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Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
That's What She Said
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Tuesday
Jun182013

The Pursuit of Wholeness

Most of the blogs I half-heartedly follow on the Internet these days seem to imitate a commercial for Coca-Cola or Sunny Delight or some other summery beverage that, if consumed, will most certainly lead to the most amazing day of your life.

In other words: LIFE. IS. AWESOME.

Shiny, happy, people living their lives. Every mundane event photographed and photoshopped into happy, bright colors so unnatural your retinas revolt. Here is what we did, here is what we wore, here is what we bought, here is what you should buy. God forbid anyone share a real feeling; a fight with a husband, how they're stuck in a lull, how parenthood isn't all they thought it would be or otherwise type against the tide of shiny happiness because they'll get picked apart or analyzed to fucking death on some website where that kind of thing goes down. Or in the comments of their own blog. For what it's worth, I'm okay with the analyzing, it's as legitimate a part of the Internet as the shit being analyzed but, in the end, being scrutinized and analyzed with an extra large helping of snark has had a pretty detrimental effect on personal blogging.

Many of the good bloggers who used to share the sad, happy, scary, weird, crazy, stupid details of their lives are very obviously toning it down for fear of backlash. I understand. I've been on the receiving end of the backlash for many years and have definitely experienced great chunks of time where I felt so self-conscious as a result of the snarky comments about myself that I edited a lot of what I shared because I was so afraid of what some anonymous commenters had to say. It can be paralyzing. Even when you've been doing this for years.

Instead of heartfelt posts wherein someone divulges their deepest darkest secrets that just might help the rest of us feel a little less alone in similar situations we get collages of what to get for Father's Day. I don't want collages! I've got a billionty-five collages at my fingertips right over there on the Pinterest and the website I write for, Babble. I don't need your gift ideas, either. They're the same ones as on the aforementioned sites or on that other blog I just read because I don't know why and, by the way, do you honestly think I'm spending more than $100 tops on a gift? Fucksakes.

I want to hear about the fight you had with your spouse last night and the ever-changing complexities of your relationship or the fact that you suspect your ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend is stalking you or how you wonder if you're drinking too much or even how you ate an entire box of Pop Tarts for breakfast. Sometimes I want to see your bedroom makeover and your photos from your vacation but most of the time I just want you, unfiltered. That's why I started reading!

You are cordially invited to point me in the direction of any bloggers still intelligently, humorously and articulately laying it on the line instead of trying to portray the perfect person because those are the blogs I want to read. Those are the blogs that make me feel a little bit less alone in the continual struggle to feel fulfilled. And I don't mind sharing my struggle. I don't mind sharing the highs and lows, even when I get called "depressing" and "repetitive" like I was yesterday because it's part of life. If I write post after post here trying to be everything to everyone than I have failed in everything I meant to do when I started this blog; connect with other people going through the same shit I do.

This site, for better or worse, is a chronicle of the past nearly ten years of my life. From marrying a guy I barely knew to moving to New York City, landing my dream job, making new friends, my journey into motherhood and officially removing myself from the Mormon church record books and our eventual move to the home in which we want to raise our kids. I've shared my greatest joys with you, my lowest lows and the most embarrassing moments of my life so when someone decides to tell me "Carry on with whatever point you are trying to make with these kinds of posts. I used to read you, and then the repetitiveness of do I drink too much, I don't think I drink too much, am I crazy, maybe I'm crazy, maybe I'm depressed, no I'm not depressed started being depressing to read" I decided to respond. The comment really bothered me.

Maybe I'm crazy, maybe I'm depressed, I am insecure, I hate myself sometimes - this is what life is about. Figuring yourself out and trying to make it better. Do you have it all figured out? Or do you struggle with some of the same shit over and over and over again? Sometimes you get over one thing only to replace it with a new thing you need to work on. This is life. What do you really expect when you come to read this blog? I want to know. Do you want me to sand down the rough edges of my life so that you get an uplifting read every day? Bible quotes? Stuart Smalley affirmations? Would you rather I not wonder aloud if I'm drinking too much or open the closet and introduce you to the skeleton that is my occasionally debilitating insecurity and self-hatred? Would you rather I pretend like my marriage is the most amazing union since Prince Charming slid the glass slipper onto Cinderella's perfectly manicured foot?

