trouble is nothing new for me

I’m not gonna lie, Los Angeles fucked me up last time.

Morgan Spurlock, who grew up along the same dirty river bank I did, invited me on his daytime talkshow debut. You’ll never see it, because he confessed to being a fucking mess a few months after we filmed it and right before he was going to start promoting the sequel to his most famous documentary. And quite honestly I almost respect him more for having the courage to be so raw and introspective than I did for selling out to tv only watched in waiting rooms.

 

But hours before we hugged on camera and sat on his couch for a staged conversation about honesty on social media, I had a panic attack in the hotel room that CBS shuttled me to with a private driver in a fucking Tesla because, somehow I get myself into these situations while everything I own is still locked up north in a box we built in the back of our fucking pickup truck. Still, I painted on my eyeliner in the morning all the same and all the makeup artist had to do was cover up the dark circles under my eyes from what she assumed was jetlag.

Like, the audience was paid for, and between takes there was a manager shouting into the microphone for everyone to stand up and cheer to win prizes, and it was like 100 degrees, and I wasn’t allowed to wear my black shirt and ripped jeans so I was wearing this awful floral jumpsuit, first of all. Then, the producer had a huge problem with the way I read lines they wrote about my life for the voice over, and asked me to read it again but ‘maybe when you’re talking about the sad parts of your life, sound ummm…. sad?’ like — okay. I just didn’t realize what I was signing up for and that there would be tissues and expectations of emotional bs.

I think maybe I was just so disillusioned by Hollywood after traveling the entire country, the stars in my eyes just exploded, and started this fire inside of me.

Between then and now, I kept myself busy totally fucking up things like an interview with tech-startup Automattic, chatting with the CEO of McCorporation via LinkedIn about my spontaneous and temporary idea of selling my soul to their regional marketing team, bathing in magnetic waves to measure my electric nerves, and busting out windows with my porcelain doll hands because I trusted a doctor who gave me a pill that stole months of my memories. Words were not enough anymore, and without my vocabulary, I couldn’t write.

I sold my camera the day we landed back in Seattle from LA, and only when I stepped away from the lens for awhile did I see how much of the picture wasn’t being captured. Experimenting with short form and poetry, I accidentally mastered and fell in love with the art of saying more with less. Learning to recreate the images in my mind, I found the freedom to translate body language and sensuality into self-expression. Entirely shutting down my blog, and my mind for that matter, allowed me to reconnect with myself and realize that I can preach authenticity til asphyxiation but I am lying through my teeth if I can’t be honest about the impact, and intensity, of my sexuality.

Only in a shattered mirror was I able to finally see how self-destructive I am. Struck by how beautiful all the broken pieces still were, I decided to put them back together.

So, I bought a new camera. And I’m over LA. And most importantly, all the fear.

// SO WHAT IS CONCEPTUAL ART AND WHY EROTICA?

Everything I have done in life has led me to this, and I want it to be perfectly clear that none of this is an accident. You can call it what you want, and take what you need, but please understand — that is how art works. As much as this was a choice, I made it on my own with very deep rooted reasons and a spark in my heart that will never die.

Sensuality, to me, is the core of our existence. In our most intimate moments, we are in our truest form, and all of the bullshit falls away. Navigating the dark waters of hell over the last year, I have become a very skilled escape artist. We can go anywhere with this tongue of mine and your hands on the wheel, and I’m always ready for an adventure.

For a decade down in Florida I lived a double fucking life, buttoning up my breasts and bending over backwards to meet impossible standards of beauty. Bouncing around each time I got bored, I was a barista at Starbucks, a yacht stewardess for celebrities, a party planner in south beach, a fucking HR director, and eventually, a suburban stay-at-home mom that sold stories about my life to hundreds of brands who would pay me to blog.

I left out the parts about my unfaithful, cocaine addict husband, and also the fact that I got everything I wanted with sex appeal. In between bubbly posts about my perfect, luxury family life, I also let strange men stick dollar bills in between my thighs at too many clubs, sold whips and vibrators in a feminist+lesbian-owned sex toy boutique, and carried on a secret relationship via text for more than ten years to cope with all my crushed dreams, until I ran away one day and showed up on his doorstep and then we got married in Vegas and now here we are, living a borderline fantasy in the Pacific Northwest. And trying not to fuck it all up.

There is no more time left on my clock for pretending. I have struggled for long enough with how to speak out and be my most genuine, natural self. The freedom I have found in opening up this channel of energy, in presenting myself as a whole, is worth every misunderstanding and every burnt bridge in my past. When I can’t find a release for all that builds up inside of me, I become a monster. Creativity comes from somewhere within, and I can’t control it, so by asking you to be my witness and participate in the art I create, I am coming full circle in more ways than you will ever know.

There will be NSFW content, yes, but no matter who you are or how we have met in this life, you are welcome to follow along as a reader with complete acceptance and without judgment. You will be respected here, and anyone who treats you otherwise will be ignored or banned. I have seen a lot of shit in life, and I appreciate the intricate chemistry of desire and what it can do. In fact, I kneel in awe of it, and anyone who is so comfortably fluid in their humanity that they radiate seduction for the sheer exhiliration of it all. We are no different than any other hedonistic society — we’ve just momentarily forgotten there is necessary value in pleasure. If my words and images stir emotion in you, or serve as a reminder to feel in some way, I will be satisfied.

// WAIT, WTF, ARE YOU CHARGING ME TO READ YOUR BLOG?

No. I will always publish free, public content that contributes to the accessibility of art.

But there are downfalls to posting original content on social networks that are designed really well to promote engagement and not so well when it comes to protecting artists and content creators. I have had content removed twice in the last week without warning for violating standards, even though I did not violate standards, I just know a lot of jealous bitches.

It is extremely important to me that I own my work, and have complete control over telling my stories in the ways I crave to express myself.

So for those of you who want consistent and immediate access to my work, without banned posts or character limits or the delicate drama of protecting reputations, you can now get rewarded for being a reader by joining this creative mess of mine for $1. This is completely optional, and I want you to know that if you have been around from the beginning of all this, I will forever appreciate you for being there for me with every like and share and seeing me through so many stresses and then, awakenings, in my life.

I have never been more excited about a project in my life, and I want you to be here with me as this grows into the bigger plans I have. Offering premium (and behind the scenes) content, handwritten art and photography prints, live chats, and a glimpse into my creative process are the very least things I can do to thank you for paying attention to my art and giving me life through our connection.

// HOW DO I SIGN UP NOW? CAN I STILL FOLLOW YOU IF I DON’T?

