It is said that a blog (and a Facebook profile, and a Twitter account) are all just variations on an ego...that it is a one-way conversation meant to put your impressions onto the world without the inconvenience of argument. I don't see it that way. I see blogging as a way to open the door between personalities, opinions, and cultures. If I express a belief or an assumption that my readers disagree with, I not only hope but actually expect them to speak up...to challenge me and the reason behind it. How can we ever presume to have an open dialogue about the matters of our world (or even the matters of our households) if we don't encourage a two-way communication? And that is why my comments forum is always open. It is your opportunity to express your agreement, disagreement or even pure disgust with what I have written. Although I was the most sensitive child, being married to Neal has taught me that it's not personal. It's NOT personal. It's an honest conversation between adults. And honesty is like trust...without it, we are only 2 (or 10 or 500) people existing in the same space, sharing oxygen, and plotting our next manipulation. That is not my world, even if my world sounds to some like a utopia of sorts. I have also been called naive and gullible (sometimes in the same sentence, which makes me want to buy that a person a thesaurus). I believe in the truth. I don't want to waste my time convincing someone to deliver it (which is probably why I never pursued that dream of FBI interrogator), nor do I want someone to sacrifice it just to appease me.
It is also often said that like attracts like. Massage school was rife this with mantra. Afraid you're going to book a client who doubles as a child molester? Well, are you a child molester? Like attracts like. What if you are booked with a murderer? Are you a murderer? Like attracts like. OK...those are extreme examples and I'm not so sure that murder actually ever came up in the clinic, but it was emphasized that our practice will cosmically draw clients that are most like us, fundamentally. I believe the same to be true about blogging. I follow blogs because the writers and I share the same sense of wit, irony, and truth. In all but 2 cases, I have never met any of these bloggers, face-to-face, but we are bonded by stories about husbands, children, parents, in-laws, and experiences in our daily lives. Could we all be professional fiction authors with plots and character structures scribbled out on napkins stashed our keyboards, just waiting for the next "chapter" in our blogs? Sure. But that could also be the case for your neighbor or your uncle. Chance are, we are writing from what we know...the daily life in its truest form.
I posted Mandi's story on Saturday because I believe in her. No, I've never met her. Yes, she lives in what I consider to be the Frozen Arctic and the only way I would ever visit is in July. But she has been courageous enough to ask for help during an age of suspicion and apprehension. That takes fortitude and, what I believe to be, the guiding hand of God. Do I know with absolute certainty that my money is going to a woman in Minnesota to buy a plane ticket to travel to Haiti and provide medical care to earthquake victims? No, I don't. And I won't until she returns with photos...but even those can be photoshopped to show her holding Haitian babies in a devastated city. What I do know is that is a dreadful life to lead, to question everyone's motives and honesty. My life is full of choices and I choose not to assume guilt until proven innocent.
And a word about the telethon. As Brooke has so accurately stated, the Hope for Haiti Now telethon was a wild success...and I'm glad for it. I maintain that celebrities have an obligation to use their status to improve the lives of others, whenever they can. Is it fair? No. They are merely doing a job that, unfortunately, comes with a set of principles and expectations. We would not expect a construction worker to lobby for better pay in the nursing field. But we all must do what we think is right, even if it does not always seem fair. And it was very, very right for the world's most famous stars to shuffle schedules and cancel appearances to bring hope to Haiti now. I just can't give them my money. But I'm ecstatic that millions of other people did. It is my desire to help someone in the most direct manner I know how and that is why I support Mandi with my blog and finances.
I can only say that I speak of this firsthand, as I was a volunteer after Hurricane Katrina. Working for the YMCA at the time, I was looking for any way to help, physically. Donating money was difficult for me because for all intensive purposes, I was living paycheck to paycheck. But I knew that if I could just get there, I could make a difference. The hurricane struck in September and in November I got a call to go with a team of 12 (from 7 states and 2 countries!). The camera crews were long gone but the devastation and the demoralization remained. We worked mainly in Long Beach and Gulfport, Mississippi...what was considered "the eye of the storm." Tent cities littered the neighborhoods and meals were planned because restaurants only opened when they had staff to work. I could write a whole series of posts on what we did, the survivors, and the work that continues...but what I know now is that I made a difference...one child, one adult, one survivor at a time. But I had to get there first.
I want to thank you all for your honesty, your comments and above all your time. I hate sticking to a 500-word maximum (obviously) because I love adjectives and description like a lemon-frosted Twinkie. I ask that you keep it comin', keep it real, and don't ever be afraid to offend (unless of course you start dissin' on my jewelry and then I'll have to take you to the gun show). You guys make this fun and that is the most I can ever ask.