I often say that I’m incredibly grateful that social media came into existence long after my high school and college days. By the time I was first asked to update my status, I was a happily married, peacefully boring, stay-at-home mom. This saved everyone in my generation from the incredible embarrassment of acting a fool in the digital world for all of posterity to Google and see.
Or did it?
Bloggers. What is happening?!?
In the last year or so I have watched a strange storm brewing, a little something I’d like to call the I NEED TO GET INVITED OR I WILL DIE syndrome. Now listen. I get it. I wanted to get into Columbia University and I still remember hyperventilating in my parents’ kitchen when the wait-listed letter arrived. It was like the cutest boy in the school saying I was almost worthy and I should hang in there in case the head cheerleader he really wanted to date was hit by a bus or something. PAINFUL. So I understand! We all want to feel worthy and wanted.
But I’m here to tell you that an invitation to a blogging event (read those two words again and soak it in…) does not define your worth.
I know what you’re thinking. “But Amy, you’re super cool and get invited to all the things so who are you to talk?”
That’s not even a little true. Yes, there have been moments over the last seven years of this blogging shiz where I’ve seen bloggers on a trip and thought, “Are you kidding me? I would have been perfect for that. That is SO my thing.”
But do you know who I told about my disappointment?
NOT THE WHOLE INTERWEBZ.
Remember that guy that you used to complain to at night when you first became a mom and you’d see another mom on the playground during the day who was breastfeeding in public/bottle feeding with formula/texting too much on her cell phone/feeding her child a non-organic banana/allowing her child under ten to go on the playground equipment that is CLEARLY marked for children age ten and older?
Talk to that guy! He loves you unconditionally, bless his heart!
Or your friends in private Facebook groups or chats. You know, the girlfriends you trust most, the ones who don’t live only on your public Twitter feed.
And as someone who has been on the other side of the invitation list creation at various times over the years, there’s something else I need to let you in on…lean in…
It’s not always about you.
Yes, some people aren’t invited to X, Y, or Z because they don’t play well with others. Maybe you throw sand in the other kids’ faces and no one wants you in their sandbox. But it’s much more likely that you weren’t invited because no one thought to invite you. Not because they didn’t intentionally choose to not invite you.
Maybe the next week they saw you in their Facebook feed and thought, gosh darn it, I meant to include her in that invitation!!
Maybe they thought about inviting you, but there’s actually something better coming up three months from now and they really want to save your name for that invitation list.
Or maybe you’re just not on the event’s radar.
You know what you don’t want to do to get on that radar?
Even if you already bought the whole family matching outfits.
Even if you already told your boss you were taking that time off.
Say it with me: “Emotional blackmail is never the way to someone’s heart.”
And again I say, unless this blogger event is a one on one audience with the Pope, lunch with the President of the United States, or perhaps a day with your brought back from the dead favorite grandmother, no invitation is worth trading in your dignity.
Let’s embrace being totally happy people, not defined by our inbox, not willing to sell our souls or status updates for a chance at a couple days in a place where anyone can go anytime anyway.
Let’s do this together.
We’re worth it.