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Free speech is a funny thing.

Here in the good ‘ole US of A, we’re allowed to say whatever we want, but our Constitution doesn’t protect us from our listeners. Because while we have the freedom of speech, they have the freedom of interpretation.

Have you ever noticed that when you like someone (even for 5 minutes), you don’t mind so much what they say? Because you like them and appreciate them and think well of them, you also (by default) like what they say and appreciate what they say and think well of what they say. Basically, you assume good intent, you assume they mean no harm, you smile and say, “Oh, that Julie! There she goes again being the Julie that we love!” (for example).

And have you ever noticed that when you don’t like someone (even for 5 minutes), you mind everything they say? Because you don’t like them and don’t appreciate them and don’t think well of the them, you also (by default) don’t like what they say nor appreciate what they say nor think well of what they say. Basically you assume mal-intent, you assume they mean total harm, you snarl and say, “Oh, that Julie! There she goes again being that terrible, horrible Julie that we can’t stand!” (for example).

And so it went, oh around the middle of October, when I wrote a sarcastic, ridiculous line in a post. A stupid, silly thing to say right in the middle of a deeply heartfelt post about learning and growing and being rather humble in the midst of a new world. And these words, they were misinterpreted, rearranged and then broadcast to  people all around me. By someone who seems not to like me, but IN REALITY (when I really thought about it) doesn’t know me at all. Not even one iota of me.

It was a bummer. The kind that just kept on giving. And growing. And then giving some more. More and more people told me what this person had told them. It was like the Ebola virus. Eating away at my public, work and private self.

After I first learned about the ‘rumor’, I sat down at my computer per usual to write a post. And I wrote it. But I couldn’t publish it. I just couldn’t. It’s still in my drafts. Along with 5 others.

I felt violated. In this holy, wonderful place that my blog is to me. In this, my favorite writing space in the world.

As my hand hovered over the publish button, I felt my positive self shrinking. Behind some serious and sad armor.

Why should I share anything with anyone? Why is it anyone’s business what goes on in my head? Why should I set myself up to be knocked down again?

I’ll just stay here, on the other side of my computer. And hide. I said. And I did. For the last 2 months. (And by hide, I mean purely: not writing this blog…in the meantime, I’ve been creating and writing my buns off work-wise. And having a blast!)

But who are we kidding? That’s not me! That’s not how we do things around here! And I miss it. I miss all of you. I miss the outlet. I’m bad at quiet. Really, really bad at quiet. I’m just sayin’.

And then there were all of the emails and twitter messages I got from you wonderful people saying things like how you were breaking down and reading my archives because you needed a fix. And I thought, why should we all suffer because of one misinformed person?

So here I am, writing and publishing. And I think we should celebrate—but not because I’m here writing a post (it was that sort of ‘seemingly’ ego-filled jab at myself (seriously, a jab at myself — AS IF I think I’m so great…puhlease!) that got me in this trouble in the first place).


And how better to celebrate them….drumroll please….than with a brand new, NOOKcolor for your reading (of writer-badasses) pleasure!!!

The wonderful folks at Barnes & Noble have given me a brand new, hot off the presses, NOOKcolor to give away. (And they gave me one to play with, too – and I frickin’ love it!!!! Everything about it is beautiful and awesome and fabulous. Everything. For reals, you want this thing.)

Here’s the deal. Tell me a time when you were almost beaten down by something or someone, but you stood up and stood your ground and persevered. I’ll pick a winner with that random doo-hickey website on January 8th.

[And if ‘the one who doesn’t know me’ is still here and still reading. I’d love for us to get to know each other. And if there’s something you read that is upsetting to you, come on down. Let’s talk it out…and practice that free speech thing. Together.]

Join the discussion 60 Comments

  • --Deb says:

    Oh, Julie, I’m so glad you’re back! I’ve so missed your posts.

    As to the rising-from-defeat thing? I don’t really have any good stories about that, but I distinctly remember this one moment from kindergarten. (Or maybe it was first grade.)

    I’d been hanging out and playing with one of the “cool” kids, being kind of best friends, but she kept wanting to do stuff that I wasn’t interested in, like sports and running around and whatever.

    So finally one day on the playground, I just told her “This isn’t me.”

