The Anonymous Internet & Why I'm Getting More Reclusive

Things are quiet around here lately, and I don't see that changing for a bit. I love posting about sewing and other occasional bits from my life, but I am desiring to be more of a hermit these days than ever before. Why? Well, this leads me to a much bigger conversation about the internet and the world we live in, or rather, the world I'm moving away from. Warning, this post is long.

I'm not sure when it happened, but it feels like things on the internet have really changed. I completely understand that to have a business these days you have to be everywhere: twitter, facebook, blogging, instagram, flickr, and on and on. And I welcomed it. I got myself an iPhone and jumped in head first with the rest of them. I know my blog, the way it looks now, is new to many of you, but I've been blogging now for over 5 years and in that time, I've seen a shift.

First, the good. I love that I have met some amazing sewing pals because of the internet and that we can share the things we love as a group. Bonding over favorite patterns or styles or techniques is awesome. Yes, the world got smaller because of all of this, and it's allowed my business to grow and for me to connect with some fantastic people.

But, then there's the bad. I don't love that I feel the pressure to be constantly connected, but I also recognize that this is self-generated pressure. People do whatever level of connected they feel comfortable with and that seems to work for everyone. So I'm backing away a bit for a quieter life. But that's only part of it. The much bigger issue that I really dislike, is the anonymous aspect of the screen.

Since writing my book 5 years ago, a lot has happened. In the last 5 years, I've moved, lost a parent, got divorced, changed jobs, launched a pattern company, taught on Craftsy, wrote for many magazines, had a car accident, and countless other good and bad things. Life has not been easy, but it has at many moments, been wonderful. Needless to say, I have been working my ass off, all by myself, for a while now. After each pitfall, I'd call my mom and rally again to gather strength to keep going as I jumped hurdle after hurdle.

It's easy on the blog scene to only see the good, because who wants to write or read about the bad? I don't, you don't. No one does. But that perhaps gives a misleading picture to what goes on behind the screen. And what's back there behind the screen is a person. Me. A hard working person, with feelings. The internet allows us to be totally fearless with our comments and judgements of others as if there is no one on the other side to read what you're posting. But there is. And frankly, I've simply had enough.

I know that whatever I do is not perfect, and I also know that I can't take every comment to heart. But I'm going to share a few of my favorite comments to you all, to give you insight into why I'm backing away a bit.

First, on Amazon. I've learned a long time ago to stop reading the reviews of my book. Sure, it has a lot of issues. I know this. But it also has helped many people jump into the realm of garment sewing, and that's awesome. I am aware it's not for everyone, but here are my favorite negative comments:
"These styles SUCK!" posted by L8z4Cat
"In the photographs the hems are uneven. If even the writer can't sew the clothes well, I doubt a beginner could." posted by ElleC
"Basically this book is an insult to the trees that died for it." also posted by ElleC
"I think most of the garments in the book look as though they were made by a beginner." posted by J. Wolf "Joyce"

Yes, I know there are good reviews too, but I'm just not interested in putting myself through reading these kinds of comments anymore. Would anyone say these things to my face? Probably not, because they'd see that I'm a human being that probably worked really hard on that book. I don't care if it's not for you, nothing is for everyone. But some of these are just plain hurtful.

I also have received some rather abusive emails and comments from my Kickstarter supporters. I couldn't be more grateful for all the support that I received, and any tote bag or pillow case I send to my backers would always feel like an inadequate thank you. But I'd like to say that just because people have supported my fundraiser, which should have been based from the goodness of their heart, does not give anyone permission to judge me or send me hate-filled emails. I'm not going to post comments emailed to me, as those are sent directly to me, one-on-one, but some comments are posted to the internet. My favorite comment, posted by Tammy to my Kickstarter page: "It is disappointing to know from your blog and some of the other sewing sites that you have had time to vacation in Paris, appear on the Sew it All TV show, and create a Craftsy sewing video, but there hasn't been time to honor your commitment to me as a backer." Again, I'm only reposting things that the writers posted themselves on the internet, for all to see. They decided to offer it up to the world, not me.

Sure, I'm sorry that Tammy is disappointed, but let's break that comment down. Yes, I took my tax return and went on vacation. Got me there. Guilty as charged. (Never mind that while I was there I did a TON of work, including writing an article for an upcoming issue of Sew News magazine.) Yes, I also shot an episode of Sew it All and a class for Craftsy. Both of which they should be happy about, if they actually backed my business to help me grow, as they were both for furthering my business. I fully acknowledge that it took me some time to fulfill my Kickstarter rewards, and they are now all done and sent. I too have backed some Kickstarter projects and received my gift much later than expected. But I trusted that the person behind the project was working hard, and surely I wasn't about to send them hateful emails or comments.

Needless to say, I'm going to be a lot more cautious what I say and write about. I'm just a person. I work really hard at what I love, and for my own sanity, I'm guarding my life a bit more from now on. I will still be around, and I will still post about my love of sewing and fashion. But I need to protect myself and my sanity from all the hate out there. I'm going to try to only surround myself with things that make me happy and those that support me. For all the goodness, and you know who you are, thank you. You all rock.