Project your crap much, Dan?
Why yes, yes I do.
I was hiking with Fabulous Wendy who I really adore, especially since she remained my hiking companion after we broke things off a little while back. Dedicated hiking buddies are hard to find. But she’s there, pretty much every weekend, conquering some crazy awesome trail with me.
So, we were huffing and puffing our way to Silver Lake here in Utah and for some reason things got a tiny bit tense between us. They often do with her and we have to laugh about it because it’s not that way with much of anybody for either of us and we can’t really explain it. We both have analytical personalities and so we tend to analyze the crap out of ourselves and out of each other. And then we analyze the crap out of the over-analyzing. Which I think annoys us both to the nth degree sometimes.
Anyway, she was giving me some (pretty good) constructive criticism about my blogging, and I was getting defensive telling her why I was doing what I was doing, why I was saying what I was saying, and why I was, in general, perfectly perfect as all perfectness can be and how even in my imperfect moments I was ultimately as perfectly perfect as all perfectness can be.
You know… one of those beat your head against a brick wall conversations.
Later up the trail when I wasn’t so caught-up defending my perfectness, she began telling me about this couple she met who she thought were the greatest people on earth. These guys had adopted five kids and were pretty much, like I mentioned, the greatest people on earth. She went on to talk about the husband and how he adored his adopted children, was so on the ball with everything in his children’s lives, and how he was such an incredible dad. Then she said, “watching him just gave me faith that there are still guys like that out there.”
And I was like… what!? And I looked at her like… what!? And I said something very passive aggressive like, “oh, that’s good to know that every other guy you know is a douche.”
And she looked at me and said, “Dude, you really internalized that one.”
And I was like, “no I didn’t.” And she was like, “yes, you did.”
And then we walked the last mile to the lake poking and prodding at each other’s tender mental spots. Pushing each other’s buttons. And at the top we weren’t really hiking buddies at all.
And then I was like, “dude, I’m sorry, you’re right. I was projecting. I was internalizing.” And she was like, “yeah dude, you were.”
For the rest of the hike we were pretty awesome friends. Best friends again. Cause we’re cool like that. We know how to put the tense moments behind us. I like friends who can do that because things will get tense with any good friend who’s a friend worth having.
But before we headed back down the trail, we had a friendly and serious discussion about projecting crap and internalizing things and I realized, man, I do project a lot. I do internalize a lot. Why do I do that?!
At the time, I was getting ready to launch Bullied. The Forgotten Memoirs. I had spent days editing it, organizing it, and getting lost in its message and the emotions that surrounded it. And, I was sure that when I published it, the trolls would come out in abundance. After all, I was still recuperating from the aftermath and greater blogosphere response of the I need your help post.
During those two weeks in general, I was just down. I was having a hard time. I wasn’t enjoying life very much. I was in the pit of dispaaaiiirr. And I was throwing myself a serious pity party both on and off the blog.
Then I launched Bullied. The Forgotten Memoirs. And in the launch of it as well as the immediate aftermath of that, something suddenly disappeared from within me. Some burden I’d been carrying for twenty years just… vanished. Some demon that constantly whispered, you’re not lovable, you don’t deserve love, and those who say they love you are lying. Some demon that internalized everything. Some demon that made me insecure and easily hurt. Whatever demon it was, the beautiful encouragement and kind words of those who read the bullying post exorcised it. Vanquished it. Annihilated it.
It was as if I suddenly saw the entire world, and those within it, in a new light. And I wasn’t as hated, and loathed, and despised as I always felt. The mistakes and horriblenesses of my past didn’t define me like I thought they did. It was a truth I could finally accept.
Days before, I had written my ranting post A letter. To whoever. In that post, I defended myself and the position that I was in. I was really down when I wrote that post. I was really feeling like the majority of the world hated me. I think you all could really feel it because you responded with some of the greatest morale building comments I think I’ve ever received.
In that letter, I wrote the following paragraph.
