An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

Six years old

Yesterday was the sixth birthday of this website, and the day before that was the fifth anniversary of the day that I got fired for this website. I usually celebrate these events by opening up comments to talk about something specific, and I’ve been thinking about what topic I should choose for a few months now. Typically the topic has something to do with work or the environment around work, but this year I wanted to make it a little bit broader. So I went back to my inbox to see if there were any specific questions that people were frequently asking me about this website, and a few things jumped out at me. One, the email from the guy who asked me if I would like for him to suck my toes. Apparently, he more than anyone else could show me what a good foot sucking feels like. Internet, if you ever needed a reason to start your own website, look no further. You, too, could have some strange man offering to gag himself on your big toe.

Two, I get asked a lot about whether or not I had any idea when I started this thing that it would one day pay my mortgage. I’ll be honest here and say that I had no idea when I started this thing that it would last more than a month. I just didn’t take it very seriously in the beginning, didn’t think I needed to. Which is why there are all of those early entries that have no point whatsoever, entries that are very different than my writing today. Today my writing is very full of points and meaningful meaning. You just can’t see that part because it is invisible.

But then month after month I continued to update it, started to write a lot more about the personal side of my life, and then bam, my boss found it, found the many instances that I had referred to her as a giant thorn in my side and that one sentence where I had given her the nickname Her Wretchedness. The thing is, I know that I owe a lot of my success to losing that job, which is why I don’t regret anything. A lot of people ask me if I would ever go back and do anything differently, and I definitely wouldn’t because I try not to live my life that way. Yes, I have done a lot of stupid things in my life, writing about my boss with those words being one of them, but I try not to dwell on the thought that I should have lived my life differently. I’m too busy trying to get the thought of my foot in someone else’s mouth out of my head.

However, I do feel like I have been very wrong for not yet apologizing to that woman publicly, and do I ever owe her a huge apology. I know now that my frustrations had nothing to do with her personally, and that how I wrote about her was incredibly tacky. She had actually been a very gracious boss, had brought me into the company herself when she knew I was looking for a new job, had been an advocate of my design work to other executives in the company. What I wrote about her was just gross and clearly indicative that I had serious issues with myself. I do hope that she will one day forgive me and know that I could not be more sorry for hurting her.

Is there anything in my life that I wish I could go back and do differently? Yes. One thing. I wish had worn more sunscreen.


  • Grace Fully

    Hello Heather. I have never commented before, but I thought I might on your anniversary. I started a blog about a year ago, and I love the artistic outlet it gives me. As well as a way to “look back”. Thank you for the inspriation.

    If I had a “re-do”, I would have been more careful with my cell phone when I tried not to answer because it was my ” Step-mother-in-law”. Unfortunately, she heard me say, “Oh, it’s just my mother-in-law, I don’t feel like talking to her right now anyway.” One long letter, and several appologies later, and she is finally over it. Talk about open mouth, insert huge foot. At least she knows how I truly feel about her, right?

  • Notice how so many people regret the things they did NOT do? Interesting. We could all learn form that, obviously…

  • KookieDangerous

    I would have let go of things more readily.

  • Lisa P

    I regret not having the courage to apply to medical school after college. I don’t regret calling off weddings #1 and #2 because the third time is the charm. I don’t want to regret not having a third child.
    Thanks Heather, your blog is a bright spot.
    Happy Anniversary!

