I won’t lie. I still have no idea what I’m doing in the blogging world. Before I started SDL, I had never read more than a handful of other blog posts. I had no idea what to expect, how fast to expect it, or where it could lead. I didn’t know if there were a thousand other bloggers or a million other bloggers. I didn’t know that there was a process one “must follow” if they are to be successful with blogging. I didn’t know that it would take me years to build up a following of a few hundred people.
All I knew was that I enjoyed writing. I knew that it might be a great way to take my mind off of the pain of what I was going through. So, away we went, never really expecting anything major to happen.
Things started moving very quickly. I was in shock. Good and unexpected things kept happening. I was really excited about that.
Some people weren’t.
My entire life, I’ve never been able to understand the concept of not being happy or excited when others were successful or had something good happen to them. It quite honestly is a concept that I cannot grasp.
I get that from my dad. I’ve watched my dad move our family from extreme poverty to extreme wealth and then everywhere in between. Never once did I see or hear him be anything but a cheerleader for the accomplishments of others. It didn’t matter if he was down or up in life, he wanted everybody around him to succeed. I’ve even watched him praise the very people that have tried to destroy him over the years and then very publicly wish them success and happiness. He taught me the enthusiasm that should always come at the success of others. He constantly taught me that when others succeed, it gives us all more opportunity to succeed. He taught me that when there is conflict, minor or major, you can almost always walk away at the end with a handshake.
And, with that zest and excitement for others comes an excitement for success in one’s own life. My dad was always excited when good things happened to him. I always loved that about him. I always loved being excited with him. I always loved to brag up my dad to my friends. I always knew that he was off somewhere bragging me and my accomplishments up to his own friends. Bragging up all ten of his kids. All the time.
My dad also taught me to never let any one failure define me. He is an inventor. I can almost guarantee you have each seen or used some of his inventions. Hundreds of products made by some of the biggest companies in the world have his patent numbers on them. And for every product that made it, there are a dozen products that failed. A notebook full of genius ideas that went nowhere. Thousands of dollars flushed down the toilet. But, I never once saw him stop long enough to care. It was always simply the question of “what next?”
And I’m embarrassed to say it, but apparently his strong example wasn’t enough for what hit me after this blog began.
Single Dad Laughing started getting big in a hurry. I don’t know why. I certainly wasn’t expecting it. I’m still blown away by it. It seems almost impossible. But it did. That initial success, and the thousands of positive and deep comments and emails that poured in afterward gave me a sense of attachment to what was being accomplished. A thrill for the moments people were having in their lives. A gratitude for the great responsibility I had just been handed in being a strong voice. Every day the numbers climbed. Every day I got more excited. Some days I shared that excitement.
But what didn’t come through to some was what all of my excitement was aimed at. Some took it as me saying “I’m better than you”. Strangely, what some people took from it was that success here somehow meant they had failed. In what, I do not know. It’s another concept that I can’t wrap my brain around. How does one person’s level of success define another’s? The two have nothing to do with each other. My dad taught me that.
I never received hate mail until the end of September when Single Dad Laughing went big in a hurry. Suddenly, there was no shortage of it. I was attacked. I was accused of things. I was suddenly being called a bad father. A bad man. A fraud. A megalomaniac.
I was receiving at least ninety-nine incredible, positive, and life-changing comments and emails for every negative or abusive one, yet I couldn’t stop looking at the one percent. I couldn’t get them out of my mind. I let them kill my excitement. I let them destroy my love for what I was doing. I let them shut me down. I let them bully me into changing the way I did things around here.
I almost stopped. I almost gave up. I almost quit writing.
But every time I remembered my dad.
He taught me better than that.
So I forced myself to be excited again. I forced myself to see the goal and vision of why I was excited in the first place. I forced myself to start skipping over the negative replies and start diving into the loving ones.
You see, it never was about me, and never will be about me. I am humbled. I am in shock. Why did all this happen? I don’t know. But I know why I used to be excited and why I’m finally excited again. It’s because of you. It always has been. It always will be. I will never again not be excited at the number of good people coming together to do good things and find daily upliftment or laughs. I will never again not be excited at the role I get to play in that.
I’m going to start acting more like my dad. It is wrong of me not to.
From here on out, I’m going to stop letting those who are against me dictate how I should do things. I am going to do what I think is right. Always. For me. For Noah. For this blog. For my followers. For the world.
I will never again not do what feels right. If you don’t like my message, that’s fine. There are many other blogs and websites for you to follow. Find them. Support them. Build them up.
I will no longer let the fear of vicious comments or replies stop me from speaking what I believe to be right. I will also never give a message that everybody will agree with. I know that even my most faithful followers will never agree 100% with what I say. I also know that they know that and are fine with it.
I am done letting the bullies win. They won’t anymore. Not here.
You may be thinking, Dan, we’ve been reading your posts and it doesn’t seem like you have been letting them win. Trust me, I have. They have been in the back of my head with every line that I write. They have been whispering hatred in my ears with every word I type. But not anymore. I am done letting their voices in. I am done failing my father’s incredible example.
I went to lunch with my dad the other day. Being in his presence filled me with something I very much needed.
My dad has been one of my biggest supporters here at Single Dad Laughing. He doesn’t do it by leaving comments on my posts. He doesn’t have to. He’s too busy bragging me up somewhere else.
My dad encouraged me to quit my job and pursue the life that I am about to have. He got excited with me. He was the first one to tell me that I could do it. I am 30 years old, and I still find great power in my own dad telling me it’s possible.
I still find great power in my own dad telling me I can do it.
No matter what it is, he believes that it will happen.
Yesterday was my last day at work. I packed up my office, loaded up my truck, and drove away to start a new life. I screamed with excitement as I headed home. And I’m going to start off on the right foot. This is my blog. This is Noah’s blog. This is your blog. This isn’t the haters’ blog. Let’s do it the way we want. Not the way others tell us it must be done.
Everybody have an awesome weekend. For those who have found reasons to be hateful, how about we shake hands and move on? I’d rather have your friendship than your anger. I’d rather see you succeed. I’d rather see you have great things happen to you.
For the other 99% of people that have been supportive and beautiful, thank you for being supportive and beautiful. I’m excited to have you here. Every day I thank God for you. Every day I am touched by what you share. Every day I give my everything to you, and I’m thankful that you are okay with that.
A few weeks ago I said I was moving on. The voices were still there though. This time, I mean it. Moving on.
Love, Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing (and taking his blog back).
PS, I think it is important to specify that I am not at all talking about readers who don’t agree with what I write. I love the spirit of debate and openness we have here. Your comments are always welcome. Always. Thank you for being respectful and loving when you disagree. Thank you for teaching people the right way to do things.