Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bloggy award!

  Today is Bloggy day.

  Bloggies are an award started by Ally of Shybiker last year. And this year I won one of them! I am incredibly honored and happy to be alongside Jessica of Chronically Vintage, and Sara of Sideburns & Bangs. Both women are much more established bloggers than I, so I have the footsteps of giants to follow.

  ...I've never been an award-winning anything before. :D

  The prize came with a trophy:
  It's currently sitting next to my laptop, where my blogging stuff like camera, charger, and cables go, but I'm on the lookout for a little corner shelf now, so I can display it. I've never won a trophy before. I didn't expect I would have such a strong positive emotional reaction.

  Ally wrote the sweetest profiles of all three of us here on her blog.

  The positive experiences I've had with the style blogging community, readers, bloggers, and Ally especially, has had me contemplating the nature of sarcasm and social interaction lately.

  In the United States, at least in my generation, sarcasm is often present in social interaction. It's not reserved for people we don't like; in fact, sarcasm is usually used between friends, while polite interaction is reserved for strangers and acquaintances. I've discussed this a bit with friends who were born overseas, and we agree that Americans in particular have an odd reaction to someone who is openly friendly and who says something like, "I would like to get to know you better. You're an interesting person!"

  ... in truth, my automatic suspicion radar goes off and I wonder what the person wants. I think it's because salespeople are trained to act this way so we assume anybody who comes up to us openly friendly is trying to sell us something. It's why I was even initially taken a little aback when I first met one of my friends, who is from Iran. She's very sweet and will immediately say very kind things to you upon meeting you. I'm not used to it. It's outside of my comfort zone.

  The style blogging community acts like this friend. People leave supportive comments to one another all the time, and it never occurred to me that they were false. It might be that sarcasm is hard to detect on the Internet so we're more likely to be genuine, or that certain types of people, who express themselves through their outer garments, also express their thoughts openly. Or maybe it's because it takes actual effort to click the comment box, type in text, possibly type in some random letters and numbers from a picture, and to not get immediate results because it's an asynchronous interaction.

  Ally is just as sweet as my other friend, too. She says things completely from the heart and it was this that made me start thinking about strange it is that such open emotional connection is largely outside of my experience. I have friends I've known for decades who are family to me, and I've never verbally expressed that I love them. We get one another food, instead.

  In fact I ordered a book about this from a professor of linguistics who believes sarcasm is a signal- we encode what we mean to say so that the person on the receiving end is more likely to believe us genuine instead of paying lip service. If you're interested, this is the book.

  At any rate, this is a long preamble to say without any sarcasm or hyperbole that I'm still without words to express what I feel. I can't quite wrap my head around someone finding my blog worthy of a prize (though that hasn't stopped me from telling everybody I know) and my next step is finding a way to engage community in beneficial ways. I'm starting with looking into Kiva, a peer-to-peer microloan site, and Dressed for Success, a nonprofit that provides clothes for job interviews and a support network of professionals and successful program graduates for underprivileged women. If you know something about these organizations, please let me know!

  Fortunately it's not time-sensitive, because I'm immersed in senior research and graduate school applications right now. I have a lot of hopes for future pages and posts, but at the moment the outfit posts are the quickest ones to crank out in between papers. (: Thank you all again for reading, and thank you Ally, for this honor. I hope to make myself worthy of it.


  1. You honor the award by writing this thoughtful, interesting post.

    Not everyone is willing to examine their private motivations for public behavior and I commend you for doing that and sharing your insights with us. As usual, your sage points have greater application than just to you, so we all benefit from hearing and contemplating them. This is blogging at its best.

