Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Yeah. It Hurt A Little.

Months ago, as I sat staring at the dream like photography and honey sweet posts on a blog of a young mom's rural life that I had stumbled onto, I decided to finally send this writer an email, and tell her how much I enjoyed the peek into her simple, self sustaining farm life. Many times, I would be the only commenter on her site, other times I would be one of two or three others.

I didn't say too much, I only mentioned how much I appreciated the beauty and skill of her photography along with the quaint narration of their daily life. I loved the pictures of the rusty red pick up truck they had taken to the farmer's market and brought home sunflowers that she arranged in an old milk pitcher on their vintage barnwood table.

It was all so pretty, gauze-like, and so much more delicate than my own life.

I thanked her for the simplicity of her posts, and told her I admired the peaceful and non material way she and her husband  had chosen to raise their children.

Sometimes I hear back after I send an email like this, sometimes.

Some will respond with a brief, "Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it!" and sometimes the responses back have grown into wonderful ongoing friendships.

But what I received in return to my email this time flattened me.

Stumped me about the human condition. Made me ask what has happened in someone's world that a sincere expression of gratitude for their writing and their blog, results in a reply back like this:

hey alexandra.
so can i tell you that i really don't know how to respond to this?
i started to write a long note about all my struggles as a mom and that i can totally relate to what you wrote and that i have felt the same thing when reading other mom's blogs.
then my husband came by. read over my shoulder and said your e-mail was clearly a joke. or that you mistook me for another blogger because no one reads my blog and if they did, how could they possibly feel that i'm doing everything right. (oh yeah...that's my guy! ;-)
so now i'm kind of confused. and really tired after a long, frustrating day. and i need to go grocery shopping. so i just thought i'd write back and say hi. thanks for your note. i really hope i don't make you depressed. really.
and if my husband is right and your e-mail was a joke...oh well. joke's on me. not the first time and certainly not the last i'm sure.
either way.  hope you had your fun. i'm wishing you all the best...

Socks the breath out of you, doesn't it?

I sent a reply back, apologizing, and assuring her that my admiration was authentic.

I never heard back.

I remember reading a tweet, "if you have a thin skin, 'tis best you steer clear of the internet."

'Tis best to toughen up, too, because this one...yeah, it hurt a little.

 Photo Source


  1. Wow, just wow.

    It's sad that people are so wary, cautious and cynical these days. That an expression of admiration is looked at in the worst possible way.

    I've received such lovely emails from you - I know how much of your heart you pour in your words. So yeah, I'm hurting for you.

  2. How easily the written word is misconstrued by a bad day or a husband's negativity. I was just talking about how overwhelmed I am by the kindness, I hope I don't come across Debbie Downer anytime soon!

  3. It is really hard to tell the difference sometimes especially when it has happened before.

  4. Yes, it hurt, but more than anything, I feel pity for the blogger. What a cynic her husband is, cynic and it appears an emotional abuser. She doesn't KNOW if he's right...but he implanted that idea in her head and now she can't see past it. I wonder in how many other ways he's brainwashed her? Poor woman. I fear the idealized gauzy dream you see through her lens is just that...her dream.

  5. I send her my blessings and know she probably feels insecure, unsure and possibly afraid and depressed.

    Don't give up on her, Alexandra!

  6. In 1998 I spent a lot of time on newsgroups. And one in particular, for STAND UP COMICS. I got quite the reputation as being the Queen of Sarcasm but thought it only applied to this particular newsgroup.

    Imagine my shock when one of the comics and I ended up in Las Vegas at the same time, performing in different clubs. We talked on the phone and the guy kept saying this after every comment I made: Yeah sure you did. OR oh RIGHT.

    After 15 minutes of feeling uncomfortable I asked him WHAT THE HELL WAS WRONG WITH HIM. It turned out that he thought my online persona was the same person in real life. So he thought every thing I said was a lie.


    But we're still good friends today!

  7. I would say its less to do with you than the ass of a husband she's got ... I hope it didn't sting too much.

  8. Whoa...that just hurt my heart. A lot actually. It's really unfortunate that this woman allowed her husband to dismiss her talent.