Of course. There is no obligation, I just want make sure everyone understands how it works and what to expect from now on.

I rambled on video about all this too, if you’d like to watch it.

You pay $1 only if you want access to all the content here and behind the scenes. 

Choose a reward level here and if you’d like to remain completely anonymous, it’s totally cool and supported (here’s how). Otherwise, you can find and follow me on instagram, twitter, and I know I said I’d never fucking do this again after unpublishing my page with the stupid blue checkmark, but… facebook.

And for those of you who have waited for me, thank you, it feels fucking fantastic to be back.

🖤

there will be time for details later

 

All I really want to do is lick my wounds.

Draw the curtains, curl up under the covers. I want to live in this, and wallow in it, and scream about it until my voice is gone. I want to bury these salty cheeks in the pillow and sob, eyes swollen, lungs shaking as they empty and beg for air and struggle to do it all over again.

Honestly, some days, I am not sure whether I will make it out of this waiting alive.

Do you ever fantasize about running away from everything?

How many times a day? Have you thought about who would miss you? I bet you know who you would take with you. A split second, flash across your mind, those eyes — see, you already know.

How many times a day do you want it?

There is so little stopping you, when it comes down to it. A packed bag, a plane ticket. There are people to help you change your name, and find your happiness. Spin the globe, pick a spot, put your past behind you. We only have so many days. We only have so many moments and all that pressure you keep up in that head, the guilt you carry in your heart, all that worry of never having lived a full life will make you fat, and fuck up your spine, and push away all your friends.

It used to be the strangest thing to me when some of you would ask me in feverish tones to please never stop writing. I wonder now how obvious it was that my mind was about to shatter into ten billion beautiful fucking fragments.

By the way, if you’re new here, god damn you fell into this at a weird time.

🖤

100 solid reasons to start a blog in 2018

 

 

1. To have an outlet.

2. To serve as a platform for social change.

3. Creative productivity is good for the soul.

4. To use skills you are damn good at.

5. Other people can learn and grow from your experiences.

6. Connecting with strangers is rewarding.

7. Writing is cathartic and releases energy.

8. You can add value to the lives of others.

9. Humanizing art makes it accessible.

10. Traditional media is fragmented and frankly, broken.

11. Corporations tried to blog and failed.

12. Storytelling is the most powerful tool and we are all born with it.

13. Blogging allows for short form and long form expression, no character limits.

14. Social media algorithms suck; getting emails from subscribers doesn’t.

15. Writing is a better vice than your others.

16. It will strengthen your relationship with yourself.

17. Everyone could use another witness.

18. There are people out there who care.

19. It’s better to collect words than things.

20. The internet is starving for authenticity.

21. Powerful thoughts can change the world, and we need change.

22. To translate universal emotions into modern literature.

23. When you put yourself out there, doors you didn’t even see can swing wide open.

24. If they steal our data anyway…might as well set the story straight?

25. Blogging allows for the self-expression of social media without the feed envy.

26. Nobody says you have to do it their way, anyway.

27. Be an active content creator. Be that 1%.

28. Writing is a career that allows for more work life balance if you manage time well.

29. To constantly fuel your motivation.

30. Somebody needs to destroy the culture of perfectionism. Just one real voice.

31.  Creativity is the most valuable asset.

32. You control the level of filter on your blog.

33. To use that beautiful vocabulary that’s rotting away where you filed your dreams.

34. Our society does not provide the amount of stimulating social interactions you need.

35. Your words can improve the lives of others, and act as a catalyst for positivity.

36. There is a soul out there who needs to relate to someone like you, more than you will ever know or understand.

37. Serving others generates good karma.

38. You can volunteer your time and donate your work to helping a good cause.

39. Everyone has something to sell. Have something to say.

40. The world needs more artistic healing.

41. It really doesn’t matter what they think.

42. Empathy is the only currency that multiplies each time it is exchanged.

43. Sometimes, the only way to get through is to talk yourself out.

44. You spend $5 on coffee and $10 on netflix you don’t watch, so…you can buy hosting.

45. The expansion of your worldview, when you connect globally, will blow your mind.

46. Anyone can point out the problems of bloggers being fake. Do something better.

47. Even in the year of the bots, we don’t need statistics to know people only trust other people. Transparency earns trust.

48. Everyone enjoys a good read. Write one.

49. Apparently the media, and most people over 35, are terribly confused about adult millennials and the children we are raising.
Find the value of ‘y’, show your work.

50. Like it or not, you are an authority that younger generations look to for hope.

51. Nobody needs another e-course on how to sell an e-course about selling e-courses.

52. Maybe you’ll actually write a book.

53. If you’re gonna talk the talk, you should probably walk the walk already.

54. Your phone is filled with original photos.

55. There are enough critics and you have learned that lesson the hard way. Be better.

56. Making your opinion public is a healthy way to align yourself with your community.

57. Being an active supporter of your beliefs can encourage others to take action.

58. If you plant seeds with your thoughts, you can decide which you allow to blossom.

59. You’ll be surprised at what may grow wild.

60. Time spent recording the human experience is never time wasted.

61. To challenge the status quo.

62. You already know what to call it, if you think about it. You can buy the domain fast.

63. Writing daily will inspire adventures.

64. Life is too short.

65. In a temporary culture, you can have a permanent impact with honest words.

66. Selling your story to someone else diminishes the integrity of it.

67. Most rules can be bent, if not broken. We create unnecessary limits.

68. Because you want to.

69. Your passion can ignite a tiny spark behind the eyes that can burn for eternity.

70. Blogging allows you to create your own work environment and can reduce your carbon footprint vs. an office commute.

71. You can only be what you are.

72. Minimizing stress and improving your wellbeing can become priorities.

73. To promote tolerance and equality for all.

74. None of it matters without the love.

75. Creating written memories is a gift.

76. A blog lets you to gravitate towards what genuinely excites you, over and over.

77. Your writing space will become breathing space, and you could use a deep breath.

78. Everyone has a camera, not everyone has your eye for detail and design.

79. To have the freedom to travel on a whim.

80. You are a million times more likely to regret the fear than the failure.

81. Pen to paper is the best form of therapy.

82. The internet can be an interesting mirror.

83. Documenting progress towards goals will become a second-nature habit.

84. There has never been a better time to be an artist, and technology keeps improving.

85. You need the space to fully express yourself with all the tools you have.

86. The chance to open minds through art is precious and not to be wasted.

87. To watch your words and thoughts reach further than you have traveled is incredibly humbling and reminds you humanity is universal.

