Everybody's got an opinion

If your opinion doesn’t align with mine, that is completely okay. There’s no need to fight, there’s no need to be rude, there’s no need for name calling. We can agree to disagree. Plenty of people disagree with me for plenty of different reasons and I still have a great deal of respect for all of them. I cannot and will not respect you, however, if your inclination is to start ‘throwing stones’ so to speak, solely because we disagree.

My standing up for myself is not my fighting with you, it’s my standing up for myself. Period. I’m not attacking you, I’m simply stating my opinions. You had your chance, why shouldn’t I have my chance? There’s no callous nature behind it, I am simply trying to share my side.

I want to get to a place in society where we can agree to disagree and still be kind to, and show respect to one another.

The perk of being anonymous.

I get asked A LOT as to why there’s no face to my blog. Would you believe me if I said that I’m shy? Because I am. But, more importantly than that, I choose to be anonymous because it allows my blog to be about me, not about what I look like.

Why am I anonymous? Because I want to be.

It’s 2020 and, as much as the world has evolved, there’s still a long way to go when it comes to judgmental folk.. People place a lot of value on the way that you look. Yes, you. You, me, the man across the street. We all get judged based on our appearance. So, the thing about nobody knowing what I look like gives to me is an ability to know that I’m being judged for who I am, not what I look like.

It’s freeing.

If someone likes me, they like me for my outlook, personality and how I treat others, not because of what I look like. And, if someone doesn’t like me, they don’t like me because they don’t like my outlook, personality or how I treat others, not because of what I look like.

I can’t stress enough what a cool feeling that is.

As someone who’s spent the majority of her life being judged for her appearance, it’s a nice feeling to get judged for who I am, not what I look like.

Honestly, you can imagine me whatever way that you want to. Whether you think I am the 31 year old female I’ve told you that I am, or you think that I’m a 65 year old man who hoards butter-finger wrappers in a fish bowl (shout out to anyone who watches ‘2 Broke Girls’), that’s okay. The perk to being anonymous is that I can be whoever you want me to be, whoever you envision me to be and it just doesn’t matter.

I like being anonymous. I am shy. I am an introvert. Pouring my heart out to the internet gives me solace in a world where those that know me don’t really know much more than what’s on the outside.

Being anonymous has allowed me to feel the most like myself.

Search Engine Results

Just to share the random ways in which people can find you and you’re blog, I’m sharing some of the searches people have used to find me via Search Engine over the past year. (If you don’t know, this means someone has gone to Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc… and searched these things and my blog has come up in their search results)

  • Ice Carving at Lake Louise
  • Natalia Grace
  • Life in the Rocky Mountains
  • Grow through what you go through
  • The Struggles of being Male
  • Vitamin B12 Deficiency personal stories
  • Yolo so you don’t waste your life
  • What causes people to do bad things
  • When your day is a shit day
  • How to decorate inside a teepee tent
  • Job hunting rant
  • Natalia Grace bone density
  • Natalia Grace on Dr. Phil
  • Another year around the sun
  • Millennial Job Interview
  • How do you spell milenial?
  • Feeling the need to call HR
  • Natalia Grace still has baby teeth
  • Whats it like to be homeless
  • Amazon

I hope this serves as a reminder that you really can’t fathom the extents to which your posts can reach. You can implement SEO and try to be strategic about it, but sometimes people are going to type a random sentence into a search engine and somehow, your blog will appear. I mean… I’ve never written a darn thing about teepees on my blog but somehow that’s how someone found me.

What are people typing to search engines to find you?

New York Times Best Sellers

For the majority of my life… I’m talking as far back as I can remember, I’ve always thought of a ranking on the New York Times Best Sellers list as a reflection of the quality of a book. After all, a book wouldn’t be able to make it on the best sellers list if people didn’t love it, right?

Wrong.

A few years back, I started to question the New York Times Best Sellers list because I was seeing books make this list that were really poorly written. I was seeing books make this list solely because… well because they were written by celebrities. I stopped believing that the New York Times Best Sellers list was a judgement of quality and just started believing that… so long as you were a celebrity, you’d make the list.

In retrospect, it was probably quite naive of me to ever believe every writer made that list based off the quality of their writing, story, content to start with. That might happen for a few, but, for the majority it seems the system is seemingly rigged from the get-go…

It wasn’t until last year that I learned of ‘Bulk Purchasing’.

See… DJT, infamous idiot son of the present President, ‘wrote’ a book. I use the term wrote loosely because I don’t believe that he wrote anything. I reckon he probably paid a few ghost writers so that he could slap his name on the front and add it to his resume.

Shortly after the release of this book, I saw a portion of an interview on CTV (a Canadian tv station) to which DJT was excited to claim that he made the New York Times Best Sellers list and thus he was a New York Times Best Selling Author.

