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Essay

Things That Scare Me

by Grace Bonney

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Almost three years ago, Ez of the blog Creature Comforts did something exciting and new online: she took a moment to be vulnerable and transparent. Inspired by a post written by Jess Lively, Ez wrote about the things that she was afraid to tell her readers, and anyone else online. It spurred a movement on blogs across the globe and people participated in several rounds of sharing these fears openly on the web.

In my circle of blogging friends, this moment in time is one that comes up in discussions regularly. People often cite it as a real breakthrough in connecting with their friends and readers, an example of what there should be more of and something we should all strive to keep alive in every post, not just one every year or so. But when this was all happening, I was in too vulnerable of a space to join in. In 2012 I had come out to my friends and family, ended a longterm relationship and was recovering from a draining 30+ city book tour. I wasn’t ready to open up because I wasn’t ready to process all those things alone yet. But lately I’ve been thinking more and more about what that sort of openness means to all of us online.

The way we all connect to each other as writers, bloggers, makers, readers and humans matters. I’ve talked about why transparency and honesty is a valuable thing and it’s led to some wonderful conversations on and offline that make me think that making it a more regular discussion — and making sure all of our posts are infused with that spirit of openness — is the best way to move forward. It’s clear to see that almost everyone online is clamoring for “realness” and relatability. I think it’s part of a desire to see ourselves, even just a tiny bit, in the people around us and a way for us to feel hopeful, connected and inspired. So today I wanted to join in this discussion, albeit three years late to the party. In a world where it’s all too easy to celebrate just the pretty and successful parts of life, there’s power and importance in taking a moment to air out the things that are more about fear than success. My hope is that anyone reading here can chime in, too, and use this moment to start the spring season with a fresh and open mind and heart. If nothing else, maybe some of us can find a new friend who can help us through a shared issue or concern. xo, grace

1. I’m Scared I’m Letting People Down All The Time:

My greatest professional fear is one that I do every day and will probably never be able to avoid entirely. Whether I’m passing on a home tour, responding too slowly to an email or upsetting someone with a reaction to their email/comment/post, some days it feels like a major part of my job is absorbing people’s disappointment and trying (and failing) to fix it and make it better.

I realize that it’s impossible to make everyone happy, and to provide everything to everyone, but I care deeply about trying to help and make as many people happy as possible. It’s such a big part of my self-identification that I often consider leaving online work entirely to do something more one-on-one (like nursing, counseling, or even some sort of animal rescue work) that allows me to focus more closely on one person and one issue at a time. I imagine this would make me feel as though I’m giving someone 100% of my time and energy, rather than just a portion. When I saw last week’s home tour with Sarah and Edurne and heard about Edurne’s second career in nursing, I had a real moment of wondering if that’s the path I should be following. Sadly, the fact that I have passed out 50% of the times I’ve ever been near a needle at a doctor’s office probably means I won’t make a very good nurse. But I have a feeling that down the line, my next big project or career will be more about helping people face-to-face.

2. I’m Scared That I’m Becoming a Hypochondriac:

I want to get this one out of the way quickly because it’s the one that embarrasses me the most. Over the past few years, I have become preoccupied with illness and far too prone to assume the very worst about every issue I face. I’ve dealt with some shadowy health scares in the past (major issues that land me in the hospital but are never diagnosed as anything that feels “right”) and it’s led me to feel that there’s always something lurking just under the surface that I haven’t found yet — and can’t control. Just in the past few months I’ve been to a gastroenterologist (convinced my bad reflux was something far more sinister), had an endoscopy and full round of other testing, and collapsed into a ball on the floor after discovering a lump in the bottom of my mouth (which turned out to be a sort of over-developed muscle near a normal bone in my jaw/mouth). It’s not pretty. The armchair psychiatrist in me thinks it’s probably due to the fact that I finally feel comfortable and happy and thankful about my life, so now I’m scared something will take it all away. No matter the root cause, I can’t seem to kick the feeling that every little ache and pain is indicative of something worse. (This is basically my search result life late at night.)

3. I’m Scared of Losing Stability and Security in Work:

It’s no secret that the internet is not the most secure place to work and that the blog/ad market took a major hit a few years ago. I never thought Design*Sponge would become my full-time job, and while I’m thankful that it has, learning to find stability in a market that is changing constantly is something I really struggle with. I am a fundamentally old-school type of person who longs for stability and the chance to find a groove and just stick with it, but knowing that that will probably never be possible with this job is tough. I am very, very thankful to just have a job right now, but sometimes worrying about the financial end of things and knowing that other people, who I care about and respect very much, rely on me and this job for their income can feel overwhelming. (*Don’t worry, DS team, I promise I’ll always keep you guys safe and as my first priority.)

4. I’m Scared That Following My Personal Needs and Changes May Affect My Business:

I have weirdly never been worried that being gay will hurt my business. I’m sure we lost some readers that day and since then, but I frankly don’t want to spend too much time with people who wouldn’t read the site because of that, anyway. But for some reason, I worry a lot about how my desire to let myself be more comfortable in life will affect my work and the way people view me or the site.

Five years ago I spent a lot of time worrying about what to wear to meetings and trade shows and how much to eat to ensure that I stayed small enough to look sharp and strong. I wasted so much time (and money and effort and good food) worrying about those things that I forgot that they never had much to do with the success of the site in the first place. I’m not naive enough to think that being relatively pulled-together and cleaned up isn’t helpful for photo shoots, etc., but after a rough few years between 2011-2013, I finally realized that respect and success have more to do with the things on the inside than the outside.

So a few years ago I really let all of that go. I gave away or sold any clothes that were too fancy or uncomfortable and I slowly built my everyday uniform of jeans, long sleeve shirts and the occasional loose dress. I felt happy and good about myself and then when we moved upstate I continued that slide into comfort and gained 10 pounds on top of another 5 from the year before. Combined with a new (very limited) sleep schedule at the hands of a young dog, I look at myself and see someone who looks far less like the “tough NYC girl” I used to see in the mirror and more like someone who looks older, softer and like she spends more of her days in muddy galoshes than spiky half-boots. On the inside, I love that. But on the outside, I worry how that will affect the people who see me as a reflection of the site and expect me to stay “small, cute and stylish.” (Those were the exact words written to me one day in an email related to a photo shoot as a guideline for my appearance.) I realize this fear is very small in relation to the very real survival needs of others, but it’s one that I really struggle with and hope I can learn to move on from in the future.

5. GOMI

I didn’t want to write about this fear. I didn’t want to give it, or the site, any extra air time, but I wanted to be 100% honest here and let this all go.

Do you know what it feels like to have an entire forum of people devoted to hating you and your work publicly, year after year? I do. And a lot of other people do, too. I realize that having people aware of you or your work in any way is, in some sense, something most of us should be happy about, but that can be tough to internalize sometimes.

I’m constantly reminding myself that everyone deserves a place to say whatever they want online, but it can be hard when you see/hear/discover people sometimes preying on your most vulnerable fears. No one is a harsher critic than ourselves, but to see those criticisms voiced online and to know that you aren’t the only one who sees those problems can be tough.

I realize that I put myself, my work and my life (part of it, anyway) online, so I’ve “asked for this” in some ways — and I know that’s what most people think. But every now and then I fall into this self-hating hole of reading through forums and realizing how many awful things there are said about me, my work and all the myriad things I should be doing better.

The only way I pull myself out of this place and move on is to remember a powerful moment from my life a few years ago. I was sitting on a bench in Brooklyn, just a few months after I came out and moved into my own apartment. I was talking to a dear friend and admitted to her that some days I just didn’t want to wake up anymore. I thought it would be easier to close my eyes and never deal with all of the difficult feelings I had, the hurt I’d caused, and having to process all of these messy feelings and behaviors at an age when I “should” have had it all together. Thankfully, this friend gave me the name of her therapist and that person helped me put things in perspective and get into a much better place in my life. That moment is a place I go back to a lot when I need to remember that compared to life and not having the privilege of living, everything else is just small potatoes.

– – – – – –

I hope putting this all out there will help some of you feel like you have someone else you know online who feels how you may have felt, now or in the past. I’m a firm believer that airing our fears is the only way to move past them or work on them, so thank you for allowing me this space to talk today.

So often I’m appreciative, but surprised, by people who email to say how much they envy my life or what it looks like from the outside. And while I know just how lucky I am to be here and have the life I do right now, I hope this helps anyone who feels that blogs/bloggers/the design community are a little too shiny and pretty and perfect, realize that we’re all very real people with problems we don’t always talk about online. And I’m very hopeful and happy to meet, connect and share with people online who are interested in digging deeper to find these parts of our lives that intersect and overlap so we can build deeper bonds in our community and help each other not just build homes we love, but lives we appreciate and enjoy, too. xo, grace

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Comments

  • It’s remarkably synchronistic that, just this morning, I watched Brene Brown’s speech at 99U. She says there is “nothing more vulnerable than creativity.” You’re putting yourself out there everyday. Courage isn’t silencing the negativity (internal or external) but knowing that it’s going to be there and showing up anyway :)

  • Hi Grace, I tweeted at you because I relate to your fear of becoming a hypochondriac. It started out as a funny little thing where my husband would joke that he’s going to put parental controls on my computer so I can’t access webmd. But then one day I realized that I was freaking out over the dumbest little thing and my heart was pounding and I thought I was about to have a panic attack. I’m starting to realize that it’s probably life stress (job, money, family, etc) manifesting itself in this one area, along with reading too many articles about the latest things that cause cancer. Also since having a kid, I have this awareness of my own mortality, which I never really thought about before.

    I started taking Holy Basil and Ashwagandha for anxiety to see if it helps. I’ve also been trying to work more on work-life balance which is so hard. Ironically, stressing out over our health is probably the worst thing we can do for our health.