    Would you say that this speaks to the lack of support by some husbands?

    I am sure that getting an email from The Empress must have made her day (it would have made mine), it must have validated everything she had been doing. And then to have her husband come along and call it a joke. Like some bad scene out of an 80s high school movie. And that she believed her husband...that makes me sad.

    I hope that woman continues her work.

  9. Wow. Just had to at least leave a "wow" in your comments. Hopefully her blogging will continue and provide her the outlet she needs to grow her confidence. ... Wow. (have I said wow enough? wow.)

  10. Ouch that is sad in quite a few of them being that she didn't know what an amazing and supportive online friend she could've had in it sounds like she really could've used it!

  11. Perhaps this blogger will read your post and realize that your not comments are not a joke, but that her husband is.

    And maybe she will can gain strength and comfort from the comments that everyone has made and continue to do what she is doing.

  12. i am sad for her...and a bit angry...i am biting my tongue as i type this...i am glad she is writing though and i hope she keeps doing so...

  13. Oh dear, so very sad all around.
    Hard to deal when you see how little value some people place on themselves ... just hope and pray she continues and finds herself!

  14. You know, thank you to all of you: for taking the pain off me and helping me see how it's her life that's perhaps been hurt.

    I knew this wasn't light hearted material, but it so saddened me, and I had a difficult time removing it from my soul.

    Thank you. It's not about me, is it?

    Was so sure it was about me.

    Thank you.

  15. I had a husband like that.
    He's an ex husband now.

    I hope she reads these and can see what an awesome fan she would have in you.

    by the by... I'd love to sneak a peek at the pictures, being a country girl myself ;)

  16. Wow, that's sad that your E-mail being a joke even entered into their realm of possibilities.

    I guess we can't judge from this one interaction, but it looks like she doesn't get enough praise and has some self-esteem issues. I hope in the future an E-mail like yours would brighten her day rather than have her question her worth.

    It was kind of you to take the time to send it.

  17. What a shame. It's sad she doesn't know your heart. I admit my first instinct was to know who it was and rush over to add more praise because I do think she sounds depressed. Possibly with good reason.

  18. It's not you, hon-- it's her insecurity (and her husband's apparent play on that). What a sad, sad thing.

    I know it wouldn't be polite to give her blog or name in this post, but I SO wish I could start going to her blog and commenting on it as well. I feel as if a great thing would be accomplished if we all started going there and prove to her that it is not a joke, not a lark, not something to be scoffed at!

  19. I agree. Not you at all. I've been one of those people/bloggers/women who has wondered, "Seriously?", but then I snap out of it b/c I know my worth. The more you respect the commenter, the harder it is to believe he/she is being genuine. It's sad to think that this woman you wrote to doesn't know her worth (or how it's viewed as positive, even beautiful, by others) (or that it's being stomped upon by her loving husband). But, in all honesty, I say be something she may not be expecting: keep commenting, keep being you. Keep giving her encouraging words through your comments (as you do so very well!) and maybe, just maybe it'll get through.

  20. Wow. Okay, that's sad and weird on a couple different levels, but I think obviously the most crushing is that poor woman and her horrible husband! Seriously, I can't imagine having someone in my life who'd be so disparaging toward me.

  21. Oh how awful! For you and her! Shame on her husband. Do you know if she reads your blog?

  22. Geeze...ummm...
    I am so sad that it hurt you...
    I definitely would be hurt by that response.
    But if you read between the lines, I read someone who is hurting far deeper.
    And her husband is a dick.
    Hugs friend. It's not you.

  23. Oh my goodness. So sad that hurt you! I agree with the other commenters. IT was her husband, definitely not you.

    That and the fact that she seems really defeated and depressed. Especially with that email.

  24. Things get so muddled over the internet sometimes, when you can't look directly in someone's eyes to view the sincerity. Some prefer it this way, like me for example, and some still clearly have their guard up for whatever reason, apparently like the woman you emailed. I would try not to stand too offended.

