I have never been particularly popular. Growing up, I was very self-conscious, and lacked a lot of the social skills necessary to make friends. It didn't help that I wore ten-year-old hand-me-downs, didn't bathe frequently enough, and had wild, unmanageable hair that I seldom brushed, either.
In Junior High, I literally had no friends in my class. I was on good terms with some of the guys, but the girls hated me, all of them. I'm not quite sure what I did to deserve that kind of animosity, but I suspect that it was a combination of many factors.
Things improved considerably when I went on to a different high school than the rest of my classmates. I made a lot of female friends from my fellow classmates at the math-science-technology magnet school. But I still had this nagging feeling that there was a problem with me, something my friends were kind enough to overlook.
In college I met Jeff, which did wonders for my self-esteem, but I still had some problems at the hands of a clique-ish group. When I finally figured out that there were plenty of other, much more interesting people to be friends with, I was fine. But it took me a while to get to that stage.
The first time I ever felt halfway popular was when I was an adult. When I was in graduate school, I discovered that I was a bit of a trend-setter amongst the people I knew, and it really tickled me. After we cut down the ugly bushes in our front yard and replaced them with roses, our next-door neighbors did the same thing. I had a particular configuration in our kitchen, and another friend saw it and decided to copy it. I was sincerely flattered by all of this.
One day, when I was eating lunch with a friend in graduate school, she told me that she thought I was a really nice person and a good friend. I had a hard time not crying. This was at about the same time that my parents were getting divorced, which had just turned my world upside-down. So to hear someone whom I admired say that I was not only not a waste of oxygen, but a really good friend, was just overwhelming!
After a lot of counseling, I was able to realize that a big part of my self-esteem problems were simply a product of the baggage that I inherited from my dysfunctional family (our motto: "putting the fun in dysfunctional"). It has been difficult to shed that negative self-image and I am still working on it. But one key is to derive my self-worth from internal cues, rather than external cues. In other words, under ideal circumstances, I shouldn't worry about others' opinions of me, as long as I feel like I'm doing the right thing. Or, as Henry Clay said, "I'd rather be right than president."
All this is a long introduction to the actual topic I was wanting to discuss, which is blog popularity. To a certain extent, the blogosphere is junior high all over again, with the cool kids who get lots of blog traffic, and then the geeks like me who don't get very much traffic. I could feel upset that I get very little traffic (well, actually, I get close to 50 hits a day, so I wouldn't say that's "no traffic", but compared to the major players, it's tiny). But honestly, I don't mind at all.
The reason I started this blog was to let my family and friends know what I was up to. My early entries are fairly pedestrian, just talking about what I was doing, how much weight I'd lost, my typical work day, etc. And I still talk a lot about those sorts of things, now with the addition of Vinny to that mix. I've added some interesting content about math and computer science, which has attracted other readers, but I'm still nowhere near "popular" by standard metrics.
But, as far as I'm concerned, I'm extremely popular. Heck, I'm flattered that so many family members and friends actually read my nonsense! I figured my sisters would, because they're just nice that way, but I know my sister-in-law, my dad, and a couple of cousins are regular readers. And a couple of friends from high school and college are readers, too.
And I'm flattered to have so many regular readers beyond my original target audience of family and friends. I find it nearly incomprehensible that anyone other than those related to me or those who know me in real life would find my writings interesting. But I'm not going to complain or argue or anything.
Thanks for reading!