So why? Why is it that so many people hate Single Dad Laughing? Why is it that so many people feel a need to impugn it, to attack the intelligence of my readers, and to slander my writing? Why is it that so many people feel a need to destroy me where they can? It has been that way since this blog first went viral. Why?
Man, I was really down that day.
And since the day that I published my memoirs, I have only been able to look at that paragraph and think, why did I believe that in that moment? Why did I think that in that moment?
There were tens of thousands logging onto Single Dad Laughing, reading it, following along. There were hundreds of comments pouring in showing love and support.
Yet, I was getting sucked into a very small group of posts elsewhere (as well as the aftermath of those posts) and letting it trump everything I actually had that was beautiful and positive in my life. Everything that was happening here. I let it trump the beautiful reality of how loved I really am by the people who actually follow along here.
I went back and reread some of those “hate-posts” written by other people. They weren’t that bad, if I’m being honest. They weren’t really hateful. Bitter maybe, but not hateful. More than anything, they were just negatively opinionated. Something every blogger is allowed to do.
I then went back and read some of the comments on those posts. I think that’s where I’ve always gotten the most down… when somebody, somewhere, posts something negative about Single Dad Laughing and I go to read the comments and there’s a ton of comments from people saying “I agree!” “I can’t stand Single Dad Laughing!” etc. To scroll down a list of comments 30, 40, 50 deep and see nobody standing up for me, nobody saying “I love him.” “I read him.” “I don’t agree with what you’ve written here.” Yes, I think that’s what always sucks me down. Far more than the original posts ever did.
And this time when I went back and read some of those comments, I was like eh, who cares.
And that was a pretty dang significant moment for me.
I’ve never been able to honestly think those words. Not in regards to the response to this blog, anyway.
And then, for the first time ever, I was able to see those posts and those comments in a positive light. What does it actually mean that those posts and comments exist at all? What does it really say about me?
It says that I am loved. Somewhere, I am loved. It says that I am respected. Somewhere, I am respected. It says that I am doing something, somewhere that’s good.
Why have I never understood that? How is it that I’ve never gotten that?
Simple. Because I absorbed everything. I internalized everything. And I projected everything. The good and the bad.
And when you’re a guy like me with a blog like this, absorbing, projecting, and internalizing everything will take you on a serious mental and emotional roller coaster. It’ll take you on a straight-jacket crazy-man roller coaster. I wish everybody could experience it.
So what exactly do the haters hate so much, anyway? Not me. Not even this blog.
They’re just doing the exact same thing I myself was guilty of. Internalizing. Projecting. Lashing out to make themselves feel better about… something. What that something was, I’m sure, is different for every single person out there.
To some degree, this blog has always been partially owned by the haters and the trolls. I’ve written so much of what I’ve written, worried in the back of my mind about what they’ll say and how they’ll respond. Worried about thwarting the bullies. Worried about hiding from the bullies.
But I don’t care anymore.
And that feels awesome.
I’m sure my demons will creep back from time to time. But I really don’t care anymore. It’s time I actually make this blog my own.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
SDL’s Quote of the Day
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Yeah, you were projecting.
BUT SHE WAS THOUGHTLESS AND STUPID, with a total lack of self awareness and even less concern for the way the way *her* words would be heard by *your* ears.
Its like fixing dinner for someone, and having them rave about the food they had last week at their other friends place. Or telling your girlfriend about the incredibly beautiful woman you dreamed about... or constantly telling your son how strong, smart and athletically gifted the boy next door is.
We can do just as much harm with a thoughtless truth as with an outright lie.
I can sooooo relate to this. It is hard to get past long-ignored feelings of insecurity, especially from being bullied in the past when you didn't have the opportunity or power to really believe it was untrue or didn't matter. I'm glad for you that you have gotten past it. Yes, it will come up again, and you will get down again, but remember you have gotten to a secure place before and you can do it again. You can always do it again! I will keep trying to remind myself of the same thing.
Don't let hateful ppl get you down good for u putting it all out there! I found your blog thanks to an article in Parents magazine about awesome blogs, & I LOVE your blog!!! So screw the haters & anyone who puts u down keep up the good work!
