I need to disappear for a little while.
I suppose it is the responsibility of every person to know when a reboot is necessary. And right now, a reboot is definitely necessary.
In 21 months I have yet to take an actual break from Single Dad Laughing. Even on the couple of trips I’ve taken, I had my laptop and phone on much of the time, always keeping my finger on the pulse of whatever was going on around here.
So, for one week (minimum) I’m going on an SDL fast. I won’t be getting on the blog. I won’t be looking at it on my phone. I won’t be reading or answering emails. There won’t be any new blog posts. I’m going to completely disconnect from the blog part of it all.
When multiple people that love me start suggesting such a move, I’ve learned that it’s probably best to heed their advice.
In late November, SDL went crazy viral. I’ve never received so much correspondence as I did in that aftermath, and in all honesty I had hoped to never receive that much again. So much of it was so heavy. So much of it I couldn’t ignore. And as much as I tried not to let it, so much of it really weighed me down.
Heavy emails. Thousands of heart-hurting stories were shared.
But what most people don’t realize is that other even heavier emails sometimes come in, too.
A handful of people threatened to kill themselves if I didn’t respond and befriend them. Adults posing as teenagers (I can only assume based on the wording of the emails) kept sending me sexually suggestive emails, trying to lure me into God knows what. Threats were made by religious fanatics. Digital threats were made by people on both sides. Rumors spread around the internet about my sexuality. Rumors spread around the internet about my intent, my honesty, and my genuineness. Trolls abounded.
And God… so much anger and hatred kept spilling into the comments.
The comments of a post about loving others.
It was toward the middle of March that it all finally started calming down. The emails had trickled to a few dozen per day. The blog was seeing regular traffic again. I was finally going to be able to take a breather.
And then at the beginning of April, I shared the post that went mega-viral. You know which one. When I received the email from “One Proud Mom,” I thought Hmmm, that’s really powerful and touching. I bet my readers would enjoy it. Never in a million years did I think that it would go viral. And when I saw that it was immediately going viral I wanted to cry. When I saw that it sent the November post mega-viral all over again, I did cry a little. I wasn’t ready to go through all of that again. A person can only take so much before he cracks.
And, sure enough, aftermath’s heavy history repeated itself, only with greater magnitude than before.
This time around, I hit my limit. I’ve been pushed to an edge that I never expected to be looking over, and I’m having a hard time coming back from it. While hiking on Sunday, I realized that I need to disconnect for a while or I’m going to go crazy.
I also realized that I need to change the way I do a few things around here when I come back in a week or so.
First, I have to get my brain balanced again. This blog has taken me down a road that is so deep and mental and heavy sometimes. And it’s good. I love the discussions we have. But it’s too much if it’s all there is. I need to use that creative/inventive side of my brain, too. My entire life I’ve loved writing fiction more than anything else. And so, that’s part of what I’m going to do when I get back.
I’ve started a blog called My Fantastic Escape. I hope you follow along, but I’ll be writing it for me. It will be my way of staying sane and more balanced in my writing and thinking.
It is the story of “The Fear Doctor.” A man who gets paid to make people face their worst fears, and how it all starts going terribly wrong for him. I already wrote the first post. Go check it out and if you like, follow along.
My Fantastic Escape is not Single Dad Laughing. As it is fiction, I plan to let my imagination go wherever it likes with the story. I plan to be true to the dialogue, expressions, and feelings that people would have in such situations. This means there will be swearing and a lot of things that aren’t politically correct or “in line with my SDL message.” It’s fiction, it’s a thriller, and it’s entertainment. If you can’t handle that, don’t read it. It’s my escape from the heaviness that this blog often is and I’ll write entries over there when I feel the biggest need to release some pent up creational steam. Probably once every week or so. I really think this will help my writing be more balanced here on SDL.
I’ve also resurrected Will Work 4 Followers, my blog where I share all my secrets about blogging. Except, I’ve changed the name to My Big Blog Secrets.
You may remember that I retired that blog last year due to time constraints. Since then, I’ve had a whole lot of people ask me to please start it up again even if I don’t post often. That sounded fair enough. I really do enjoy sharing the secrets and tips I learn as I get past the learning curve here.
