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.
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.
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?
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.
Instagram is a tricky beast. I love sharing photos and I love looking at photos, whether they’re of people, places or things, but I am also abundantly aware of how fake the platform is.
There are some incredibly creative people in this world, people who quite literally share their talents with the world thanks to Instagram. But, for the most part, the platform seems to be a beauty worshiping pit of vanity. So I have always been hesitant to share photos for fear of feeding the beast.
A few days ago I stumbled about an YouTube video made by someone from Vancouver who spent nearly 45 minutes going through her perfectly curated Instagram feed to talk the truth behind the beautiful photos and catchy captions she’d been posting for years.
With 2.1 million Instagram followers, hearing the truth behind her photos was actually quite shocking. As much as you know people aren’t truthful with their Instagram accounts, you tend to just envision people’s lives as perfect because… well because that’s what they want you to think. But her life, well it’s far from perfect. I was quite shocked about how far from perfect it was. But I found myself respecting her so much more after knowing the actual truth behind her photos.
I’ve decided that I’m going to start sharing some photos on Instagram and, in the comments, sharing two captions. Firstly, I’ll share the caption I would write if I were trying to make my life look perfect, and secondly I’ll share the reality of what was going on at that point in my life when I took the photo.
And, if anyone else wants to include this ‘Instagram vs Reality’ captions on their photos too, let me know and I’ll follow your Instagram.
Honestly, while I think my life is far from interesting, by any means, I do live in Canada and this entire country is basically the equivalent of a ‘Wish You Were Here’ postcard. So, I do have some pretty beautiful photos. But, as with all things in life, there’s two sides to every story…. Instagram versus Reality.
Love hasn’t always been kind. Love hasn’t always been giving, or thoughtful or helpful. Love hasn’t always been good.
The first time I fell in love, I was over the moon. He was absolutely everything to me and held more power over me than I would ever like to admit to.
In my younger, more vulnerable years, lacking in self-confidence at the time (and for years after due to his treatment), I accepted his shitty treatment for longer than I would like to admit to. I didn’t just accept it, I welcomed it. He had anger issues. And, looking back, he had serious issues with depression as well. He really liked to take out his frustrations on me. Yelling, screaming, throwing things at me, insulting me, preying on my every insecurity, getting in his car and leaving me places, forcing me to find a way home on my own. These were just things I came to expect. While I was shocked the day I found out he was cheating on me, I look back now on his behaviour and I think of how I should have seen the signs. I should have known what was coming. I really shouldn’t have been surprised.
And every time he treated me poorly, like clockwork, he’d go buy a fancy piece of jewelry or an expensive pair of shoes, show up a day or two later with them tied together with a nice pink bow. Every time I saw a little pink bow, I forgave him. I don’t know why. I look back on it now and I think I was mighty stupid for accepting gifts as though it is/was/could ever be any apology for his shitty treatment of me.
I’ve always hated pink bows.
There’s a quote from a book (that I’ll admit I have ever read) that rings true for a lot of people in this world. In The perks of being a Wallflower, the quote is ‘We accept the love we think we deserve.’
How fucking true is that? (Please excuse my language)
It’s so relevant. People who think low of themselves, people who struggle with self confidence, they’re so easy to accept shitty treatment under the mask of ‘love’ just because they feel that’s all they deserve. I know this because that’s what I felt I deserved back then.
If you’ve been there, if you are there now, please know that you deserve more. Don’t feel bad for thinking you deserve more. Don’t feel bad for wanting more. Don’t settle for anything just because it’s something. Love should be better than that. You are worth more than that.
Love should be patient. Love should be kind. Love should be thoughtful and helpful, fulfilling and caring. Love should bring out the best in you. Love should never make you doubt your self worth. Love should never make you question your value.
If you’re there in a tough relationship now or if you’ve been there before, I completely I understand. I was that person who didn’t think there was anything better. And trust me, I was so wrong. Looking back now, I’m happy that I was wrong. Because he was a piece of shit. And now that I know better is out there, I have to believe better is out there for you, too.
I wish for everyone to find their Knight in shining armour. Or Knightess!(yeah, pretty sure I just made that up because there’s no female form of Knight, is there?)
Anyone who’s been unemployed for any length of time knows what it’s like to feel as though you don’t have a voice, a value or a place in this world. They understand what it’s like working hard to find work and ‘playing the game’ of the potential employer, to no avail, just waiting for your day in the sun.
Unemployment sucks and here are a few reasons why:
Being told you’re living easy. This one annoys the crap out of me. People think that if you’re not going to work each day, you’re not contributing, you bring no value to this world or their lives so all you’re doing is sitting on the couch watching Netflix. And since all you’re doing is sitting on the couch watching Netflix all day, you must not have any real problems and thus your life is inherently more easy than those with jobs. It’s a shitty assumption people make.
When people ask you what you do for a living. Do you tell the truth and deal with the awkward conversation that will follow? Do you lie and pretend that you do something you do not as a means to save face? Either way, it’s going to be awkward.