‘This can’t be right’, I remember thinking. As much as I know the Trump family has a fan base still in the United States, it can’t be enough to make him the top of list as a New York Times Best Selling Author, it just can’t.

Am I wrong?

Turns out, I’m not wrong.

See the screenshot of the book from the New York Times Best Sellers list above… there’s a little dagger shown just above the ‘Buy’ button on the screenshot. That dagger is very important. That dagger means that a bulk purchase of the book was made.

The dagger is something that the NYT has had to start including on their Best Sellers list to denote bulk purchases because celebrities, rich folk and corporations started scamming the system by buying enough books in one go to land said book on the Best Sellers list. So every book that lands on the NYT Best Sellers with a dagger denoted on it means that the book isn’t necessarily there because of popularity, it’s more so there because of a bulk purchase. It’s essentially artificially inflating the book to ensure that it gets clout, is talked about more and gives the writer the ability to claim they’re a best selling author for the rest of their lives.

After doing some research, it turns out DJT’s book was purchased in bulk, by the RNC. Do we think dad had a hand in making sure that purchase happened? I know I do…

This makes me mad. It makes me mad because I finally have proof to my belief that people are artificially inflating the popularity of their books. It makes me mad because it means that writers, people who put out good, quality and interesting content who might otherwise have made the list are being bumped from the list because of these daggers popping up week after week. It makes me mad because it’s a reminder that this list can’t be treated as a true measure of the value of a book’s contents when people can scam the system to get themselves and their books on the list.

When I finally learned what this dagger meant, I started doing some research to find other books who have this dagger as well and I noticed a serious pattern with respect to this tactic. Here are some screenshots:

Anybody else find something in common with all of the books listed above, or is that just me?

Now, it’s worth noting that it’s not just books related to politics that this tactic is used. I want to make that abundantly clear. This happens across all categories – fiction, non-fiction, advice, childrens, etc… To show this, I’ve taken screenshots of this week’s list (from today January 11, 2020) to showcase more genres where this occurs.

‘THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A FUCK’
Everybody talked about how great this book was and when I read it, I was less than impressed. I guess I’m not really surprised to see this little dagger here. 160 weeks though, that has me questioning if it’s had bulk purchases made all along? I did go back the past five weeks and the past eight weeks have all been noted that it’s made the list due to bulk purchasing. WHO IS BUYING THIS BOOK WEEK AFTER WEEK? Is there a secret billionaire out there hoarding these in their basement?

This book. I haven’t read this book – mainly because my best friend told me that it’s stupid, she wasn’t the only person I’d heard that from. I went back five weeks on the NYT Best Sellers list and found this one was bumped off the list and got back onto the list thanks to bulk purchasing three times. Funny how that works…

Edit: Now that I’ve double checked, all of Rachel Hollis’ books have daggers next to them at various stages throughout the list.

Just the title of this book alone seems unappealing to me. The book, advocating for skipping meals and taking apple cider vinegar in its place to lose weight. It’s been out two weeks and has been on the best-sellers list for two weeks thanks in part to bulk purchasing.

Others to land on this list thanks to bulk purchasing? TV Anchors, Youtubers, Celebrities, Chefs, Financiers, Motivational Speakers, Religious oh… I can’t think of a name other than ‘Leaders’, Bloggers, Reality TV Stars… basically anyone in the public eye who needs their reputation boosted. Some mainstream authors seem to have daggers next to their books as well. Largely, from what I can see, it’s the more mainstream authors who are likely trying to stay on this list to keep up appearances.

To me this goes to show that anyone can be a New York Times Best Selling Author so long as they are rich, or have rich friends.

What makes a great blog?

In my personal opinion, individuality is what makes a great blog.

A blog that showcases individuality is one that I will come back to read again and again and again.

So many blogs just seem to be different variations of the same thing. And, while that’s all fine and dandy, it’s just not interesting to me. What is interesting to me is finding something new and different to view every day. What is interesting to me is finding someone who makes me think differently about the world, someone who opens my eyes to something I’ve never realized.

If you want to run a great blog, you need to ask yourself what stands you apart from the other 75 million blogs on WordPress. If you want to run a great blog, you need to ask yourself what you can do differently.

“I’ve been blogging for a year and I have 40 followers.” 40 followers is awesome. How about celebrating the fact that you’ve managed to connect with 40 strangers and ask how you can build upon that, not speak of that like it’s a bad thing.

“Why don’t I have more followers? Do people just not like me?” I think you’re asking the wrong questions. People don’t really know you. Remember, the goal of any blogger should be to make a reader care about their content. Have you been writing content in hopes it’ll make you famous, or have you been making content in hopes it’ll make people care?

