A thank you

Simple words cannot express how touched I was by the outpouring of support on my last post.  All day long (and well into the next) I read your kind words about my blog, and your advice towards dealing with negativity and criticism.

Criticism is a difficult topic.  I deal with it on a daily basis – I am constantly critiqued in my own lessons, performances, and auditions, and it isn’t always easy.    I also believe that one of the most valuable lessons I can impart to my own music students is how to gracefully deal with constructive criticism.  I hesitated to even post the comment, because I didn’t want to be “that blogger.”  But… I also knew that I couldn’t ignore it, as I have ignored plenty of comments in the past.

You see… I’ve always been the quiet one.  Growing up, I learned that running away from anger was the best way to avoid being hurt.  And so I did.  I ran from criticism, from conflict, and even from difficult relationships.  None of that made me happy, and it never made me feel as though I had any power.  I spent a good portion of my 20s trapped in a bubble of silence, unable to state my real views and opinions, and unable to ask for what I really wanted out of life.    I know this is not an uncommon feeling for women, as many of my female friends have expressed this fear – we must always be nice, because there is no other alternative, lest we be called nasty names.

I reached a point where enough was enough.  If I wasn’t happy, it was because I wasn’t expecting enough out of life, and I wasn’t standing up for myself to get it.  I started stating my beliefs and allowing myself to present my true face to the world. To my surprise, rather than my life falling apart it began to blossom!   As it turns out, people respect genuineness, though they might not be able to give a name to their response.

When I saw the comment I felt sad, but mostly I felt powerless.  It reminded me that while I have come far, I am still the same 10 year old girl who came back from recess to an anonymous letter on my desk assuring me of how ugly my hair was.  I don’t like to feel that way, as it takes me back to an ugly place.  So I posted my frustration with the state of interactions online.

The internet has long been a place where civil discourse is lacking (as I found out in 1998, posting on X-files fansites  about my belief that Mulder and Scully should be together 4eva! which was apparently a controversial subject.)  Even so, I find that the crafting community is absolutely the most supportive I have ever been involved with.

This blog has meant so much more to me than I ever thought it would.  In 2006 I started a blog on a whim, shortly after I took up knitting.  It has seen me through many hobbies and obsessions, two jobs, starting my own business, getting married, and going back to school.  I have had many ups and downs, but I have never failed to be cheered by the support and comments of your all – those in the crafting community, and even those who don’t do either yet continue to read (I didn’t know there were any – and I’m glad to meet you all!)

So… nothing to see here, move along.  I had a great day today – I sewed on Simplicity 2406, taught 5 lessons, made a berry/jasmine green tea smoothie, went to an excellent rehearsal, and then went out for dessert with my friends.  I know that were it not for the support of you all I would still be upset about the comment (though I know I shouldn’t be!) and instead I can only think of how many wonderful friends I have.  Thank you all!

35 thoughts on “A thank you

  1. I’ve been reading your blog since mid-2007 and even when things get busy around here, it remains one of the two or three blogs I manage to keep up on. One of my favorite things about it is how it has evolved over time to reflect your interests and your growth as a person. You are beautiful and inspiring! Thank you for sharing, Jessica!

  2. You are a completely normal, lovely person. I think everyone struggles to resilient. You’ve bounced back pdq! Glad to see it because I do so look forward to your blog posts:-)

  3. And I think THIS post explains a lot about why you write about yourself the way you do. That ugly commenter labeled you as self-obsessed, when the exact opposite is true. Being true to yourself and coming out of your shell and finding your own style and embracing your health (through exercise and tea-drinking and creative hobbies) is NOT self-obsession. Rather, it’s what makes you a unique and strong and interesting individual, and the fact that you blog about it just makes it fun and sometimes inspiring (every time you post I want to sew more) for the rest of us to read. I should have articulated this better on my comment on your last post.
    I’m in the performing arts too, so I totally relate to being constantly evaluated and criticized. Too bad we don’t live in the same city, or we could do a performance together!

  4. So glad to see that you are feeling better- you are a talented, thoughtful and kind person- I feel lucky to have found your blog years ago and I faithfully read your honest and interesting posts. Continue on… I think you are a wonderful writer and artist!

  5. It’s been a couple of months since I’ve dropped by but wow!!!! The internet bullies amaze and sadden me. I’m amazed that people can be so evil (yes I said evil cause sometimes, their issues are more than just being mean) and be so open with it.

    They sadden me because their negativity reflects what their actual life must be like. I think to myself — “this must be one unhappy puppy” and I feel sad for them.

    Do what you do. I enjoy all your posts and honestly, you don’t need to justify what you do, how you do it or why you do it. This blog is YOUR internet space so feel free to do what’s authentically you!!!!

