Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cafeteria Girl

I had a public snit fit on Facebook last night.

My finger hovered over "publish comment" for a good 30 seconds before I pressed on it with my eyes closed.  I decided to hit the button, because I didn't think I was the only one who felt this way, and it was embarrassing to admit, but I just had to know what people thought.

Here's what I (wince) said:
I am being ridiculously needy and superficial and immature about this, I know I am, but if I get two comments on a blog post these days it's a lot. I used to get dozens. Am I boring now? Am I asking for too much help with my projects? You can PM me if you want to give feedback that you don't want to put out there in public. It's been going on for a while now, and I have to admit (though I'm embarrassed to do so) that it's making me insecure.
 I have to watch the line of ego, attention seeking and people pleasing really closely, examine my motives for blogging, etc. - because those bugaboos are traps in my sobriety.  I worked hard to get beyond (mostly) what people think, to stay focused on the mission or writing for myself, from the inside, regardless of the response.

Sometimes I do a really good job of that. Other times, like last night?  Not so much.

Of course I received comments empathizing with how I felt, and offering suggestions, like people use FB as ways of giving feedback now, people read but don't comment as much, people read through their Google reader and it's hard to leave comments.  All polite ways to put me in my place:  it's SO not about you, Ellie.

I think I'm overly sensitive these days because of the new endeavors like The Bubble Hour and Shining Strong are SO important, and I'm an alcoholic and instant gratification takes TOO LONG and I want THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD to respond instantly.

That is something I have to watch closely, because in that impatience lies a drink for me. If I'm seeking validation from the outside in (as a friend gently PM'd me last night- you know who you are and thank you) - I'm looking in the wrong place and I'll never be satisfied.

But sometimes? I still feel like that girl holding her tray in the cafeteria and looking around for a place to sit without looking like she's looking around for a place to sit.  I'm human.

I do believe in the mission of Shining Strong, The Bubble Hour and Crying Out Now from the bottom of my heart - and that is driven from the inside out. It's in my DNA, because it's how my parents raised me.  So I take comfort in that, and try to forgive myself for my occasional snit-fits.  The response has been amazing, and I'm SO grateful to all of you who have liked my page(s) and left testimonials and sent me encouraging words.

Sometimes? This is what it's like dealing with an addict.  We can never get enough.

Last night I meditated and prayed on this, and at the end my heart felt so full.  I have enough.  I am enough. And it will be what it will be.  I was all brave talk a few posts ago about being okay with trying and failing, but not being okay with not trying.  And I feel in my heart that this is true.

I just have to keep an eye out for those bugaboos, and I have to plunk my cafeteria tray down wherever I damn well please and not be scared of acceptance.

On a logistical note?  If you want to be sure you get all the updates from Facebook (where I think most people hear about posts) for Crying Out Now, One Crafty Mother, The Bubble Hour or Shining Strong it's not enough to "like" the page anymore.  I found this out last night - you also have to go to each page and look for the "tool" icon (little wheel - next to the "Likes" box) and select "Add to Interests".  Then you'll get all the updates, if you want to.  Thanks, Facebook, for making things so complicated and making me have to come make more self-serving comments that make me itchy.

Bottom line, I guess, is that we never really shake Cafeteria Girl, do we?  But we can keep moving bravely forward, tell our truth, empathize with each other instead of being embarrassed about our truths and stick together.

You guys are all at my lunch table, and I thank you for it.  Truly.

45 comments:

  1. From a fellow Cafeteria Girl, I feel you, Ellie. And I don't comment very often but I read A LOT. And am touched and inspired A LOT. And reminded that I'm not alone A LOT. Please keep doing what you're doing, not only for yourself, but for those of who silently come to you A LOT for a little connection. Bless you and all you do.

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    1. Thank you, Kristen. Come put your tray right down here next to mine. -xoxo

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    2. Kristen's right, Ellie. A read, but I'm not much of a poster. But I TOTALLY get the cafeteria metaphor! You're so clever! And I can't tell you how many times I've passed your blog on to others to see too. You have been blessed with many gifts. One of which is the gift to be brave enough to "put it out there". I feel so much closer to the world (rather than cut off) by reading yours and others' blogs. It's comforting to find there are SO many out there who think like us, feel like us, and have so many of the same issues as us. Feel good friend. Everythings OK.... <3

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    3. Thank you, Nora! You can sit at the table with Kristen and me... :)

      No, seriously - what you said means a lot to me. Thank you.

