Oh, No: It’s That Irritating Need to Please Everyone Again

I suffer from Approval Addiction.

In every exchange, I try to be what pleases the other person. With my children, I am an experienced adult who unconditionally loves them. With my neighbors, I aim to be the easy-going one who’s willing to provide a cup of flour or plate of cookies. With my friends, I lend a listening ear and supportive hand. With my blog, I’m the writer-of-all-trades in order to please the greatest number of followers.

I wear many, many masks. I feel I even wear masks within masks.

Unfortunately, I fail. With my children, I become the resentful, repressed, and stressed adult who makes them think they must earn my affection. With my neighbors, I bother, offend, and fail to keep up. With my friends, I …don’t really have any. With my blog, I back-post midnight thoughts and give up (yet again) on reading what others wrote.

I feel dizzy with the ride of expectations vs. reality. I start employing my old numbing tactics: little sleep, lots of junk food, and mindless apps to distract.

Round

and round

and round again.

Sometime near 2 or 3 a.m., I lift my tear-streaked face from the closet floor. “I can’t keep doing this,” I say, with a smidgen of resolve. “Something’s gotta give.” I consider what I can get rid of:

  • Kids? Probably can’t give any back now.
  • Dishes? I wishes.
  • Laundry? Housework? Bill-paying? Errand-running? Etc? No, no, no, no, and no.
  • Staring at my shoe rack from my position on the floor whilst eating chocolate? Maybe.
  • Writing?

Ah, the writing. Some part of ‘the writing’ needs to give. I started blogging because I was going to succeed at something. Maybe I’d publish a book. Perhaps I’d attract tens of thousands of people to my site. Surely, I would change the world.

Whatever happened, my quick quips and cute phrases would most definitely be circulated around Facebook instead of the banal ones I saw daily.

Yet, here I sit, the same as when I started. I have nothing to show for all the time investment into ‘the writing.’

*sigh*

Well, I don’t literally have nothing to show for it. I have all of you.

I love my blogging friends, even those who don’t come around anymore. You’ve read, complimented, lifted, encouraged, responded, sympathized, reached out, poemed, and loved me. In a world where I rarely converse with like-minded people, I need this. I don’t expect everyone to read everything I write; you all feel the same, right?

So… I wonder how you all deal with ‘the writing.’ Have you a schedule? Do you write ahead? If you write and read less frequently, how do you still have followers?

Most importantly, do you write blog posts in the closet?

jamesthethomas5-HXVMKvaPNqg-unsplash

—————-

Here’s the breakdown for the week:

Wednesday, January 29: Talked about DIETING in, “The Diet: It Sucks But It Works.”

Thursday, January 30: Throwback to my Reddit story: “Customer Service.”

Friday, January 31: Posted the winner of this week’s “Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest.” Congratulations to Matt Snyder.

Saturday, February 1: Announced the 57th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is LOVE. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, February 2: Shared Jules’ page of the poem we commented to create.

Monday, February 3: An inspirational quote from Nitin.

Tuesday, February 4: Poemed “An Overworked Poem About the Post,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Wednesday, February 5: Today

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Photo Credit: Jamesthethomas5

65 thoughts on “Oh, No: It’s That Irritating Need to Please Everyone Again

  1. Chelsea, all you can do is take a deep breath. I know that is easier said than done.
    My writing goes in cycles, for me I have to feel it deep in me. I only write about myself, what I am dealing with, have dealt with, and lessons learned through everything.
    Children are a constant 24 hr 7 day a week of demand on anyone’s attention.
    I don’t have any young people living with me. However, my grandchildren are high energy and when they leave I am exhausted.
    I love reading your posts, your comments that you leave on my posts.
    I will be thinking of you, don’t be a stranger, and neither will I.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The irony of ‘here’s the breakdown for the week ‘ is not lost on me. Nor the guitar in the closet which takes your closet up a notch to a closet studio. Very important to nail those room-genres.
    I write everywhere though I’m better seated. Somehow i just can’t type ‘a’ when prone. Which maybe one reason why i no longer go all Dickensian and accuse people of cant. Please don’t give up writing. I accept children aren’t acquired on a trial period with a return without obligation clause but laundry… meah, overrated. Recycle, you know it makes sense. Though i do understand that going green can also mean your childrens’ underwear is developing a culture of its own and not in a good way.

