Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dipping In to the Mail Bag

As a blogger...yes, that's what I consider of my favorite perks is getting comments and emails from my readers.  Good or bad, negative or positive - I feel special when I get an email or a comment from a person that has taken the time to read what I have to say.  I'm actually quite surprised how much email I get.  My comment box has been a little quiet as of late - but I have been receiving a few emails. 

Whenever I get an email, I take the time to respond.  I think that's the courteous thing to do.   It doesn't matter if I've just spent the time reading bash after bash - I still take the time to respond.  Sometimes it helps clear up some misconceptions, sometimes it doesn't.  It's the fact that I've handled it professionally that's important.

Every now and then, I like to share some of the emails I get.  Sometimes it's because I've received a few emails asking the same questions, or because I want to publicly clear the air about something.  Sometimes it's just because the words in the email have touched my heart - and I want everyone to see them.  One thing I don't do is reveal the identity of the sender.  I figure that if they've opted to email me instead of leave a comment, then they may not want others to know who sent it.  I can respect that.  When they read my post, they'll know how they are - and if they choose to say something about it...then that's entirely up to them.

So, here's a couple of tidbits of some recent emails I've received from my awesome readers.

Dear Fat Woman,

I stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago after seeing a posting on a mutual friend's Facebook page.  I've been trying to lose weight for a while now, and I figured that reading some weight loss blogs could give me some ideas about what to do.  I've been spending some time going back and reading the last few months of your entries, and I have to be honest and ask: don't you get a little tired of repeating the same stuff over and over?  I'm not trying to be mean.  It's hard not to sound that way in an email.  But after reading some of your stuff, I've found that I'm more disheartened than ever about trying to lose weight.  You continue to refer to the success you had last year, and when I went back and read some of your posts from last year I have to ask what happened?  You seemed to be doing so well and then it just stopped.  You're not in any better shape than every other person that has tried to lose weight thousands of times, and failed.  I feel sad for you that you are struggling so much, but don't you ever wonder about what messages you are sending to those of us that are trying to lose weight after failing so many times?  Wouldn't it be better not to post about it until you really have found yourself again?  Maybe you could find something else to blog about and then once you find the motivation again, you could pick up the weight loss blogging.  Just curious.

After I read this email, I sent the sender a polite response.  Now I want to answer those questions here...for all of you guys that may be wondering the same things - but haven't emailed me asking.

First, Draz is going to be so mad when she sees that someone sent me an email addressed "Dear Fat Woman".  She hates it when I refer to myself that way - but I know it's going to crawl all over her to see someone else refer to me that way.  In this senders defense, my blog is called Diary of a Mad, Fat technically it should have been addressed "Dear Mad, Fat Woman".  But, I'm not going to fault her for leaving the Mad part out.

So to answer the questions....

  • Yes, I do get tired of repeating the same stuff over again.  I think I've said it myself many times. 
  • I feel like if I stop writing, then I've completely thrown in the towel - and I won't let that happen. 
  • What happened was - life happened.  This year has been a very rough year for me, and even though that shouldn't be an excuse as to why I fell of the wagon - it's what happened, and I can't change that now.
  • I am in much better shape than all of those people that tried to lose weight and failed - because I haven't failed.  My journey isn't over - and I still have over 60lbs of weight loss that hasn't come back.  I don't intend for it to come back, either.  A 66lb loss is no fail, in my opinion.  
  • The message that I'm trying to send is that I won't give up.  I don't care how many times I repeat myself, as long as I continue to believe things will change - I feel like some of my readers will feel the same way.  Struggling is part of the success.  Once I am able to overcome this very long, drawn out hiatus - other people will be able to see that it's possible.
  • I do blog about other stuff.  A year ago, my blog was all weight loss all of the time.  Now, it's more about my life.  That's not because I don't feel like I have the right to blog about weight's so that others can see what my life is like, and maybe relate to the struggles I have. for another one...

Dear Joanna,

Hiya!  My name is ***** and I have been reading your blog for quite some time now.  I'm what you might consider a lurker because I've never commented, but I've always wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading.  I'm thinking about starting my own blog, but I don't know where to start.  I mean, I know where to start as in the sites I can use, but how to start blogging about losing weight.

One thing I love about your blog is that you are so honest.  You share your successes and your failures.  I've read a few other weight loss blogs, and I always know when those people aren't doing so well because they just stop blogging altogether or they are gone for a long time.  You're not like that.  I know that you're going to blog every day regardless of how well you're doing, and that's something I love about you.

I want to do the same thing.  In the past three months, I've lost 10lbs.  It's not a huge loss, but I'm proud of it.  I've struggled some, but I now think I'm ready to start sharing my story with others.  My biggest fear is starting the blog and being able to share the down points with the high points.  So, I have to ask, how do you do it?  What can I do to get started and overcome the fear of sharing the not so high points?

This email I LOVED.  It came perfectly a few days after receiving the first email I shared.  This reader used my real name - which is posted right there on the side of my blog.  FYI - in case anyone else wants to email me.  :)

This email shows why I do what I do.  She reads my blog because I share the good with the bad.  I have had so many emails and comments saying the same thing. 

My response to this email was simple:  Just be yourself.  Of course, I said some other stuff... but that was the overall message.

People reading blogs tend to know when someone is real and when someone is fake.  Fake isn't the best word - but it's all I've got right now.  What I mean is, sometimes people want to hear the failures so that they can relate.  Weight loss is hella hard...everyone knows that.  The problem is, not many people want to share the bad because it makes them feel like more of a failure.  I know, I've felt that feeling many times.

Some of the best reactions I've got from readers is when I'm struggling.  The encouragement and support I get is so important to me.  I say, you shouldn't fear sharing the isn't a big bed of roses - and even if it is, there are still going to be thorns.  By being honest gives me accountability.  I could disappear for a while and try and get back to where I was last year alone...but I would then miss out on what I have here.

This blog is my connection to the weight loss world.  I read blogs, lots of them, from people that are losing weight.  Some have lost HUGE amounts of weight - but they have still struggled.  It's those struggles that have told me I, too, can overcome mine...eventually.

So, there you have it folks...another insight to a couple of the emails I receive. 

While I'm on the topic - I still need some more questions for Peanut, Butter, Jelly Time on Sunday. I've received a few via email - and I'm excited to ask the kiddos the questions.  I'd love a few more, though.

If you want to post a question in the comments, that would be FANTASTIC!!

Have a great Thursday!!!

Till next time. ;)

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