Bad neighbors


Don't worry about me and my broken heart

On WordPress, all bloggers are equal, but some are more equal than others. WP shows its monkey love to the ones that are more equal like susanwritesprecise and kiwsparks. They get emails and videos (with fireworks!) about the stats on their blogs.


For those who are mere typists like me, nothing. That’s okay, really; I’m used to it. Don’t worry about me and my broken heart. I’ll just sit here and share my bananas with my insecurities. (Did you hear that monkeys? I have bananas.)


I don’t remember when my insecurities moved into my childhood neighborhood; it seems like they always lived next door. They beat me up a lot when I was younger, so I learned to avoid walking in front of their house on the way to school. When you’re bullied, you learn to take shortcuts and leave your dreams at home. You avoid your friends because you hate getting beat up in front of them or having your dreams fished out of your pockets and ridiculed. Friends can cheer you on, but they can’t fight for you: you have to fight for yourself.


Although I have moved numerous times in my life, my insecurities always find me and manage to buy the house next door. I’ve learned to ignore them most of the time and pretend I don’t hear what they say. People in my life have loved and supported me, so  I’ve lived a good life.But I have kept most of my dreams hidden away. You probably know that one of those dreams is about writing.


Walking around with your heart or dream on your sleeve is risky business. Since I started blogging, my insecurities have noticed. Last month, they  joined the YMCA and have taken up weightlifting. A couple of them even got skull and crossbones tattoos. You would not want to meet them in a dark alley.


They read my blog, and when I see them on the street, they make snide comments about the things I write. I confess that I have a couple of rogue fingers that seem to have no connection to my brain. I type things on my blog or in the comment boxes of unsuspecting bloggers and then press enter, publish, or reply, sometimes without really proofreading. On my own blog, I can edit, but once I post a comment on someone else’s blog, it’s like toothpaste – once you squeeze it out, you can’t get it back in the tube.


I have at least two and half things to say about this. One, if I got toothpaste on your blog, I’m sorry. Two, I plan to continue typing until it turns into writing. And last, I am only half kidding about my insecurities.


I don’t know who your neighbors are, but I imagine there’s someone on your block that makes your life difficult. Keep writing, or typing, or taking photos; keep sharing your dreams. Just a couple of houses down, some of your neighbors are sitting on the front porch waiting to welcome you in.


Happy New Year!

54 thoughts on “Bad neighbors

  1. I feel almost as though I wrote this – my neighbors moved in when I was in kindergarten being told repeatedly that I wasn’t so special and I wasn’t so pretty. My mother brought that neighbor to town, and though it was an ill planned decision that she has apologized for over and over, the neighbor has never moved out.
    I will never be the popular one and will never be completely comfortable with not being good enough, but I muddle through well enough.
    And I will be a good neighbor to you and give you the praise that you rightly deserve! Great post, my writerly friend – I wise I could put the words down the same way you can…

    • I suspect that most neighborhoods have at least one family of insecurities living there. It’s not all bad – the introspection can be a well from which to draw out art. You have a great eye and create beautiful photographs. I love how you pair poetry to your art. Thanks for being a good neighbor. : )

  2. Talk to me...I'm your Mother

    Okay, so you’ve arrived. You’re a writer and you have proven it with your first post of the year. (Not to mention those great ones from last year.) This is a wonderful analogy, brought on, I’m sure, by those amazing people who have WP statistics over the moon. (What’s up with that?) I read the recap on one intimidating blog last night and decided to go to bed and begin a new day today.

    Happy New Year of writing.

  3. Love it — I’m your pal and I’ll fight for you. Or stand next to you and not let you give up, hand you an ice pack …

    WordPress is highly selective, and I think that it lives to drive us nuts and to make us click on them for premium service.

    Me, I got the fireworks! And I thought they were giving me an opportunity to put it over there on the right. Instead, they posted it for me.

    What they DON’T do for me, is send me replies to the comments I make on others’ blogs. I never know if someone is saying thanks, asking me a question, offering me a cool million to be clever for them. Not ever.

    And they once hid all the blogs I subscribed to so that it took me 3 weeks to reconstruct the ones I like and the ones I don’t.

    They are bullies. Bad, bad word press.

    • I may take you up on the offer of an ice pack sometime. I’m sure that WP can only do stats on so many blogs; there are something over 300,000 of them. Still, when you were the one always chosen last for softball, you get a little sensitive. : )

  4. Oh, Yearstricken! This post really struck a chord, hard, with me. Personal blogging seems designed to poke at those writerly insecurities. As you and I started our blogs within a month of one another, please let me say this: I know those bananas. I have those bananas. And boy, are they ripe.

    Some days, since starting my blog, I walk around with my metaphorical bananas and can’t seem to put them down.

    I can’t speak for the the photo-bloggers, or the art-bloggers, but writers (and writer-bloggers) seem to have, in my experience, a special brand of ego-to-insecurity ratio that’s almost comical. Almost.