  • I think the biggest thing I would go back and change, is letting people influence how I treated other people. My mom raised me that it was better to be a hardass then to be sweet. I made a lot of enemies that way, and had very few good true friends. My parents run on the philosophy that everything is owed something. They have lost so many friends because they are always demanding something in return. I think I just woke up one day and realized I wished I hadn’t spent so much energy being negative and asking what I got. I would rather ask what can I do for you and concentrate on the positive. I wish I hadn’t spent so much time looking at the wrongs in my friends. Now when they are doing something I disagree with I find the humor in it and laugh with them. They appreciate that so much more then me picking them apart. It is so nice to finally see flaws in people as a good individual quality, rather then something to hold against them. My parents raised me that if you did something for someone, you locked it up in a mental box and pulled it back out when you needed a favor, or when someone didn’t do something you like, you could pull it out and say, well, remember that time I did this for you. I hate that. If I do something for you, thats it. I don’t want to remind you, or be paid back. I don’t want my son to grow up and be like me, and feel like he has to stay in Reno, because I paid for him his whole life, or he has to go into this profession because I bought his car. I think having my son has made me wake up and see the beauty in each day. Just try and look for the positives and the happiness and the silver lining. It isn’t easy, and some days I am challenged, but I am so proud of myself for trying. I only wish now, that I could have spent the last 25 years seeing the good. I know I would have so many more friends now. I wish I had followed my own heart, instead of following someone elses tarnished heart.

  • southerngirl

    Too many stupid things I did in the past that I now regret to list, but I guess they got me where I am today– which is a really good place.

    I just wish I could have gotten here without so much anguish and sorrow along the way. But tis life.

    Happy 6th. Love your and Jon’s blogs.

  • PG32

    I just have to add that I’m going to sit down with my 15-year-old daughter this weekend and read over these comments together. I have a feeling this is something I would regret not sharing. 😉

    Simply lots of good messages to be gleaned from this single post and the many responses.

  • I would never, ever have used a credit card. Oh, the anguish I would have saved myself. But it is just money after all – so if that is my biggest regret, then I’d say I have a pretty wonderful life.

    Happy Birthday Dooce – the most important thing is to remember where we’ve come from and take our next steps with the knowledge and wisdom we’ve acquired from this journey.

  • As cliche as it sounds, I really regret most of high school — the time and effort I put into “being cool” (which I wasn’t) should have been spent on actual schoolwork. I know everybody says that, but I messed up royally and I’m still paying for it.

  • MCD525

    I regret going off anti-depressants not once, but twice, because i “thought i was strong enough to handle it.”

    Instead it found me in the deepest and darkest place I’ve ever been considering what would really be so bad about swallowing that entire bottle of pills in the bathroom.

    I started taking medication two days ago again. This time I’m not stopping.

    Thanks for making me laugh on those lowest, darkest days.

  • Boy, this couldn’t have been more fortuitous timing, as I just blogged the other day about that time when I was young and stupid and let the dude I was dating talk me in to making a solo sex tape for him. It was right before he talked me in to joining him for that 6-state armed crime-spree and bakesale. (OK, not a bakesale — I was never THAT foolish.)

    Anyway, I got out lucky in the end but I regret that I was ever so bone-headed, and even more so for sex/love/a dude.

  • gribblelite

    I, like you, have done quite a bit of self examination of late.

    I am a very flawed person, but I still wouldn’t change a single thing about my life. Once I realized that I couldn’t fix everyone and everything that needed fixing, I began to see MYSELF for the very first time. It occurred to me that I am who I am because of (and in spite of) all the crap I’ve been through.

    The hard stuff has made me one thankful, carefree, humble, strong woman.

    So, nope. No regrets here.

  • melaniep

    I regret staying with an ex-boyfriend for those last few months. It wasn’t necessary and I should have ended it sooner. I also shouldn’t have ended it by dating his best friend, but then again, I *did* end up marrying that best friend. So I don’t regret all of it. And I definitely don’t regret telling said (abusive!) ex-boyfriend off in a hour-long diatribe that left him in tears (and in front of all our friends, nonetheless). That was pretty sweet. I gained myself a spine that day.

    I regret not studying abroad in Italy when I had the chance, even though I would be thousands of dollars more in debt right now.

    I regret not trying harder to see my grandpa before he died. The cancer had turned him into someone I wouldn’t recognize and who wouldn’t recognize me, and I was too afraid to comfort him in his last weeks.

