Thursday, September 11, 2008

My first (and hopefully only) serious post

I've recently been in a bit of a cyber scuff that has led me to realize that I need to clarify what I am doing here on this blog. 

I decided to start it after stumbling upon a blogger who was offended by seriouslysoblessed because it mocked Mormon culture. First of all, I was aghast that this girl thought that the world of SAHM Mormon bloggers represented Mormon culture. A world-wide organization of 13 million people, represented by her and her little blog. That's confidence. Actually, it's hubris. And it bothered me. But what really upset me is how perfect this girl made her life out to be. She said that she had never fought with her husband. Her children were angelic. Her blog was peppered with pictures of a spotless house that looked like it was straight out of a Pottery Barn catalogue.  The more I read, the more depressed I got.  And when I jumped to the other blogs linked on hers, I saw much much more of the same. It seemed to me that these blogs were nothing but a forum for skinny pretty girls with good looking husbands with good jobs to show their friends and any other poor schleb who happened to stumble across their blog, how perfect they were. Well, what that girl didn't get was: 

SSB is not making fun of Mormon culture, it's making fun of her

I love my faith. But one thing I struggle with has nothing to do with my faith and everything to do with this culture of comparison that has been created.  

Don't you dare confuse the two.

It is not "Mormon culture," but there is a culture that some Mormon women subscribe to that I think is wholly destructive and damaging to so many women. Let's face it, Mormon women are incredible at so many things. But too often being great and being competitive go hand in hand. Why do women feel so much pressure? And why do they put that pressure on each other? You have to be the best mother, you have to be the best wife, the best cook, the best decorator. And you have to do it all while being a size 2 and wearing stilettos.

If you have a blog, you blog surf/stalk (call it what you want). I really don't spend a lot of time doing this, but whenever I do, I see impeccably designed blogs by women and mothers who don't fight with their husbands, love their life all the time, can afford incredible vacations, post pictures of clean houses, perfect birthday parties, and beautiful children with every hair in place.

Now I'm not dumb (apparently I'm not funny either). I know that no one wants to read a blog about someone's every disappointment and frustration--that would be depressing. I also know that many of you really are just sharing fun things and good news with friends and family. But if you are one of the blogs I am talking about, you are putting your slice of perfection in a public sphere like this for everyone to see. And you have to understand, the effect is that a lot of people see your representation of your family and it makes them feel bad because they don't have a perfect life and inevitably compare themselves to you. 

What is even more tragic is that when you feel pressure to be all these things, you change what is important to you. Case in point: In my little cyber spat, nearly all of the 80 plus responses that weighted-in on the side of my "cyber opponent" reassured her that she was a better person than me. Response after response was the same. I must be a bitter middle-aged woman, unhappy with my own life, a terrible mother, a bad Mormon. And my favorite, I must be ugly. (One of these detractors said, after viewing my Facebook page, "I didn't expect you to be pretty." Doesn't that speak volumes?)

Am I any of these things? Sometimes, and I'm not afraid to admit it. And I hope this blog will encourage and protect other women who may also sometimes be sub-par mothers, unhappy, middle-aged, ugly, but are better than me because they have rejected these pressures and decided to focus on what really matters.

I am a bit more caustic than the author of seriouslysoblessed. Some people think it's funny, some don't. But that's who I am.  Its the style I use to try in a small (and sometimes clumsy) way to change what I think is very destructive behavior among people who should know better than to be doing that to each other.  How sad is it that Utah consumes more antidepressants per capita than any other state? 

However, I do regret the hurt feelings I've caused.
I have not actively tried to be hurtful.  
I will not single people out.
And I sure as hell won't do it to someone who has 80+ blog links and 1200 facebook friends. 

But I will have fun blogging and at least trying to be "funny." Sometimes it will be at the expense of others, but that's my way.  

I do believe in being real and genuine. I am not going to pretend I'm something I'm not.

It's about Authenticity.

40 comments:

Lady said...

Ok, if i knew you, we would be best of friends....
I totally agree with all of the "catty" "one- uping" stuff that goes on in Utah, I lived in utah for some time and dont plan on moving back there for some of those reasons. I do think that some blogs still do the "one-uping" stuff but at the same time... I show pictures of curent events whether it is a trip to some place cool or a post about a cool movie i saw... simply because I have friends and family out there who are interested in what is going on with me and my family. I dont do it in hopes that someone reads it and compares themselves to me and most people out there dont! There ARE some people who do but dont always think the worst of people. And why does it bother you so much? It bothers me sometimes and i tell my husband and we make fun of them together but on the "world wide web"? I think you are very funny. I have read some of your posts and laugh! But sometimes I do think its a little too much. Its a little childish sometimes. I know from other posts you have already been bashed on enough and I dont mean to do that cuz you ARE funny. and I DO agree with alot of why you post things you do but I have found out that instead of making fun of people (which is what I used to do too) and just being a friend and telling their opinion in a nice way ... makes a better impact. just being an example. You are a good person. Im sure all the girls you make fun of are good. I make fun of myself alot too. but lets just try to be accepting of everyone and learn from people around us ....

the end


sorry haha

Anonymous said...