    But, the blogging-specific insecurity… what is *that* about? Is it that there are no editors between me and my (extraordinarily theoretical) readers? No colleagues to prop up my flailing ego on an off-day? If you figure out the answer to these, and other, blogging-related insecurities, would you let me know?

    And, for the record, you’ve never squeezed toothpaste on my blog. Not even a drop. (But, I can’t speak for myself. Sometimes I feel as though I am the toothpaste tube.) (Can you tell I’m loving your analogies today?)

    As the blogger said above, and more succinctly than I will– Happy New Year! Happy writing! I wish you many readers this year, and I hope all of them make you feel like the amazing writer that you already are.

    Oh, one more thing! I hope your insecurities sustain permanent sprains at the Insecurity YMCA, so that you may write in peace.

    • You always have good things to say, Courtenay, and you say them well. And I like how you turn a phrase. Where I say “imaginary readers,” you say “extraordinarily theoretical readers.” That sounds way better than mine. Maybe people write because, not in spite of their insecurities.

  5. You may not know it, but you’ve fulfilled that dream of writing. You are are delightful writer and you know how to get in the head and the heart of your reader. Keep ignoring those neighbors.
    Happy New Year

  6. I thought WP provided everyone with their stats, not just a chosen few. Then I rationalized (me, rational?) that it was only given to new and inexperienced bloggers, like myself, as a form of encouragement or…whatever.

    Just for the record, you can squirt toothpaste on my blog anytime. I’d be honored. Just please make sure it’s the brand for sensitive teeth as my tooth enamel is wearing thin, in contrast to my tough hide 🙂

    You are a creative and gifted writer! Write on and on!

  7. riatarded

    What? WordPress didn’t send you the mail? WHY ON EARTH NOT!

    I agree with Susan, perhaps the mail wasn’t meant for well established bloggers like you!

    I love your blog and I am so glad that I stumbled upon it. Happy New Year! 🙂

  8. Do you mean the annual report thingie? Is that special? Or did I miss something else? If that’s what you are referring to, the stats were a bit odd. I have learned that somethings on Word Press are a bit odd but hey, it’s free! And there are some pretty cool bloggers that use it, like you!

  9. Margie

    I love the little video!

    I’ve never had emails and videos (with fireworks!) about the stats on my blog. Never been Freshly Pressed. And now that I have told WordPress what I think about reblogging, I expect I will remain unrecognized by them for ever more! If I had a few insecurities that made me cautious, I might be further ahead!

    • That is my grand baby. : ) I had to remove the audio and add my own voice in. If I had tried to use my own chin, I would have had to pluck all those chin hairs and that takes a long time. I am always surprised about who has not been Freshly Pressed. You have all the right elements on your blog.

  10. PS I know that feeling so well of posting a comment and then realizing seconds later that there is a mistake in it. I am afraid to look at my earlier comment just above in case their are grammatical or spelling howlers.

    • I posted once one a blog that is about words and grammar. Of course, I forgot to punctuate properly. Normally it’s not a big deal, but on that blog I knew it would stand out. The blogger kindly edited it for me! How sweet is that.

  11. I got 2 emails with the stats thing. 1 for a blog I no longer blog–1 for a blog I post only once or twice a month. But nothing for the blog I post on almost everyday. The monkeys are weird.

    • That is weird. I’m new at blogging so I don’t know if WP does the stats thing every year or not. We have all that info on our dashboard’s site stats, but without the fireworks. I shouldn’t whine so much.

  12. I truly enjoy your writing; always insightful, slightly irreverent (which is a good thing). I look forward to reading more of your stories this year. Wishing you a fabulous year ahead…. =)

  13. If I thought it would be any consolation to you, I’d let you know that I’ve received the very same charming Capote “affirmation” you got, just a day or two after reading your post and learning that there *were* such things appearing on the sidebar, something a dopey tyro like me had no clue existed despite its being virtually under my nose. I’d mention that the most gifted and skilled artists of every stripe that I’ve known are almost all plagued by the same obnoxious bullying next-door neighbors as you. And me; how is it that I had no idea you lived two houses down from me all this time!!! I’d finish up by adding that I thought the random stats pop-up must be *really* random, what with my readership (superlative in quality though it is) being, ahem, modest in numbers and my experience limited by both my personal limitations and my blogging having thus far the shelf life of an unwrapped hunk of baguette.

    But since I’m well acquainted with the joys of insecurity myself, I know it’ll be no consolation, so I’ll just keep all of that to myself.

    No matter what those lousy insecurity-monsters are telling you, you’re a real and compelling writer and you’d better keep plugging at it or a whole bunch of us shaky scribblers will crumble without you!


    • You sure do have a way with words, Kathryn. I’m glad we are just a few houses down from each other, and that’s why I like to stop on over at your blog and sit a spell, looking at pictures and listening to stories. When I wrote the post, I was half afraid to hit publish because I thought people would think I was just fishing for encouragement. I wasn’t. Sometimes the only way I can deal with my fears is to make fun of them.