Yesterday you got a post about my self-hatred, today you get this rant and tomorrow you get vacation photos that will make my life seem as perfect as the person who posts Father's Day gift idea collages. Next week you might get a post about how complex my relationship is with my dad. Who the fuck knows? But, just like I told a commenter yesterday, don't like it, don't read. I don't say that to be a "bitch" as I was immediately called, I say that because it seems like a completely rational response to someone telling me they dislike my blog because it's depressing and repetitive so they don't read it anymore but, oh hey, I just popped back in to tell you how disturbed you are. Why are you here? CHANGE THE CHANNEL.

I wrote yesterday's post in an attempt to articulate a low-grade self-hatred I've had for most of my life. It flares up every now and then and I usually manage to tamp it out with the self-confidence I have in certain areas of life. It's a constant balance. Something I think we all deal with on one level or another and so I wanted to share it with you. Like I said, I was called "deeply depressed" and "disturbing" and told pills are the answer.

Know what I find disturbing? The knee-jerk reaction to suggest pills to someone expressing periodic sadness. I realize that pills have worked for millions of people, including my husband and I think that's great. I also think that people, Americans especially, have been trained to believe that the pursuit of happiness (or even just the avoidance of sadness) is the ultimate life quest. It's in the Declaration of Independence, for godsakes, so it must be one of life's top goals. But I'm not buying it. I think that, just like stick figure supermodels convince us we're never thin enough, the importance placed on being happy all of the time leads us to believe our natural sadness is wrong. We end up feeling lonely when we don't feel the happy that everyone else is feeling, or pretending to feel. A lot of us end up feeling like we're broken and need pills to fix ourselves.

Sadness is as much a part of life as happiness. As self-described psychologist and social researcher, Hugh Mackay, said in the comments on yesterday's post, "The idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying 'write down 3 things that made you happy today before you go to sleep' and 'cheer up' and 'happiness is our birthright' and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position - it’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say 'Quick! Move on! Cheer up!' I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word 'happiness' and to replace it with the word 'wholeness'. Ask yourself 'is this contributing to my wholeness?' and if you’re having a bad day, it is."

Preach it, bother.

You there, sitting behind your monitor or scrolling through your phone reading this; are you happy all the time? Most of the time? And even when you are happy, do your demons still nip quietly at your ankles? Do you have a case of the blahs today? Do you feel overwhelmed by life sometimes? Do your bills stress you out? Does the news depress you? What about the world's sickening focus on celebrity? Do all the people behaving badly on reality shows give you anxiety? Do you worry if you're on the Internet too much? Did you have a fight with your spouse last night? Are you still not speaking? Guess what? ME FUCKING TOO.

It's okay. It's normal. You aren't broken. Pills aren't necessarily the answer. You might just be ebbing in the flow of life. It's par for the course. You can't ride the roller coaster without going up, down and sometimes even upside down. Yesterday I shared a down. Tomorrow I'll share an up. If you want to read a blog so bright you gotta wear shades, you're on the wrong site. That ain't ever gonna happen here.

You can read about the abortion I had at seventeen. You can read about my ill-advised relationship with an older, married man. You can read about my attempts to discover my sexuality. You can read about the time I crapped my pants in the park. You will hear about the time I hit our car with a shovel and you'll read about the petty arguments too. You will hear about the times I'm so depressed. You can read about the times I'm content. If you find the depressing stuff depressing move along! Or leave a comment and expect a response. In a world of heavily moderated comments I continue to publish every, single comment on this site - unless it's ridiculously inappropriate - so I welcome the discourse. I have been so appreciative of all the amazing feedback given to me by readers over the years but sometimes, if a comment doesn't sit right with me or I feel someone has completely misconstrued what I wrote, I'll respond.

So if, like me, you're interested in exploring the range of emotions every, single one of us experience in life, talking about life the way it really is and what we can learn from it, then pull-up a chair, stick around and let's talk about the pursuit of wholeness.

