This here bringer of the pooper to the fun party

A peek inside our day, the fourth hour

(The first fifteen minutes can be seen here. The first hour is here, the second hour is here, the third hour is here.)

So this hour is the most boring of the day, and I could pretty much just list it out like this: interruption, interruption, interruption, oh! And one more: TORNADO DRILL.

Sometimes the interruption is polite and asks if I’d like some sweet tea. Shall we sit, gently fan our faces and figure out this problem? Here’s a sprig of mint to freshen your drink! And my! You do look lovely even though the sweat from your workout has curled the back of your hair into the shape of the manure I use to grow my daisies.

Many times the interruption is less forgiving and screams at me with the force of a fire alarm: EMERGENCY! FIX ME NOW! Yes, of course, parents in Third World countries are struggling to feed their children as I yell at you, but someone has to decide whether or not this ad campaign fits your brand. BRAND! BRAAAAAAAND!

It’s the dirtiest word in the blogosphere: brand. It’s worse even than SPONSORED BY.

No one wants to admit it, but there it is. I am no longer a person with feelings. I am not allowed to hurt or feel joy. Unless it happens in all caps. Then it fits the brand, and I am contractually obligated to exploit the shit out of that.

Can I share something with you? Since this hour of the day is pretty much a tangled string of curse words and DID YOU GET THIS DONE? And a whole bunch of pointless rambling at each other about minutia that has not one wit to do with the world going round.

I’d rather tell you that the last eight months or so have been pretty hard, and I’m struggling. I’ve pushed through with as much strength as I can, but that dark demon has returned and is trying to convince me that it’s not worth climbing over the next obstacle. Give up. Lie down and cry. Stare at the ceiling until every limb goes numb.

But since I don’t really have that option I push it all down and turn inside. Jon tries to pull it out of me so that he can help, but I don’t know how to share it.

So we see a therapist. Together, once a week. And then I see another therapist by myself. Because the pressure of running a business and being responsible for two employees and two children and two dogs and the mortgage and the food on the table and making sure THAT I’M NOT DOING IT WRONG, it has somehow stirred up my past. The past that I have not ever addressed or even known to address. The past that suffocates me as I struggle to change what it did to me.

I know my pain is relative. My life is good. I am blessed beyond measure. We are lucky. This isn’t about how poor little Heather has it so hard.

This is about the discovery that at my core is a ten-year-old girl who thought that she was responsible for keeping her entire family intact. If I was perfect, if I excelled at everything, if I didn’t show weakness my family would stay together.

But then that family fell apart anyway. All that work, and it fell apart anyway.

I failed.

Emotionally I have not progressed beyond that ten-year-old girl. I have physically carried that failure for twenty-five years. It has affected every relationship I have ever had, including the one I have with my own children. And tragically, it has robbed me of the happiness I should have been relishing these past eight months. Incredible and flourishing months.

Sometimes this hour of the day is spent sitting with my husband across the room from our therapist. She looks at me and tells me to stop lying to myself. Yes, your parents handled the divorce as best as they could, Heather, you’ve pointed that out how many times now? But still, it cut you up and spit you out.

Admit it. Say it out loud. Free that ten-year-old girl. Because it wasn’t her fault.

That’s what I’m trying to do this hour.

  • sybann

    …and sweetie? It’s OK to be sad – really sad – for that little girl. It really is. XO

  • hester

    The vast majority of your commenters have been people like you who have been the children of divorce, so I thought I would add my voice. I am a nearing-50 year old woman who divorced at 34 with two children about to enter the first and second grade. I cannot say what would have happened if I hadn’t divorced, or if I hadn’t shared custody with their dad, or if I hadn’t remarried a couple of years later, and then their dad did the same and for most of their childhood we all lived in the same town, attending all the events and sitting together on bleachers, folding chairs, and other uncomfortable places. But it all seemed pretty OK — kids with an extended family (how bad can it be to have more people who love you?, happily remarried parents. Now I am not so sure, though! I wonder what is latent, what lurks. Yours is a voice that seems so honest, Heather, and unsparing. My two are now 22 and nearly 21, and I have never feared, really. But maybe that is a set of blinders that I have gladly and gratefully worn.

    While I ponder and poke at the best, my best wishes to you. So many people you never hear from think you are pretty amazing.