Being unemployed plays a contributing factor in many health concerns. Unemployment can lead to depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, and other mental-health issues that affect every aspect of your life… and there’s really nothing you can do about it, especially if you truly want a job and it doesn’t seem to be happening, no matter how hard you try. It can cause serious tension, stress and strain on the body.
Being an adult is so much more enjoyable when you have money. It’s true. And when you’re not making bank, or you’re struggling to make bank through side hustle after side hustle after side hustle, sometimes it just feels like it’s all you can do to keep the side hustle. You’re not enjoying life, you’re just trying to stay afloat and stop the feeling of drowning.
Rejection emails. I’m talking about the finely-tuned art of an automated response that somehow manages to very succinctly, professionally, and somehow brutally, crush your hopes and dreams with the kind of disengaged effort that is, by true dictionary standards, effortless. You’re reminded of just how little they care about you (and all job hunters) and just how far removed we’ve come from basic human interaction… because it’s all automated, no-response email addresses these days.
No response from a company whatsoever. I’ve noticed a distinct trend on Indeed and LinkedIn in which, if the company doesn’t find a resume they like, they’ll simply delete the job posting and repost it to present day so that it appears at the top of the list of most recent listings. You don’t get a response as to why you’re not being considered, you don’t get to know why you’re not good enough and you don’t get an email to ask them WTF! I’ve seen postings appear 5 or 6 times over the past few months.
You become so used to rejection that you begin to expect it in other areas of your life as well. This plays a lot to do with the low self-esteem mentioned above. Picture this – you meet a man or a woman in the bar and you really hit it off. After swapping phone numbers you head home for the evening and then you’re hit with it… the doubt you have about yourself. The fear of rejection and the bracing of yourself for when you don’t hear from said person ever again. It’s a serious mind-fuck that allows you to start to believe you’re not worthy of people, places or things, let alone the job that started the whole avalanche.
Trying to talk about it with people is a struggle. When you’re stressed it helps immensely to talk about it with someone. When you’re unemployed, you’re heavily stressed out. Trying to talk about this with anyone isn’t really an option though because they either don’t understand because they’ve never been through it, or they just don’t give a damn because, if it’s not their problem, they don’t want to hear about it.
You feel guilty about actually treating yourself. There’s a notion carried in society that if you’re unemployed you should not be enjoying yourself and you should not do something for yourself or have fun of any sort. So, if you do take the chance to do something for yourself to try and boost your self-esteem or make yourself happy, even if just for a few hours, you inevitably end up feeling guilty for doing such action because… you’re unemployed, and thus should not be spending your money on what is deemed frivolous things.
Receiving unsolicited advice. Because when you’re unemployed everyone has an opinion about what you should do and everyone wants to share their opinions with you. The fact of the matter is, with the exception of a very few close people, no one truly knows what you’re going through, what you’ve done or what you’re presently trying to do to find work. Unsolicited advice often come with the assumption that you’re just not trying, that you just don’t care and that you just aren’t capable. Rather than taking the time to ask and learn, invest in you to ensure their help is worthwhile, they just take their assumptions and start throwing opinions your direction. These opinions aren’t helpful and can often add a lot more stress to your days.
Being too good for some jobs is a fucking joke. I have a Bachelor’s Degree and ten year’s of industry experience… and I have had to ‘dumb-down’ my resume to even get retail places to take me seriously. I’ve been turned down from Wal-Mart, MacDonalds, Burger King, and so on and so forth, because they believe if they hire me, I’ll leave right away. Because of this I’m in an awkward stage in which career positions don’t seem to consider me a viable candidate and retail positions consider me not a worthy investment and thus, I can’t even get a job as a cashier. Life happens. Sometimes people have to deviate from the plan, you would think that potential employers would be understanding of that fact. But no. I dumbed down my resume, took my education and experience off of it, applied to be a cashier at a local grocery store. When I went to the interview I thought it was going great and the store manager loved me! Within two hours of leaving the interview I had a rejection email in my inbox. I can’t even pretend to be dumb to get a job it seems.
People assuming you want to be unemployed. If you’re unemployed for a certain length of time, people genuinely assume that you just don’t want a job.
Jumping through ridiculous hoops to try and find a job in 2019. Companies are asking for ten references, for you to record 15 minute videos of yourselves to submit for them to review with your resume, asking you to fill out application questionnaires that can often take upwards of an hour per application, to take aptitude after aptitude test that prove nothing more than an ability for deductive reasoning. NONE of what they are doing in this time involves having an actual conversation with you.
I once read somewhere that social anxiety is self consciousness on steroids. That’s actually a pretty perfect description of it.
I’m not very good with people. If you don’t start the conversation, it’s very likely that we won’t have one. Every day activities like ordering a coffee or purchasing groceries can be extremely difficult for me. I live with a fear that I’m being judged. That if I slip up, that if I am not perfect, people are going to remember that, that it’s what I’ll be known for… forever.
People who know me describe me as quiet. And most days, I’d describe myself that way too. I’m quiet to those who don’t know me. I’m quiet because I worry – about what they think of me, about being enough for them, about not being an embarrassment.