Reader Comments (101)

Nope, I'm not happy all the time; I went through a really dark time when my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson's at 39 (talk about something that sucks).

But, I've learned to enjoy what's in front of me. Right. Now.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNelson's Mama

Word, sister. Have you ever read Momastery? She's regularly screwing things up over there, and just encouraging us all to keep it real with each other.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarya

So I'm getting divorced. And I have to say, while it is in many ways sucky, it has allowed me to open up about stuff on the blog that I wasn't allowed to before. My spouse was always a private person and our relationship wasn't something he wanted in the open. But now he's agreed that I can write about stuff (as long as I'm respectful which well duh, we're going to court so I'm not going to be a douche about it and have the book thrown at me) and it's been fantastic.

It's also meant so many people are now confiding with me about their troubles. I've felt really alone struggling with this stuff for a long time and it makes me kind of crazy that so many other people I know have been there, too, and we didn't say anything to each other. I generally hate the shiny happy blogs. I can't really handle them and never have, whether I'm happy or not. It's the warts that makes life interesting, or at least other people's lives.

So yeah. I am not exactly writing the shiny happy right now. (Although I did make myself a graphic for my divorce posts. Because I'm a nerd.)

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

I just want to tell you that the reasons you've listed above are the reason I read your blog. You are real, you put it out there and you're relatable. We all deal with highs and lows. No one is ALWAYS happy. If they say they are, they're lying. My goal is to be happy more than I'm not, try to find the joy in the little things. But some days I'm overwhelmed with toddler whining, figuring out our budget and getting all my work done in my given work day. Just like most people/mothers. Don't ever edit yourself for the sake of "Anonymous." You have way too many readers who love you for you. :)

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKelli G.

You are amazing! You do swear a lot though. Just Kidding.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinzie Middleton

Just wanted to say, I ADORE your writing. I love your honesty and I hope you NEVER change. For the record, I am usually quite happy and content. I do have those days where even I hate me! Damn, I can be such a B!tch sometimes. However, I get through. However, it is usually with the help of a long, "fast as my feet can handle" run. If that doesnt work, then a bottle of Vodka mixed into Crystal Light usually helps!!

Oh, and I always have a depressing week right after I get home from vacation! Just sayin...

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCrystal

Well said sister. I wish I had some blog reading suggestions for you. But you are the only one I can think of that is truly keeping it real. Just wanted to say, I have felt validated and privileged to be allowed into your world.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterniobe19

OhmyGAWD I love you. Because you keep it real. Facebook does the same thing to me, it brings me down into feelings of inadequacy because of everyone's LIFE IS SOOOOOO GOOD posts and photos. Mothers Day I had a total breakdown because my day was not picture perfect like so many I read about. On fb and blogs.
Ugh.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterM Cinnamon

I find your honesty refreshing. Another blog that is unapologetically honest is momastery.com ...I also enjoy girlsgonechild.net ...yours are the ones I read every day.
Here's my confession of a not so perfect life: I'm addicted to my iPhone/internet, I binge on my kid's Oreo cookies, I drink Jack Daniels almost every night, I don't feel bad about being 50 pounds overweight and I could care less about what society thinks about my size 14 ass wearing leggings as pants. I sleep with my toddler in my bed and my husband sleeps on the couch. I also fantasize about making out with the Kardashian sisters.
Being real with each other is what the world needs. Don't let the haters get you down.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGrace

THIS post articulates and conveys your very relatable point so much better than the post, or any of the comments from yesterday.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Everyone has their ups and downs - no one is happy all the time as evidenced by your poll yesterday, where no one claimed 100% happiness. Sadness is good, it is a part of life. Blah days are a part of life. As are frustration with children and conflict with your husband. I enjoy reading about how people handle that, work through it, try to solve it, deal with it. I like that part of your blog a lot.