88. Why the fuck not?

89. Souls like yours do best when connected with others on the same vibes.

90. It’s about damn time, honestly.

91. The energy has to be released somewhere. You have to let it all go.

92. You are unafraid of pushing the limits and you are never hesitant to work hard.

93. Happiness can be immeasurable when you have creative freedom.

94. What else are you going to do with your life this year?

95. Censorship is overkill everywhere, unless you own your original content.

96. If there is anything you have mastered in life, it’s working with what ya got.

97. There are a few things you need to say.

98. You didn’t come this far to give up now.

99. It will change you.

100. People who wear their hearts on their sleeve are the best kind.

🖤

all we ever want is more

This is what happens, you know.

You teach your mind to forget, and what else can you expect?

A lifetime of frantically putting out fires before they reach your eyes, you got what you wished for, really.

But let’s label it with a few more uppercase alphabet letters, put another pill under your tongue. The first one tried to make you numb, anyway. Sadness isn’t your problem. See, you don’t need to fight any demons.

You’ve made friends with them. Creative and sensual, at least they are more exciting than most people in your life.

No, you don’t need help being happy. You know how to get there.
It’s just never, ever enough.

Still, you try. To feel that rush, to feel alive.
Despite the flaws of whoever wired your brain, you try.

How many hearts have you broken? How many times have you run away?

It’s attractive at first, the never-ending thirst for life.
You are electric and insatiable. And for a moment, deliciously lit up.

But there’s never enough voltage, and it’s never a fair game.

You are never satisfied. It’s true.

And it’s not even your fault, they say. Blame it on the chemistry, that elusive and seductive little word that’s always been on the tip of your tongue.

What a cruel trick.

The girl who never wanted to remember became the girl who can’t.
Constantly starving for stimulation, searching for something more, because she can’t remember
what that feels like past the moment it disappears.

And it’s not even real, you know. Everyone thinks you are a liar.
It’s all in your mind, they say in doubt.

If only they could see that they are right. It is all in your mind.

An entire underwater city of beautiful, sparkling lights
surviving on a short circuit,
getting by only on glimpses of starlight and
those moments that the tide
overflows onto paper…

..like this.

six impossible things before breakfast

 

How many walls are in this room? 

one….two….three…………

Ok, can you tell me what colors do you see in this room?

blackgreywhitebluefuckidon’tknowwhocares

Look to your left, chin up. Count the leaves on that plant for me.

one..two……threefour…five…six…seveneightnineokayalot okay there are a lot of leaves i’m fine i’ll be fine

I want you to know this is a safe space. You are safe here. You can leave.
Am I pronouncing your name correctly?

yes but it really doesn’t matter, I’ve had like eight nam——-

It does matter. Can you tell me what year it is?

two thousand..eighteen

And who is our president?

unfortunately, donald trump

In the past two weeks,
have you felt any of the following…?

yes

…yes, as in, all of them?

yes and no. i don’t feel anything

Have you experienced any major life changes lately?

well, yeah. 
i got married on a cross-country roadtrip after impulsively deciding to become a minimalist and move to the west coast because I wanted a better life for my four small children.
but, like, this is nothing new. 

So, it turns out, there is something wrong with my nerves.

I can’t even type that sentence without laughing out loud because, obviously, right?

But god, what a sound — my own laughter. 💕

Sometimes, when you live with pain long enough, you normalize it. And if, like me, you have been praised your entire life for your emotional resilience and creativity, you will probably, like me, try to be tougher. You might tell yourself that if you could just be a little stronger, have your shit together just a little more in life, push yourself a little harder through the pain, that you would be better.

You might feel like a failure, because you used to spend hours and hours pouring the contents of your mind into beautiful, organized art and you used to fill every day of your week with productivity and pleasure and purpose, and you were so damn good without any extra effort. Not to mention, you always looked like such a badass, but now…..?

Pour that extra cup of coffee, pull your hair back, take a breath of fresh air, you got this, you know? Maybe you should take some vitamins, or just get your ass out of bed an hour early for a walk. If you could just sleep a little earlier instead of staring at a screen, relax your mind a little more instead of worrying so much, maybe you would have enough rest to feel better. Really, why can’t you just use that brilliant mind of yours to find an outside of the box solution to all this?

I should be smarter and stronger than this, I thought, It must be all in my head. 

And it was, ironically.

So, it sounds like change is pretty normal for you.
What happened recently that brought you here?

…….I spent New Year’s Eve alone.
I was afraid of the fireworks,
and I used to live for them.  

I just want to feel better.

I was forced to face the repercussions of taking all the charms of a talent and never paying mind to the curses.

It was the first time anyone acknowledged that I am always in physical pain, that I am impulsive af and self-destructive, and that all of these things are related to the pins-and-needles-paralyzing panic attacks that have landed me (usually dropped off 🙄) at the emergency room too many times to count.

And there was no shame attached. No pressure to correct behaviors or attempt remedies I have already googled ten years ago and tried a million fucking times.

No, young lady you look perfectly healthy, you probably just wore yourself out cheerleading, and no well, you know if you changed your lifestyle habits, or maybe have you tried an ice pack? and not even an ounce of the speech about how women unfortunately undergo many changes throughout having babies, you are probably just depressed or maybe imagining it all in your pretty little mind bullshit.

It was the first time I think a doctor heard me. So, it was also the first time I took way I am wired seriously.

My soul has too much left to say to be unraveled by a broken circuit in my electric fucking brain. My body has too much pleasure left to feel to be numbed by nerves… tangled too tight…behind these killer eyes. My heart has too much love to give to be paralyzed by what-ifs and the fear of being hurt.

One little pill like Alice down the rabbit hole and

all
👏🏻
my
👏🏻
words
👏🏻
came
👏🏻
back.

The rest is going to take… a little more time.

 

“This is my dream. I’ll decide where it goes from here.”
-Alice

chrysalis

I am not afraid of the dark.

I know you are.

I see it in your eyes, watching me. I hear the caution in your voice, asking me how my day went.

You are afraid of this darkness.

I wish I could be like you. Stable, patient, focused. I wish I could trust my own mind.

I wish I could control it instead of relying on vices and getting lost in things that seduce.

I know I’m not broken. I know I can write my way out.

It hurts, though. Fuck it hurts. And it’s frustrating.

Like trying to read fine print without glasses, trying to hear the lyrics when the radio is just barely on.

That half asleep dream-like state where everything is so real, but you can’t speak. You can’t move.

The world is the same, but not at all. Instead, it’s dark.

Like a wave of deep grey, I know it’s powerful. It will pull you under.

Make no mistake, I will pull you under.