I love your blog, I don't find it too sugary sweet and perfectly perfect. I think Single Dad Laughing is a reflection of you and what is important to you. I understand the over-analyzing it is something I do often and it's born of insecurity. Keep writing,
Just found your blog and read a bit. I love your insights. Trolls troll simply to troll, and are not worth your time, Dan. Peace.
Do you know why no one was defending you on the "hater" blogs? Because those of us who love yours are not reading theirs! And if we happen to read it we're not spending time because they're so negative and if we do read the whole thing we're certainly not taking our time to respond to such ignorance! See, I keep finding that anger, irritation, negativity, imaturity, irresponsibility and the people that walk around spewing these things are NOT WORTH MY TIME! Life is too short- spend it with people you love where you love doing what you love and leave the rest to their own miserable lives.
I've been living while trying to keep people from leaving me. People, like my husband, who have given every indication that they love me and want to be with me. But I have a message in my head that says I'm not enough, I'm not loveable, I'm worthless. And living in fear is very limiting. I finally realized that even if my husband were to leave me (and he assures me he has no plans to do so, in spite of how I've pushed him recently) I would be ok. And that has given me the freedom to discover who I am, not just who I think other people want me to be. And that me is fun, creative, playful, and alive. So glad I found that place!
All this to say that I'm also glad you found that freedom too. To listen to you, not to the critics. My mom will never trust that my creativity will support me so she will always tear me down. But she also loves me and wants me to be happy. I need to listen to the mom in my head that loves me unconditionally, not the critic. Because when we become our true, authentic selves, we give a gift to the world that no one else can bring, ever.
You rock Dan! I read your blog almost every day... and if I miss a day, I go back and read the posts I missed. I find you inspirational, down to Earth, and love your writing style. Please keep dazzling us!
I will give free lessons on not caring what other people think. My longtime motto has been, "I don't give a shit". and believe me, the more you say it the more it becomes true! I have been criticized for having that attitude, but it doesn't stop me.
Yay Dan! I'm so proud of you for making your revelation. This is YOUR blog. The only opinion about what you post here that truly matters, is yours. As a faithful reader, I feel that it is our privilege to be able to read and share with you here at SDL. Over the last year you have shared a lot of yourself with us. Those of us who look forward to spending some time with you each day do really love you. And while opinions may differ, we all respect and appreciate all that you do and share. Continue sharing your heart, and we will continue to love you for it!
"Because I absorbed everything. I internalized everything. And I projected everything. The good and the bad."
I do this all the time! I am a sucessfull CPA who has owned my owned business, married for 15 years and have 3 beautiful children who are truly blessings from God and have always helped other people in every way I can - monetarily, spiritually and just listening. But for some crazy reason, I always think I am not doing enough and am WAY too sensitive to people's criticisms. There is usually some grain of truth in other's criticism and if we can grow thicker skin, we would all benefit from listening. We all come from different backgrounds though and one person's way of phrasing things may not be meant as harsh as we take it. I am currently struggling with this at work - my boss is from an inner-city background and is not as careful about his word choice when he is angry. I am honestly not used to being talked to in that way and react usually by not saying much. Every now and then though, I have had enough and react in an unpositive way. This post is helping me to realize that I should understand that he is probably "just doing the exact same thing I myself was guilty of. Internalizing. Projecting. Lashing out to make themselves feel better about… something". Thanks, Dan for helping me understand what is going on around me!
AWESOME Blogpost!!! I've been struggling with the same issues and my friend said "why do you give them so much power tutz?" ... it hit me like a ton of bricks, they can say and do what they want BUT I DO NOT have to give those words and actions power... like you said pretty significant! :) Love your blog... first time I've commented... haters gotta hate and the reality is if not you, then someone else they will shat on. Just cause someone shat on your street doesn't mean YOU have to step in it and carry it around :)
BTW your blog "Disease of Perfection" totally changed my life :) I cried throughout reading the whole thing but you crystalized it so well! Keep fighting the good fight. Your blog is a gift... like any gift we can choose to accept it or not. Those trolls are not in a place to SEE or ACCEPT what you gift is, but that is no skin off your back... for the hundreds of thousands of us who DO ACCEPT your gift, thank you a million times over :) ~bellydanceintoronto!
