So I’ve been blogging at BCC for, what, three months? About? Seems longer, doesn’t it? Anyway, now that 2008 is drawing to a close, I find myself reflecting on all the things I’ve done–which is less depressing than reflecting on all the things I haven’t done–and I’ve been musing on my experience of being plucked from blogging obscurity and thrust into the limelight of the flashy, fast-paced Bloggernaccle. I’ve discovered that with a larger reading audience comes a larger number of readers who don’t get what I’m saying at least half of the time–which is no knock on them, to be sure. No, I blame myself. It’s only upsetting because while I have always come off as kind of an idiot in real-life conversation, I’ve long been under the impression that I communicate pretty effectively in the written medium. It kind of sucks to find out otherwise. But this is how we grow.
So like I said, 2008 is, like the wint’ry day, descending to its close, and there are a few clarifications I’d like to make about myself, regarding some of the posts I’ve posted in my blogging arrogance, so that I can feel like I’m starting 2009 with a clean slate. (Sure, it will be an illusion, but it’s my feelings that are important here, not facts.)
1. It is usually impossible to get an accurate idea of what one of my posts is about by reading the post title. Titles have always been problematic for me. Ask my old college creative writing professor, who expected me to write ten poems a week and put a title on every single one of them. Every single one! I tried writing random words on the line where a title would ordinarily go, but she wasn’t pacified. When I first started blogging, about four-and-a-half years ago, I didn’t title my posts at all–because this was blogging frontier, man, where there were no rules! (Or maybe I just wanted to stick it to Dr. G, who knows. I don’t know. I was always very fond of her, actually.) Over the last several months I’ve been very conscientious about putting titles on my posts because they do look nicer that way, and I’m striving to improve myself. Weak things made strong, you know. But yeah, they’re still not very good yet.
2. I don’t feel depressed or devalued as a woman because I don’t hold the priesthood. I feel depressed and devalued much of the time, but it’s a personal problem, nothing to do with womanhood in general. As a woman, I feel pretty good, just a little confused. It’s the way of us dames, I think.
3. I don’t think that sleeveless dresses on Barbies are an abomination. Naked Barbies give me the creeps, but again, that’s a personal problem. I don’t have any sense of righteous indignation when I see Barbie’s plastic goodies on display. And I certainly don’t have issues with Barbie’s plastic upper-arms. Most of the Barbie clothes in our house are sleeveless items. I took it upon myself a while back to learn how to make Barbie clothes at home, and I’m proud to say that I’ve done a kick-@$$ job–but I have no ambition to learn how to sew sleeves on Barbie clothes because I’m not starting a cottage industry and life is too short, you know? We do force our Barbies to modify or accessorize their strapless dresses because my husband has a thing about it. I indulge him because I don’t have strong feelings about strapless Barbie dresses one way or the other, and life is too short to argue with your spouse about stuff you don’t have strong feelings about.
4. On a related note, I also don’t think sleeveless clothes on babies and little girls–or big girls, for that matter–are an abomination. I wore sleeveless clothes myself right up until I went to the temple. (Mini-skirts, too. My legs were awesome in those days. They could be still, for all I know; I haven’t seen them in thirteen years. Shoulders either, which were also very attractive back in the day, if I do say so myself.) I have put both of my daughters in sleeveless clothes when they were little, much to my husband’s disappointment. Again, my husband has a thing about it. We’ve all got our things, haven’t we? My husband voluntarily forgoes olives on his pizza just to indulge me and my olives-are-an-abomination thing. We have a good marriage. I like that we indulge each other this way, and I’m not forced to pick olives off of my pizza. Rightly or wrongly, I would resent that.
5. In general, I think the Friend is a lovely magazine and very good for children. I’m a fan of the Friend.
6. I don’t think most of the material sold at Deseret Book is crap because I don’t really consume enough Deseret Book material to know whether it is crap or not. I enjoy casually perusing Deseret Book titles and merchandise because marketing in general amuses me, and I have a special interest in Mormon marketing because I am a Mormon. (That may or may not have been clear from my bio.) I enjoy it in the same way that I enjoy those fake sidebar headlines on the Onion that don’t lead to actual stories. Sometimes the idea of something is funnier than the thing itself. (And yes, I do want a copy of John Bytheway’s Supersonic Saints 2. There is a cat who has mastered the art of the title. There is no mistaking what that book’s about, haters.)
