How and When to Get Off Your Bandwagon

file0002053681508Imagine standing in a dusty frontier town, bustling with horse-drawn wagons.  Maybe it looks like Walnut Grove, or El Paso, or an imaginary town populated by Clint Eastwood, Kevin Costner, and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.  I can’t be sure exactly who lives in your town.  With its clapboard walkways and swinging saloon doors, this town is full of wagons that creak, crawl, and rumble past.  Some are ready and waiting for people to load with newly purchased feed bags, calico fabric, or maybe a couple dozen scruffy kids.  But one thing is for sure, there are countless wagons and they are filling up fast.

My mental picture of the internet is kind of like this town.  And given that I LOVE to travel, be with people, and clatter along the unknown road, it is pretty hard for me to resist the call to clamber up into any popular bandwagon and go on an adventure.

In the three years that I’ve been on the internet blogging, I’ve climbed into a lot of wagons . (My three year blogoversary was yesterday. Yee-haw!)

Couponing. Sure, bring it.

Simple Living. I’m all over that.

Social activism. Who can say no?

Women’s ministry. Oh yes please.

Parenting.  Mother, may I.

Gardening.  Pick ME!

Real Food. All the other cool girls are.

Natural Living. What other kind is there?

It’s fun to join a bandwagon. You meet new people. You learn new things. You go places that you’ve never been before.  Also, everyone on your bandwagon wants to hear your ideas because, obviously, you’re riding together. So surely you must all agree.  

But after a while, a crowded bandwagon can get kind of uncomfortable, noisy, and full of pointy elbows.  One jerk insists on taking up way more space than necessary and is always laying his sweaty head on everyone’s shoulders.  One girl says, Nuh-uh, to everyone else, no matter what they say.  Another girl is Penelope and always one-ups everyone else. (Click and watch if you don’t know Penelope.) Two girls keeps climbing up to where the driver sits. They constantly nag him about where the group is going. One says it needs to go more to the left; the other one says it needs to be more to the right.

If you are indecisive and spastic enough to try bandwagon jumping, you will feel like you are in a wagon train of hobos and vagabonds, each trying to stake their claim upon the frontier of cyberspace.  You realize that some of the people are flat-crazy. Some are just mean, poking, and provoking everyone else.

You realize that the bandwagon is taking you somewhere that you didn’t mean to go.

How do you get off the bandwagon without totally biting the dust and admitting that you just aren’t cut out for this journey?

When can you get off the bandwagon without losing all your friends and winding up alone in cyberspace, watching the tumbleweeds roll by?

Readers, bloggers, bandwagon riders everywhere, I will tell you a secret.

There is another way.

First, you will have to jump the heck out of your bandwagon, which will feel like a suicide mission, but trust me, you’ll be glad. Leave your groups, delete the crazies, and stop listening to the girl who says “Nuh-uh.” This may involve practicing on the people who don’t matter.

Second, land in a cat-like crouch and let the wagon go off into the distance while the dust settles around you.  Unfollow the wagon-driver. De-friend Penelope. Unsubscribe from the space hog. Take a nap. Read a book. You need a break. (I took six months.)

file0001335267339 (533x800)Third, look up. It’s beautiful out here on this serene prairie. AND you are not alone at all. Actually, you see a few people you know.  Once the band wagon has rattled away, you will see other adventurers and artists, winding through the wildflowers to different spaces. You start walking. Slowly. Thoughtfully. Some travelers walk apart with respectful dignity. Others hold hands. Maybe you try singing as you go. If you’re lucky, you might catch the occasional flash mob.  Every now and then, a passing wagon slows and invites someone aboard, but almost no walking people join up. It’s not that these people aren’t passionate about their journey. They just realize something you didn’t really see before from the stinky, crowded bandwagon. Even in cyberspace, we all need our space, away from the trolls, louts, and haters. Whether it’s your blog, your website, your twitter feed, or your Facebook page, you want it to reflect YOU and your journey, your art, and your conversation. 

Not ALL bandwagons are bad, but hanging out with the loonies really takes the fun out of our journey in cyberspace.  Remember, you can still be part of the conversation from down on the prairie, just without letting that weird spacehog blog-stalker braid your hair and sleep on your lap. :)

Have you thrown yourself off of any bandwagons lately? Which ones? How’s life down on the prairie?

 

And, because I could think of nothing else the entire time I wrote this blog post, here’s the claim scene from Far and Away. :) You are welcome!

 

 

 

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26 Responses to How and When to Get Off Your Bandwagon

  1. Michelle May 27, 2013 at 1:39 am #

    LOVE your writing!!! Your honesty and candid comments so remind me of the “real food ” journey/lifestyle I have been on over the last few years. Finally finding a balance of who you really are and the things you truly value is a wonderful thing! Thanks for sharing.

    • Michelle May 27, 2013 at 1:42 am #

      Oh and p.s……
      “Pride Goeth to Food Lion” is my most favorite article ever written by a blogger…ever!!
      Michelle recently posted…ODOT plans overhaul on Route 18 to relieve traffic congestionMy Profile

      • Katrina Ryder May 27, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

        I might need to rerun that one this week since it’s been about a year. Thanks for your support.

    • Katrina Ryder May 27, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

      I think if at any point “food” is part of your personal definition, something might be going a little wacko. I realized that was happening to me and I got tired of it. I don’t mind having an interest in real food, but I don’t want it to be WHO I am. AT. ALL.

