I Don’t Write To Hurt You And I Believe You Don’t Write To Hurt Me

Tonight, I had coffee with a new-er friend. (well, tea)

And when I went to DM her to say WHERE? But I couldn’t. Because neither of us were following each other. Which for all intents and purposes occurs when you BLOCK someone.

So here I am getting ready for a coffee date with someone who is SO TIRED OF ME that she blocked me.

And I freak. I call her. I call my husband. My husband DMs her. (just that Alex doesn’t know where we are meeting. not like I’ll beat you up. also to test if she blocked him next. we’re crafty.

And when she calls back an hour-of-freak-out later, she’s all nonchalant and picks the coffee place. Which immediately tells me that she didn’t purposely unfollow me.

We work it out. (And are following each other again.)

This happens all over the Internets. (Plus/minus working it out. And tea.)

Someone has an opinion. Or an observation on life. (For example, I don’t like other people’s kids much and Mamapedia reposted it.) Personal observations. Not mean. (Well, unless you wanted me to like BABYSIT or something.)

And other people find it SO OFFENSIVE. Like one opinion is going to somehow make all people feel that way so they MUST BREAK YOU.

I just don’t get it. And I am clearly oversensitive myself.

Honestly, I don’t mind people disagreeing with me. No troll on the internet could be worst than seventh grade.

But I find it strange how MEANINGFUL and IMPORTANT a blog post or tweet or offhanded remark can be to someone.

So important that they are willing to degrade their dignity or the dignity of another person.

I guess it’s easy to forget that this is a single moment in a series of single moments. Some moments boring. Or annoying. Or sad. Or happy. Or hurtful. And always another moment comes and comes and comes eventually it may be EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of that first moment. (And then we die. Okay, stop crying. I’d like you to keep reading.)

In fact, I could write a post tomorrow that may be untrue for me in two months or two years.

Why don’t we make room for that?

Live in the moment but don’t BE THE MOMENT.

I used to be very hard on people — always looking for the moment they were hypocritical.

Until I realized that we are all hypocritical. At some point. We don’t perfectly feel or believe anything. Nor do we understand each other very well.

What I might see as an imperfection, others want. (Which I braced myself for I posted a picture of me I hated from my Ms. November photo shoot).

What I see as AWESOME, others find annoying. (Mostly weirdos though.)

We are all doing the best we can with what we have. And while sometimes our best sucks, I don’t write to hurt you. And I believe that you don’t write to hurt me.

While I definitely disagree with many people, I try to be kind and civil. (To their faces and blogs at least. And usually behind their backs, too.) And I’d hate for people to leave my site because of a post or two with which they disagreed. We are not supposed to be cookie cutters of each other; although, we are all cookie dough. (Or maybe I’m just hungry.)

I don’t want a following. I want a community. I want to grow, too. And in my experience, growth is often spurred by hurt.

And in the end, if I’m going to put myself OUT THERE. And ON HERE. If I’m going to own my words and my experiences, I will be hurt. People will hurt me. Unfollow me. Unfriend me. Unsubscribe to me. Some of my first readers to come to Late Enough don’t come anymore. And I know. And I miss them. But I don’t begrudge them. And I only occasionally stalk them.

It’s my price. Hurt feelings for all the joy and connection. For a mom in Tanzania relating to my podcast of my parenting class in Richmond. For a friend who retweeted my giveaway because I am in a existential crisis over it. And for ALL the parents who kids constantly ask them to stop singing and talking.

I need to suck it up and not take it to heart.

I’m sensitive and people are mean. But we are ALL sensitive and mean and insensitive and nice.


And it will pass into the next moment and the next moment and the next moment.

Until I finally have a brand new moment with a different commenter who mocks me for not enjoying breastfeeding and preparing for zombies.