    I regret being so afraid, of everything. Being afraid of failure and embarassement is what has kept me from doing what I really love. I need to get over that.

  • i would have smoked less pot in hiiigh school, not done THAT thing with THAT guy. ew. skipped church more often growing up. and eaten less (entire bags of) doritos during my pregnancy. maybe.

  • SadieBug

    This is a cool comments section – funny and poignant and thought-provoking.

    I don’t have many regrets in this life, because it’s a wasted emotion – nothing you can do about it now, I say. With that caveat out of the way, there are a couple of things I wish I did differently, and the fact that I didn’t still haunts me.

    I wish I hadn’t married him, so that I wouldn’t have to hurt him so much later on my way out. I wish I could have told him the truth but I was too scared and too concerned with protecting myself to give him the truth. And that’s all he really wanted.

    I wish I had not slept in her bed.

  • Dooce! Butterlies?!! Dooce and butterflies my brian cannot connect!

    It’s a beautiful header I just thought I was on the wrong website at first. I have never seen something so feminine as your header. 🙂 I kept telling my computer no I want to see Dooce and after several clicks I paused long enough to read and was in shock I had been on Dooce the whole time!

  • Not taking more chances when I was young. Not reckless stuff, just the fun things that a shy kid won’t do.

  • I wish that I had married the man standing on the right path at my crossroads instead of the other one.

  • brandy

    Almost everything from the ages 16-23 I’d do over because if I did all of that over my life now would be something else, something I think I would actually be proud of.
    I try very hard not to think about the long list of things I regret doing.

  • I wish someone would have told me that entomology IS a viable option for a college major.

    And I wish that I hadn’t allowed myself to think that the kids I went to high school with were better than me in anyway because of what neighborhood they lived in.

  • SueFromOhio

    I regret closing my therapeutic blog because my family found it.

    I regret not telling people exactly how I felt…good or bad.

    I regret cowaring away from situations instead of standing up for myself.

    I regret getting a BA in art and not being able to pick up a paint brush since graduation.

    I regret letting myself “go” after having my 2nd child (I am now 65 lbs heavier).

    I regret not getting my eyebrows waxed sooner.

    I regret dating the German guy in college.

    I regret having regrets….

    Happy Birthday—you may want to apologize for the words but if it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be here with you 🙂

  • Ktkat

    You got fired for THAT?

    I regret dating a guy in my office, which actually turned into a crazy, obsession/addiction, wherein he lied and cheated and drove me to try and commit suicide. Definite low point in my life.

  • Of course many regrets but the biggest was not slowing down and taking the time to thoroughly enjoy my children as they were growing up. Too busy working and surviving each day. Not that I didn’t love them and spend time with them, but I could have done better quality time. Young and dumb! I am making up for it with my grandchildren but losing a child no matter how old they are will teach you HUGELY.

    You are doing great. Love your writing.

  • RisibleLou

    after thought:

    I regret dating one of my best friend’s ex boyfriends, which ended our relationship – both our physical relationship (which was AWESOME) and our friendship (which meant a whole lot to me)

    that’s something I learned a lot from though — so yeah. seems silly to comment again, but it feels good to say these things/get them off my chest after years and years.

  • Rachel Jones

    Happy Birthday to the wonderful Armstrong Blogarchy! Here’s hoping for many more years.

    At 26, I don’t have any *one* regret I lose sleep over. But I lose sleep over hundreds of insignificant things on a weekly basis. I assume I’ll regret *that* in years to come, but that conviction does little to assuage the reality of chronic fretting.

    Heather, wish you and yours all good things in 2007.

  • missy

    I broke up with the love of my life today.

    He could’n’t stop crying. The vision of him slumped against the wall crying his eyes out will forever haunt me. i did that. Because i wasn’t strong enough to deal with his shit, that i know wasn’t his fault. That was due to a depression that he & I & you have suffered from.

    I will always regret that.
    That I wasn’t strong enough. That I broke his heart. That I couldn’t stop his tears.