In blogging, you shouldn’t be measuring your success by your follower count, you should be measuring your success by the fulfillment you get from making a post, by the fact that people are coming to your blog, reading a post and coming back. Views are great, yeah! If someone comes and reads your post and your view count goes up for a day, that’s awesome. But, if they never come back then you’ve not given them a reason to come back.

I follow blogs that have follower counts from 8 to 140,000. And let me tell you, the person with 8 followers has just incredible of a blog as the one with 140,000 followers. The person with 8 followers has successfully made me want to come back, time after time.

If you’re wondering how to make your blog stand out, wonder what makes your blog individual.

So, what makes you an individual?

Things I want for this world

I realize these are what most would refer to as ‘pipe dreams’ and that when I speak of these, most people tell me ‘Stop wishing for it because it ain’t gonna happen’… or something of the sort. I can’t help it though. I have high hopes for this world, and I refuse to let those hopes go.

I want to live in a world where education is a right for everyone and not a privilege for the lucky few. Whether you live in Boston, Riyadh, Bloemfontein or Sydney I think knowledge should be afforded to you. An educated world is an empowered world, and I want to live in a world where everyone is empowered.

I want to live in a world where no one has to go hungry for lack of food, or lack of access (geographic or monetarily) to food. In my dream scenario, no food would go wasted… what we buy from the grocery store, we’d eat. And we wouldn’t judge others for what they do or do not eat. Also, when sports teams have leftover food from games, whether it popcorn or hot dogs or burgers or WHATEVER it is that’s edible, they’d donate it to the homeless shelters in their cities rather than throwing it in the trash. Because there is ALWAYS food left over after the hockey, basketball, football and soccer games, and people just… throw it away, while tens of thousands of people go hungry.

I want to live in a world where health care is free for all. Or, if not free, at the very least, affordable and attainable – whether you live in Canada, the USA, Denmark or Sub-Saharan Africa. There should be no reason that a mother from Michigan needs to come to Canada to get insulin for her child. Insulin is ten times the price in the USA as it is in Canada. I mean… excuse my language but what the fuck for? To take advantage of someone suffering from a disease that’ll effect them the rest of their life? No one should have to decide between medication and paying rent. No one should have to question whether or not they can afford a surgery that’ll save their life, or what the consequences of said surgery will be (paying off bills for the rest of their lives).

I want to live in a world where no one claims the moral high-ground, regardless of their job, their wealth, their religion or any of the other stupid reasons people use as a means to believe they’re better than everyone else. In my ideal world, we’d all understand that we’re all just human. We do good. We make mistakes. We forget. We fumble. No one is perfect and no one is better than anyone else whether you’re the Prince of Whales or the man under the bridge.

I want to live in a world where people can disagree with one another and still show each other respect.

I want to live in a world where equality is a reality. Where you get the job based on your intelligence, experience and skills, not on what you look like. Where women aren’t told what they have to wear and how to act and where men aren’t treated as superior solely for being born a man.

I want to live in a world where… if you can dream it you can do it. I hate thinking about all of the unmet potential in graveyards across the globe because of lack of confidence, lack of money, lack of resources, lack of anything that kept them from being who they could have become. If you want to be President, do it. If you don’t want to be President, then don’t.

I want to live in a world where no one is judged, shamed for or embarrassed about mental illness. The stigma is so real. And, as far as we might have come, there’s still so much more to do. See, point one about education.

I want to live in a world where they remove all pineapple from pizza.

And, I’d really like to live in a world where people choose kindness over anything else. Keyboard warriors, assholes and outright nasty people could just have a change of heart, realize that their nastiness doesn’t get them anywhere and do some good. The world needs a lot more good in it.

Least popular posts of 2019

I’m not going to lie, these were hard for me to go through because a lot of them come from the beginning of this year, when I first started this blog and was in a horrible place mentally and emotionally.

Thinking back to where I was at the beginning of this year, thinking how sad I was, how ready to give up I was, how I thought the world had crumbled around me… I really don’t think I smiled the first two months of this year at all.

I’m still not in the best place in life, but I at least can see these and see how far I’ve come in the past year.

FEBRUARY AIR.
A moment in February when I was feeling hopeful about what was ahead.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT
The importance of being selective with the people you let into your life.

DAY 28: THAT INEXPLICABLE LUMP IN YOUR THROAT RIGHT BEFORE YOU’RE ABOUT TO CRY
I was sad, lost and talking about why I was sad and lost. (Ironically, 11 months later and I still, to an extent, feel the same)

HONESTLY, REMEMBER
A reminder that we are all simply human and we all have our struggles.

TIPS & TRICKS FOR SMOOTH TRANSITIONS THROUGH THE AIRPORT
Much like the title says, this post is tips and tricks to make the airport as painless as possible.

DAY 29: A RANT
Ranting about some serious topics.