I’m still a little confused as to what time it is, so forgive me now for any typos that might unfurl as I get all this down on paper. I left my hotel room yesterday morning at 5AM DC time, 3AM Salt Lake time, and when I got home I had several hours of work to get done, and I’m just going to go ahead and get this out of the way because I am tired and cranky:
Some of you, and you know exactly who you are, you can go right ahead and suck it.
I had no idea the brouhaha that was going to ensue by announcing that I had been invited by the White House to Washington DC. And I’ll go ahead an be an egotistical bastard and say that had I not been invited that most of the people I just told to suck it would not have even known that there was a forum on Workplace Flexibility going on in the first place. And all the drama and outrage that they spewed online could have been instead directed at whatever issues they have that are unresolved in their own lives.
Because it has nothing to do with me. They have this idea of who Heather Armstrong is and it is based entirely on assumptions. Bad, completely untrue assumptions that they so DESPERATELY want to believe because my success somehow diminishes their own.
Heather Armstrong has it so easy. Heather Armstrong is LOADED. Heather Armstrong has no idea what it is really like to be a working mother because she has an assistant who takes care of her recycling. Blah blah blah blah blah. SHUT UP.
The truth? The truth is that I work my ass off. I hit the ground running at 6AM every morning and I do not stop until I hit the pillow at night. And understand that this is not a pity party, I am not complaining: this is my job and I embrace it and I love it. I embrace the fact that I do not have free time. I do not ever get a day off. I did not get a maternity leave. I can’t take a vacation. Every moment of my life is accompanied by the thought that I have a website to maintain, one that feeds my family, and if I don’t publish they don’t eat.
Also, if I don’t publish, people think I have died. (I appreciate those emails, actually.)
I embrace the knowledge that there are hundreds if not thousands of people who despise me. Thousands of people who have a bad opinion of me and can talk about that opinion in public forums. And then go on to say, well, Heather opened herself up to this, she better take it!
And oh, I do. I take it. And I want to thank you for it. Because it has forced me to take a look at myself and how I treat other people. Because all the shit and misinformed waah-waah-waahing that is aimed at my head has made it so that I will first, before anything else, give someone the benefit of the doubt, and second, never treat anyone the way I have been treated. Never speak about someone the way people speak about me. Especially in a public forum.
Sure, you can probably find me jealously criticizing someone in my archives, but I like to think that I’ve come a long way since then. Because the hate mail and the hate sites and the bickering twitters about Heather Armstrong, all the crazy assumptions about me and my family that I see being tangled and weaved in ways that are specifically made to make someone feel better about their own insecurities, all of this has made me so much more human.
Thank you, those of you who need to suck it.
Also? Thank you to those of you who do give me the benefit of the doubt. You are quite simply the reason my family has food to eat. You give me strength and motivation to continue working my ass off. You are the ones I want to take on this roller coaster ride. I want to share all of this with you: the unexpected trips to DC, the book tours, the Peter Frampton sightings.
Thank you for coming on this ride with me. And I have said this before, but I really do feel like I could sit down with any of you and talk into the late hours of the night over a beer or four. Sprite, if you’re Mormon.
Those who came to see me at Old Ebbitt Grill in DC on Wednesday night proved just that, and I will count that as one of the most enjoyable nights of my life, one that ended up with a giant basket of chili cheese fries at Ben’s Chili Bowl with a group of people I wish lived next door.
Thank you for the handshakes, the hugs, the email, the virtual fist pumps, the handwritten letters of support. Most of all, thank you for nodding and laughing along. The idea of you on the other side getting why I sometimes overindulge in the shift key is the reason I love this job.