Saying Goodbye to Blogging

This has been a rocky week for many people.  A friend lost her mother tragically, a couple in Seattle were gunned down randomly, our Leaders are doing a great job further dividing our country, and someone was mean to me on Facebook.

Why We Take Things So Hard

Someone told me that I needed to pull up my big girl panties and move on.  Another person told me that it was silly to waste time thinking of my troll.  All week, I received these messages; messages of support during a rocky time.  Every single person who reached out to me was right.  It was time to move on.  It was time to stop giving away my power.  I control how I respond to the things life throws at me.

So why was I taking this woman seriously?  A woman who so many people have tagged with a mental disorder?  Why did she occupy so much space in my head?

Everything she said to me I’ve heard many times before:

  • My mother said these things to me repeatedly in my life, and they became a mantra in my head, repeating as self-talk for decades.
  • Another friend sent me a 3-page email telling me these things as she ended our friendship.
  • And my troll wasn’t always a troll; she was a friend who blindsided me – and she had a posse.

So this was a lot more than someone pissing in my Cheerios.  This event had a bite.  And it’s over now.

We take seemingly small things hard because there’s a lot going on beneath the surface that turns a pond into a raging tsunami.

Saying Goodbye to Blogging

Stop blogging? Leave social media?

What do I need to be a voice in this community?  There are a ton of amazing bloggers out there?  What am I offering that they aren’t offering?  I could go back to the land of obscurity where all that matters are my dogs, my boyfriend, and my friends.  No more conflict.

I considered it all.  When I saw the negative comments about me by people who are in the same raw feeding circle – calling me controlling and a bitch – I just wanted to leave social media.  Walk away from the blog that I worked so hard on for 5 years and is making a great income.

Every conflict that I’ve lived through as a blogger came to the surface.  I felt shamed from all sides.  This thing completely deflated me despite the amount of support being thrown my way by people who are friends.  Maybe I am a bully, intolerant, moody,

Maybe I am a bully, intolerant, moody, condescending, worthless, insensitive, rude, hostile, and think I’m better than everyone else.  Maybe my life is pointless, and I don’t deserve to breathe.  Maybe she was right about me.  This used to be me, but years of therapy and working through my past made me a better, happier person – or I thought it did.  Maybe I’m so deluded that when I think I’m nice and helpful, I’m actually rude and dismissive.

And then many voices told me “THAT IS BULLSHIT, AND YOU KNOW BETTER!!!”

I sincerely considered shutting down my blog because I couldn’t handle the thought of a group of people coming together to discuss how much they hate me.  I actually considered throwing away all the hard work I’ve put into my blog because someone hurt my feelings.  Because people hate me.

Oh, My God!

Saying Yes to Me

So today, my fourth day in my Year of Yes, I’m saying YES to me.  I’m going to start shielding myself online.  I’m going to be careful with the connections I make.  And I’m no longer going to put myself out there to be a doormat to strangers.

So I tightened up my security, I blocked more people this week than I did all of last year, and I pulled out my editorial calendar and got to work.

YES!!!!

3 Things I Learned This Week

1 – No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.  E. Roosevelt

2 – People in pain are dangerous people.  Avoid them.

3 – I have more friends than I realized and a few of them are vicious, and I love them.

Year of Yes – Day 2 Sucked

I won’t bore you with the details, but today ended with a tension headache that was trying to decide if it wanted to become a migraine.  But despite the crappiness of the day, I had an opportunity to say YES many times.

Block mean people and their cronies? YES

Accept a Vietnamese sandwich from a coworker and save for dinner? YES

Accept treats from coworkers and save for dessert? YES

Buy two bags of Steve’s Real Food because I forgot to thaw raw? YES

Give Cosmo his Vital Essentials Minnows an hour early? YES

Share Vietnamese sandwich with the boyfriend? YES

Take a short walk and think about how amazing people can be? YES

Find some humor in it all? YES YES YES

Today Starts My Year of Yes

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes.

