No comment

I love watching Hannah in her tennis class. I get to watch from a viewing room above the courts where she can’t see me unless she really strains her eyes to make me out. I love observing how she is on her own. In her own element. With her friends. I saw her run onto the court in her little pink tennis skirt, pigtails flying behind her, racquet uncomfortably dragging beside her. She ran right up to her friend and I saw her mouth moving with excitement as she told him a story. He stood there looking at her as she continued to talk, gesturing with her hands and head bopping back and forth. And then I saw her stop, looking for a response from her friend. And she spoke again. Still no response. And then, as if she could feel my emotions shooting through the glass of the window down to her, she looked up toward me, squinting to make out my figure, and when she saw me, she smiled a small smile and shrugged her shoulders. I knew that shrug. I know that if I was standing with her she would have given me that shrug and said to me, “Oh well. I guess he’s not in a talkative mood today. He has nothing to say.”

It’s another one of those things that kids are allowed to do and adults are not as I’ve discussed before. Kids are allowed to have no comment, to not respond after another child has spilled their guts. It might not be “right” but they can get away with it. Imagine if I told you my deepest, darkest secret or something that made me bubble over with joy and you just stood there looking at me and didn’t say ANYTHING in response. At best you’d probably feel uncomfortable. At worst, I’d call you on it and make you feel like a real bitch.
And here is where I often have a hard time blogging. Because what I just described above? Happens All The Time. But my “audience” is not right in front of me. I’m not looking into their eyes as I speak. I’m not making them feel uncomfortable when they don’t respond. But when I really think about it (which I luckily infrequently do), it can make me feel pretty low.
It’s something I’ve signed up for when I made this blog public. I silently agreed that I’d say what’s on my mind, what’s going on in my life, what makes me laugh and makes me cry and anyone can listen. Anyone can be a fly on my wall. Anyone can read my journal. There’s no lock. No key. Except what I stop from coming out of my mouth (or head). But now that I’ve been doing this for a while (7 months), I’m starting to realize why I crave comments. Why my heart warms and I feel a “buzz” when I go online and see that someone responded. It’s because I see that I’ve been “heard”. That I’m not talking to myself. It makes me feel less self-conscious that people may be rolling their eyes at what I’ve written or perceiving me or my words as crazy or asinine or pathetic. It makes me feel less lonely to know someone is listening. Even if they don’t agree or have a completely different perspective. Because that’s what a friendship or relationship is about right? Bouncing ideas back AND FORTH. It involves speaking and listening and responding.
I’m starting to realize that as much as this blog is a way to connect and have a conversation on topics that interest and resonate with me. It’s also NOT always a conversation. It’s ME talking, and if someone is in the mood or has the time to respond, they can. That wouldn’t make me very happy in “real life” (thanks for the timely term Kristen). But then again, I wouldn’t say half the stuff I say here, in “real” life. So I guess, with the good- the amazing responses, comments, and thoughts, comes the bad – spilling my heart with the risk of no one letting me know they heard me.
This was not intended to be a pathetic way of getting some more “comment love”. And I’m sorry if it’s coming across as unappreciative for the comments I DO get! Just a ramble of thoughts on a day when I am thinking about what it means to be heard. And during a time when some of my other blog friends are talking about being daring on line, how they’re perceived by their “real world” readers and how much they’re willing to open up.
And on a day when little Hannah got no “comment love” from her friend on the tennis court and sweetly didn’t seem to care.



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7 responses to “No comment

  1. TKW

    I remember feeling like that when I started blogging. It was really hard to keep going sometimes. But then I started hearing from people "in real life" who were reading and enjoying the blog, but just never comment. I was stunned. I thought I had, like, 4 readers. But I had maybe 20–and at the time that seemed like a huge number!So I kept going, sending my thoughts out into the void, hoping that someone was out there. I bet you'd be surprised how many people just don't feel comfortable leaving comments. Not me, I'm a blabbermouth, but others…

  2. Kristen

    Like much of what you write, I think about this all the time. I wonder what my motivation is for blogging. I like to tell myself that it's for personal satisfaction, the release I feel when I vent onto the screen. But, like you, I really do crave that sense of being heard. And getting comments is one way of knowing that you're being heard. If it makes you feel any better, before I started blogging, I read Aidan's and Lindsey's blogs for quite awhile. Their writing regularly pushed my own thinking, motivated me, and eventually inspired me to try it myself. I wouldn't be surprised if you have some readers in that same position – consistently moved, just not ready to speak up yet.

  3. Aidan Donnelley Rowley

    I think you are tapping into something very universal here. We all have a deep and abiding desire to be heard. And it is so tough in this medium because we put so much out there and it often seems like we are met with quiet. I try to remind myself of my school days when I would sit in a lecture hall, hanging on to every word of the brilliant professor, utterly riveted, and yet would never raise my hand to speak. Even though I didn't say anything, I was purely engrossed and engaged. I tell myself this about my blog and I think it is true, namely that there are many people out there listening and who care a great deal, but just don't comment.I think this is a brave and compelling post. I do.

  4. Lindsey

    Yes, yes, yes, yes!!!I wrestle with this all the time – what does it say about me that I need to be heard? Is that somehow bad, attention-seeking, competitive, what? Or is it just plain human, and absolutely fine? I am edging (slowly, slowly) towards forgiving myself and embracing that it's the latter.We all need to know someone hears us. Sees us. Knows us.Thank you for sharing this.

  5. Erin

    I hear you loud and clear, SITSta! I check my blog over and over again to see if I have any comments. Alas, I am a small startup blog with little to ZERO traffic! Oh well, such is life.

  6. Nicki

    I always struggle when I read a blog post, by you or anyone else, and cannot comment. I feel that I should let the author know I was there but there are times when nothing comes. I feel rude when I read and leave.

  7. Headless Mom

    Like the others, I felt this way a lot when I started. That's one of the reasons that stat counters are so popular-You (me!) can see that there were visitors, even when they don't comment. I still don't get very many comments and I've come to be ok with that-sure, I get excited when there are more than 4 or so, but I also know that it's hard for me to comment on every thing I read so I have to cut others some slack, too.

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