  • I wish I’d never watched Dancer in the Dark. I can’t listen to Bjork anymore because of it. I’m too sensitive.

  • ZombieLaura

    I regret:

    Not wearing my headgear, I still have an overbite

    Even going onto MySpace, I hate that website. (i have coworkers who found me, and think they are now my ‘friends’)

    Saying No to the cute boy at summercamp, and yes to the taxi cab driver who ended up stalking me after I lost my virginity to him.

  • I’ve spent a lot of my life wishing I was somewhere else, and some other person. It’s only been lately that I’m content with life just as it is. So if I could change anything, I’d get back some of those years I dreamed away and really LIVE them…

  • Cadbut

    I wish I hadn’t said to my boss, “I’ll do what you say because you’re the boss, but I’ll never agree with you.” Because he fired me the next day. I don’t really regret it, because it was true, but I do wish I wouldn’t have said it.

  • mackeysmom

    I would not change much. Whats the point of even thinking about it. I cant do it. I can however learn from my many mistakes and move forward.

  • Marti

    I wish I’d known that puffy pirate blouses (or peasant blouses or blouses for peasant pirates or whatever they were called circa 1990) were actually quite awful. Particularly when made out of imitation silk.

  • A priest told me once in the fourth grade that the movie in my head was much better than the real thing and that I was just setting myself up for dissappointment. Today? Well, he’s dead and I’m the star of my own show…great soundtrack and all. That phrase reminded me to never be disappointed in any singular event in my life because you can never know to what other great event it is indeliby linked. This belief was affirmed by a dream I had a few years ago. I was riding in an amusement park ride, the kind that is like a roller coaster only in water. I know this sound cheesy, but God was next to me and was telling me that I was going on the ride of my life. As we were going over the top of a big hill and I could see the water rushing down like a water fall into a deep pool below, I could see objects floating around far below. When I asked God what the objects were, he said, (yes the voice was male…I thought my subconscious was more aware than that)”Oh, those were the people that didn’t make it” The lesson? When taking a plunge, it’s safe to just let go.

  • Can you regret hearing something? I regret being present for my aunt telling me something that has scarred me for life.

    I don’t have any regrets about my actions. Even the bad ones were much like yours… a product of their time and part of who I am today.

  • PG32

    Oooo do you think Her Wretchedness still reads this? I mean, what you wrote was funny and well-written. Even if you’d insulted me I’d be drawn back for entertainment purposes alone. I bet she’s forgiven you anyway…just went out and bought a whole buttload of Prada and moved on. After all, if you’re going to be one of them there high flyin’ executive types you can’t be getting all sensitive every time someone admits how hideous you are.

    Oh and about me and regrets. I’m 33 now. I have a family to raise and children to guide. I don’t have time for regrets. And the past is becoming less and less important to me as time goes by. I find myself living in the “now” more because it takes all the brains and willpower I have to keep up with 3 kids, work and a husband (plus friends, “me-time”, hobbies, responsibilities etc.). I also toward the future in so far as planning for things is concerned. The past just doesn’t have a place in my life anymore.

  • sd

    I regret not working harder in my twenties to cultivate and maintain friendships. It’s hard to be 30 and lonely.

  • kalliope

    I regret that I jumped into the mosh pit after drinking half a keg of beer. If I hadn’t done that then, I wouldn’t be spending so much freakin time at the chiropractor’s now.

  • I wish I could learn to slow down and enjoy the little things. Like the youngest puking on my clean sheets. Or the oldest learning to drive into the mailbox. Those sort of things need to be enjoyed more.

  • I once had a horrible boss and job. When I was leaving, my boss asked me to write up a job description of what I did to use as an advertisement.

    It included things like, “must be willing to swallow pride on daily basis,” “must be skilled at purchasing coffee and creamer”, and “middle name ‘Xerox’ preferable.” My only regret is giving her the PC one. I should have left her know how I really felt. The look on her face as she was reading it would have been worthy of one of those Mastercard Priceless commercials.