  25. Wow. It is a shame she truly didn't see that it was sincere. I do have to think the husband is to blame for a last of self confidence which kept her from accepting she might have actually done something good. So sad.

  26. Her husband is an asshat of epic proportions. I think you should just keep reading, commenting, and writing her when something she posts really touches your heart. That way she'll know she has someone in her corner. Hate people who squash other's hopes and dreams.

  27. Grrrrrrr. That husband is cruel. I'm just glad she had a slim wisp of hope that you did in fact mean it and so she chose to write to you and double check. Maybe your reassurance was all she needed. Maybe there was nothing more for her to say in that moment.

  28. wow. i think of how much you have encouraged me, sustained me, with your words. i wish this woman could have seen your kindness for what it was. i know i am grateful for you.

  29. We all have our closeted secrets. Life isn't always what we put out on our blogs I guess. I hurt for that woman. She's obviously in pain and maybe depressed herself. I personally wouldn't give up on a friendship with her.

  30. Hi, all: in answer to your questions, No. She never visited my blog, or left a comment, at least.

    She really does have a gorgeous blog. But she never got back to me, so I'm thinking that she really prefers I not visit.

    And we have to be Okay with that...not everyone is going to like us.

    When we choose to be a humor blogger, or craft blogger, or food doesn't mean tht's all we are.

    I chose humor because I know how important humor is in my life. I depend on it. It does more for me than any therapy or medication combined for my chronic depression.

    She may see me as a silly woman who thinks everything is a joke, or a punch line.
    And I have to be Okay with that.

  31. 1. Fuck that guy. What a complete asshole. How hateful and insecure he must be to treat his wife with such disrespect and you with such rancor.

    2. Your words [as I have told you, again and again] are beacons of kindness and light in an endeavor that can feel lonely and isolating.

    3. It is absolutely not about you.

    4. You may not have heard from her out of sheer mortification on her part. I know I would feel that.

    5. Seriously, FUCK THAT GUY.

  32. I'm sure this has already been said but man, I feel so sorry for that woman. What happened in her life (I'm guessing her cynical husband) that beat her up and made her feel that way? It just breaks my heart.

    To know that no one has ever given her a compliment quite like yours - and therefore, she thinks it must be a joke. So very very sad. You did the right thing by emailing her, and responding back to clarify. She may have a hard time believing it, but eventually, she will. Don't give up!

  33. Oh man, that makes me hurt. I want to hug her. And slap her husband. And give her a safe place. But the internet, not a safe place. Even if the "blows" come from her husband instead of strangers.

  34. Hey hey baby, i hope you see now that this wasn't about you, at all - but that doesn't mean you're not allowed to feel the way you do. Or did. i'd love to offer this blogger support, if you'd like to share. a few readers or a million readers, we all started somewhere. if it's a blog i like, i read it. eventually ;) your e-mails are so sincere and i appreciate them, greatly.

  35. Oh, Alexandra... I'm sorry. This also takes my breath away. I'm just so confused. I've never misinterpreted the sincerity of your emails/tweets/comments... and I have a hard time grasping how anyone could ever think you sent a malicious email when really, you were saying such kind, sweet things. :( This makes me sad. Sad for the world we live in. Sad for the fact that people don't know how to accept a compliment. And sad that this poor woman allows her hubby to influence her thoughts in such a negative way.

    And no, Alexandra. This was NEVER about you. *HUGS*

  36. I am in shock also, to be honest. Didn't expect that one coming. And you know what bothered me the most? Was how she could still say "Oh yeah, that's my guy" WITH A SMILEY FACE, completely oblivious to the fact that her husband is a jerk who doesn't respect and appreciate her. Grrrr...

    Just when you thought you've seen everything, right? *sigh*

  37. I'm so sorry that happened. :( Men don't understand blogging... well, most of them. Mine's just realized, "Hey, I like your blog! It's funny and you can write really well!!" I agree with MommaKiss. I'd like to support her, too. And I love your emails, too. You're like the best Dr. Phil around :)

  38. Oh God, that hurts--a lot. And I don't even know her, her situation or anything. But I do know a sour, bitter person when I see one. And he was standing over her shoulder. And the thing is, when I say, "It's not you..." That does nothing to make the situation better. Sigh.

