I’m genuinely and mightily amused- and have been, for a couple of days.
This is the kind of amusement that will always retain a pocket of privacy, no matter how widely and verbosely one describes it to the world. More than the public part, it is this irrevocably private fold that is sending me into paroxysm of undiluted hilarity.
There’s this lady I ‘know’ virtually. She is a blogger who writes beautifully. I mean really, truly well. So well in fact that I could consider giving up something mildly important to be able to emulate her. But since I don’t, I don’t fret it. God bless her, right?
So, about this lady.
When she burst upon the blogging world, she took it by storm. It was thrilling really. She was such a welcome addition to the gems of the blogging world and a precipitous cut above the gawd-awful NOISE. Her opinions were no hand-me-downs, they were sparkling fresh and original. Her wit reminded one of a lance; her language of mellifluous and dulcet music.
Oh, it was bliss reading her! It was… and even today… it is. And that will never change for me.
As more and more water flowed under the bridge of our interactions, I noticed her change a bit. Subtly at first then more and more, she began playing to the galley. Looking at her, one began to feel as if she constantly imagined herself in the strongest footlights. Her words showed that she a sense of disproportionate grandeur. She went over herself totally. It was a very unnerving and alarming transition to witness.
Her whole personality took on an edge. The steel which gave such a wonderful vigor to her views, began to cut through her mellowness in rampant ugliness. Its edges sharp and dangerous, it protruded most unexpectedly from her online persona. Her words went from respectfully opinionated to stridently belligerent. Her natural hesitation became a shallow and fake humility. Oh, it was unpleasant!
I have as lively a sense of self-preservation as anyone else and this new development unnerved me somewhat, I must confess. Loath to get singed, I decided to move back a few steps; to wait and watch. Things didn’t take a turn for the better, sadly enough. They became worse.
She began to pick acrimonious fights with other bloggers- the best, the most sensible. The reasons for this animosity were flimsy at best and non-existent at worst. Though I hate using cliches, the truth is, her popularity seemed to have gone to her head. For a long time, I didn’t want to believe it. I couldn’t bear to, it was too sad. She really is a wonderful writer.
Thankfully, we had no unpleasantness between us. If my regard for her had diluted, I kept the fact strictly to myself.
Things reached such a pass that I was always reminded of this passage whenever I thought of her:
Eve Layton believed that her mission in life was to be the vanguard–it did not matter of what. Her method had always been to take a careless leap and land triumphantly far ahead of all others. Her philosophy consisted of one sentence–“I can get away with anything.” In conversation she paraphrased it to her favorite line: “I? I’m the day after tomorrow.” She was an expert horsewoman, a racing driver, a stunt pilot, a swimming champion. When she saw that the emphasis of the day had switched to the realm of ideas, she took another leap, as she did over any ditch. She landed well in front, in the latest. Having landed, she was amazed to find that there were people who questioned her feat. Nobody had ever questioned her other achievements. She acquired an impatient anger against all those who disagreed with her political views. It was a personal issue. She had to be right, since she was the day after tomorrow.
Her husband, Mitchell Layton, hated her.
~Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead
I thought of her off and on. Call it morbid curiosity. My thrifty soul was revolted to see the waste of talent. There’s no way she would enjoy enduring success with her attitude, I am certain of that.
I’m a strange fish. For me, the art only ‘connects’ deep within if the artist matches her art- like it were an extension of her person. I could no longer connect to the artist. The art, technically as sound as it always was, therefore lost its grip on me. Yet, I continued to read her. I stopped commenting though. And that’s how it remained for many moons. I don’t think she noticed my absence. She had too many people around her. Her ears must be ringing with well-deserved ballads of appreciation. I was happy for her. Honest, I was.
Whatever works for her, I thought to myself, wishing her well and keeping a prudent distance. But a niggling question remained.
Needless to say (or maybe this was just a coincidence), she stopped reading me also. That was perfectly reasonable. Since we don’t speak the same language anymore, what would be the point of her reading me anyway? Or maybe she read me without leaving proof of her visit. I’d rather believe the former though.
A few weeks ago she wrote a post which connected with me better than had all the rest, given my disconnect with their creator. In a buoyant frame of mind, I shared my own experiences on the issue in a comment. Since most blogs have a comment moderation practice, I didn’t expect the comment to show on the blog. But I had raised an issue in my comment and I looked forward to her reply.
