Hi, all! Since I’ve had a few days away from the blog (and a lighter project load with way more downtime) during the last week, I’ve been reading all of your comments and feedback on my last post, and doing a whole lotta thinkin’. So I wanted to write a few follow-up thoughts on last Monday’s post.
Side note: If you’re not interested in this non-DIY-related post, please skip it. Don’t read it and then leave me a comment about how annoying this post is, or how it’s too much drama (seriously?). Just skip it like I do when I click over to a DIY/decorating blog and find that the blogger has gone on and on about some political issue…again.
Anyway, I do want to thank you for all of your feedback, encouragement, and kindness. It was so nice to hear from so many of you, and it was especially amazing to hear from those of you who said things like, “Kristi, it’s because of your blog that I finally got the courage to (insert DIY project here).”
You are the people who make this blog and every single one of my projects well worth the blood, sweat and tears (and cursing, and temper-tantrums, and hurling my tools across the yard when things don’t go right 😀 ). You are the people who motivate me every day to get up and get my hands dirty and get busy on whatever project I have planned for the day. Y’all are my inspiration!
- I’ve heard from women who find themselves newly divorced with small children, having to live in a house that’s not what they had hoped but that fits into the current budget, and who find the courage and strength to pick up those power tools for the first time in their lives and transform that house into a home.
- I’ve heard from widows who say that they felt helpless and hopeless when it came to home repairs, but then they found my blog, and somewhere inside themselves, they found the courage to pick up those tools and just go for it.
- I’ve heard from women of all ages and all walks of life who said that they’ve been encouraged to start on their own projects because they came here and saw a woman who’s not afraid to use power tools AND not afraid to make mistakes.
YOU ARE MY PEOPLE.
(And I’m also VERY thankful for the handful of very supportive men who read my blog regularly, enjoy the projects, and contribute value to the conversation as well. 🙂 )
Over the last few days, a lot of you have emailed me, and a few of you sent me some wonderfully encouraging and motivating videos. All of them were great. One of them in particular really stuck in my brain, and I’ve watched it several times now.
I’m talking about this video from Brené Brown. Every single one of you needs to watch it. She talks about one particularly trying time in her life, and what brought her out of it was this quote by Theodore Roosevelt:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Isn’t that good? I mean, even if you’ve heard it a thousand time, that’s just good stuff right there! Brené Brown goes on to list three things that she took away from this quote. And these are quotes directly from her:
- “It’s not about winning, and it’s not about losing. It’s about showing up and being seen.”
- “If you’re going to show up and be seen, there is only one guarantee, and that is you will get your ass kicked.”
And finally, my absolute favorite point of hers…
- “If you’re not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.”
Such simple and liberating thoughts! They bring me back to one of my all-time favorite quotes from Marie Forleo:
The majority of the time, the people who are the harshest critics are creative cowards. They are bystanders on the sidelines of life who risk nothing and create nothing.”
So how does this relate to my last post?
I don’t want any confusion here. I’m certainly not saying that I don’t want any input from anyone who’s not also doing a whole-house remodel. THAT’S NOT WHAT I’M SAYING AT ALL. Please, please understand this.
That last point is for the nosebleed section — those who who come to my blog or Facebook page and never contribute anything of value, like the woman who has been harassing and berating me and everything I do for over four years now with her continually rude and abusive comments and just refuses to go away even though I haven’t published any of her comments or responded to her in any way for the last 18 months, or the members of that wretched forum who come here to put me in my place while cloaked in anonymity because they lack the backbone to take ownership of their words, or the people whose comments are nothing more than, “The shades on those sconces look cheap,” and that’s it. Comments like that aren’t helpful and they’re not constructive. They’re nothing more than a pile of poo being flung at me, and I don’t have to take it.
I’ve written about this before. I call those people “poo-flinging monkeys.” They don’t know how to interact like intelligent adults. They don’t know how to temper what they say. They have no filter at all. They don’t know how to contribute anything of value. They only know how to act on impulse like a wild animal and hurl insults like a pile of poo. That may be funny to watch through the glass of the monkey habitat at the zoo, but none of us would actually volunteer to climb in there with them and make ourselves an easy target.
