazard fashion. I scurry out this very minute and sign up for the full package quick-as-a-tick.
Hey you don't by any chance give Ginsu knives with every sign up, do you? I've misplaced mine.
You slay me.

Lydia said...

As a new blogger I am still at the did I get ant hits today that weren't family? stage.

I love to read your post, thanks for brightening my day.

Jessica said...

I chose not to put a follower button for fear that I'd have so few that I'd feel embarrassed and all those horrid Jr. High memories would come back to me. I don't really get many comments more that you or Brooke anyway. That issue is touchy enough.

Just to be funny, I am thinking about finding random blogs and "following" them for a week or so and then "breaking up" leaving that bitter and questioning feeling in their mouths. Oh, maybe I shouldn't have written that... it would be fun in a mean kind of way. :)

Loralee and the gang... said...

Sometimes I will take a blog out of the google reader by hitting the 'stop following' button - and it's painful, but I do it, because I have moved that blog to my bloglist on my sidebar. A definite Step Up, in my book. I do this because it drives me crazy to go to the G. reader and see all the posts that I have already read via my Bloglist, where I can immediately see if you've posted a new story...I was considering your blog for the promotion, so if you lose another follower, it's ME because I LOVE your blog SO MUCH!
AndTammy, you're mom doesn't follow ME! :~(

R Max said...

I just want to assure you that you will never lose me as a follower.
And, I am contemplating posting 20 more comments so I can come to your luau and eat your hula girls.

Alrighty then!

Terresa said...

Guess what? I first subscribed to your blog, and then read this post that you lost a subscriber today. So, I hope it's all a little brighter in your spot of the world again. Just throwin' some love your way!

PS: The most comments my blog entries have ever seen is 15, and I just hit that mark yesterday. "15"? you say? It's all perspective. "15" is huge to me, small potatoes to others.

Writing is not only my current profession (next to Librarian, mom & wife) but passion. But (another) guess what? I'm OK with small comment #'s, especially when I'm wearing my bgp's (big girl panties), and know I'm goin' someplace, regardless.

And aren't #'s a little funny anyways? Think: missionary work. When I was a full-time missionary in Uruguay, we never judged ourselves strictly by our #'s. Ever. We shouldn't. And the Lord doesn't, either.

Girl, you're definitely goin' places. So don't feel too down on your comment #'s. I've been to other (seriously lame) blogs with comment #'s in the 100's. What's up with that? True life is stranger than fiction.

Melissa said...

Isn't it funny that we place so much credence on comments and followers. I lost one the other day and stewed about it for hours wondering if it was my political rant, my slang gang word, my too many pictures of sissy, or my race play by play's, at any rate, I just decided whatev. This is supposed to be my journal if a couple of other people like it, great.

You are one of the funniest blogs I read, so rest assured, you are STUCK WITH ME! : )

Karen said...

Kristina: I thought you weren't blogging at work! :-)

DeNae: I would probably pee my pants if I got 40 comments on a post! The most I had was 23 and at least 1/4 of those were me responding to other peoples' entries to my giveaway. But anyway, your blog is awesome and I am so happy to have found it.

myimaginaryblog said...

I just made the time to go read the comments on the falling down post (didn't have time the other day) and it was well worth it. Thank you.

I tripped running to catch a bus in one of the first weeks of my mission in France, and I flew horizontally through the air and landed prone. One of my coat buttons came right off and another got sanded down (like the button in your grandmother's story) and my stockings had big holes and my knees and palms were raw and bleeding -- in fact, I think I might have even hit my face too (but I've blacked out the details.)

My companion was trying to show sympathy but it was less effective since she also couldn't stop laughing.

myimaginaryblog said...

Oh, and I meant to share this with you.

Heidi Ashworth said...

Losing a follower can be crushing. Glad to see you are taking it with such grace and charm. :)

Sher said...

Your lost follower is MB. She's going private.

Sher said...

Not her blog, but the people she's following.

Lesia said...

Your blogs bring me great joy. During my crazy child-filled days, I can reflect on my voyeuristic conversations with/from you and relish the opportunities I have had to partake of adult conversation that is filled with "big" vocabulary (anything with more than vcv-verb consonant-verb is big!), sarcasm, and thought provoking dialog! Thank you for reminding me there is more out there than Dr. Seuss and The Magic Tree House! You are my literary hero!