    Liked by 2 people

    • 😀 As always, Geoff, you do have a way with words. I can’t say I’ll seriously consider going green with all boys; we might get the house condemned.

      The closet picture appealed to me because it looks very like ours. We have two of them in our bedroom, and Kevin stores his guitars in his…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Fun post to read! I especially liked the “blog posts in the closet” part. Reminds me of a few times when I’ve needed to do voiceovers from inside various closets, in various parts of the world. The things we do for our arts!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I know that feeling when you wish things would change and you know they can’t just yet. I have been blogging for a little over two years now and i have some 200 followers, most of whom never visit my site (mostly because I don’t write as much anymore and I don’t actively connect with them at the moment – reciprocity is key). Also, I have two novel projects I have been ‘working on’ for ages as well as two short story collections that have been, well, collecting dust more than actual content. How do I deal with this? Frankly, not at all right now. I work and I spend time with my family and that’s about it. The number of friends, as in actual friends to go out with and talk about stuff, has gone down to just about zero … I could write in the evenings or on the odd weekend, but I don’t, because I just can’t muster the energy. I tell myself that I’ll sit down and get things done when my kid is older and doesn’t need me as much anymore. I’m in my thirties, so hopefully, I still have a few years to go 😅

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I try to write on the weekends, mostly; but, I keep a pad with me and sometimes write on the train. The lists you see are my notes, essentially, for a larger work… something I’ve completed about two thirds of. My wife left me twelve years ago and my children are adults, so I need please NO ONE. It’s a swell life!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I do like your quick quips and cute phrases. I also wonder how anyone with a normal life (whatever that may be) is able to produce meaningful content regularly, and as frequent as some do. I haven’t set blogging as a high priority, yet. I enjoy it, but life gets in the way. Rather than despise the realities of living, I sigh, put down the laptop, and hope to be able to have time to write when my thoughts are flowing. I haven’t tried escaping to the closet. Maybe if mine was as orderly as yours, that would be a better option. Being a good mother is an extremely high calling, and hard work. Hang in there and get some sleep. It works wonders.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I learned to love the schedule button.
    Also organized my blog so certain features happened certain days, I initially used to fret over the small numbers of likes, comments, followers even had gripes when people love my poetry way more than my art, but then realized that people like something, writing is an art.

    I only wish sometimes that people would leave comments or one comment would become a thread. When I’m not creating i spend days engaging on others blogs and never feel like its reciprocated.

    But at the moment I am not looking to profit or please anyone truly but myself and take everyone along for the ride down creative street.

    Never blogged in a closet, although that looks like your happy place 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah -I’ve had people I’ve followed and commented on for a while never reciprocate. But, maybe they have healthy boundaries like the ones I seek…

      😀 I suppose my closet is my happy place. I’d always considered it the opposite.

      Like

  8. “…you all feel the same, right?” Amazingly, surprisingly and (un?)fortunately, yes, I do.

    “Have you a schedule?” No.
    “Do you write ahead?” No.
    “If you write and read less frequently, how do you still have followers?” Out of sight, out of mind? I think people just don’t think to unfollow.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. When I was writing my serialised stories, they were all planned out. I would fill the gaps in the rest of the week with poetry, flash fiction responses, and the occasional longer story. Because I’ve had to move recently I’m finding it hard to get into any sort of groove at the moment. I do have a plan for another story, but I won’t be able to start that once I feel more settled. Sometimes I plan the flash fiction responses out, either they’re waiting to be published in my drafts folder or they’re written in my notepad waiting to be typed up.