True that, @Single Dad Laughing ! Make it your own. It's a freeing feeling, taking responsibility for your own emotions. Keep up the great work!
if they didn't read it they wouldn't hate it. Hate is not the opposite of love. indifference. they spend a lot of time commenting but it means they have read it. why would they spend any time on it if they didn't care? it is a compliment that they are reading it, even if they say they don't like it. I personally have gotten some cathartic moments these last few weeks reading about Bullied.
Thanks Dan for cracking open your chest so we can get a peek at your heart. i'm thinkin' it's pretty beautiful in there. being open and honest is about the hardest thing in the world to do. and the most meaningful.
Sometimes you just have to let it go and keep moving forward. We all need a healthy reminder to get out of our heads and enjoy the ride.
I have a little theory - works for me. >> Really? Do I really believe that people spend that much time thinking, analyzing, and pondering what I have to say? It's sort of a massive measure of pride that would cause me to think that my words, comments, ideas have that much influence on other people's worlds. (meaning: I just don't get why someone would lay awake at night dissecting my musings for the sake of dissent.) just some more musings - don't stay up too late!
These people that post so much negativity on your blog are simply looking for some outlet for what they already feel, the anger that is already inside them...
I'm so glad you posted this entry today. When you wrote 'A letter. To Whoever." It made me really sad. Because people like that, no matter what you say, how you clarify or explain things...they will never change their opinion. Because you really are not the source of their anger, frustration and negativity...you are just the scapegoat of the moment...I'm so glad that you have come to a place where you are learning not to internalize this negativity.
THis post is me. I internalize everything, from my kids wanting to play at a friends rather than here, to my husbands sighs, to why my sister called our other sister and not me. I will work on trying to fee "who cares" maybe that will let me sleep at night instead of thinking about a disgreement with a coworker for hours at night.
Dan, you have no idea how much I needed to read this post today. I like you, internalise everything. I also feel responsible for everything that goes wrong and every negative comment that comes my way. That is a whole truck-load of weight to carry around and an immense amount of guilt. I'm only starting to realise that I can't possibly make every single soul happy and that I can't possibly be perfect in every aspect of everything I do. (Very difficult for an obsessive compulsive to do!) I hit a major speed bump last night and threw a bit of a wobbly as well and was so angry with myself... and then I read your post... all I can say is thank you for sharing and thank you for helping me to let go! Your words are far more positive and more healing than you realise. x
My heart absolutely soared for you when I read this blog entry. I read your blog everyday (or as close to everyday as I possibly can) and I feel all your emotions as I'm reading. You're an incredible man, writer, and a father, and I am so happy that you have come to this realization! It's huge! I can only imagine what great things are going to come from it! :]
Dan I've been following Single Dad Laughing from just about the beginning. The first post I read was The disease called perfectness. (sorry if I didn't get the title exactly right. I don't have a fantastic memory.) I loved that one and the one about breaking your child. I think your writing is great all around. But those two just really stood out to me. And the more recent bullying posts have really hit me on the heart a's well. I have a 6 yr old daughter and we have frequent talks about bullying and why it's wrong and what to do if she sees someone being hurt or bullied. Thank you for being brave enough to share your experiences and feelings and insight on the subject. I have learned alot about myself and others and have come to realize alot of things that I never noticed before, since I've been following you on facebook. Thank you. You are magnificent!
It's funny how people's lives can parallel each other when they have never met :) Great post and I too LOVE your blog :)
I am so happy to hear that you have found this new revelation Dan! You are truely my inspiration! Don't let all the haters and trolls get to you. You are unique and you are awsome! We have freedom of speech so whatever you want to blog about, blog it baby! Oh and just so you and everyone knows ... I LOVE SINGLE DAD LAUGHING! :D
Oh how well I relate to this and how much I needed to be reminded of it AGAIN! After so many years in an abusive marriage, his words always creep back in. When another man tells me I'm beautiful, worth loving, amazing, or anything else, I ALWAYS hear in my mind that that can't possibly be true. But you know what, it IS true. I am beautiful and wonderful because I'm ME and I wouldn't want to be anyone else! You are wonderful and AMAZING because you are you, and isn't that the greatest thing we can each own and be anyway? I love you and I love reading your posts, they brighten my day and make me think. THANK YOU!!!
