Friday, March 27, 2009

Why Am I So Angry?

Have you ever been someplace where you were there, but not really?

I used to do that a lot. When our family would get together with all of the aunts, uncles, and cousins at my grandmother’s house, I never really wanted to go. I would be the only female grandchild present and I would have loved nothing more than to stay home with a book or my piano to play.

I loved it when the family was out of the house and I was alone. During my junior high school years, I would raise the lid on our upright Baldwin piano, perch my book of Beethoven Sonatas inside, and play as hard and loud as I wanted until my heart had been appeased. That’s how I released the anger and frustration in my life....through my hands.

I was also terribly shy and didn’t want to have to talk to people. Just let me sit in a chair in the living while the “boys” were all outside playing and the “girls” were in the kitchen preparing the food. Neither place nor role felt comfortable, except for the world of my book. Fortunately, my mother recognized my need. I was allowed to read, as long as I were in attendance.

Since then, I have learned from my aunt Nancy that she (and others presumably) saw me as being pretentious and believing myself to be better than “them.” Sure, I didn’t speak with the typical Oklahoma twang. I didn’t so much appreciate the finer points of a gathering of women which reached beyond serving the “boys.” In actuality, I was extremely shy and experienced a bit of social anxiety.

So what does this have to do with being someplace, but not?

Very recently, I’ve received some emails from a few readers who are wondering how I HAVE BEEN DOING? [Linda, you’re not the only one to have noted my silence of late.] Imagine. People actually see me as a person who exists beyond this blog. Thank you.

Do I really have a voice any longer?

If you’ve visited the blog, you may have noticed the widget in my sidebar which leads to pieces I’ve written for TheHealthCentralNetwork’s Multiple Sclerosis Central website. Yes, I write for them as an independent contractor, making me a freelance writer.

You may have noticed that most of the posts recently have been of the technical nature, not so much personal. Although I do try to include a personal tidbit or two buried inside. Well, my assignments have been technical in nature this month. So that’s what you’ve seen.

One of the other writers said to me earlier this year that I needed to change my online behavior because I “represent” Health Central out in the blogosphere. Srsly? Except for a very few occasions in a comment at new blog (which was extremely awkward to do), I do not go around saying, “look at me, I write at HC. Come read all my stuff.”

So what do I do? I just put it out there.

If you choose to go read and comment, great!! If you read there and comment here, great!! (...although my producer will never know how much attention “I” bring to them.)

Ok. What about the title of this post? - Why Am I So Angry?

I have been frustrated with what I see going on in our MS Blogging Community. Rather than using a blog and comments to share ideas, express ourselves, and provide information and support, there are some who are exploiting the commercial aspect.

There is one such gentleman who will not promote anything unless there is something in it for himself. I listed his site in the appropriate spots within my pages and even made an adjustment as requested. (No, I’m not going to say who this individual is.) He once “borrowed” a list of links which took me hours to compile as a resource. But when he starts to “promote” shared resources now, where is my mention? Nope, not there. Well, maybe I do need a nifty graphic or logo.

This same individual (guy #1) is now promoting guy #2 who has a distinct financial motive on his blog (one which benefits his “guru” directly). How familiar is guy #1 with guy #2’s blog? Has he perused the content, ads or links? Maybe not.

Well, guy #2 in poor taste made the move to quote a portion of a comment I left at a dear friend’s blog. When trying to clear up any confusion, I left a comment on the post which was later deleted. So I left the very same comment again, also deleted. Hey, if you can’t allow contrary views to exist on your blog (as long as they are not rude or derogatory), then perhaps a blog platform is not the appropriate medium for you.

Then there is a new persona who has hit the world of Twitter and Facebook who wants to help folks achieve a platform of wellness. She has come on very strong in a promotional manner, complete with shiny website, videos, and webcast. She was looking for people on Linked-In who expressed an interest in multiple sclerosis. Upon finding me, she requested I join her network and then suggested that I contact her if I had any questions about my MS diagnosis and what it means for me. Okaaaaaay?

