Really, its not. So I continue to remind myself, with ever-increasing frequency.
The post about the incident with my nutsack-punching daughter garnered a lot of comments when BlogHer picked it up, so I was curious to see the reaction from a larger pool of perfect strangers when TodayMom's picked it up. As I expected, it caused a stir.
The biggest part of recovering from codependency for me has been to learn to see myself through my own eyes and not the eyes of others. Other people are not mirrors of my self - not my partner, my parents, my children. Other people are separate and discrete and while its affirming to have people agree with me, like me, its not realistic to expect that to be the case. My sense of self-worth can't be dictated by public opinion, and the moment that it is I might as well slink back into the morass of codependent self-loathing that my life used to be.
So I'm not over there commenting back to the commenters on my post. I did over at BlogHer where the forum was smaller, more select and more comfortable. It is easy to have a discussion with people when even where the opinions differ, they are offered with a coating of respect. We can talk about anything in the world as long as we remember, you and I, that we don't have to agree with one another. What we need to keep in mind is that as human beings we have differences and similarities - we probably have many things in common - and that our opinions are shaped by our experiences. Just because you have a different experience than I do doesn't mean we should not treat one another with dignity.
Ultimately, I'm not going to change anyone's mind with the things I blog about. This isn't a political blog or an activist blog. Its just me working on making the words come out and seeking to make sense of my life and my world. Its an outlet for my particular creative drive. Some people paint, some people make music, some people sew and knit and craft. Some of us write. Not for profit, not for a living, but simply to engage in the act of putting together words and sentences to set free a thought that is begging to be expressed. I have no expectation that the thoughts I share here are going to be universally agreed upon, nor that they will, in contrast, be praised. But I realize, more so today than ever, that when by placing my words and my thoughts in the public domain, I am inviting people to respond. To affirm or to negate.
Over there, on the TodayMom's blog, I'm not responding to comments. I'm letting the dialogue happen without me. There are some thoughtfully written opinions over there, both for and against, and there are a large number of trolls. About halfway through the day yesterday I discarded my curiosity about what was being said and I stopped reading. Really, its all happening in a delightful cacophony of words and opinions that don't need my presence to pollute the water. Its a big bucket full of what makes the internet such a fascinating place to inhabit. And considering that in the not long ago past I would likely be wringing my hands and letting the negative voices be the loudest voices I hear - and letting those voices dictate my state of mind and sense of self-worth - I realize how far I have come and how grateful I am for my recovery. I'm able to just exist side by side with this controversy. I realize that more than ever, I KNOW who I am. I don't need other people to be mirrors of myself. With the knowing that I am both perfect and imperfect, that I exist as a child of God, loved regardless of anything I or others might do or think, I can choose my level of engagement with the controversy based on what I feel and need, not on others expectations. (Ouch, that was a long sentence).
The journey to release my fear so that I could stop trying to control others in order to cope with it has been, second to being a mother, the most amazing journey of my life.
Note: While I don't have any editorial control over at BlogHer or at TodayMoms, I DO have editorial control here. I have never moderated comments on this blog and I hope that will never be the case. I delete comments from spammers, but to this point have never deleted a legitimate comment from a reader, positive or negative. I welcome dissenting opinion, provided it is delivered with respect. Trolls will not be ignored, they will be summarily dismissed and, if overly persistent, blocked, not because anything they say might hurt my feelings but because attack without the expectation of reasonable dialogue isn't useful.