But for me, it’s all temporary.

The lights will come back on. Like flipping a switch, the circuits behind my eyes will spark and then, glow.

Like a butterfly in a chrysalis, I will wake up in the morning, maybe tomorrow, and be ready for what’s next.

The darkness swallows, then it fades. And the aftermath is almost always beautiful.

When everything is overwhelming, eventually you stop feeling. When you can feel again, even drinking in the air feels like ecstasy. When everything is blurry, eventually you stop trying to think. When you can see clearly again, every thought is like magic. I trust that when I take that last breath, I will come back up for another.

Without these underwater days, without the uncomfortable, there is no creativity. Without pain, there is no beauty.

I am not broken. I am human.

I know this to be true. So I am not afraid of the dark.

I am only thankful, for your fingers laced between mine, and your bravery to follow me into it.

morning

Soft grey light right before sunrise, and waking up to you in our bed. I don’t mind that I can’t sleep.

I couldn’t dream a better picture than you, with your chest rising and falling slowly and your eyes hiding behind those lashes. Strong hands resting on the pillow, the contrast of your dark beard and lush lips.

I want to run my fingers through your hair but you look so peaceful. I want to curl up into your arms and listen to you breathe me in, instinctively pulling me closer in your sleep.

I want to kiss the skin on your neck that isn’t covered by the blanket, and climb on top of you to feel you harden between my legs as you wake. I want to feel you inside of me, replaying last night with the warm glow of 6AM illuminating our bodies.

Instead I watch until you stretch, your muscles flexing across your back as you breath deep and let out a low growl.

I want things to be this way forever.

dear mommy blogger

This is it. I’m fucking done.

Video killed the radio star. I’m killing the mommy blog.

You won’t want to hear any of this, but someone needs to tell you.

Let me preface with a few important things. I am was a mommy blogger. I have three kids, and I’m popping out another one this fall. I have a background in marketing and had “real jobs” in the “real world” working with PR teams on the daily. I started this blog in 2013, thinking I could combine my writing talents with professional experience and rock this new industry of influencer marketing (before it was called that). And I did, I guess.

The American Mama reached tens of thousands of readers monthly, and under that name I worked with hundreds of big name brands on sponsored campaigns. I am a member of virtually every ‘blog network’ and agency that “connects brands with bloggers”. I’ve attended all their conferences and been invited on free trips to swim with dolphins and sip bougie cocktails in exchange for instagram snaps. I even founded and briefly promoted my own company, American Mama Media, working as the middle man between the hundreds of pitches I was receiving each week and the tribe of bloggers I’d collected information and stats from.

I hosted dozens of giveaways sponsored by brands wanting me to promote their products. I gained hundreds and then thousands of email subscribers, and social media followers, by requiring a follow in exchange for a giveaway entry. I used social media management services to connect with similar bloggers on twitter and instagram, and then unfollow those who didn’t return the follow. I paid a virtual assistant to post my links in round ups all over the internet, for back links and extra traffic. I joined blog directory sites, where asking readers for clicks sends you to the top of the list, and some PR intern googling “mom blogs” then finds you when they want someone to review their product. I sent out my media kit with embellished stats and highlights about my ‘targeted audience of mothers who make purchasing decisions for their household’ and negotiated my rates for free products and paid reviews.

I made thousands of dollars during months I was focusing and working hard to dig through box after box of shitty as-seen-on-tv like products and share “my 100% honest opinion” about them, that weren’t at all influenced by the page after page of “key messages” the brand requested that I include in my review. You won’t find most of those posts on this blog today. They aren’t gone forever, and I do plan to revive some of them. But for the most part, they are dead and I want them to stay buried forever. Because, like 90% of the fake nonsense I used to share on the internet as a mommy blogger writing about my fake life and oh-so-happy marriage, they are pure bullshit.

And yet here we are. So there’s my “I’ve been there” argument. Now for fuck’s sake, please listen to me and understand that I mean this in the most loving and well-intentioned manner:

Your mommy blog fucking sucks.

 

//nobody is reading your shit

I mean no one. Even the people you think are reading your shit? They aren’t really reading it. The other mommy bloggers sure as hell aren’t reading it. They are scanning it for keywords that they can use in the comments. “So cute! Yum! I have to try this!” They’ve been told, like you, that in order to grow your brand, you must read and comment on other similar-sized and similar-themed blogs. The people clicking on it from Pinterest aren’t reading it. They are looking for your recipe, or helpful tip promised in the clickbait, or before and after photo, then they might re-pin the image, then they are done. The people sharing it on Facebook? They aren’t reading it either. They just want to say whatever it is your headline says, but can’t find the words themselves. Your family? Nope. They are checking to make sure they don’t have double chins in the photos you post of them, and zoning in on paragraphs where their names are mentioned.

Why? Because your shit is boring. Nobody cares about your shampoo you bought at Walmart and how you’re so thankful the company decided to work with you. Nobody cares about anything you are saying because you aren’t telling an engaging story. You are not giving your readers anything they haven’t already heard. You are not being helpful, and you are not being interesting. If you are constantly writing about your pregnancy, your baby’s milestones, your religious devotion, your marriage bliss, or your love of wine and coffee…. are you saying anything new? Anything at all? Tell me something I haven’t heard before, that someone hasn’t said before. From a different perspective, or making a new point at the end at least if I have to suffer through a cliche story about your faceless, nameless kid.

You’re writing in an inauthentic voice about an unoriginal subject, worse if sprinkled with horrible grammar and spelling, and you are contributing nothing to the world but static noise.

//there’s no way in hell you are actually that happy

Why do you put exclamation points after every fucking sentence!? Why is this a thing?? I get it, you want to be seen as positive and really excited about a brand or product or experience or whatever the hell you’re writing about. But nobody talks like that in real life. If you do, nobody actually likes being around you. Love my hubby, love my life, love my kiddos, love jesus, love cupcakes, love it all! No. You are not that happy in your every day life. Nobody buys it. And if they do, you’re just making them feel bad about themselves. You’re watering down all the rest of your content because every single subject cannot possibly be that exciting. People are not idiots. As a reader, I cannot connect to someone who writes like they are hard-selling broccoli to kindergarteners.

Life has dark days. Real and raw is relatable. Even if your personal style is only focusing on the positive in life, you can do it without sounding cheap and robot-like. Relying on punctuation to make your point is weak writing. If you are telling a story and telling the truth, you can let the world know how much you love something without using an exclamation point at the end of every sentence.