What I dislike though are the comments you direct at yourself. Describing your mouth as a gaping maw, or always referencing your fat ass. I see the self hatred in those comments that you make about yourself, a lot. Reading you write about yourself in that way is really painful to me. I don't know you but I certainly don't see any of that in you. I love reading your blog for so many reasons - your awesome love story, your decorating plans, the way you eat and cook, making friends, the way you are working through things with your husband even though it is hard for you both, life in the country, the trials of just dealing with parenthood and marriage and family and religion -- love so much of that, so interesting and real and what I enjoy about reading blogs. I don't need to tell you that the self hatred part, the disparaging comments, are something to work on because you said it yourself in a comment yesterday. But the only reason I have thought about not reading your blog is because of those negative and dark comments you make about yourself - that reads like poison to me. I wouldn't want any blogger or any person to change the way they write. But if I was your friend in real life and you described yourself to me in that way, I wouldn't let you do it.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

I appreciate the truth, whatever it is. I'm generally pretty happy, but ever since I had my son a year and a half ago, I'm much more sensitive to tragedy. Every time I hear a story about a child dying, I'm gutted. I find myself avoiding the news and being angry that those stories are posted at all. ALL of my friends are on pills. I don't judge them, but they've never worked for me. They take away the anxiety, but they take away everything else, including the things I like about myself. I didn't think anything you wrote yesterday was out of line. I have two TVs and love the hell out of them, but we did cancel cable. We have Hulu Plus and Netflix. Plenty to watch, but I don't get bogged down in cable news (which is a huge trigger for me) and reality shows that give me schadenfreude. Sorry, wall of text. Keep on, keeping on.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLouise

Omg! I love reading the write ups when you are sharing your shit! I envy your brave words! Always. So cliche, but... You keep it real. I find comfort in that you occasionally have to talk yourself off the ledge. I can pitch a bitter fit like nobody. I can hold an epic grudge too. I'm bad about letting my anger out. You inspire me to share my shit!

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShannon B

Hey, sorry I'm so cheery! Sorry my life is so AWESOME!! don't like it? Eff you!!!!

Signed,
ANONYMOUS

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterXmastime

Monica, I've been reading you for years. Since before Violet. Commented maybe once. You're one of maybe three blogs I still read that I feel have upheld the original integrity and voice of the person behind it. I identify so much with the real, nitty-gritty shit you've written about: I'm a late 20s ex-Mormon girl, dealt with exploring my sexuality, depression, social anxiety, and inner voices of self-doubt/loathing. Even had an abortion when I was younger. Some days I feel like I've got my shit together and other days I feel absolutely fucking crazy and floundering. I like your voice. It's nice knowing there are other people like me, who are living "real adult lives" but still often feel like they have no fucking clue. Also helps me recognize some of my own lingering post-Mormon thought process habits. I've been out for 7 years and still fall into "you won't ever be good enough" thought spirals and guilt that was programmed into my upbringing. Don't let some anonymous internet assholes get to you and make you feel the need to censor yourself, because this anonymous internet asshole happens to think that what you have to say is important to a lot of people, and can help them feel less crazy/alone.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRJ

You're deliberately misrepresenting the tone of yesterday's post and trying to pretend you were portraying a "normal" downswing. You started the entry by saying you're FILLED with self hatred, joked about blowing your brains out, then filed it under "depression." Then, you got pissy and defensive because people were expressing concern about you. No one is saying you're not allowed to be sad. You've just decided that's what they were suggesting, because you don't like the alternative--that you expressed yourself badly, or, that a good collection of people can clearly see you're deluding yourself by refusing to seek some kind of help. THERAPY, or otherwise.

PS: One of the most tired refrains a blogger can make is "don't like it, don't read." Guess what? That goes both ways. Don't like the feedback you're getting? Don't put it out there. But, as you say, you prefer it when people air their dirty laundry to a bunch of strangers on the Internet. Fine, you're a voyeur, many of us are. But this is the trade off: people are going to have opinions about what you write. Them's the breaks.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHumility?

What everyone else said. I was also going to mention that another blogger I enjoy for the same reason is All & Sundry. But you already have her on your blogroll so you know she's equally awesome!

