The Phantom

Do you know how you walk into a high-end store sometimes and get attitude from the salesperson? And you think: Aren’t I in essence paying your salary because if it weren’t for people like me you wouldn’t sell stuff? And you also might possibly entertain the notion that the salesperson lives with (a) their parents or (b) five other Top Ramen-eating roommates in a cramped downtown apartment? And if they were all that, maybe they wouldn’t be hawking shit in a high-end retail store? And God bless ’em if they’re working their way through school or chose retail as a career, but then I’m thinking in that case, they’d be nice to their customers.


Being treated like I don’t matter really pisses me off. And trust me, I’m an insecure batnut, so saying that is really saying something. I often have to look in the mirror and tell myself I’m worth it. But to be dismissed? I hate it like nothing. Maybe because I’m so sensitive to feeling like I matter, but whatever the case, indifference is upsetting. Also, rather than get hurt, I get angry. (Anger by the way is supposed to stem from either fear or hurt.) (So there’s an existential nugget for you.)


Anyway, I have to say this because it’s really eating at me: There were rare times this past weekend when I was treated like I didn’t matter. And wow, did it bother me. NOT from the “my blog is great, why don’t you notice it” perspective, but from an “I’m a person too” point of view. It didn’t happen often, but once or twice, and still I have to tell you, it sucked. Because look, most of the people I ran into this weekend were women making a go out of being something other than a wife, a mother, a whatever they were before they were a blogger, and in that case, dammit, we’re all in it together. Also, support much? How about community? Why exclude? I completely don’t understand. Although I’ve come to see that it’s about the excluder, and not about the excludee, it still baffles me.


Also? I know from social anxiety. I KNOW my behavior has been misconstrued at times because I’ve been shy or scared to approach, so I’m sensitive to that. But? If someone directs a question or a comment to me? I RESPOND. Social awkwardness or not. Furthermore, if I’m frolicking and interacting with a group, and someone from “outside” my group makes an attempt at conversation, I include them. I just do. And why wouldn’t I? Redundant, I know. I’ve already said I don’t get it, right? (Sorry. I’m an overstater, as my husband will no doubt enthusiastically and somewhat defeatedly tell you.)


So here’s what happened. But first, it’s minor and so what and all that, but it’s on my mind because I want to understand and so I write about it. It’s a writerly rule I have: Write to understand myself and others.


Digression alert.


Right, so I was at a small event. There were several of us bloggers there. I didn’t know too many people, so as I’m wont to do, I felt uncomfortableish. (Here’s another thing: If I see anyone feeling uncomfortableish, I overlove on them. I HATE to see people feel uncomfortable.) I tried to make conversation with one or two people in my vicinity, and they had none of it. NONE. OF. IT. In summary, I did not exist to them. There were smiles on their faces for their “friends” and such, but I was 100% a non-entity to these people. I don’t know. Not enough readers? I’m not in the “circle” so must be insignificant? Still befuddled. Also, this “circle?” Isn’t it dependent on people coming in and out like air in a healthy lung? And I’m one of your fans! Why do you treat me so? I could argue I’m the oxygen that gives life to your blog.




It happens.


Maybe an oversight. Could be, I suppose.


But now? There are pictures of this event around the blogosphere, and as the non-entity I felt like at the time, I’m not named. Not even referred to…although every one else in the photo is titled.




I don’t care if my blog is linked. Or if my “San Diego Momma” pseudonym is used. I swear to you? I could care. But? I want to be a person.


I have to wonder what happened in this blogger’s mind when she posted the picture. Obviously, she had to go face by face to title each person. So what happened when it came to my face?


Apparently, I didn’t matter.


I hate to not matter.


I suppose that’s more about me, than about her.


So there. I’ve processed this by writing.


Thanks for listening.


(You were listening, right?)


P.S. Just one more thing (my husband is dying a small death right now): If you position yourself as authentic on your blog, but you’re not in person, and to everyone, I question you.