Side note: The last brand I worked with sent me back my blog post draft edited with at least a half dozen exclamation points added. It may or may not have slightly inspired this post and my attitude about finally saying fuck it, I’m writing only what I want, when I want whether that means I’ll lose sponsored work or not. What’s the point of having your own space to write if you’re being paid to sound like you work for a corporation? 

//your goals are just as confused as you

What are your goals? At all the conferences I’ve attended and in all the Facebook groups, I hear women with the same answers. “To gain traffic. To grow my blog.” But why? What are you going to do with that traffic? What’s the point of any of it?

Do you handcraft brilliantly unique things and you want to promote your Etsy shop? Are you an excellent writer and you want to connect with people who read and relate to your stories? I’m guessing no. I’m guessing you’re a bored housewife or working mom who has heard that blogging can earn you some extra cash. You like getting free products and feeling like you are a special snowflake. No. Just no. If your entire goal is to make money, please quit. Go get a traditional job.

I’m not saying you can’t make money like that. There are endless numbers of brands and companies just now jumping on the blogging bandwagon, willing to send you free products and pay you a measly $150 a post for way more hours of work to use the product, photograph, edit, write about, and promote than you’ll even admit to yourself. If that’s your goal, fine. But how long term is that? Who are your loyal readers?

//you are wasting your money

So you paid $434 for a conference ticket, $389 for a flight, $252 for a hotel that you’re sharing with your bloggy-bff, $150 for a new outfit that makes you look more professional than the torn yoga pants you wear every day, and $30 for business cards to make sure you don’t miss a single networking opportunity. Oh, and last week you paid $45 for a new WordPress theme to make sure your blog looked conference ready. You were so excited to meet some top execs from the big brands they promised would be mingling in your cocktail hour. But now you’ve sat through a day of speakers and realized only one thing: that you’re doing everything wrong.

Because they are experts, right? God, if only you were so smart and able to get such amazing partnerships like these big bloggers and business women. So now, you better go pay $3500 for a web designer to make your site look professional, because they said no one gets work if they are using a cheap template with bad coding. And you really have to put your social icons at the top right of your page, because if not, no PR manager will take the time to click through your page. And if you don’t have the exact location and age of your children listed in your about profile, you also won’t be worth a dime. Oh, and personality? Save that for somewhere else, brand managers don’t have time to read your cute story about who you are.

But at least now you’ve got solid advice on how to grow your following right? You can’t wait to get home and use the six pages of notes you scribbled down during sessions, gaining so many new followers on social media and using their proven formulas for popular digestible posts. A list of ten things? Brilliant. But you’ll need a subscription to a stock photo service, at least until you can buy yourself a DSLR camera for $500 and take that $195 photography course they said was a must-take. And now all you have to do is post 11 times on Facebook, scheduled of course, daily, and then 23 times on Pinterest, but make sure you’re sharing other bloggers’ content too. And retweet, don’t forget — wait. Slow the fuck down.

How can you not see these conferences, and better-your-blog courses, are just making money off of you? If they had the secrets to success, don’t you think they would be running their own successful blogs? Sure, there are exceptions, but for the most part, in any given room of those 500+ women attending, how many of those will actually be blogging in a year? Five years? It’s a waste of your money. Everything you need to know can be learned by trial and error, or taking a course in a specific subject you’d like to better yourself in.

There is an entire industry waiting to take advantage of your insecurities when you want to be a better blogger, and in reality all they are doing is shoving tips down your throat about how to make their jobs easier, how to put more money in their pockets by building an army of cookie-cutter bloggers who will keep paying for conference tickets and ‘exclusive’ insider info. The more mediocre bloggers they have with the exact same design layout and the exact same voice, the easier they can sell themselves to clients willing to pay them tens of thousands of dollars for a few reports showing ridiculous monthly page view stats. In the end, you get chosen for one $150 post every couple of months, a headache and a half trying to write a shitty post on your boring blog, and you spent 4x that amount becoming a part of their clique. Maybe you met one or two interesting people while all those other bloggers were trying to get their business card in your face.

You are wasting your money and they are laughing all the way to the bank.

//pr friendly = “I have no soul”

Have you seen this in your “favorite” blogger’s twitter bio? Maybe it’s listed in your media kit. Hell, you might even have it as a link on your blog menu with contact info for brands to reach you. Do you know what this says? PR Friendly says “For the right price, I will be anyone you want me to be.”

It screams desperation and says you really have no idea what the hell you are doing – just that you are willing to do backflips for basically any company that will throw a big enough bone in your direction. Oh, but let me guess, you’re a lifestyle blogger? I blog about our life, so really I can cover a variety of topics and brands. No. I used to say that shit too. What you’re really saying is that you have no direction and although you may be passionate about one hobby or particular area of life, you’re too scared to narrow that down because what if you decide to write only about one thing and you could have so many more opportunities with different products your family could use?

You see this a lot in blogging networks that work with big brands. “We’re looking for 100 bloggers to come up with out of the box ways to show your readers how they can use our bladder leakage products to make their lives more enjoyable! Write about your shitty kid not listening to you at the park and running off, and how you were able to chase him down without pissing your pants! Or, maybe brainstorm a creative craft or eco-friendly plant starter – the possibilities are endless!” Seriously? No. If your possibilities, and what you’re willing to write about, are endless, then you are doing it wrong.

Stop selling your soul for peanuts. You have no credibility left when you do this over and over.

//building your own prison with copycat guards

Do you really think that big companies see you as valuable? When I hear the argument that brands “need” bloggers, I die laughing. In a way, this is true, but not at all in the way you think. I could go on about this for hours and probably will write a dozen more posts about it.

Just ask yourself this: When a brand sends you a nice little note, pays you to write about their product, often asks you to buy it in store and take photographs of the place you picked it up in store, and includes a dozen bullet points of positive things you can say about their brand…. are you more likely, as a consumer, to purchase that brand in the future? And when a big brand runs a campaign that consists of 10 “rounds” over a series of several months, and by the end of it, they’ve paid pennies to thousands of women with mommy blogs to talk about their product, do you think they really care about your original outtake on life and trust you to market their brand? They just gained thousands of loyal customers, who are now terrified to ever speak poorly of that brand, and more likely to personally purchase their products on their weekly shopping trips.

Would you buy those products otherwise, and not just make them at home or buy cheaper alternatives? Do you really need twenty different beauty products for different body parts? Do you really need these materialistic things? Do you know how many products are introduced to the market every single day by big corporations and small companies, all hoping to snag the attention of women just like you? By running a mommy blog that readily accepts a hundred dollar bill and a box of sugared cereal in exchange for 300-400 words and some crappy iPhone pictures, you’re handing advertisers the keys to your home. They no longer have to deal with the middle man, marketing for billions on mass media and hopefully reaching you via television commercials and print ads. They are knocking directly on your door, convincing you why you need to buy their products, and patting you on the head for “helping” them to do so and telling all your friends. Congrats, mommy blogger, you’re such a great writer!