      -xo

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  2. My Mom gave me a Pema Chodron calendar. Here's what is says for January:

    "Natural intelligence is always accessible to us. When we're not caught in the trap of hope and fear we intuitively know what's the right thing to do."

    Here's to releasing ourselves from the trap of hope and fear in 2013. xo

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    1. I love this, Ann. Thank you, as always, my friend. -xo

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  3. A lot people have complained about the lack of comments on their blogs. Many more are answering the comments to bump up the numbers. I read that people are making more comments on Facebook than in blogs.

    I think blogging as the "it" thing is just winding down. Blogging replaced newsgroups, which I was completely addicted to. You could join NGs based on what you liked, so you only talked to like-minded people, in my case, other comedians and writers. When they phased them out, although they're still around, it was to make way for blogs. That was around the early 2000s. Maybe the same thing is happening to blogs?

    As we all know - and always forget - attachment to outcome is always a pitfall, whether you're an alcoholic or not. The key to life is to let go. If only it were always easy!

    p.s. I see you have comment moderation on. A lot of people think it's not worth leaving a comment to go through it. I only know that because I used to have it on my blog and people BITCHED!


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    1. I do? I have comment moderation on? Thank you for telling me? I didn't realize that!!! I had to put in a word verification b/c the spam was overwhelming me... but I didn't realize I had moderation on. I'll change that.

      Thanks so much for your perspective. It makes a lot of sense. And that attachment to outcome - DAMN, it's hard to let go of, sometimes! But freedom lies behind that, and I need to keep remembering that!

      -Ellie

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    2. I agree with Suzy 100%. I think Facebook is making it so much easier to converse on that platform rather than in blog comments that people are moving away from the latter. I know I find that the case both on my blog and in my own actions. I wonder what will be next!

      I also agree with everybody else that your writing does important work that means a lot to a lot of us. Keep it up, fabulous lady. :)

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  4. It used to bother me that nobody commented on my own blog except on the rare occasion that a fellow-blogger (who knows what it feels like to get a comment on the blog itself!) would make a comment. (Most people I know locally who read my blog don't consider themselves to be able to write or to have anything useful to say, and don't want their names known online... but have approached me privately - on rare occasions.)

    I have to occasionally give myself a shake and remind myself why I write in the first place. I write because it's my way to keep growing. I can't NOT write.

    That inner child you call "cafeteria girl" is one I talk a lot about on my blog. Everyone, somewhere inside, is arrested, stuck if you will, at a certain age/stage of development. With me it was 8 years old... and I won't go into all the yucky stuff that got me stuck there. When I started doing the Twelve steps, I realized that the person parenting me was arrested at a younger age than I was - so I was never properly parented. Someone had to do it, and I'd been reaching out to others to fill that role, to "fix" me. What it came down to was ME actually deciding to be the parent to that child that she should have had. It involved a LOT of self-talk, and affirmations that "I am enough" and that what others think of me is none of my business. Tough talk for a recovering people-pleaser. I still slip in that area ... a lot more frequently than I'd like, but less frequently than I used to!

    Now the 8-year-old is closer to about 13 or 14: a long way from adulthood, but more mature and better able to feel what she feels and then deal with it and let it go. It's a process. I'm learning to be gentle with myself, and I'm making progress.