    This post was awesome because it made me think, “See? Grace Bonney feels this way too! I am not a weirdo!” :)

  • Thank you so much for sharing this. I am relatively new to blogging and I still struggle knowing the right balance of personal life and honesty to inject into my posts, but at the end of the day, I’m blogging mainly about my life, so what is that if not how I think and feel about it? As a long time admirer of you and your blog, one of my favourite aspects of it is how much genuine, funny and interesting ‘Grace’ there is. Ignore the critics. It is amazing how easy it has become to knock people down anonymously or otherwise on the internet, and it should be a testament to your success that you’ve attracted some.
    On a personal note, I worry with the hypochondria thing too. I’ve had on-off headaches for a couple of years that last several months at a time, which eventually have been put down to stress, but I feel like there has to be something more. And before that, gastro problems, and before that, something else. I never really and truly feel ‘healthy’, maybe because I work too hard and give too little time to myself, which I guess everyone struggles with a bit. I’ve decided to change career and start part-time and freelance, to grab myself back a bit of my life and see if I can’t start to change the balance. I hope you come to realise that happiness doesn’t always come at a price, and stop looking for the ‘fall’ that may never come. x

  • Well timed, I’m endeavoring to make the jump from photo to video and it is scary… I’ve been thinking about your first videos and how you said it was weird to hear your own voice. Try hearing your own “mom voice”, so strange. My partner works in internet security and we are paranoid new parents, with so much scary stuff out there it can be difficult to keep your head turned to the light and away from the dark. On health, the best advice I was given while pregnant was “stay off the internet”.

  • Thank you for sharing this. I was just thinking this morning about the dearth of personal essays on blogs, and was pleased to see your most recent post. Please know that you are doing really good, positive work all around and I love reading your essays – they are one of the best things about Design Sponge. I hope you can keep creating a space (both digitally and in real life) that brings you joy.

  • Wow, Grace. What wonderfully transparent revelations. And we are all there in it together. We each have our own vices and our own fears and it’s nice to know that others have the same fears or others who we admire/envy have fears, too. I can totally relate to 3 and 4… I can’t remember where I read it, but I read about “impostor syndrome” a few years ago- that feeling that the bottom will drop out or the rug will be pulled out from under you at any minute; the feeling that maybe the blessings in life or success in life were just luck and could blow away with the wind. Once I had a name to it, I focused on letting it go. I still haven’t. I still have moments of feeling like stability could drop out or that heeding to my personal needs could affect my career negatively. In the end, what would be left? Me. And I kind of like her, so I try to squash those fears as they come. (even though it’s tough as heck.)

  • Really admire your honesty. I also think people who are nasty on the internet are just venting their own unhappiness. They need a scapegoat.

  • Couldn’t have said it better than Alissa did. You have my admiration for your accomplishments in business and personal realms, and for accepting your own challenge to be candid here. Many people will relate, whether they tell you that or not.

  • Hi Grace! I really love the direction you’ve been taking the blog lately–it’s refreshing and honest and I think it resonates with a lot of people. Personally, I’ve been struggling lately with my own personal successes (or lack there of!), and wondering why I’m not “where I should be.” So it’s nice to see I’m not alone, especially from someone who I really admire! I may not be posting my list of what scares me online, but you’ve inspired me to write one and get it out of my head!

  • Brilliant essay, thank you for writing this. Very brave & inspiring. We all get so caught up in the “smoke & mirrors” living that sometimes it feels hard to be real. I’m trying and it makes me feel much lighter (most days)! Xx

  • Hi Grace, I really loved this post. Recently found out I was pregnant and I feel like my fears have been MAGNIFIED and started to take the wheel quite a bit. It started to help when I called them “fears”. Just naming it took a little power away from them. Thank you for sharing some of your fears. Have you ever watched Brene Brown’s video on “Joy: It’s Terrifying”? Really insightful and related to this topic – “When we lose our tolerance for vulnerability joy becomes foreboding.”

  • Hi Grace!
    My goodness, this just gives me more to admire about you. I know you don’t feel like you reach folks one on one, but I do. Your blog is my break from corporate America everyday! It indulges my curiosity and sparks my creativity. Because of this blog I have been connected to a world I would not have found otherwise. I buy books that you recommend, see movies you talk about, cook the recipes featured, visit businesses featured and link to websites of enormously talented folks and I am inspired and enlightened by it all. I am a middle age woman who sits in cubicle for much of her life and I would never have found these lovely creative things without you. You may as well sit in my cubicle with me and just say “hey Cha, you might like this”……that is what it feels like to me. Now today you take that brave leap of facing your fears and opening your heart to us all and I thank you! I dream of one day supporting myself in a more creative way but am absolutely scared stiff to think about not having a steady paycheck and benefits, I have never not had a job in my life. (I am not complaining, I am extremely grateful) But because of your courage and vunerablility today, I felt it would be a great time to leave my first post on your blog and maybe face my biggest fear too. Thanks Grace. always.

  • Grace, This took a ton of courage to write and is very powerful. It is so easy to stay “anonymous” on the web and so hard to put yourself out there for ALL to see. You have inspired me! I have been trying to move from behind my company name and your honesty has encouraged me to do so. Thank you for a heartfelt and beautifully written post.

  • Hi Grace ! I am so glad at the moment you are in a way in a really happy place with your new house , with Hope , your lovely dog , Julia your lovely wife and of course Turk your fantastic cat – and reading that you had a phase a few years ago when it was so tough you almost did not want to wake up anymore I can only say I am grateful for your friend who advised to see a therapist and I am also grateful you are still around . You NEVER let anyone down , I hope you realise this ! You are an inspiration to many people and I just want to say thank you ! And yes we all worry about ailments and things like that – and I can understand it’s frightening to now be happy and then worry things may change or disappear . Have trust . I think life will be good to you . You have the courage to say : this is me . And I think courage always gets rewarded in this universe . Xxxxx Bea

  • Thank you for your elegant vulnerability. While reading your post I thought I’ve experienced the things that I thought would be the scariest. I’m not where I want to be, knowing that people I admire (you!) have them as well make the world feel a bit more safe. I was an vo agent for 10 years, laid off at 38 years old in 2009 (with everyone else) and diagnosed with breast cancer 6 weeks later. Single, no savings..something I’ve beat myself up for, and no severance. Went thru a year of treatment..rocking a bad ass grand theft auto bald head as a zaftig lady in los angeles is no small feat. In 2011 I was hired as a vo supervisor for video games and laid off Jan 2014. This past year was the most difficult ever. Often wondering with a heap load of guilt..I fought hard to survive..when will I meet my beloved, find my calling, will some man be loving and understanding that cancer thru me into early menopause, will I ever have sex again…things that appear to be so easy for others and I can’t seem to figure out. I’m afraid I’ll never start the food blog. My loves are food, design, and yoga. Don’t know where to start..and my head is relentless that’s it’s too late, you’re damaged, and old. That I’ll end up in another office job where I’m sitting 14 hours a day and it will feel like prison. When I was at my both of my jobs and going thru treatment I would spend hours..sometimes all day readying your blog and many more. I’m more afraid on not taking the action on the things I can control than things I can’t. Wishes to you.

  • I can’t tell you how comforting these words from a successful business owner like you are for a newbie like me.

    I have to admit that I stopped reading your blog regularly for a while when I stopped feeling a connection to you behind it. In recent years as you’ve shared more openly and vulnerably (respecting your need to have privacy as well…), I’ve felt drawn to follow you closely again. I really love your perspective, Grace. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Thank you. I don’t really know what to tell you but it doesn’t seem right to read this kind of moment of rawness and not tell you that is has an impact on me, and maybe, one day, I can carry the ripple in my own way. So thank you for that.

    Also, it is strange how angry and defensive I feel right now about some GOMI asshat taking a shot at you or your site. It’s probably weird that I feel that defensive about someone I have never met, so perhaps that is living proof that you have built something far more important than a blog or a place to look at pretty pictures.

    High five to you.

  • Thanks for sharing, Grace. I so appreciate the next stage of bloggers who are saying, “hey, I’m real” and are sharing all parts of their lives – pretty pictures, anxieties, hopes, dreams, and everything in between.

  • Thank you for sharing all of this! I recently shared on my own blog that I’m leaving the teaching profession, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve done on my blog so far. I felt guilty for so long for even considering the change. Teachers are often seen as selfless, dedicated heroes who are happy to sacrifice everything for little payoff (or paycheck). Many people outside of teaching don’t understand just how draining it can be to give up so much for no return on investment. Saying that I was done was hard because I knew lots of people would think I quit because I was a bad teacher…or more importantly…a bad person.

    So far, though, everyone has been pretty supportive. Finding a job outside of teaching has been tough, but I’m willing to stick with it if it means being happier with my work and home lives. :-)

    Thank you for making me feel like I’m not alone in all this.

  • Oh dear, dear Grace. I just see the perfection of who you are as I suspect a lot of us do. It is so exciting to see someone who has the courage to integrate their authentic self in their livelihood. And that’s the charm.

    Please remember that anyone’s opinions are only reflections of themselves. (I know this can be easier said than done…..but with practice:-)

    As for any hypochondria, you might want to check out EFT. It’s the most glorious way of dealing with this.

    I have observed your trajectory from the beginning, and it appears that you are absolutely on the right track. So full speed ahead!

    Big hugs,
    Amanda

  • This is so refreshing to read.
    Regarding #1, have you ever had issues with anxiety or panic attacks. I suffer from several anxiety which is mostly under control but there are times when it slides into concern over health issues. Even the slightest bit of anxiety or panic can set off a firestorm of neurons and other haywire bits in your body that feels like physical issues. It feels real because your brain is telling your body it is real. You feel sick, faint, and a bunch of other things but all test results show you are normal. It may be worth looking into.