      Some people have the ability to make your heart sing. You are one of the those. Thank you.

  14. Don’t let those pesky neighbors bother you–try to ignore them. They do seem to be in every neighborhood, but maybe we can plan block parties so the rest of us can out number the cowards and keep them at bay. Just keep writing!

  15. I didn’t get the stats report either, and my husband’s club blog which barely posts anything did, very annoying. I am a new blogger since November so I don’t think it’s related to length of time. To be fair, you could work out most of the stats yourself, but his did have an interesting one about what countries had visited which I’d like to know for mine please WordPress…

  16. kkkkatie

    Dearest Little Sis, May I once more stand between you and things that go bump in the dark?

    Just yesterday I told my brother-in-law that you and your big bear are the two people I most admire in this messed up world of ours. Whatever fear or insecurity you might feel, I know you to be one of the bravest, wisest, most ferocious warrior-women I have ever known. You would give Boadicea a run. I have seen you battle evil on behalf of your offspring, your bear and others you hold dear with cunning strategies designed not only to rescue, but to redeem, even those you battle.

    I have wept with you and rejoiced with you, been rebuked by you and encouraged by you, been hurt by your words and healed by your words, but I have never known you to deny or ignore what is true no matter how painful, nor have I known you to waver in your commitment to the things you believe, the faith you profess.

    So when the neighbors rattle their stats chains in the dark, remember they run away from the light of day lest you discover the truth…they are midgets who think that numbers equal quality and popularity equals significance.

    You write the way you live, with courage and wit, with a sly, wry eye that misses very little yet exposes with compassion and offers hope. You serve up a healthy meal of rice and veggies and fish at a table set with china and flowers surrounded with delightful conversation, but we live in a culture that prefers french fries and twinkies, in the car with the radio blasting.

    I know you would rather have a few creative, thinking followers than a horde of, you know, like really rad, like fans.

    Your devoted big sis

  17. This made me cry. You always were the better writer, yet you always encouraged me. I think you were the only one who didn’t sigh or yawn when I shared something I wrote. As you see from the comments, the people who gift me with their time are both creative and thinking readers. And that makes me cry, too.

  18. I’m still learning this blogging thing, started it simply as my journal for the Oprah Lifeclasses. And am hooked…am in awe – and grateful – for what I’m experiencing I am not a writer, but certainly recognize one when I read one! You ARE fireworks. You don’t need anyone else’s. And “they” probably got that. Thanks for writing! And your sister’s comment was a tribute to you both…beautiful. All good things to you in 2012! BTW, spent 5 months in Texas in the 80’s. Loved it!

  19. One true test of whether or not you are a genuine writer is whether or not people are still READING what you are writing. Based on my observations, that makes you the real-deal. You qualify as a writer any day of the week.

    Can I share something with you? My life is often filled with a lot of darkness, and sadness. Not all the time, of course. But I seem to expend an incredible amount of effort trying to remind myself that life is something to be appreciated. Still, I keep moving forward and doing what I can to notice the beauty in life. The day that I found your blog was one of those days. Your voice was so refreshingly light, and smart, and tongue-in-cheek. Whatever clouds were clinging to my bones on that day were banished.

    That, my friend, is the mark of a good writer. When you can transport a person from one place to another, so completely that they forget everything except the new world you have created, you have crossed over that bridge most writers only hope to someday cross. You have taken someone out of their world, and pulled them into yours.

    When the bullies and the insecurities come knocking at your door again, tell them you’re busy. You’re building bridges. (big smile)

  20. Like many others here, your words resonated with me. (Fortunately, I haven’t even DISCOVERED the WordPress feature of which you speak. I’m not going looking for it). It’s too bad we can’t kick bad neighbors out of the neighborhood! All we can do is carry on in spite of them. And I’d say you are doing that quite nicely! Your writing has given me pangs of envy on more than one occasion, but more importantly, it makes me want to read more.

    • I’d say we are a brave bunch of bloggers – it seems that most of us are plagued by doubt and insecurity, and yet we continue to write and share our art. Thanks for the encouragement and for reading. I enjoy reading your blog as well.

  21. As I started reading this, I was thinking, “Geez, is she in my head, thinking my thoughts?” But having been on this blogging journey a few months, I now realize how many of us have the same insecurities, whether as writers or artists or both. You have such a wonderful way with words and are a joy to read…all of these comments are saying what I want to say, only better.

    • I’m a typist too without many followers. My insecurities drag me around by the nose most of the time. Running into fellow feelers like you help me remember I’m not alone. Thanks, again.

      • I wonder if there are people out there that write and don’t have any insecurities about writing. You are a good writer, Myra, and I always like reading your posts. I think there’s a world of difference between followers and readers. Better a few real readers than a slew of followers.

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