a cautionary blogging tale: is ignorance really bliss?

If you haven’t already, be sure to read the intro first.

*UPDATED: I have commented on the response to this post here*

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Once upon a time, there was a blogger (Fantine), who had built a nice little home in the blogging meadow. She’d been through a rough period in her life and blogging had given her a spot to sort through it and figure things out.

She met many amazing, supportive women online; women who, like her, were raising small children or had already done that, and were willing to share their wisdom.

The internet meadow was beautiful.

Rainbows, sparkles, confetti and sunshine abounded.

One day, from out of the blogging forest, a blogger named BackStreet emerged. She was funny, charming and smart. They quickly became friends.

One conversation lead to another and soon, they were brainstorming names  and ideas for an online women’s magazine that BackStreet was wanting to start. Many play-date meetings took place at BackStreet’s home while they both worked hard on the magazine, hopeful that it would be a success and they would be set up in beautiful palaces within the Land of the Internets.

They knew they’d found their golden ticket.

For over a year, just about every waking hour was spent committed to seeing this happen. At the same time babies were nursed, children were schooled, babies were born, families were moved, dinners were prepared, sleep was back-burnered.

Early on, the discussion came up about making their partnership legal. After all, both of them had their fingerprints all over the project.

BackStreet said she would have her attorney draft papers that made Fantine a 50/50 partner, not just in name, but legally. They were both broke at the time, but Fantine completely trusted BackStreet, and was fine with waiting until it was financially feasible to have the papers drawn.

At some point, the decision was made that they would try to start a blogging conference to go along with the magazine. Earlier in the year, Fantine had met Fairy Godmother; someone who had a background in “the business”, and she introduced her to BackStreet as someone who might be able to advise or help them.

Despite the fact that Fantine started noticing less talk from BackStreet about “we” or “us” and more talk about “me” and “I” (clue 1) she focused on the goal, pushing aside concerns. She’d invested so much of her time and they were so close to making it.

Besides, BackStreet was her friend. She’d never had a friend like BackStreet. Ever.

Eventually, the conference went off very well [BackStreet and Fairy Godmother were the shining stars. (clue 2])

With the success of their mini-trial conference, the official one was on track for the following February, with the help of Fairy Godmother.

But conversations were happening  and decisions were being made without Fantine. There was a total disconnect between the public and private personas. (clue 3)

At the same time, crazy demands were being placed on her, followed by her loyalty and commitment being called into question.  The “we”s were starting to refer to BackStreet and Fairy Godmother… not BackStreet and Fantine. (clues 4, 5 and 6)

And so it continued.

Fantine was increasingly pushed aside, being moved further and further out of the picture. Having already invested so much into the projects and being so close to the goal, she struggled with what to do.

Fantine wrote up her thoughts on the pros and cons of walking away, so that she could talk with BackStreet.

After all, they were friends.

The conversation never happened. There was a confrontation on another issue; Fantine expressed her grievances, offered to stay through the conference and in the end, was told that, due to the grievances she’d expressed, she could not be trusted and that all she had ever been was “just an employee”.

Their working relationship ended that day. So did their friendship.

In the end, Fantine was shown something that shook her to the core: an email from earlier on in the project in which BackStreet stated she didn’t have any intention of having legal documents signed.

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So. There it is.

Even now, as I read this, I struggle with frustration. With anger. With jealousy.

All of this over a community whose mission statement was about empowering women. Helping them find their happiness.

I’ve struggled with the fact that from a business perspective, it happens every. flippin‘. day.

Every day, people make decisions that are “business, not personal”.

And this, apparently, was what my cautionary tale boiled down to from the outside.

Business.

So get over it.

But it’s not.

Because in the end, I think what I suffered with the most…

…even more than being stripped of something I’d invested an enormous amount of time and creativity into.

… even more than seeing the other person go on and get the praise, recognition and applause…

was the loss of so many other friendships.

People suddenly had no need for me. My twitter stream screamed with silence. My inbox sat nearly empty.

I experienced grief.

Mourning.

The very community that I was trying to help lift up and promote and empower turned their back on me for standing up for myself.

I made people uncomfortable just by my presence. So I was avoided.

No one wanted to reach out to me in public, for fear of ruining their own chances of success.

So, what the heck did I learn?

Where is the moral to all of this… my cautionary tale?

It’s this:

The moment you put your hopes and dreams into the hands of others, you screw yourself.

I gave all control over to someone else.

I take total ownership of that.

So much did I want this, that ultimately, I allowed my own dreams to become blended and co-opted by someone else. I helped make their dream come true while forsaking my own. I handed over control of my future and signed the check over to them.

I’m responsible for that.

Don’t do that to yourself.
Make your dreams your own.
Take charge of them.

Because honestly? I wouldn’t wish the last two years of trudging through this on anyone. Not even the other person involved. There is nothing pretty about it. No one likes a pity party. No one likes to be around someone who just sits in their own crap and misery.

So learn from me. Take my advice.

Do it your way. OWN IT.