    You can imagine that that went over like a Nazi airstrike over London, and after that not only wouldn’t she talk to me, but she turned the rest of the class against me, too. I was REALLY popular after that, but while I admit I did care, I was secure in the knowledge that I was being true to myself.

    Ultimately, that’s the best any of us can do.

    Hugs, and Happy New Year.

  • Ron Miller says:

    Welcome back, your dreams were your ticket out
    Welcome back to that same old place that you laughed about
    Well, the names have all changed since you hung around
    But those dreams have remained and they’ve turned around

    Who’d have thought they’d lead ya (who’d have thought they’d lead ya)
    Back here where we need ya (back here where we need ya)
    Yeah, we tease her a lot ’cause we’ve got her on the spot
    Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back
    Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back

    Good to have you back.

    Happy New Year!


  • Meghan says:

    I have a difficult person in my family who I try to accept, forgive, and treat with kindness. It tries my patience, but I’m working on it.

  • Cathy says:

    I’m so glad you are *back* – I’ve been missing you in my reader!! I struggle often with getting angry at my Mom – she has basically removed herself from our lives. We have only ever shown her support and love and compassion, but she shuts us out. I do my best to have empathy and undertstanding, but often battle with feeling abandoned and angry.

  • Todd Jordan says:

    Welcome back! Had this at work on a major project. Boss thought I was nuts about estimates and work. Basically called ,e out in front of others. Ended up I was right and came out as the go to guy.

    Love to win but just glad to be reading your stuff.

    • Julie Roads says:

      I love when good trumps evil, Todd. Thanks for being one of the tweeters who kept nudging me these past few months!

  • Julie Roads says:

    LOVING your comments. You all make me so happy! Thanks for ‘playing’.

  • Michael says:

    I was noticing yesterday that I hadn’t had a blog post from you in forever arriving in my email box and wondering what had happened. And then today you answered my question! Good synchronicity!

    Thanks for sharing what happened with one of your readers. Sounds like really tough stuff. It’s so easy to think we know just what a writer is trying to say – and yet we interpret it always through our own unique perspective. Not understanding that you might – just might – be coming from a different perspective than mine.

    You asked for a similar story – mine happened just this week. I have an old friend – from back in college days. We have been growing apart these last few years. He’s been reaching out – but I can’t seem to let go of some of the more painful experiences we’ve had in the last few years.

    I wrote what I thought was a heartfelt letter trying to explain my feelings and reluctance to reconnecting and got back a scathing reply. It felt like a punch in the gut.

    In the past I would’ve taken it to heart and felt terrible about myself for days or weeks. This week – I simply made the decision to cut ties. It felt empowering – and a bit sad.

    That’s my story for you. Thanks for having the courage to start tapping the keys again and hitting “publish” today.

    Wishing you and all your readers a Happy New Year.

  • One of the reasons I read your blog is because of your honest, acerbic, sometimes-sarcastic but always very real take on the world. If someone can’t take it they should shove it – because really, we need more real. Glad you’re back!

    The first thing that came to my mind when you asked for a “rising from defeat” moment was an incident with one of my fifth grade teachers (not my primary one thank goodness). For some reason, this teacher hated me on sight and spent the whole year trying to make my life miserable. I worked so hard in her class, even did extra credit to get on her good side. But she never had a nice word for me.

    One day, she called me to the front of the class and whispered in my ear, “Don’t you think those pants you’re wearing are a little too tight?”

    So what if I was in my pudgy phase at the time? I was absolutely sick with mortification. The kicker was that this woman was HUGE herself.

    Basically, even at age 10, I knew that there was something going on deep inside this woman that had absolutely nothing to do with me. So I let it go, stayed out of her way, stopped trying to please her and never looked back after leaving fifth grade.

    Welcome back!

    • Julie Roads says:

      Julie – My grandmother gave me a card when I was 20 (and a size 4-6, but dealing with a nasty case of terrible body image). On the front was a big, big cartoony lady holding up a tiny little dress in the middle of a store. When you opened the card, it said, “Birthday wishes for next year: SINGLE DIGITS”.

      Can you imagine? Oh, wait…you can!!!

      So awesome that you had that chutzpa at age 10!!! I can only imagine your power now!