Sorry for all the comments Angela, you post sounds like you are a great person, thanks for your thoughts

Cara said...

I stalk your blog... I love it, I usually read Jackson your posts. I agree with Lydia, this drama is way better than The Hills!
Cara Owen

Susan said...

Very nicely stated Ang. I hope this all blows over soon...

Anonymous said...

I can't agree more. Thanks for posting this.

Anonymous said...

i had a talk with my friends about this, but I think most people keep blogs for family and close friends. Close people who already know that we all fight with our husbands, that many work out hard to stay at a certain weight, that lives aren't perfect. But many would rather journal the imperfect parts of their life in a personal journal instead of a blog that everyone can stalk. But it's sad when you pick out peoples blogs and make fun of them. Doesn't show a very christlike attitude towards others if you are just depressed about others seemingly perfect life that you do not seem to have. I've gone through your blog and seen the blogs you have picked out and who cares if their lives seem fabulous. Some people do have fabulous and great lives and don't fight with their hubbies and can afford to make their kids look perfect. Get over it. Everyone is different and we should be ok with that. We should be ok with our differences and should be confident and happy with our own lives. If you can't take that other people seem so happy and put together then don't stalk their blog!

Anonymous said...

I know Andi and I think that you are funny. Seriously, I don't know what was said that was mean...it was all in good fun. We all look at other peoples blogs and I am sure that we make fun of them-whether it is in our heads, to our spouses or online on our own blogs. You just got caught. She needs to get over herself. And everyone who commented on her blog saying that you were such a mean person....OH PLEASE...It was done all in good fun I'm sure. Someone just needed to throw a pity party for themselves and wanted everyone to tell her that she is so amazing. Period.

Anonymous said...

none of this has anything to do with andrea and the way you made fun of her. HELLO!! Her blog always talks about hard things going on, or frustrating times, or small fights with her husband, difficulties in pregnancy...its VERY real. she shares with people the good times and the bad times and you still are not justifying what you did. all this talk of utah people trying to be perfect...how can you possibly say that of andrea. her blog is not like that at all. i am still appalled.

Anonymous said...

Way to be authentic through making fun of people...good one. You didn't need a whole page to explain that.

Mema of 4 said...

I have written about four responses and I finally decided that saying "Amen" to what you wrote is all that is needed. Thanks for trying to define this LDS quirk. You'll probably never change anyone's mind but perhaps you have enlightened a few.

The Galan Family said...

Well said Ang. I still think you are funny and I even still like you. Keep up the posting. And none of this serious stuff. Gosh!

Katie Nielsen said...

Andrea is really one of the sweetest girls I know, one with good intentions and who, I believe is genuinely happy.
That being said, great post. As an east coast transplant living in Utah, I can totally relate to the competitive "i love my life" culture of many young mormon wives. Unfortunately, it's a culture that I myself am not always immune to and may have on occassion "subscribed" to, but thank goodness for posts like this (and my mother!) that keep me grounded.

Angela Jensen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Bentleys said...

seriously people. "Call off the dogs!" This has gone on long enough. We all make mistakes.

Jensen: I have no idea who you are but I think you are a good person, .... seeing how you have handled this wierd situation

The Watkins said...

very well said Scruggs. Maybe we'll see a talk on this very subject in October conference.

Anonymous said...

Anybody that really knows Andrea would not call her "Andi." And if you really felt this way, wouldn't a real friend email her or call her and express their feelings? Strange that you "know" her.

Mistakes were made. Let's keep from personal slams towards any individuals. I think that's a pretty Christlike concept, no matter who you are.

Anonymous said...

Previous comment directed at the person saying they "knew" Andrea.

andrea.roche said...

This is Andrea. This is the last time I will ever say anything about this situation.

Angela apologized privately to me. That's all. End of story. I don't think she's a horrible person. I think she has some great points - truly. I just don't agree the way to make those points is to put REAL people down. Even jokingly. That's all. Thank you Angela for attempting to clear things up for everyone.

And to the person who claims to know me and think this is just a ploy to hear how wonderful I am N That's a horrible thing to say and I wish, if u did know me so well to understand my supposed intentions, you would at least say it un-anonymously to me. Pretty Coward.