But let’s just see who’s knocking on my door come apocalypse time asking to borrow antibiotics for mastitis. Because that moment is going to be AWESOME.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

54 thoughts to “I Don’t Write To Hurt You And I Believe You Don’t Write To Hurt Me”

  1. i really like you and your blog and i don’t comment enough because i just had my third baby in three and a half years and i’m a tiny bit tired, but reading this post made me think i should tell you — hi, i am reading your blog, and i like it.

    1. Thanks! I’m completely okay with you choosing your third baby over commenting on my blog. Mostly.

      No seriously. I’m just happy that you read it. I mean that. Don’t ever feel obligated to comment so I “know you are here” — just tell all your friends instead. Wait, what?

      Also, hugs. I hope three under four is going well enough that you don’t do the exhausted cry most days. (hallmark needs to hire me stat)

  2. I can’t believe the horrible cow things those people said at the republication of your post… “You are a HORRIBLE person! God, Alex, how do you let Satan live so comfortably in your heart???! You are a walking dead soul of an evil, evil being.” Or something like that, I’m kinda paraphrasing now. But, seriously, what is gained by being so hateful in that way that only the anonymity of the internet affords to them. You’re a good person for writing such an objective and kindhearted reaction to such aggressive comments.

    1. Thanks Babe. I don’t know what she gains from it… although in my younger years I enjoyed just making people feel bad. Not enjoyed so much as needed it to feel okay myself. Maybe some joy. The whole: GOOD ONE!

      We forget that we are all people. Even the jerks are people. And the zombie moms (which I clearly am) have feelings in our mushed up brains.

  3. But Alex, you almost NEVER comment on my blog and I ALWAYS comment on yours.

    Okay, just teasing though it’s kinda true (grin). But that’s okay cuz I have your postcard on my fridge so I feel loved.

    I think once I launched my new blog and it’s hard to keep track of how many people come to see me or follow me, I’ve kind of let it all go. I am serene. I’ve entered the “I’m blogging to please myself” mode. That’s really working for me right now because otherwise I get all obsessed and weird and hunched over cross-eyes from staring at the computer.

    I’m off to go running now by the river.


    1. I can get like that, too, about who and what and HOW MANY!

      I didn’t mean this post to be about people commenting or not or reciprocity (although I do work hard to be supportive of my readers and I guess unless I know that someone reads by commenting or tweeting or emailing me, I can’t do that for them. And I’m sad that hasn’t come across to you because your readership and presence online means much to me.)

      Honestly, the post was inspired by a few ugly internet incidents the day I wrote this. And it was my realization that if I’m going to put myself and my writing out there, part of the price is ugly internet incidents.

  4. You hated breastfeeding? You moronic cow. (kidding)

    People can be so overly sensitive. Like the 12 people who unfollowed me after I posted a picture of me wearing hideous mom jeans. Why? Why unfollow a pathetic fashion disaster? I can only surmise that the unfollowers are still wearing those jeans and were grossly offended that I dissed them.

    1. actually i FELT like a cow while breastfeeding. so close enough.

      and twelve people! that’s more than my supporting gay youth post lost me. who knew mom jeans were such a polarizing subject?

  5. Just remember that when people are mean…it’s usually because THEY have issues. Or course you have issues too, I have issues, we all have issues. But as mature (most of the time) adults we try to be kind and civil and not take our issues out on everyone else. Some people just can’t separate the two. So we love them anyway…because we have issues, but loving everyone and being understanding isn’t one of them. And they’re probably just right wing nut jobs or crunchy granola crazies anyway.

    1. thank you. not only to I love being agreed with but I really appreciate you tweeting it, too.

      also, im glad we found each other on the Twitter.

      ps. i thought you avatar with a blue airplane at first. i clearly need more sleep. help.

  6. Your blog rocks and I know it’s hard to not be hurt by some people, but remember there are a thousand more people who love what you write and look forward to it everyday 🙂

    1. you are so sweet. it is amazing how one comment of ten can stay with you. i guess that’s why we all need to mind our words. and search for perspective.

      thanks for giving me some perspective my friend!

