Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dipping In to the Mail Bag

Dear Diary...

It has never ceased to amaze me how many emails I get from readers.  Each week I get at least two emails from someone that's read my blog and wants to offer a kind word of support, a few suggestions, or wants to give me a piece of their mind without doing it publicly.  What's that you say?  Two emails aren't very many.  Well, it is to me.  Any amount of emails or comments are always a huge deal to me.

Every once in a while, I get a few emails that make me cry.  Some in a good way, some in a bad way.  But I always read every email sent to me.  I try to respond to all of them, at least with a thanks or something along those lines.  Then, once every couple of months or so, I like to look back through some of the emails and share them here.  I do it all anonymously because I figure if the person has emailed me versus commenting on my blog, then they may not want what they have to say publicly shared with the world...or my other blog readers.  These past couple of weeks, I've received several emails.  Here are a couple now, with responses I either made to that person...or responses I've come up with now because I didn't think of saying it when I did respond...

Dear Joanna,

I have read your blog for a while now, and just wanted to write to you and ask you a few questions.  I'm not sure you'll respond, but I wasn't sure whether I should ask you on your blog or in an email.  I'm going with the email because I figure it the most personal of options that I have to talk to you.

I have always loved how honest you are on your blog.  You tell it like it is, regardless of whether or not you're succeeding.  My questions for you are: How are you able to be so honest?  Do you feel that sharing the bad stuff helps you?  Do you ever get bashed from people about struggling so much?

I only ask because I have started a blog, but I keep it private.  I don't let anyone else read it.  I do that because I've had a lot of troubles with trying to lose weight and then I write about them.  I'm worried that if I share those problems with anyone that wants to read them, then they'll judge me for being weak.  My reasons for struggling are similar to you.  I make a lot of excuses, and don't really have the motivation to do much about it.  I try to eat healthy, but usually can't go a day without eating some kind of junk food.  I've joined a gym at the beginning of the year, and I've been twice.  I didn't really like it because I felt so fat and thought people were looking at me and laughing at me.  I hate feeling that way.  That's probably why I'm so scared to share my blog with anyone.  I don't want people laughing at me or judging me.  

So, how do you do it?

A reader

And my response....

Dear Reader,

Thanks for the email.  I will be happy to answer your questions.  I actually get asked those questions pretty often.  Not necessarily for the same reason you're asking, but it seems as though many people wonder how I can be so brutally honest on my blog - even if it makes me look weak, uncommitted, or down right lazy.

So, here's my answers:

How am I able to be so honest?  Well, I tell myself that other people are probably struggling the same way I am.  Not everyone is able to jump on a weight loss band wagon and start losing weight over night.  There are lots of people (like myself) that's tried over and over and over and still struggle every single day.  I figure if those people can read of someone else in their shoes, then it will help them somehow.  Most people, regardless of whether they'd admit it or not, like honesty.  It's refreshing for them to not just hear the good stuff all the time.  I try to provide that for them.

Do I feel that sharing the bad stuff helps me?  Yes and no.  If you've been reading my blog, lately, you'll see that I'm in a pretty nasty rut.  I'm working on it, slowly but surely.  Being able to share my struggles helps me by getting it off my chest.  But even I get tired of reading negativity over and over and over.  And yes, I read my own blog often.  There are many times that I feel like enough is enough, and I should hold off on posting anything because there has been so much negativity or struggles.  Then, I get a comment or an email that says "Thanks for posting that today, I have been struggling in the same way and it's nice to know I'm not the only one".  Then I realize I have to keep being honest - regardless of how bad it is at the moment.  If it's helping one person and pissing off 100... I'll keep doing it to help out that one person.