I’m not claiming some crazy conspiracy theory that all brands are out to get us and manipulate women into brand awareness and consumerism. But it’s not too far fetched. Midcentury advertising tactics, that did exactly that with no shame, are very well documented. Results of those campaigns, and how the marketing industry has improved upon those tactics to produce more sales, have been studied endlessly in the decades between then and now. Regardless, marketing is very much a copycat game. Whether or not this business model even works, or if a few corporations at the top have a team of psychologists studying the effect of influencer marketing on bottom line sales, the trends still trickle down.

The PR manager who just emailed you about receiving their crappy parenting book or colorful potty training tool? They have now adapted the exact same “rules” and guidelines of how to work with bloggers. They do not know any better when they offer you stuff in exchange for “exposure on their twitter!” or practically demand that you share only glowing sentiments in your reviews. And we won’t even get started on the legal issues that can arise when you sign contracts, without any legal experience or guidance, as an independent publisher for a company.

I know you want to take yourself seriously. But unfortunately most brands don’t. They are just testing the waters because it’s a cheap, trendy way of getting the word out about their products right now. They are using you to build your own prison of commercialism, and the sheer volume of copycat marketers and bloggers following along sets the standards and expectations of this relatively new media. The foundation is rocky and even the brands that “just want numbers” are relying on stats about retweets and impressions that come from PR companies taking half the cut when they connect influencers to campaigns. I’m not saying blogging is dying, but this specific little monster branch of it, sponsored content disguised as horribly written “day in the life” stories about your kids and pets? It can’t possibly last. Do you really want to be stuck on the inside when it crumbles?

//sunshine and fucking daisy reviews

On the note of being manipulated by brands, have you ever seen a negative review on a mommy blog? Ever? And if you did, have you ever seen one that still said “This post was sponsored by XYZ brand, and opinions are all my own” at the top?

Fuck no. Because every single blogger is terrified to tell the truth. I’ve seen women in blogging groups dish about how much they hated a product, or how it broke in the mail, or how awful the customer service team was to deal with. They ask their fellow bloggers what they should do about their moral dilemma of being paid to post about it (or receiving the product for free) and in real life being terribly disappointed. And every single fucking blogger in the group responds with something like “Well, you don’t want to upset the brand…” or “You don’t want to post anything negative about a product or company, even if you don’t want to work with them again, because other brands might see it and be scared off.”

Are you fucking kidding me? You have no spine. If you are so scared about telling it like it is, and you rely that much on putting up a sunshine and daisy front for potential sponsorships, then what is the point? Go work for a company instead of yourself. What happened to your argument that “brands need bloggers” anyway?

This shit would never fly in traditional journalism. Whether you’re getting paid or not, if the product you’ve been asked to review is complete shit, why would you lie to your readers? Refund the payment if you have to, return the product, whatever. If your blog is your career and you consider yourself a professional, why are you selling your readers’ time knowing you aren’t writing the truth?

//giveaway entries are not real fans

In November 2014, I followed some regurgitated advice about blogging and ran a big giveaway. I purchased a Kitchenaid mixer with my own cash, and asked readers to sign up for my newsletter and follow me on social media for a chance to win. I gained 600 email subscribers and thousands of fans on Facebook and Twitter, sure. I gained a loyal reader that won the mixer. I even devoted my winner announcement post, on Thanksgiving, to charity, asking readers to help end childhood hunger. Because of that, I was invited on an all-expense paid trip to tour a certain chicken corporation’s headquarters to hear about how much money they donate to said charity, and then roped into a writing a post about that even though I didn’t agree with the ethics of the company at all. All of this sounds great, and there are many positives, but in the end? I gained nothing.

If you are incentivizing people to join your mailing list, or follow you on Facebook, then they are not real fans. If you are purchasing Instagram followers to make your numbers look bigger, or tossing goodie bags in the mail for everyone who shares your big post a certain number of times, you’re fucking cheating. If you are interesting, if you have something worth saying, and you say it well – you need none of this. People will find a way to follow you, and they will click your social media and subscribe buttons with their own free will.

In February 2016, I wrote an angry, heartfelt letter vaguely directed at my ex in regards to not paying child support. It was the most real and vulnerable shit I’ve ever posted on the internet thus far, and I was terrified to hit publish for many reasons. Within a week, it went viral, and as of today it’s been shared more than 312 thousand times. How many times would I have killed for a sponsored post to do that well?

In the last week, I unfollowed over 2200 uninteresting people on social media, and I’m not finished. Someone asked me “But what if they all unfollow you?!” And my response? #byefelicia I’m not interested in having fake friends in real life, and I’m certainly not interested in having fake followers that I don’t even like, on the internet.

Genuine content, with a genuine voice, is the only way to gain real readers and connect with real people.

//you are wasting your time

“Each suburban wife struggles with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night- she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question– ‘Is this all?”
― Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique

What could you be doing instead of writing your shitty mommy blog? Would you spend an extra hour in the morning cuddling with your toddler? Would you read some intellectual books or find a hobby? Go back to school and launch a career? Would you leave your marriage? Would you travel? Would you lose weight and be more active? Would you make some new friends you actually enjoy talking to? What hole are you trying to fill by calling yourself a blogger?

Just quit. Quit now before you get burnt out and feel guilty. Quit before you realize you wasted years of your life writing bullshit about your kids’ childhood and your relationships instead of being actually involved. Quit before you get caught up in some legal mess with a brand contract and your house is cluttered with shit to review that you do not need and nobody else needs either. Quit before you feel like a failure instead of finding the intersection of happy and fulfilled.

Quit because your mommy blog fucking sucks. And it’s not going to get better. There are probably a dozen things you are actually good at.

Find what you love, and what you do better than anyone else, and do that. 

Sincerely,

A former typical ‘mommy blogger’ whose blog sucked just as bad as yours

tongue tied

I don’t have time to write. I don’t have time to write, or do anything else, because I have small children at home.

No.

I don’t have the attention span to write. I don’t have the energy to write.

I don’t have the emotional stability to write. The mental clarity.

I have time.

Why do I write?

I write because I do. Because I always have. Because I feel better. Because I breathe.

I write because I have overflowing thoughts, and they spill into words on paper.

I don’t know why I write, but I need to. There are many things we do but don’t understand.