Anonymous said...

It's one thing to think these things, it's another to put something on your blog that would obviously hurt anyone, even yourself and your friends. Why do you have to post it just because you think it? What is it about you that can't just leave everyone alone with your comments. So what if they want to blog about their life being perfect, why do you care if it really is or not? Why can't you just post things about your own life...? Is there nothing to post? Does it bring some sort of satisfaction to say these things? Does it just boost your sense of "normal" to know that you would NEVER be like "those" girls. I would love to see you girls face to face, in front of your kids....the problem is your name is known by too many now, in the WRONG way. These like this always come back around.

Anonymous said...

You still are trying to convince us all that you are normal and funny, all because you have about 10 friends (at MOST) that will support your thinking. I just know that if over 50 people in 24 hours posted that I was crazy, I would maybe start to question how normal my thinking really was....

Camilla said...

I think it is funny how many people made up fake names to comment. I wish I got this many comments on my blog. I am going to be sad when all this drama on the blogspot is forgotten. I wish I could write as well as you and I wish I was as funny as you. You got all the goods sister! Love ya.

Drew and Kathleen Himber said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I have pictures of your children and everything personal of you I could find on my blog, and oh,, everyone just thinks it's SO funny!!!!...and we are laughing at your posts, and swearing, and joking that we are fat blog stalkers!!! It's the funniest thing I have EVER done! Thanks for setting the example of something hil-arious to do!!! Great idea Angie!

kris said...

Jensen authenticity, you have handled this well. Good job!

Anonymous said...

i think its funny how people are going to be sad when this blog drama is over. how awful. seriously, get a life. this whole thing should not have brought anyone joy.

Pete said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jess said...

2:30 PM - Email or call? No, real friends would anonymously belittle the person they thought was insulting their friend. Well, at least that's how Christlike friends would handle it.

Jess said...

4:31 PM - Spot on! I've been saying forever that the easiest way in the world to figure out who is right and who is wrong is to count up how many friends each side has. It's just that easy. (Dunno why everybody hasn't figured that out yet. Think of the time we could save that is wasted on all those bothersome arguments.) And can you believe this girl only has ten friends? I think that means it's mathematically impossible for her to ever be right, as I can't believe there's someone out there with fewer than ten friends.

But more importantly, how sad is it that she is trying so hard to be "normal" (like us). Yeah, her blog reeks of "I'm normal like you"-ness. Every post is nothing more than her attempting to appear "normal." That has to be why she posted gems like the "Family issues in a nutshell," and the fact that she "let" her two year old lick her razor. Clearly the signs of someone who only cares about being "normal." Well, she just doesn't get it, does she? She'll never be "normal" like us. Of course she only has ten friends. Abnormal people like her are lucky to have that many.

Ashby said...

Funny that all of the friends from the "other side" are posting anonymously. Chill out people! Several of you have taken the time to talk about being Christlike, but doesn't that include forgiving and forgetting? Let it die. How many times do we need to kick a dead horse?

Very well worded Angela. It takes a lot of guts to write what you just wrote, and I hope that all of this blows over soon!

Jess said...

4:36 PM - Zing! Nicely played. You really got her. For those of you who didn't get it, 4:36 PM was being satircal. You know, she was like using sarcasm to slam jensen authenticity.

Anyone who is lucky enough to see this page should take note. You are not likely to soon see satire with such flair. And what wit! Most impressive. This jensen authenticity girl thinks she's funny? Ah, she could learn a thing or two from you, 4:36 PM. You have the soul of Swift and the pen of Voltaire. Forget accounting. You were born for greater things.

Jess said...

4:28 PM - What a well crafted argument. Lucid, articulate, easy to follow. No wonder jensen authenticity hasn't responded to you.

The Thornley's said...

Wow Angela! I don't check your blog for a few days and this is what I get to read. I'm at a loss for words. All I know is that I love ya Ang. You are real, you are authentic, and that's what I love about you. Middle aged??? Please, you're not even 30. I love your blog. Keep it up. It's very entertaining, to say the least! I think it's all just been blown out of proportion. Don't let it get you down. :)

Jordan said...

I think this is hilarious. Wow, I would love to meet some of you self-righteous...or should I say "christlike"(jess) people. Wait, as a matter of fact, I know exactly what kind of people you are without even meeting you...

You grew up in your own little bubble, thinking anyone who ever swore or said a notty word was a bad, evil person, and you judged everything that ever walked the face of the earth. You went through high school never breaking your 10pm curfew, ate lunch while doing your math homework with your dorky friends, and never kissed a boy until college.