  2. Shawn May 27, 2013 at 1:41 am #

    Fabulous post! I don’t have a blog, but about 6 months ago I was feeling overwhelmed by my facebook page every time I logged on. I was so irritated by people and blog page updates that it wasn’t as enjoyable to be on anymore. Then I realized something…….I was in control of my page! Every day when I logged on, I would delete a few of the annoying ones. I kept doing it until I had deleted over 70 friends and unliked more than 10 blog pages.(Not yours :) ) I like Facebook again. Most people I deleted didn’t even notice until months later or not at all. Love being in the conversation ‘down on the prairie’!

    • Katrina Ryder May 27, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

      I totally agree. Actually, it was my FB page that made me realize this as well. Two of my friends who didn’t know each other started fighting on my wall about something and it was a HOT MESS. I ended up deleting the whole thing and thinking, “Sheesh, people. Get a life.” But I felt SO BAD. Then I remembered it was MY WALL. :)

  3. sarah G May 27, 2013 at 1:46 am #

    yes! preach! find your own wagon :) ps love your writing

    • Katrina Ryder May 27, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

      If only I could preach! I will be town preacher on the frontier of my mind. :)

  4. Gina @ Holding the Distaff May 27, 2013 at 2:28 am #

    Yes! You are so cool. When it comes down to it, a lot of this stuff is classic phariseeism! Nothing new under the sun. Just as obnoxious now as it was 2000 years ago. I’m a fan of all the real food and natural stuff, but I refuse to make it my religion in and of itself. And I love the stinky wagon analogy – well said.

    • Katrina Ryder May 27, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

      Thanks! Yes, I think Christians have to be even more careful not to get sucked into lifestyles that come with a giant bag of rules. We still do a lot of the bandwagon activities, but without the fervor. :)

  5. R. N. May 27, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    I am so happy you are back on a path, been waiting anxiously. Love your writing!!

    • Katrina Ryder May 27, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

      Thanks! It’s fun to be back. :)

  6. kaybruner May 27, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    She writes! She speaks! She lives! :) So happy you’re back!
    kaybruner recently posted…lightning rodsMy Profile

  7. Taryn May 27, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

    Wow, what a reality check. I have considered blogging in the past and after reading this I realize it requires a pretty thick skin. No matter what the blog topics are there are probably always mean people on the internet. No matter what your posts are I always feel the candor and truthfulness. Thank you.

    • Katrina Ryder May 27, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

      Yes, I think some of it is finding the balance between getting a thicker skin AND just getting out of the fray. Cyberspace requires a little bit of both.

    • Rachel May 28, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

      On my blog, I review all the comments. If something is negative, I don’t publish it. Its my blog and if I don’t like something I won’t allow it on there.
      Rachel recently posted…Things That Annoy Infertile Girls (or Maybe Just Me?) – Flashback FridayMy Profile

    • Joye May 28, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

      I, too, have been thinking about blogging. But at this point, I get so much satisfaction out of writing for myself. I don’t want anyone to ruin that. It wouldn’t take much to poke my thin skin!

  8. Stacy @Stacy Makes Cents May 27, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

    Girl. :-) You make me smile. I jumped off a certain bandwagon about a year ago…and I was scared, but it was one of the best decisions I ever made.
    Thanks for writing your heart and keeping it real. :-)
    Stacy @Stacy Makes Cents recently posted…Babywearing in a Moby Wrap + GiveawayMy Profile

    • Katrina Ryder May 27, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

      Oooo. I’m very curious which one you bailed on. :)

  9. Terri May 27, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

    You must be my twin that can put the thoughts into words that I can’t! I love seeing a notification you posted in my inbox. God bless you real good!

  10. Kate May 27, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

    Katrina, you just put into words exactly my feelings on this topic, of which I had no idea until you wrote this :-) I’ve opted to walk my own prairie path in my blogging journey so far and have been happy doing that. Thanks for explaining why! I love to write and if others want to read what I write, then they are welcome to, but I’m not in this for the popularity contest.

    One question, if anyone knows the answer, can you delete someone who is following you, on wordpress?

  11. Sheri May 28, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    I love it!!! I’ve had to bail on several bandwagons lately and was feeling a bit lost. I’m still working to find my way, but glad to know there are so many others out there feeling the same way!
    Sheri recently posted…Thoughts on Organics and My Life in GeneralMy Profile

  12. Joye May 28, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

    I have been feeling like a bandwagon fool lately. This is the exact reason why I love your writing! You pull me back onto the prairie and back to sanity. I will be doing some serious bandwagon jumping tonight. I will report back to let you know how awesome it feels.

  13. MyPeaceOfFood June 15, 2013 at 2:25 am #

    When I originally read this post, I totally didn’t think I identified with it at all. That was 2+ weeks ago, pre-major life crisis. When push comes to shove, you jump off all the bandwagons, and thank God someone was there to catch me when I did. Focusing on what’s most important right now. Bandwagon schmandwagon. Go Katrina!
    MyPeaceOfFood recently posted…Birthdays, reunions and exes: How to stop caring about what other people think of youMy Profile

    • Katrina Ryder June 17, 2013 at 1:34 am #

      I hope everything is okay?! When I read this comment, I totally identified. I don’t know what happened with me, but it was like I suddenly looked around at all these people on my bandwagon and thought, “Some of y’all are plum crazy!” :) My best to you.

      • MyPeaceOfFood June 18, 2013 at 2:02 am #

        “Okay” is always one way of putting it…right now, in the moment, I’m breathing, typing, and off to bed to read some Help.Thanks.Wow if I’m lucky. But, there’s some major stuff going on here at home right now and I have half a village praying for me, so if you want to jump on THAT bandwagon I’d appreciate it! Praying for strength, to hear God’s guidance, to know his path for my family and to have the right words to support and lift up my husband, who is struggling. Thanks in advance. :)
        MyPeaceOfFood recently posted…Gallbladder attacks: Signs, symptoms and avoidanceMy Profile