  2. Very interesting post. I found myself nodding along in agreement subconsciously.


  3. Well said. I think a lot of us have trouble expressing our true emotions with our friends and family. If we're honest, then we open ourselves up to judgment too, and that can be really scary. Blogging is a great way to share a bit of yourself with other vulnerable people (that's everyone!) and learn from our shared feelings and viewpoints. Congrats on your award! Ally is a very good judge of character. :)

  4. You're such a genuinely cool and quirky person, it's hard not to be nice to you! I have no time for sarcasm - it's emotionally lazy to me. We don't express our appreciation to people enough in our lives, and I find it sad that a generation is conditioned by salespeople (I was a salesperson! We're not all bad!) to be suspicious of real honest interactions.

    Great post, Aya. You really deserve this award. :)

    1. I was a salesperson too! I tried to be my genuine friendly self. :D

  5. Awww! I'm so glad you won Ally's award. You definitely popped up on my blogging radar, and yes, I thought "I want to know her and be friends!"

    Thankfully the blogging community is much easier than IRL is when it comes to that. I find myself a little exhausted/sad stepping away from the blogging world's positivity and seeing how negative people I meet are in real life. I think I startle people sometimes by being genuine and positive about stuff.

    Kiva and are the two charities I'm most familiar with. is also one I've paid into before, buying a share of an animal to help those in need. Of course, also shopping in local sustainable ways, giving back to local business is my favorite.

    1. Thanks Megan! Both for your cool attitude and for telling me about water and heifer .orgs

  6. I hadn't thought about this, but you're right about blogging comments not usually being sarcastic. I do use sarcasm a tiny bit with certain bloggers who I know have the same sense of humor as me, but I use it much less than I do in person. Sarcasm can be very cold when you can't see someone's expression and know they're joking. Since we're more careful in writing, it's nice to have the supportive interactions in blogging and not feel shy about it.

    I met a young German man here in Oregon, though, who said he thought that Americans were very forward. He found it odd that a store clerk would ask how his day was going. So there's another perspective.

    Anyway, thanks for a well written and thought provoking post, and congratulations on the Bloggy!

  7. Wonderful post!! I'm so glad ally introduced you to me via the bloggy!!

  8. Very thoughtful post. I relate to the "suspicion radar" that goes off when someone you don't know is open and friendly in person. Yet, in the blog world, it seems easier to accept those friendly gestures without that wariness. And, in the blog world (as opposed to say, the comment fields on YouTube, ha ha!) there seems to be an unwritten rule about generally being supportive and not too critical. Of course, the internet is without one of the primary ways we read people---body language. Maybe its the distance that makes us feel more comfortable? Not having the immediacy that face to face requires? As a shy person in day to day life, I have found that the blog world has facilitated meeting more people than I ever would in the "outer" world.
    Congrats on the award! Ally has chosen well :)

  9. Geez, you are a busy one! I honestly loved reading this, as I am a very sarcastic person. I tend to only use sarcasm on my own blog, but am nicer/more honest in comments. I think it is exactly how you put it, sarcasm is hard to depict on the internet. I had an odd experience with a new friend recently as well. It takes a lot for me to walk up and talk to people, it is a lot easier if I am out with friends. I was at karaoke one night, and I complimented a person on his song choice. We then chatted a bit, and I introduced him to my friends and husband, He then made a strange face, and said that he assumed that I was hitting on him when I complimented him. I was really taken aback. We sorted it all out, but it is like you said, being nice can lead to those questions of "What does this person want?"

    Great post today Aya! I like discussions like this :D

  10. Very much deserved. You are a wonderfully articulate, thinking, compassionate, funny and creative person! (no sarcasm! Which I do admit is the primary form of communication between my best friend and myself... you have some great thoughts on its function in our society, for sure! I'd say 75% sarcasm, 20% movie quotes, and 5% touchy-feely... not sure how anthropologists would explain

  11. Congrats Aya! Although, I'm quite new to reading your blog, what I've read has been a pleasure! It's true, Jessica is an established blogger, and I'm sure she'd want you stepping right along side her...she's just that sweet.

  12. Reading through your comments, a month later, I'm struck by how many wonderful friends you have. You earned them through your charm and wit. Enjoy 2014!