    Regarding being small and stylish.. I can only imagine the pressure you have felt to be the “cool one”. I’ve seen you in person before at NSS and I have to say, I was put off by you. Not because you rude or doing anything in particular… but because you seemed so guarded and “tough” as you describe. Perhaps it is a sign of my insecurities with my body or clothing but that ‘small and stylish’ Grace seemed very unapproachable to me and kinda scary. You sound so much more serene these days and I think it shows physically. You are brave to put it all out there when you don’t really owe us anything. And sometimes we owe you more than a lot of us give you. :)

    • Carley

      I’m sorry to hear you felt put off by my appearance. I do tend to hear that from people, although never from people that know me well. I was like that in high school, quiet and worried about everything, and I found out later on that people assumed that meant I thought I was better than everyone else. Which I definitely didn’t. It’s hard to find a balance between the very necessary wall/shell you need to have to protect yourself from negativity online and the real “softness” you need to have in your real life to connect with people.

      Grace

  • Grace,
    Your willingness to open up is so inspirational. I write for a prayer/faith blog and it is tough to be honest knowing that anything I say may throw someone into a rage. And what’s the point of writing a prayer/faith blog if I’m not going to be honest?

    Your willingness to go above and beyond with a post like this speaks wonders about who you are and what you value.

    –SueBE

  • I’ve loved and been inspired by your work since I’ve been in high school and am now in the industry. Thought I’d finally say how much your work has inspired me! There are so many haters out there and i so appreciate when people combat that with encouragement.

  • GOMI is the worst. nobody, not even the most obnoxious person (and there are many in the blogosphere…), deserves the hate that they’ve let fester in their sad little corner of the internet. i appreciate your candor and vulnerability and i’ve found inspiration in this post today. thank you!

  • Thank you!!! I just wrote a comment on your resuming “After the Jump” post, and I asked for more interviews about the struggles people face when building their business. And here you are doing it already! Very brave, very impressive, and very, very appreciated!!

  • This was such an interesting piece. I think making yourself more venerable actually gives you a kind of strength against the people who tear you down. If you make yourself a real person it’s much harder for people to take nasty jabs, kind of in the same vein as telling a real-life attacker your name and your kids names.

    I sometimes find myself on GOMI and end up feeling sorry for the people commenting on there. How bad must things be in their lives if that kind of petty, and pathetic, nastiness makes them feel good about themselves?

  • Yes, totally agree with Arin- I’m a Design Sponge devotee for lots of reasons and the new direction you’re taking on of sharing more personal stuff is just another reason to love this site.

    I am both surprised by and thankful for your comments about what you perceive as your shifting image and how we as your readers think of you. I’m nervous to write this, because overshare? Inappropriate? But I too went through a sort of body change when I started treatment/therapy for my anxiety- I live in a softer body now than I did when I was constantly depressed and anxious- actually, I *also* gained about 15 pounds over a couple of transformative years. I love my softer body, and that it is accompanied by a gentler opinion of myself. But I still sometimes fear what others might think of me for it.

    It means a lot to hear your thoughts on that change in yourself… in fact I’m almost brought to tears by the thought that someone who I admire and respect as much as you can have any doubts about herself in the world. So yes… thank you for sharing. You are making waves.

    xoxo Kelsey

    • Kelsey

      “I love my softer body, and that it is accompanied by a gentler opinion of myself.” I know how you feel so much. I think I unknowingly spent a lot of time internalizing a lot of people’s opinion of me and it lead to a lot of sharpness and hardness. Now I’m trying to embrace a softer me in a lot of ways, including physically.

      Grace

  • it’s been a few years since I hung out at GOMI, but isn’t their MO keeping the negativity there in lieu of bringing it to the blogs in question? I just find it interesting that you oppose that, since you don’t seem to appreciate negative comments or criticism being made on bloggers’ posts, either. Maybe it’s because I dont personally subscribe to the “women must be nice to each other at all costs” brand of feminism, but it feels a bit naive to suggest that the audience not be allowed to criticize a blog ANYWHERE. At least if they keep to GOMI, they’re keeping it off the blog, ya know?

    I did used to spend a lot of time there, but I’ve since seen the error of my ways and opted to create a more positive and uplifting internet experience for myself. I don’t even remember there being a thread for D*S, though if there’s “an entire forum of people devoted to hating you and your work publicly, year after year,” then it must be quite a tome! Maybe its own sub-forum, that would explain it why I missed it.

    Anyway, keep on keeping on! Ignore the haters, they’ll all see the light and come around eventually, like I did :)

  • Grace,
    I think what you wrote here takes a great deal of courage and I had no idea there even was a site like GOMI, what an utter waste of breath! I think readers sometimes forget that the people writing these blog entries are exactly that “people” who are fallible and have subjective opinions and you may not like what they say. That’s the beauty of the internet, you don’t have to read things you don’t like, and also you seriously don’t need to post paragraphs long rants about people whom you neither know, of have any right to keyboard jockey critique.

    I think the redesign is beautiful, and the website is one of my daily visits for sanctuary from a mundane work day. Thank you.

  • I really, really, really love the direction you’re taking Design*Sponge. It’s so honest, raw, genuine and really resonates with me. I’m on the latter end of my 20s, a designer, and someone who used to identify with “looking the part”. It’s exhausting if it doesn’t match up to who you WANT to be, not who you want to be perceived as. I’ve started letting go of acting the part and it feels amazing. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve followed along with Design*Sponge for years now and I totally appreciate the honesty you’ve been putting forth these past few years. Not that it wasn’t honest before; I just think you and a few others are setting the trend for transparency online and it’s such a breath of fresh air. I now look forward to reading posts from you and your perspective rather than the hot new trend. Keep up the fabulous, honest work! (PS – I also suffer from GI issues w/no “real” answers either after 7 years… one doctor told me to just “work out more”. Not the answer I was looking for. Dietary changes have been the most effective for me!)

    • Caroline

      Thank you. And wait, a doctor told you to work out more to solve GI issues? Eesh. Mine jokingly told me nothing was off the table (re: pancreatic cancer, which my grandmother died of) and then walked out of the room. Ah, bedside manner.

      Grace

  • Hi Grace! I’ve been reading your blog for almost ten years and haven’t commented before (that I can remember, at least!) but I couldn’t resist today. This post, and your recent one about honesty and vulnerability, are among the most beautiful things I’ve read on the Internet, ever, and to me, have really ushered in a new freshness in your posts that I hope will spread throughout the rest of the blog world. Well done, and thank you for sharing.

  • Beautifully said. These are things we all fear in one way or another. I feel for you, particularly as it related to GOMI. I’m not on there, but I think it takes a lot of guts to put your creativity, and as an extension of that, yourself, out there in spite of such negativity. The good news is, the positive, supportive people outnumber the negative ones significantly. Hate often comes from jealously anyway. Thanks for the great post.

    xo,
    Esther
    http://blog.cuteheads.com

  • Grace, to be vulnerable is to be human. Thank you for sharing your fears – we ALL have them, and reading the fears of others sometimes makes it easier to see and face the fears in ourselves. You’re an incredibly strong woman, and that is exactly what it takes to not only put words to your fears, but to share them with others. As for GOMI, I’ve never gone onto the site myself, but honestly, these are people that are simply too insecure and scared to face themselves so they feel the need to lash out at others. Perhaps if you view these commentators as scared little children, you will find less merit and hurt in their words. And truly, anyone who takes time out of their day to specifically target and insult someone is an ignorant and desperate a-hole! Keep on keepin’ on, you’re an inspiration to us all – even to those GOMI a-holes :)

  • This was a great post, Grace. I am always impressed by your courage in revealing such private things about yourself online. I have a hard time being as open with the people around me, let alone on the internet.
    Also, what is GOMI? In Japanese it means “trash/garbage/rubbish,” but I’m pretty sure that’s not quite correct here.

  • Grace, I totally had an endoscopy and colonoscopy and thought I was dying too! Yay, endoscopy friends, high five! Also, I remember years back when you said you were having fainting or something and went to the hospital and it was stress related– I did that too! I think my physical body is highly responsive to my circumstances. You’re going through a big transition time with moving and maybe your body is just taking the heat for you? Before all of that happened to me I never took any kind of meds, but now I take a low dose anxiety pill and I’m so happy to have it available. Running every day helps me a lot too- not a lot or fast or anything, just a bit.

    No matter what happens to the internet and blogs, there will always be people who want to read about design and there will always be a space for you on that platform. Or maybe you’ll do something wildly different! Who knows…

    I have no idea what GOMI is, but f GOMI!

    Also, just have to say- you have helped me re-find my creative self after a squelching college experience, brought me joy when I was going through postpartum (design sponge house tours + hot bath + lavender candles became my nightly ritual), and brought vision and courage to start a creative business. I’m glad you were honest about your fears and hope each one dies a little bit after saying it for all to hear! I know you didn’t post it to fish for comfort or advice but I hope this is encouraging anyway!

    • Thanks, Jamie.

      I definitely think I may be on the track of needing to deal with some anxiety. I put up a pretty good front about being able to absorb and handle all the negativity that’s thrown my way in comments, emails and on social media, but internally, I’m clearly not processing it well. I don’t know how anyone does, really. I think most people who leave angry or rude comments hear have no idea what it feels like to have people call you out publicly online over and over and then expect you to not say a word about it. Being a silent absorber of anger or rudeness is not in my DNA and while I know that’s the best course of action (to be quiet and move on), it has an effect on your body over time.