Dan, your blog today couldnt be more perfectly timed for the crisls I am facing in my own life and writing. thank you... from my private, secret, struggling heart. Just ... thank you.
Did you watch the snl clip called "the comment section" from last week...not two days ago, episode before that...pretty funny Dan, and a good laugh at the "commenters" of the web world.
I may not be correct on this quote and I can't recall who said it right now but it's something like.... You have enemies, great that means you've actually stood up for something you believe in....
Oh...and did I miss it earlier...but you split from Fabulous Wendy? Sorry to hear that but glad you guys have found a good relationship outside of that and you can still think of her as Fabulous :)
I think we as people tend to internalize and project...I'm niot sure its avoidable. But good for you for finding a place to move beyond the haters!
Bravo! I hear you about letting the haters creep in. I wrote a post about this titled, What the Hater's can Teach Us. http://kimkircher.com/2011/09/16/what-haters-can-teach-us/. Growth comes out of adversity. If we are truly opening ourselves up to others, we have to be present to everything they offer, not just the glowing comments. Your blog became very popular very fast, and in some ways this has left you reeling. You may not have had the chance to get your feet under you, and figure out how to temper a few haters with the overall support you receive. But indifference is a good start. More than that, though, you've learned something valuable about yourself. And for that, you can thank the haters.
I was teased some in grade school. It wasn't the serious bullying I see in the news these days, but yes, I was teased, made fun of, etc. Somewhere in my school years.. not sure if it was something my parents said or a school counselor, etc.. But some adult made the point that bullies do it b/c of the reaction. So I started playing the game with them. I'd spar right back. I certainly wouldn't start anything, but if a fantastic barb came to mind when a bully/teaser was in my face, I'd shoot it right back! There's a certain kick I got from leaving them speechless! (Seriously, what is a guy to do when he tries to offend a girl by calling her a B-- and she acknowledges it?? Good times!)See, Eleanor Franklin was onto something when she said that others can't make you feel inferior unless you let them. The same concept applies to being offended. Nobody can offend you unless you give them permission, unless you abdicate that power. So what to do?.. Don't give that power. Embrace the fun of the verbal spar (although this is rather difficult to do online as nobody can see anyone else's facial expressions- I find that the best part!)... Or remember that what someone says about you is a symptom of who they are.. not a confirmation of who you are!I'm glad you come to join the dork side- we know we're dorks.. and we're ok with it!
Dan, you have no idea how happy I was to read this today. I've been worried about you, thinking that you have backed off from owning your point of view (and by extension, your blog).
This is something that took me a while to learn, and I hope that I'm teaching my children effectively: No matter what anything says about you or thinks about you, your experience, your point of view, and your lessons are YOURS. Only Yours. Your reactions are too.
Best of wishes for you, Dan.
Great post! I can definitely relate to quite a bit of what you say! Love what I have read so far and look forward to reading more. Take care and remember that there are plenty of people who do care! Just in ways you never imagined! :)
I'm inspired by your honesty. And courage - it takes a lot of guts to put yourself 'out there', especially such intimate/personal issues you write about. I heard somewhere, and I rely on this a lot so I thought I'd share it with you - "Don't let the bastards get you down." They're everywhere and we need to start ignoring them. IMHO of course. Cheerio! : )
I think you don't see the people who love you stand up for you on other sites because, we love you, and evidently, we're not reading those other blogs... :)
@iredaleorama Wiser words were never said.
@MichelleHaines I don't wanna be perfect. :)
@jennreaper That and few people like to speak against the masses. It's a very vulnerable thing to do and it goes both ways. Positive and Negative.