So I’m done letting those comments pass. I know a lot of people hold the belief that people like myself who put ourselves out there on blogs or social media just have to buck up and take what comes our way. But no, we don’t. The internet might be the wild west, but this blog is mine, and I can regulate how people behave here.
I’ve gotten really lax in letting those types of comments slide because frankly, I have to see them anyway. Until now, every single comment, whether on a new post or a four-year-old post, has come directly to my email inbox, and I had to read them before I approved them. (Comments from regular commenters are automatically approved as long as you use the same username and email (with no changes or typos) each time, but they still come to my inbox, and that’s how I read comments.)
But from here on out, Matt is going to start moderating all of my comments on the blog and all social media. He’ll weed out the poo-flingers and delete their comments so that I never have to see them or be affected by them. So to all of you in the nosebleed section who come here or to my social media pages just to set me straight, or insult me, or to simply do a quick drive-by poo-fling towards me, just know that that stuff isn’t going to land on me anymore.
It’s going to land on Matt. And if you continue doing this, even knowing that it’s going to hit him from here on out, then that just means that you really are, without question, the exact thing I call you in my mind every time I see your comments in my inbox. (I’m looking at you, Mary Ann Looby.)
“But Kristi, that’s not why you said you were upset!”
True. I mean, it was the cumulative effect of drive-by flingers plus being presented with lists of things I needed to change in a finished area that really upset me. And it was one comment in particular that really sent me over the edge. (I’m NOT writing this to shame the commenter. Please read the whole thing so that you fully understand where I’m going with this, and so that you know that ultimately the blame is on me, and not on any one particular commenter.)
One commenter said something like, “It’s too busy for my taste,” along with some other things (not bad or mean things, to be clear). Others responded agreeing with her and suggesting modifications. Also perfectly fine.
But since that comment was receiving quite a few replies, I did want to make it clear that I wasn’t planning on making changes and the space suited me, so I responded to say that I’ve just come to realize that I like rooms that are busier and more colorful than most people are comfortable with, and I just need to embrace that side of me so that I can be happy with my spaces (as opposed to feeling constantly antsy to make changes, like I feel in my too-put-together and too-tame-for-me breakfast room).
And then after I said that, and in the very same thread, someone said something like, “I agree this is too busy,” and then listed the changes I need to make.
I was so frustrated when I read that, and I was yelling inside, “WHY AM I NOT BEING HEARD?! This is ME, it’s finished, and there will be no changes!” And from that point on, every subsequent comment that suggested changes just made me even more indignant.
But after a few days to clear my head, and also after going back to re-read that thread, I know now that it’s very possible (and actually very probable) that the commenter didn’t even see my response. That person probably just read the original comment and clicked “reply” to the original commenter and left their thoughts, so it’s not as if that commenter was intentionally ignoring what I said. My response was just easily overlooked in that relatively long thread of comments.
So yes, I got my hackles up for nothing, and I allowed myself to be injured over a comment (along with every single subsequent similar comment) where no harm or injury was intended. That was my fault, and after several days away from the blog, as well as some time to rest, this has become abundantly clear to me.
One thing I know is that even with the Mary Ann Loobys, spineless and anonymous forum trolls, and drive-by poo-flingers who make their way to my blog, the overwhelming majority of people who read and comment (and especially my regular commenters) are wonderful, helpful, generous, kind people. I don’t believe y’all are haters or trolls. And I don’t believe any ill-intent is meant with your comments.
In fact, this comment from Phoebe pretty much sums it up:
I didn’t comment on the entryway, but I believe I do understand why you get comments while other bloggers don’t. And that is because there are many posts where you specifically ask for them…. Not only do you often ask for comments, but in many cases you read all of these comments and the following post was the sum of the comments and your comment-inspired ideas, to announce your new direction. So you have cultivated this dialogue in your blog…Also, I think that for many readers it feels an honour, to have Kristi pick your idea, kind of like if you held a competition or something…
Not sure what was different this time, as I haven’t read the comments, and maybe there were some particularly nasty ones. Or maybe the difference was that this time you felt this was truly finished. But if it’s the latter case, please remember that in many instances you said something was finished, and then came back shortly afterwards (even the very next post) and changed it. So any statement more subtle than “I absolutely adore this and this time I will not change a thing, so don’t you dare tell me otherwise” would be lost on your audience…
Long story short, you have created a dialogue with your readers and many of them feel as if they have a personal connection to you…
That’s true. Every word of it. I don’t necessarily regret writing my last post. Not everything in my life is a perfectly curated Instagram feed where life is all beautifully fluffed pink peonies perfectly situated in the corner of my spotless kitchen sink. Most of the time, my life is messy. In other words, I’m human, and I have my ups and down just like everyone else in the real world who lives real life outside of perfectly curated Instagram feeds.