*UPDATED: I have commented on the response to this post here*

(photo credit)

Reasons You Should Attend “A Woman Inspired”

DON’T FORGET: Tomorrow is the start of "A WOMAN INSPIRED" online conference.

Reasons you should attend:

1) It’s all online – attend in your pjs and morning breath

2) It is totally affordable ($12.95 for the entire week! hel-lo!!!!)

3) You can listen at your leisure – all sessions will be available to listen to afterwards if you are out swimming with the kids at the time of the actual session

4) I’m speaking (on Social Media)

5) You will surely be blessed.

“A Woman Inspired” – ticket winners

(This is the second time in a week that I have published a post with the wrong date, causing it to not show up when I thought it did)

*edited because the conference is now tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the start of “A Woman Inspired” online conference. Anyone who is able to attend will surely be blessed by the speakers (including, hopefully, my talk)

I promised free tickets to FIVE lucky winners. Those winners are:

The Happy Housewife

Lanie

Abbreviated

Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect

VSliker

Congrats ladies! Please email me at lookingtowardsheaven (at) gmail (dot) com so that I can get you connected with the important people involved in taking care of such things.

Be Inspired

I have, for some time now, felt the Lord nudging me into speaking. Trust me, if it were coming from anyone else, I’d laugh in their face. And even with God, I wrestled and rolled my eyes some.

Me? Speak?

Last year, the first door opened, when I was awarded the scholarship to attend She Speaks. It was such a blessing and I can’t wait to attend next year. I am unable to attend this year, but I have been invited to do some speaking.

Next Monday, I will be speaking at “A Woman Inspired”. If you are unfamiliar with it, you must check it out. It is a fabulous platform, designed by the brilliant “Amies” (both founders are named Amy)

speaking

The neatest thing? I don’t have to travel anywhere. And as an attendee, you don’t have to either. It is ALL ONLINE. You will be able to chat with other women during it, and there will even be handouts and such for you to print out and take notes.

How brilliant is that?

So now, those of you who have come to realize that traveling to a conference, let alone purchasing the ticket to attend is just crazy insane (your kids need to eat and the mortgage still must be paid, right?) but are itching for some inspiration and knowledge, can take part as well.

My topic is “Social Media and Your Ministry: how to use Twitter, Facebook and more to Reach More People”.

Want to hear more fun news? I am giving away FIVE tickets to the conference. Don’t worry about whether you will be at home during that time. The sessions will all be available for you to listen to at your leisure as well.

To enter to win, please leave a comment on this post. Of course, I’d love it if you’d spread the word about the conference and about my session, so if you mention it on your blog and Twitter etc you will get an entry for each mention (just be sure to link to the actual post and twitter here as well).

Winners will be announced Saturday, June 6th by 5 pm

Good luck and I hope to “see” you there! There are so many amazing speakers, I’m honored to be a part of it.

She speaks until the wee hours

So I just got back from this little thing you might have heard of: SheSpeaks.

To say that I enjoyed it doesn’t seem to adequately sum up my feelings about the experience. It is going to take me several posts over the next week.

When I arrived in Charlotte, I was met by the Nester (Nesting Place), who graciously opened her home to me. She is a doll and I totally want to be her BFF.

The next day we met her sister, Emily (Chatting at the Sky), for lunch. We were headed to a lunch organized by Robin at Pensieve, but went to the wrong location. It worked out well though, because Jo-Lynne (Musing of a Housewife) and Sarah (Genesis Moments) happened to be at the location we went to. I’m thankful for that because that was really the only time I got to see those two the entire weekend.

After heading to Target to buy a pump, (Yes – I was a fool and left my 9 month old, still nursing babe at home to take a bottle without taking a pump for myself. I would have made quite an impression at the conference. As it was, I have never before spoken so much about my hmm-hmm’s before, no sense in drawing even more attention to myself) Emily and I headed to the conference.

I got settled into my room and met my sweet roommate (then quickly excused myself so that I could use my Target purchase, because SWEET MERCY!! I couldn’t have taken it another moment!!!) before heading to the blogger reception. I met up with Emily, who was hanging out with Megan (WhadUSay) and Jami (Live Laugh Love). I saw a couple of faces I recognized in the crowd, but the room was so packed, I couldn’t get past my spot, right by the entrance. Emily and I went into the hallway where it was cooler, and began scoping out some WiFi. Sitting there in the hallway, Emily and I made her some contact cards to hand out.

(And I can tell you right now how Paris Hilton affords all of those fancy clothes: $9.95 for 24 hours of WiFi and $3.50 for a bottle of water from the room :::faints:::)

The sessions were amazing, and I will talk about those more in the days ahead.

But the women that the Lord brought into my life; placing us each in the same place at the same time. Takes my breath away.

me

And this is pretty much how we spent the rest of the weekend. Samantha (The Listener’s Post) is missing from the photo, but the night before we all sat up talking and giggling until 1:00 AM.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Wait until I tell you about my speaker evaluation group and the sessions I attended and the worship. OH, the worship. So Divine.