I am quickly approaching my 42nd birthday which means two things: I was born in 1968 and come next October, be listening for the sirens. And not because I am trotting out that old euphemism about candles and hot firemen. Nope, I plan on my birthday parties to be worthy of police responses…someday. I figure that by the time I hit my 90s, I will have earned the right to disturb the peace a bit with some good ole wild celebrating. Because birthdays are a big deal. And because, sometimes, for a just a bit, I do enjoy being the center of attention.
But sometimes, I would just as soon have everybody overlook little ole me. I guess the difference is if they come peering at me with a gift-wrapped prezzie in their hands.
Because as much as it may surprise some of you to hear this, even extroverts who regularily take the stage can get a bit freaked out over being the center of attention. Sometimes, everybody looking at you just makes you want to take a cue from Bert the Turtle and do some serious “duck and cover”. (Anybody else old enough to have done the whole “nuclear holocaust” drills as a kid? Oy. Nothing like that little brand of fun to make a kid grow up maladjusted and more than just a wee bit jumpy around loud noises.)
A fine example of this need to go hide under my shell happened just a little more than a month ago. July 2nd to be precise. Some of you who read this blog regularly have probably figured out that you get a smidgeon of what’s going on in my life…or what rolls through my mind at the particular moment I start typing. July 2nd started out as a fairly nondescript day in my life. I was running around the house, coffee cup grasped in one hand, wearing slippers and jammies, and trying to get my kids ready to go to day five of a soccer camp put on by our local park and rec. I was probably on cup two of my magic elixir of life and on argument thirty seven when I remembered that it was in fact, Friday. And I needed to post my blog. Which I hadn’t written yet. (Do you see where this might be going?)
Between arguing over appropriate clothing options for running around a grassy field (shoes, not flip flops; shorts, not sparkly skirts, for example) and appropriate breakfast options (yes, a granola bar will work; no, ice cream won’t) I whipped out a post about a conversation I had overheard that week. I had told my husband about it and we both thought it was funny. So that was the quick idea for the blog I threw out there and then ran out of the house. I barely proofread it, let alone thought much about it.
Somewhere between the 4 year old sobbing over “hating soccer so much” and the 6.5 year old sprinting like a gazelle around the field, I checked my work email on my iPhone. Then I opened up my personal email and thought, “wow, who’s this commenter on my blog?”
My “One Armed Stripper” story happened to get picked up by WordPress for their front page and I went from getting my usual thirty to seventy-five hits on a story to averaging 2400 a day for about a week.
And I quickly went from thinking all the attention was awesome to wishing I could just crawl under some protective shell.
It would have helped if every commenter came bearing shiny prezzies, but some came carrying bombs. And my blog, which I started oh so long ago as a place to just share funny little stories suddenly became a place of over-exposure.
So, it was with a big sigh of relief to see my stats counter finally move thirty days past that blog post. No longer are those big-ass spikes on my counter staring me in the face, making me acknowledge just how freaky all that attention had been for a few days.
Which brings up a few things for this writer. Namely, I need to figure out how to deal with attention because we know it can’t all be shiny, beautifully wrapped presents. And someday there’s going to be another tab up at the top of this here blog that says “as a writer” and my writing will be getting way more exposure than just this blog.
So, if anybody happens to have a turtle shell large enough for a middle-aging woman 5’1.5″ tall to hide under, I’d like to buy, beg, borrow, or steal it from you. Thanks!