    At this moment in time my blog is a bit aimless. Hell I’m not even sure what my next blog post will be.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Like practically everything in my life, I nauseatingly relate it to school once again. (It’s like when Uncle Homer says, “Did I ever tell you about…?” and you think in your head, “Yeah, fifty-seven times, and it wasn’t that good the first time.”) My first thoughts turn to a few of the kids I taught along the way. They either hated, disliked, or tolerated school, for the one thing that made it okay. What that one thing was, varied from student to student. For many, it was the social aspects, but for many, it was the one “creative” thing they enjoyed—music, acting, or yes, writing. In other words, don’t give up on the one thing that stimulates your creativity and provides you joy. (not to imply that you need to give up your family.)🤣

    For the first time since I was a young man, my life is FINALLY in balance. Life does get in the way, and that happens to us all. As hard as it is, try not to compare yourself to others. (the easiest of traps) I will never be one of those people that write daily—that ain’t happening—and I’m okay with that. I’ll never write a bestseller—so shoot me. At the same time, I’m not giving up something (I’m sixty-one and have only been writing as a hobby for three years) that I enjoy doing.

    If this comes across as too preachy, just nod your head at the blabbering old geezer passing through.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I thought I had an answer to your question, but I don’t because I don’t actually recall writing anything, yet things still post even though my kids are monkeys for 14 hours straight and the youngest doesn’t believe in sleep. Oh, maybe I’ve finally come into my magical powers…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi, Chelsea
    I’ve been mulling (as is my wont) your thought that ‘I don’t expect everyone to read everything I write; you all feel the same, right?’ Like you, I don’t expect everyone to read everything I write and I certainly don’t read everything posted on the various sites I frequent (there are limits to time and sanity). However I am becoming increasingly disillusioned with the lack of feedback (with honorable exceptions like your good self) on anything I write for these sites, even at the level of the admittedly laborious task of clicking ‘Like’. I thought part of the point of a literary community like this one was to respond to prompts and provide 99 word responses (or whatever the local rules of the game might be) and to provide encouragement, hints of what the reader enjoyed and, in the spirit of everything being grist to the mill, the odd discouraging word and why. I do my best to uphold that belief but I’m beginning to think, why bother, when that courtesy is so rarely reciprocated. As one example, someone recently visited my blog and read 8 posts without leaving a single response, good, bad or otherwise.
    I fear that increasingly sites like yours and others are turning into FB pages where nobody seems to bother to read earlier posts (other than their own) and who think they serve as dumping grounds for their deathless prose on any subject other than the matter in hand.
    Anyway, my admiration is deep for all that you are attempting and delivering and aspire to. I just wish others would appreciate the platform you are giving them and understand that a community involves both give and take.
    Regards
    Doug

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Doug.

      I’ve seen the phenomenon you describe, and am certain it’s a ploy to gain followers. Some do so for personal flattery; the writers need a base in order to look impressive for publishers.

      There are also, of course, those obvious company name followers who are hoping you’re the sort to reciprocate a following, in order to boost page search ratings.

      I’m glad you don’t expect me to always read your writings and hope you know that, should you see a ‘like’ or comment from me, I most certainly took the time to read the whole thing. 🙂

      Like

      • Thanks, Chelsea. Having just posted this whinge-moan, I noticed that suddenly my Spam box had burgeoned dramatically. Investigating, amongst the random scams and offers to meet my every sexual desire, I found 60 emails from various writing sites I subscribe to, including many Likes and Comments. Not sure if this was a Gmail thing or a WP thing but it made my day. Also noticed a vitamin company keeps subscribing to my blog and although you can delete them as followers, they can just re-subscribe.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. When you find normal please let me know…sigh…I write when I can, read when I can, blogs or books and generally leave a comment when I read..somedays I do more than others as that thing called life has a habit of getting in the way and if you are old like maybe I just nod off for a few minutes or an hour….But normal….pfff…xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m really only writing a post once a week and catching up on reading posts once or twice a week because I am working on a book in addition to living my life. I blog because it is a nice respite from the WIP and I want it to stay that way rather than becoming a chore. I try to engage with the people I follow, and I don’t follow a zillion people for that reason. Sometimes I feel guilty that I am not checking on everyone more often but I’m trying to get over it!!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. a great post, Chelsea, as it applies to me. Not only do I write poems in the closet but too often lately I put up posts that do NOT receive any ‘likes’ after half an hour; far as I’m concerned that post is dead in the water, like poor Meg in my latest post, and the post is pulled and dumped in the closet

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pssst! Huge secret here. Spoiler alert! You’ll never please everyone or even most of them. Which is not to say that there is any way to keep yourself from trying. You can only dig in and do your best, and they’ll have to be satisfied with that. Hey, we put up with their ‘best’, or even their ‘not so best’ – they can tolerate ours.

