This post started out as an explanation of why I broke up with Facebook. As I was working my way through the original draft, it became clear to me that there are other chapters in my life I need to close as well.
I’ve dabbled in writing my entire life, but it wasn’t until early 2007 that I began trying to put my work out there for others to read. I joined a “citizen newspaper” online which allowed me to connect with other amateur writers, and publish content which didn’t fit into other sites I had previously joined.
I strayed from writing after a couple of years due to personal issues, but found my way back a few years later. Unfortunately, the site was sold during the time I had been away, and was no longer a hospitable environment. I needed a new place to hang my hat which is why Sips of Jen and Tonic was created.
I didn’t know what to expect when I first began this blog. I hoped to see some familiar faces, and meet a few new people who would eventually become familiar faces. I wanted to learn and grow not only as a writer, but also as a person. The main goal for Sips of Jen and Tonic was to be a space space for crazy people.
I’m proud to say that I got all of that and more.
I finished NaBloPoMo (which I’m sure was created by the devil himself) twice, wrote countless guest posts, helped create and execute Blogger Interactive, was Freshly Pressed twice, and managed to convince thousands of people to follow my blog. I also met a multitude of interesting people hailing from all walks of life who had compelling stories of their own to share.
Sadly, with the good came the bad.
As with any online gathering place, you’ll meet some truly amazing people, but you’ll also cross paths with narcissists, sociopaths, liars, cheats, hypocrites, misogynists, zealots, sycophants and generally unsavory types.
The first time I saw this on WordPress was when a fellow blogger (and former reader of this blog) started posting inappropriate and childish ramblings (usually disguised as really bad poetry) about his ex-wife. After the first couple of posts came out I chalked it up to a broken heart, but it became clear this guy was just vindictive and exploiting his readers for self-satisfaction.
While I was able to unceremoniously unfollow him, he would still comment on my blog occasionally, and I would see his name pop up here and there. I use him as an example, but there were dozens of other people I had to unfollow for similar (or significantly worse) reasons. In my real life I can carefully pick and choose whose energy I want around me, but online it isn’t so simple.
Then, last year, I was contacted out of the blue by four separate people I had distanced myself from (and for good reasons). I believe one of them had been spying on me through a mutual friend’s Facebook page, and the other three had been reading my blog and thought it would be nice to get in touch. The warm fuzzies they thought I’d be feeling felt a lot more like a deep wound being reopened.
Not to be outdone by 2013, 2014 presented two situations which absolutely devastated me. I won’t go into detail about either of them because I’m still really hurting over both of them, but I will say that two “friends” I had come to know and love through writing ended up being wolves in sheep’s clothing. I’ve learned there are more of those than you think online.
All of this got me thinking about what it means to share your life with the world, and the risks associated with that. I’ve been working very hard to heal myself the last few years, and I realized I’ve knowingly put myself in the path of people who could possibly hinder those efforts. This not only isn’t a smart thing to do, but would be considered self-sabotaging if I continued.
Additionally, all of this self-improvement has brought on a new me who didn’t exist before. The Jen and Tonic people have come to know and love says and does all of the wrong things, drinks too much, is crass and crazy and generally a mess. Alas, Jen and Tonic is someone the real Jen no longer completely embodies or even recognizes anymore. The real (new) Jen has a good job, just bought a house by herself, is a pretty responsible person, and rarely drinks. That doesn’t make for funny or interesting blog material though.
Because of everything I’ve outlined above, I’ve decided to put Sips of Jen and Tonic on an indefinite hiatus. Orson Welles said if you want a happy ending that it depends on where you stop your story. I want a happy ending for my blog so this is where I’m stopping this story.
The great thing about blogging is that where one story ends, another begins. I’ll remove myself from WordPress and it won’t matter because there are thousands of people who can take my place. Life will go on as though I was never here.
I will forever be grateful for everyone who supported me in this endeavor, and indulged me while I shared tidbits of my life with you. I hope that I made you laugh or cry or think or anything in between. I want you to know that if we had any kind of interaction here on WordPress, you made an impression on me.
I will miss all of you.