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
60 thoughts on “There are some sick, weird fucks out there – and 4 other things blogging has taught me”
It really worries me when I read the comments that some people post after any newspaper article or other public forum. On the odd occasion where I felt that sharing my opinion would add something meaningful to the debate, my flabber was completely gasted by the hateful (and unimaginative) comments that some people post.
I always enjoy your blog and it is a welcome 10 minute break from work when it arrives in my inbox! Congratulations on your “centenary.”
Right?! Crazy crazy :-) thanks so much! X
You go girl (and don’t ever stop)!!
Love your writing (regards a SA in Mumbai)
“Sick and weird fucks” are not worth worrying about, they behave like that because of their own inadequacies and insecurities!
Thank you! And I haven’t forgotten you, Iona Andrew. Sorry it’s taking so long xx
Hi Susan , I can’t remember how I first found your Blog but I have to tell you how much I enjoy it and have often forwarded it on to friends and family both in SA and in the UK and they love reading it as much as I do . Don’t for one more minute waste your wonderful energy on the idiots out there , they are not worth worrying about . Please keep them coming , I might get the DT’s if you stop ! Is there such a thing as a Blogger ‘s Groupie , cos I might be one ! ?!
Kind regards, Megs Tweedie.
07760664302 UK mobile 0827727247 SA mobile
Aaaaah, you’re amazing! Thank you, Megs. Big hug xxxx
One of the first things I learned from my husband – “You can only please some of the people, some of the time … you can’t please all people all the time”. It is so true, and I try and remember that when faced with grumpy people.
Love it *were they kept in a cardboard box and fed ants when they were children?* Makes you wonder!
I thought that line was hilarious but then my husband read it and didn’t even smile! Thanks for having a normal sense of humour! Lol. Husbands…
Lol…oh Susan you never fail to make me smile or crack me up…yup! I’m an artist and my husband is also my best and “worst” critic (he has been known to be “wrong” about some pieces however – “why did you paint that?” And then it’s the first piece to sell) And yes I too have found that working from the heart is the only truthful way to express oneself. Well done on your 100! Love love your writing. Cheers Lisl
The lol was for the “kept in a cardboard box fed on ants” quip by the way… And the “Husbands…” :-)
Hehehe :-) It’s brilliant, I will definitely quote that one in the future!!
..and thank you for your blog.. you always make an effort and this shows …I love reading it …
Love your blog. Don’t worry about the trolls. You just have to look at the comments section of the News24 website to see how many illiterate ar…….holes there are out there all giving their so-called expert opinions. You can’t please everybody!
:-))) thank you! Xxx
I’m generally not into following other people’s blogs, but yours have left me entertained and always wanting more! I started following you when you blogged about “Steal his photograph” and have looked forward to every post since. Love your honesty. Congrats on the big 100 and here’s to many more xxx
Boggles my brain how people cannot love your writing , the moment I first read your blog I wished to have you as a friend because your words and how you said them were so real. And we could have been bossom buddies .. If only I didn’t cancel my bloody booking for the chefs table! Oi vey …
Have to say I don’t always read your blogs, but somehow couldn’t resist this one due to it’s rather controversial headline. lol I suppose we all like the odd bit of controversy and scandal, so I found myself drawn to reading it. And must say I’m glad I did. What you say is so true…it’s just sad that there are some people out there who are just unpleasant. Perhaps they were born that way, who knows. Nothing will change them, I suppose it’s all about balance in the long run….I mean if we were all nice and sweet, then it would all be very boring. So sadly, we need those unpleasant people around. We just have to know how to deal with them and not let them affect us negatively. Bottom line of this reply, was to share an Ad that I was sent that really made me feel good and made me think, “if only we could all live like this”. :) But maybe that’s too much to ask. Anyway, here it is….I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Cheers David > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaWA2GbcnJU
You score 100/100 for your 100th post, I like it a lot! These 5 thangs include all I imagine a Life Manual (if only there was one), on how to live life true to oneself, could contain!