      Grace

  • Wait until you turn 50 – all your anxieties will vanish! I suddenly realized that people don’t really care what I wear or how I look, and if they say something mean, I can always pretend that I am hard of hearing. You’ll get there, and in the meantime, try and accept and be happy with whom you are (realizing though that we are all, really, our own worst critic). Best wishes.

  • Thank you for sharing Grace…I personally became more of an interested reader when you began sharing more of your personal life, and I’m sure many of your readers feel the same. I’m thankful for the movement Ez started, as my “things I’m afraid to tell you” post was one of the hardest I’ve ever written + remains one of my favorites to this day. xo

  • I have been reading your blog for years and no post has touched me (in a different way) like this one, and for good reason. I think the “personal” posts always hit hard on the readers because the offer a glimpse into your vulnerable mind and heart. Thanks for sharing this and inspiring others to wear their heart on their sleeves. I know I do! :-)

  • I’d never been to your site before until u posted Natalie’s loft. And based upon the tone of your replies it’s seems your under lots of stress. I’m a huge Nat fan & found both of you via the G web site.

    Firstly, take care of yourself! Therapy, exercise or whatever your MD recommends! Your brain will ruin your body if you let it.

    And quit reading web sites that don’t lift your spirits! It’s hard I know … But look away. Delegate that business function to someone else, if need be :)

    And above all love love love! Because when menopause sets in what’s going on now will seem like a cake walk.

    Sincerely wishing you the best :)

  • Great post. I too have issues with hypochondria that results in anxiety. It started with having a cancerous mole removed years ago, it was small and nothing ever came of it. But that combined with the stress of two kids and hitting my late thirties early 40’s caused a lot of anxiety for me. I still deal with it from time to time when something comes up with my health, it is debilitating and does nothing to help the situation. All I can do is be the healthiest I can, get anything at all checked or removed if its stressing me out and know that it is the best I can do. I had to come to terms with the fact that yes, like everyone else, I will die someday! Not soon I hope, but to be at peace with that. And run run run, it keeps my feel good endorphins high and always makes me feel so much better. Deep breaths!

  • Thanks so much for sharing this, Grace. I’ve been trying to limit my time on the internet over the past few years, so I only read a handful of blogs regularly. Yours is the first one I check every day—both for the gorgeous, unusual design features and for the thoughtful and honest essays.

    Because I’m a bit clueless about the web, I had never heard of GOMI and had to Google it to find out what you were writing about. (I’m under 30, just for the record ;)) And I couldn’t believe that such a website exists. Most of the posts were so ridiculous and petty that the whole thing seemed like a giant spoof. Why would anybody waste their time this way? If you don’t like a blog, why wouldn’t you just stop reading it?

    It also reminded me that for many years, I wanted to be a writer. But as I got older and started seeing more and more vicious comments online, I realized that I could never be a writer in today’s world. I’m just too sensitive and anxious to be able to handle the constant barrage of negativity. So thank you SO much for continuing to do what you do. You brighten my day every day.

  • An entire forum of people dedicated to hating you? There is one thread with 10 pages about DS. Perhaps if blogging is proving too difficult, you should think about quitting. It’s just a blog, you’re not discovering a cure for cancer.

  • Beautifully written, Grace! Thank you so much for sharing. It’s so encouraging to know that you struggle with the big questions too, even though it seems like you are living the dream. I’ve been doing interior design for 7 years, and have been feeling so lost lately. I’m struggling to grow my business, and I feel like I’m losing my passion. I question the ethics of the design/furniture industry, my impact on the environment, and my contribution to society. At the same time I need to make a living, and I feel tremendous pressure to perpetuate the illusion that everything is wonderful on my website/blog so that I can get more business. But thank you for being so vulnerable, and in a way giving me permission to do the same. And for the record, EFF GOMI. You are devoting your life to spreading positive vibes while they are doing the opposite. One of my favorite yoga sutras totally applies to this situation: “Take pleasure in others that are happier than ourselves, have compassion for those who are unhappy, be joyful in meeting those who are virtuous, remain indifferent to the wicked, and our mind will be very tranquil.” Namaste!!!

  • Thank you so much for sharing with us. I know that sometimes, especially as writers who often put so much of ourselves out there ALL of the time, it can hard to be actually vulnerable and share with others. The Internet is an amazing thing, but sometimes it is full of sad people who like to tear others down from the anonymity of a screen.

    I know others shared their fears three years ago, but I think it’s never too late to be vulnerable. It seems like you are taking amazing strides at acknowledging your fears, life/work balance, and all that jazz. Thanks again for this insightful and inspiring post.

    maggie
    http://www.unboundprocess.com

  • Haters gonna hate… I know, easy to say. But you have a bunch of people who have your back. We have your back, Grace. I don’t always comment but I read your blog and I respect you for what you do. I wish there were more people like you and less haters. The world would be a better place. :)

  • #2 i relate to so much. i have silently cried myself to sleep while singing Jesus Loves Me to my 2 year old, holding her so tight as though i am on the brink of death. just for some swollen lymph node that i surely thought was my demise. not sure why i am talking so studiously but it’s happening and i’m just going with it. anyway, turned out to be nothing. as did the pain in my calf. as well as the fuzzy feeling on the top of my head. etc. etc. i have had so many “scares” these past years that i am just fed up. the other night i felt a burning in my stomach and i literally thought to myself, “whatever, shut up” Yes. i told my stomach to shut up. instead of lying bug eyed worrying about the feeling, i rolled over and fell asleep. and in the morning it was gone and it hasn’t happened since. i am praying my heart out to stop all the nonsense and get back to feeling aches and pains as what they are, just aches and pains! i also feel like i have this weird “too good to be true” syndrome. like when my life just gets too cute, i’m waiting for a bird to just poop on me or something. but i have vowed to change this, and i will

  • Fundamentally, I think that each of the fears you’ve described are things that everyone experiences. (Granted, not everyone is in the unique position of having such a public presence… But, in the end, we all fear for our jobs, our health, and our relationships.) What you’re feeling is perfectly understandable.

    You have people in your life who care about you and are there to support you. You have me, and anyone else who continues to read out of invested interest. You also have yourself.

  • Hi Grace & Design*Sponge
    I read somewhere that the Dalai Lama was asked how to best deal with ‘self hatred’. He was unfamiliar with this condition as it seems to be a particular dis-ease experienced by affluent countries & people. I found this different life perspective to be so true when traveling outside the U.S. as well. I wonder if this is the root of so many unfounded ‘fears’ and that the more we love ourselves (in a non egoic way) the more unbounded love we have to give…and the less room we have for fear.
    Thank you so much for your share. And the insightful comments from all DS readers!
    As an artist, vulnerability is a way of the profession (rejected, accepted, loved, hated) but the less I make it about me and the more I focus on the work and message that I must create, the better all of Life.

  • Wonderful read. GOMI- what a sad, bitter group of humans. I feel so sorry for people who have nothing but negativity to contribute to the world. You and your work bring inspiration and beauty to many. Don’t give those people another thought.

  • Hello Grace,
    I’ve never left a message here before but I have to say that I started following DS in earnest after watching you on MarieTV with Marie Forleo. I am being totally sincere that episode created a girl crush because you are so well-spoken, with a giving and accessible personality! L-O-V-E. Then I started following you on Instagram (my favorite!) and found your love of dogs and rescues [me too!] and the food connection…just love everything! I think this post is amazing and brave and really resonates with me because I am currently working on a brand new website and podcast and the words that are at the top of my plan are: “be transparently and uniquely YOU”. My new endeavor has been spurred from me getting sick [really sick] and several doctors, an endoscopy (!) at a world famous hospital left it a “mystery Illness” and I suffered for another 6 months before I found the source: fluoride toxicity from the water I was drinking. Well, it took me 18 months of healing my gut through whole foods to correct the damage and really changed my life. So, my new endeavor is “A Balanced Pursuit” and I hope to help others suffering from gut issues and IBS while working to have a happy, balanced life and enjoy all the food they want to eat…this is a really rushed version of what’s going on! But I just felt like I wanted to share with you given several of our parallels…and bottom line that I think you’re pretty awesome. …thanks for inspiring me to be totally transparent and for doing all you do and for the great dog pics! I’m looking forward to seeing if you get that pup I saw on Insta this week! Good luck!!! All the best~Michele

  • Phew…sometimes these moments in life are just like wearing sweatpants after eating a thanksgiving feast! Freeing…

  • Beautiful post. I really like blogs that have a personal side (when the main focus of the site isn’t personal). I want to be able to relate to the writer, or it can start to feel like it’s a PR department writing the content instead of an individual. I didn’t know about #5 at all – that’s awful. Of course, the internet is full of people who aren’t familiar with the concept of kindness (or “If you don’t have anything nice to say…”). Keep up the wonderful work!

  • Hi Grace,
    I was a very casual reader of Design*Sponge (just read it occasionally for the artist profiles and travel ideas) until 6 or 8 months ago, when I don’t know – something just “clicked” with me and your site. I’m the same age as you and I wonder if it is my nesting instinct kicking in, but I continually read this site and share it with friends and family. I haven’t found a life partner yet, but I think what you and Julia are doing with your home upstate is amazing and I hope to do it myself someday soon, although I am intimidated at the thought of doing it on my own. Anyway, I just wanted to say I am blown away by what you’ve accomplished in your life. I feel often as though I took the “safe path” – working at a corporate job with reliable salary and benefits and while I like my job, I long to be creatively fulfilled in my career. I know I could at least attempt making that happen, but the amount of uncertainty is daunting. My struggle aside, it does make me SO appreciate those that have taken the leap – you exemplify that, your wife exemplifies that and each post on Design*Sponge highlights that in some way. I really appreciate the inspiration you bring to my life every day! Please keep it up! Thanks again for all your efforts! I know posts like this can’t be easy, but they are meaningful and appreciated.