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

I must say, I stumbled upon your blog through Babble today, and I feel like I'm reading my own words...all you say about questioning drinking too much, self-hatred, motherhood, etc...very similar to my day in and day out thoughts. It's so refreshing to read about someone's TRUE thoughts that most of us feel at one time or another, some more often than others. The ones who "never" feel this way just need much more therapy than they can imagine. I can relate to the bad spot in your marriage, been there too. I must say, I have been feeling quite crazy here lately due to certain family issues, personal issues etc... that I won't go into because this is not my blog! Bottom line, life can be a real bitch, but you take it as it comes and try to make the best of even the worst. Your blog is so honest and you are so much more in touch with yourself and feelings than most people could ever hope to be. Keep on keepin' it real. Anyone who can't appreciate your words isn't worth worrying about in the least. Thank you so much!

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrooke

I love your honesty. I too get super sick of the "look at my perfect life" blogs. I get bored when every post is just cute pictures and fun outings and stuff to buy. I'm much more interested in the nitty-gritty, the deeper stuff that lies under the surface. Which is why I read your blog. It makes me feel less alone in my own far-less-than-perfect life and I can relate to your struggles with marriage and parenthood and society's need for everyone to be relentlessly pursuing happiness all the time.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLK

Great post. I miss the more honest blogging that used to be the norm as well.

You are welcome to read my blog, ( http://biogirlblog.com ) where I do not talk about my marriage, not because it is perfect, but because I know my husband wouldn't be comfortable with open discussions about it, but I do talk very openly about the grief of losing my little sister to brain cancer in February. I used to talk about problems with my sons speech delays, but really all the negative in my life became much more relative with my sisters diagnosis, battle, and death. So at times I may seem to gloss over things, but for me it comes down to using my blog to hold on to the good things happening in the daily grind...

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Monica,
I only read your blog because you are honest. We all feel the way you did yesterday sometimes. And I personally am glad that I am not the only one. I think you rock! I am bipolar and I don't take any pills because I want to feel all of life. Carry on and please don't stop writing honestly.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBonnie

The reason I read your blog is that you are a terrific writer:honest, funny and direct, but perhaps most of all, non-formulaic. Your authenticity makes a personal connection with readers and bridges the digital wall in a way that is very rare. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that your writing makes me feel like I know you and can stop by to hang out with my cool friend. Yours is the only blog that I follow that isn't related to my professional interests. Don't change. Stay sweet. (Seniors rule!)

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterK Williams

So with you on this point. Here's one I've started reading recently (along with half of the rest of the country).

"Chasing Rainbows"
www.kateleong.com
Very real ups and downs. It makes me weep (and I am not a crying person, generally) and it makes me beam.

And if you're looking for straight-up funny and snarky -- especially if you've ever done time as an employee in a restaurant -- then you have got to read thebitchywaiter.com
That one is absolutely killing me. I hear him in Carson Kressley's voice, even though I've heard his actual voice.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

I read your blog because of your honesty. Some days I hate my self, some days I'm just a bitch, some days I'm great. I don't need to be medicated. I'm just fine and so are you.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMert

Ummm...today's thebitchywaiter post is a little extra bitchy -- just read it. But scroll down and read some of the others, if you're interested.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

Echoing what others have said - I read you for your honesty. Your honesty validates my own feelings (I'm "blah" at best on most days) and makes me feel less alone.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKat

I heart you, Monica. Please stay real, girl.

I found this blog the other day - haven't read a lot of it yet, but this post in particular made me think about you (and myself for that matter!!!) Give it a read if you have some time.

http://www.renegademothering.com/2013/05/21/meg-ryan-ruins-marriages/

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKerri

Most blog readers are sitting folded somehow in front of their screens, subconsciously looking at their reflection while simultaneously peering into a portal. This place here, where we read and look, allows us all to do identity work and trip along towards a feeling of belonging SOMEWHERE, towards that mythic wholeness. Most of the blogs that used to reflect back honest identities are now just hollow corporate shills.
As a woman is blogging (really blogging, not creating content for direct payment or clients), she is creating a complex self-portrait for public consumption. Your style is a little more realism than the impressionism and gauzy abstraction that passes for representation these days. The words are all part of it, but don't lose sight of the fact that you are building this phantasmagoria. When you make anything and have the courage to name it, to put it out into the world, you cannot ever absolutely know or understand how it will be interpreted as it comingles with all of the complex associations, emotions, memories and embodied perceptions in the mind of the viewer. Keep doing the hard work, your artistic practice hits the mark.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkatherine

I love your blog, I love your honesty. And I agree pills might not be the answer nor should shitheads simply offer them as a solve. But I also think we don't need to go all Tom Cruise on the suggestion of it providing healing for those who need it. Nor judge those that offer it as a solution from a place of love.I see your blog as a forum for everyone to share in their experiences, raw and unfiltered -- a place without judgement.

Re. pills: the highs and lows of life are why life is worth living. No doubt. Sometime pills allow you to level set and come back to those highs and lows -- not erase them or dull them. For me I experienced many months always at a low. A scary low. A low I saw in your words (self hatred, etc). And I spent many months so filled with anxiety that words leaving my mouth almost always remained choked in my throat causing immediate hyperventilation. And that fucking sucked because I am optimistic, manic, and energetic by nature. My hormones and "life changes" took that away from me. I wanted me back. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Pills have helped. I can breathe again. I can share my voice again. I am a proud pill popper who happily alternates between hating life and loving life, drowning in marriage and wondering why this guy would ever stick with me, loving raising my kids and thinking of ways to leave for a pack of smokes... for the next 18 years. It's all good in the hood if it works for you. And I ate a whole bag of totinos pizza poppers the other night.... and LOVED every minute of it.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKate W.

I love your blog. It's real, it's refreshing, it's enlightening, and it's almost always damn funny! Keep it up!

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

I have found an amazing vblogger, that I LOVE, she constantly is telling people to just be human and be real. She's got some made up funny vblogs she does but she also does some real heart felt stuff too. I included the link to the first video I watched of hers & since then have been watching like all the rest over the past week and half of my life....its hard to find real people to identify with & realize that you're not alone in this vast wide world of lonely. Check her out, she goes by Hart, and she's my newest favorite :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q05Cz2i0il8&list=PL5019E2991989B0DE

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLB

I agree with and support the spirit of this post. Most of the personal blogs I've followed over the past ten years have largely petered out in terms of level of interest or good content. If you are willing and able to share of yourself in this way, huzzah! I think authenticity is the most appealing thing to find in a blogger.

But, I have to echo Humility's comment: I think you're misrepresenting yesterday's comments/exchange. When you put yourself out there, people are going to respond--and really, most of yesterday's comments came from a place of concern. The fact is that people have invested in you and feel like they know you, and respond accordingly. The comment you quote here, "Carry on with whatever point you are trying to make" came after you told the commenter that this wasn't the blog for her. It's no surprise she then responded harshly.

Again, I think it's awesome that you want to put the real shit out there. But then, you're going to get the real shit back.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSophia

When I found you last year sometime, I started as far back as I could find anything that you our your husband had written or posted. I love that you don't sugar coat anything. You have helped me put words, your words, but good words, to some of the feelings I've had.
Keep up the good work, don't change for Anonymous, don't change for anyone but you.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris C

Your blog is the most honest blog I read which is why I come back year after year.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterErica

Hun, Life is all about the ups and downs. My blog is certainly not a shiny happy place every post.. although Husband asked me to refrain from talking about our marriage ever since his aunt and Mum is Australia started reading it... It made him uncomfortable. Anyway, just remember that Aaron Sorkin wisely said that Facebook is just a performance - and that is what most blogs are too. Just folk boasting about their oh so great lives. What they don't tell you is all the fights they had, and how they hate their job and how their kids are failing at school and how they dream of shagging their boss etc etc...