  7. Seventh grade was the *worst*, wasn’t it?

    People are mean on the internet. Whenever I start to covet anyone’s e-fame, I try to remember this. Being hated on is like a sign that you’ve made it.

    I try not to take followings/unfollowings personally — everyone wants something different out of Twitter. If I don’t know the person well enough to ask them in real life why they unfollowed me, I don’t sweat it.

    As for the haters, they are a more obnoxious lot. I used to be a hater — I don’t think I ever posted on someone’s blog how WRONG and AWFUL they are, because hey guess what I think there might actually be people on the other side of that screen there. (Or maybe not: http://xkcd.com/810/ ) But I’ve spent time badmouthing people. Now I’m just too tired to care most of the time, except for the really intolerant “my way is the only right way” folks — that mentality burns me up. A lot of the judgement seems to stem from an internal source — people are judging themselves, but they are so close to the source that they just reflect that hate on others around them. Which means I am probably a really intolerant person. Anyway, this isn’t supposed to be about me, just pointing out that the haters are probably being mean because they are unhappy people.

    1. omg. that link is the best. seriously.

      i used to be a hater too. not online but in person. i think it helps me keep perspective on this stuff. i really want to grow in taking things personally because it annoys me that others can annoy me so much.

  8. What? Wait….someone blocked you? BLOCKED YOU!!!! You want I should stalk them?

    Tell Scott I’m bringing the shotguns.

    Isn’t great that cute, liberal, blogging Mama-types can have Right wing, disgruntled,racist ,gun toting, tea bagging, post stress, freak show veterans as Loyal Readers?

    1. i’d like disgruntled to be in my description as well.

      and yes, we ARE what the internet and real life should be like.

      between scott and you, my haters are keeping a low profile. or blocking you guys too.

  9. Hey! An opportunity for my favorite quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. Anywho, my overly precocious self read that in high school & I always think that to this day when someone’s being all “you’re being a hypocrite” about something. People evolve. That’s that.

    And people only hate on success. A wider & larger audience will only breed dissent. Small groups like to homogenize their voices. Unless you’re in a really cranky seminar class your senior year of college. Then all bets are off.

    And finally, I enjoy reading your posts. Even though I love breastfeeding. Call me old-school, if you will.

    1. Thanks Tracey. I love me some RWE.

      I think that dissent is good because we should all be forced to think and grow and know that not everyone agrees with us. One of my goals of this blog is to have people feel free to disagree. Like the idea of loving breastfeeding. INSANITY. I mean YAY! (actually I wish that I’d felt that way. Because I still did it for a year each)

  10. Man, you just KNOW that the apocalypse and mastitis would go hand in hand.

    Anyway, I meant to ask. If I AM an evil clown, are you saying I shouldn’t be here. Really, I didn’t know where else to go.

    1. Can you remind me to not get too absorbed in that again next week? It’s kinda my nature whether on the Internets or in real-life. I want to grow in this area but WHY WON’T YOU LIKE ME! I mean YAY! ENJOY YOUR NEW FRIENDS/BLOGS/FOLLOWERS!

  11. I like this: “In fact, I could write a post tomorrow that may be untrue for me in two months or two years.”

    Like that diary from seventh grade (nothing like a hardbound volume of *that* horror), the internet chronicling of my cluelessness is equally cringe-worthy. And while I feel tempted to go back and delete the especially more heinous tidbits, part of me feels like that would be disingenuous. It happened, it was real to me, I should probably leave it alone.

    As for other people’s kids, I kinda agree. I have to mostly like you in order to mostly like your kids. If I don’t know you, your kids are probably not amusing.

  12. Well, you really shouldn’t enjoy breastfeeding zombies.

    Or, breastfeeding while zombies are coming?

    I always screw up when I have no context.

    I resort to making context up.

    And we all know how good I am at THAT.

    With ya sister.