  • Ren

    I wish I’d forced my mom to have a mammogram about ten years before she found the lump that eventually killed her.

    I know that’s really depressing and I should try and say something funny, but it’s truely the biggest regret of my life.

  • Wow.

    Heather, “Intimidation” is one of my favorite posts of yours because it reminds me so much of my current boss, the one I am desperately trying to move away from. I have been pounding the pavement looking for new work since January and every single day spent at the office, under these conditions is an “Intimidation” day for me. I’ve listed her strange habits in my head and felt sorry for her, I’ve gone over the reasons why our relationship has always been so strained and awkward and I’ve made note that on the days when she isn’t here, my shoulders somehow magically lower themselves from around my earlobes and I am able to move my neck like a normal person.

    Thank you for hindsight, Heather. Your hindsight is my fore-light. Congrats on a great blog that I’ll always read.

  • Ben

    These are all beautiful. It’s nice to see that we’re really all in the same boat, isn’t it?

    I used to regret not taking the initiative to look for a new job and to make changes in my life. I was afraid that I wasn’t good enough. Then, over the course of five weeks, I sent out résumés, scheduled an interview, and was offered a job that’s going to be just about better than anything. It’s nice not to be afraid anymore!

  • Julisa

    I regret going to an expensive university just because I got accepted. I ended up dropping out too late, and my student loans will be a life long expensive reminder that I shouldn’t have done what was expected of me if I didn’t really want to do it myself.

  • enid regrets those cartoons of prophet mohammed she did for jyllands-posten. she’d not so sure she did the right thing over suez, she wishes she’d never even thought of inventing the gas chamber, and the whole of the first world war was just one big mistake from start to finish. (she wasn’t even aiming at archduke franz ferdinand.)

    but when all is said and done, the thing she regrets most in all the world is that tattoo of a bleeding heart on her left buttock.

  • alicat

    I used to think I regreted a lot: majoring in art history, working a full time job in college, not studying abroad, moving to Arizona after my then-boyfriend proposed (I turned him down)…

    But then I realized I feel into my career path during college and am a damn good HR person. I don’t like traveling anyway. My move to Arizona introduced me to my now husband with whom I have beautiful daughter- and we recently moved back to the DC area.

    Even if our plans don’t work out, they often lead us to a better place.

    “there are years that ask questions and years that answer.” zora neale hurston

  • Beth-I once flashed a trucker on I-55. Oddly enough, I feel like that might have been one of the high points in my life. Although, I do regret throwing up on myself right afterwards.

    Maybe we are The Odd Numbered Interstate Flashing Sisters.

  • I would have travelled more when I was younger, and just had to carry a backpack, not a baby too. And I could think of 5346 better ways to loose my virginity than the way I did!

    Happy Blogoversary Heather! Hope I can say the same in a few years, your blog has certainly given me inspiration.

  • I wish I never would’ve flashed that trucker on I-77.

  • Thebutterknife

    I wish that I had looked for him sooner. Maybe then I would’ve found him before he got on that plane to Iraq and I would’ve been able to tell him how much I really loved him… and that I was sorry.

    Beyond that, I totally wish I’d gotten those fake boobs when I was 25. I think they would have made the last half of that decade of my life much more entertaining…if only for me.

  • Andrea-cat

    Despite having a major nervous breakdown before applying to vet school, I would have stuck with my plan to go to veterinary school because dammit, I’m a hell of lot better with animals than people. But at the same time, I should stop regretting almost every day that I went to law school instead. It is my decision and I cannot blame anyone else for it.

    I also regret not encouraging my husband to interview at the university in washington state because northeast winters SUCK!

    i do not regret my crazy wonderful marriage, my menagerie of critters, my decision to stay with my current law firm, our decision to wait to start a family until we are economically sound, and treating my great big lovable Irish Wolfhound’s cancer.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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