A couple of weeks ago, I signed up to be part of The Great Interview Experiment and I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Miguelina, someone whose blog I already read regularly. She sent me the questions yesterday and, honestly, I was impressed. As she mentioned in her e-mail to me, I am fairly forthcoming on my blog—I also recently completed the world's longest FAQ—so creating original (and good!) questions was an obvious challenge and one I think she handled beautifully. Thank you, Miguelina.
So, her questions:
1. Why don't we start with you telling us something the internet doesn't know about you?
I hate potato salad. No, really, I have an actual physical aversion to it. Even being near it makes me squirm. And, please, don't try to convince me your potato salad is the potato salad that will change all that. I won't like it. IT WILL MAKE ME WANT TO THROW UP. I promise.
2. I like how you compare blogging to your sorority experience here:
It's why sororities were formed—many of them more than a century ago. Women wanted sisterhood and service and philanthropy. They wanted ritual and something to be proud of and to be a part of, and even though that's not what I wanted when I walked through the doors for the first time, it was what I took with me when I left.... Aside from the freedom to write and post as many pictures of Molly as I want, I blog because the blogging community, to me, reminds me of the group of women I found in college, supportive and encouraging and beautiful and smart and fucking funny. (Taken from this post.)
Now that you have a few more months of blogging under your belt, do you still feel the same way about it? Why or why not?
First, I was so proud of that post when I wrote it and now, in retrospect, it's kind of poorly written, isn't it? I remember the sentiment, though. The blogging community, to me, is like a sorority: lots of different women with different backgrounds and goals, all bonded by something bigger than themselves. I realize your sorority experience may have been vastly different and your sorority sisters may have left you—drunk off trash-can punch—in front of the Kappa Sig house but my experience wasn't like that. I left my sorority with really incredible friends, and as I mentioned in the above post, three of those women stood beside me on my wedding day.
I was also fortunate enough to have been on my sorority's council, where I was awarded the opportunity to visit our National Headquarters in Memphis. During that trip I realized our organization is much bigger and more important than date parties and T-shirts; it is ultimately about making a difference and forming invaluable friendships. Likewise, blogging is so much more than stats and blogrolls; it's about community and connection.
I realize it may seem like a silly comparison, but in my eyes it all boils down to community. I found a strong community in my sorority and I find a strong community through the blogs I read and the readers I have.
3. You're a newlywed (congratulations!)—tell me three things you wish someone had told you before getting married and three things you're glad they didn't.
(Thanks for the congrats!)
What I wish someone would have told me:
1) If he didn't do the dishes before the wedding, he's not going to do the dishes after the wedding. That wedding ring requires him to do nothing that he wasn't doing before except maybe lend you some of his debt (so thoughtful). If you really, really wish he'd do the dishes, ask him. Marrying him won't be enough.
2) Changing your name is kind of a pain in the ass. Take a day off work (once your official marriage license arrives) and get everything taken care of—credit cards, drivers license, social security card, checks, etc. Don't put it off or you'll wake up one day and realize half the world considers you one person while the other half considers you another, harder-to-pronounce person. Also, at the end of that day, buy yourself a bottle of something strong. Spending that much time in government buildings is going to drive you painfully crazy. (Also, I'm not necessarily a proponent of changing your name. I simply had my maiden name for 25 years and I thought it would be fun to have a different name for the next 25. My new last name is IMPOSSIBLE to spell, and listening to someone attempt to pronounce/spell it makes me want to bash my head against the nearest wall, so I obviously didn't make a pros/cons list before the wedding.)
3) Be nice to one another. I truly believe this is the key to a happy relationship. AND I CAN FEEL YOU ROLLING YOUR EYES. QUIT THAT. Some of you will think, It's not that simple, so let me respond with this: Of course it's not that simple. When you spend eight hours at work, two hours commuting and another hour at the grocery store, it's not simple to bite your tongue when you realize he forgot (AGAIN!) to take the trash out. It's not simple to resist the urge to correct him when he pronounces words incorrectly. It's not simple to continuously pause All my Children so he can tell you all about something he read in Popular Science. It's not simple to stop by the store and pick up his favorite candy bar just because. (Twix these days, which is odd. It's never been Twix before.) It's not easy to let him go out with his friends on a Friday night—no complaints—leaving you home alone with an empty TiVo and an empty fridge. It's NOT AT ALL EASY to smile when he tells you the new hard drive was "a deal I couldn't pass up" instead of kicking him square in the head for spending all that money on something you CANNOT WEAR ON YOUR FOOT. We're programmed to be polite to strangers, to bosses, to blog crushes, even, but not to our spouses. So I certainly don't think it's easy but I do think it's vital and the best relationship decision you'll ever make.