    Where we wouldn’t politely say, “Really?” if we were standing next to someone who said, “You know, I love my kids, but I’m just not really a kid person,” we somehow think the distance of this medium gives us license to forego manners and spew out the first uncharitable thought that comes through our heads.

    Well, some of us do.

    Like me. All the time.

    But anonymously.

    Except everything autopopulates now when I comment, so my whole anonymous gig is not going so well.

    I blame the zombies.

  13. You? How could YOU ever get anything remotely hateful? You’re about the most sensitive blogger I read. OK, maybe I read blogs that are kinda out there and “in-your-face” type of stuff, but still. And so what if you happen to dislike breastfeeding (I would never know how it feels to have life juices sucked out of me, oh wait that didn’t come out right)… but what they say is true: if you are getting negative feedback it means you’re doing something right (that’s what I convinced myself when I read some stingers). I admire your stuff and that says oodles and oodles, I usually save the admiration for myself!

  14. There is just so much I could say on this. I mean really. Tons. Tons as I explore what the heck blogging really means to me, where I want to take it. But I think the difference is for those of us who really want to be build community and not numbers. Sure the numbers hurt, but community cuts to the quick. The thing about community is, like you say, we have to be adult enough to take the bad with the good, to accept each other the SAME as we would if we were all friends and neighbours. But online seems to have generated a body of people who feel strong hiding behind their computers. It’s all very odd. And then something spectacular happens, you meet a true kindred spirit. It kind of makes any nastiness or unfomfortableness worth it. And now I’m rambling…remembe I said I have lots to say about this.

    Elizabth at Finding Clarity in the Chaos wrote a short, but very important post about this, I think you’d like it: http://www.clarity-chaos.com/2010/10/part-of-us.html

  15. Well said! I’ll be stumbling this post now. 🙂 It should be a blogging basic.

    We grow, we change. I want people to allow me that luxury, so I allow them the same.

    If someone can tell me that they still believe everything that they believed at age 20, well, then fine. They can jump all over me for being a hypocrite. But my guess is that nobody can say that.

  16. Alex, all I can say is boo to the haters. I may not always agree with you precisely, but different viewpoints is what makes the world interesting! Or maybe I just learned to cope with other opinions as a democrat growing up in conservative Texas. Whatever. Good for you for focusing on the positives.

  17. Something about the internet makes people think that they are anonymous and they will post and say just about anything forgetting that there is someone else on the other end. Some people are easily offended. I find that I must offend someone daily….even when I’m not trying. Some people just don’t get sarcasm, which is hard to pick up via internet sometimes. (I have a cousin who is amazingly sweet and wonderful, but really does not get my immediate family’s sarcastic nature…poor guy is always asking us to get along, when nothing is really wrong). I have a neighbor I offended in some way…she’s new to the neighborhood our daughter’s are the same age, they like to play together…but she has basically given us the “we are too busy to play with you ever” cold shoulder. Not sure what I did to offend her. I also lost a good friend because I had the audacity to get pregnant when she chose not too because she has Huntington’s disease and she felt it was a slap in the face. You can’t please everyone all the time….I just wish people would be more honest when someone says something offense and just say, “hey that was offensive because….can you clarify if that is what you meant?”

  18. Agreed. Just this morning I was thinking “I can’t tweet ANYTHING without someone contradicting or challenging me” It’s exhausting. I tweeted “2yo: I want water. This milk is naaasty” and got a response from a milk farmer. Ugh… good thing I’m not Oprah and won’t end up in court for dissing the industry.

    I’ve been MIA in the blogoshere… have missed ya!

  19. I try not to let people get to me. We all have our own opinions on things and we will never all agree at once. My biggest issue with the hater comments is they are usually done all anonymous and cowardly. If you don’t like what someone writes, go away. It is as simple as that. Also, I think some people don’t get your awesome sense of humor. ;o)

  20. One of the things I love about your blog is that you are fearless.

    You fearlessly post about the things that moms think but are too afraid to say. By posting them, you help them feel not so alone or abnormal or…wrong.