Here, in case you are wondering, let me tell you this: my comment was not in the least offensive. If my grandma were a blogger, I could have left that comment on her blog and she would have been pretty pleased. You probably don’t realize what a big deal that is because you don’t know my grandma. Not only was she vituperatively critical, but also, alas, very dead. So you see?
But I digress, as always.
Three days later, desultorily clicking at random, I happened to see her post shared on Twitter by someone. Remembering my comment, I went to her post to see if she had replied yet.
My comment was not there. Other people’s comments were there… her replies to them all were there… mine wasn’t. When I had commented, there were only four comments- sans replies- on her blog. When I went to check again, there were over two dozen… all replied to. I decided to wait a couple of days. No dice. More and more comments appeared- complete with replies. Not mine. Hmmm.
Oh, it probably went into spam mail I thought. Happens all the time, what’s the big deal? I’ll write to her and ask.
Which was all very well theoretically. When it actually came to writing, I baulked not a little. But I loathe jumping to conclusions. It is such an undignified workout!
Steeling myself, therefore, I wrote to the lady requesting her to retrieve my comment from her spam/ junk folder. After three days, she replied to my request. She was brief and to the point. One can’t help but admire that.
Don’t want your comment on my blog. Deleted, she wrote succinctly.
Your arrogance doesn’t cheapen me.
~ Toba Beta
For the life of me I couldn’t stop myself from erupting into laughter when I read the mail.
You ought to feel affronted, I told myself sternly after the first paroxysms had subsided.No dice!
I ought to have felt mortified and insulted. I ought to have slunk about pretending the whole incident never happened instead of foolishly writing a post about it, advertising the supposed affront I couldn’t manage to feel. From the moment I read her one-lined, terse mail, I have been guffawing. The more I try to stop myself the more I’ve been giggling. It really is getting awfully silly.
I do wish, however, that there was a way I could say this to her without damaging her dignity:
Get over yourself darling!
Note: Please, do NOT ask me who the blogger is. It is irrelevant anyhow. What is important is to know that when someone behaves in a brutal and unexpected way with you, it sometimes has nothing to do with you. They are traversing their own path… which sometimes compels them to step on your toes. Don’t take it personally. Just withdraw when you see them approaching. It is your job to protect your toes, not theirs. And if they DO step on your toes, rub them a little, laugh at the whole silly situation and move on. Get Over Yourself! The world isn’t out to prosecute you. It hasn’t the time.
Get Over Yourself
I would comment from a neutral perspective (since i was not you): No point in harping on the issue…you both should move on!
I wouldn’t have commented on her post in the first place; even if i did, i would not have pushed her to comment. Fair enough?
Sure, that’s fair enough. Whatever works for you.
Thanks for the visit. 🙂
Not for me, for you both 🙂
That too, of course. 😀
Each experience is an enrichment.
Indeed it is Kalpana! Glad you see it that way!
I probably would not have commented, but then that is me. Also it would depend on how strongly I felt about the topic. This reminds me though that we learn from everything and everyone around us. Trying to look at the learning and moving on that is what keeps us going.
I did feel strongly about the topic, though not so strongly that I would have lost sleep if I hadn’t commented. Somehow I think my predominant feeling was to ‘begin afresh’. I really don’t know for sure.
Yes, learn what you are meant to learn and move on… that’s the thing to do. 😀
Hmm…this is interesting! First of all, I admire your courage in actually writing about this experience, considering the slight possibility that someone or the other might be able to identify the blogger! Or the blogger in question herself might someday read this. I guess the experience must have ‘amused’ you quite a bit that you decided to write about it 😀 Well, I say, good for you; if you hadn’t done it you wouldn’t have been you!
I know there have been situations in my life when I have left things unspoken/unwritten but then for quite a while after that I have harboured a sulking, angry, and even resentful feeling toward the person who I felt behaved in an utterly unreasonable, unkindly or even downright insulting manner toward me. At times I have thought that it would have been better if I had said it out loud to that person, but a part of me has also always known that that too wouldn’t have changed anything (except maybe I would have felt a release for a few minutes having said my piece!) O well, I don’t know where I am going with this, but your experience just made my thoughts wander on this path….I guess in a way that’s what this post is intended to do – to make us reflect on how we would handle such situations where the other person we are dealing with seems so full of himself/herself. Should we try to make things better, one more time? Or should we just let things go…
The first para of your comment made me grin. Indeed, if I hadn’t done it, I wouldn’t have been me. 😀 And as they say, there’s only one ME in the world. 😀 😀
For many years I too did not speak up when someone behaved in odd ways. Then I realized that I was being unfair. By not raising the issue, I was jumping to (wrong) conclusions. There could be a perfect reasonable explanation but by keeping silent about it, I wasn’t giving the other person a space where they could lay out their reasons.