  • Grace, I am going to do something especially for you. I have no idea what gomi is, and just for you, I am not going to google it and find out.

    You have created a wonderful space on the internet for like-minded individuals, and we all appreciate that effort you make every day.

    (From a like minded individual on the other side of the planet)

  • Someone once said to me ‘We are all just People’.

    I enjoyed reading this Essay. Vulnerability, honesty and authenticity is everything and unfortunately too thin on the ground in the Design blogging world.

    I get particularly bored by all the endless wanting to be ‘famous’. Success, acceptance and contentment comes from working within, from digging deep and always being ourselves. The rest will take care of itself.

    I realise that I’m much older than a lot of my fellow bloggers and at 50, with many years of psychiotherapy behind me I might have a little more life experience and wisdom.

    Recently some of us started a ’40 facts about me’ post. I’ve always enjoyed knowing the ‘real’ person behind a blog. So much more interesting.

    Thank you for sharing.
    Btw, your hunch about obsessing everytime you have a niggle is correct. You’re in a good place and subconsciously you think ‘surely it can’t possibly last and all has to end’. Brene Brown talks about this in Daring Greatly.

  • Wow, thank you for sharing this. You are brave, in addition to a beautiful designer and an inspirational blogger!

    As a part-time regular to DS, I missed the coming out (but brava). I saw the move and all the beauty that came with it. And since your move upstate, I’ve found myself LOVING (especially your Instagrams), the general “feel” of DS.

    I’m one of those people that like to romanticize other peoples lives. Not to the detriment of myself, but just because I like a good story, and my stories all have happy endings! So my story for you has been very different than who you really are (which is always what happens), but of course, your real story is even more beautiful and inspiring than my version.

    You are real! You are brave! And we are lucky that you share your creative mind with us … stop reading the nay-sayers, just stop reading them at all. Unless they somehow push you to the next level, they aren’t helping your process, just your ego.

    I’m rambling, but I’m so inspired by this piece. I’ll need to share this with a girlfriend so we can sit and drink wine and discuss and be inspired to truly think about what scares us!

    One thing I can say, I definitely worry that each weird ache or pain is one step from hospice care … but somehow, that too inspires me.

  • My life is wrapped up in fear. It consumes me, and I can’t escape.

    I am a writer who doesn’t write — a blogger who wants to share my quirky autistic life with others, and freelance write for other brands, and boldly and beautifully step forward in my fear.

    But I feel so stupid and voiceless, and I have been this way my entire life.

    What you shared, Grace, lifts me up and helps me feel more connected to other women who struggle but who also embrace fear and manage to be relatively happy and productive.

    Thank you for that.

  • Yes! We all share the same fears. It’s good to openly discuss them so we don’t feel so alone. I can relate to all of your fears so well!!! especially the health fear/worrying when you are happy and it feels so wrong to feel like everything is going well. I blame Hollywood movies for always adding a horrible twist after building up a perfect happy life/relationship/scenario! As soon as I feel happy, I’m looking over my shoulder waiting for something bad to get me! haha

  • Grace, all of us at one time or another have suffered feelings of failure. Most of the time we look serene in the surface and paddle like hell underneath. Take life as it comes and enjoy the ride. Life is Never Easy, but it can be fun. From a great Aunt who loves you no matter what. Mim

  • I am horrified by the fact that there’s a whole group dedicated to hating you and your work. What silly, miserable people, and what awful lives they must have. You have done all this with your life, and they have done…worse than nothing. I hope you continue to find the strength and dignity to ignore it and continue to bring us the lovely things and places you see in the world. Here’s to bravery and supporting one another, not putting each other down!

  • Thank you for sharing all of this. It was so helpful to read. It’s really easy to look at other people, even people we know pretty well, and think that they have it all together. For me, that’s especially true of creative people. In the last few years I’ve slowly been learning that embracing and being transparent about our mess is one of the things that helps connect us to one another in real and meaningful ways. It’s a lesson that I think I’ll have to keep learning for the rest of my life. I’m glad you haven’t let the fear keep you from sharing this, or from continuing to share your creativity with the rest of the world.

  • Hi Grace, I can relate to some of your fears and am seeking treatment for a phobia myself. (fainting around needles is a medical phobia and there are evidence based ways to resolve it) Also, the hypochondria is resolvable too with some CBT and exposure therapy. There are some great workbooks and books out there as well. You are not alone with these anxieties! I am a nurse and love this second career of mine so I encourage you to pursue anything you feel called to. Also I’ve been a fan of yours for the past 6-7 years and my favorite posts are your honest essays. Good luck, Grace and thank you for all your inspiring work.

  • Grace! Thank you so much for the honesty, I can’t image this was an easy post to publish.

    I’ve always been a DS fan, but within the last year I’ve really started digging deeper into the blog, reading all the Biz Ladies profiles, learning more and more about you as a person and started listening religiously to your podcast! I have to say you are a huge inspiration to me (and probably thousands of other ladies!) and you are a big reason I started my own podcast. I sit down with a creative entrepreneur each week in San Francisco and hear them tell their story in their own words. I remember you saying you started podcasting because you felt like you were terrible at interviewing. Well I felt the exact same way, but was like, if Grace can do it, I can do it! Anyway, we’re about to launch on iTunes, it’s called The Company You Keep. It would be a dream (and full circle achievement) to have you on the show one day :)

    Thanks for all the endless inspiration!
    Julia xox

  • This made me tear up mom going through a period of intense anxiety in my life right now (pregnancy will apparently do that to you) and the all-consuming fears are all too relatable. As someone else said to me recently, post-breakdown — “we’re all human, right?” It’s helpful to remind ourselves that we’re all soft and squishy on the inside.

  • I’m guessing that there’s a lot of people that also struggle with hypochondriac tendencies because as I’ve opened up to people about mine, they so often share that they have those fears, too. I so relate on that fear. This past year has been the worst for me as I’ve gone to the doctor for every single “symptom” that I found…which lead to unnecessary tests and stronger fears. It’s so strange, because when the dr. tells me that it’s most likely nothing, it’s like that’s not good enough…there must be an answer, something wrong with me! Which is crazy! Why would I want there to be something wrong with me? I’m slowly learning to give these fears up and trust that my body is working the way it was made to. It’s so very hard, though!

  • I had never heard of GOMI before this and… oof.

    Everyone has different tastes, everyone likes a good rant now and then. But that place just looks like a heckhole of negativity (I couldn’t explore for long, even my cold heart was feeling faint). Reminds me of middle school bullies aka the worst bullies ever, am I right?

    No one can please everyone all the time. And anyone who spends that much of their time cruising sites they ‘hate’ so they can go spew vitriol… what a boring, stupid way to live.

  • I found GOMI a couple years ago and it is one of the most evil, hideous things I’ve seen.
    I wanted to believe it wouldn’t bother me but it did, and some of the things I read still come up before I write a blog post.
    GOMI should GOMI!
    Wonderful and refreshing honesty Grace, truly.

  • Hi Grace – I haven’t even read the other comments as wanted to just quickly drop a note to you without my thoughts getting blurred – but am sure that I would agree with most! I don’t know what GOMI even stands for, but wanted to let you know that I followed D*S pre your coming out and not sure why that would make a difference to people following your blog. I have enjoyed following what you’ve shared about your life, design etc (across 3 continents!) and just can’t fathom why people would say unpleasant things about you. Easier to say than do – but ignore those sites – just don’t even go there – you’ve clearly got a lot to be thankful for and a lot of us are thankful for what you share as well!

  • I don’t have many lucid insights to share but I just want to thank you for writing this. Honesty, transparency and lack of ego is something I’ve been trying to bring more of into my work, writing and general daily life. It’s difficult. I often think that someone will think that I’m less of a designer / writer / whatever for being honest about my process and thinking. Anyway… thank you for being you.

  • Love your honesty. Thank you, Grace. P.S. Now I’m scared this comment isn’t long enough. I don’t write comments anymore b/c I feel like they just get ignored/make the blogger feel they weren’t heard when they’re this short.

  • Grace, occasional dropper-inner here, so I missed your coming out, but mazel tov to you and your sweetie. May you go from strength to strength.

    GOMI is a bitter, mean-spirited place, and a waste of your good constructive energy. I understand the temptation to spy on what’s going on there (the professorial equivalent is ratemyprofessors.com, which is pretty much a hatefest for the worst of my students). But they are mainly talking to one another. You can pretty safely ignore that little coven, I think. Your audience is much wider, and your goals more expansive.

    I really enjoy this blog, and the variety of perspectives it presents. And, as this thread indicates, I’m not alone. Thank you for all your hard work. Find a good anti-anxiety med, get a lot of good exercise and fresh air and chocolate, and hang the hell in there. You are very much appreciated!

  • Grace—you are amazing for putting this all out there. Re: #2—I went through a similar phase about 2 years ago. Friends were being diagnosed with cancer, my grandmother was dying and I was going through every fertility test out there. There so much going on, too much. I was too worried that some kind of illness was lurking around and would take everything I cherished away and maybe even our chance to start a family. THEN, I began going to acupuncture and slowly I found a way to turn negative energy into positive. I was finally able to sit still and not worry. If I ever find myself feeling like I might get worked up, I have a small list of messages saved in my phone to repeat to myself out loud—things like ‘you are being ridiculous!’ As silly as that may sound, they work. ;) I’ve learned life is too short to spend it worrying, if it is going to happen I’m not going to stop it by worrying it away. My only fight is the enjoy every day. x

  • I only recently heard of GOMI—my boss actually showed it to me, with some quiet “guilty pleasure” pride—but I’ve been thinking a lot about it. The internet is not theirs. Or yours, for that matter, in the same way that a lunch table isn’t reserved for the popular kids and parking on the street in an unmarked spot in front of someone’s house isn’t stealing their spot, it’s just parking. We’re all just people, trying to make our way in our own little corners of the world. And that’s why I find GOMI so incredibly toxic and bewildering. Get a life, people. I can only imagine how hurtful and effed up it must be to have strangers attacking you so publicly, but I am still deeply offended by it, without any mention of my name.

