A Look in the MirrorDan Pearce
This is not the easiest post to write but it has to be written.
On Monday I posted Single Dad Laughing Loved and Hated for the Exact Same Reasons here on Babble Voices. Lots of debate ensued, most of which strayed greatly from the intent of the original post. What I had hoped to make into a meaningful discussion about blog marketing and controversial blogging practices, turned into quite the disagreeable dialogue between me and some of my biggest critics of the past couple years, particularly Andy Hinds (Beta Dad) and Jason Avant (Dad Centric).
Then, a respectful albeit critical response came in from Katherine Stone who writes for Babble. She added sound discussion about bloggers using press releases and then she said:
“One of the best life lessons I ever learned was this: ‘If you meet more than three a**holes in a day, you need to take a look in the mirror.’ I live in the blogging world now, and for the most part I think it’s the most wonderful group of people I’ve ever met. I’m not sure how you’ve come to have this feud with some of the dad blogging world, but it might be helpful to try and focus less on what everyone else is doing and more on examining what you may have done to contribute to this situation.”
I responded kindly and agreed, but her words sucked all vim and vigor from me as I thought about the other commenters and my burdened relationship with them. What if she was right? What if it was me and not them?
Indeed, as much as I want to pretend that I’m the victim of internet bullying and the recipient of unprovoked digital out-lashing, and as much as I want to believe that everything I have done has been on the up and up, it isn’t all true. And I owe an apology to a lot of parent bloggers, including Hinds and Avant.
The truth is, I have been prideful and arrogant from time to time. I’ve wanted recognition for my blogging success from other parent bloggers. I’ve wanted their validation. I’ve wanted their kudos. And I’ve gone about fighting the lack of it in often passive aggressive ways.
I have also been self-serving and self-aggrandizing from time to time. A vicious cycle has spiraled all of this out of control, and the whole thing has turned into an “I’m the good guy here” battle. The more my name was disparaged, the more I tried to prove its value which just made things worse.
<sigh> I’m not the good guy. I’m just a guy who has responded poorly to criticism thus far. I’ve responded with knee-jerk reactions at times. The June press release was the latest example.
I have been ineffectual in my communications with other parent bloggers on occasion. I have alienated myself, others haven’t done it to me. From my bullied days as a child, I have carried with me an irrational need to be accepted and admired. It is true that I have spent my adult life pretending I am not still that fat kid I once was. This has caused me to communicate in self-promoting and self-serving ways. This trait has brought me a lot of success both before and since starting this blog, as I always had to be the biggest and the best, but it has always left me lacking the one thing I’ve really wanted in all of it. Respect.
Ever since I was a kid, I considered myself the outsider, the outcast, and the dissident. I generally rebelled and did what I could to thwart authority wherever I could. Rules have always driven me crazy and I’ve often tossed them by the wayside. This was the role I took on in my family, and when I look at things right now, I believe it’s a label I have brought along with me into the blogging world.
Whether I have been the cause or effect for my problems with other parent bloggers, I don’t know. I suppose it doesn’t matter which came first, the chicken or the egg; what matters is that my reactions to others’ reactions haven’t been great and I’ve been the cause of the majority of the problems I’ve had thus far.
It wasn’t until Katherine said what she said that I was able to zoom out and consider something I never have before… I have believed deep down that people do what they do and say what they say about me because they feel inferior to me. And as long as I believe that, I’ll act and react accordingly. And as long as I do that, I’ll always have the problems I’ve been having.
In the end, it is I who feels intensely inferior to others, not the other way around. It always has been that way. And it always will be that way until I own that.
To all you other parent bloggers, I am sorry for the times I’ve done these things. I have no excuses. Just some things to think about as I move into my third year of Single Dad Laughing.
Today is the last day of my second year blogging. Maybe year three will be a fresh start for me. Maybe I’ll end it with more friends than enemies in the blogging world. Maybe it’s too late for that. I hope not.
Katherine, sometimes the right outsider just needs to say the right thing in the right way at just the right moment to push past the blood in a person’s eyes. You did that for me.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Defeated
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More of me on Danoah Unleashed:
My Kid’s Booger Problem Just Got Personal
When Mommy & Daddy Believe Very Different Things
I Bit My Kid’s Head Off For No Real Reason Today
For My Kid’s First Birthday, I Got Him a Facebook Account
Why the Heck Would it Be Where it Goes?