For the record, some days I feel so overwhelmed I cry. Other days I scream and am angry Mom to my kids - I have even broken down in front of them, as my 6 year old rubbed my back and said 'calm, calm...' Some of us just share more - like you. And I guess me too. That's ok. Just remember babe, not everyone is the same. Not everyone can do that. And that's ok too. Everyone is dealing with the same shit - just showing it in different ways, or not at all. x

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercrummymummy

Your blog is the only blog I read with regularity for two simple reasons : your honesty and your writing ability (well, the cute kid photos don't hurt, either...). And after being a reader for quite a while now, and being invested in the "story", I'd be offended if you changed the tone of your blog. As you said, there are plenty of blogs out there who will blow sunshine up your ass if that's what you want...PLEASE don't ever turn into that...ugh! And btw, thanks for the Lipstick Lesbian link - omg. One of the best posts EVER!

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHanni

Love this blog, don't change a thing! If you're ever in Wyoming I'll buy ya a beer!

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSara

Your blog is one of the VERY few (ok, the only one I can think of right now) that IS authentic and still worth reading. Every other blog I used to read is now nothing but a series of sponsored posts about this fabulous trip or "camp" or "life list experience" that some gigantic corporation paid for. The average reader can't relate to that shit, and it just feels like advertising whilst rubbing salt in the wounds of readers who have real lives, full of ups and downs and struggles to pay bills.

So THANK YOU for being authentic and sharing it all with us. It helps know that we aren't alone. And that is priceless.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKate

I would rather you not respond with sarcastic venom to your commenters. Pretty simple. Write about everything you do, I dig it, (well, I much prefer the self-musings to the home makeover/fashion pictures) but when you do go deep into your emotional/behavioral issues and ask for comments don't get so fucking outraged when human beings respond humanly and as a probable result of their own backgrounds/childhoods/families. Maybe try some compassion there as an experiment instead of... well, knee jerk reactivity...yeah, it's a problem for most of us.
I recommend Pema Chodron on the subject of unhooking. Check this out: Also, anything she ever wrote ever is pretty much amazing and profoundly helpful.
http://www.soundstrue.com/shop/The-Freedom-to-Choose-Something-Different/4214.pd

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterE.

That's one of the things I like most about your blog - your candor.

I've blogged about my sons's cancer, my depression, my family estrangements, my marital hiccups, my dad's untimely death...c'mon over and read me some time. ;)

I read blogs to get a sense of real life. The idealism? That's splashed all through the media. The internet should - imho anyway - be the piece of real estate where "real" resides.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

who is happy all the time? That's just weird. Are they drunk all the time too? I like you and your blog. Sometimes i'm having a poopy day and your blog makes me laugh. Other days you're having a poopy day and hopefully writing about it gets it out of you and makes you feel better. Don't worry about the stupid folks that don't get it.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercharity

I think girl's gone child is pretty realistic. If you don't already read her, check it out.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBridgitt

I like rough edges and messy life and truth...and you, and your blog.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra

PS you might appreciate this post: http://burnsthefire.com/2013/06/18/family-for-sale/

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra

Best post ever! Loved you before. Still love you. Thanks

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTracey

I have been thinking about this post for a few hours, trying to figure out how I really feel about it. I am one of those bloggers who mainly shares the happy stuff from my life. Should I share more? Should I put it all out there? I don't think for ME that works.

First off, I want to tell you that I LOVE your blog, I think it takes a different kind of strength, to really put all of your life out there. I would never criticize you for anything you say here. The thing is, this is YOUR blog, it isn't anyone else's. This is your space where you get to give as much or as little information as you want and desire. No one can take away the fact that www.thegirlwho.net, is your shit, it's your mind and it's where you vent. It's unfortunate that other people read it and decide that they are going to give you their negative opinion of what you write, of who you are, of how you feel. It's like someone walking into your house and telling you that you have decorated it all wrong, or a bad mother-in-law, who tries to tell you how to raise your kids and treat your husband, but obviously on a much deeper level, since they are attacking your character. The people who do this, who troll around the internet, just to find people to insult, are deeply troubled. I know this because there are many times when I think I am deeply troubled, but I couldn't even imagine for a second insulting someone on their blog. It really shows a very shallow character.

