Today as I looked at my site stats I noticed, by chance, that to date I have written 99 blogs which means that this one you are reading marks 100. And, while I was going to write about something else entirely, it feels like I should commemorate this round number in some way. And I think the best way would be to reflect on what those 99 blogs were like to write, and what they’ve taught me about people and about myself. So, here goes:
1. They are some sick, weird fucks out there parading as normal people
Sometimes I find myself in the queue at Checkers looking at somebody who appears to have it together and is just out buying rolls and wondering if it was them who wrote me that spewy, venom-filled missive about how much they hate me and my blog and that I should go away and die forever and also that I come from hell. There are some people walking among us who seriously need a hug and a therapist, in that order, because they are so sad and angry that they hardly know how to contain it. And illogical. And harbouring more bitterness than an aloe on the Swartberg Pass. And I try to remember that it’s nothing to do with me and all about them, but sometimes I can’t help being shocked that human beings can have gotten so damaged along the way. I mean, were they kept in a cardboard box and fed ants when they were children? And I think about how bad their lives must be, and I try to understand what drove them to this point, but honestly, I can’t. And then I decide to feel sorry for them and the people who have to live with them and move on.
2. …but many more awesome ones, so who even cares about the freaks?
Over and above the vast majority of people who like the blog and write nice things and tell me their own stories, a handful have contacted me personally and I can honestly say, over the past year or so, that they have become friends. Not just ‘friends’, but friends – people I would (and will) meet with next time we’re in the same city (I’m talking primarily to you, Mark, Tanya, Johan, Jennie). Good people, kindred spirits with warm hearts and happy energy. Who knew that would happen?
3. You’ll only ever please 80% of your audience
I can write the sweetest, most heartfelt and uncontroversial piece in existence and I’ll always have that one person who cannot resist being a schmuck and posting a snarky comment. At first it surprised me and made me question myself and what I was doing. Now I expect it and am even a little disappointed when I don’t get to spam at least one person a week. So come on, Trolls, don’t let me down!
4. Only ever write from the heart because people know the difference
Sometimes I’ll write something, the honesty and revelatory nature of which makes me shudder at my own out-thereness, and I press the ‘publish’ button with trepidation and worriedly wait for feedback, and then the reactions I’ll get will be so heartfelt and sharey as people seem grateful to have their own lives/feelings affirmed and that I’ve made it okay to speak the truth about situations they know all too well. Your audience has a sixth sense for BS, so don’t insult people. Having integrity as a writer means telling it like it is even when that notion is scary.
5. We are (much) more the same than different
Underneath it all – the cost of our handbag, the texture of our hair, the kind of school our parents could afford to send us to – we are like one person with minor, pretty irrelevant details. That’s my experience, anyway. I have 70-year-old white men and 18-year-old black girls reading and relating to my blog. Which is pretty surprising, but true. We all want the same things: to be happy, to be loved, to sometimes make sense of this life we find ourselves navigating without a compass. And if we could remember that more it would help us to be kinder and more forgiving of one another, and of ourselves.
Thank you for the amazing lessons you, my readers, have taught me xxxx