  6. Google Reader encourages me to read tons of blogs without commenting… but I want to come out of the woodwork to say that yours is one I enjoy very thoroughly! I like sewing and crafty/DIY blogs, sure… but I also like when bloggers are obviously very much real people with diverse interests. So even though I rarely branch out from my Twinings variety pack, it’s fun to read about fancy tea from someone who is passionate about it! I’d personally rather see engaging posts about someone’s actual interests than forced posts on a narrowly defined range of topics. (Of course, the beauty of having your own blog is that you can do what you like regardless of what other people want — there are enough blogs for everyone to find the ones they like!)

    And duh, clearly Mulder + Scully = True Love!

  7. I can understand how you can get worked up over comments like this. And I also think you shouldn’t. I honestly don’t understand people like this. I enjoy your blog very much and when there is an occasional article about something I am not currently super interested in, then… well… here’s the great tip: I skip over it (like the smoothie recipe, no offense, I just don’t like chocolate smoothies).

  8. I have also lurked your blog for years, and though I started reading it for the sewing/knitting… I keep reading it because you are an interesting person with a lot of facets! I, too, am a nerd who plays video games and loves the X-Files and eyeglasses and gets insecure looking at pictures of myself sometimes. And I also get on learning kicks that take over my sewing obsession for awhile. I did have a point in commenting! I swear! And it’s that I hope you won’t let that one person make you second-guess the things you want to post about. This is your blog! I come here now to read about what this great person and excellent seamstress is thinking about for the moment. Besides, if your every post was you showing off your crazy sewing skills we’d all be too jealous to read.

  9. I really don’t understand online critics– like many people suggested, if you’re not into something, just move onto the next blog post! There are several blogs that I really like that sometimes post about things I’m less interested in– sometimes I read them and learn about something new, other times I just skip/skim the post.

    I’m a lurker here at Green Apples, and I really enjoy your blog. I think you’ve really developed your voice, and you shouldn’t be ashamed for wanting to share your life (or parts of it) with us out here in the blogosphere. I’ve found the online sewing community to be the most gracious, helpful, and encouraging space imaginable– I don’t think there’s any way I’d still be sewing today if it wasn’t for the support I’ve gotten online (particularly since I don’t have any friends in real life who are interested in sewing or knitting).

  10. What makes your post so intersting is that you write so attentively and carefully to what’s around you, one can’t help but relate to it. An interesting quote I saw yesterday on a calendar (by Oscar Wilde) is: Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.

  11. In my opinion, everybody who writes a blog on a regular basis somehow invites others to read their thoughts. I appreciate that and respect that. What I don’t get are the negative comments everywhere. I always say: if you don’t like a blog, then don’t read it and especially don’t comment it! I can’t really understand people who spend time on writing ugly things… Get a life people!

  12. I really believe what you are saying about women learning to express themselves is what is so wonderful about the blogging/sewing blog thing. I am a newbie, but it really is a wonderful community. I love the support when someone is down, either from a botched project, or just a bad day, and I love it when someone posts a project they feel ho hum about and everyone just adores it. I thank you for sharing yourself with us!

  13. I write a blog and also read enough blogs to know that our blogs are just a teensy bit of the person we are. I have real friends in real life but they don’t share my knitting obsession, so my blog “friends” who share my knitting love are important to me. Blog writing and reading, it’s fun, but is a very small part of my life, but a part I love. I’m glad you are a part of that life, you sound adorable. And furthermore!… we blog writers can go off in any direction we like, it’s our soapbox after all. Keep it up, please!

    1. Please tell me that this dress works for you, I have had two goes HIDEOUS on me, not great on my size 8 niece. Is it me?

  14. Day-um. Something sure is bothering “Rochelle”, but it isn’t you.

    Your blog reflects your blossoming and I think that’s fantastic. I started reading when you were strictly a knit blog, but I love it even more now that you’re branching out. You’re writing about your particular passions and interests, from your perspective – all of which are interesting and, as you said, genuine. So it doesn’t matter that, for example, I’m not also geeking out on tea!

  15. I am happy that you are discovering your voice and trusting that saying what you have to say is very constructive and makes you a better person. This is such a big true and such a difficult thing sometimes. Go ahead and be you! Your blog is wonderful and so are you!
    Jimena in Beirut

  16. “The internet has long been a place where civil discourse is lacking (as I found out in 1998, posting on X-files fansites about my belief that Mulder and Scully should be together 4eva! which was apparently a controversial subject.)”

    I knew there was a reason I liked you. 😉

  17. hi there! I have silently been enjoying your blog from as far away as austria.
    all i can say is: thank u.
    and i feel you don’t have to explain yourself or what u write. it’s your blog. and whoever doesn’t enjoy it, should, well, just not read it.
    have a sunny week!

  18. I read your blog and I use your sewing tips. And yes I also try the recipes and some of them have been pretty good. When a group of people speak and trade experiences (sewing here) they usually speak of many other things also. I also had problems with body image in the past. I also eat food. Do not let the BULLIES get to you. Keep on blogging and I will keep on following. I wish there was a way in blogland to blog that negative blogger.