 

Year of Forty Five

I am leaving behind a year of adjusting to a teenager living in our home, being dumped once again by my mother, and having a friend tell me that I’m not a good friend because I didn’t “like” enough of her status updates.  Basically, my forty-fifth year was a year of #firstworldproblems.

For my forty-sixth year, instead of riding, I’ll be driving.  I want this next year to be full of excitement, achievement, ambition, and fun.  So I decided to have a Year of Yes.

Today is day one.

What Saying Yes Means for Me

I hate conflict, I’m afraid of change, and too often anxiety rules my day.  Saying “yes” to all experiences that come my way will help me better deal with conflict, appreciate change, and calm my anxiety.

Or maybe it’ll make things more stressful.  Regardless, it’ll be an experience to write about and I’m excited.

Stay tuned.

A True Lady…

I have a sponsored post on Facebook advertising my blogging workshop which no one has signed up for – bummer – and my sponsored post has one comment “A true lady.”  Being the positive person I am I said, “thank you.”

A True Lady

 

When I saw the person’s post, I didn’t give it much thought.  I’ve become so used to people posting random things that I no longer try to understand what they were trying to say and then it happened.  I had a moment of realizing that I made a breakthrough.  At some point in time, I learned to look at the random things people post in response to something I’m doing on social media and move on.

Just like that! I moved on.

Pre-Blue, Post-Blue

The state of my mental health history has a broad line separating my life before we lost Blue and after we lost Blue.

When Blue died, I tried hard to find meaning in that terrible loss.  It wasn’t until a year later that I realized that losing my dog pushed me into therapy and I found the path to a happier me.  Not fake happy that I showed everyone on social media (minus those moments of dramatic meltdowns), but true happiness.

The Pre-Blue Me

The Pre-Blue Me would have looked at that statement and assumed that the woman was slut shaming the model in the image and, as an extension, shaming me.  I would have asked, “what exactly do you mean?” Revving up for a social media battle of wills with a stranger who dared to insult me and this nameless, faceless woman.  How DARE she bring her Mean Girl antics over to my page and sully the advertisement I was paying for in an effort to humiliate me on Facebook.

Yeah, I was a bit dramatic and a touch cray-cray because I had a laundry list of triggers that could go off at any moment, causing me to lose my shit in terrible ways.

The Post-Blue Me

The Post-Blue me handles things differently.  This is the Me who has been in therapy for more than three years, the Me who works shit out on a Seattle sofa every Tuesday afternoon, the Me who still wonders “what did she mean by that?”  And then chooses to take it as a compliment.

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been reported to Facebook for bullying because a woman didn’t like that people disagreed with her alternative facts about HPP processing.  By the way, I wasn’t part of that discussion, however, I was blamed.  I’ve received two emails from women who wanted to let me know how stupid I am and how little I know about raw feeding.  To one, I apologized to her for the event that caused her so much pain (her long emails were horrible) and I thanked the other for her feedback and wished her a nice day.

The Pre-Blue Me would have engaged these ladies in an all out Facebook war of words, accusations, name calling, and drama. Drama, Drama, Drama.

The Post-Blue Me sees the humor, laughs it off, and moves on.

I still have sad days when I’d rather stay home in bed, surrounded by my dogs than deal with the world.  But these days come and go like a breeze; they no longer set up camp and live on my shoulders for days on end.

Wow! A true lady.

 

I just checked – one person has signed up! Yippeeee! Too bad we’ll have to cancel.  I need at least 5 people.

 

Yes, This is Racist.

This morning, I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed.  After weeks of unfollowing people, my feed is blissfully filled with images and videos of dogs.  And then I was slapped in the face with this meme.

this-is-racist

I commented on the status update, asking if it was necessary to use a racist image.  Her response amounted to “wearing a baseball cap is racist? Good grief.”  If I were a different person, I would have taken the time to explain why I found this image racist, however, I have learned from this individual’s past status updates that she’s uninterested in hearing point of views other than her own.