    Why do I share this? because I relate to that desire to be liked, Ellie. Most of my life I've felt like I've been on the outside looking wistfully (or enviously) in at people with normal lives and normal families, normal friendships even. Until I started making friends with myself, I didn't know that I could be happy even without all those "normal" things. I had to build my own house to live inside. It wasn't easy - but it's better than being out in the cold. And once inside and growing as a person in a healthy relationship with myself, shedding the chains of the past, I found that there were others who had felt the same way... THOSE are the ones I've been able to help... whether they let me know it or not. :)

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    1. You are so wise, my friend. No matter where you are, age-wise :)

      I'll put myself at about 15. Maybe that's why I'm so needy. :)

      I take all your words to heart, you have always been such an incredible source of inspiration and support to me, and I am very grateful. -xoxo

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  5. Ellie you're wonderful, your posts are wonderful, your jewelry is wonderful, what you share with us here is wonderful, and the hope you give us is wonderful. Finding your page almost 2 1/2 years ago was a God wink in my life and it changed my life forever. It gave me the strength to walk into AA knowing I wasn't the only one who would be there. I forward almost all of the emails you send out to my mom (practicing alcoholic), little sister (somehow not an alcoholic), and Facebook. I've had more than one friend tell me that I've helped them get sober, so you have helped too. I've been visiting my mom an hopefully she'll go to a meeting w me before I leave today, fingers crossed!!


    It's really easy for me to read your posts and then hit a button on my phone an think about how your words affect me without commenting on it, an no worries, it's always nice things! Maybe it's jut me, but I have a hard time responding to this on my iPhone. I have to select the whole response, copy it, THEN sign in bc I somehow always manage to lose my comment when I sign in. Is there an easier way to do it? A better app maybe? I mostly follow your twitter links bc I'm subscribed to them so I get them as text messages which is really helpful bc they show up at the most opportune times sometimes. Anywho, my ADHD is kicking in and it's time to go rearrange the kitchen :) love you, keep it up, and don't ever let that little doubt get the best of you! You are wonderful, and you are certainly not alone anymore!

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    1. Thank you so much for all your support. I've noticed how you RT - I try to catch them all and thank you - and it means so much to me.


      I think everyone makes great points - we're almost too fast paced for blog comments anymore. I guess I should be grateful anyone takes the time to READ them. We're a short-attention-span society.

      Hearing my words have had an impact on you and your family means the WORLD to me, so thank you for sharing that. And I started this whole thing thinking if I could reach one person it would be worth it. I need to get back to that.

      -xoxox

      -E.

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  6. THAT was a public snit fit? In terms of posts from bloggers that need validation, I can easily name quite a few that are far ahead of you in that line.
    I think the internet leads all of us to want instant gratification - you are not alone in that. I always read, even if I don't comment. Sometimes it's hard for me to find the words to respond to what you say, but it always sticks with me.

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    1. Well, I already feel a little validated that you don't think that was much of a snit fit. I feel like I was acting pretty childish.

      Thanks for your comment - and the insight that the internet feeds that "instant gratification" bug that we all have too much of, these days.

      -xo

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  7. Yes the commenting thing bugs me. I want the WORLD to hear some of the posts I publish, especially those of folks in recovery but alas between FB's algorithm changes and people's lack of commenting......well you get it.

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    1. Julie - you and I are in similar situations in that we sometimes blog about sensitive topics that people may hesitate to pass on via FB or comment on. But every time I mention your name to an online friend they say, "Sober Julie? LOVE her!"

      So clearly, you need to keep being out there, no matter what. :)
      -xo

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  8. Hi Ellie! I've been there. I've SO been there. This journey we're on is lifelong - that's what I keep having to remind myself. I have that Cafeteria Girl inside me, too. You're not alone.
    I love your writing, but I subscribe through Google Reader so maybe I don't comment as much. I'll try to change that. :)

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    1. Thank you, Leslie. And you're right - it IS a journey, and it will ebb and flow, just like life. :)

      I really appreciate your support, thank you.

      -xo

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  9. I can understand that feeling of “where did everyone go?” There was a point in my own blogging where I decided to tone down the cancer conversation and talk more about daily life. Maybe because I was moving away from cancer, or maybe because I moved away from crisis (which I think is really the case), the comments slowed down considerably. But that’s okay. I’d rather have less comments and rebuild around a healthy & happy life than stick with ‘crisis’ mode.

    You’re developing a community, and goodness know it’s hard work. Just stick with it, people relate to your story, and those who need the support will hopefully find ways to connect, even if it’s not in the comments.