      • Wow, your own grandmother! That might even be worse. I hope she was just clueless. Isn’t it ironic that when we are at the height of our “looks” that’s when we appreciate them the least and question them the most?

  • Gail Kent says:

    I was just thinking last night … I haven’t heard anything from Julie in a long time. Wonder if she’s stopped her blog? Something must be wrong! She said she would never stop blogging! Maybe she got hit by a truck while running around her island! I’m so glad that you are OK. Don’t let the haters stop you. It’s great to have you back where you belong! You go!

  • Shari says:

    Welcome back! It happens to all of us in one way or another – at one time or another, whether with family, in-laws, co-workers, or perfect strangers. I started to share the details here and realized the details aren’t important. Bottom line – someone lied about me – I stood up to the liar and with my actions proved them wrong.

    Glad you are back! I value honest writing!

  • Erin says:

    Welcome back! I’ve missed your blog. Here’s the short version of my story. I’m infertile. My sis-in-law got preggo 6 months after marrying my brother. I cried to my mom (and not my brother or sis-in-law) that yet another person was going to be a mom and I still wasn’t. My mom told me I was ruining everyone’s joy and being selfish. I stewed for a long time, then decided I needed to say what I felt, whether they liked it or not. So, I started blogging about our infertility, our decision to adopt, and the insane process of adopting. It has been an amazing outlet for me. I allow myself to say what I really feel and get it all out. I refuse to hold in my feelings – good or bad – and bottle it up just because of one person’s opinion.

    • Julie Roads says:

      Erin! That is amazing. GOOD FOR YOU! And thanks for sharing it with us. Now…share the url of this fabulous blog!

  • Tracey says:

    Ahhhh. Welcome back! I missed your brilliance.

    I struggled for a year and a half, dealing with a co-worker who spent her every waking moment trying to undermine me any way she could. I was working at a college and she organized students to organize myspace/facebook campaigns against me; she undermined department advancements in open meetings; she even went so far as to object to my hiring saying that I didn’t have the proper degrees (I did). I stood my ground, advanced the department and then left. The toll of dealing with negative energy day in and day out wasn’t worth it for me. I returned to my business, started blogging and haven’t looked back (until now when your post forced me to reflect, once again, how blessed I am to be free to do as I please).

    Thank you. Keep sharing your brilliance with the world. It matters.

  • leon Noone says:

    G’Day Julie,

    Bloody Hell! I get up on New Year’s morning and confront the mountain of emails. awaiting me.

    Suddenly 2011 is looking good. There’s an email from Writing Bloody Roads! In among all the stuff offering huge end of year discounts, the fastest path to millionairedness before the end of January and really serious advice about how to get my life in order–again–there’s Julie Roads. Wow!

    Welcome back. Keep writing. There have been fewer smiles on my face since you stopped posting: and all because of some ill mannered fool neither of us have ever met.

    The sun is shining magnificently here in spectacular Sydney this New Year’s morning. Thanks for adding some sparkle.

    And remember, incase it’s slipped your mind momentarily,

    make sure you have fun.



    • Julie Roads says:

      Leon! You know, it just wouldn’t be my blog comments without your happy face in the list! I have met (and more) the person that caused the trouble! This wasn’t an internet hit and run, but a real life one.

      I am having tons of fun. Just popped the cork on some sparkling cider with my young’uns and put them to bed…now I’m off to a brilliant night of writing! Getting a jumpstart on 2011.

      ‘talk’ soon,

  • Stephanie H says:

    So glad you are back. Your blog was one of the first ones I started following when I figured out how to follow a blog last spring/early summer. You have been greatly missed.

    My ‘stand up for myself’ epiphany came while picking up the pieces after a miserable seven year marriage. In high school, I wasn’t exactly a confident person (more of a wallflower than anything), but I knew who I was, what I liked, what I didn’t like, and expected people to ‘take me as I was or leave me alone.’ I married the first person to pay attention to me and who ‘seemed’ to take me as I was. The next seven years were wasted being belittled, put down, and changed into what he expected me to be.