So everywhere I turn, it seems, I am bombarded with personas who reek of insincerity in our online MS Community. That makes me sad and angry.

As a result, I have been sitting quietly trying not to stick my foot in my mouth (which I most certainly have done with this post). I have been reading my book (the blogs) and listening to the discussions, but not putting myself into the mix.

Hey, Linda, Kelley, Jen, et al. I still haven’t shed much light on what is really going on in my world. LOL. Perhaps I’ll have to ease back into viewing myself as a real person instead of an online persona - Health Central Writer, Carnival Glue, and Welcomer of New Blogs.


  1. I have considered putting ads on my blog but donating it to the MS society. I think I'll just keep to the ad-free atmosphere. Hang in there. I miss you! Nina

  2. Hi Nina,

    I think that a few ads is perfectly fine. To be perfectly honest, I think that two people have actually order books through my Amazon link. I got 4% commission for that into my PayPal account. It ultimately went toward the funds we raised for Herrad.

    But the day you want me to download your FREE ebook and sign-up with your spiritual guru for daily email inspirations, or tell me that you will be my guru so that I can live symptom and med-free, then I will question your sanity. :)

    Hey, I'm still here!! while you are preparing to be a bride, miss thang. Have I said how happy I am for you? Congrats.

  3. It's a story as old as time itself. Those who end up in the spotlight (for whatever reason) end up surrounded by those who want the spotlight, and fielding unsolicited input from those who feel they know how the spotlight should best be used.

    As a school teacher in Baton Rouge used to put it, "Use your good judgement." (Said with a thick southern African-American female accent.) You aren't going to be able to change others, but you have the right to discover their true intentions, and put them at the appropriate distance.

    Anger has a short shelf life, after which it starts to stink.

  4. Hey Lisa---

    Digging out of my own hole JUST FOR YOU-LOL.

    Great topic. As a website owner and not what I consider a "true blogger" (even though I keep being called just that and I keep reminding people that that implies I write deeply about my own personal life/MS/day-to-day journey), I couldn't give a rat's a$$ if people don't comment at my site. I'm getting sick of websites/communities that promote this and people almost feel a "reciprocal need" to boost each others' egos by doing so. I comment on a select few blogs/sites because I LOVE them and/or I find them exceptionally informative. I do not care if anyone reciprocates. I feel my persona is that of a journalistic writer (my background and joy) and not a blogger. Thank goodness we're all different because wouldn't it be boring if we all presented the exact same things.


    As for the 2 sites in question, you and I and a few others know about one "incident" that was so WRONG. It still makes me seethe and I have to sound off that I've never asked anyone to link to me, to write free content for me, to click on any ads for me, or to read my frigging posts. And I would certainly never presume to tell someone they were not "trying hard enough" to "cure" their MS with some junk I'm promoting. What a load of crap. We are all different, with different MS paths. That is why some blogs are lighter than others. Some are heavier than others, expressing the greater challenges of the writers. Then there are websites with varying degrees of credibility. It's all DIFFERENT and that's FINE. Diversity is key, combined with not stepping on others' viewpoints or telling them how they must treat or react to their own MS.

    Anyway, on to my concoction I'm dreaming up....

    Lots of warped love,


  5. Lisa, I always enjoy reading your blog and I had just assumed you were too busy keeping up with your two blogs, and freelance writing projects to boot - plus teaching music! To have the energy to delve into your personal life would surprise me, but I'm certain your typing skills are far faster and superior to mine, so you probable type out a paragraph in a flash.

    What you have offered here is wonderful information, some of which I have taken to heart. Plus you always answer my stupid questions for which I thank you.

  6. Steve, thank you so much. Ya know, I feel better just getting this out. The shelf was getting weak in the center and about to give in to what's down below.

    Jen, you know how I love your kooky self.