  39. That is really so sad. So unfortunate that she is being influenced by such negativity. I can only hope that she continues blogging and finds out for herself how supportive bloggy friends can be.

    You are so kind, so kind to try again with her. I'm sorry that she didn't reply back to you.

  40. I had to read her note several times to be sure that I was reading it correctly.

    With a husband like that, who needs enemies?

    My heart breaks for her.

  41. This is my first visit to your blog, but I could tell - immediately - how sincere your thoughts were about that poor woman's blog. It's not nice when you reach out and get rebutted like that.

    As for her? I hope she's able to one day wash off the stink that her arsehole husband is leaving.

  42. Do you think if you feel its appropriate, to give us her blog to read, and all of us will give her support as well? Just a suggestion. I love finding new blogs, especially if it is as warm and touching as you say.

  43. ouch is right. on so many levels. hope she realizes what a talent she has and finds others who support her. and here I thought not hearing a THING was bad enough...

  44. Wow. I feel really bad for this woman. She is certainly confused in her own life probably because of her husband...not a fan..and I don't even know either of them! The softness and tranquility you saw in her posts don't match the person who wrote the email back to you. I would rather have someone read and respond then not read at all.

  45. Alex,
    Immediately I knew this was not about you at all. So many women cannot see their own gifts. Especially if these gifts are not ackowledged..ever. I hope she ends up being the type of person who one day can say thank you for your kind words. I think my pictures and life are awesome too.
    You big O'l momma to the world you..

  46. Ouch, A.

    Clearly this is about her husband, not you.

    We know how sincere and loving you are.

    xo, you beautiful soul.

  47. The wonderful thing is that you wrote and then wrote again..even after she laid it all out and hurt your heart. That is what makes you amazing and in my eyes, a perfect example of human kindness.

    Sometimes I don't know how to deal with a nice email or comment..and I always hope that the person writing it really means it but for her sake...I hope she finds out how much she's touched your day and she learns how to accept love and praise.

    You're good and sweet for just trying to reach out to her.

  48. Well the choir is already singing so I'll just join in. Send that poor woman a good thought and a prayer for more self esteem. It's not a reflection on you, not one iota. But if people aren't conditioned to hear encouragement, they won't hear it.

  49. What a very strange reply. I agree with the commenters above, that her response stemmed from her own insecurities. I feel sad for her. As for you, remember that the risk you take by emailing someone a complement is more often rewarded than not. This whole crazy internet is really about connecting with people. And you do that so well.

  50. That a husband should speak to his wife like this is the saddest part.

  51. Holy cow. That poor woman. Have you ever tried again? Does she still blog?

  52. Yowzers! That was very strange. This poor woman definitely has some pretty big issues to deal with on her end. I feel sorry for her. It sometimes bums me out when I write a nice short hello to a fellow writer or blogger just to say how much I enjoy their blog or book and never hear anything back. Sadly, that's the way life is sometimes.

  53. Wow. I'm so sorry this happened to you.

    But if I'm being honest, I'm sorrier for her. She must be in a lot of pain to respond to an email like that. I'm glad you responded and assured her you weren't kidding. Because even if she doesn't respond, maybe you, dear Alexandra, gave her a ray of light and hope that she clearly, desperately needs.

    Phew. Like you say though, total shocker reply.

  54. Thank you, everyone, for your comments.

    You have opened my eyes.

    We all take things to our own place, and I thought she was dissing me b/c my posts aren't poetic and I'm not a photo blog.

    Really, her blog is beautiful. And so is her writing.

    I don't know if she ever clicked over, and if she did, maybe she formed opinions about "humor " bloggers.

    But, anyway, thank you to you all. I really didn't realize just how bad her husband's comment was since she put a smiley face after it.

  55. Okay, I'm late to the party here, but this makes me want to run hug my secure, supportive husband. I'm so very fortunate not to have some soul-crushing a-hole breathing down my neck while I try to pursue my dreams.