    Imagine the members of that club and be so happy that they are not the company you keep.

  • What a sweet, authentic post. I highly recommend the book “Playing Big” by Tara Mohr. I think you’d like it.

  • Beautifully written and very brave. And I’m delighted to have another “comfortable clothes wearing” join us!

  • Hi Grace,
    Beautiful essay, thank you for opening up as you did.
    #1 I love Holy Basil tea or tincture in water; it does wonders for anxiety and stress.
    #2 Since turning 30 I became a little over worried about anything different going on in my body (example: a common fever might be meningitis). But now if it comes up, I quickly think of Woody Allen in Annie Hall and I have to laugh. Just having a hypochondriac Woody Allen moment! I move on with more clarity; laughter always helps! Not to disregard your experiences of course, but to add a little levity.
    #5 I love this quote on Marie Forleo’s Facebook – “Never waste your time trying to explain who you are to people who are committed to misunderstanding you.” And this to follow, “Be with those who help your being.” Rumi. :)

  • Grace. With so much I’d like to tell you, all I can say now is thank you. Not just for being brave to share your fears but for having the courage to start Design*Sponge waaay back. I’ve been a fan since the early days, while in college, and have seen each transition of the business and life you’ve shared.

    I’ll send you an email w/ all I have to say, but keep present that we all have the birthright to be HAPPY and free of all fear…which I know you are aware of!

    To continued growth, in all aspects of life!

    ~Lizelly

  • It’s funny, I was just telling my husband tonight about how much I *LOVED* your upstate home tour. I couldn’t get over how you had unfinished rooms and had used inexpensive Ikea stuff, etc and just didn’t give a flip. It was so real and honest and not “oh, design is my thing so my house is immediately perfect”. It was an honest work in progress, like most people’s homes (and lives!) are. And it looked amazing to boot, naturally!

    THEN, you post this. To be honest, I didn’t read DesignSponge that much before. Now, I do as often as I can.

    Oh, and about the whole “trying to be small” thing: it brought to mind things I’ve read over the years about how, as women, society makes us feel like we have to be small and cute and take up as little space as possible. You might want to read some stuff like this: http://www.rolereboot.org/culture-and-politics/details/2013-06-our-society-urges-girls-to-take-up-less-space-and-bo

    Oh, and smash the patriarchy while you’re at it, natch : ) !

  • Hi Grace! I see that you have already received numerous comments, so one more from little old me probably won’t do much, but I know that you will read it. I’ve been a devoted reader for the last 6 years but I’ve never made a comment. So, think of all of the other readers like me that have never commented, I’m just one of them. Next time you see a nasty comment or post directed at you, realise that you have plenty more supporters who are silently standing behind you every day, supporting you by spending time on your site. Thanks so much for this honest post. And remember “haters gon’ hate”.

  • Nice Job, G. I LOVED how truly honest and personal that was. While i’m not a hypochondriac I pretty much have all the rest of those fears. And the phrase ‘Gomi’s gonna love this one’ is said at the office a lot after we take a risk that maybe was, well, the wrong one. Sometimes they are right (about me, anyway), often wrong, but always stressful and hurtful. (Hi. My name is Emily and I’m proud to say that I’ve been GOMI-reading-free for 2 months.) xx, G. Keep it up. :)

  • GOMI needs to GOMI! I can relate to 1, 2, & 5 100%. On #4, I almost have the opposite problem. I’ve had the extra 15 pounds too long and worry it makes me less credible as an blogger…what if the brand wants me to look small and cute? Plus, if I can’t control my health, why would I be competent to tell others how to organize their lives. But that’s a pretty fear driven excuse for holding myself and ideas back until life is “perfect”. Thank YOU for sharing your fears and helping us see that as insightful and inspirational as you are publicly, you have the same or similar struggles personally.

  • I honestly don’t think putting your life online is “asking for it” any more than wearing certain clothes is “asking for it” or getting drunk is “asking for it” or any other behaviour which gets blamed for people being verbally or emotionally or physically attacked is “asking for it”. You should be able to go through life assuming that, whatever you do – good decisions or bad – people around you are going to be basically decent. Sadly, that’s not the case, but that’s a reflection of them, not of you.

    (I love the whole of this post but that line in particular broke my heart)

  • I have been inspired by this blog in so many ways. This post resonates with me especially. Thank you so much for taking the brave step to be vunerable with us.

    I was JUST thinking yesterday about vulnerability/sharing/relating and how powerful the act of connecting with others can be and the difference it can make in the way you feel about those deep dark things. Just to be known and heard and understood.

    On a note about not being sure if you are doing what you should be doing in life, the Biz Lady profiles always stir up something in me that awakens that concern. I struggle at work and sometimes feel my personality is at odds with the job I hold, one in which I must manage many different personalities and adjust my approach to each of them by the minute. In an interview you did recently you talked about burnout and I have been keeping your words in my back pocket as a reminder that burnout happens to everyone and sometimes you need to change the way you do something and it doesn’t mean you have to quit your job (that part I might remind myself of quite a lot).

    So, I am inspired to attempt a reworking of my methods or structures and to stick with my job that often feels like an ill fit but maybe that’s what growing feels like sometimes. One of my co-workers has a quote above his desk (I don’t now who said it) but it is something I also think about when the work I identify with so closely starts to feel unfulfilling or too hard: “I never said it was going to be easy. I said it was going to be worth it.” I think that is true of so many things.

    Thank you for the hard work and bravery you put into this venture, and most importantly, for the honesty that comes through in your posts. It is revolutionary and far reaching.

  • Another beautiful post. I think a lot of people can relate to much if not most of it, but I just wanted to comment to say that I was shocked by this part:

    “small, cute and stylish.” (Those were the exact words written to me one day in an email related to a photo shoot as a guideline for my appearance.)

    Do you think they would have sent that same email to a male blogger? This is such a (literally) belittling “guideline”. You should always be life-sized! (and for “cute and stylish” I would substitute “your intelligent and individual self”). Now that I think about it, the guideline “Be your intelligent and individual life-sized self” works for both men and women. In fact I think I may now make it my personal mantra :)

  • I too fear I am becoming a hypochondriac sometimes fear grips me. I think it’s because I’ve seen so many pass from cancer and other horrible things in my life. If I can be honest after much sole searching I think for me it’s a deeper fear of death. Any way I love your blog and I want to thank you and encourage you to keep sharing! All my best!
    Christina Marie

  • Grace: what a beautiful post. I have to gently disagree with you about “asking for it” by being on the Internet. You do not have to apologize for existing and living your life. You have the right to expect respectful treatment from others. Granted, with the web it’s like trying to stop a tsunami with an umbrella, but please do not internalize that. Your voice is needed.

  • Grace, this just further proves how amazing you are. I can’t even imagine how hard this was to write or the flood of emotions you experienced while putting this into form. You expressed so many fears I have. Especially that fact that I know some people will judge me just on the fact that I’m in love with this incredible, amazing woman, without even knowing my beliefs or even my last name. I have to swallow the negative because if I don’t I know I will miss out on the people that will embrace us and our contributions to the world. I’ve come to accept all of the bad stuff we experience in life to help us learn and to make the beautiful things we experience in life, that much more special.

    Thank you so much for sharing this Grace. I believe we’re all here for a reason. It could be as simple as sending one person, one message that can dramatically alter the course of their life. You’ve clearly touched a lot of people (including myself) with this one act of courage.

    Thank you <3

    • Hi Everyone

      I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your messages here, and via email. In addition to all the stress and negativity that comes with blogging, there are often these moments of genuine connection that I so appreciate and never (ever) take for granted. Thank you.

      Grace

  • Thank you for sharing all of this, especially the part about becoming a hypochondriac. I feel like I’ve been going through the same thing lately and it’s extremely unnerving. I had a bout of vertigo for the first time in my life a few months ago and I’ve never really gotten over the fear of it happening again. I keep worrying about it coming back or having some underlying issue and worry that I can’t depend on myself. It seems crazy to panic about this every day, but knowing that other people go through it too helps me feel a little more grounded. This site has been a source of inspiration and joy for me over the years and I find I’m relying on it more and more as I’m preparing to move into my first apartment. Thank you for taking the time to share an honest reflection of your life offline. It’s just as inspiring as the beautiful design content we’re used to.

  • Oh Grace,

    This is just pure magic. In every way. I am participating in a “word of the year” challenge, and nothing is more beautiful than seeing my word come back to me in various ways. My word is brave, and this piece is brave in every sense of the word. Thank you for sharing.

    Know that you are not alone, I too have dealt with anxiety (hello 11 years in therapy + a variety of anxiety meds). Sharing your story about coming out, the hurt you’ve caused people. I felt that way too. When I came out, I really fell down a hole and it took some time to get back up. Anxiety and depression is every family’s secret. There are so many people who deal with mental health issues. I am so glad that you are open and honest about yours. We need that.

    Also, I had to google GOMI, and holy cow, I cannot believe that things like that exist. Don’t get sucked in to the black hole. What I admire about you and your life (as seen via the blog and social media) is not that it looks perfect, but that you have made risky choices and that it is messy and imperfect. It’s so great.