People who don’t know me often describe me as having permanent resting bitch face. They say that I come across as cold and… uninterested. I listen, I hear, I understand, I just… don’t know what to say back when they talk to me. I stare blankly into the abyss hoping for something to come to mind, but it never does.
Small talk is awful. I mean downright awful. Having a simple conversation with someone – a coworker, a bank teller, the bus driver, anyone really… it takes a great deal of effort for me. Effort that quite often comes across with people believing me to be a closed off shell of a human being.
Some days are better than others. But some days, it’s all I can do to not live in terror of my non-existent flaws. Because they’re there. You may not be able to see them but I can definitely feel them.
I overthink absolutely everything. Even the smallest of interactions can send me into a fiery spiral of anxious energy that I don’t know how to control. It’s something that can keep me hiding in my house for days at a time. And I wouldn’t tell you if that was the case. I’d simply either not answer your calls or, make up excuses to try and convince you (and myself) otherwise.
I can say that their words don’t matter to me, that they have no value and there is no stock in what they say, but they still hurt. As much as I don’t want them to, some words cut like a knife.
There are handful of people in this world I feel truly understand me. Those who love me, those who appreciate me, those who tell me things like ‘I’m robbing the world of the chance to know me’, because they know I don’t like meeting new people. They know I have a hard time with human interaction. They know I’m afraid of what people will think and they love me anyway. That, well that’s the kind of love they don’t write books about. That’s the kind of acceptance I think we all seek to find.
I believe that people sense I’m a good listener. I think they can tell that I’m hearing them when they speak… not just ignoring them and moving on but actually processing their words. I think it’s irony in a sense… being terrified of human interaction whilst people find you to be the best listener they know. And yes, I know I just misused the word irony.
The most frustrating part of social anxiety is that I know I’m being irrational. I know the decisions that I make and the actions that I choose are not those of a rational human being. I can’t help it though. I’ve had anxiety for as long as I can remember. I’ve had anxiety for longer than I knew what anxiety was.
Social anxiety is hard to explain. If you’ve never experienced it, you might not understand why I don’t want to go out in public without my headphones. You might not understand why I try to get into and out of public places as quickly as I can, why I try to avoid conversations with absolutely everyone at all costs. I’m an introvert, but it’s so much more than that.
I’m trying to remind myself that there will come a day when people see me for me. When I allow them into my world without fearing what they think. I’m trying to believe that there will come a day when I set the standard, when I am the rule and not the exception, when I can play ‘Words With Friends’ without worrying if they’re really my friend. I’m trying to convince myself that I can overcome this feeling, that the anxiety won’t always win.
Until then, please go easy on me. Because like I mentioned earlier, if you don’t start the conversation, it’s very likely that we won’t have one…
Tragedy blows through your life like a tornado, uprooting everything, creating chaos all around.
I think they call it a lose-lose situation. It’s the kind of reality in which all you can do is wait for the dust to settle and then choose. You can live in the wreckage and pretend it’s still the mansion you remember. Or you can crawl from the rubble and slowly rebuild.
After disaster strikes, the important thing is that you move on. So why is it so hard to move on? Because if you’re anything like me, you just keep chasing the storm, dwelling on the past and wondering how to change what you have no control over.
The problem with chasing the storm is… it wears you down, it destroys your spirit. It eats away at you, slowly but surely. Swallowing the very best aspects of who you are. The problem with chasing the storm is, nothing can stop it.
There’s no secret to being social media famous. I’m sorry if this bursts preconceived notions or beliefs of what’s possible, but there isn’t.
Anyone who is famous on social media got there based on one or more of the following: dumb luck, an ability to follow fads/trends and… probably because they were in the right place at the right time (or they’re a Kardashian still riding the fame of their sister’s sex tape).
I know I’ve said this before but PLEASE don’t spend your money on social media workshops. Please don’t spend your money to buy followers. You work hard for your money and there’s nothing either of these two options can give you that will bring you fulfillment to your blog, twitter, Instagram or any other platform.
I believe people who sell ‘Social Media Management’ and people who sell ‘ [X amount] of Authentic Followers’ are stealing. I really do. Please don’t get scammed.
You can be vulnerable and still be powerful. You can have a gentle heart and still be rock-solid to your core. You can be as calm as a cool breeze, but as fierce as a tiger. The measure of true strength is to embody the characteristics of the full spectrum.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, life is the messy bits. Speak your truth, love your family, care for your friends and be yourself. Your social media platforms, your blogs, your conversations with people, they don’t need to be a perfectly curated collection of beautiful and noteworthy. Be real. Be truthful. Be you. If someone’s not willing to listen to the truth, find someone else to talk to.
Being real about how the world actually works, about how life really is, that’s what I appreciate in people.
Don’t internalize the bad. Nobody needs to be walking around with that weight on their shoulders. Always speak your truth. You’ll feel sooooooo much better about life when you do.
Also, be a good person. It doesn’t take a lot. Just be a good fucking person.