    You laugh at yourself and at life which, let’s face it, is the best way to be sure that you survive the zombie attacks.

    I wish I had half your courage.

    And I don’t think I have to spell out that my allusion to zombies has double meaning. But I’ll spell it out anyway. Just in case you haven’t had any coffee yet.

  21. I absolutely love your blog because it makes me feel not so alone as I try to navigate this world of motherhood. I can’t believe that anyone could not recognize that a sense of humor and an ability to laugh at oneself is needed to get through life. Keep being honest because I need people who are willing to let me know that I am not alone so that I can be honest too.

  22. I love your blog and enjoy each day that I take the time in the morning to read your posts. For the most part I agree with your views. But my believe is just because I don’t agree with someone doesn’t mean I have to be a bitch and blast them online. I can be a adult and state my opinion but still respect theres at the same time. Keep up the great posts and know there is a large community out here that LOVES You!!!!

  23. I’m so glad to have just stumbled across your blog. Whatever you do as a blogger, you’re going to annoy someone, or have someone disagree with your opinion – that’s life. I think the key is to just accept it and move on and just be respectful of others.

  24. Alex,
    I want you to understand something. It may sound dramatic, and it may seem like TMI, but the fact that you made yourself available to me about a year ago when I was in such bad shape without even a second of hesitation is the core of who you are. You must remember that you always, (or mostly) operate from a center of love, and try always to be of service by connecting on common ground with other people is who you are. The fact that you struggle sometimes because others are sometimes not on the same page as you has nothing to do with the fact that you are always looking for a way to find connection with other people and try to make it safe to open dialogue on subjects that sometimes cause parents and even non parents feelings of anxiety or guilt. It’s okay that people disagree or misunderstand, it’s even okay for them to opt out of these posts because in the end, you are still reaching the people who both need and desire the opportunity to have honest exchange and ability to carry on these convos with you and other followers of your blog so that we don’t feel alone. You are serving a greater purpose that not everyone will understand, but to the ones who do, you are providing an opportunity to not feel so alone, and isolated. I sincerely appreciate this. Keep on keepin on mama. <3

  25. First of all, every blogger loses all their first year readers. They know you, they’ve read you and let’s face it, they’re not reading Paris Hilton’s life, they’re reading ours, and ours are maybe not exciting enough to keep people coming back. But I get new readers every year and so does everyone else. So we shouldn’t sweat those losses, it’s pretty normal internet behavior. Also, so many blogs eventually disappear.


    (neither do I)

  26. You know, it seems so simple and so right what you’ve said here. It’s almost baffling how difficult it is for a few people to get it. Almost. Because I’m already in another moment… good post.

  27. I loved this on BlogHer, and I came back to tell you I loved it here.

    This is so wonderful: yes, I, too, am sensitive, and people are insensitive. They hurt me, and do they want to? Maybe.

    It still hurts. We’re all different.

    I, do not want to make the world a worse place for anyone, though. And I know you are the same way.

  28. I just started a parenting blog, and I find myself holding back quite a bit because I don’t want my friends to be offended. And I HATE that. I probably wouldn’t be so gunshy if it weren’t for the horrendous experience I had with a different blog I started. My siblings found it and got offended and hurt by something I wrote about our past, and I ended up taking down the post and never really writing on that blog again. I’ve taken care to make sure they don’t even know my new blog exists, and I hate that too! I’m not good with confrontation and drama, so I’d rather avoid it at all costs, but that means I’ll never get to be totally honest in my writing, so that won’t work!

  29. So, I decided to make a blog pinboard on pinterest (because I make good use of my time, that’s why) (oh, and don’t go all rushing over – i mean, you totally were right? – ’cause it’s pretty empty and I prefer the method of adding one pin per week, making all of boards empty and painful to looking at) and I pinned this because it’s my favorite post about blogging in the history of blogging. And I thought I’d let you know.

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