    Thank you for helping me think about the things that scare me, being a role model for making my life happy and healthy, and generally being awesome (even if you don’t always feel like it). Connection, human compassion, vulnerability, these things are all magic. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for adding a little magic to my life daily.

  • Grace, I came to design sponge around the time I came out after a 25 year marriage. DS was my go to site for ideas for a space that re-reflected me. It was an exciting and terrifying time in my life. Soon after, you posted about coming out and how being closeted impacted your feelings of not being settled on what your design style was (I’m completely paraphrasing from what I remember). That honest and vulnerable post had me flying high for days. I told myself, this young woman knows what I’m feeling. I thank you for that. From some of the comments I have a sense of what a GOMI is but like one commentator said, I won’t be googling to learn more.

    • Sunshine

      I’m so glad that post could be helpful in any way. I know how you feel and that time in my life was excruciatingly painful and difficult. I hope you’re feeling happier and more settled now, too :)

      Grace

  • Just wanted to say that I’m such a huge fan of the Design Sponge space and brand, and I think you’ve done a stellar job of infusing your personality and aesthetic into this blog without making it all you, all the time. Design Sponge is such a source of design and interior inspiration for me and my friends, and we’re so glad that it’s here. Keep on doing what you’re doing!

  • I struggle with severe hypochondria too – it’s frustrating, overwhelming, and embarrassing to talk about. Last year I spent more time at various doctor’s offices than ever before, and I felt helpless and trapped in my own mind. I’m sorry you’ve gone through that too. Looking up to you and this site, being a follower of D*S for so many years, it’s humbling to know that at the end of the day we all face the same problems behind closed doors. I hope that you can find some relief from this! I’ve found that counseling helped, but it will always be a struggle.
    xo
    maria

  • What a lovely post, written from a place of strength, courage and generosity. Design Sponge has engendered a lovely community of open-minded, adventurous and supportive people who share wisdom and joy every day. It has changed my life, and I thank you.
    This may be helpful to you: I too suffer from reflux and there is a book called “Dropping Acid” by Dr.’s Jamie Koufman and Jordan Stern. Following this program I reduced my symptoms around 90% in a month or two. Take a look. As for GOMI – wow, what must it feel like to spend your days tearing other people’s creative work down – to have pure bile running through the veins, leaving a metallic, corrosive taste in the mouth. Just walk away and don’t look back. What you do is lovely. What you do inspires, and fills people with hope and beauty.

  • I think you are brave. I have started to blog a couple of times and couldn’t keep it up. Even with the internet shield, it just made me feel too vulnerable. Im a relatively new reader to your site. I’m impressed and inspired by your work. Thank you.

  • Grace,

    You are magnificent. I’ve followed Design Sponge for 5 years now, and it gave me the courage and inspiration to do my Masters, and is honestly the only website I read every single day. Your content is wonderful, and the internet is full of a-holes who can’t handle other people being successful. Points to you for evolving with an ever-changing market.

    Keep at it- we need you!

    PS My brother, an A&E (ER) doctor, is the biggest hypochondriac I know, do don’t worry about it. The other day he decided he had lymphoma after he strained his groin working out. Stop going on WebMD.

  • This one could not have been an easy one to write, Grace, and I applaud you. As for the haters, I had no idea what GOMI was till now, and oh my God, what a horrible idea! But how telling in this new age of instant access and unedited sharing– brings out a lot of nastiness that simply wouldn’t have been published pre-internet.

    Thinking about haters, when I run across one, I remind myself what my dad taught me: “When you get kicked by a jackass, consider the source.” That has served me well many times over the decades! I also remind myself that I have to put up with those toxic people for a moment, but they have to live with themselves 24/7. Don’t give them your energy, Grace. You’ve got a whole army of supporters wishing you the best and appreciating your good work. To positivity!!

      • Although he’s been gone 23 years now, I remember Dad and his brilliant teachings every day. Another one I loved was when he was talking about his optimism compared to his sister’s pessimism: “When she looks at a pile of manure, all she’s sees is manure, but when I look at it I think, ‘There’s gotta be a horse around here somewhere!'” I try to always find the horses nowadays :-)

  • what sincerity and integrity. I rarely read a post so authentic, so touching… I’m not alone. I like the way you see things now. thank you.

  • The very best medicine is voicing our fears and anxieties. Taking the time to just empty and open your heart to be able to TRUST AND LET GO. I read a really awesome book recently called The Period Repair Manual. I highly recommend it to all women.

  • What a very moving post. Although I’ve followed Design Sponge for a year or so now, this is the first time I’ve left a comment. I just want to add my voice to the others who have applauded you for your courage and honesty (wow! not easy on the internet!), and thank you for being so open. As you said, I now have a different, and better, and very welcome sense of the person behind the “perfect” blog, and I’m quite grateful. You can SOMI as far as I’m concerned! ;)

  • Wow! Grace you amazing.
    I am super impressed that you revealved so many big fears! Its hard to know how much to put out there online and I think you are really brave for being so open.
    Reading design sponge for many years helped inspire me to go from my office cubicle, back to school to my own textile business. So while you might not have helped me face to face you totally did virtually and please don’t forget it.
    Keep up the good work you do.
    -fionna
    PS – I was born and raised in Colombia County so hope you are loving your new upstate life!

  • Grace, I rarely comment, but I have to tell you how much this post resonates with me. I am 30. I came out at 27. I divorced my ex-husband at about the same time you and your ex broke up. And I have been a step behind you in growing up for a while now. I look up to you in a real way, not just because you dress well, and make painted floor cloths, and know interesting people. And I share a lot of your fears. It’s nice to know that none of us is alone in fearing, but it’s fantastic to see you doing amazing things in abject defiance of those fears. Whenever I see you and Julia featured in some fun blog or magazine, or catch an insta-peek at a delicious-looking dinner you two are sharing on a random week night, I am so happy to see that people I enjoy and respect are doing well. It’s inspiring in the least Hallmark way. And none of my respect for you is based on some assumption that you’re ONLY living a pinterest-perfect existence. You’re human and have fears and foibles just like the rest of us. Thank you for having sufficient trust in the good of humanity to share these unpolished parts of your life and experience. I hope that people don’t let you down too often or too dramatically, because it’s clear that you are doing your damnedest to do the absolute best you can. Keep up the good work; I’m pulling for you. -A

    • A-

      Thank you. So much. Sending a lot of love your way. I know what all that feels like and I hope you’re doing ok. You can always email me if you ever need anyone to listen.

      Grace

      • Grace, see how generous and wonderful you are? I’m doing fantastically well; thanks for checking! I promise I’ll reach out when I need you. Have a warm and sunny weekend!

        -A

  • Grace,
    Your post speaks so many truths–
    >we all seek acceptance, belonging, understanding, a tribe
    >we fear failure, others’ disappointment, shame
    >haters are still haters, in person or online

    Hopefully while writing and posting this beautiful blog you remembered that you are admired, appreciated, and more than accepted.
    Hopefully you reaffirmed the wisdom of the great researcher/storyteller Brene Brown, who said that shame cannot exist with empathy.

    And, finally, surely you wrote down in your book of favorite quotes that GEM from @Marsh, which puts those GOMIs in perspective “When you get kicked by a jackass, consider the source.”

    Thank you for being you,
    Pilar

  • Grace,
    As others have said, you do great stuff and are sometimes too kind.
    You don’t deserve to be abused just for putting yourself out there, that’s not asking for it, nor should you feel required to absorb any garbage that comes your way (and anyone who thinks you’re weak or unfit for being affected by it needs to get a clue). I find your work excellent, and as a fellow anxiety sufferer I wish you the best in tackling it, it is truly a beast.

    KH

  • It’s been inspiring, at a truly gut-level, to see your personal growth through the lens of this blog. I’m in my late 20s and started reading DS right out of college, when I first realized I wanted to intentionally craft the space I lived in. It’s so clear in the last few years how much more comfortable you are with who you are. As someone a few life steps behind you, it’s reassuring to see how just a few years and a lot of hard work can propel a person (a person put in the small, cute, and at least trying to be stylish box, since we share those attributes) to a place of confidence and happiness. It’s awesome to see that that place also involves the fearlessness to write a post like this.

    I’ve honestly been thinking exactly what I wrote above since you first started writing about your new home. I thought about it a fair amount after reading your morning routine interview. It’s a pleasure to get to know you from afar online. Please keep sharing as much as you feel comfortable sharing with us. Haters gonna hate, but the rest of us truly benefit from your work.

  • I don’t think you “asked for this”. Your career is important to you and cool and does not mean that asked for disrespect. When that person called you a bitch I thought it was horrible and abusive. I think that comments on the internet is not that different than saying those things to someone’s face, including criticism of someone’s home. Maybe some opinions are better kept to ourselves.

  • Dear Grace-
    I could not read your post and just let it . I had to reach out to you to say I appreciate your honestly and willingness to expose your fears. I know it must feel strange sometimes balancing the virtual world and the desire to have human connection face to face. I will say this: you are good at what you do. Of course you can find another path. You seem like the kind of person who would be able to tackle anything you truly wanted. You already have. But, don’t apologize or think that what you do right now is one-dimensional. There are many layers to the work that you put out there. And quite frankly you and your team are the best.
    I write to you also to tell you that I have always worked as a clinical social worker. No matter despite one’s best efforts- a counselor, nurse etc, is work that is never one on one. It is filled with obstacles at every turn – and sometimes that is rewarding and sometimes it makes you want to scream. I only share because we can often desire something when what we already do just needs to be changed a little to bring us the rewards/fulfillment we need .

    I have often been accused of expressing myself too much or being too honest. But, if we all continue to pretend what true connections do we make? We miss an opportunity to make a real friend.

