I feel like I should explain a little bit, to the extent that I can, what happened recently that caused me to take a step back from the blog and reflect. I'm still trying to make some sense of what happened and I think this will help me sort things out.
As most of you are aware, putting things out on the internet makes you a potential target for just about anything. This is a wild, wooly, very public forum, and what you put out there never really goes away. I have always tried to remain cognizant of this and have typically been very circumspect in what I've written. I don't really write about my jobs, for example, past or present. (Although I do admit to making some extremely veiled comments mainly for my own amusement during a particularly bad time at my previous employment. Roger, that is what "Flee the Yellow!" was all about!)
At the same time, I have been open about other personal details (like my cancer), which I think has made my blog both an interesting read, as well as useful and cathartic for me. I don't regret anything I've said here, even now. However, it seems there's always someone out to make some kind of trouble for other people. And that's what happened to me.
For the last several months, I have been dealing with a friendship that turned inexplicably toxic. For reasons I still cannot fathom, a long-time (and I mean very long-time) friend started turning on me about two years ago. It started with gossip and trash-talk behind my back and then proceeded to trying to impede things that I was working on wherever possible. One of the targets was one of my booths. For some reason, this person really seemed to want to see me gone from one store that I'm in.
This behavior would go on for several weeks, and then, all of a sudden, it would stop, as this "friend" would go back to relating to me just like we've always done. In a short time, however, it would all start again. Last fall, I decided that I'd had enough. I broke off contact to the greatest extent possible and made it very clear that I considered the friendship to be broken and that I had no desire to try and fix it. I was simply tired of what was turning into bullying.
Unfortunately, there are still some places where our lives intersect and some dealings we have to have with each other. I have kept those polite, professional, and to the point, leaving no way for this person to use them to try to get close to me again or to use them against me. Or so I thought.
Since the beginning of the year, this person has managed, on three different occasions, to find ways to either make trouble for me or harass me in some way. Yes, in the same time frame that I was dealing with my cancer and my chemo, a "friend" of mine was doing things that caused me to have to invest physical and emotional energy that I really didn't have to spare in order to deal with them. Yeah, classy.
At the same time, this person is proclaiming that they "don't know what Eddie's problem is." That they "don't understand why we're not friends any more." And that they "haven't done anything to deserve this kind of treatment."
Pretty much, I have tried to soldier on as always, keeping minimal contact and doing what I have to do to get better. I don't think I've said two dozen words to this person since March.
Then, it got more personal. This person used something that I really value to cause more trouble for me. They used this blog--not for anything I've said. mind you. They used the fact that the blog exists and that I have been updating it regularly throughout my illness to cause trouble for me with another person.
It's kind of convoluted how it all works, and there are details I'm not going to go into here, but that was the gist of it. I was so utterly stunned by the whole thing that I had to take a step back. Something really important to me had been abused and then used to abuse me. I was so hurt that, for a moment, I almost contemplated taking the whole blog down.
I've had this blog for almost ten years.
Granted, for a lot of its existence, it hasn't been much of a blog, but
it means something to me. It's served as an outlet for this urge to
write I've had my whole life. It's allowed me to be creative. It's
helped me cope with my losses and celebrate my joys. I've met some
really wonderful people through it. I can't imagine not having it.
the last 2-3 years, I think I finally found my voice and niche as a
blogger. This corresponded with a pretty turbulent time in my life--I
lost my job; my mother passed away; our beloved cat Bennie died; I got
cancer. Being able to blog about these things really helped me get
through these times. It let me express things that I really needed to
put out there in order to keep going.
The support that
many of you have shown, especially through the chemo, has meant so much
to me. Being able to blog during this time when doing so much other
stuff was so difficult kept me sane. There was one thing I could set up
and do and have turn out exactly like I wanted it to. The
accomplishment of scheduling a week or two's worth of posts at one time
made me feel like I had really done something and brought a sense of
order to the chaos I was going through. To have someone use that work
against me is devastating to say the least. Something that was
important to me has been tarnished.
So, I had to think about it for a bit. What I finally decided was that this is my blog, and I am not going to let anyone push me into walking away from it. I'm still upset over what happened, and more than a little hurt. I'm still figuring out ways to deal with it, but I know one thing. I've put up with all this in silence long enough. I'm through being a target. This blog is no one's weapon to use against me.