Plus, I think it’s always a good thing to pause and remind ourselves that even though we’re online, we’re still dealing with real people.
But I do regret that I probably made some of you feel really bad for leaving comments where you were just expressing your thoughts, giving feedback, and sharing ideas, especially since I’m the one who has created that very environment here. It’s not fair for me to create such an environment and then get angry or hurt when people actually do the very thing I’ve encouraged. So I apologize to any of you who were truly just sharing your thoughts and ideas (in a non-poo-flinging way 😀 ) and who felt hurt by my last post.
Yes, I was overly sensitive.
After a week of getting more rest, I know now why that happened. Through some very poor decision-making, I set myself up for having some sort of emotional break/temper tantrum just from sheer exhaustion.
I won’t go into all of the long, boring details, but let’s just say it has to do with our new diet (we’ve been doing the ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting since June 25th, and I’ve lost 29 pounds!), the amazing increased energy I feel from the diet, which has given me some crazy false sense of being invincible, and as a result, working on projects 13-15 hours a day, day after day, week after week, often in the 100+ degree weather, without a taking days off.
Matt kept warning me that I was working too much, and I needed to take time off, but I didn’t listen. I felt invincible and full of energy and didn’t want to stop. But the human body isn’t built to go that long for that many days/weeks with no break and five hours of sleep a night. And when my body and mind start getting exhausted, even if I don’t realize I’m exhausted, I start getting injured (hello, new right forearm muscle injury 🙁 ), and I start getting short-tempered, overly sensitive, and (let’s call it what it is)…bitchy.
So, lesson learned. Yes, I may feel like I have the energy of a thousand men, but I’m still just one woman, and I need reasonable work hours and days off to rest.
Now allow me to clear up some misconceptions…
To those people who claim that I’m thin-skinned or can’t take criticism or only want comments with people fawning over me and blowing sunshine up my posterior all day long…well, y’all are clearly new here.
Thin-skinned people don’t last for eleven years writing a blog and putting their creative and artistic endeavors out into the world for public consumption and critique. They either realize very quickly that they have to grow thicker skin, or they quit.
Also, if you take five minutes to read the comment sections on just about any of my past posts, both on the blog and on Facebook, you’ll see that people give me constructive criticism and negative feed back on just about every single project I do. Yes, the poo-flingers always irritate me. But the negative feedback left in a constructive manner is generally fine with me.
As a quick aside, let’s review the difference:
- Poo-flinger: “Those green shades are awful. They look so cheap.”
- A rational adult human being capable of constructive interaction with others: “That wall color is great! I’m not really sold on the color of the shades, though. Did you happen to try white shades? I’d be curious to see what those look like with the frames.”
Yes, being a rational human adult capable of constructive interaction does take way more thought, time, and consideration than flinging poo. 🙂
To sum up, I don’t want the environment to change around here. I’m the one who created it, and I like it. I love the input and the sharing of ideas. I’m an idea hoarder, and the more sources the better. I definitely don’t want the sharing of ideas to stop around here, because they really do help not only me, but also so many other readers whose creativity is sparked by reading them. I love that so many of you said that you come here to get ideas and inspiration from me, but you also find inspiration from the people who leave helpful feedback and ideas of how to do things differently.
And from now on, I’ll make sure that I work more reasonable hours and take a day off every week to relax and recuperate so that I can clearly see the difference between the rational adult humans sharing ideas and the poo-flinging monkeys.
And as far as those poo-flingers go, we’ll just let Matt take care of them from here on out. 🙂
(Now, show of hands. How many of you, as you were reading this, had the thought that this post should have been turned into a drinking game? “Hey, guys! Take a drink every time she says ‘poo’!” 😀 )