Stepmother Stigma: Coming Out
"Well, if it isn't Little Miss Internet Superstar."
It was Joanne, a former co-worker of mine. My husband and I had run into her at a local carnival.
"Hi, Joanne!" I said. "Haven't seen you in a while!"
"Oh but I know all about you," she said. "Everyone at my office does. We all read your blog." She looked at Hubs. "Must be hard on you," she said.
I smiled politely as we said our goodbyes, but I was irritated. Since I've gone public on my blog, my husband and I both have heard from locals who just can't believe I'm writing candidly about stuff like bikini waxing, funny bedroom conversations and post partum depression.
"Isn't it embarrassing?" People ask Hubs. "Aren't you worried about what she'll come out with next?"
Luckily for me, Hubs hasn't taken the bait. He's been nothing but supportive of my writing. And the truth is, I don't think anything I've written about is all that shocking anyway. Like most people, I make mistakes on a regular basis. I put my foot in my mouth. I lose my temper. I have blonde moments. Usually, I can laugh about my foibles later, so why not write about them?
It floors me that so many of us feel the need to follow an unwritten social code that compels us to seem perfect at all costs and to passive-aggressively chastise those who don't. As I get older, I'm seeing the need to keep up appearances absolutely ruin people. I know of a man who's going bankrupt trying to keep their kids in private school. I know of a woman whose children get up at 4am in order to catch a city bus to their magnet school, even though a simple phone call to the neighbors for help could easily get the kids into a carpool that leaves at a reasonable hour. Stories of unnecessary struggle and heartache over maintaining that mask of perfection are all too common in my neighborhood.
For the last few years, I've silently railed against the "plastic people," as I call them. And when I started writing for myself a year and a half ago, I decided to break that mold of suburban perfection whenever possible. I don't write about topics that would hurt or humiliate my family members, but I consider our normal imperfections, particularly mine, to be fair game, especially if they're humorous.
But while the whole town knows now about my baby's f-word phase, my extended family does not. I uh, haven't gotten around to telling my mom and dad about my blog. It just feels weird, you know? I'm sort of waiting on them to figure it out for themselves, or to be clued in by another friend or family member who may have secretly discovered me.
As for my in-laws, my husband tried his best to tell them when we visited over the summer. Parents, brother and sister-in-law, aunts, uncles, family friends, all got the same spiel from him.
"Lindsay's got a blog now. Lots of people read it. You should check it out. I think it's really cool!" He even wrote out the URL and gave it to everyone.
Not one person ever read it.
I have to assume that the idea of reading about my life spent folding laundry, cooking dinner, and taking care of three kids seemed about as fun to them as watching paint dry.
Still, for all the criticism, the weird e-mails and the Google search for "Lindsay Ferrier is a fucking idiot" that showed up on my Stat Tracker one day, I'm glad I came out of the blogging closet. It's been a relief to tell the world that this is who I am, take me or leave me. I no longer need to put up a façade of perfection; a few minutes on the Internet will allow anyone to figure out that I've got just as many issues as everyone else.
Putting your real name on your blog isn't for everyone, but I can tell you it's not as bad as you think it'll be. It's actually quite liberating.
So far, anyway.
Lindsay Ferrier is author of the blog Suburban Turmoil and writes a column by the same name for the Nashville Scene. She's also mom to a three-year-old girl, full-time stepmom to 13- and 16-year-old girls, and has a new baby boy. When she's not picking up toys, chauffering her teenagers around town, or telling her beagle to "Shaddup already!", Lindsay enjoys reading, writing, and weekly date nights with her marvelous husband.
Read Lindsay's previous Blending in columns, under her pen name Lucinda Ferrara.
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