And as a person who has followed her status updates, I know that this individual is an intelligent person.  She knew exactly what I was talking about – there was no point in attempting a back and forth.  She could have asked “why is this racist,” instead, she chose to dismiss me.

Girl, Bye!

So why is this racist?  Many people will look at this image and understand right away.  Others will look at it and think “just because it criticizes Obama doesn’t make it racist.”  And if that’s your thought – you missed the point.

This meme could have been created using this image…

220px-president_barack_obama

Or thousands of others floating around on the Internet.  Instead, the person who created the image turned Obama into an unflattering and racist stereotype of a black man.  In the first picture, Obama was transformed into a common thug, a drug dealer, a pimp, and a gang member.

Gone is the professional, tailored suit.  Gone are the American flag and the Oval Office. Gone are his loving, beautiful wife, children, and dogs. Gone are his accomplishments, university degrees, and years of service to our nation as a politician and President.

The image is racist, because it dwindled Obama down, disregarded all of his accomplishments, and turned him into a common street thug.  And denying that this is what this image does is, in my opinion, racist.

We can disagree with a President’s policy without going down the road of bigotry.  Once we start waving that flag, we lose all credibility.  I’m no longer interested in anything someone has to say once they’ve taken it to this level because it hurts my heart to know that I gave time and respect to a bigot who was able to hide their disdain and disgust in the color of my skin behind images of dogs.

Yes, that image is racist.  It’s also hurtful.  Share your thoughts on the President and his policy; please don’t spread hate.

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Why I Didn’t March for Women’s Rights

This was a crazy weekend filled with images of pink, videos of shouting women, and angry debates on social media.  I spent the weekend wondering if this is what life will be like in America for the next four years.

I’m exhausted already.

It was difficult not to look at the images of thousands of women marching in Seattle and not have a tinge of FOMO, but I’m happy with my choice to stay home.

I didn’t march out of respect for my boyfriend who is a County Deputy.  Seeing the damage done in the marches on Inauguration Day, I didn’t want to risk being caught up in conflict on Saturday.  I didn’t want to have to make a call to my boyfriend to bail me out of jail or use his influence (because I would have asked) to get me out of trouble.  Happily, it appears that marches across the country were peaceful and without incident.

I didn’t march because He is my President.  I understand the sentiment behind the messages, I can appreciate people’s desire to send a message that we won’t be treated as second class citizens and as pretty things who are here for a man’s pleasure.  But I won’t stand by the message that President Trump isn’t my President.  I’m an American, he won the election. Therefore, he is my President.

I didn’t march because I’m tired of the conflict.  After the election results had come in, after Clinton conceded the election to Trump, after Trump tweeted proudly of his win – I thought we were finished.  I figured we were over attacking each other, going in for low blows, threatening people who didn’t share our opinion – I was wrong.  All weekend, I saw people on both sides of the aisle hurling insults back and forth.

I didn’t march because I was afraid.  The idea of being in a crowd that big was frightening.  Many times on Saturday I thought “maybe I should just go.” But fear would take over and I would hear “but you don’t know anyone – you won’t be able to find your friends – what if the anarchist show up?”  The idea of being in a crowd that big was frightening.  I play a great extrovert, but the Real Me prefers to stay at home, surrounded by my dogs and books.

I didn’t march because that was my right.  It was amazing to see millions of women and men march in cities around the world to stand up against something they felt was wrong. This is what our country was founded upon, right?  The right to stand up to our government and shout “Enough!” and demand change.  Seeing so many exercising that right made me proud to be an American.  Knowing that I had the right to abstain, made me thankful to be an American.  In how many countries can citizens protest en masse without severe and sometimes deadly backlash?

Enough is Enough!