As luck would have it, you got accepted to the "Lord's" school a.k.a. Brigham Young University. (Or for those less fortunate, BYU Idaho (ouch) or UVSC (oh sorry, UVU)).

There at the Lords school, you had the time of your life. You didn't have to deal with the 'gentiles' on a regular basis, you never heard any 'foul' language, and most importantly you never got offered any caffiene. There you could go tunnel singing with your sweetheart, get a spiritual lift every tuesday devotional, get your favorite cold treat at the creamery, and most importantly no one made fun of your fat ass.

You then finally decided to marry your sweeheart (after dating him for a long 6 months, but receiving a 'confirmation' that he is 'the one'). Oh, and by the way, I can guarantee your 'sweetheart' was an absolute douche.

So, after you and your 'honey sweetie cutie pie' got hitched, you are now both striving to be the next 'general authority and wife', and your favorite things to do include: quoting scriptures to people, telling people they're not 'christlike', bragging about how many blog friends you have, saying 'maybe we'll see a talk about this in the next general conference', telling other people they are not 'normal like us', getting so pissed off at a funny blog post that you say 'gosh darn it', and getting so upset at people making fun of you that you make 20 posts a day under 'anonymous' pretending you are 20 different people expressing their disgust. Oh, and you get so upset because you haven't gotten any since the last time you wanted to procreate with your sweetie pie.

Oh, and Jess: Can you beleive this girl Angela only has 10 friends? OMG! I bet she only wishes she had 50 'christlike' friends like you. You are so cool

Anonymous said...

I am coming out to confess! I am a blogger's little brother and have left A LOT of the anonymous comments on this thing! I have been driving all you mothers nuts...it takes NOTHING for you guys to get fired up! Thanks for the good laughs!! Your favorite anonymous commenter, a.k.a. 10:27, 4:31, and 4:36. Hmmmm...what shall I think of next. Me and Jess got it going on! Let me know if you want to go to prom with me!

Jess said...

10:51 PM -

10:27, 4:31, and 4:36, eh? Reeks of "Andi"-ness to me. You see, I know who 4:36 is and it's not . . . oh, who cares? Prom? Abso-freakin-lutely. There's something about men who love to stir the pot that I find irresistable. And ones that get "mothers" riled-up? And in such clever ways. Simply irresistible. Shall I send you a swatch?

Jordan -

You're an idiot. Seriously. Read the comments. Catch a whiff of anything? No? Not even a hint? I guess they don't teach that at the "prophet's" university. (You see, we could have been friends, but then you had to go and trash BYU.) Well, the prophet may be a Ute, but Jesus is a Cougar.

Anonymous said...

seems like jordan's description is very familiar to him. must be a miserable person to put down what a happy thing getting married is and what a happy thing going to a good college is, and what fun some people have in college. sorry your so upset and bitter jordan. my guess is that is how your life is and your description was so well known because you lived it all yourself. my second guess is that your quite miserable and have to put down anything that brings anyone else happiness.
i hope people can see beyond your "i'm happy" fraud and see how awful you apparently are deep down. you obviously carry around a deep hate for anyone who went to byu, got married to the person they felt they should, etc etc etc.
waste your time exercising or something

Jess said...

11:23 AM -

I really hope you didn't go to BYU. Otherwise, I'm going to have to ask for my money back.

Grammar - Jordan
Punctuation - Jordan
Logic - Jordan
Incoherence - 11:23 AM

Utah: 3; BYU: 1.5

That's right, 11:23 AM gets half a point for that sweet zinger about Jordan wasting his time exercising.

Anonymous said...

Hey jess, who died and made you the authoritarian around here? No one.
Your comments are STUPID.

ShabbyGals said...

In the traditional 'scruggs' way of saying things...well said! You, as always, make me laugh harder about things than any other living human (talkin' about the entire blog!). And, I think you addressed something that weighs on the shoulders of any Mormon woman who has spent a single day on the western coast of these great American states. That said, do I think you were asking for it by singling out a blog? Sure. So I hope she forgives you. But, as far as your breadth of topics and overall entertainment factor, AMEN ANG! It's so nice to have another voice sounded; you're blog is totally refreshing for those of us who tend to compare ourselves with more perfect people (and I'm not being sarcastic...I really mean more perfect people), and always come up short. I love hearing about Bollywood, seeing Peter's 'honor-code breaking' photoshoot and getting a fresh perspective on fashionable swimwear (and, thanks for the style advice...I'm all over those!). Love you girl.

Kara and Aaron said...

Angela, that was awesomely dramatic. I thought i would add a comment and top you off at 40. Its quite impressive how many people got fired up about this issue. I guess i should state my side and say Thank You Angela. I definitely agree with you.