    When I decided to go back to school and better myself (of course, this first attempt at bettering ‘myself’ was in the field of ‘his’ choice) I rediscovered the me I knew in high school. I then realized how much of myself I had compromised and ‘hidden’ from the world. Long story, slightly shorter – I ended the miserable marriage with the one who took me for granted and didn’t truly take me for who I was, went to work and reclaimed myself. When I wasn’t looking for someone to support, encourage and love the true ‘me’ he came along. My soulmate encouraged me to pursue an education, in my terms, in the field I had loved in high school. We have been sharing our lives now for 10 years, married for 9, and I have enjoyed my fulfilling new career as an accountant for 3 years.

    I am so thankful, looking back, that I reclaimed ‘me’ and have someone in my life who truly loves me and encourages me to be me. I am so glad I quit hiding and I am so glad that you have quit hiding too. Thank goodness you realized hiding yourself wasn’t the right path for you in just a couple of short months instead of taking seven years to realize it.

    Happy new year! Hope 2011 is a great year for you.

    • Julie Roads says:

      Stephanie! What an incredible story. Thank you so much for being brave enough to share it here. And thanks for sticking around while I was quiet…

  • Jennifer says:

    Welcome back, Julie — so good to ‘hear’ your voice again! The first time I remember truly feeling beaten was in 7th grade when my in-crowd girlfriends decided I was passe. After a year of name-calling, spitwads and gum thrown in my hair, and nasty things about me being etched in the bathroom stalls and even spray-painted on the side of the school, I was utterly defeated and humiliated. I transferred to a private school for 8th grade, and the friendships I made there completely saved me. In hindsight, I’m grateful for that experience. It’s made me much more compassionate, and helped me help my son when he went through something similar.

  • tawnya says:

    Recently, actually. I had to uninvite someone from my book club and while awkward and not fun, she turned it into something unnecessary. But instead of being me and firing back, I held my tongue and let it be. And I was amazed and everyone else coming to my defense organically. ‘Twas a good lesson. Sometimes I just need to let it be and let the truth show itself.

  • Paula says:

    I’m soooo glad you didn’t let that one unhappy individual keep you from doing what you love! I’ve learned that some people are only “happy” when they’re causing problems for others (although we both know they’re not REALLY happy, which is the saddest part). The people who know you will stand by you no matter what trouble others try to stir up, and you will drive yourself crazy if you try to “make” everyone like you. (I speak from experience as a reformed people-pleaser!)

    So very glad you’re back in the blogosphere!We’ve missed you!!

    As for a time I overcame something, I’d say it was when I decided that I could no longer try to be the perfect mom, wife, worker, friend, etc. and admitted that I had issues I needed to deal with (namely, anxiety and depression). For such a long time I felt like I would let everyone (and myself) down if I admitted how I was really feeling inside, but once I finally did and got help, I felt such relief. I felt like I was finally taking control of my life instead of letting my life control me.

    Happy New Year, Julie! May 2011 be full of happiness for you!!

  • Glad you are back.

    Let’s see, I have so many stories of being beaten down by the garden-variety rejections all writers suffer. But those are boring.

    What sticks in my mind is an incident from the first grade. I had taught myself to read, and happily shared this glorious information with a classmate, only to have her snarl and say, “You can’t read!” Classic case of envy, I see now, but I’m pretty sure that comment resonated inside me for years anytime I started to claim an accomplishment.

    Happy New Year, and tonight I’ll raise a glass to all our writer’s voices being heard, loud and clear!

  • Andi says:

    I have missed you more than words can say, I have missed you every single day. I have been one of the archive readers just needing to hear your voice. Just reading this post made me tear up, I love and miss you terribly. This is the best gift ever. I know you have been busy, but I stilled missed you in this space, a place that belongs to you and those who (whom?) love and no none else. Everyone else can suck it, I mean, they should kindly move along!

  • Andi says:

    Oh jeez, I got so excited I forgot to write my entry! I had spent many months working on a document that everyone and their brother had given input on. I was proud of the result and confident when I started to implement the plan. Then a new person came into my overall organization from another group and challenged it heavenly. This person is a senior director with a Harvard MBA and I am just an individual contributor who was passionate about the topic. I panicked and obsessed and questioned. I prepared a defense and reached out for help and support. I took a breath and prepared myself mentally and then took the challenge head on by rallying the troops, garnering support and holding a meeting in which I showed her, that yes in fact I did know what I was talking about and I did know what I was doing. It was really scary and I am glad I did not take the defensive, but rather just stood my ground and proved her otherwise. It taught me that just because someone outranks me, that doesn’t always mean they are better than me and that I should have confidence in my abilities.