Best part of the day when I see a blog of yours has appeared … Just love it! So relate to it
Very dear Susan – please don’t stop and please don’t let the fuckers get you down. You are the voice of beautiful reason, with such freshness and authenticity, that my world, for one, would be so much the poorer without it. Lots of my mates agree, even if they don’t say so. You are right, the bitter and twisted will always be with us. While they’re abusing you, they’re leaving some other poor schmuck alone, probably without your resilience and capacity to absorb and shrug off their venom. Still want to meet you some day – i think you’re my homey!! Xxx
Dear Susan, I am 60 years old, lived in many countries and feel I have earned the right to have an opinion, and I think you are amazing. So don’t stop writing your wise and interesting blogs. Why are you not wriring for some popular magazine or newspaper??
Gonna threaten my boys with that now. Cardboard box and ants diet!
Like your words, hey. Keep on going.
I just love your blog. Unfortunately you will always find some negative mother grundy’s out there. Reminds me of a quote I read in the SA Reader’s Digest many years ago: One in every 100 people are boring. But even they are interesting as they are only one out of a hundred. Same probably goes for those negative persons.
I really enjoy your blog . There is always food for thought.
At least people are reading your blog :)
Having a bad day –grumpy husband !–after 50 years of marriage–most of them good I suppose I should disregard it !
Love your blogs– enough to lift the spirits of anyone– congrats on making 100 and here’s to the next 100
Congrats on your 100th blog! It’s the only one I follow because you have a way of expressing what I often didn’t even realise I was feeling. I get positively excited when I see an email advising a new post, so please keep them coming.
:) and only now i find your blog……. awesome to read…. look forward to lots more…..
Thanks for sharing this. A pretty good 100th post anyway. I guess this blogging thing is us wearing our hearts on our sleeves online. And sadly some people can be dicks about that… and try and “slate” us and write snarky comments. There are loads who enjoy your blog. so keep sharing your stories!!!
It is the highlight of my day when I open emails and see a new post from you (that and an email from my son in Columbia). Always find your blogs extremely interesting and amusing. Keep up the good work!
Hello Susan, I can’t tell you how I look forward to reading your blog. My niece suggested I try yours. It’s the first blog I’ve ever followed. You always seem to bring a smile to my face. We live in a beautiful, scarred, hopeful, scary country and you make me love it more everytime I read something you’ve written. Don’t ever stop :)
I started reading your blog after a friend posted the ‘Ex-pat South Africans’ story on FB – and I no less than LOVE it (highlights include the ‘F*ck off Orange’, ‘Route 66’, ‘A day in the life of a South African maid’,your musings on motherhood / love / the toughness of marriage, and on and on..) Plus, you are AT LEAST 99% grammatically and spelling correct ;-) Wonderfully authentic / heartfelt / out-there / vulnerable. Please keep writing Susan: you make me feel so inspired!
Thank you, Angela! And I know, I desperately need a sub-editor. Thanks for persevering!
Congratulations on achieving your blog century. I have just discovered your blog so can’t really comment generally, but I did read ‘On Angry SA expats’. I am not an Angry expat – more of a regretful one. We had a farm in the OFS and departed though fear. But I do agree that few expats are happy. I’m not so much unhappy as bored. Life in SA was never dull and think I became an adrenalin junkie! We are lucky in that we are able to spend much time in Spain, which is fun, but life in the UK is tedious beyond belief.
Susan, you make my day and I read your blog wherever I am. I am still trying to decide if I should translate it to the language of the country I’m in at the time……….my French sucks, my swiss high german is non existent, my dutch is pretty good, my UK english, well I just don’t speak chav/hoodie so I’m going to leave it to the good ol saffer “laugh so much my sides hurt” English
I will be waiting for the next one.