7. In general, I like the church just the way it is. Except for Sunday School. I think Sunday School is pretty useless. A part of me looks forward to the day when a special revelation announces there is no more need for Sunday School. Official Declaration No. 3. No offense to you Sunday School teachers out there. Obviously the work you do is important because we’ve had no such revelation as of yet and are unlikely to get one, ever. So don’t mind me.
8. I don’t believe in, nor do I hope for, a torture-chamber-like hell for any sinners. No, not even Hitler. As I have, in fact, said on at least one occasion, I don’t want evil people to suffer the same way they caused other people to suffer in life. It’s not one of my things. But I’ve said that so recently, it feels gratuitous to explain myself again at this juncture.
9. I definitely don’t have it in for my personal enemies, in a cosmic sense or otherwise. In point of fact, I have no personal enemies. I’ve been fortunate in this regard. People don’t wrong me very often, and usually when they do, I’m too self-absorbed to notice. Oh, sure, there were some mean kids who picked on me in school, and maybe back then I considered them enemies, but that was years ago, and I’ve gotten over it. You might say I’ve forgiven them, if one can be said to have forgiven people one never thinks about. These days my only enemies are the enemies of mankind. I do think about those people, but I don’t feel it’s my place to forgive the enemies of mankind on behalf of mankind. I’m arrogant, but not that arrogant.
10. Sometimes I do good things just for the sake of it. The other day I bought some reusable grocery bags, and I got the warmest, fuzziest feeling you can possibly imagine. Hell didn’t figure into it at all–which is good, because when I consider the sheer number of plastic shopping bags that live in my house at this moment, let alone all the plastic shopping bags I have owned and disposed of over my lifetime, I’m not sure any amount of reusable grocery baggage could atone for my sins.
11. I don’t mean every word of everything I say literally. This is particularly true when I’m making jokes. You know how jokes aren’t funny when you have to explain them? They also tend to be less funny when you have to announce them. If I say something that seems a little over the top or just plain wacko, you should consider the possibility that I don’t really mean it. Maybe I’m trying to make a joke, or maybe I’m just acting out to get attention. Possibly I could be employing a literary device, such as irony or hyperbole, but I’ll grant that’s unlikely. Probably I’m just trying to get attention. I’m telling you so that you’ll feel sorry for me, instead of getting offended.
12. If my sense of humor or inappropriate tone has ever offended you, I’m sorry. (Originally I was going to say I’m sorry for you, but experience has taught me that prepositional phrases and other modifiers are unimportant and tend to go unread anyway, so I decided to just leave that part off.) Yes, if I’ve offended you, I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.
13. I think baptism is a lovely ordinance, fraught with symbolism. I enjoy symbolism. So much so that I majored in English when I was at college. So much symbolism, so little time. Anyway, I like me some baptism, and I don’t find baptism for the dead the least bit creepy, even if its meaning and significance elude me at times. I would be perfectly happy to be baptized by proxy for my dead, obstinate grandmother who refused to join the church while she was alive. (Of course this is Theoretical Grandma we’re talking about, since all my real grandmas got baptized before dying–each was stubborn in her own way, though). And if the Holy Ghost told me I had to be baptized by proxy for my stepmother who has specifically asked me more than once not to do so, I think I could suck it up and say, “Okay, Holy Ghost, you know best.” Because that’s what I do on those rare occasions the Holy Ghost speaks to me. Even I believe in the Holy Ghost. No, for real.
14. I enjoy Neil Diamond. This is a propos nothing. I just promised you all a Neil Diamond post, and this is how I’m making good on that promise. I love Neil Diamond. And anyone who doesn’t love Neil Diamond is a hater. I know what you’re thinking: “But I don’t have any feelings about Neil Diamond. I am neither for nor against him. What about people like me?” To which I say, “You, sir (or madam), are a coward who will not take a stand.” That’s all.
Well, it felt good to get that off my chest. This is where the post turns into a free-for-all and I invite you also to speak your minds and clarify any misunderstandings that have been bothering you. Now, you had no idea I was going to go in this direction from reading the title of the post, did you? I told you, I’m not very good with the titles. I’ll try to do better in 2009. In the meantime, I only ask for your prayers. Oh, and seriously, just unload in the comments section. It’s really therapeutic.