  7. Webster, thank you!! I do keep busy, but most of it is just keeping track of what's going on out there. I really do read most of everybody's posts, just don't comment on the majority.

    Teaching lessons certainly takes a lot of energy but fortunately I have been able to cut my teaching days down to Mon-Wed. I used to teach 6 days a week when I had 42 students. THAT was insane.

    I can type fairly quickly when my fingers are doing well. However, I can't think fast enough and tend to make a lot of word substitution mistakes while I go. It can take up to 10 minutes to leave a comment as simple as this one.

    I'm glad to answer your questions. If there is something I can be helpful with, I'm glad to do so. I will probably share more personal life stuff in the future (actually I have been kinda waiting for something exciting to happen so I could talk about it, lol).

  8. Lisa,
    I have to admit, I'm really angry on your behalf!
    I've often gotten the feeling that there were people, in my life or just showing up, who gave the impression that they had the motor going on how they could benefit from me and that I have MS.
    Truth be told, and I am so ashamed to admit this, but my mother uses it on a daily basis.
    I think that it's rude and bizarre for someone to ask me to list them in any space at my blogs.
    Those are mine, the fact that I have readers who comment regularly is a huge bonus, but it was not to gain readers, it was to unload the heavy loads that I'd had to carry all day or to find the funny in an experience that, in real life, wasn't funny at all.
    As for the rude commenter who then wouldn't display your side of the story, don't let people like that ruin one second of your day! Because for one rude commenter, you have a gagillion who love you!

  9. Speaking of loving you, you have to come over to my other blog, Rambling Thoughts cause I left something there for ya!

  10. Sorry that it happened, maybe I'm lucky that only you and my mother read my blog! Hang in there, it probably will get worse?

  11. Geezzzz . ...

    I always read your blog when I see a new post/article hit my reader! I enjoy the blogs like yours and many others that inform and/or entertain me.

    Lately I have noticed many of the points you mentioned. I get some really wacky emails via my contact page - since I am new to this MS deal and the norm for MS bloggers it leaves me kind of stumped sometimes.

    Glad I am not the only one that the goo roo's irritate.

  12. "To thine own self be true"...don't ASK me who said that, because I can't remember! I just know it's a keeper of a quote. :-) There will always be those that wish to be you, be like you, be above you, and be in control of you...because they "be fearful OF you". You are a powerful person and I don't mean that in a dominance sort of are powerful from within, which offers a remarkable source of strength to those of us surrounding you. But that strength, sometimes no matter what your intention or use of it, is frightening to others that lack it...and they act out around you in ways that are not always well understood.

    I am in praise of YOU today, too, Ms. Lisa...for speaking YOUR truth...which lights a path for others to do the same. Shine on...

  13. I love the comments you leave me and the only thing I would complain about, if I did complain about you but I can't because your blog is so superior, is that you don't show enough of your humor. You're damn funny and I hope people know that.

  14. Tracy, thank you for the award. I feel honored.

    The only way that I've thought about benefiting from having MS is to use it to help others, which then helps me. So in the end, it's all about ME!!! LOL.

    You know....where ever it is that you live must not be that far from me. Just saying.

  15. Andy, hey we can't be your only two readers. I've seen more over there.

    BTW, very cool about the new porch/deck and I still say 'yay' Vitamin D.

  16. Oh no...Kmilyun and Blindbeard, you guys are gonna start making me worry about being entertaining and funny. Aw, the pressure. LOL.

    I feel the love guys, thank you.

  17. Linda, you are my guru. So have I said thank you lately? No one man can stand strong alone, it takes all men to stand together for strength.

    Don't ask ME who said that cause I think I just made it up. :)

  18. Wow. I think your blogs are amazing, and you're such a wonderful person to volunteer hope and advice in so many places.

    I'm pissed off for you that there are jerks who are stealing your hard work and trying to profit from it.

    Please don't think it reflects on the MS community online that people like that exist. They exist everywhere, and they are never truly part of the community they try to profit from.