    I wish your Internet acquaintance all the very best and I hope Santa left the name and number of a killer divorce lawyer in her stocking.



    P.S. - And I know this has been said to pieces, Alexandra, but her chilling response was not about you and your kindness. Not at all. XOXO

  56. You just never know what lies behind each blog. You never know what goes on in the head of each blogger, and you never really know what their life is like. What we blog and how we live can be so disconnected. I feel badly for this woman because my gut tells me that she's been beaten down emotionally. It's too bad she couldn't see your kind words for what they were.

  57. emails are hard to understand from other people sometimes. you can't get their motivation off of flat words.

  58. This is heartbreaking for so many different reasons. What a gift she missed in your friendship and support. Yet it seems her own life gets in the way of accepting acts of love and kindness.


  59. it's probably a major challenge for her to believe you over her abusive husband. clearly they have a dysfunctional relationship. clearly she has a worthwhile blog. she heard what you said. you've done a good thing and told her nice things, something she is clearly not used to hearing. consider continuing to visit her blog. otherwise, her husband will have shaped her world yet again.

  60. I hope you heard everyone and this doesn't detour you from reaching out to someone else. You are the best cheerleader and the blogging community as a whole appreciates your support.

  61. It is sad on so many levels! I know the flattening and hurt you feel is for her - this stranger whose life is beautiful and interesting...and yet. Good for you for reaching out to others - don't stop doing so!

  62. I'm having trouble staying positive because I instantly don't like anyone who hurts you. But, it really isn't about you. I think she's hurting maybe, insecure maybe, and the person in her life who should support her and love her and encourage her cuts her down, so maybe she sees criticism in everything. That's really hard. Anyway, it doesn't matter. I'm sorry you were hurt and I would kill to get an email from you saying that I touched you, so don't stop. Think of the friendships you've made that way.

  63. Wow. I am stunned! I'm SO sorry that it hurt your feelings.... to be honest, it sounds like maybe she is abused - just by the tone of her letter and what her husband said to her (ugh!).

    I have no doubt that your note was gracious and lovely and I'm sorry that it wasn't recieved and replied to in the same manner.

    That being said, I think it's wonderful that you reached out to her and I hope that deep inside, she's treasuring that moment.

    Hugs to you~

  64. Oh my heart is breaking for this woman. How horrible to even doubt if words of praise by a stranger are sincere and then to be told by the person who should be your biggest supporter that the praise must be a "joke".

    Makes me treasure my non house cleaning, non cooking, sometimes annoying, but by far my biggest fan ( I swear he thinks I can do anything)

  65. I, honestly, cannot believe what it would be like to live with a person like that woman's husband.

    I know that I have a dark thought whenever I receive a compliment . . . there's some part of me that thinks that everything is, simply, out to make fun of me. I know this isn't the case, but it's a dangerous game to even begin playing.

    I really, really hope this woman has a way to "find her happy."

  66. I am sad for this person, but I am also impressed by you. Your kindness in reaching out and nurturing others is amazing. I hope you know how much it means to everyone :)

  67. Thank you, all of you.

    I'm glad I published this post, though not happy for her.

    The more I've read and re read this note from her: I still can't decide what it is.

    I have to leave it.

    And realize that if she wanted to talk to me, she would hve responded back after my apology. Which now I see should have just been a clarification.

    Going to put it at rest now. THANK YOU all of you!

  68. First of all, I'm so sorry you were hurt. You are truly one of the Good Guys, a lovely Empress on the blogosphere and it saddens me to think of you hurt.

    Then, I re-read her note to you and something in me boiled. Here was a woman writing to you, reaching to pour out words of frustration with motherhood, needing to tell you her life isn't perfect, that she too looks at other blogs and wonders at them. I felt she may have started to extend a hand in friendship, but her confidence was smashed by the one who should have been the most supportive.

    And that pisses me off.

    Hugs to you and hugs to this blogger. Both of you were hurt by the careless words of her husband.

