I spent my whole childhood wanting to be a veterinarian. But as alcoholism took over my life it also stole my ambition; it’s not too shocking that when I was 20, I wasn’t in college studying biology in preparation for my life as a vet – instead I was sitting behind a desk working as a low-wage receptionist at a travel agency.
But then one day I spotted a want ad for another receptionist gig – this one at an animal hospital. I applied, and after calling and begging the office manager every day for weeks, I was finally offered the job. Even better, a few days into the job, one of the technicians quit and the office manager asked me if I would be interested in training as a technician instead.
I threw myself into the work. I even managed to put a kind of “hold” on the worst of my drinking behavior for the first year or so there because I was so happy and content with what I was doing.
But it didn’t last.
The drinking crept back in, slowly but surely, as did the bad behaviors that went with it. Calling out sick, showing up late and hung over, and worst of all: stealing.
When I started there, the petty cash was kept in a box in a medicine cupboard. An old box of dewormer, actually.
By the time I was fired, the petty cash was in a locked cash box and only one person had the key.
Many years later, I called that veterinarian to schedule a time to meet with him to make my amends, which was part of my recovery process. I offered up an amount that I thought was roughly equal to what I’d stolen in my time there and set up a schedule to pay it back (which I did, every penny). But that wasn’t what impressed my old boss. What impressed him was when I said, “More than anything else, I’m so sorry for turning your clinic from a happy work community and into a place full of doubt and distrust.”
Trust is important to me. I give it willingly, and I work hard to earn it as well. Over the years, this blog has not just been where I write my words and truths, but also where I’m lucky enough to be part of a community of you, my readers.
But lately… well.
I try to respond to comments here (not like I used to, alas, when I had more time, but as much as I can). I always try to respond to questions or sincere complaints when I get them, even the critical ones (no: I do not respond to each critical comment because many of them are not helpful, and many are quite cruel, and I remove those comments from my site). I’ve always responded to them as honestly as I could.
What I don’t do is check each comment to make sure the reader is someone who reads regularly, or has commented in the past, before I respond. But now, I am considering doing that. Because it’s clear to me that a small group of readers of this site aren’t really interested in doing anything other than goading me into response. Last Monday when I addressed the concerns of some readers frustrated that they have to click-through to my Babble posts, my response was used as fodder for a hate site (yes, I’m calling it a hate site, even though hate is a strong word, but I have no other way to describe what this site does). I think, in fact, that I was set up.
There were some great points brought up at that site that I wish had been mentioned to me specifically; for instance, it was never my intention to make you loyal readers feel like your “eyeballs” were less valuable than my Babble readers because I don’t get paid to write here (and no, those are not paid ads in my blog footer; I offer that to some clients and Support for Special Needs is a site run by a friend). I sincerely apologize if I made you feel less important as readers. I should have responded in a different way. I merely am asking that on Mondays you direct your eyeballs to my post on Babble’s site instead of my personal blog. Money shouldn’t have been mentioned.
But I discuss money on this blog because, frankly, you have always been there for me when it comes to talking about money. You stood by me, many of you, when I quit my job to become a fulltime writer. You stood by me when I lost that gig and struggled to find work. You stood by me when we hit a financial armageddon, and yes, many of you helped me out financially three years ago.
It’s been over two years now since I’ve had a donate button on this site, because it’s been that long since we’ve needed that kind of help. 2009 was financially devastating for us. 2010 was slightly better, and in 2011 it completely turned around. 2012 has been positively abundant. One of the cornerstones of my success has been getting writing gigs outside of this blog, and the only way that’s been possible has been because of you, you who come here and read each day.
I know I don’t say it enough, but the reason our family’s bills are paid is because you have stuck with me and read along, all these years, telling me it was going to work out.
I realized this weekend that it doesn’t matter what a handful of people say on a website that is so negative it’s like swimming in toxic sludge (it must be so awful to live in that place of negativity all the time). It doesn’t matter if a few commenters here fake concern well enough that I respond to them. Because they aren’t the important ones; the rest of you are.
Thanks for reading, for clicking through to my posts on Babble, for emailing me when you find me frustrating, for being honest in the comment section here. You have no idea how important you are to me. Thank you.
One of my goals this fall is to try to post here every day during the week. Some posts might be short, but I’m committed. So stick with me a little longer, will ya?
And if you’re in the mood… I wrote about my goals for the “new” year now that school is starting again over at The Uppercase Lowdown. I’d be honored if you’d read.