What? You don't recognize her? I'm not surprised. Many people wouldn't. But if you have ever checked out the right side of this blog, you will see her listed under the title "People Way Smarter Than Me." This is Heather B. Armstrong. Otherwise known as Dooce.
Heather has been blogging for longer than I've known what a blog is. She has chronicled life at her crappy job, her engagement, leaving the Mormon faith, her marriage, losing her crappy job (because of her blog), motherhood and now her second pregnancy. All while dealing with chronic depression. And all with a wicked wit and amazing sense of humor. I've only been following her for about a year, but what I've read of hers is amazing. It's no wonder the blog opened the opportunity for her to write this:
image from dooce.com
So I was super excited to make the hour long drive up to North Seattle to listen to her read from her book and answer questions. Many, many other people had the same idea. There were at least 300 people in the audience, if not more.
The first thing that struck me was how much she moves when she talks. It was hard enough to get a decent picture with the terrible lighting and my less than ideal seat. It didn't help that she was constantly talking with her hands, making faces and sweeping her bangs off to the side. She was always in motion.
The second thing I realized is that she truly has no topic off limits. Heather told us things that I would never in a million years share with anyone, much less a room full of strangers. But it is precisely because she is so open that people flock to her and her website.
The third thing that occurred to me is that she is one of those people that THINGS HAPPEN TO. Do you know these people? I seem to know a lot of them. Maybe you are one! There are people who go through life and crazy stuff happens to them all the time. For no reason, something heavy will fall out of the sky into their pathway. Or a crazy person will walk up and give them $100. Just THINGS. THINGS that would never happen to me in a million years. The stories she can tell from just one of these THINGS left me gasping for air through my laughter.
One of the reasons I wanted to be there last night was because, in a way, I am just like her. I'm just a woman who wants to put my thoughts and feelings out into the world. I'm just an average person and so is she. It is crazy to think that one day she had this little blog, and the next day it was helping support her family and she had a book deal. Not that that's a direction I feel my life would ever take, but it's mind blowing to think that it can happen in the world. To a normal person.
The hardest part of the question and answer for me was when she spoke about her "hate mail." There are websites and people whose sole purpose in life is to "make her hurt," as she put it. She said she would only respond to that type of email or comment if she felt that person had enriched her life with their response. She had so much dignity about it. It leaves me speechless that people would go out of their way to cause pain to someone just because they don't agree with their view point. If you don't like it, don't read it! It was like they don't see her as a real person. She is real! She has feelings. She is just like you and me. I have absolutely no tolerance for that kind of injustice. Apparently, the latest slander is that she's not really pregnant, but just pretending to help boost book sales. PLEASE! Believe me, she is pregnant. And she looked hot, too! I wish I looked that good.
I had no qualms about standing in a very long line to get my book signed. I thought about what to say for the whole time I was waiting to see her. I came up with nothing of any consequence. Just a "thanks for coming here." I get really shy around people who are famous or who I am in awe of. She falls into both categories.
I am so glad I went to the reading and got to be in the same room for a while. If you haven't already, check out her website at www.dooce.com. You won't be sorry. At the very least, you won't be bored!
Me and Dooce!