    Over the years, you start seeing more and more of what doesn’t really matter, and you let that fall away. Unfortunately, with a family, it is harder to get to that point. There’s those darn commitments involved with our families, so we have to put in some work with them.

    As for the writing, yes, I write ahead if something comes to me, and store it for later. I mostly only post once a week. I knew I’d give up entirely if I tried to force myself to come up with something daily or even multiple times per week. Heck, some weeks it is hard to even come up with what to post from my stash (nothing ‘feels’ right). Other times, I write and post immediately because something has lit a fire in or under me. But writing things in advance takes some of that pressure off to keep delivering on schedule, so I’ve managed to stick with this blog for over 2 years now.

    How do I have and keep followers? Who knows! I can only guess that some of them subscribe hoping that I’ll reciprocate. But I look at their blogs and most of the time can’t see anything we have in common, or why they would even want to follow my blog with the sorts of things I post.

    People read/follow bloggers for their own reasons, and many times it has nothing to do with what it is being written. So, just write to suit yourself – to share something happy or sad or funny, to say something that is on your mind, to share information or your personal writings. Whatever appeals to you. Please yourself and you’ll find there are people reading who will be pleased by it. Maybe not all of it, but that doesn’t matter. There are authors I like but I don’t like everything they’ve written and there are actors I like but I don’t like all the roles they’ve played.

    Please yourself, and let others choose to be pleased by you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you!

      I’ve tasted that gradual “not caring” attitude more and more as I age, and almost had it down when I was pregnant. The caring’s returned, though, which is disappointing. I guess I need to get too sick and tired to bother again. 😉

      I like your posting advice as well. I want to transition into that. And I follow you because I like what you write!

      Like

      • Thanks! With you and some of the others I can see why they might be following me. I can see some similarities, or interest in similar things or such. But some of my followers – I can’t see anything on their blog page that gives me any clues why they might want to follow me. I could see them maybe liking 1 or 2 specific blogs for some reason, but enough to follow me? I have written about something financial and will see someone with a financial website follow me. Maybe they do it because they liked what I said about finance and want to be sure not to miss any future posts I might do on the topic (which has actually only been 2-3 over the two years of the blog)? But others? No clue.

        Yes, try to transition to fewer posts, but try to keep them regular so that people know when to expect them. When you stopped (mostly) briefly during this last pregnancy, people were okay with that. You can train them to a new schedule. Most people will be fine with less to read, giving them more time for other things. I’m totally not the typical and desired follower of social media – I’m too lazy. I don’t want to spend an hour or more daily checking blog posts or Tweets or Instagrams. Now I only do it maybe every 3-4 days at best, and only a handful of sites. Even for the blogs I follow, if I’m feeling overwhelmed, I might just delete the email alert and not read the post. And sometimes people write things that don’t really interest me. I’ve occasionally written about poetry, but I’m not a big fan of poetry (reading or writing it), so admittedly I tend to skip your Terrible Poetry Contest posts. That isn’t to say that there aren’t others who love reading and/or participating in those – it’s just not my thing. And you’ll notice I don’t comment on all your posts, even if I’ve read them. Just because I’ve read it doesn’t mean I have anything particular to say about it. Pick and choose. Ease as many of life’s little stresses as you can. You can’t eliminate them all, but some are more easily dispensed with.

        Good luck.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think the liking and commenting thing is a way to get followers and page rankings and such. Meh; too much work.

          I don’t mind whether someone reads everything I write, but will get down on myself for getting so behind I don’t read *anything* my friends write. 🙂

          I’ll keep trying for that happy medium.

          Like

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