So why can’t I write now? Fear of perfection. Fear of writing something I don’t want to read? Something I don’t want to admit is inside my head?

I have time to write. I have time to do anything I want. We all do, right?

I don’t write because there are dishes. Because there is laundry. Because there are doctor’s appointments to schedule. Because there is dinner to cook. Because my journal to keep myself on track of things is already days behind. I don’t write because of the guilt that I should be playing outside too. Because of the guilt that I should be walking the dog. I should be taking the kids to the park. I should be enjoying a movie cuddled with them instead of putting on the tv for them while I escape into my headphones for peace and quiet.

I don’t write because I’ve forgotten how to write for myself.

I don’t write because I can make money. I can be paid for my writing, if I am writing in a certain voice. If I am writing about a certain product. If I am reaching a certain audience. If I am telling you what you need to hear, or what a brand wants you to hear. If I save up all the thoughts for the perfect flow of words that will go viral. I can make money if I do those things, so I don’t write for myself.

Because you don’t want to read this. I don’t want to read this. I don’t want to give life to what’s in my mind. I don’t want to let it be real.

I don’t have time to write. But I do. I don’t write because I am afraid of myself. I am afraid that I will feel something. I am afraid that I will not be good enough. I don’t write because I want to be a good mom, and I feel like I can’t be. Like I don’t enjoy the things I’m supposed to. That normal people don’t need to write out their feelings just to have patience for ten minutes of playing with barbie dolls in the moment.

I don’t write because it’s easier to press pause. It’s easier to step outside of the moment and let the weight of all the things I want to do wash over me, to suffocate me in paralyzing guilt.

I don’t write because I would rather be at the beach. Or hiking through a forest. Or getting a new tattoo. Or I decide to redecorate my house. I don’t write because if it feels like a job, I want to run away. If it feels like a chore, I want to feel alive.

I don’t write because I am distracted. I am distracted by everything. I am distracted by needing a four letter label for my distraction. By trying to hide my distraction, or medicate my distraction. By trying to rationalize why and how my brain chemistry works and put it into explicable little definitions. I am distracted by trying to make sense of what I am, and who I am. I am worried that everyone else can see the mess of wires tangled behind my eyes. I’m overwhelmed by the pressure I place on myself.

I don’t write because I am worried someone will read it. I am worried someone will tell me I am an inspiration, and I will feel like an imposter. I don’t write because my words can hurt. I am afraid that the things I have to say will break someone into pieces. Or show everyone all my broken pieces.

I don’t write because I don’t know what to fucking say. I am afraid everyone will tell me I am excellent and eloquent, and I will look in the mirror and see my flaws. And deny that I do. And try to take the compliments with grace. How do I do it all? ‘Oh, haha, I don’t know, it just comes natural.’

It doesn’t. I don’t do it all. I curl up in my bed and cry. And I feel like a failure. And I let those thoughts consume me and I rush around at the last minute to wipe my tears and put on some lipstick and make sure the kids don’t have dirty nails and polish up the surface of our life and I cover up the crazy for you. Or at least make the crazy look cute and use terms like “hot mess”.

I don’t write because it’s never quiet. Because there is always someone screaming or crying or chewing or needing their diaper changed or barking or something boiling or beeping or asking me questions. I don’t write because I am needed in a million other ways. And when I could write, I can’t just write like this.

I can’t write because who cares what my banana pudding recipe is like. You all have pinterest too. I have no secrets to share. Why am I unique? I don’t write because I don’t feel like I am special.

I don’t write because I am not entitled. I don’t write because I don’t think I am enough. I am not enough to be placed on a pedestal, to have followers. Why me? I am not more important than you because I have a messy head and my chaos happens to look like creativity.

I don’t write because what if someone takes me seriously? What if this ‘little blog of mine’ is not just a phase? What if it’s ok to spend my days taking photos of my life and sharing my diary with hundreds of thousands of people?

I don’t write because I don’t take myself seriously. I don’t write because if I do, I feel vulnerable. And confused why anyone cares what I have to say. What is everyone searching for that they think they will find in the alphabetic vomit that I type into a keyboard?

I don’t write because this is not a safe space. Because my words are powerful, and they can make changes. They can change me, they can cause legal action, they can persuade others, and they can change the world. And that’s scary as fuck. I’m not powerful.

I don’t write because there is no safe space. Someone could always read what I write, no matter where I write it. The only really safe space is inside my head.

I don’t write because I’ve been abused. Because I question everything I do in every moment of the day, because I’ve been taught to walk on eggshells and overanalyze my words and actions. Because I am too busy making sure I look like I have my shit together, convincing everyone I am strong and unaffected by the years of emotional turmoil that’s in the past. Because it’s not in the past – it still spins in my head every waking moment.

I don’t write because I am impulsive. I don’t trust myself to believe the things I say after I say them, enough to feel certain about the results. When I say things, it makes things happen. I move across the country, I make people feel things. I make people fall in love, with things, with places, with me. I affect the lives of everyone around me. I don’t want to be responsible for that sort of thing. What if I change my mind? What if I get bored and unhappy as usual? What if everyone sees that I really have no idea what I’m doing because I say the opposite of something I was so sure of yesterday?

I don’t write because there are rules, you know. Even though this isn’t a real job, in the real world, where people really respect you and what you do as work. There are still rules. Because posts have to be this many words, and they have to have this many well-lit photos with eye-catching text overlays. Because sentences have to end in periods and begin with capital letters and you have to share it all on Twitter with a catchy headline and your Facebook photos have to be certain dimensions and you have to plan an editorial calendar around the holidays and you have to be relatable and you have to share good content on a regular predictable schedule and you have to engage and you have to plan your stories with a purpose and a vision and treat it like a business and you have to do this and that and you have to follow the fucking rules, don’t you know? You can’t break the rules.

I don’t write because I think the rules are fucking dumb. I don’t write because I am afraid that the way I write is not how you’re supposed to. Because the way I write is the way I think and the way I think isn’t normal either. And who cares what I think? I am not an authority.

I’m just kind of a mess. I don’t write because I can’t anymore without admitting that.

So there it is.

a letter to the father who won’t pay child support

 

Dear father who won’t pay child support,

I just want to know one thing. Do you know what you’re doing?

Ask yourself, aside from financial assistance, what else are you doing?