I also felt I was being unfair to myself. If I don’t stand up for myself, who will do it? Over the years I have learned to seek clarification in a non-accusatory manner. It helps clear the air without putting the other person on the spot.
As for whether my raising the issue will change anything or not, I no longer worry about that. In the first place, people do change. They may not change instantly, but words do create an impact… even if it is after much time has elapsed. Secondly, whether someone changes or not is their prerogative. My job is to let them know that they’ve disappointed me. They may never change, but I will have reclaimed and rebuilt my damaged self-esteem.
People think they damage their self-esteem when others attack them. I think it gets eroded when they don’t look the other person in the eye and tell them that they did wrong… and that they have hurt them.
I owe it to myself to tell someone that they did wrong by me. They may not care, they may not change… but I will have said it. And that is more important than anything else. It clears the mental space and doesnt allow the weeds of resentment to take root.
You can’t let go until you deal with it. So deal with it, tell the person that you are unhappy with what they did… and let go. Then sweep up and you’re as good as new again.
Gosh! This has turned into a post! Sorry…!!! 😛
And what a post it is! Thank you for this, my friend. Somehow it feels like just the right thing to read today.
That’s so sweet of you! I bet I came across horribly preachy. 🙁
I shared the essence of your reply with Suhas and actually put into practice too with a friend (in my sort of way :)) It worked! So thank you!
Oh My God! Really?! I’m so thrilled! Thank you! Thank you for telling me this! It means more to me than I can ever say!
So you are going to tell me who she is, No?? I thought you promised in my dream….err…how will she know that you wanted to convey this message without damaging her dignity? I will do the honors for you, di 😛
never mind….if I were you, may be I would have written the comment because you know I am sometimes extra nice (like you) but I don’t think I would have gone back and asked what happened to my comment when it is clearly seen that she didn’t publish it. I know each of us have our own way of dealing things. Anyway, I am glad you are over it by doing this post. How many of us can really write about it? Smile now 😀
Haha… I promised you in your dream indeed! 😛
Yes, perhaps most sensible people wouldn’t have asked. But I don’t like to assume… so I asked. And I’m happy I did. Now we know where we are. 😀
Thank you for this sunny comment. It made me grin. 😀
People may end up hurting us, knowingly or unknowingly. It helps to remind ourselves that people have a right to act as they choose, irrespective of whether it hurts others or not. Once someone has outgrown the need for you, just leave quietly. Don’t hang around anymore. Move to where there is a need for you. Once your opinions stop mattering to someone, it doesn’t matter how valuable they are. It is futile to deliver the opinion. This was at least a fellow blogger, but this happens so often in the context of relationships. One person suddenly outgrows the need for the other, and just decides to leave. The other is left hanging in the air, a million words waiting to be spoken. Words that fall on deaf ears. One learns the hard way to just leave quietly, gathering one’s self worth, without questioning or revolting.
Don’t ever do that again, Dagny. Give where there is need.
Never again Vidya. One learns…. a lesson at a time. Hugs! <3
That made me grin and break into fits of laughter. I knew someone like that a long time ago. Egos destroy people and slowly suck out their commonsense.
As for me, I believe ignoring such people is the best way. Because no matter what, they desire attention — good, bad or ugly. Good that you wrote the post, it validates my thinking too. 🙂
I was waiting for you to read this. And I knew it would make you laugh. As you said, ego does suck out common sense… the most uncommon commodity on earth.
We always validate each other, don’t we? Shared world-view, shared values.. and an identical low tolerance to bullshit! 😀 😀
Oh, you do me good Rachna. Thank God for you!
