BLOG: Failure vs Success

Currently having my coffee and sitting outside working. Apparently I passed 45,000 page views this weekend (by over 200) and didn’t even notice! I’ve gotten 626 page views in the last four days ALONE. I’m only at 59 so far today, but it’s only quarter past noon. Bring on the hits.

Like I’ve said a million and a half times, Bloody Mary’s is the most reliable source for increasing readership and page traffic that I have encountered so far. There has never been a time where there hasn’t been a massive spike in my website traffic when some kind of drama happens there. It’s great. I should send them a Thank You card. I’m sure they’ll just rip it up and throw it in the trash, but that’s only because they’re so ungrateful. Someday they’ll understand. After all, people wouldn’t keep reading it if there wasn’t something about it that kept bringing them back.

Here’s the thing: If I’m still getting crazy amounts of page views from it, why should I have to get over it? I don’t understand this logic. I deleted the stories people were offended by and left the rest up. People still read the stories that are online. The stories got good feedback in the workshop and from random people I’ve met while traveling. What about that situation screams “Let it go!” ???

I’m sorry a small handful of people were offended by stories that have been offline for several years now, but overall, my website is successful. My “book” is successful because it’s been read thousands of times by thousands of people. Literally, thousands of people. I am not a failure in any sense of the word. Anyone can upload a story on the Internet. Not everyone can bring in over 600 page views in four days for those stories. These stats are coming from REAL PEOPLE. These are not bots or fake followers I purchased. These people are real and they are sitting here reading my stories.

Clearly this tactic works for me. Just think what I’ll be able to achieve when I finally get my shit together! I have to pull myself out of this “I am a failure” mindset that plagues all writers everywhere all the time. I am not a failure. My name is Known. Strangers walk up to me at the bar and ask me if I’m Betsey Horton. There has maybe been two or three days since I started this website where there were no page views. Three days in FOUR YEARS. The rest of the time, traffic is steady. Sudden, random spikes in traffic are always related to Bloody Mary’s Bar. This blog is a success. I am a success!

From this moment on, I choose to be forever grateful to Bloody Mary’s. Bar. I choose to forgive them and love them in spite of their many, many, many flaws. They are directly responsible for the success of this blog. I would be nothing without them. I’m glad I decided to write about them. I sat down and read some of the stories the other day and I just thought… “Wow, where this started and where it ended up are two COMPLETELY different things.” At first, I was writing about people who were mean to me. Then, as time progressed, I stopped seeing them as two-dimensional jerks and began to see them as real characters. Now, I’ve taken those characters and transformed them into something else. I can recycle them into a different project. It’s been a tough learning process, but it all worked out for me in the end.

One of the things I’ve thought a lot about this weekend is Duke de la Salle. In the beginning, I wrote a story where I met him in a meditation and he told me I needed to learn how to love and forgive. He told me I needed to learn not to carry my anger around everywhere I go and hate people forever. Well, here we are four years later, and he was right. Yeah, I said it. Duke was RIGHT!!! I used these stories to help me vent my anger and find forgiveness towards the people who hurt me. I do feel bad that a few innocent bystanders felt harmed, but everything turned out alright. And in the end, I did what I set out to do: let go of my anger and hatred and learn to love and forgive the people who hurt me.

Do I feel this project represents my true talents and capabilities? No. Neither does The Island of Lost Guys. But I had to write both of these things in order to move forward with my life. I was raped, assaulted, attacked, and abused. I’ve tried to kill myself before. I’ve dated some TERRIBLE, psychotic people. I’ve made some really shitty friends. I went through a lot of really dark shit when I was younger. I was carrying around a lot of pain and anguish. Maybe some people can repress that kind of shit and “just get over it,” but sooner or later, that shit is going to resurface in a nasty, unexpected way. You can’t outrun it forever. I’m glad I chose to confront it directly and deal with it using my writing when I was still young. I feel better as a result. Now I’m sitting here at 31 with my entire life ahead of me, free to live it without being weighed down the trauma I experienced when I was younger.

I didn’t even realize that’s what I was doing until I took the “Writing as Catharsis” seminar in Paris. The entire lesson was how to use writing and self-care to work through your personal trauma. The entire class, I was just sitting there thinking to myself, “Oh my god, I’ve been doing this the entire time. That’s what these projects are. What I’m doing is correct. I am right. My feelings are valid. No one can ever take that away from me.”

I’ve learned that people process their emotions in different ways. There is no single timeline or method for working through difficult emotions. I think we as a society need to understand this. It’s not helpful to scream, “NO ONE CARES!” or “GET OVER IT ALREADY!” at each other. Those people just sound like jerks who have no empathy or compassion. They’re not helpful. The best way to move forward is to confront your problems directly and find a way to heal from the trauma so you can move forward.

As I learned in Paris, take whatever feedback you get with a grain of salt. Apply the things that are useful and disregard the rest. Any readership is good readership, regardless of how those readers feel about it. I am at peace with it. It’s time everyone else finds a way to be at peace with it too.

And in the end, I made it out okay. A little bruised, scarred, and battered, but I’m okay. I know exactly who I am. It’s taken me years to find myself again after everything I went through, but I did it. I love myself and I am learning to treat myself better. Fighting alcoholism is hard, but I’m confident in my ability to do it, especially once I leave this town.

Most importantly, I don’t need to be weighed down by the opinions of a group of privileged white males who were raised in a very conservative, rural, predominantly white, patriarchal society. They are “threatened” by me because I am a strong woman who isn’t afraid to tell them to go fuck themselves. In this culture, women don’t do that. That’s why they have to put on their little circus and make a big show over arresting a woman writing in her notebook. They’ve never dealt with a real, actual threat to their livelihoods because of their privilege, so they made one up. That’s how this works.

It’s obvious at this point the only real threat to Sam is his own shitty approach towards running a business. I never see people in that bar anymore. When I do, it’s all his friends. And it was like that for several years BEFORE the Coronavirus. That says more about him than it does about me. Why examine your own faults when you can just point at a woman sitting nearby and blame her instead?

Well, enough about that dumb shit. I feel better now. I had a good weekend overall. I came out of the entire thing with a more enlightened perspective. I’ve realized I don’t have to “get over” anything. My writing is my writing and that’s that. I’m glad I spent the last four years working on these projects. They didn’t work out the way I planned, but that’s okay. They were a success in their own way. It’s all going to be okay.

Time to refill my coffee and work on something else. SPOILER ALERT: I found an outline from early 2015 about a writer who creates an imaginary boyfriend and he comes to life on her. Does that sound like anyone we know? Like maybe… ANDREW?! *surprised Pikachu face* Want to hear the funny part? He was originally based on someone else, not Sam. Now he is more like a composite of multiple people. I don’t even know WHAT he is anymore, aside from annoying. He’s definitely his own Entity. Maybe I can make good use of him after all. I mean, I’m going to have to, because I can’t kill him and he won’t go away, so…

Off for now. I can’t wait to see the end of the day’s results on my hit counter! Winner, winner, chicken dinner! I am a successful writer with a real audience of readers! Hurrah!

😀 😀 😀

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