25 Responses to “The Phantom”

  1. Jill says:

    Ugh … I’m so so sorry this happened to you. There were a few minor times I felt the same way this weekend. When it bugged me, I just told myself that as much as I wanted to meet so many people, that others may have just wanted to hang out with their existing friends who they already know. And then I was okay… But I know that doesn’t work for everybody.

    As for me, I hope you know that I was thrilled to meet you – albeit way too briefly – and really do look forward to getting together while I’m living in LA this next year!

  2. Ginger says:

    Oh, I’m sorry this happened. Their loss–for real! I’m always the awkward, uncomfortable looking one, so you’re always welcome in MY corner!

  3. becky says:

    Ugh. I have so had this happen. Not just at BlogHer, but at other bloggy-type get togethers. It sucks. I wonder why I’m not important enough to remember or label, or whatever. Only I know it’s not really the remembering, because these people KNOW MY NAME and address me with it. We’ve met enough times that they know. So the skipping? Listing who was there but leaving me out? Almost hurts worse because it feels so deliberate. It really might not be, but it sure as hell feels this way.

    Your posts have resonated so much with me recently. Are we living parallel lives? Twin souls? Separated at birth?

    I remember you.
    I know you.

    It may not be much, but I hope it helps. Biggest of hugs to you.

  4. I felt this same way at times at BlogHer … and possibly even at the same event (??) I think everyone does at times. You should have come down and sat on my lap. Seriously. Sometimes a looooong table makes for bad conversation. Especially if the people sitting right next to you are good friends.
    Also …
    Well, I will leave the rest for a private conversation and not in a comment. Does it help to know I love you?
    Because I do ……

  5. vodkamom says:

    i feel like all I did was worry about the girls and worry about the girls.

    that’s it in a nutshell.

    xxxxx but you matter. You totally, totally, totally matter.

  6. Damn it, Deb, name names. So that we can not mention them in our blog posts next time.

    Seriously though? The universe keeps giving you opportunities to know yourself from the inside out rather than try and find yourself from the outside in. You are not alone in this. Hello! Those opportunities will come via email, blogger events, blog posts, comments sections, PTA meetings, Facebook friend lists, etc. We’ll figure this thing out, we will. The universe will keep sending us opportunities until we do, and we are blessed for that.

    ILY. AAL.

  7. Christina says:

    Did you steal this post from my own life? Obviously I didn’t attend BlogHer, but just switch up the event & attendees and by God have I been right where you are!

    That awkwardness, that feeling of not mattering, especially when you (I do this too) go out of your way to pull lost souls into the fold, yet the same is not returned to you when you are lost. Ugh!


  8. April says:

    Though I wasn’t at that event, I know exactly what you’re talking about. Standing on the outside of all the conversations, awkwardly trying to join one of them. When I try to think of something to say, my mind goes blank. Too bad we can’t just have a pop up window like the comic books do where our thoughts could just be viewed without speaking. I think we’d have a better chance at things. Screw them, karma’s a bitch and so are they!

  9. melissa says:

    i’m hearing so much of this stuff about blogher from this year. i wish people would get over themselves. i’m wondering if the stories are all about the same person…WHO IS IT??ahem…anywhoo…
    i would have sat with you. most likely, on your lap. i have a bit of social anxiety too. AND super, duper shy.

  10. Danielle says:

    Ugh that sucks. I am with you though, I hate feeling like I don’t matter. You matter to me and for what it’s worth I was still disappointed you were not in San Diego when I was!

  11. You are nicer than I for not naming names. I’m so sorry you felt this way.

  12. Laurie Ann says:

    When I worked in the record industry, there was a BMG guy who never–NEVER–remembered me. Every time he saw, which was quite often, he would introduce himself to me. Or, if someone else said, “Oh, have you met?” he would be all, “No. Hi, I’m ____.” And I couldn’t be rude and say “Get a clue, asshole. We’ve met a hundred times already,” because he was a big cheese and I was an executive assistant. But it hurt that he couldn’t remember me, but remembered my assistant after one introduction. I just knew it was because she was prettier. (in my head, of course)

    Guess what, though. He had a nervous breakdown and I didn’t, so there’s your Karma.