  69. How do you know she's not going to see this?

  70. Note to readers:

    She quit blogging and her site is no longer up as of Spring 2011. I didn't have a blog at the time of my visits.

  71. How do you think she's going to feel after reading your post and all the comments? Publicizing it like this just seems wrong. I make an effort to touch base with people too but I might think second of contacting or responding to anyone, lest it be displayed for all the world to see. Disappointing.

  72. I was going to practice being classy today (I try to do it one day a year) but that just went out the window.

    Seriously, what the hell.

    I think it's very awesome you took the time and effort to reach out to another blogger. I don't really have the balls to do that a lot of times so I just admire them from afar. If I ever do it, I get very nervous about a response. It kind of hurts a little when they don't respond at all. But I would rather them not respond than do this.

    I'm sorry. You were being kind. And the kindness was not returned.

  73. Ouch. Her husband is an ass.

    I am so sorry. :( I hope she is okay. xo

  74. Oh!! Ow. Isolated, lonely -- that is terrifying-- the flip side of marrying someone who will 'take care of you".

  75. OHH. OW. Isolated. Unsure of herself. Sounds like the flip side of marrying someone who will "take care of you". I bet there are a lot of women living out versions of this all over the world and through history. It puts everything into perspective.

  76. Stick to humor. This is typical mommy behavior.

  77. What a poor woman! That just makes me feel so badly for Her husband sounds like a jerk.

  78. I am so sad for her.
    For her questioning your intentions.
    She is missing out on someone so supportive and wonderful.
    I wish her all the best.

  79. No, no, no - that one is not on you. That one is in a bad marriage. I once heard a psychologist say that some men are so quietly abusive their partner is no longer capable of boiling water. It sounds like that is the case here. I would even continue to leave her comments! Probably.

    But that's just me. (And just saw your comment that her blog is no longer up - so sad)

  80. I'm late to this, but I'll say I agree with many people here. That this isn't about you. And, her husband?? That is just heartbreaking. She wrote back to you from a bit of a dark place, I'm sure.
    I know I've only just begun to get to know you, but you're one of the good ones. For sure! :)

  81. It's often the most beautiful of souls that have the hardest time. Maybe her blog is the only beautiful outlet she has - and her husband? What an unsupportive heartless prick. I feel for her, and I hope she finds the happiness she needs to believe in herself and feel that shes deserves your appreciate. I'd love to see her blog myself, it sounds lovely x

  82. That poor woman was looking for affirmation. She was reaching out to you in your kindness, to say, "Am I as stupid as he makes me believe I am?"

    By writing her back, hopefully you gave her a bright spot in her obviously dark life.

    And Anonymous? Talk about insensitive thugs. The Empress is one of the kindest, empathetic creatures to walk this earth. Stop hiding behind your anonymous bully pulpit and find something better to do with your time. There's enough hate in the world, don't add to it.

  83. Wow. My instinct is to feel sorry for that girl if her husband's first reaction to a kind email is that it must be a joke. I hope her life is as happy as it seems.

  84. Wow. Everyone is right though, you did the best thing ever by writing back and reaffirming your admiration... Because obviously this woman needs affirmation desperately. And it's probably that terribly emotionally abusive husband of hers. My goodness.

  85. It's hard when other peoples' broken bits rip into us. It's hard to watch, with dignity and from afar, as someone else suffers a shattered partnership.

    Your email may have been the only model of grace and gratitude that she'll get this week, this month, this year.

    Your gift abounds!

  86. Wow. The email really reveals so much about her and her life, and I feel sorry for her. I don't think she's ever received much praise in her life, and her husband sounds like a jerk (emotionally abusive). She started by saying that she was writing this long email to you until her husband made that remark. He has so much control over her that one put down could make her doubt herself. Almost. She did send the email. She did express her feelings to you honestly. I think there's a seed of doubt in her mind, which is why she reached out to you. If you were really spam, she would have either ignored your email or written back but told you to %*!(* off. I feel bad for the woman and wonder if she is strapped in something bigger and worse than what she reveals on her blog.



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