    • Julie Roads says:

      Suck it! Have you been watching Kathy Griffin, my dear Andi? I have missed you, too. And your story just shows what a badass you are. What you did is something I work on EVERYDAY: not being defensive. Good for you!!!!!!! xox

  • Barry Silver says:

    Hi Julie,
    Glad to hear you just had a crisis of faith as opposed to other crises that could be debilitating. I’ve missed your writing. As to your post I disagree a bit with the beginning. People I like sometimes say stuff that bothers me, but I let it roll (unless it requires discussion). I try to love people (that I love) for who they are and not be mad at them for who they are not. As for those that annoy me, I have enough time to be annoyed by them. When they’re right I want to give them their due. It’s about being the best me I can. Don’t let small minds get you down. It’s okay to piss people off, even if you weren’t trying to. When you’ve pushed a button, you’ve made people think.

    Final note: A Chicago radio personality from way back (Dave Baum for fellow dinosaurs) used to say his favorite callers where those that told him they hated his show. Hated his show, still listened and called. That’s how you build ratings.

    Happy New Year and welcome back. 2011 is better with you in it.

    • Julie Roads says:

      Barry – I totally hear you! Love your interpretation. Did anyone ever tell you that you’re a good person? Because what you wrote is some good solid evidence…Happy new year!

  • Dad says:

    You have made my day.

  • Chris says:

    Julie, glad you broke through! Although I’m fortunate enough to experience your writing through other outlets, they are not a replacement for this. Because this space is YOURS, not limited by a client’s objectives or a project deadline, it not only keeps your style and writing skills sharp, it is an important creative avenue. Imagine having so many thoughts throughout your day, some random, some fun and whimsical and some heavy and serious, where do they go? Well, you know…over the last few months anyway, they get ‘bottled up’ inside or left in ‘drafts’. NO GOOD! Let them out! Those that know you WILL understand what you write and if they don’t, they will surely ask, and for those that DON’T know you, I hope they have the guts to take you up on your offer and “come on down!”. (Where is Bob Barker anyway? ;)

    As for your ‘beaten down’ challenge. Hmmm…well, all of us who have demanding clients know they ‘beat us down’ all the time. Some of them quite literally (emotionally that is, cause I haven’t been hit by a baseball bat…yet) There are many examples but one extreme scenario comes to mind. I often find that things aren’t always as they seem. This client could never just give a complement about my work without slamming me about something. What gives I thought? It became clear that I was the punching bag. BUT, this person WAS a good person. Why be so horrible? I thought, what are my choices…1.Bark back. 2. Suck it up and take the beating. 3. Fire the client. All viable choices but 1 get’s me fired, 2 hurts my character long term and 3 (love this one!) the shitty economy doesn’t really allow me to do so. SO then, I thought, maybe, just maybe I would investigate. After discovering more about this particular person, this client, I realized, it was not her at all but the corporate culture her company had spent 50 years building. They were actually ‘taught’ to beat the hell out of their vendors, push blame outside themselves and always, always have a victim at the ready. Knowing this and looking beyond, I realized all of us in some way or another are confined and controlled by societal ‘norms’. All I have to do is peal that aside and assume that the person who is doing the ‘beating’ is good. This prevents me from going ballistic and forces me to stand my ground and perservere.

    Happy New Year Julie! Welcome back!

  • LeAnn says:

    I was just thinking about you the other day and wondering when I would see a new post from you. So glad you’re back!

    I have recently started standing up for myself with my husband. Telling him how I feel about things instead of keeping it to myself… planning to continue with it in 2011.

  • Joseph Ruiz says:

    Welcome back so glad you are here. What a relief thought my RSS had gone haywire. I enjoy your commentary and have really missed seeing your posts.

    Challenges have a way of making us stronger.

    So good to see you are back. All the best for a Happy healthy New Year.

