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You're doing it wrong.

August 16, 2016

You're doing it wrong.  Yes, yes, and yes [insert raised hand emoji].  I can't even begin to tell you how many things I screw up every day or how many things I get wrong.  It's countless.  It would literally be a never ending list. Little things like taking my car in for an inspection a week late and big things like cutting Tagg's hotdog into wheels instead of logs yesterday afternoon.  But I like to think that I do more good than bad and that my love for people shines through.


Saturday evening I posted a controversial photo and caption to instagram.  Some people didn't like it.  Some people felt that my motives were wrong.  Some people thought that my tone was wrong.  Some people thought I was too chipper for the situation.  Some people questioned if I was really respecting the life and death of someone with such an upbeat post about wine.  What I heard?  You're doing it wrong.  And to that I say, yes, yes, yes, I probably am.  I do so much wrong.  Don't we all?

I'm not here to rehash or to try to further my case for why I don't think I was being an asshole. I'm here to say that a few people thought I was being a jerk and I'm okay with that.  That's a big deal for me.  Maybe even a first.

["just said goodbye to an old friend and now it's time to say hello to a new rose´"]

I suffer from anxiety and depression and a year ago those comments would have pulled me under.   I would have heard "you're a bad friend and a bad person and you are inappropriately handling a situation that every single other person on the planet in the history of forever would have gotten right" running on a constant loop in my head since Saturday.  Replaying what I did wrong and what I said wrong and what I should have said or done and...and...and...and.  Maybe it's the zoloft or maybe it's the work I'm doing to get better or maybe it's getting older or maybe it's God or maybe it's all of those things but nine months ago it would have consumed me and this time it didn't.  Cheers to that.


What I'm curious about is not why people felt that way or were put off by my post because that's their right to think that and feel the way they do.   I'm more curious why they felt the need to tell me.  I took that picture and wrote the caption on a public platform so no lecture needed on how I opened myself up.  I get that. I'm thinking so much broader here.  Not really an answer to this particular situation but in general, what motivates us to openly criticize others?  I'm certainly not advocating for gossip or talking behind someone's back.  But honestly, in the world of blogs and social media I am curious what motivates a person to stop and tell a virtual stranger directly that we don't approve of their choice rather than just shaking our heads at what we don't like and simply mentioning it to our best friend over coffee.  You see it mostly on facebook boards and Scary Mommy posts.  The Mommy Wars.  Breastfeeding versus bottle feeding.  Cry it Out or Co-Sleep.  When to you turn your kids car seat around.  What school are you sending your kids to?  What activities or camp did you sign them up for.  Do you feed them organic?

Is it a personality trait?  A need to control?  A desire to feel better about our own choices?  I used to think that everyone needed to like me and if they didn't I was doing something wrong.  Now I realize that it's just different strokes for different folks.  Is public criticism an off-shoot of that same tree?  I'm supposed to like everyone so if I don't like you so it must your fault.  We're all taught early on that we're supposed to like everyone and everyone should be our friend and I think we should focus instead on treating everyone with respect.  Those are not the same thing.  Everyone doesn't need to like me or want to be my friend and I'm not going to apologize for that.

Like usual I'm not really sure of where I wanted to go with this post.  My brain works better at 5am than it does at 7am when the rest of my house is awake so maybe I should have hit save instead of publish and given myself time to sort out my thoughts tomorrow during dark morning.  I guess my overall message is just to be you and forget the rest.  Be okay with not gaining everyone's approval.  You do you and I'll do me.  Celebrate life. Celebrate death.  Celebrate what you want however you want.  Life is too short to worry about pleasing everyone so make sure you're happy in your heart and love your people fiercely.  Try harder tomorrow.

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22 comments:

  1. Julia, that was amazing. I saw your Instagram post the other day and didn't think it was inappropriate but noticed where others did. That's judging and that's not our job. I, in no way, thought you were being disrespectful. You were being you and your answer was right on point. Some folks who scroll through others accounts looking for a place to throw darkness but they were raised or born with negativity. That's theirs to overcome and live with.

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  2. What I understood from that post was that you were celebrating your friend's life. People will interpret things as they wish and it takes a strong inner core to ignore the negative comments and stand by your words and actions. Kudos to you for putting yourself out there and sharing your journey through anxiety and depression, both of which are isolating and scary. Knowing someone else is going through something makes others feel less alone and will hopefully empower them to pull themselves up.

    xx
    Taffeta & Tulips

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  3. I really think that the people who feel the need to comment negatively are insecure. The internet/social media/etc just vie them a platform to act big and bold, without the repercussions. They are bullies, and I feel sorry for them. That's not to say that people can't disagree and have discussions, but out and out criticism -- just for the sake of trying to make someone feel small -- is rude.

    I saw your photo/caption, and did not find it offensive at all. A dear friend of mine passed away last year. After her service, I went out to a wine bar with some of her other friends and we shared a bottle of wine and told stories in her honor, and despite the sadness in the air, it was a good time. And several of her friends are celebrating her upcoming birthday by going to a concert of one of her favorite country singers, tailgating, and generally having a good time. Honoring someone's memory does not have to be sad and subdued -- and I think it does remind us that time could be short, so we should enjoy what we have now.

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  4. I am in my 50's and come from an extremely critical - I call it hyper-critical - family. Judgement flows freely in both my and my husband's family. They feel I'm too sensitive. And it's taken me so, so long to just brush it off - most of the time I can. What I have learned is to change my family tree - NO judging my kids. Or guilt trips. Total acceptance. I could go on and on and on especially after struggling with this for all my life. What my point is though - You do You. That's all you can do.