  • julielsullivan

    me too. Same ten-year-old girl. Same feeling.

  • psweet

    I feel ya hard Heather. The darkness takes me sometimes too. And I can seethefeelthehearthe judgement from people because my life? what’s to complain about???

    So feel your feelings and don’t let anyone negate them. Okay? okay, me too!

  • pgrandst

    Someone once told me (patronizingly) that emotions are just weather passing through; you just have to be patient and this too shall pass. That’s great if your emotional/geographical orientation is like Hawaii – a balmy 80 degrees most of the time with the occasional thunderstorm. But what if your particular brain chemistry makes your emotional/geographical orientation more like Mount Washington, famous for its dangerously erratic weather, where winds often gust in excess of 200 miles per hour? Yeah, batten down the hatches, bitches, cause we’re in for a nor’easter. You have my deepest sympathy.
    And this:
    “… come celebrate
    with me that everyday
    something has tried to kill me
    and has failed.”
    —poem by Lucille Clifton

  • ZachsMom

    Ok I have to write in again cause I’ve been thinking about this all day and I can’t get it out of my head.

    I think the part that hurts most about your parents getting divorced at least for me, was looking at them and thinking “why aren’t we enough?”. Almost 25 years, 4 beautiful children and we weren’t enough to make you guys keep it together? Why can’t you suck it up and put whatever your issues are aside for US. You chose to have us why can’t you hold it together?

    I think that reinforces every inner 10, 12, 16, 19 year old girl on the inside who has never felt good enough for whatever reason and pounds at you and tells you that you might not be good enough for the snotty girls at school to be your friend and damn it, you aren’t good enough for your parents to keep it together either.

    The hard part is realizing that you ARE good enough and these two screwballs who brought you into the world were winging it …. just like I am.

  • jessiCat

    Comments number 16 and 101 say it all….

    You are not alone. You have given us the gift of the DoCo, and the gift of the amazing support system we’ve created. Thank you. Thank you so much more that I could ever type here, no matter how many exclamation points I used. You have given us strength, and you have given us the knowledge that it is OKAY to be weak. It is OKAY to be US, and nothing more.

    You, missy, have done so much good with your complete honesty and sharp humor. You have saved so many of us. Please don’t forget we’re here for you, too. Even if it’s just on the purty lit up box you type in at night….we’re here. 🙂

    Hugs, Love, Bourbon, Smiles & all the Valedictorian merits you can round up…(ps: OF FRANCE!!)

    xoxo, Jess

  • kerri

    it probably doesn’t help, but i was that girl too, but i was 18. and i still feel guilty that i couldn’t save us from the hell that opened up and swallowed my family when the divorce hit us. it was 17 years ago and i still deal with it every day. but it’s getting better. one thing that has helped me a lot has been allowing myself (with the help of a trained professional, of course!) to feel angry at my parents. yeah, they did the best they could, yadda yadda, i get that. but making excuses for them doesn’t help me. they also sucked big monkey balls and messed up our lives in a way that was not okay and put us through misery we shouldn’t have had to endure at any age. and it’s been freeing to allow myself to feel angry at them –mostly because i have learned that i can still love them at the same time. my anger at them for allowing me to think it was my job to save us, among other things, doesn’t have to be the dominant emotion in my life and it won’t eat us all alive. i don’t know if that makes sense, but i had to be led there by a really excellent therapist and it helped/helps a lot. it never goes away, but it wanes.

    also, my former advisor from college told me recently that when her parents divorced — when she was 50 years old, a mother of teenagers herself — despite the fact that she and her siblings had believed for years that her parents *should* get divorced, it, as she put it, “undid” her. at age 50! so 10-year-old heather had a perfectly normal reaction, as does 35-year-old heather, to a really bad thing.

    also, suffering is not a competition. just because other people have seemingly “worse” challenges doesn’t lessen your burden. yours is yours and you have to give yourself the right to struggle with it.

    i always thought of myself as the physical manifestation of my parents’ love for each other. and it has been hard to figure out what that makes me now that that love no longer exists.

  • Tara Newhole

    Boy, do I know this scenario. You are too amazing and strong – do NOT let it get You. I know you won’t. And I know you know that, too…..but, it doesn’t make it any easier. You can DO IT, though. You have….and You CAN…..and you WILL! ! ! ! love ya!!!!