What I am glad no one told me:
1-3) Credit scores don't forget.
4. Other than your husband and your dog, what makes you happiest?
The little things: getting a card from an out-of-town friend, receiving a nice e-mail from a stranger, having drinks with co-workers, a great episode of one of my favorite TV shows, a good book, a snuggly nap, warm weather, champagne, new shoes, chips and queso, an impromptu weekend away. I believe happiness is having something to look forward to. I think I stay consistently (not constantly) happy by looking forward to something, regardless of how little it may be.
5. I saw that your friends read your blog—how do they feel about it? How do you explain blogging to people that don't get it?
Most of my friends know about my blog. (Hi Lauren! Hi Cherie! Hi Crystal! Hi Natalie!) They know because I'm fairly open about it. I don't think all of my friends would choose to post the ins and outs of their life on the Internet, and, sure, I've gotten a few raised eyebrows, but for the most part the people in my life support me. My mother, who is a frequent reader/commenter, said to me just this weekend, "The people who love you won't be upset if you're honest." And, seriously, with a mom like that would you be worried if someone else didn't "approve"? Now, I will say I am protective of Mike's family. We are all very close and they are each wonderful, but they didn't choose me—Mike did. They have a right to be protected and I take that right seriously. Ultimately, I won't keep this outlet a secret from anyone and I won't apologize for it, but I also won't use this as a platform to say whatever is on my mind, regardless of who it may offend or sting. I think it's possible to have both, the freedom to be expressive and the ability to keep some things where they belong—off the Internet.
6. What are you most proud of?
This answer changes day-to-day. Most Mondays I'm seriously proudest of getting out of bed and in the shower before 8am. If I take a big, giant step back, though, I'd say I'm proudest of my diploma. Not because I think everyone should graduate college or because I think it gives me any kind of edge. (I graduated with HISTORY and ENGLISH degrees—the valets in my building make more than I do.) But, it's something I did on my own, start to finish. And no matter what I do in life—motherhood, marriage, career, etc.—graduating college is one of the few things I'll ever be able to take full and complete credit for.
7. I read that there's a huge Veronica Mars-sized gaping hole in your heart. Have you found a show (or shows) that have the potential to fill it? Do you watch Gossip Girl? What do you think about it?
I've watched Gossip Girl but it does very little for me, so I don't watch it regularly. Of course there are other shows I just love, such as: The Office, Weeds, The Amazing Race, Pushing Daisies, Entourage. But—and you're going to groan, so consider yourself warned—there have only been three shows IN MY LIFE I've become obsessed with on a completely different level and those are: Dawson's Creek, Veronica Mars and One Tree Hill. Something about an angsty soundtrack, a great love triangle and a strong, quippy lead actress (that would be Brooke on OTH, not whorey Peyton). That winning combination sucks me in and forces me to surf YouTube for fan videos. I KID YOU NOT. Some runners up, in case you care: Party of Five, Felicity, Gilmore Girls and General Hospital, during the Brenda years. (You've lost a ton of respect for me, haven't you?)
8. Who or what inspires you?
Authenticity. In however many forms I discover it. I don't think you have to be blatantly different to be authentic, I simply think you have to make choices with yourself in mind. I'm also inspired by people who are both brilliant and kind. It's a combination I don't encounter as much as I'd like to. I'm inspired when I do.
9. What would you do to make a living if you weren't in publishing?
I'd love to be a travel writer. Care to hire me? In all honesty, I spent most of my life wanting to teach, so something tells me if I weren't working in the field I'm in, I'd be teaching.
10. So you like purple. How do you feel about orange?
Well, orange reminds of the University of Texas. Now, maroon? That's a beautiful color.
Again, thanks. This was heaps of fun.
(I owe someone an interview, and it's coming. Soon. Ish.)