    Good luck! ~Catherine

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    1. I TOTALLY understand this, Catherine, and it's something that I've noticed, too. I was in crisis for over a year - first with my Dad dying and then with the cancer and I think that brings a community who connect and comment more than others. I also think people are more prone to comment on "crisis" posts to bolster spirits - which I'm very grateful for. The comments I got while fighting cancer were a HUGE part about making it through. I don't write about my own recovery/addiction much any more, and I'm in remission (thank God) and have the energy to dedicate to these other projects, and I need to keep that perspective.

      Thank you!!

      -xo

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  10. Ellie, your blog is one that always inspires me to be the best that i can be in any given situation.

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    1. Thank you, Lynda. Your steadfast support and cheerleading have been HUGE parts of how I made it through the past year and a half. I'm so grateful to know you, truly.

      -xo

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  11. Hi! I read every one of your posts here, and enjoy them very much. While I cannot relate to most of it, I read because your words are inspiring to me. I don't know that I've commented but once or twice, but I'm still reading! Thanks for sharing your journeys with us. ;)

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  12. It was always the "enter this illegible code and pray your comment isn't eaten by the internet" that made me hesitant to comment here. But I do read every post! (It took 3 tries to get an image I could read.)

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    1. Uh-huh. Plus fat fingers on small smart phone.

      I plan to comment, I even plan my comments...for when I am on my laptop. Sigh. Not happened recently, mostly due to holidays.

      Echo what others have said, though. Incl that not being a snit fit, more a statement of how you were feeling about the current situation. Hugs. Can I come sit with you?

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    2. Gillian, my friend, you've been at the table with me for years, now. :) -xoxoxo

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    3. I'm sorry about the word verification thing. Literally the MINUTE I remove it I get inundated with spam comments. There is no way around it. :(

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  13. Ohhhhhhhhh Cafeteria Girl....you need a hug.

    And a slap (gentle one) up the side of the head.

    I'm so sorry I haven't commented but it's been a hard month doing ALOT of caregiving for a very sick parent in late stages of Parkinsons disease that just plummeted my attitude and took away the Christmas spirit and the will to comment on any of my favorite blogs. I became, at times this season, the mom version of The Grinch.

    I have faithfully checked you and some of my other blogs DAILY for faith and support. Interestingly enough I was pondering going to those blogs - of which yours is one of them - and giving you all a huge thank you for your commitment to writing daily.

    You have no idea how much you lift my spirits and keep me going. Love the Bubble Hour too - listened to EVERY SINGLE PODCAST so far and can't wait for the next episode.

    So a big huge THANK YOU because your time, words and commitment has been some days the only bit of cheer I have had to keep going and find grace in moments that I have wanted to do the selfish thing.

    I think you'll see a bunch of us show up again in January.

    Hugs and love,
    Atomic Momma

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    1. Hey you! I'm so glad you like the Bubble Hour! We're having a blast producing it. Please- no apologies just because I had a snit fit. I value you reading whether you comment or not (and I always gain some perspective from your comments when you do). I'm just grateful this blog brought you into my life!

      -xo

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  14. Ellie - I relate to all of what you said and the comments above. When I was at my most miserable point in my tonsil cancer treatment, I was getting 8 or 9 comments a post on the blog I was doing... (by the way, not near the readership or attention you have been getting, not that I am jealous about that ...but, I notice, like, all the time...) and then as I recovered... it dropped to two, one or none...and I tried another blog to distance myself from the cancer obsession I had... very few seemed interested enough to follow... and then I forgot why I was writing in the first place and just stopped. But I got the most comments when I needed them the most... sometimes I was so sick the only reason I had to get out of bed was to read those comments and feel the love.

    But then, a woman who was dying of leukemia in California contacted me... we had never met but we had commented on each other's blogs... I had a very touching phone conversation with her just shortly before her death. I think it mattered. And then she died. I felt so ashamed of myself for my obsession with numbers and for ever letting any of my sense of worth rest on how many "hits" or comments I had.

    Ellie - you touch so many people with your blog... and I don't doubt there are many readers who never comment who suffer silently but take comfort in your words. You matter. They matter. I am sure I am not alone in feeling a connection with you, not just for the shared cancer journey, but for the shared human journey you so elonquently express.