Aaaah, thank you, old friend! Much appreciate your words xxxx
Well done on your century!- I don’t really read many blogs but I do enjoy your sense of humour! I loved that one about how you were going to get it together as a school mom – every time I sign my sons homework book with a blunt crayon ( and yes it does mostly seem to be a purple one) I think of you, I hope you are doing better than I am :-)
Ha ha! Thanks, Val. Not really, but I’m trying to be okay with being less-than-perfect and making up for my organisational shortfalls by having a good sense of humour and telling them they’re amazing as often as I can, as you probably do, too. I think in the end that stuff will count for more than showing up at the cake sale with Martha Stewart muffins :-) Big hug to you xxxxx
how awful to have people say nasty things to you. I would be inclined to put it down to their being jealous :)
Aw, thank you, Ruth! Bless your heart xx
Hi Susan, I enjoy your articles and writing. It is ‘soft’ and entertaining. Strange now you pick up on all the weird and odd people we have here. I don’t want to open a different can of worms, but I am shocked at how so many people had turned their back on Oscar Pistorius. I know he shot his girlfriend, but people are not prepared to wait for justice and see if he really had made a mistake. I cannot see a motive for such a new relationship and him ruining the bright future he had ahead. He also has no history with physical abuse. The hatred is scary and inconceivable. Its almost personal. So, anyone in the public eye is sadly subjected to this vile and irrational onslaught.
I hope you continue to write and know that these dark souls, as you say need help.
Take care :)
Happy happy 100 Susan! It has been such a pleasure to meet you through your blog and in person. It’s enriched my life. Who knew that would happen?
Congratulations on your 100th blog. And may there be 1000000000000000000 more! You brighten my day with your humour and honesty and you are every bit as amazing in person.
Why is it that you never post the comments of that 20% of your audience?
Oh, I do, Lee. Just go back a few posts. Unless of course they’re trolls – in which case they’re not entitled to a voice.
Nr 5 is so true!! Exactly what a cabby in Tel Aviv told me :)
Congrats on the milestone Susan!! We all like you because you are us (or most of us)..yes the details are irrelevant; like colour, education,etc..but most of our souls yearn for humour, truth and connection and that’s what this blog gives us..that connection across the colour, background barricade..keep going strong, and be thankful for the bad comments too, they make us question ourselves and reaffirm our sanity (by comparison). I will always be thankful for your Expats and whats makes us Saffa articles..after just returning home after a decade it was so affirming and Needed! Take care and all the best ;-) x
Thanks for this amazing comment, Priya! You’ve totally made my day. All the best to you, friend xxxxx
Way to go, lady! I fell in love with your blog, it’s getting be some kind of addiction;) It started just today was googling “what if a guy doesn’t answer my messages…” and found your post “Why You Must Never, Ever Send a Guy a Second Whatsapp”. I thank you for sharing your thoughts. May your efforts be rewarded!
Thank you, you sweet thing! And thank you for the reblog. Believe me, the not sending the second whatsapp came from a LOT of trial and error! :-) Big hug, and have an amazing day xxx
Reblogged this on Guldana.G.
Thanks for this Blog, you are just great!
Ha ha, thank you, Emma! X
Congratulations on your great blog Susan, it is so interesting to read. There are so many messages about leaving SA that I wanted to give an opinion about finding happiness. I have been living in Texas a bit over 5 years now and I really enjoy it. In South Africa I always enjoyed the pride in their culture that Afrikaans people have. They support their music, promote their language, never forget their history, and I find it very similar to the pride Texans have in themselves. There is a radio station that only plays Texas country music and instead of 12 o’clock the time check is “Its high noon in Texas”.
I mention this to show how much it is familiar to me and how much I enjoy it here but it can never and will never be the same as what I feel for South Africa. I think most people that leave don’t realize that their new country will never be the same as the country they grew up in because it is not the country they grew up in. Their kids will be much more settled than they are because they are forming their lives in that new country and it is being an integral part of who they are becoming.
Summer holidays in Uvongo, Easter visits to the game reserve, popping over the border to Swaziland with your buddies to gamble, watching the Grand Prix at Kyalami will never be replaced by summer holidays in Florida, fishing on a river in Oklahoma, gambling in Las Vegas or watching the US Grand Prix near Austin,
Sure those activities are all really fun to do but they are just present day activities, they just entertain you, they did not form the person you are. Your children are being formed by those experiences and will one day have their longing memories for those activities.
You must enjoy your new country as much as you can, but always remember that you will have a soft spot for anything South African, you will get a lump in your throat when you read a good news story about the country, you will always desire biltong or Bovril or Ouma rusks, and you will be proud of their achievements.
Enjoy your new country, respect it because it gave you a new home when you asked for one, but always respect the people who are still living in your original home.
Dead On you are Awesome Susan ,!!