  19. Just because you’re gorgeous I reckon. Sadly, amazing how a woman can get antzy pantzy when another is doing so well. I read your blog sometimes, not daily, for the awesome rundown and technical guidelines you so generously give about your sewing (and knitting, when you do). I guess some people take longer to learn that it’s not always better to speak your mind. I hope the woman who wrote the comment visits back and reads these comments – if she’s reading this I would say, celebrate womankind in all its diversity, support other women when/wherever you can, don’t sweat the small stuff – take a look at yourself and see what beauty others see in you. It’s hard sometimes, but anger, jealousy, spite and smugness only make your own life less happy. Embrace the good, save the negativity for when you really need it because life can be incredibly bad at times, so we must enjoy the good stuff such as crafty, positive blogs. There. Hope you are feeling better.

  20. I love your blog & have been reading it for ages. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t read it! Period. No need for me to ever post something nasty, not on anyone’s blog. You are very creative & it’s enjoyable for me to see your different projects, no matter what they are – sewing, knitting, cooking, music, etc. Keep up the great work!

  21. Please keep on blogging with all your recipes, your insights and everything else you share about yourself. You help us improve our life with wonderful recipes and insights. So many of us can identify with you. I cannot give proper credit to this quote that I have but I read someplace that the anonymity of the web leads into uncivil behavior online: “You have this wonderful technological marvel that can improve This was an observation of a person named Forni.

  22. When I first started reading your blog sometime last year, I thought there were some things I had in common with you. I am a music education student and I LOVE to sew. After reading this, I’m inspired to be myself and let go of the things other people do and say. I’ve always had difficulty making friends, and especially now more than ever. Mostly I feel like the odd one out in every situation, so I find it easier to stay quiet and keep to myself. I was blogging for a couple years, and no one seemed to be reading it, so I gave it up for a few months, then started a new blog, wrote three posts (hoping it would be different) and haven’t posted since. I’ve found that I need affirmation from someone to know that what I’m doing is worth it. So I wanted to say that reading your blog is an encouragement to me to do what I love because it IS what I love, and I don’t have to let other’s thoughts dictate what I do. If I do I will be miserable forever. Though that one lady does not like your blog, there are SO many more people who do and look forward to reading it, and I’m one of those 😉

  23. I’ve been reading your blog for what seems like forever now and I”ve always enjoyed your posts. I’ve been a little sad that you’ve moved on to sewing and are knitting less — because I’ve always enjoyed your beautiful knits and how well you photograph them. But I’d never dream of writing a comment taking you to task for writing about *my* interests less. I’m sorry you had to deal with that negativity. Like you, I tend to take these slights personally as well and sometimes I want to pack up my blogging and designing because I just don’t take nasty criticism well. But I hope you do continue blogging; I know I’ll continue reading.

  24. That stinks about the troll comment. I’m sure others have rushed to say it- but that comment says more about the commentator than it does about you.

    I think you’re so so SO right about how we’re conditioned to be “nice.” “Nice” at the expense of everything else, and it really isn’t worth it. You’re exactly right about how people are drawn to a genuine person- though I do find the occasional person is repelled by a strong, confident person who is comfortable in themselves. Again, I think it says more about the person who is repelled by that than it does the person who is being genuine..

    I’m a fan of the positivity and general civility on the sewing blogs. It’s very lady-like, in a nice way, isn’t it?

  25. I’ve been reading your blog since I was a knitter and since this was primarily a knitting blog. But really this is the Internet, and if that commenter had such a problem with you they don’t have to read it! Just as you have every right to post whatever you want to post, after all this is your blog!

    I’ve always been the opposite of quiet. Too direct, too forthcoming, too blunt. I was very quiet as a child and bullied a lot, and I learned that if I wasn’t vocal and didn’t stand up for myself then no one would respect me (including myself.) I also don’t equate being quiet with being “nice”, since I’ve met plenty of men and women who are “nice” to someone’s face yet would talk about what happened behind their backs.

    And yes, Scully and Mulder do belong together. 🙂

  26. Hey, it’s your blog. You can write whatever the heck you write. It’s nobody else’s business what you can or cannot write. They have no right to dictate the terms.
    If they don’t like your blog, they can take their opinion and shove it where the sun don’t shine.

  27. Wow! I love your blog because I know I will always be inspired by whatever your latest interest is – knitting, sewing, daily living – and feel privileged that we all have the capability, via the Great Interknits, to meet people with similar – and different – interests and have a rich exchange of ideas.

    I guess somebody having a bad day (or life) and writing a critical comment is par for the course, but it stings, like someone being pointlessly rude in the parking lot. Still, the good part is knowing everyone else is kind and supportive. Keep on blogging, and thanks for sharing!

    Speaking of sharing, I just started reading a book, “Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain, a fascinating look at the strength and success of us “quiet” people (some of us have adapted to a noisy world, but are still “still waters run deep” kind of people). Really eye-opening!

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