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Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
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Blogging is such a weird fucking thing, isn't it? Just the act of writing your personal feelings, journal-style, in a public forum is - uh - interesting, to say the least. And then all the sponsored shit infiltrated everything everywhere. Personal blogging kind of lost its way for awhile there, didn't it? Well, it's still missing in action. Legitimate personal blogging is all but gone now. Most of the good bloggers have gone totally sponsored and/or edit what they share to the point of boringness. I went that way for a bit. Shit, I have a couple sponsored posts on here that make me absolutely cringe in horror when I go back and read them. Me, half-heartedly trying to weave my love for Pillsbury into a personal post. Sorry about that. It is what it is. You need to make money to live and suddenly there are people telling you that you can get paid to do the same thing you've been doing for years for free and you're like, why not?

I can give you about fifty billion reasons why not, actually. You can't write what you want when you're trying to look attractive to potential sponsors and even if you do write what you want you'll get accused by the hate sites of creating drama to try and drum up page views which is awful to read after sharing something meaningful about yourself. You can't win. The only way to write truly authentically is to take it back to the beginning of blogging. No ads, no sponsors, no reason to care about page views. While sponsored content and ads works for some people and I admire them for creating Internet spaces they enjoy where they can also get paid, it didn't work for me. It got to a point where I was being told by several people I look up to, who were looking out for what they thought were my best interests, that if I wanted to be considered for sponsored posts I needed to tone down my language and modify my voice a bit to appear attractive to companies looking for bloggers to shill their shit.

To that I say: FUCK THAT.

I'd like to point out that there is no longer any contact info on this blog (hit me up on Facebook if you want to message me) no rate page touting slightly inflated traffic numbers, no ads. I chose to not continue working with my agent, who I still adore. Nothing. This blog is no longer monetized. I actually lose money here now because of the cost of maintaining the site. I work full-time in the social media department of a large company and have managed to carve out a pretty great living writing for other websites so, after writing here for nearly a decade, this place needs to be for me. Where I can say what I want to say without fear of pissing off Pillsbury or Allstate Insurance or Hillshire Farms, all of which I've managed to do in the past. Although it's the stuff I think most of us want to read, authentic people who say what they want to say on their blogs are pretty rare these days. Like I said, they're busy cultivating their "brand" or they're afraid of turning off potential sponsors and probably afraid a couple hate websites will give them The Business or they're just scared to share anything meaningful about themselves or the people they love because of a possible negative response from readers. A lot of great bloggers/writers have closed up shop because of that. Because they're writing in a public forum they're supposed to become impervious to all the sewage the Internet sends their way, develop this really thick skin or something and it all just gets to be too much because they're human beings and the Internet can be such a hateful place.

But it can also be a really beautiful place. I've met so many fantastic people online and a lot of opportunities have come my way just by being here, on this site. It's still worth it to be here for me. Matter of fact, I need this place, this website. So here I am. Still writing here after all these years. Only now I have nothing to prove. I used to write to prove I was a good writer, then I started writing for Caroline, Serge's ex-girlfriend (and one of my best friends now) and anyone who remembers that whole saga knows what I mean. After that I started writing for sponsors and then I started writing defensively, maybe as a response to a certain website that likes to give me The Business and then I think I wrote to convince myself of things that I knew deep inside were not true, if that makes any kind of sense to you. But now, for the first time ever, I feel like I'm just writing for me. And you. It's liberating, you know? I've got lots to share and I hope you'll feel more inclined to share in the comments as well. Thanks for sticking around. You guys mean a lot to me. Your messages, comments - all that shit means a lot, especially right now as I figure out what the rest of my life looks like.

Speaking of what things look like... My Charlie looks like me. After two Serge clones, it's a novelty. Let's bring this thing to a close with a couple gratuitous baby shots, yeah?


My Ex Is Sexier Than Ever and It's Pissing Me Off!

"It's kind of become our running joke. I arrive and Serge does his Sexy Guy voice and pretends like we're meeting for the first time. "Hey, girl." Then he'll toss me a cloying wink and say something like, "The kids are in the living room," and use his arm to point while flexing it really hard. He's joking, of course. But he's enjoying it, too. And yeah, it's funny and also annoying, dammit!"

Hey! In addition to Babble and I write for YourTango now about pretty much whatever I want. And I can swear. I like it. This is my first post. If you want to keep reading, click on over.

My Crew


Why Do You Need Us To Hate Each Other?

"Does a couple hating each other validate divorce more than a couple that chooses to continue loving each other in a new and different way? Will our separation seem more real if we slingshot clumps of mud at each other and string our dirty laundry on a clothesline for the world to see?"

If you want to read the whole thing click over to

I Am The Rock

Know how in the movies there always seems to be a funeral scene where the main character doesn't cry, instead sits stone-faced while everyone around them falls apart? Cut to three scenes later when they're explaining to a friend/love interest how they never cried at their mom's funeral and What's wrong with me?! or whatever and that's when they finally completely lose their shit?

Yeah, that.

That's how I've felt for the past four or five months. The expressionless sitting at the funeral part, not the losing my shit part. Except the funeral isn't the death of anyone I know, it's the death of my marriage. And I can't help but wonder when/if I'm going to lose my shit.

I talked to my therapist about this the other day and she says I've always been the rock, that it's the only way I know how to survive. It's true. I come from chaos, married into chaos and my remedy has been to withdraw into myself and Handle My Shit or else risk swirling into the abyss with everyone else around me.

Throughout my life I've been called emotionless and even mean, I told her. But I don't feel that way on the inside at all. On the inside I feel so emotional, so raw and scared, that if I let out even a little bit of that I'll shatter. Maybe forever. Those alcoholic, homeless people have a story, you know? They used to be somebody who probably never expected to be where they are now and yet there they are. Life happened. And they shattered and never recovered.

So I play the Tough Girl. I act the role so well it becomes reality.

Someone left a link to an old YouTube video of mine on my Facebook page the other day. I watched the video and then another one automatically started. This one. It's just a funny video I made years ago about what a maniac Milo is and Serge is just riffing and being silly and you can hear me giggling from behind the camera but it just about fucking killed me.

He was the love of my life. Always will be, in a way. It became so hard and we were so miserable but there he was, being his silly, stupid self and making me laugh and if I hadn't been at work when watching the video I would've completely lost my shit. My clichéd breakdown scene in the movie of my life. We probably argued immediately after I shut off the camera and slammed into our separate bedrooms or whatever but those minutes of him joking and me laughing and us just doing our usual thing on that sunny day in Utah, my entire universe contained in that car at that moment... I don't know.

Serge is properly mourning the death of our marriage and I am not. I am doing what I always do and soldiering onward and upward and jamming so much stuff into my days that I barely have time to breathe let alone think, thank God. But what will happen to me when all the busy-ness stops and I am left to my own devices? Serge will have moved on and I will finally allow myself to contemplate all that I have lost and I don't know what will happen.

I am afraid to be vulnerable. I am afraid to let myself experience the loss of Serge in my life. I am afraid if I let myself go I'll never make it back. So I am the rock. It's the only way I know.
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