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  5. I so agree with this. Social media gives the mean girls an unlimited platform to get their kicks. It's so hard not to engage, but these people don't know you and it's not even about you. Snark and criticism is their drug of choice. You were just in the right place at the right time and defending yourself only gives them more power.

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  6. Sometimes criticism is meant to be cruel and sometimes it makes us hear something that we probably know is true, but didn't want to admit to ourselves. And in refusing to admit or hear, we feel that criticism much stronger. Is there a small part of you that knows that maybe your post was a little flippant, if not insensitive? You seems to be seeking justification, more than clarification. I think we have all been guilty of posting a great picture of ourselves for not 100% the right reasons and then feeling sheepish, if not embarrassed, when we are called out on it.

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    1. I completely agree with your overall statement but I don't agree that it applies to me here. I don't think anything I wrote above was me looking for justification. Could someone view my Instagram post as flippant or insensitive? Asbolutely! That certainly doesn't embarras me. Really the intent today was to say hey, I did something some people don't like and I'm okay with that. Carry on.

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  7. I love your very perceptive comment - "We're all taught early on that we're supposed to like everyone and everyone should be our friend and I think we should focus instead on treating everyone with respect." That's a great lesson and one that I will teach my children! You don't have to like everyone but you do need to treat everyone with dignity and respect.

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  8. While I did not see your initial instagram post , what I take from the conversation is that people are not afraid to criticize (and possibly bully) via the internet because they are accountable to no one and can hide behind the screen. I think many things that are said online would not be said to someone's face. This is a huge reason I worry so much about raising two girls in today's internet age. I think your reaction to the commentary is great, however. Cheers to you!

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  9. I saw your original IG post and was not at all offended - my cousin, one of the people I was closest too, died 20 years ago this October - when she was just 32. I have learned from her death, and the death of others close to me who died too young - that every day is a gift and should be treated as such. In the face of that - I try every day to remember to enjoy life and the things that make me happy - i.e., a great bottle of wine. Life is meant to be enjoyed. Your blog post spoke to me - I too from anxiety and depression and when you wrote about your struggle with it last year I felt like you were speaking to me. I felt the same with this post - one thing I have struggled with and am really trying to work on it that it is okay if not everyone likes me/agrees with me. I am not everyone's cup of tea and that is okay. So, thanks again for sharing...

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  10. I completely disagree with this statement ..." We're all taught early on that we're supposed to like everyone and everyone should be our friend..."
    No, we are not all taught that and just like you identified may be the reason for your struggles and medication use.

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  11. I'm old enough to be your mother and want you to know I enjoy your posts, I think your children are adorable and I think you're doing a great job- apparently people post things they would never say to someone in person....just forget them

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  12. So now it's not ok to celebrate someone's life? I can't keep up, nor do I want to try. I think it's a classic case of bullying. Unhappy with themselves and so they pour it out on others. The internet makes it easy. They get the satisfaction of blowing all over someone from the safe distance of behind their computer screen.

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  13. I think that bloggers or social media personalities such as yourself need to be willing to take the good with the (constructive) bad. You, and others, thrive and make a living on how much people like you and purchase the things you post so I feel it is ok for your readers/followers to be able to say, "I don't find this appropriate." Now, there are some readers/followers who get downright mean, but we, the readers, should be able to voice opposition to a post too.

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  14. Good gracious, it's never right or appropriate to be unkind and nasty! And indicating you'd respond differently to a situation is not the same as shaming and criticizing. Folks should google "Irish wakes" and read about some of the wonderful ways and reasons many people first acknowledge someone's death and then celebrate their life--often with alcohol. Apparently there's an old joke: "What's the difference between an Irish wake and an Irish wedding? At the wake there's one less drunk."
    Thank you for sharing so many sides of your life, talents, struggles, and joys with us, Julia. Your friend was lucky to know you.

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  15. Who is doing the criticizing? Is it active followers of your blog, or the usual crowd of hens who congregate in the dark caves of blog-bashing on the web, exercising their tiny brains to hit you in your own backyard? I think I know the answer to my own question. IGNORE them. They need to see your reaction - don't let them. Now - carry on! Enjoy the rose.

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    1. Haha, thank god I learned a year ago to stop looking what people all over the Internet were saying. This was someone calling me something really vulgar on my Instagram account. Yuck.

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  16. I didn't find your comment offensive at all, but I have noticed, especially in comment sections where it doesn't take hardly any effort or courage, people can hardly wait to tell others when they are offended. I don't usually care about how people receive something- that's up to them. It's up to me to feel good about how and why I delivered it. Also, I'm turning 40 in a few months and I find that the older I get, the fewer shits I give about what others think of me. It's liberating ��

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  17. I don't get it either. Do people actually feel good in putting others down? Is it a relief for them to say something negative just because it passes through their mind? (Legitimate questions I ask myself!) For that very reason, I find myself grateful often that I don't have a significant social media "audience" of people I don't know well. I've had a COUPLE "friends" (people I knew in person) who felt obliged to comment their irritating opinions on things I've posted in the past, and I simply unfriend them. Internet breeds lack of manners / tact, I'm afraid. And for the record, I totally support you celebrating your friend's life!!! I want everyone to wear bright colors and have a big-ass party when I die. A florist friend of mine passed away last week and he was given a beautiful party with tons of colorful flowers and food and revelry to memorialize his colorful life, and I couldn't think of anything more fitting!!!!

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  18. Good for you, I am sadly still at the point where it would consume my every thought.

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    1. girl, you know I mean this completely earnestly and genuinely. Have you tried talking to someone and/or trying an SSRI? I know it's not for everyone but I think those two things combined have really helped me so much. The SSRI keeps my brain chemicals/hormones from getting out of whack and talking it out with a professional helps me to question my thought process and quickly correct it when it starts down a path. I need both :) xoxox

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