After much encouragement from friends and family, I hesitantly set out to create this blog. I read about blogs and blog sites, and how to create one. I debated why one should have a blog, and who the heck would want to read it anyway? (I still haven’t quite answered those questions.)
I chose Google and formatted a very simple blog. I submitted it and waited expectantly for the email link to activate the blog. To my astonishment, Google denied approval.
Why? Well, I don’t know precisely except that the Google “team” sent me an email saying that my name–my real name —“violated their community standards.” Seriously?! What precisely about my name, Suzanne Sweet Cook, is offensive? Whose community and whose standards do I violate? Does it translate into something terrible in another language? Is there a limit to only two names and I didn’t get the memo? Is it suggestive of the stage name of, ahem, an “adult” star and I don’t know it?
Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I could understand if I had submitted my childhood nickname, which was nauseatingly cute: Suzy Sweet. Yes, that was my name all the way through college and a master’s degree. If I had a dollar for every time people asked me if that was my real name, then my children would have a sizeable trust fund by now. But, I grew up, entered law school and shed that name for my given name, Suzanne. (But, old and new friends are still welcome to call me Suzy!) And, although I never intended to take a husband’s surname, the reality of that ideal smacked me in the face when I married a pastor. Try explaining to a congregation why your name isn’t the same as his! Practicality and peer pressure won out over youthful principles.
But, in a naïve second effort to convince the unseen powers at Google (and, you can not email them unless they email you first!), I submitted an appeal through the link provided in the first email telling me my name didn‘t measure up. Somewhat like the Wizard behind the curtain in Oz, I deferentially approached on my knees, oh great Google, and offered proof that this was my REAL name AND it was already in use, BY ME, on the web in several settings, all of which I listed. All to no avail as I received the following rejection:
After reviewing your appeal, we have determined that your name does not comply with the Google+ Names Policy.”
Um, hello Google? How about just Googling me, you know, through your own search engine and seeing that I have an online presence already established under this exact name? And, your Google Earth car drove by my house not too long ago, so I know that you know who I am and where I live. But, apparently when my parents named me all those years ago, and then when I married, the great names policy in the sky was not consulted. I hope I am not on a no-fly list somewhere. Does Google have that power too?
So, starting a blog wasn’t going to be easy. I eventually found Word Press and was given the freedom to just be me. As Sally Field once said, you like me, you really like me! I was restored to respectability! I found a community I didn’t violate.
I owe much to my sister, Cyndi. And, in truth, she is the one who should have a blog, not I. She is the funny and witty one in the family, and she is also quite technically advanced. (I still think a co-blog titled “The Sweet Sisters Say” would be fun.) Cyndi spent many hours combing through my Facebook posts and converting them into the new blog format, and offered encouragement during many phone-calls as we set up the theme, colors, and layout. I expect that she will guest blog from time to time. And, Joel hopes that perhaps my stories about him will lead to some small amount of compensation.
As I write this first post to my new blog, I feel a mixture of emotions, but mostly self-doubt, writer’s block, and a sense that this might be the least read blog ever. Thank you to all the friends and family who have encouraged me to write more. And, thank you to all of you who fritter away your time reading my ramblings.
P.S. And, thank you to Sarah Grace for the title of this post, as it was her suggestion. 🙂