  • I was blogging, anonymously at the time, on my personal blog about my son’s stalking incidents when the woman/stalker found out and it brought havoc on my larger family. I almost pulled all the posts related to the stories (which had no names or locations or hints to identity)then realized that hiding or feeling the need to be silent was the very same loss of power that victims experience. And, that there is value in sharing our stories. I assume she still reads as well as an estranged family member and I’ve tried to ignore that, but admittedly I do think of it. But, I still write.

    So, I totally connect and applaud your decision to say WTF. Thanks for coming back.

  • Jennifer says:

    Julie – i had just removed your blog from my reader thinking you were never coming back! Thanks for making the effort. Also, thanks for sharing what happened. It’s applicable in so many places, for me including work and home.

  • Talitha says:

    Welcome back…you have been a real inspiration for me in using my blog and other social media promote my farm (via lessons learned at Martha’s Vineyard Fiber Farm.
    As for being beaten down…ten years ago, I met the “one.” We were each married with children to others that we had loved and were committed to. For five years we forged a friendship and tried to do the “right thing.” When we realized that wasn’t working, we tried to graciously end our marriages in 2005 (we were stupid about thinking it would be easy, I admit it). His spouse made ugly accusations against me in every forum she could find until she convinced a local company I had committed identity theft. I was arrested and fought that for 18 months until dismissed by the prosecutor. At the same time she lied in family court against him and had everything including his children taken away. I sued the company which settled handsomely with me when shown how she had lied to them and they failed to check her story. So the “one” and I are starting again, bruised and battered but triumphant. And we will be making wonderful farmstead cheese together on our farm and healing.

  • Marcella says:

    Freaking finally! Please excuse the annoying tweets asking for a fix, but this was definitely worth the wait — probably because these distinct moments of doing something for yourself in the face of adversity and other forms of bullshitake is just the kind of badassery that I love about this blog.

    I dealt with evilness in the workplace for two years. Two people who really went to great lengths to undermine my work, criticize every move I made, and tear my career to shreds. It’s almost impossible to go through these experiences without letting your blood boil and experiencing horrible emotional stress, but I got through it and out of that job with more success and praises than those two evil people will ever be able to tear down. I did this by realizing that the only way to get back at these people and getting under their skin was by … gasp … succeeding. My success is the one thing that can truly hurt them, and I’m on a great path to making that happen — for my sake and for theirs! It also helped to realize that these people don’t do or say mean things to me to make me feel worse — they do and say mean things to make themselves feel better. :]

  • Lynn D. says:

    I am a new reader and found this blog because I searched google for reviews on the NookColor. The topic for the giveaway is quite interesting and I didnt have to think long to come know what I *wanted* to write about (even if a contest was not involved) but I wasn’t sure I would have the guts to hit the ‘submit comment’ button (just like you). However, I realized that I have persevered after after this experience even though sometimes I feel like I am still that scared little girl ready to cry and shrink away.

    I started my dream job several years ago for a real estate company and loved it. The President and high level executives loved me and I thought I had the beginnings of a great career with this company. Imagine a job that you actually don’t mind going to work every day! I had it.

    After several years, the company started the process of being bought out. People were nervous about their job security. The new company wanted to see extremely high performance rates for even the highest level executives.

    As a result of this pressure, one manager above me asked that I change some records (that I had in my possession) because he made some errors. These errors would cause his client to lose a great deal of money and the errors cause the client to seek management elsewhere. I refused to make these changes multiple times because I had several professional licenses of my own to protect that I thought were ultimately more important than my job. I was screamed at, belittled, talked about behind my back and degraded in attempts to intimate me to make those changes.

    I knew though, by refusing to change some records for this executive, my job would be in jeopardy. He knew that if I did not make these changes, his job would be in jeopardy. My immediate boss implied that the records should be changed. I refused again. Both the executive and my immediate boss then asked people who worked for me to change the records. Those employees came to me and asked what to do. I stood my ground and told them not to do it.

    As I suspected, that was the end of my ‘career’ with the company. Within a month, excuses were made as to why I needed to be let go. It was heart breaking because I had never been fired from a job.

    I LOVED that job so much. It was almost like a spouse in that I worked on that job more than on myself. I worked weekends and nights because I loved it. I loved the people and spent much of my free time back then with them. As I suspected, those relationships ended. In effect, I was socially and professionally black-listed by the President of the company and my self-esteem plummeted.