I saw someone post “them” when criticizing to the black community – unintentionally continuing the divide between races that makes “us” feel like we don’t matter in America.  I saw a child attacked on social media because he bears the name Trump.  I saw a woman claim that the women who marched on Saturday only wanted the right to kill babies.  I saw Kellyanne Conway’s looks and style attacked mercilessly by a group of women aka Mean Girls.  I saw people attacking each other in the comments of videos featuring Scarlett Johansen, Madonna, Ashley Judd, and in response to an article about the Canadians who were denied entry into the country, and on and on and on.

I was blocked after someone told me to “calm down” in response to my concern over the changes Trump would make during his candidacy.  I asked her what her problem was with me sharing my thoughts – she blocked me.  We block each other when we’re concerned about harassment; however, people on social media are blocking each other (instead of unfriending / unfollowing) because they’re afraid of seeing an opinion that varies from their own.

Every day, I think maybe this is the day when we can speak politely to each other.  Today is the day when we’ll slow down and start listening to each other, ask questions, share our concerns and hopes, clear up any confusion.  Today is the day when we come together as Americans to work towards a better future.

And then I turn on Facebook and see that Nope today is not that day.

I know that my feelings are shared by many.  I could have marched on Saturday in solidarity with my fellow women to call for equal pay, protection of my reproductive rights, no taxes on tampons, the ability to be judged by our contribution and not our ass-ets.  I think all of these things are important.  But for me, Saturday was about slowing down, accepting the change, and speaking with people who shared my beliefs and concerns while also listening to people who’s beliefs were opposite and, sometimes, offensive.

I learned that in some ways, we’re not all that different.  We all want a better America, we all want to believe that everything will work out, and we understand that the divide in America is what’s killing America.  And we’re all having trouble rising to the challenge of leaving negativity and distrust behind.

Racism was here long before Trump and will be here long after he’s left office.  I cannot afford to lay the responsibility of bigotry in our country at Trump’s feet.  No, he doesn’t own bigotry, we as a nation own that, and we as a nation need to make a choice to change course.  I can’t expect one man to lead us there; I have to take the steps on my own.

So that’s what I’m doing.  It’s not easy to avoid rising to the bait when hateful people spew wretched things, but I’m going to do that – instead of engaging people who only want to hate, I’m going to work alongside individuals who want to see a change, who want to make a difference.

The question is, where do I start?

Law of Attraction and Blocking

Yesterday, I removed everyone (except one) from my block list on Facebook.  I blocked them to stop harassment and I kept them on the list to prevent continued harassment.  And then I realized that I was attracting harassment by maintaining the list long after the drama has ended.

So I blew it up (except one person).

Nothing happened.  Eliminating the list (except for one person) didn’t open the floodgates to hateful messages and mean comments.  Nothing happened.

I don’t think I’m free of the drama some of these people placed in my path this year, but I am free from caring.  With every year that passes, I find that I care less and less what people say and think.  I’m my own worst critique; a stranger has nothing on the damage I can do to my own ego.

My therapist always tells me that social media drama is personal because it feels personal when someone is coming at you.  But, ultimately, it’s not my problem.  Another person’s drama reflects how they feel about themselves and has nothing to do with me.

So I’m going to start 2017 with this at the forefront of my mind.  Homey don’t got time for that shit.

morgan-freeman-my-post-isnt-about-you

A Dark Night

Last night was a dark night for me.  For the past week, I’ve been slowing sinking into a depression, and I hit rock bottom last night.  On a positive note, it’s fantastic that it only took a week.  This is the longest I’ve experienced the darkness for a while – usually, I bounce back within a couple days.  I’m disappointed that I’m still struggling with depression.

What Depression Feels Like

At this point, I’m convinced that everyone has dealt with some form of depression.  This isn’t sadness.  This isn’t PMS.  Although it can be sparked by both.  While others bounce back with a switch change of attitude or focus, people who live with depression struggle to make that switch.