I’ll only be posting every couple weeks or so on that blog, but the posts will be extremely valuable to you if you’re building your own blog or wanting to become a better writer. From here on out, most of them won’t be traditional how-tos. They’ll be deeper discussions of the whys of blogging and writing as well as mistakes I’ve made in the big bad blogger world that you don’t need to make.
Because I changed the name, I also had to start a new Facebook page for that blog, so if you want updates on Facebook, be sure to like the new page. Click “like” here and you’ll be all setup for that. You can also subscribe via email and RSS.
As for Single Dad Laughing… fear not. It is still going to be my primary focus. There will still be daily posts. I love this blog. It’s my brainchild. My baby. My outlet for almost everything. I love the people here. I love the conversation. I love the silly bantering. I love the debate.
I just need to start taking a small percentage of my focus off of it so that what I do put into it is always coming from the right place, you know?
I love you. Thanks for understanding. And be excited because when I come back, I have some great things planned for you all.
I’m still not sure what I’ll do while I disappear for a little while. I’ll definitely take Noah to do some fun things. I’ll definitely spend some time up in my mountains.
And with that, I hereby am stepping away from my blog and my email. See you on the other side.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS. I do not wish to sound unthankful at all for everyone who shared my posts with their friends and family. Your sharing is what puts food on Noah’s and my table at night, and without your sharing none of this would be possible. So thank you, thank you, thank you for every post that you continue to share.
I just have to learn when to step away if/when things go viral again. If I can always recognize when it’s time to do that, I think I can handle just about anything that goes on around here.
PPS. A link to this post will be shared on FB a couple times. This is automatic and doesn’t mean I’m sneaking on.
I'm just catching up on the latest posts after first coming here after your viral post. I admire your courage, appreciate your honesty and understand why you had to pull back. Just know you are appreciated and people are listening. I'm a huge fan and I say 'screw the haters'.
Please take a mental health break. Enjoy your family and friends. Know that there are people out there who are sending prayers, blessings and best wishes to you and your loved ones because there is a lot of anger out there and sometimes it will be directed towards you. Reading your post made me realize that I need to use my talents to help those who are hurting and being hurt by the anger that is "out there".
Thanks again and if you find that you need to take an extended break that's cool do so. I can use this time to catch up on your old blog posts.
Please take a break!
Reading between the lines it has always seemed that you barely have enough time to breathe, much less to spend all the time with Noah that he needs from you. Please give that little boy some quiet time with his dad, away from all the electronic walls and veils he has to wend his way through all the rest of the time.
God bless you!
Glad you are taking a much needed break. Taking everything in can be very mentally draining and utterly exhausting. Remember, you've done a lot of good, changed a "few" lives, and helped in rebuilding relationships. You can't please everyone and I'm sorry you've received personal attacks... they are uncalled for. (Agreeing to disagree, ok. Adults behaving like children, not ok.) Anyway, don't let the few negatives overpower the many positives. At the end of the day, don't fester over them and have your brain go into overdrive. You can't change everyone but every one you do change is a bonus!
ok...but missing you already. Sheesh, and I've only "known" you for less than a month. What am I going to do WITHOUT YOU??? lol Guess I'll catch up on old blogs. And the rest of my life already. haha...never realized how addicting reading blogs are!
Yes, it's good to take a break. You were brave enough to speak out. Bravo to you. We need more to speak out on this message of love, compassion, caring and tolerance. I do, on my blog. http://toriabipolar.blogspot.ca/ Will you, sitting there reading this dare to blog, write or post about Dan's messages of hope? Will you? I challenge you to. I bet that none of you will take any action. No, it's easy to sit there and say they are wrong. And do nothing. Dan didn't sit there any longer. He said something that needed to be said. He got reaction. Overwhelming reaction. Will you try to create a reaction? Honestly, will you?
Taking a break is always the hardest thing to do, and I can imagine with the emotionally charged responses to those posts how much more difficult taking a break must be. I know it's probably very hard for you to be the focal point for the haters responding to it, but what a powerful message you put out there in your 'i'm Christian unless..." post. And for every response telling about a life that was changed for the better by reading it, I'd bet there are 10 others that didn't respond. The mesage of that one blog is the message we need in every church and school out there.