  • Tara Newhole

    Boy, do I know this scenario. You are too amazing and strong – do NOT let it get You. I know you won’t. And I know you know that, too…..but, it doesn’t make it any easier. You can DO IT, though. You have….and You CAN…..and you WILL! ! ! ! love ya!!!!

  • Delightsandshadowstumblr

    If you’ve never tried EMDR therapy, I can’t recommend it enough. I use it in my practice and it’s effective for clients who’ve spent YEARS trying to heal younger versions of themselves. If you decide to give it a try, be sure to find someone qualified. There’s a list by zip code at http://www.emdria.org

    Take care.

  • BryMayhew

    Brava Lady, Brava!!!

    I want to add my thank you to the chorus. The fact that you share your experience with depression, and write about it so eloquently helps me with my own slog.

    You’re simply awesome.

  • PrincesseEmma

    You are so brave and so inspiring. Thank you for writing about mental illness the way that you do. I hope that other people who have a mental illness find your blog and discover they are not alone, like I did, and those that are not ill read what you share and learn what so many are going through.

  • Buddahkat

    Great post! I love reading your posts and how you are willing to share the joys and pain of life! Life can be a shit sammich and dealing with it can be a pain in the butt. You inspire me to keep on plugging away..you also inspire me to get some counseling. I feel strong and capable, but those little demons are popping up more and more.
    Great luck to you and keep on keepin on! You are a strong example for lots of us.
    Kathee

  • dykewife

    pain, like any emotion, is relative and therefore comparing it to the pain of others is neither desirable (for the sake of working through it) nor useful. there will always be someone who has suffered more, been more afflicted, experienced more difficulties, than ourselves. pain sizing gains nothing but leaving us filled with a sense of unworthiness.

    the dissolution of your family and divorce of your parents was something that marked you and your life. you didn’t allow yourself, or didn’t know how to, recover from that. what you knew as your family was gone and was replaced with something that wasn’t the american dream. it was also pretty uncommon for a morman family to split up as well, i’ll bet. how many kids were there around you that you could relate to?

    allow yourself to feel the hurt of that 10 year old child. allow yourself and that 10 year old to let go of the guilt of not being able to keep the family together.

    i know it’s hard. there are many others in the world who have more on their plates than you, but you aren’t them. if you really want to live your blossoming life, you’ll do this for yourself, your husband and your children.

    let go.

  • Ridgerunner

    So moving, Heather…and so true for so many children of divorce. I love your writing and your ability to turn the every day into the hilarious, but most of all for your honesty-keep it coming, lady…and know you are not alone!

  • sugarleg

    mine split when I was 16. although so hard to have the family break apart, they were worse together.

    I got my own divorce at 35. (that one however, was an immediate blessing.)

    I hate the voices too. I try to remember they are lying, manipulative, nasty buggers that I would kick the shit out of if they were saying the things they say to me to one of my friends, outlaw step-daughters, family members, or my dogs. I figure if I can defend the people I love, I can defend that 16 year old girl who got her heart broken so many times by her heartbroken parents.

    it works, but it is hard work.

    I will be kind to myself if you are kind to yourself. thank you for sharing so that we all may share.

  • Katie Granju

    Nothing profound to say, but I wanted to send some love your way from Tennessee tonight. xo – Katie

  • PrunellaV

    Heather, I just registered so I could tell you how much I love what you do in the world, but that none of it matters if you don’t believe you’re enough just as you are, a human being, without any of the “doing.”

    That 10-year-old girl deserves all the love and care that you lavish on your family.

    I’ve suffered from depression on and off all my life, but to my great good fortune, I’m currently properly medicated, have gotten much better with the self-care, and am doing pretty well. How I wish the same for you.

  • OrangeLily

    So many people wrote how they too felt like they were responsible for their parents’ divorce. I never thought or felt that. For me, it was, why don’t they care enough about us to stay together? And why do the mothers-in-law meddle and make it worse? What’s wrong with people anyway?

    I told my husband that if he married me, divorce would not be an option, because I did not ever want my children to go through it.

    My parents didn’t have huge fights or yelling matches, infidelities or other big drama. There were money issues, definite lousy communication issues, selfishness, possible mental issues, and not knowing what to do with these things.