    I am just so grateful that you have survived to write about it all... we are so very blessed to have these little but important lives ahead of us each day. You and your insecurities make me laugh... (because I share so many of them)

    A blessed New Year to you and your family and friends!

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    1. Steve -every time I read your comments I think of that scene in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy hugs the Scarecrow and says "I think I'll miss you most of all". I know how weird that sounds, but I think of that scene (except I'm saying "I value your insights" instead of "I'll miss you"...). You are so wise and grounded and thoughtful and your perspective on things is HUGELY valuable to me. What a sad/beautiful story about the woman who you connected with through your blog. I think that's what I need to stay focused on - these connections I wouldn't have without t his blog. Like with you. I appreciate it so very, very much.

      -xo

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  15. I am one who doesn't comment. I don't go on Facebook at all, and I am pretty much nonexistent if all one were to look at is my online footprint. And I like it that way! But I love your blog. I read it all the time, and I need to read it. From others blogs I read, I do see a downside to a lot of commenting. Fights break out, people can get really mean with the anonymity afforded them by the Internet. I like it that the comments that you get are positive and encouraging, I don't think I have ever seen anything nasty.

    Keep blogging and creating.

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    1. Thank you, Sarah. I really appreciate the encouragement. Truly. And it IS true that some blogs seem to foster negativity in their comments; I'm lucky that doesn't happen here often. Thank you for the perspective; I needed it!

      -xo

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  16. I am a faithful reader but infrequent commenter. It may sound strange but to a non-blogger like me, the blogging world can seem like the cool table in the cafeteria. And commenting can be intimidating. What do I say? Do I just compliment or do I share my story? Why do some comments get comments back and what should I think if mine doesn't? Am I loser if I haven't made any "virtual" friends, let alone any that have evolved into real world friends?

    I love your blog. I can relate to many of your struggles and find your honesty about dealing with them so inspiring. I hope you keep writing.

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    1. Thank you, Anne, for your honesty. Your truths are your truths, your story your story - they can never be wrong, or unworthy. NEVER. Whether it's a blogging comment or just the tape you play in your own head about the merit of your words. They are all worthy. Damn these cafeteria girls we drag along with ourselves! But it's comforting to know I'm not alone, so thank you for sharing this, and for encouraging me. It means so much. -xo

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  17. Ellie - love your blog. I think that there is room for both platforms - but Facebook can come across as the "popular" table at the cafeteria "Look at me and my bagillion friends"! Where can you express thoughts that are not limited by the number of characters? Did Tolstoy and Emily Dickenson have those constraints??? Not that every blog is classic literature worthy, but when this platforms comes to an end - will there be a place where careful, deliberate thought can be shared? and shared to help others?

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    1. You bring up really good points. And I do think blogging is waning, or evolving or changing in some fundamental way. It used to be ALL about comments, now I think it's more about sharing? At least I hope that's what is happening? Thanks so much for comment!

      -xo

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  18. Hey Ellie, just wanted you to know that I read here a lot but don't comment. That's my own insecurity there...what do I have to say that's all that new/important? Haha! I may just have you beat in the cafeteria girl syndrome! But I did want you to know that it puts a smile on my face when I see a new post from you so keep writing. We're out here waiting and reading.

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    1. Thank you, Ann! Your encouragement really does help me a lot.

      I think we have a whole cafeteria TABLE forming, here, lol! Come sit!

      -xoxo

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  19. Hi Ellie,
    I have to agree with the people who say they have an insecurity about commenting. I often feel like bloggers have huge circles of other bloggers with whom they trade interesing and inspired commentary. I don't think of myself as someone who can really measure up. But, I have a resolution to stop second guessing myself so I intend to comment more in the future!

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    1. Whether or not you EVER comment here, you should stick to that resolution to stop second guessing yourself! :) Tell your cafeteria girl to sit with mine and the two of them should give each other pep talks!! :)

      -xo

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  20. LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog and your podcast and all of your many creative outlets. I check your blog every day and always read what you post. I think you have many readers who don't comment. For one, I don't like typing on my phone. But please keep up your wonderful, honest writing. We all benefit from your words!

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    1. Thank you so much for your encouraging words. They mean so much to me!! And inspire me to keep going, so thank you!

      -xo

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