It’s like having an engine that won’t turn over.  You keep cranking away, worrying that you’re going to flood the engine, feeling like it’s just about to turn over and then the engine craps out.  Again.

Everything feels smothered and dark, and although you can distract yourself here and there, a dark cloud follows you around, and there’s no shaking it.  You can either ride it out – keeping quiet to avoid destroying relationships when you inevitably lash out – or medicate yourself.  I choose remaining quiet and let those around me know that “I’m sad today.”  That’s code for “Leslie is riding me hard this week.”

Things that are normally a minor annoyance become devastating until you reach a point where you feel like you’re the most ridiculous person on the planet and no one loves you.  My parents don’t even like me; what does this say about me?

There is a small voice that is speaking reason – it’s far away, whispering reminders about third world countries, the homeless, abused and neglected animals – it doesn’t matter.  The voice mumbles a list of people who love you, but you can barely hear the words because of the sobs racking your body.

And then it’s over.

When the Light Returns

The day after hitting rock bottom is like the day after a fever breaks.  Your appetite hasn’t returned yet, but you can breathe again.  Every breeze feels cool and refreshing against your skin.  And you look forward to things again.

You’re still a bit sensitive.  Although your breakdown was done privately, alone – it feels like there were ten cameras capturing every tear, every harsh word delivered to yourself, every minute of misery.  You feel ashamed and judged because millions of people would trade places with you on your worst day and on their best.  But you can breathe again, and the dark cloud is higher in the sky, being blinded by the light.

Today is a new day. I start from scratch, counting again.  It’s been 13 hours since my last dark cloud.

 

I’m in a Wretched Mood Today

My bad mood started yesterday as I tried to explain to my significant other the trials of tribulations of caring for natural black hair.  I know this seems silly to get upset about, but we have this conversation every other month and it gets old.  I don’t get why he can’t just trust me – taking care of black hair isn’t easy.  Are all of the black actresses rocking the long tresses leaving the impression that black hair is just a thicker, darker version of white hair?  I think I need to find him a YouTube video to watch and then maybe he’ll understand.  Update: people are misunderstanding this section as my boyfriend attacking me for choosing to get braids. This couldn’t be further from the truth.  The entire point of this post is that I’m cranky – about everything.

Sigh.

I had a back and forth with someone who had a critique of my blog.  Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not down for unsolicited advice from strangers.  But in this world of social media, most of the people who know are strangers so that’s where most of our feedback is going to start.  Although I don’t like it, I respect it and try and soak it in without getting offended, but it’s not easy.  I sometimes feel like reverting to a five-year-old and screaming “IT’S MY BLOG, I’LL WRITE HOW I WANT TO!!!”  But I don’t.

Sigh.

I’m starting to think that I need to start unfriending people.  I get the disappointment over the elections, but dammit.  How anyone can maintain this high level of ugly for so long is beyond me.  Don’t they get that their negativity is catching?  One person actually posted that she’s has a physical reaction every time she sees his picture.  That sounds like something more is going on than Donald Trump.

Sigh.

A person that I did unfriend shared the most horrific article and video of animal abuse and it threw me into a downward spiral for several days in a row.  I don’t blame people who share these images/stories – this is their way of raising awareness.  I just don’t want to see it so I unfriend.  I doubt that she noticed because I don’t know her and I can’t remember her name anymore; just the images.

Sigh.

On my way to work today, I see a series of emails from brands and freelance writers asking me for free advertising.  I deleted all of the emails.  These emails drive me bonkers and I hate doing the back and forth as I try to explain that I am not a free source of advertising.  So I will delete the emails and stop giving these people my time.

I’m sleepy, I’m cranky, and I feel fat and ugly.

Sigh.

And then my period started and it all made sense.