    This is just not coming out right…. In the end, I don’t think I had the words for it, I just felt it and didn’t know how to identify it. I felt that I wasn’t worth enough for my parents to fight for their marriage. That I wasn’t worth enough for them to fix themselves. (Sidebar: self-awareness? ha. denial? oh ya. and so it was taught to me.) I was 15 I think, so that was when what you hold sacrosanct, what you can depend on in this world, no matter the problem… the family unit, it is after all, destructible. And you are left, your emotional house, missing some walls, and the house has lost its stability, and so you are left unprotected from the elements. So the emotional elements hereforth are felt more harshly, and the support of that emotional house for you to build your growth and wisdom on, well that foundation is just not there.

    Looking back, there are some things that I regretted doing, that I do not believe I would have done had my parents stayed together. Or possibly …. had they not turned out so bitter and broken as a result.

    Good lord I’ve used your comments section as my personal place for getting things out.

    Let me finally say then, that you’ve started something with this post, that for admittedly selfish reasons, I really hope you’ll continue. Therapy by proxy, perhaps.

  • dolphy36

    You are an amazing woman. Thank you for sharing all that you do. I feel the way so many other commenters do here…and I hope you feel that love and support…Though it may be in the “cyber world,” it is real!

  • the sooz

    I love your honesty. It’s really hard to know where to point a finger when things get overwhelming. I’ve not tried therapy, though I probably should, since I’m prone to bursts of raging because of feelings of insecurity when I think things demand too much of me. It was especially hard when I had to support my family on top of everything else. I just feel better when I can let it out somewhere. I’m a private sort (and too cheap (read: poor)to pay a therapist, so I just rage it out on paper with a pen, then when I’ve depleted my angst, I tear it up without ever reading what I wrote.
    .
    I admire you for publishing your struggle and letting people help you make sense of it so you can deal. It’s helped me feel not any whackier than anyone else with what I struggle over. So, add that to your list. You’re my therapist! Well, maybe not, but you do help me formulate how I write out my feelings. All caps do help me rage on paper and it’s easier on my vocal chords, not mention everyones ears!

  • TheSkyIsOverrated

    Everything you have been through in your life Heather has made you the person you are today. You are beautiful, talented, blessed, strong, admired, and loved beyond words.

    Thank god for that ten year old girl.

  • pinklotus26

    I share that feeling of nearly being swallowed up by the darkness…the constant feeling of struggling to try and stay just ahead of it…the exhaustion…It becomes so tiring and wanting to just give up and be engulfed…and the mental push that it takes to talk yourself out of it…I hear you sister…the last year has resulted in a hospitalization, new diagnosis, medication cocktails, therapy, loss of a job, a new start at a new job…and just a shit ton of self exploration….all with the weight of wife, mom, and provider…I hear you sister…I’ve found support and comfort in reading your blog for the past three years…the reason I sought treatment in the first place was because of your blog…your honesty…you’ve helped me and others and I hope that our words of encouragement help you too…but I can get with the struggle that just won’t stop coming even in the face of being blessed with a wonderful life…I hear ya sister. Keep it up…fight on…find the Heather time that allows for reprieve sometimes and just keep on keeping on…and I will too.

  • lili1974

    It is totally OK if you fail. Even in worst case scenario nobody will be physically hurt, nobody will die. So you dont have to do it right. Nothing really bad will happen if you fail.

    And your blog helps. I am also rather on the depressive side. And I dont tell it nobody in my social circle. Not sure why. But in my darkest hours I did read your blog. And it helps. It gives me a feeling that i am not alone.

  • Balkan Girl Down Under

    It’s hard not to offer platitudes or things that sound like them, but be strong and know that you’re doing everything within your power to battle those horrid, insidious demons. I mean, you’re working on yourself through therapy, for one, while so many people still tend to be so backwards and proud where therapy is concerned, thinking, “Therapy…no way!” even when it’s beyond necessary. And no doubt one day you’ll be able to look at that ten-year-old girl within without feeling pain, hurt or anger. We’re all behind you in your journey!

  • thedogcomeswith

    My inner 10-year-old who was always responsible for making a family full of hot messes (for whom life just was never fun, fair or nice enough) happy thinks that we should all start a summer camp where we can go be the kids we didn’t get to be. We could yell, and be selfish, and make T-shirts that say things like “I’m sorry, but I don’t remember adopting you, mom and dad,” and make dioramas of all the things that aren’t our fault – like our parents’ problems, our spouses’ problems, hunger in Africa,….we’d need a lot of supplies for the dioramas.