Do I ever get bashed?  Oh yes.  I've got haters just like anyone else... but they are very few and far between.  I've received one nasty comment or email for every..maybe 50 positive comments or emails.  I'm sure that when people read my blog there are many people that stop reading because there's not very much success going on.  I'm sure that there are people that read and say a few nasty things to themselves.  But as far as receiving their thoughts in writing?  That doesn't happen too often.  When it does, I try to respond in the best way I know how.  I can't say that I've ever received a really nasty, full of hate email.  More along the lines of frustration than anything else.  I try to tell those people the same thing I'm telling you now.  My blog is about honesty.  Period.  If they don't like it, there are thousands of blogs that are more appropriately suited for them, I'm sure.

As much as it may not seem like it, I write my blog for me.  And that's something I want you to remember.  If you do decide to share your blog publicly - remember it's still your blog, and you're not writing it to please anyone.  I do know that I love the support and encouragement I receive - and that helps keep me with the mindset that I won't give up.  I hope I've answered your questions well enough to help you out.  And please don't hesitate to let me know if you have any more.


I received this little gem this week, which worked perfectly with the email above...

Fat Woman,

It appears to me from reading a few posts to your blog that you may be a fat woman all of your life.  I've never heard so many bulls**t excuses from a person that claims to be getting rid of the excuses in my whole life.  You should change the title of your blog to "Excuses of a mad, fat, woman" because that's all your blog really is.  I bet any amount of money that when this supposed gym opens up that another set of excuses open up as to why you can't go.  What person claiming to want to lose weight makes up the excuse that they're waiting for gym to open?  I don't know where you live, but if it's in America, I'm sure there are hundreds of gyms around you.  Just do us all a favor and stop.  It's depressing and annoying to read the same bulls**t over and over again.  You need serious help, if you ask me.  Maybe that's what you should be thinking about.  Getting some serious help instead of claiming to be trying to help other people.  You're not helping anyone, and it sounds to me like you need the help.

My response...

Thank you for your email.  While I appreciate all feedback, I will state that you are under no obligation to read my blog.  If you don't like it, please don't read it.

What my response should have been now that I'm thinking about it...

Dear Hater,

First off, I don't write my blog to help other people.  I write my blog for me, and if other people get something out if then WHOOP WHOOP to me.  While it pains me to do so, I have to agree with you on a few things.  Yes, I got excuses.  Just like a lot of people do.  The same excuses that they're dealing with - and sometimes, hearing that there are others out there that are struggling can sometimes be uplifting.  Nobody's perfect.  I also agree that it sounds stupid to be waiting on a gym to open up before I start working out.  

My reasons, though I don't need to explain myself to you, are because A) the gym is right across the street from where I work meaning I have easy access to being able to work out because I have a family and a life that often gets in my way when it comes to working out in a gym and B) it only costs me $10 a month versus the "hundreds of other gyms in my area" that charge at least three times that much and this fat woman is on a strict budget. 

I'm not sure of the why you feel the need to bash me or show how much animosity you have towards me.  I don't know your story, and I'm not in a position to judge you for it.  I'm not going to speak ill of you, because maybe there are things plaguing you that I don't know about.  But, I will return that back to you.  You don't know me.  You don't know the demons I struggle with every day.  Being able to come here and share those demons with anyone that wants to hear about them is a very therapeutic thing for me to do..and while I always love to help people, again, my blog is for me. 

I may need serious help.  But you know what?  I get that help right here on my blog.  Every time that I get a nice comment or email telling me to hang in there, or a word from someone who appreciates my honesty - it lifts me up and helps me stay with my journey.  This also pains me to say, but I also get that help when I receive nasty emails like yours - because it fuels my fire.  Not that I have to prove myself to anyone, but I will prove myself to you.  You'll see.  Or maybe you won't because hopefully you've stopped reading my blog if it annoys you so much.  Whatever the case, I'm sorry that you feel the way you do about me.  I feel sorry for the fact that you have so much hate in your heart for a person you've never met.  I hope that whatever is causing this anger is taken care of.

Joanna a/k/a Mad, Fat Woman!

Till next time. ;)

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