Ouch! Giggling and then wincing again, ouch. Now this is a post I’ll keep close to my heart. It is so important in this small blogging world where people go overboard praising a writer (even though most times it is quid pro quo since they expect you to go visit their blogs and praise them)
Ritu, your grounded wisdom enriches even as it instructs. And I love what you write… whether you read me or not. SO there! 😀
Dagny, I’ve experienced this. And it took me a while to find the laughter. It takes all sorts to make up this world,no? I am glad you are in it and I am glad to be reading your post today. 🙂 One thing I’ve learned along the years of blogging is to adopt this: “I don’t have time to worry about who doesn’t like me. I’m too busy loving the people who love me”
Insecure people – what can we say? Love that quote in the photo about arrogance.
Vidya, I suppose the ability to find laughter is what separates the (wo)men from the (girls) boys. What a wonderful thought about loving those who love you… and letting the other through the fine mesh of your perceptions!
I am very pleased to see you here today. Thank you!
I so agree with Vidya ma’am which I am learning too. Gradually one has to learn in blogging that there will be all kinds of people, we have to feel proud of all who love us and keep away the rest..
Another thing lets just ignore ‘too much into themselves people’ and move on.
Thank you for coming by to read this Manjulika. As you said, it is best to ignore and move on.
Dags I think I would have done exactly the same thing. And then would have laughed my ass out. I really have low tolerance for negativity. I can tolerant idiots but I can’t tolerate rude and negative people. It just sucks out all my positivity. I do try to reason for a few interactions but then I quietly move out of the circle. What they do with their life is none of my business but if it affects my life, I would rather cut the cord than try and work on it. Life is too short and I plan to live in a lot of sunshine with a little tan here and there. No one could have articulated it better than you Dags!
I know you’d have done the same Sfurti. You am I… we are like bulls in a china shop in some ways. 😀
We both have low tolerance for BS and we’re proud of it too! Right? 😀 😀 Hugs!
Oh my Dagny…you’ve talked about the most important lesson in life and yet in a subtle way ! I love that – Get over yourself darling !!
Exactly, people’s reactions to us need not affect us…yet for many people that’s how their world starts and ends.
So beautifully written Dagny…loved the reference from Fountainhead 😀
Thank you so much Uma. You liked the fountainhead passage? Doesn’t it describe so vividly? Ms Rand was an awesome writer…!
Of course I am a great fan of hers…I still remember your post on 50 years of Atlas Shrugged and how I loved reading your post !
Have your daughters read Ayn Rand’s work yet? My elder one has but sadly she didn’t connect with it as I did. Sigh.
Same here Dagny…elder one did read it, but didn’t connect the way I did !! But she doesn’t hate it…am glad of that !
Thank God for small mercies! 😀
Thank you for writing this Dagny,. I came here from a post by Paro on your FB page. Strange that I should read this when I was myself talking about lack of honesty, the insatiable need to keep the ego before relationships/passions whatever. About people prefering that no questions should be asked if you expect no lies. People are so frivolous with their attitude these days. The feelings of others do not matter. It is a strange world we live in. I am sure she will never realize what she has lost and will continue to lose by such lookout.
Well something’s lost, but something’ gained in living everyday . 🙂 (Joni Mitchell.)
Love you lots.
People who live by the sword….
It is difficult to deal with people who always bring their ego to the party. You meet their ego even before you’ve met them. Sometimes you never gt to meet them at all and must only be content to meet their ego. That’s positively silly. Where do they expect their ego to take them? It can’t walk by itself!
Loved the Joni Mitchell quote! Love you lots too! <3
So true. love you too.
Dagny, online world is a strange place. Many a times we don’t know the real person behind the words. Not everyone is able to take critique in the right spirit. Well, their loss. What I know is that your comment can never originate from any negative place. Feel free to be yourself when you visit my blog. Would love that instead of fake meaningless appreciation.
Enriching experience, nevertheless.
Apologies for the spelling.
I edited your comment. No worries.
Alka… I am not one to say what I don’t mean. And you know that.
You and Purba are two ladies whose blog I am subscribed to. Coincidentally, both your blogs deliver posts to my mail-box during the night. When I wake up in the morning, I find your latest posts… and I read them immediately on my phone ’cause I can’t bear to wait. I only wish there was a way I could reply to the mail and have my comment appear on your blog (WordPress allows that, did you know?). But there’s no way I miss a single post of yours. I love good humor… and you are a class apart.
Even when you’re pissed off, you don’t let go of your pose and eloquence.
Lol Purba! What a lovely compliment! Thank you!
What an apt response a person who does such act can get 🙂 Love this post in and out as I had a similar experience. I wont ask who the blogger is but I can say I faced the similar brunt-
This — Just withdraw when you see them approaching. It is your job to protect your toes, not theirs. –makes absolute sense
Every word U wrote just reflects your wisdom !