  • notcrazyunwell

    the hardest part is facing the “demon”. you’re doing it = you rock. thanks so much for sharing.

  • artmeetslife

    Heather + Therapist + Connection = The Brand. Keep reaching for your wholehearted life. It’s like having a great body – it’ll never be perfect, but if you really work at it, it will be DAMN fine.

  • Plano Mom

    I was eight. You just described me. My Daddy left anyway. I cannot believe you posted this. And that you got it so right. I don’t know all YOUR problems, but you’ve got it right. The question is did you help me in time to save my own marriage.

  • Truthful Mommy

    Heather,
    I think many of us have an inner little girl who has been pushed down and to the side. Mine is about 6.The entire weight of the world lies squarely on her shoulders because she had no functioning adults to talk to.I won’t go more into it because this is your post:) But I just wanted to let you that you are not alone.The problem with pushing the inner little girl to the side is that she pokes through and appears at the most inappropriate and unexpected times.I feel your pain.Sounds like you are doing all that you can to handle this.You are the best at what you do,professionally.But don’t forget, YOU (personally) are what feeds the success.Take care of you.Piling more shit on the little girl is not going to make the feeling stop.Take a deep breath.Acknowledge that little girl. Have a good ugly cry for her.She only wants to be heard.Once you truly feel those feelings, give yourself permission to move on and forgiveness..you won’t have to worry about her making taking over and dragging you back to someplace you have moves so far beyond.I pray that this pain passes quickly.You are an amazing woman and deserve all the good that is coming to you.You just need to realize that and embrace it.*hugs*
    Debi

  • Katie Kat

    I was 11. I’ve never quite gotten over it either. Always felt like I had to pull everyone together and be the parent to my mom (which she nurtured). Thought my dad died when I was 25 because I was mad at him for the divorce and never told him. It’s hard. The dark is unforgiving… we, however, have the capacity for great forgiveness – please do that for yourself.

    {{{{HUGS!!}

  • Katie Kat

    P.S. I hate it when people say (basically) “You don’t have the right to be depressed because you have a great life.” Depression is an equal opportunity offender my dear! Just beccause you have such wonderfulness in your life doesn’t mean your brain knows how to deal with it! Good or bad, it’s all about how you cope. Hang in there – you DESERVE all the goodness you get. Hope our collective good karma helps!

  • Ezza

    Dooce! Dooooooooooooce!

    Lord, I never comment because the sheer volume of commentary on your blog often renders my contributions redundant. In this instance, I haven’t even bothered reading any of the other responses at all.

    Life is hard and lame and crap and stupid. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Life blows goats and sometimes you just want to chuck the whole thing in because human existence with an intelligent mind is such a chore. Responsibility is oppressive and the need to fulfil the expectations you set for yourself is consuming and hideous. Clarity of thought and understanding of self is a gift that we don’t all have. And those lucky few that have their shit together all the time and are never challenged by their lives or their sidelined by psychoses can just go and smoke a big fat one.

    We are all defined by the shitty, shitty things that happened in the past. Own the shittiness of your shit. Don’t let anyone belittle your shit, or take your shit away from you. Be strong and continue to face these things head on. You can come to understand yourself. You will never be cured, you can only manage this. You inherited it and there is no choice but to own it.

    Normal people are BORING.

    Boring. Boring. Boring.

    BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORING!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jen

    I’m sorry you’re hurting, but I’m proud of you for sticking with therapy and doing your best to work through everything. Big hugs to you, Heather! Thank you again and again for your openness and honesty. There is a song I listen to sometimes when I’m feeling the way you are – it’s called “Tender” by Blur. It pretty much sums up how I feel, but it’s a hopeful song. “Come on come on come on, get through it…” You’re going to be okay, I know it 🙂

  • juliejackson

    That was a really nice personal insight and I’m glad you shared it. Sometimes your life looks so perfect I can’t imagine you have any problems. That was touching.

  • Little Nikolette

    Hang in there Heather. Everyone has some kind of demon hanging around – but not everyone has the courage to face it or to tell the world about it. 🙂 Keep on keepin’ on.