  13. jenny ford says:

    whenever people act like that toward me i always think to myself – I’m gonna be waaaaaay bigger than you one day (and not in a fat kinda way) and you’re gonna remember (or not) that i tried to make friends with you. But I will take the high road and acknowledge everyone, because my feelings have been slashed a time or two by people not treating me with respect – and it HURTS!

    just look at all your comments – YOU do matter, to all of us…And we’re gonna be BIG (again, not in a fat way)!!!

  14. Suzette says:

    Thanks for mentioning this better-than-thou attittude so common among bloogers these days. Women will be women, catty and small.
    You are better than all those who snubbed you put together. Throw them in a blender and all you’d get is a flavorless mix of hags.

    My solution: stop the blog visits, unfollow, and that is that.

    Hugs XXOO

  15. The Zadge says:

    So I’m a total extrovert and love meeting new people and have to speak publicly for my “real” job — so basically have no social fear – and felt the same way you did about this weekend! So it’s not you!! BlogHer is just too big now and it’s way too hard to make any meaningful connection with anyone there. Unless you are standing in a cab line bitching about the conference! ;)

  16. Jerks are jerks–at BlogHer, the PTA and other places in life. They are definitely no fun to be around. I suppose it’s good that they left you with no illusions about what they are.

  17. Chelle says:

    I so feel for you! I have secrets to tell you that I dare not speak in the blogoverse for fear of…well, everything. Although I fully intend to attend BlogHer next year, I will hopefully have blogger friends by then who would look forward to meeting me and I will glom onto them like the hair wax I can’t get out of the bathroom carpet. (Yes, between the kids and I, we are destroying the carpet). But seriously? Who puts carpet in a bathroom?
    And this is why it takes me so darn long to write a blog post…And to those who say “Huh?” I say you now know what my Hubby goes through. I am a true scatterbrain.

  18. MomZombie says:

    That sucks. I’ve had it happen and I hate it. Precisely why I have no desire to go to big blogging events.

  19. MissM says:

    I think I saw this photo and thought to myself, “hey I think that is Deb!” but then looked for your name and then thought “weird, they didn’t name her… must not be her…” I second guessed my vision! Shame on her for being a snoot!

  20. diamond dave says:

    To me, one of the worst insults, and one of the most insulting things you can do to someone else, is be treated like you don’t matter. To be dismissed. To be ignored. And even though I’m usually not one to initiate conversation or be comfortable around strangers, I have been known to go defend someone being ignored, or at least add my voice (or writing) to theirs so they aren’t alone.

    And you finally put a phrase to how I feel about my blogging: write to understand myself and others. I so get it.

  21. Da Goddess says:

    that’s crap. If this blogger couldn’t be bothered to be polite and include you, in person or in a photo, fuck her.

    Impolite, I know. I don’t care. You’re a pretty damn amazing person, Deb. I adore you and so do many many others.

    In the big scheme of things, while this was rude on her part, you really don’t need her to validate you or your life.

    Just sayin’.

    P.S. I’d feel the same exact way if someone didn’t acknowledge me, so…so much for all that (im)mature nattering above.

  22. Kizz says:

    I saw the photo and wondered why you weren’t labeled, too. Very odd. Especially after reading a zillion other posts by other people where, if they didn’t remember the name they just said so, didn’t gloss over the fact of the person in the photo entirely. Very weird. I’m just glad you’re you and not like the photo labeler or we’d never have met. Thanks for making me feel comfortable.

  23. Janet says:

    This is why I have no desire to go to Blogher events…feels too much like a high school gathering!

  24. Bitchin Amy says:

    I really hope you are not talking about me, because if you are I will feel terrible. I am still trying to remember everything from the BlogHer weekend because my head, seriously, was in the game, and the game alone, for performing at the keynote and then presenting my ROYO. I feel like I had few meaningful connections with the people I already know and love and almost no new connections were made. Next year I plan on scaling back on the parties and hopefully being more comfortable if I am lucky enough to have “obligations” so that I can get back to what my first BlogHer experience was like: meeting and making new friends.

  25. San Diego Momma says:

    Not you Amy! You were fabulous.

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