Me and my namesake hunkering down on some grub.
If there's one thing a smart Bonnie loves, it is food.
Have you tried one yet? They are diviiiiiine
On Wednesday a fellow English teacher, Stephanie, asked me during lunch if I am on Instagram. I said yes (@thelifeofbon) a little nervously knowing that my instagram is linked to my blog and from then on, freak guys, the jig was up! The secret blog life would be done for! You see, having all my friends and family read my blog is great and all, but sometimes I still like to be a blogger in hiding. Sometimes I miss the days where I could say whatever I wanted about whomever I wanted on my blog and no one would know the difference. That's why I have loved the blog anonymity at my new schoo... I can write about everything school related without worrying who is reading my blogging escapades (Can I call them escapades?). Obviously I knew it would end at some point and my cohorts would find out that every thought I have ever had I have plastered all over the interwebs... but I guess for a few weeks I wasn't ready for them to know yet. It all came crashing down, though, as Stephanie glanced over my Instagram and remarked nonchalantly, "I am so blog stalking the crap out of you."
She looked at her phone for a few minutes and then said, "You have sponsors? Who sponsors you?" At this my ears perked up because Stephanie was talking blog lingo and if there's one thing bloggers can spot quickly, it's another blogger. It's kind of like being Mormon. All Mormons can identify other Mormons from a mile away. I couldn't totally be sure, though, so I decided to test the waters a bit.
"Um... I don't know. Like I guess Wendy's?" I felt quite weird about the whole conversation, honestly.
"That's cool. Have you worked with BlogHer? I really like them."
I looked at her. She looked at me. And right there passed between us a definitive a-ha moment where we recognized with absolute certainty that we are both on the same level of crazy that involves allowing total strangers to read our most private thoughts. But the bell was ringing and kids were banging down our classroom doors begging us to teach them so we scurried off our separate ways and did our best to keep our cool about the whole thing.
At the end of the day I hopped onto my computer to look at Stephanie's blog and was surprised to discover that I had actually already visited it several times, just never put two and two together that it was her. In fact, Stephanie is pretty much a huge deal around Utah because she put together the whole movement for women to wear pants to church one day back in December. I mean, this chick's practically famous! It was crazy to put it all together in my head and to realize how many of the same people we know and how much of the same things we think and how alike we really are.
Interestingly enough, I felt a lot of compassion and love for Stephanie as I read her blog. Stephanie is a "Mormon feminist" which is certainly a weighted term but basically means that she wants to see some changes in the Mormon church in regards to the way women are treated and represented. I respect people like Stephanie and in general I support the Mormon church continuing to move toward more tolerance, love, and equality. Stephanie describes herself on her blog as being in a place "between believing and unbelieving" and that this place is "lonely" despite how many other people may be there with her.
Mostly this experience opened my eyes. I have been very self absorbed the past few weeks. There has been so much going on in my life that it was easy to be wrapped up in me and to feel sorry for me and to think about me. As I read Stephanie's blog I couldn't help but think about the silent struggles that we are all going through. Who would have thought that the girl that I was sitting next to in lunch every day for the past month grapples with faith and wants to empower women and loves her child dearly and etc, etc, etc.? I maybe could have gotten to know this about her sooner if I hadn't been so concerned about why she wasn't getting to know me.
As it turns out, as I was reading her blog, Stephanie was reading my blog and so stopped by my room half an hour later. She came bearing gifts: a note and a candy bar. She had read my post about starting at a new school and my angst about the new requirements of the district and came to cheer me up: "You don't have to listen to any of it! Just keep being a good teacher. Make minor changes as needed, but don't sweat it!" She had also probably read that I have had a hard time becoming besties with all the new faculty at work because she apologized, explaining that they are "a hard group to break in to." Which meant a lot of me in a nerdy, I-want-everyone-to-like-me kind of way.
The whole thing was so subtle that it's hard to blatantly state what meaning I found in the whole experience, except for that I know it was very profound for me. As soon as I read Stephanie's blog I connected with her and as soon as she read my blog she connected with me and what we weren't able to learn in a month's worth of lunches together we learned in 20 minutes from a bit of light blog reading.
I guess it just goes to show that what my momma always says is true, "to know you is to love you." I can't help but wonder if every person out there had a blog that I could secretly stalk would I love them more? If they poured out their doubts and vulnerabilities and fears, would I stop being annoyed with them/ mean to them/ judgmental of them? Would I stop all of the negative feelings and instead be left with compassion and love because I know what is going on underneath the surface is difficult and that like the saying goes, we all have our private battles we are fighting?
I guess it just makes me think twice about the way I treat people.
*This post is sponsored in part by Wendy's #6 Seconds Flat