  • danioz

    I have absolutely NO professional qualiifications but I have a theory about people…
    I believe that people get stuck in the age that they experience their first big stress. For example all hunky dorey in my house, then my father dies suddenly at 53. I was 18 and I really feel that that is the age I am stuck in. One of my sister’s was 16 and she is definitely stuck in that age when it comes to stress!

  • sweet december

    It was very brave of you to post this. And reading through the comments quickly, I can see that many people agree. I feel responsible for my parents unhappiness and it’s very hard to move past it, even though I know that it is not my fault.

    Keep strong and keep pushing forward. I hope you are able to work through it. You have accomplished much in the past years, raising two great girls and maintaining a company. You should be proud of yourself. It does get better.

  • Nadia V

    Thank you for this post. It is disheartening to look around and see all that is good, yet still feel so shitty. (at least for me). However, I’m not as brave as you to go and talk about it. With a stranger. Nope, not there yet…

  • jaclyngelb

    Heather, once again your bravery inspires. Good for you for speaking it out loud. If you want to skip the years on the therapist’s couch and seriously just get this shit out of you, check out the Hoffman Process in Northern California. I struggled for years trying to overcome the ghosts of my childhood (which having children brought into painfully clear focus). Ten excruciating days at Hoffman and I walked out free. In all ways. It’s an unspeakably beautiful gift, to truly let it go, while forgiving your parents (and yourself) with absolute love and compassion…

    Blessings to you and the fam.

  • irretrievablybroken

    Can you spin it differently, in your own head, perhaps? I’m often accused of being a pollyanna (even by professional headshrinkers) but it does seem to me that divorce can sometimes be–dare I say it? Good.

    http://blogs.babble.com/divorced-with-kids/2011/04/25/this-happy-childhood-brought-to-you-courtesy-of-divorce/

    I hesitate to butt in, and of course everyone has a different reaction to things experienced in childhood, and I am certainly not trying to imply that I am some model of positive thinking, or a paragon of righteousness. And I have my own reasons for wanting to believe that divorce is not evil, since I am presently inflicting it on my own children, alas. But even though my parents’ divorce was wrenching and awful, I am who I am because of that divorce. Same with you. And you’re quite something. Does that help in some small way? I hope so.

  • jmwrestler

    You are not alone! My ten year old self took responsibility for my two year old sister’s death because I didn’t move her car seat back up to the middle seat in the van and then we were in an accident and she was killed. Therapy certainly helped, but I didn’t get that until I was almost 30. And even still…that 10 year old that’s responsible for her family screams at the 30 something woman. **hugs** I wish you all the strength to power though!

  • tiffanyincali

    Thank you so much for sharing such intimate parts of yourself. I think we all have skeletons from our childhood- good for you for taking them head on. I think most people feel crazy for dwelling on the past and allowing it to haunt our present, but rest assured, that’s what makes you ‘normal’, as absurd as normal is.
    Thanks, Heather, for letting us in.

  • maeghan

    Many hugs, Heather. My parents divorced when I was young, too (after a murder/suicide in our family, no less). It was the beginning of the end for our family, really, and I still struggle was a lot at this stage in my life with everything that happened 20-odd years ago.

    All I can tell you is that you’re a gorgeous, wonderful human being who is doing the best for her kids. They seem happy and healthy and it’s all due to you and John. You’re doing all the right things and you make the world a better place by doing what you do best.

    Lots of love and thoughts to you and yours.

  • NHMaman

    Anyone who feels the need to be perfect and be human (or be a parent, for that matter) is dealing with the impossible.

    In large part because my father dropped dead of a heart attack when I was 9, I feel the need to live every moment to its fullest–whatever that means! It’s a bit close to that perfectionist ideal.

    We all wish you success in dealing with all that plagues us as humans.

  • maureenp

    I’m so sorry you’re having a hard time. I appreciate you sharing it, though. How brave you are.

  • lobsterandi

    You are doing well. It’s okay to sometimes need to be reminded of that.

    I give you a gold star for keeping going, even though you don’t want to sometimes. 🙂

  • boomama

    I’ve been thinking about you and about this post ever since I read it yesterday. And I just wanted to let you know that I’m praying for you. Big hugs to you from Birmingham.

  • Jules K.

    You are incredibly talented. You will overcome this the same way you attack your writing–with grace, passion, and honesty. And maybe all caps.