Onto the other note, which is my note. I think that declaring that everyone with a blog "tells the truth", is really asking A LOT. I don't tell my closest friends about a fight with my husband, let alone a whole world of people that can come and anonymously let me know they think I suck. I have to convince myself 50 times a day that I am not sucking at parenting, feeding my kids the right stuff, loving my husband enough, taking an hour here or there for ME, cleaning my house enough, loving my step-kids the right way, letting my kids watch a movie at 9:00 in the morning. I'm dealing with that struggle all day long, if I had to read about strangers hating me for this struggle, I would crumble.

I feel like you are asking people to be as strong as you, and we aren't all built that way. We all can't type out that we were screaming at our husband last night, or didn't get out of our sweatpants all day, or how we feel really really really sad sometimes, or my kid watched Dora the Explorer all day, or that transitioning from one baby to two, was the hardest thing in the world and actually hit publish. You hit publish and that's the difference, it doesn't mean that all of us out here aren't going through the same thing you are. We just aren't brave enough to shout it from the rooftops, or maybe it isn't appropriate for us to do that, our relationships aren't built for that. You and Serge air it all out there, but not everyone is up for that.

On a side note, I just passive aggressively aired some of my own shit out there. Things I feel guilty about. I would never do it on my own blog, which I'm sure I will be judged for. How about this, how about we don't judge each other. We are women and mothers and I am biased but I don't think men have it this hard. They don't have other men judging them, looking at what outfit they are wearing, to see if it is cool enough, or did they cook their kid all organic food, did they play with their kid enough, did they do enough arts and crafts, did they make it to the gym and not feel guilty about it, did they take pictures with their $2,000 camera, then edit it in Lightroom, instead of just taking the picture with their iPhone, which is handy and they always have and I'm sorry, takes a good picture, well a decent picture. When did motherhood and marriage become so fucking competitive? It's almost like people threw out having authentic experiences in order to have pretty experiences that are documented with a camera most people can't afford.

You know what, I went into this comment with a whole different point, I was going to disagree with you to a certain extent, but I just realized that you're right, this is bullshit. My blog is basically not sharing what the authentic experience is, I'm taking the experience and editing it down, like all these people do with their pictures in Lightroom. Maybe the way out of judging each other, is to just be REAL with each other. Be real and then not judge, stop looking at each other's mistakes to validate your own.

So I just had a therapy session with myself in the comments section of your blog, so thanks for that, I guess I owe you $200 for this therapy session.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda Quam

I wish I had the talent to write. If I did, I've thought about a blog to do exactly what you are asking here. To be real. To declare that breastfeeding was HARD and NOT fun, and didn't come naturally. To talk about the hormonal rages I am going through since having my first child that leave me sobbing one minute and bitching at everyone I see the next. About how I love my husband to death, but I get so annoyed by him I just want him to go away sometimes. About my personal struggles with the loss I've had in my life and if I have dealt with it (am dealing with it?) the right way.

I've thought about it, but I haven't done it. And if I did, I'd be honored if someone like you (real, honest) thought it was worth reading. I, too, have read blogs wherein I know the author and their real life, and seeing what they portray in the blog I shout "HA! Yeah RIGHT!" At the screen more often than I applaud them for telling it like it is. So, I feel your pain, and I hope you find what you are looking for.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

I drink too much. I swear too much. I'm not always happy. Although I do have happy moments sprinkled here and there. Raising kids is hard. And not always fun. (But there are also great, wonderful times I've spent with my kids.) I come to your blog several times a week to read about someone that reminds me of me. Most people around me can't admit to these things that you do. You are honest. If other people were honest, we would all realize that we aren't alone. Who the hell wants to be alone in all this? Not me. I love your blog. Please don't change it. Don't sugar coat it. Don't leave out the dirty details. We want it all.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Excellent post! Thank you for being real.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpaula

This post and yesterday's post are exactly why I read your blog. Preach it, sister! I love the idea of wholeness. I love how honest you are. I love how reading your blog makes me feel. Your blog contributes to my wholeness; I don't feel alone on days I'm not a ray of sunshine.

I do read Girls Gone Child.

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAna

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