One thing about writing a personal essay blog is that it leaves you very open to criticism. Each week, I put myself out there and share my experiences with people that I don’t know and may never meet. My hope, when I started this, was that I would strike a chord with women and men who have had similar experiences, so that we wouldn’t feel quite as alone as we negotiate middle-age. It’s all we can do for each other sometimes, when faced with life’s challenges, is to hold each other up. I hope to share a lesson or two and when I have nothing wise to say (which may happen more often than not), I hope to at least give folks a good laugh!
I have to admit, I was a little worried. There are, on occasion, those folks who seem to have nothing better to do than write very mean, critical comments on the paper’s online stories. How will I react to one of those? I am not sure yet. All of the comments left by readers so far have been wonderful!
This week, however, I did get my first personal email from a reader, although the tone of his note suggested he thought he was emailing the paper directly and not me personally. While it wasn’t really as mean and hateful as some comments I’ve read on other writer’s pieces, it was not in any way a compliment. In fact, he called my writing lame and blamed it on my being from Rhode Island! (I am well aware that having lived here for almost 24 years in no way makes me a true Mainer but that is a subject for another blog).
I have to agree with you though Reader. Some Rhode Islanders are certainly lame, but not in any greater percentage than the rest of the country. Then again, maybe it was very lame of us to cover our beautiful state in condos and sub-divisions until we could no longer see the ocean nor afford to even live there.
On a lighter note I also got my first bit of actual fan mail this week. It even contained a gift! Pat from the BDN emailed me one morning to say that a package had arrived at the paper’s office for me. Not expecting anything, I asked her to go ahead and open it and see what it was. Once she had verified that it was not 1) ticking or 2) sent by mistake, she forwarded it along to my post office box.
I have to say, Heather from 32North, you really made my day! Thank you so much.
Heather Wasklewicz is the Social Media Marketing Director of 32North in Biddeford, Maine. 32North is the manufacturer of STABILicers. If you aren’t familiar with them, STABILicers are those attachments for the bottoms of your shoes with the little metal cleats that cling to the ice and keep you from falling. They come in a variety of styles and colors and secure to your shoes or boots in various ways. My favorites, however, are the lightweight rubber ones that slip easily over your shoes! Not only did Heather send me a new pair of them but she sent me the pink ones! I was already a huge fan of these. In the years that I worked at the LL Bean Call Center during the holiday season, I learned how fast the colored ones sell out and how hard they are to come by sometimes! This is not just a shameless plug for Heather, I really love these things!
What was even better than Heather’s gift, however, was the personal note she took the time to write. She had read my essay “Humbling Middle-Aged Moments” in which I described my recent slip in the middle of Main Street! She thought the STABILicers would help me stay on feet while walking downtown. She also mentioned that she has been going through her own trying personal challenges lately and that my articles had given her hope. That’s all we can do for each other sometimes isn’t it? When times are tough and there is nothing we can actually do or say to solve a friend’s problem, we can just be there for them. It is our friends, old and new, who stick by us, give us hope and hold us up.
Sometimes we do it with our words and sometimes with a nifty new pair of STABILicers!