    Ultimately (and it took a very long time to come to this conclusion), I realized that my integrity and self-respect was worth more than any job.

  • I have this tendency to focus only on what’s on the front page of my Google Reader and when people are not posting so regularly, I tend to overlook, especially when I am short for time, as I have been for the past two months. So, your not writing and my not reading kind of synced up. :) It took our mutual appreciation of Misadventures With Andi to realize you had been gone as long as you had, and to check in! I thought maybe you were doing NaNoWriMo and then maybe the Plot Whisperer’s PlotWriMo, ergo the quiet.

    Instead, what I read put a chill in my heart, for you described my very worst nightmare as someone who writes for readers online.

    I have wondered if something of this ilk could ever happen to me. I’ve seen it happen to others. It’e never pretty when it does, and the effects can be devastating.

    First, let me say good on you for jumping back in the water, back up on that horse, and swimming/riding once again. “They” can only take away what power you ascribe to “them,” so I am happy to see you back. Yay!! It’s Julie, FTW!

    Second, while I never had the experience of getting so beaten down in a blogging situation that I decided to pull my blog (yet, oh lord may it not happen, knock on wood), A couple of years ago, I got into so beaten down with my life that I thought of pulling *myself* out of it. Pretty seriously, in fact, with kind of a half-assed attempt (my ass may not have been in it, but my heart. I wanted to be GONE. I guess something else in me made me held back just enough that it didn’t/couldn’t happen, though. Thank goodness). It’s something I don’t really blog about, although sort of on the edges of it, with allusions to “being depressed” or “having a crisis” at that time. Part of the reason I’m not more explicit about it is for the reasons you describe in this blog: there would be those who could use it in not-so-nice ways if I were more expressive about it. Yeah, I comment here or there, obliquely, about a lot of stuff, including this, for while Google does a lot, tracking ALL the comments I make on blogs could be a full-time job, lol.

    Having had that experience, though — hitting rock bottom like that — has made me stronger now. Once you hit that kind of place, all there is is up, you know?

    So, I am glad you have once again joined the leagues of the blogging. Welcome back, at whatever capacity you wish for yourself. I’m certainly glad to see at least this post. You were brave and courageous to post it, and I am happy you did.

  • I’m not trying to extra-comment for the Nook, lol. I just hate my own typos, though, and rue the fact that 99% of blogs don’t have an edit feature for comments, including my own! Pooh. Anyway, this sentence was bugging me too much to not fix it: “…my ass may not have been in it, but my heart WAS” is what I meant to write. :)

  • Allie Davis says:


    I’m glad you’re back, too. After stumbling upon your blog about 8 months ago, I’ve loved “escaping” from my own work and writing to listen to your insights. Thanks for rising up again to continue blessings all of us out in blogosphere.

    When I was a sophomore in college, living life to the fullest and pushing myself way too hard in both school and extra-curricular activities, I found myself smacked down by pneumonia. Just as I was beginning to recover, I left my check-up visit at the Dr.’s with a new diagnosis: mononucleosis. What a terrible-sounding name for a truly terrible illness! Having not ever really been sick in my life before, the experience of forcing myself to rest was difficult to say the least. There were many times in the next year, when my immune system was kapoot, that I wanted to give up on school, social life, even life itself.

    But thanks to God, my friends and family, and my own stubborn will, I made it. Now, several years later, I look back at that time as a season where I learned more than almost any other season in my life.

    May this time of being “beaten down” for a while but standing victoriously in the end be the same for you: a time of great growth and increase of knowledge for life. May you be all the stronger for the cruelness dealt you by this other person.


  • Aaron Pogue says:

    Maybe it goes without saying (or, in email, it’s already been said), but I’ve definitely missed, and I’m glad to hear your voice again.

    My biggest story of personal tragedy is the time I knocked myself down. I grew up absolutely confident that I’d be a best-selling author by the time I turned twenty and when it didn’t happen (after, really, very little work on my part), I became utterly devastated when I graduated and had to get a real job.

    I spent four years wallowing in self-pity (and not writing a word), doing everything I could to wreck a really amazing life, and for some reason my friends and family stuck by me through it all and it was eventually for them that I decided to put myself back together.