There are committees forming at schools across the country, looking at bullying and trying to solve it...the solution is love...there are churches out there trying to figure out how to increase their memberships....the solution is love...are there any problems out there in our society that can't be made better by the aplication of love?....I doubt it.
Thank you for saying what we all needed to hear.
Good for you for taking a break. I work in healing people and I, too, get so much heavy, difficult, "I will die if you don't help me" e-mails that it absolutely does get overwhelming. I've read your posts with great admiration for a while, and it's obvious to me that you are an empathetic individual - you care deeply for others and you feel their pain acutely, as if it were your own. That makes for terrific, raw, fantastic writing, but when you don't know how to shut it off and keep some energy for yourself, you can get exhausted. For years, I couldn't figure out why about once a month I would feel like my body was being pulled apart; it felt like I felt the pain of every living being on Earth and I didn't know what to do to help. What I realized is that, as an empathetic person myself, I was always open - always feeling other's pain and happiness and sadness and fear and anxiety and whatever else they were feeling. At work, I would wonder why I would suddenly feel anxious, when I wasn't anxious, and then would realize that someone in the next office was freaking out about something. I had to learn how to turn it on and off, how to take breaks away to cleanse myself and strengthen me, and how to re-ground myself at the end of each day. I still have the overwhelmed, pulled-apart-at-the-seams raw day every 6 months or so, but now I can use my empathy to help others and still be able to keep going to help the next day. Anyway, I've not commented on posts before, but I felt that maybe I could help here. Please take care of you and refresh your soul. Know that you have done a lot of courageous, powerful work that HAS helped the world. :o)
Hope you will rest well, so I can translate another your posts into Slovak :) Have a great time and do not worry - seeds you planted will grow alright :)
It's great to hear that you have the internal compass to know that you NEEDED to take a break. You might be missed, but we all understand. Hope you enjoy the break.
You're going to feel so refreshed when you get back! Can't wait to see how this reflects on your writing :-D Enjoy your time away
Heal your heart & soul, and re charge your spirit! You cannot function well when your energy tank is on empty. Rest, Relax, and Rejuvenate! We will all be here when you are ready to return...Namaste...
You being honest to yourself and your needs ( and sanity) is yet another important lesson of life that you are teaching us. Take your time-even if longer than one week!!
I'm glad you're taking a much-needed break. You've done an amazing job with writing all these deep, thought provoking articles. And it's hard not to let the jerks, idiots, and all-around mean people get you down, but there some of us who do read your posts and think deep thoughts afterwards, trying to learn our own place in this world and how to live as the best people we can be....and on behalf of them, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Thank you for your thought provoking posts. I am sorry that you have been attacked by so many people. I don't understand why people feel they must attack others as their way of proving someone else wrong. So many people swear to their religious faiths with such piety but turn around and spew forth such hateful things at others. I guess they can't see the irony and hypocrisy in their lives.
Those who pour out their hearts and souls must take time to fill them back up again! Hoping you find that in your time away!
Then take a another break. 3 blogs is enough to drive anyone insane especially when they are as popular as SDL. Then put a disclaimer out any threats in emails automatically are turned to police no sense in having that responsibility on you. Take care if you and Noah first, then go from there for all the rest of it.
We all understand your much needed time off and we appreciate you for all the things you encourage us to think about and the smiles you bring to us. We wil be here to continue our support if and when you decide to come back. Hugs to (((Noah))) as well.
Be well, Dan. Enjoy your time away, and know that you (and by virtue of this break all of us) will be better for it knowing that it is what you need and that you're attending to this need. See you when you're ready to share again.
You absolutely deserve a vacation everyone does! Take and enjoy and come back refreshed and awesome!
Whacha ya doin' back?! That ain't no "automatic sharing" that was you back for a fix of your cyber community. :) I hope you are having a great time up there in the mountain.
We all need to take a step back every now and then and have a mental health break. You have touched so many lives through your writing. Take whatever time you need, Dan. We'll still be here when you get back. :o) Hugs.
We all need a break from time to time, you are no different then the rest of us. Relax, enjoy, stay safe and may God be with you.