    I really do admire the work you do, and the way you help people like me who are just trying to figure everything out.

    Thank you!!

  19. wOW, WHERE TO START?(oBVIOUSLY WITH TAPPING OFF MY CAp key) I too just figure you are busy or not feeling up to it, you do have MS afterall. I'm not big on emailing people because I feel like I'm bothering them. I have read so many strange (meaning I know the blogger is mad, but not quite sure what about) posts from our MS blog world lately...I never get twisted comments, such nice people on my blog, I may know the guy(s) you are mentioning and I tried to give a "heads up" early on to a few bloggers (which one can take or leave--no sweat) and I tried to choose only ad free or non-profit type ad blogs for my 100 Chronic Illness List, because it can get a bit much. Professional sites are what they are, but I don't consider them blogs. Be angry, let it out. Sing. Play music. Be you.

  20. hi there! catching up on my blogging friends' happenings. I'm coming back over in a little bit though with a fresh cup of coffee to read your articles. This weekend is my 8th anniversary of having MS. I'm going to fight it with every ounce of energy I have this year. I'm tired of taking that daily shot (which is a definite reminder of having the disease, as Montel says and I so agree!) I've been through the gammit of emotions over the years and this year I'm learning to live again and turning up the music (check out my blog to hear the song!)

    I have an MS appt on Friday to just visit with my wonderful neurologist. I already had my yearly MRI and nothing new...yippee! A few increases in size, a few decreases in size. I continue to work out, challenge myself with half marathons, work full time with great little kids and learning to enjoy life again.

    Blessings to you....come visit!

  21. I too, had been wondering if you might be too busy to post more personal blogs. I have always loved reading about your life as I find you as humorous and entertaining as the others do. However, I am always astounded at how much valuable and useful info you post in your blog and cannot even fathom having the discipline to do the kind of research you must do. Just want you to know that all your hardwork is really appreciated.

  22. Aviva,

    I just hope that you find some answers soon. Knowing that 'something' is wrong, but without a name can be frustrating. I'm glad to help if I think I can.

    "...they are never truly part of the community they try to profit from."

    Thank you for making this statement. It helps to provide some relief of the anxiety I've felt.

  23. Diane,

    You would never bother me. In fact, I had been busy with student piano classes at my house last weekend which required some serious cleaning. (Imagine kitchen floor which had not been mopped in, say, 4-5 months....etc.) And today, I actually went to a movie and had dinner with friends. Nice.

  24. Kerri,

    Happy Anniversary!! Those emotions certainly seem to come in cycles with slight variations each time. Congrats on the good MRI scans and wonderful outlook for the coming year. It's funny, I don't really find the daily shot to be a negative reminder of MS.

    Hats off to you with the half-marathons. I was never a runner before and am not one now. LOL. Keep it up lady.

  25. Hey miss pUNKrOCKfairy,

    Thanks so much. I really appreciate hearing that the information is useful. That feels really good.

    And certainly the response from this post has given me permission to get more personal (once again). It's not always about the MS and I have forgotten that a bit. It's really about life.

  26. Hey Lisa,

    I'm glad you filled us in. I've missed posts about you and getting to know more about you and your experiences. I do greatly appreciate the technical info and knowledge, but enjoy getting to know who you are, too.

    I'm also one who would rather sit on the sidelines doing my own thing, so I understand where you are coming from in that regard. I, too, loved to have an empty house so that I could practice without people hearing me (I played flute for a long time.) While I did perform, I didn't like being in front of people. That's one of the things I like about blogging. I can be out there without people really seeing me.

    I agree that there's nothing wrong with some ads on a blog site (it's good to make a bit of cash given all of the time you put into this), but there are some who cross that line and I share your anger. It's particularly angering that someone would plagiarize your work. That's just wrong regardless of the motive.

    I hope that you don't have to censor yourself on your blog or sacrifice anything for your freelancing. I imagine that's tricky to balance.

    I look forward to hearing more about you soon!