I kind of thought I had gotten over my blankey.

Jeremy has a long-standing tradition of sneaking my beloved blanket into suitcases when I go on trips. Perhaps because I credit that blanket as a catalyst for our love story (this is a link by the way, it just doesn’t look like it), but he seems fond of the thing—or at least fond of the calming effect it has on me.

But recently, I caught him packing it for a trip to Chicago, and I told him, “Let’s leave it here. I don’t want to stress about forgetting it in the hotel bed.”

I don’t love the blanket less because it looks like this now a days.

It’s just that the blanket’s constancy and thereness that I once cherished so deeply has been supplemented by the thereness and constancy of Hufflepuff, of Maeby, of Hudson, and by Jeremy. Admittedly, these people (yes, my pets are people) are softer than my tangled friend.

I’m having an emotional week, which is both understatement and code for PMS. This is evidenced by the fact, that upon reflecting on Jeremy’s 8 years of Blankey-Smuggling, I flew into the bedroom, woke him up, and started crying about how sweet it is that he sneaks my blanket into my suitcase.

Last night I had someone who I considered close come at me pretty hard—explaining, sensibly but harshly that I am “part of the problem.”

In an exchange that lasted several paragraphs, they used the word Neo-Liberal—which carries, at best, undertones of pink-hatted wine moms. This person insinuated, well, no they directly stated, that the diplomacy I exercise in my online communications supports fascists, and dictators, and genocide. They used all the best jargon.

It’s unfortunate for me that they touched on one of my biggest insecurities—that because of how I was raised and born and think and feel, I will never had the conviction to be _________ enough.

What that blank is, you name it. Spiritual enough, progressive enough. Smart enough. Caring enough. Good enough. Important enough.

I’m not a proud middle-woman, nor a closeted one—I’m just an agonized one (sorry, yes, agonized is such a charged word). But without giving this person, who I do feel was a tad cruel in their misalignment of my character, a victory, I can’t help but wonder if the fear I’ve always harbored, if this “I’m listening to you—you are valid approach” that I’ve adopted as a teacher, student, mother, friend, person IS part of the problem.

This isn’t new subject matter for the blog, it’s just a variation on a theme. And I defensively cling to the evidence to the contrary that my approach has been helpful for some.

But damn, there’s something vulnerable about a worldview—one that you thought was already well and shattered—breaking down a little bit further. Maybe being emotionally validating is actually being emotionally enabling? Maybe civil discourse IS dead. Maybe words in the Facebook era don’t mean as much as much as words on a page used to. Maybe we are all just a bunch of “idiots, full of sound and fury signifying nothing.” And if that’s true, the one constant theme I’ve never wavered on—that words give us the power to understand and empathize with each other—maybe that foundation is crumbling too.

I think the largest undertone in this person’s rebuke was that it didn’t matter that my feelings were hurt by the exchange, because I am not marginalized. It’s so strange to have hurt feelings and to conceptualize them at the same time. I could definitely be accused of neoliberalism if I prioritized my feelings uber alles. Over growth. Over progress. That’s actually completely fair. So conceptually, what do I do with these feelings? What does this do to our relationship?

I woke up this morning with a vulnerability hangover so large that I just kind of moped and flopped around for an hour until I spotted that crumpled, minuscule tangle of fabric that used to be a blanket. It looked a little bit like I feel — pretty knotted up, a little sparse, and white. Maybe it’s no longer colorful enough, or soft enough, and it’s certainly not making a difference.

But it still matters.

  1. Jun 29, 2019
    Sarah Turner

    I absolutely love your online communications. You strive to be open-minded, fact-based, and understanding, three things rarely found on social media. I love reading your posts and your blog. Your logical and well-intentioned discussions of current topics helps me think more deeply about issues that are easier to just ignore. Luckily, good friends like you won’t allow that. 🙂 I know this comment probably won’t help with the vulnerability thing, but I just want you to stick with it. Your wonderful insights have helped me with at least three specific current topics. You are amazing, and I honestly LOVE reading your Facebook posts and blog posts.

  2. Jul 08, 2019
    Emily Hickok

    You are an INCREDIBLE person and you are MORE than enough!! You are strong and brave! I do think some people are just not good at civil discourse especially on Facebook. I’ve been there before and it’s the worst!!! There is always something that can’t be communicated well over Facebook that is feelings. People don’t do it well. You are doing an amazing job!! Don’t let these people get you down!!!!!

    • Jul 08, 2019
      Emily Hickok

      Oh and I mean your commenter when I meant people who can’t write nicely;). you are an incredible writer on Facebook and I always feel you approach things justly and thoughtfully !!!!!!

  3. Jul 08, 2019
    Jaime Cohen

    If the person felt so strongly about your style of communication they should have spoken to you in person. This type of conversation over text is a complete and total cop out. Shame on your friend. You are a light in the life of everyone you touch; you are so considerate of those around you. What really makes you special is your ability to discuss tough subjects and not throw yourself into the fire just for the sake of burning. You provide insight from all angles, reasoning, substantiation for your claims, and above all else you show humility. The fact that you are willing to dignify your friend’s statement with a response says it all. You are enough. We are all enough. And when we don’t have enough (strength) to face people who would say otherwise, our true friends step in and we are enough together.

  4. Jul 09, 2019
    Becca Wilson

    Your posts are the type that i read Out loud to my husband. The way you share your feelings while still encouraging the public conversation to move forward is rare and greatly needed in this social media age. I feel Like you’re one of the only people online that I’m like “YES! She put everything I feel into words.” Please don’t ever stop your vulnerability. You’re one of the good ones. We share similar opinions politically (which helps haha), but i really think you have a gift of creating a safe place to debate really divisive topics in this country. Your threads are the type that I read every single comment to see opinions across the political spectrum. Love ya girl! You got this.

  5. Jul 09, 2019
    Katrina Hillam

    I’ve seen Facebook dialogue which is successfully hard-hitting, blunt, and uncompromising worsen the very attitudes they’re trying to put an end to. I’ve also been one of the people who had to rethink my own opinions when I’ve read something more reasonable, something that played to my own sensibilities and gently showed me where there were errors. The age of Facebook may not give good feedback, and yes, may look like a blast of sound and fury—but words still have power. The irony is just that the ones that make the most progress do it quietly, while everyone else keeps shouting over each other.