    It’s been three and a half years since then, and they’ve been the best years of my life. It’s so easy to get knocked down by ignorance (even when it’s our own), and the only way to get back up is to get over it and start dealing in reality again.

    As Julie Hedlund said up above, we all need more real. And that’s where you shine. Welcome back, Julie.

  • Katherine says:

    Julie, sorry to hear about your sad experience. I can relate. Perhaps mine wasn’t so public a humiliation, but it indeed robbed me of the majority of my professional confidence for a bit. It happened when I worked in a hospital with many healthcare disciplines as a team member in a unit for persons experiencing severe medical impairments. So, you’d think that the healthcare professionals in that unit would have been from among the most caring and understanding group. Well, I felt that way until one day I found myself confronted by a male staff member who was upset with me about a professional disagreement…and when I say confronted, I mean “in my face, yelling, pointing his finger, using threatening words” confrontation. But that, believe it or not wasn’t the worst of it…behind him I could see all of the other staff members watching…not helping…calling for help…or anything…watching. And I felt like a beaten down puppy dog as I walked through the unit on my way out the door. But, how did I get my “positive” back? My family and a very good friend. That’s how. I talked it out and talked it out and talked it out…until one day I actually believed them when they gave me permission to stand tall again and be the great professional I knew I was! Yes, Julie, I truly understand your feelings. And It is so good to see you back in the game again! Happy 2011 to you.

  • Ellen says:

    Glad to see you back Julie! I missed your posts! Being knocked down is a big part of life and business but it seems it happens to bloggers often. Your content is not good enough, often enough, your interests are boring and so on. I started a blog for young professionals and I had someone tell me that group would never want to read about the stuff I’m writing, so I stopped. I felt discouraged and let that person bring me down but 2011 feels like a good time to start again and say who cares so Jan 1 I posted my first blog!

  • Jen Laubscher says:

    The first thing that comes to my mind is actually dealing with my son’s teachers last year.
    My son was in 5th grade last year, and had three “teachers” (whom I affectionately refer to as: The Three Witches…bubble bubble, toil and trouble…waaahahahah)
    My son is a very creative, and intelligent boy who can quite often be a bit active. Also unorganized.
    He struggled the whole year to find his niche in the classroom and was berated daily through the teachers’ use of sarcasm and downright power-hungry words.
    Many times I called meetings with teachers and the principal (8) and one teacher only showed up for 1 meeting, ONCE.
    Finally, at the END of the school year, upon my vehement ‘request’, a strategic planning meeting was held (again only with one of the three witches in attendance) and about 8 other teachers came together.
    There were words like ‘narcissist’ and ‘manipulative little jerk’ thrown around the table. I cried. And stood up for my kid.
    About two weeks later, (after a whole year of telling this principal REPEATEDLY that my son was pretty much being verbally abused and harassed)he (after one meeting to witness this kind of unprofessionalism)sent me an apology letter AND broke the team of witches up for the following school year. Then he resigned.
    I won. But ultimately, my son lost.

  • Maureen says:

    I’m sorry Julie, but if you can’t take the heat get out of the fire. You need to toughen up and stop being so damned self absorbed. I an CERTAIN that no one really, really cares that much about what ANYONE writes or says, let alone what they write on a blog. So get over yourself.

    It’s not a “funny thing” at all that we are guareteend freedom of expression and interpretation – the fact is, we all have minds of our own, though sadly, not enough people actually realize this. So stop being a whiney people-pleaser and get back to work! If you want to be a great, or even a good writer, you have to we willing to speak the truth as you know it, regardless of how it’s received. I mean really. Grow up Julie. Think about all those men and women of conviction that went agains the tide of popular opion. what did they have? They had integrity.

    So if you don’t have the courage of your convictions your either lacking courage, or convictions – so what is it?

    • Aaron Pogue says:

      Wow, Maureen! There’s an astonishingly shortsighted and junior high worldview behind that little tirade.

      We’ve got a big fancy word for people who say and do things with no regard for how other people will feel about it, and it’s not “courage” or “conviction.” It’s sociopathy.

      There are fifty other people before you who’ve also encouraged Julie to be brave and speak her voice, but one and all, the rest of us called on her to use her voice. And her voice is one that’s full of concern for other people. She’s full of heart, and that’s the only reason we care (and we do care) when she speaks her truth.

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