From the Mailbag

Here is a precious letter from a reader I’ve been hanging on to for a bit, holding it close and letting it fester. It says so many things that I secretly think in my dark hours that it’s almost like this person just reached inside my deepest fears and pulled it out. I’m usually so disciplined about ignoring meanies (especially while United States of Tara airs. Man, my tribe of the Mentally Ill folks can be cruel.) but when my confidence is low, it’s hard to just move through it.

“you know no one reads your blog anymore, right? god your writing is all over the place. You used to be someone that people cared about and now I’m sorry to say it but you are rally just pathetic. I guess if you go back to the oh my god I’m going to kill myself well too often, no one wants to hear it anymore. do you get it! I’m just telling you what everyone is thinking. I’m trying to help you. And what is whith all this crap you are trying to sell? It’s ugly and everyone has bills these days so why do you think someone would want to buy the crap you are trying to make us buy! I don’t come here to buy some stupid fugly crap you made! Your art is ugly!! Stop trying to make money of me. and I’m sure people have told you this before but god you are fat and you should probably wire your jawshut or something because it’s looks really bad. I’m just trying to help you and someone should tell you.”

First of all, thank you for considering me your god, but I must happily decline the position. Secondly, I read this incredible post from Gluten-free Girl this morning. I say incredible because I started bawling and by the time I was done reading, I was reminded why I do this, this writing online thing. Because it makes me feel good.

This website is 9 years old in a few weeks, friends. I’m a grandma around these parts. And at times I have no idea why I keep writing. And months go by when I don’t because I don’t want to be open to the haters for awhile. And then I feel stifled and stabby and low and SAD because this is MY space, my online home. If I’m feeling low, I write about it. If I’m feeling positive, I write about it. If I’m in the mental hospital or thinking about my career as a meth addict, I write about it. And if I painted something and need to pay the electric bill, I’m going to try and sell it because I’m more comfortable with that than a Donate button on my website. I can’t work a full-time out-of-the-house job. I’m getting comfortable with the limitations of having Lupus and creating things at home makes me feel good.

I’ve struggled with my body and its size and my mind and its weaknesses for so many years and it took me until turning 39 that I finally got it. I could finally, FINALLY, turn to my daughter and tell her, and MEAN it, “I’m so happy to be myself! Like, right now! Just like I am!” I won’t spend any more time wishing I could have done that years ago for her sake. I’m just so happy I can do it now for both our sakes. Like Shauna said, “For the first time in my life, at 45, I am relaxed into my body. What am I going to do, spend until I’m 75 wishing someone I was someone a little bit different, a little less, a little more conforming? Hell no.”

I told my husband last year that I didn’t want to spend one more second of my time with anyone who didn’t love me for exactly who I was. No more time spent with people who are “trying to help me” by changing who I am because I’m not good enough. Well, horseshit. I AM good enough. Better than good enough.

I am enough, full stop.

21 Replies to “From the Mailbag”

  1. I’ve been reading your tweets for quite some time, but realize I don’t often visit people’s websites, so here I am. I read Shauna’s post about hateful people as well and now am seeing what you’ve had to deal with. It’s ridiculous! Am I just naive in thinking such horrible comments are linked to a place where they just want you to go so they can phish info? I’ve heard it’s possible…Congrats on your 9 years. I’ve had 2 sites for nearly 5 and thought that was a long time. Best of luck to you — I enjoy your tweets 🙂

  2. I follow Gary Shandling on Twitter and a little while back he had some guy hassling him online, so Shandling retweeted what the guy said and then commented “I retweeted this dude everyone can see what self-hate does to someone. Sorry he’s in this pain.”

    P.S. You’re sweet. Thanks for this. It helps.

  3. Well I read and I think you are an excellent artist, photographer and writer. So THERE mean person.

  4. Crikey– anyone who would speak that way to another person, internet or not– certainly has some self-loathing they should be dealing with. ew.

    But always share it if it’s eating at you so that the logical humane contingent can call “bullshit” on that.

    I read, every word, for years and years . . .


  5. Who cares what they think? I can’t believe they actually made the time to write a letter and post it. They’re the one with the problem. You go girl!

  6. Well that email should have been deleted. It is trash. I think you are beautiful as you are, and creative and wonderful… um, “flawed, but authentic.” I worry when you DON’T write and create.

    I KNOW it’s hard, I’ve been through my share of haters (well one in particular) and all I can say is keep doing what you do the best you can do it, and use that delete button. You have a lot of support our here, Grandma 🙂 xoxoxox -Jenn

  7. Pretty much every word she said is the polar opposite of how I feel about you, so I fixed her email to read correctly:

    “you know I still read your blog, right? I love it when you write, and I also love it when you just post pictures of what you’ve been up to. Even though I don’t know you, I know that you’ve got a lot to deal with and I worry about you when you’re quiet for a long time. I want to hear about your life, even when it’s hard. I like you because you get it! I’m just telling you what everyone is thinking. I sometimes wish I had words that could help you. Good on you for selling stuff you make. Selling is hard! (So is buying, since we’re all ridiculously broke) Paintings of landscapes and boats are boring!! and I’m sure people have told you this before but god you have the kindest eyes I’ve ever seen. I admire the shit out of you and thought I should tell you.”

  8. Stefani, I keep rereading your comment and trying to figure out how I can tuck your beautiful and positive words in my pocket to take with me and pull out as needed. I guess that’s called a printer, eh? xo

  9. I have always felt honored that you allow me to have a glimpse into your life. Life for everyone is up and down… The difference is that you are brave enough to be honest about your journey and share it with others. I have gathered strength from this honesty. It is empowering. Your blog is for you and we are all simply given the gift of watching YOUR process. Your experiences. Your beauty. If you were to write simply to make other people happy… then you would loose that raw and human honesty that makes what you share so amazing.
    You are strong. You are creative. You are beautiful. Thank you for being so brave and giving so many the gift of what you write, create, and experience.
    Sending flocks of light your way…

  10. “I am enough. Full stop.” is my new mantra. Took me 48 years to realize it and am now working so hard to show my daughters I really believe it for me and for them. Have always loved your writing and your art. Carry on!

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