This was the week I tasted greatness and then was put back in my place. This was the week I found out I was small potatoes. This was the week I realized blogging is a lot like high school— and I HATED high school. This was the week I lost Most Miscellaneous Blog to those bitches ranting in Mommyland. (I kid, check out Rants in Mommyland, they seem like very nice people).
Getting people to vote for me has not been part of my life since, well, EVER. I did not campaign for high school president or try to get elected captain of the cheerleading squad (I wasn't on the cheerleading squad, obviously). I'm a competitive person who doesn't like losing so when it comes to popularity contests, I've always preferred to count myself out.
Little did I know when I started Mommy Shorts that blogging is putting yourself in the biggest popularity competition of them all. Don't like wondering why your best friend hasn't called you all week? Try studying your blog traffic. Every day and every post is an opportunity to make friends or get rejected. Think you are happy with your 200 facebook fans? Try going up against 8000 fans (I'm referring to those Mommyland bitches again). In the blogging world, location, age, social circles— none of that counts for anything. ANYONE can be a reader and you may think you have a decent following but there's nothing like a Vote-Off to make you realize you DO NOT.
Let's get something straight. I was thrilled to be a finalist in the Bump's Best Mommy Blog Awards. I just started Mommy Shorts at the end of August and I am very proud that people have noticed. But I'm also still that angsty, apathetic teenager that thinks getting excited for being noticed is totally uncool. So once I got over the initial shock of seeing my name listed, it took me a second to figure out how to proceed. Happily, I realized I could relax because I didn't have a shot in hell at winning. I would treat this completely tongue and cheek, extra heavy on the sarcasm.
Somehow, over last weekend, that all changed. I shot ahead in the voting and began to believe I could actually win. There was an entire day when I thought I had it in the bag and—wait for it—ALLOWED MYSELF TO GET EXCITED.
I am popular! People like me! The captain of the football team is gonna ask me to the prom!
Sadly, Sunday night, I came back from a dinner where I had just bragged about my up and coming internet super stardom, and saw that Rants from Mommyland had made a play for the Most Miscellaneous category (they were nominated for three others) and had taken me out. As evidence of my massive inferiority to the power of Mommyland, while I have about seven comments under my Vote For Me! post, they have 407. No exaggeration.
OH, I thought. THIS is popularity.
But then something weird happened to me. It was like I had forgotten every angst-ridden, apathetic outsider-y movie/tv character I had ever related to as a teenager (all of them played by Molly Ringwald) and decided if I could just get everyone to vote for me again, then maybe I could win this thing! I emailed all my friends, I tweeted about it, I put it on facebook. I put myself out there in a way that I am usually SO NOT COMFORTABLE DOING.
In the end, when I still didn't win (although I held my ground somewhat, thank you voters) I felt a little icky. It was like I had tried out for the lead in the school play by belting my heart out over the school loudspeaker and then didn't even make the chorus. Or I had tried on the Homecoming Crown before I was even asked to the dance. This is partly why I opted out of the sorority thing in college. I just don't want someone else to tell me that I don't belong. If I had lost and never made a play to win, it would have all been fine.
I went to bed without finishing my blog post for the following day thinking, if this is how it feels to gain a little ground, do I really want to do this?
The next morning I woke up, published a quick caption contest and then set about finishing my post. I hemmed and hawed about whether my post was ready for an hour and then finally hit publish. All the while wondering if my heart was just a little bit less invested than the day before.
And then I clicked on my stats. Huh. My traffic was more than double what it was usually. I checked the caption contest I had posted earlier. There were already a bunch of comments. And not just any comments— comments from the people that I have come to know because they hang around my blog. Plus a few new ones. Those bitches from Mommyland had even posted a comment. I also had a slew of emails from people offering support and a bunch of direct messages from new Twitter friends. Even the Mommyland bitches wrote me an especially endearing note (DAMNIT, they make it so hard to hate on them!) And that icky feeling turned kinda warm and fuzzy. I may have lost the homecoming crown at the big dance but I came back home to a sleepover party with all my closest friends. (Who let's be honest, were always a lot cooler than the popular kids).
So thank you friends for voting for me, for reading my blog, and for being there the day after I took a stupid contest from The Bump a tad too seriously. Thank you for not making me feel silly about my lack of teenage angst and apathy. And accepting me whether I am an insider or an outsider.
I really do love writing Mommy Shorts, more than anything I've done in a long time. (Shhh— don't tell the baby). And hopefully enthusiasm is a sign of growth and not a sign that I am headed for the empty table in the high school cafeteria.
Editor's Note: I wanted to use a picture of Molly Ringwald up at the top. But then I looked at Rants from Mommyland last night and they used a shot of Molly Ringwald in their fucking post about this thing. WTF? If they are Molly Ringwald in this scenario then who the hell does that make me?? I've got their stupid panties in the bathroom, that's who.