Let’s Clear the Air: Why I Don’t Write For External Validation

A few days ago I wrote a post that I’m very proud of, for a number of reasons.

The main reason being that I love where I am in my career and that was the point of the article. To get laid off and change it up within two months is pretty hard to pull off in Toronto, and I’m damn proud I did it. If it sounds like I’m bragging that’s fine, I think we could all do with a little more proud talk, you know?

Even reading it now, I love it. And sure I’m biased but it is my blog. A blog that I’ve poured myself into for three years and has led me to everything in my life that I love right now from hobbies, to friends and even my job.

And at some point last week I lost sight of that for just a second.

How? Because I somehow entertained the idea that I needed to filter what I was saying in order to appease others. Which is not, and will never be my kind of thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I learned a thing or two in my journalism program to know enough to never post something that could come back and bite me professionally speaking, but I’m pretty good at editing with that in mind.

Now of course I could have made a few points more clear, but I think when you’re writing about anything familiar to you, that sometimes you forget the reader can’t fill in the blanks. It was very clear to the majority of my readers though (the comment section on the blog post shows that) so I didn’t fret too much.

The blog post is, as a former co-worker put it as I sit here typing, a breakup letter to that part of my life. It was a year after all, and my first full-time job. One that I have zero work to show for, but at least a few friends.

It being called a “trial by public humiliation and not by legitimate facts” seems extreme, especially given that I wasn’t throwing around lies just for the sake of writing, I ramble enough as it is.

And, even though I thought this was blatantly obvious, my blog is a personal blog.

The validation (recognition or affirmation that a person or their feelings or opinions are valid or worthwhile) that I seek are my own. There are many things I write, draft and keep to myself. But there are many things I publish, not for validation but in hopes of not feeling alone.

It is not a newspaper dedicated to showing ‘both sides of the story,’ it is quite literally a diary of sorts. A diary that, last week, just happened to be read well over 500 times in less than 24 hours. Which is impressive truly, because it’s become my fifth most popular post for the last years. Not exactly what I saw coming but I’ll take it.

As I’ve been told, I’ve been “living off this drama” of losing my job for months so in true dramatic fashion, I thought another post would do me and my CTR well.

I don’t think I have to defend anything I said, yet here we are.

I received my first message about the post within 40 minutes of it being published, and this continued until Friday. To say this was exhausting is the understatement of the year mostly because I’m not used to anyone having anything to say about my blog. I get lots of comments and tweets, but not a lot of direct messages! And certainly not a lot of messages saying not so nice things.

The rumour mill (is that the term?) was working hard that day, and while I got a lot of direct messages asking for clarification (totally allowed and encouraged) a few just went straight to accusing and confrontation.

I didn’t name names in my article, I would never, so I can completely get why there was confusion.

In my year at Diply I had, very technically speaking, four managers… I think? But only one I actually actively worked with, as in she was there the majority of the time and was supportive, an amazing leader, and everything you would want in a manager. To this day, I still reference her often while working and mentioned her in every interview I had. I was, and still am, proud to have worked with such a head-strong woman. Between her and the managing editor at the time, I was working for two woman I greatly admire and that will never change. They left of their own will in the fall, and that’s when things went downhill.

That’s when the team I joined wasn’t the team I wanted anymore, and I started looking for a way to leave.

I wasn’t being supported any longer, it was a struggle to be heard, and I completely lost motivation because it’s sincerely hard to stay motivated when there’s a complete lack of proper leadership. Leading up to that Thursday, I had reached out for meetings and calls several times with numerous “managers” (because honestly, they were bumped into that role and it was a lot for them so I use that term loosely) and was declined or ignored.

I can understand it being an uncomfortable position for anyone. But what I can’t get behind is the behaviour certain managers displayed — especially to the tune of one trying to guilt my friend into staying with the company because I got let go and could have been “saved.”

And quite honestly, if it takes a blog post to get someone to speak to me after getting let go from the same company, with numerous unanswered messages from my end, I think I’ve proven my point.

What’s the difference between ‘being brave’ while speaking your truth and ‘doing it for attention?’

This is not the first time I’ve turned to writing as a way of closure, both on my blog and with other publications. In fact I had touched on being laid off in at least one other post previously, but it was this post that caused the pushback. I think it was my clicky title, which I’m so into still. Slightly convinced I’ll never beat it, but that’s besides the point.

But this was the first time I was asked why I even published it.

I hesitate to even compare these topics, but when I talk about sexual assault, body positivity or mental health, it’s looked at as brave. Inspiring. I’m sharing my truth and it’s looked at in the most positive of lights!

But when I spoke up about how it was to work at a company that I hated even mentioning in job interviews because it was often smirked at, my way of writing is now on par with “pathetic” letters written about exes.

What’s the difference?

I’m not sure if because I wrote about events that included other people, but everything that I said was (is?) what happened, if anything filtered to be less harsh than I could be.

Or if it’s because I talked about a company that still exists? Although, even a friend who still works there understood the post and the message I was trying to deliver.

But this time instead of being brave it was “out of character….mean-spirited and negative.”  Which was confusing for me because as I reread it, it sounds exactly like me and goes in order of events, ending in how I’m currently doing. And while I worried a bit about it, once my current boss brought up how much she liked it and that she wanted me to stand by what I said, I felt the worry dissipate.

How does anyone actively read a personal story and turn the narrative to be about themselves?

The most confusing and tiring part about all of this was how people were so offended by something written by me, for me, on my own page.

And while people jumped to question, confront, talk about it, whatever…no one checked in on me. Granted it was my post, so they know where I stood, but it became a post about others instead, which I just found strange.

Here I had just spilled out every thought that has been running through my head since November and everyone was interested in the drama and how my words were affecting (and being twisted by) others.

It was almost if no one finished reading. No one got past what is in the past and caught up to my present. They stopped scrolling at the parts that they thought they understood and didn’t care enough to clarify, but cared enough to unfollow and unfriend me, which had me baffled but not upset.

As I write this, rereading messages that I’ve since muted, I’m getting frustrated all over again. Which I know is a waste of my energy, but seeing as I didn’t get the facts right last time (or so I’ve been told) I needed to have the windows open for reference.

Why write more?

It doesn’t escape me that you might be reading this and wondering why I would write another post if the last one caused me so much stress, and that’s a fair thing to wonder. It’s kind of like when you vent to a friend and everything feels a little bit better even though nothing is changed, but you got to at least empty what was in your head for a bit.

That’s what writing has always been for me, long before this blog (and every other blog, tumblr, social media profile) but way back to when I used to write in journals that were stored on the bookshelf in my closet.

While I wish that everything I write is positive, it isn’t. I’m not that naive and I hope you aren’t either. I am a positive person, but I am not without my negative moments.

I don’t know where others draw the line at being authentic, but my blog will always include all the bits you might not want to hear about and that’s okay with me — and I hope it’s okay with you too, but if it isn’t that’s just fine.

 

 

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