When is the last time you trimmed tiny little fingernails? Do you wake up before the sun rises to make sure your child gets on the school bus? How many hours do you spend each week helping with homework, and are you paid to do it? Are you holding your child’s hand at doctor appointments, and paying the $35 copay? How many meals do you plan, purchase for about $150 a week, prepare, serve to, and clean up after other people on a daily basis? How many nights lately have you been woken up multiple times because of your child’s nightmares? Do you know the name’s of your child’s friends, and how many play dates do you host at your house weekly, going through 3 $5 boxes of snacks in a couple hours? When is the last time you did 5 loads of laundry on a Saturday, paying for the soap and hot water and dryer sheets, and then did another two loads for good measure on Tuesday when a blanket was covered in vomit and crackers? How many days of work have you missed because of your child’s runny nose, and did you get paid time off? Do you know what stuffed animals they can’t sleep without and how they like their apples cut into slices without the skin? How many night lights do you have powered on each and every single night? Do you know how many $39 boxes of diapers and $12 boxes of wipes a toddler goes through in year? When is the last time you bought and baked a birthday cake and wrapped all the presents and paid for all the party supplies?

How many bathtubs full of hot water do you pay for in your house each month? When is the last time you had to remember yet another password to log into a school website and pay for your child’s $1.50 per day school lunch allowances? How many packages of $12 toilet paper do you buy in a month, or tubes of $4 toothpaste, or bottles of $2 hand soap? When is the last time you changed multiple sets of bedsheets at 4am with a screaming, crying child needing you to make them feel better? The last time you bought a $9 bottle of baby tylenol, and sacrificed everything on your to do list including sleep, just to monitor a fever and be prepared for an ER visit and accompanying copay? Do you know what insurance your child has? Do you know the name of their doctor? What about the name of their teacher? Did you send in 22 separate gift bags that cost $20 for the last class party? Do you know what size shoes they wear, and when is the last time you bought them a $20 pair? When is the last time you paid $15 for your child’s haircut? When your child’s last tooth fell out, did you play tooth fairy and have the cash to do so? How many $5 bottles of children’s shampoo have you bought lately, or how about $6 boxes of dish detergent to run the dishwasher nightly? How many career opportunities have you given up or failed at because you put the priorities of your children first? When is the last time you buckled multiple carseat straps before you could run to the store for a couple of things? How many $3 gallons of milk do you buy weekly? Where are you when your child needs to clean their room, or they spill spaghetti sauce all over their third outfit for the day and need to be changed?

Where are you? Are you doing these things, and if given the chance, could you do these things 24/7? Would you be able to do it alone, relying only on the income you could find time to create, and not paying anyone else to raise your kids or taking time off to attend their school events and teacher conferences? Could you do all of this alone? Are you doing any of this?

What are you doing?

Oh, that’s right, you’re working so hard. Never mind the fact that you’re underworking to be able to say you “can’t provide” what you should. You’re working so hard, when you feel like it. And you’ve got needs too. You have an electric bill to pay and you need gas for your car, you’ve got to eat, and you’re trying to save for that vacation because you deserve a damn break. And when you only have so much left after that, why should you send “your” money to “help” the mother of your child? It was her choice to be in this situation, anyway, right? Maybe she should’ve just put up with your abuse, addiction, affair-filled, or just unhappy relationship, she wouldn’t be a single mom now. Maybe in a few weeks or months, if you make a little extra cash, you could decide to be so overly generous and send a couple hundred dollars. Not because you’re legally obligated but because you are such a good guy lavishing your children with all you can spare, and you’re doing all you can, and she should be grateful you even want to help, right?

You’re wrong. 

Do you know what you’re doing? Where are you in the grocery store when someone has to tell your child no, they can’t have the poptarts with cartoon characters on them? Where are you when someone has to tell your 2nd grader they can’t afford to buy a $25 yearbook this year? Why don’t your children deserve new clothes, and trips to the expensive kid’s museums? Why can’t they join the clubs they want to, or attend the summer camps their friends are going to? Do you know how ever present you really are in your child’s life, simply with the gentle daily reminder that they live in a one income household and must make sacrifices? Why can’t your children grow up with a mother who lives a comfortable life? Why can’t they have a mother who doesn’t try her best to hide the anxiety in the house that comes from never knowing when your next payment might be? Why can’t they have a mother who allows herself to splurge on things like mascara and yoga pants that don’t have holes in them, instead of knowing she has to put every penny towards her children? Why don’t your children deserve a vacation on spring break? Where are you when your child breaks a favorite toy and someone has to tell them with a broken heart that they won’t have the money to replace it? Where are you when someone has to snap on the 5th reminder in a night to please turn off the lights, or when someone has to tell your child to wear the same jeans again to save on laundry costs? What are you doing?

You’re defending yourself. You’ve got all the reasons why you are only doing what you can, and why the mother of your child doesn’t really need your help anyway. You’re sleeping well at night, and still carry that feeling that you’ve been treated with injustice. Everyone knows you’re a damn good father. You could raise your kids better than her anyway, right, all alone without help? And heaven forbid she start dating or have a boyfriend, isn’t that his problem who pays his damn water bill then? You didn’t tell her to move in with someone – she should be doing it all alone like you tell everyone you would be able to so perfectly and effortlessly.

I just want you to ask yourself that one question: Do you really know what you are doing when you refuse to send child support? Do you realize just how much you are doing to your child’s quality of life and wellbeing of their mother, just by doing nothing? Do you realize that no matter what happened between you and the woman you once loved enough to have a child with, that you are still responsible for the financial stability of your child and supporting the person who is devoting her entire life to raising your child? Not because you’re being generous, or because you got paid a little extra to spare like you’d toss to a homeless man on the corner, not because a court ordered you to do so, but because it’s your responsibility without expecting praise or over-the-top thank you notes in return. When is the last time you told that woman thank you for everything she does in a day for your child? You are not entitled to a thank you for providing financial assistance required for the basic necessities to raise your child.

Raising children is not a game of narcissism and rewards for good behavior. This shit is exhausting, and they are half your DNA. They are not only yours to claim when you’re showing off how they have your eyes and how you treated them to ice cream one weekend. The rest of the world might take your side, they might reassure you when you fish for attention on social media, that you are doing the best you can. You might have perfected the image of successful, over-worked man with only the best interests of his children in mind. Too bad they don’t know how many months of support you’re behind in, or how your children have become nothing more than an outstanding debt. Their mother’s pleas for help and financial assistance have become nothing more than another creditor blowing up your phone and not worth your time or cost. And just like every other bill you put off until it’s shut off, you’ll continue this route because nobody else knows right? No matter what, they are “your” kids and you have rights too, right? Who cares if you aren’t supporting them?

Dear father who won’t pay child support, I think you know, deep inside, that you’re wrong. If only you could see what you’re really doing.