Good one 🙂
What is a typo. I meant to say, this is an apt response 🙂
Thank you Afshan. I’m sure we’ve all been singed by thoughtless and misguided people sometime in our lives. Their behavior makes us feel as if there is something wrong with us… as if something is lacking in us. But that’s not true.
People do what they do because of who THEY are. With every action and response, they show their own inner poise (or lack of it). We must never take other people’s behavior as a commentary of our own worth.
So glad you came by to read this. 🙂
Dagny…what a writeup… Hats off to u…i can understand how you must have felt…
Thank you Aparna!
There are many like this blogger. Sometimes you want to interact with the blogger and as a blogger/writer, it is kind of imperative to reply to comment. Else, why blog? Maybe she is a good writer, but being a good person is more important.
This article gave me a lot of wisdom. Thanks for writing this.
Saru, You are so right! Replying to comments is basic blogging etiquette. Unless the comment is abusive, you always reply to them… no matter what your personal equation with the commentor. Being a good person is indeed more important than being a good professional.
Thank you for your validating words and for your visit!
Ah, fellow square peg. The online world is truly a very strange place. A place where people seem to lose all sense of not just ‘reality’, but also one where we come across people who slyly use you as a stepping stone and then discard you quicker than a used…well…wrapper 😛
But then again. You knew what I thought of all this 🙂
Oh absolutely! But they do say what goes around comes around. As ye use so shall you be used.. as ye kick away so shall ye be kick away!
Time for a bunch of pop-corn while we wait and watch. Right? 😀
Oh God! I would have been so angry..But then again I would have chickened out at the beginning and not written a comment perhaps… And if I did, I guess I wouldn’t have asked her…But I would have never had the good sense and maturity to handle the situation like you did .. Glad to have read this Dagny..
I genuinely tried to be angry and offended Naba. In fact, I told myself I ought to be annoyed. But for the life of me I couldn’t be. The silliness of the thing kept intruding until it finally took over entirely. 😛
I’m glad you read this! That makes two glad people in this our sad world… 😀
If I were you I would have tagged her in this post and all my social mentions, just so that she would not miss it. You know me 😛 But then again, you are YOU! And I am amazed at the clarity of thought even when you were wronged. And I say wronged because I don’t see the need to delete a comment unless you asked for her kidney in return.
I leave you with these words that my dad would always tell me. “There is nothing you can do about the demons that plague the others. You do your bit because you were raised well. That you are a better person at the end of the day will ensure you sleep peacefully at night.”
And I do believe you sleep like a baby…..it shows on your skin 🙂
Vini, Exactly… you don’t need to delete comments unless the commentor has crossed the line in some awful way. Oh well, such is life!
I sleep like a baby, that’s true enough. About the rest, what can I say but give you a huge, big HUG! <3
Someday, I wish to be able to reach this level of wisdom and this elegance in writing. Beautifully written, like always! 🙂
Thank you so much Rekha. You already write beautifully. 🙂 This was more like a rant than anything else. 😛
If I rant, it will be like cursing the other person. You’ve maintained your calm. Not easy at all in such a scenario. Hats off! And I agree that we must stand for ourselves.
Lol… I’m certain you wouldn’t. You’d be absolutely poised and dignified. I know you will.
Very interesting perspective Dagny. Must admire you for being able to laugh at it and take it in your stride. Yes, it takes some time and I am still learning the ropes. Definitely the world isn’t out to prosecute, but it sure needs some reminding, now and then 🙂
The truth is, we love to dramatize ourselves. And nothing is sweeter than to imagine that the world is out to get us and to think of ourselves as a lone viking doomed… yet fighting away with heart breaking courage. 🙂
Thank you. Glad you liked.
Sent from my Samsung device
I won’t get into the rigmarole of who said what and to whom and who is right and who is wrong. This is between two people and I can only interfere so much 😀 But what makes me comment on this post is your lucid writing. I was lost in the description of your feelings and the subtle anger. Well written Dagny. One day I hope to read a book written by you. It will be a treat.
That warm compliment from you, a woman who lives and breathes books! I’m totally over the moon! Thank you Rubes. One of these days perhaps I will write a book. Or at least I will compile my short stories into a book.
You really have no idea how bucked I am, do you? <3