7 Things that Make Blogging Suck

Every few months or so, I toy with the idea of bagging my blog.  I will never do it because I love blogging and I love sharing what I’m learning about dog nutrition.  But blogging isn’t always fun.  I don’t mind the work, I’ve always been a hard worker.  What I do mind, the little petty things that chap my hide, are driving me bonkers this week so I thought I’d share.

1 – I Am Not a Ghostbuster

Lately, I’ve been receiving a ton of emails from people who are asking me about ghosts.  I gather that they’re all responding to a post a wrote for Halloween a few years ago sharing a spooky experience I had in our kitchen.  The post was for fun, but people are taking it seriously.  Way too seriously and the emails are bordering on freaky with the ALL CAPS and gazillion exclamation points sprinkled through the email message!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2 – I Am Not a Veterinarian

I am holding onto a small shred of patience with people who send me emails asking me what to do when their dog eats a cooked chicken bone, is exhibiting weird behavior, or has developed cancer.  Although there are plenty of faux-canine health professionals on social media doling out advice to anyone who asks, I’m not one of them.  I am not a veterinarian.  If your dog eats a cooked chicken bone, call your vet.  If your dog is exhibiting weird behavior, call your vet.  If your dog has cancer, call your vet.  Don’t send an email to a stranger online.

3 – Get a Sense of Humor

OMG! What is the deal with people not understanding a joke?  And do not tell me it’s because of the elections because this shit has been going on for a while.  I’ve reached a point where I don’t post anything on social media without thinking long and hard about it.  In the past few months, I’ve been called names, I’ve been called out for being too positive on Facebook, and I was lectured (politely) for using the word “karma.”  I delete at least one post a week because someone either takes offense or completely misses the point.  I know humor is hard to capture without tone of voice and facial expressions, but I don’t think that’s what’s happening because I’m funny as hell.

4 – My Post Isn’t About You

And following up with the “lack of humor” floating around on social media, I’m also seeing a growing number of people who feel that every random post published on Facebook is a secret slam against them.  It’s gotten so bad that even I have started to ask “is that about me?”  Then I mentally slap myself as a reminder that ain’t nobody thinking about me on Facebook and if they are, that’s their business, not mine.

5 – Stop Calling People Bigots

At first, it was shocking, then it became hilarious, and now it’s just sad.  The number of people  who have made it their life’s mission to attack strangers (and friends) on social media and tag them as the cause of all of life’s misery after a failed Presidential election is astounding.  I’ve repeatedly read the excuse that the GOP did their share of attacking and whining when Obama won and I can’t help but hear my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Harrington, say “and if they jumped off a bridge, would you follow?”  Let’s all be better than we’ve been in the past.  We have the benefit of seeing how well bitching, attacking, and whining serves us – as in Not At All – so let’s try something new like getting involved, making a difference, and honoring our First Lady by “Going High” when they go low.

6 – I Am Not a Charity

Every day I receive emails from people who want free publicity through my blog.  This is expected.  What annoys me are the number of people who act as if they’re doing ME a favor.  I have worked my ass off for nearly five years building a targeted audience of dog lovers who are interested in raising their dogs naturally and people want access to this audience (7,000+ mailing list, 115,000+ monthly visitors) to promote their products FOR FREE.  It blows me away daily that I have to educate people that my blog is a business.  I pay for a domain, hosting, premium themes and plugins, marketing, and more – this is not a hobby, it’s a business and I have bills to pay.  How many of these people expect their CPA to work for free?  Probably all of them.

7 – I Am Not a Dog Trainer

Responding to snarky comments from someone asking me what they should do about their dog annoys me.  I recommend working with a dog trainer and they say “I plan to, but what should I do NOW?”  Ummm, call a dog trainer.  I get the temptation of seeking out free advice on the Internet, but we all need to be smart about where we pick up that advice.  If someone is hesitant to help you work through an issue with your dog, be thankful.  There are a ton of people out there sharing crappy, dangerous advice.  Seek counsel from a professional.

 

That is all.