    Good luck to you and know that readers do appreciate anyone who is real.

  • Hi Grace, I respect your honesty and your courage. Just a suggestion if I may, I used to be so paranoid about my health and many conditions I thought I had. At one point, I started documenting all the symptoms, my evaluations, my fears and my solutions for controlling these fears, even wrote down some self encouragement into a little health diary. Overtime, the paranoia dissapeared. I think expressing my emotion and evaluating facts from a more pragmatic point of view really helped. Of course I visited the doctor time to time for assurance. This worked for me but I know everyone is different. I hope you feel better and I dearly wish you good health. All the very best.

    • Jennifer

      That’s a really good idea- thanks for the suggestion. I think I have a hard time facing facts or journals like that, but that’s probably the precise reason they would be good for me in this case ;)

      Grace

  • Hi Grace,
    I really admire the courage you have to write a post like this. I think that everyone has deeply set fears that are hard to verbalize, let alone blog about in a very public setting, so kudos for you. While I relate to most of these fears on some level (if not personally, I know others who have confided in having very similar fears with me), the first one you wrote about completely struck home. I often wonder why I feel like I am always letting people down and am never good enough. I actually just wrote a post about this feeling and how it relates to friendship this week as I noticed that we were all beating ourselves up about not being “there” enough for each other (when really, that thinking is entirely in our heads). I actually got really infuriated when I noticed this trend because I just have to wonder what is it about women (and yes, I know this happens with men, but I feel like it hits us harder for some reason) that makes us feel like we are never ever enough and always letting down someone? I’d be happy to continue a conversation with you about this because it honestly drives me bonkers and I want to stop it. Or at least help others realize that we are good enough as we are. I’m not entirely sure how to go about doing this, but I do think that really honest posts like this one help tremendously and can catch fire. Thank you again, and please know that you’re very inspiring!

  • You mention losing that “Tough NYC Girl” look…but I’d have to argue that this essay reveals the truer more tougher girl within. It takes both genuine strength and humility to write the way you have. Thank you so much for sharing this! xo

  • This was so nice to read. I identify with many of the fears you wrote about especially around work and your personal life. You’re always so inspiring. Thank you for sharing! xx

  • I am currently working through some of my fears because they are definitely holding back so bravo for sharing yours. That in itself is scary.

    As for GOMI, I checked it out when I first heard about it and then never went back. It just felt…wrong. I feel for the bloggers that are targeted on their but I hope you and others know you have more supporters than anything else.

  • x 10,000 with GOMI. Though my thread(s) aren’t terribly long, the harshest and most cutting criticism I have received has been at the more vulnerable points of my life that I have chosen to share with my readers. Mostly when my daughter had brain surgery and lately with my infertility issues and miscarriage. So, whether it’s just a few comments or a full forum of anonymous people, it frankly sucks. Fortunately I have found that sharing myself in raw form has mostly been a positive experience, as I’ve encountered many kind and like-minded individuals on the web that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Thank you for putting your fears out there. And I say this as one hypochondriac to another <3

  • Grace,

    Reading this post written with such raw honesty, humility and the flare that is your voice, I was reminded of why I read DesignSponge. I am a very longtime reader of your blog and when you came out, I remember being so incredibly proud of you– that you had started living your life in a way that was true to you. The courage and grace with which you handled that was incredible because, well, you DO live in the spotlight, even if it IS the internet spotlight. You had just come through the ringer in your life and here you were, telling the rest of the world very publically. I was in awe of you.

    The way you write DesignSponge is beautiful and rare in the blogging world– you inspire, you never make your readers feel that they are unimportant, and what sets you apart from so many bloggers out there is that you never purport to be perfect. But… THAT’S perfect. Letting yourself be human, letting yourself be flawed, not apologizing for what makes you who you are, being relateable, being strong enough to be who you are– THAT is perfection. Thank you for letting us view the world through your lens.

  • Hey Grace- I read fear number two and immediately scrolled down to comment- I’ve always had issues with anxiety, but lately my “health anxiety” has reached an overwhelming height. Anxiety is such a tough one- it’s something that’s hidden just under the surface, and there are very few people in my life who know that it’s something I struggle with at all. I understand how isolating that feeling of hypochondria is- it’s so difficult to really convey (even to the people you care about) how consuming that anxiety is, and it’s especially difficult when you’re rationally aware that there’s probably no basis for the alarming extent of your fears (i.e. you’re not crazy, and you’re feeling SOMETHING, it’s just likely that it’s not as much of something as you fear). I’ve found myself sucked into many a late night symptom search that leaves me feeling so helpless and scared. Something that has been working for me (and it’s so simple and seems so silly) is logging how often I do health anxiety related habits (symptoms searches, body checks, asking my partner for health reassurance, seeing a doctor over something small, etc) and my corresponding anxiety level. Just tracking it (even, some days, in my head) encourages me not to do these things, and the less I do them, the lower my anxiety is. You’re so not alone in this- if you ever want someone to chat with, feel free to send me an email. I know that you will find a way to make that anxiety dissipate!

  • You haven’t “asked for it.” GOMI is a vile place full of small, insecure people who make themselves feel better by criticizing others.

  • That place you had to pull yourself out of … that’s where I am right now.

    I had a piece (something I designed and sell online) go globally viral. Wasn’t trying to make it happen, the piece I designed isn’t even my passion – it just randomly happened. Of course, I have thousands and thousands of amazingly supportive customers on practically ever continent, but the negative mean vicious people who have dedicated themselves to ripping my success apart (and some who have even dedicated blogs to being horridly rude about it) have shut me in a dark cold place. I’m a grown woman — I know better than to let that get to me, but I’ve learned a lot about myself – one being that, evidently, my skin must not be that thick.

    Desperately trying to pull myself out of this place and I’m failing.

    Art, beautiful things, nature — inspires me. My true passion is to create art. It’s what I so want to do, but now that I have tasted ‘internet success’ and felt the backlash from the haters, I’ve punished myself and remain this fearful person I’ve never met before. Fear is winning right now and I’m tired of it.

    Thank you for being honest and open. I needed to read this. I need to find someone to help me put things in perspective like you did. I need to create more art…with earplugs on — create without hearing all the static.

    I’ll get there, and when I do, I’ll remember how this blog post is what helped to launch me to a new passion and journey. Thank you, Grace. (and I love that Grace is my middle name — makes it even more special that I found this post)

    *mg*

    • ….Forgot to mention in my previous comment that I very much understand about your #2 fear — we’ve had a couple very scary life or death moments in our marriage. My husband almost died years ago and then my daughter had a time when she was in the hospital for almost two months. Then, our life was completely turned upside down last summer when my husband suffered an injury that we’re still trying to learn to deal with and it has caused a major change in lives. We have no idea what each month will bring us. I don’t do well with such unexpectedness and lack of security.

      We’ve had so much happen in addition to that as well that I’m constantly just expecting more bad news to be around the corner so I worry about every bump, pain, or anything that remotely seems strange medically.

      I feel you when you talked about being at an age when you ‘should’ have everything together. Somehow, decades have crept by me and I’m not anywhere where I thought I’d be in several aspects of my life and I’m trying to come to a place of acceptance with it. I read a quote somewhere on the internet (Pinterest, more than likely), and I can’t remember exactly how it went, but it was something like — What makes you think you’re not exactly where you’re supposed to be at this point in time? It also said something about you’re here to learn and prepare for greatness that is around each corner.

      Again, thank you so much for your willingness to be open. For every person leaving a comment, I’m sure there are MANY MANY MANY more who are being touched by your honesty.

      Obviously, this post has deeply touched me. I can’t stop thinking about it….

      *mg*

  • Hello.
    I’ve commented only once on this blog. I read it regularly though. I’ve never thought of myself as artistic, but after following the different kinds of stories on this blog, I’ve realised that there are a million different ways to be interested in design, craft and art. I’ve started thinking about the night sky as art and noticing flowers and flower arrangements. I’m sure it would be easy to find problems (you need a blogger to tell you about the night sky?) but we all come to things in different ways. Some books show you the wonder of the world, some sites do. Imagine how much poorer my life would have been if this blog had never existed.

  • I hadn’t heard of GOMI, a website for people to waste their one precious life. I’m happy you’re not wasting yours. Instead, you’ve taken the time to inspire total strangers who come to your site. Thank you for having the courage to do so.

  • This is an amazing post, kudos to you for being so brave. All the fears you talk about sound like a normal part of being human, but that doesn’t make them any less real or awful. I’m truly sorry you deal with hateful people on the Internet, but know for every hateful person out there, there are five more who are inspired by you.
    Love from Texas!
    Jesse

  • This may be my first time commenting on your blog, Grace, but I’ve been reading for years. Sometimes, I forget that there are real people writing all the posts so it’s refreshing and reassuring to read your post. Thank you for sharing and being authentic.

  • You are seriously the best, Grace! I wish there was a clone of you living in my town so we could be bff’s ;)

    I feel ya on the acid reflux situation… I also have some weird, not quite normal version of the condition that hasn’t been able to be properly diagnosed/cured for years by two top docs and meds. Not fun at all. Glad you figured yours out!

    Oh, and #5… screw those people. That type of hate can only come from misery in one’s own life—no reflection on you. The more popular/successful you are, the more they feel the right to dehumanize and bring you down to their level. It’s mob mentality at its worst. I’ve made a conscious decision to stop reading—it’s improved my mental health

  • It was by chance that I happened upon your post, and what a lucky chance it was. This post is as unique as they come and has made me wonder what my fears are. Since, I don’t have a blog of my own to share them, I will share them here.. Read on.. if anyone would like to.
    I am afraid of lizards. Petrified. I dread summer’s when lizards come out and crawl everywhere.
    I am scared of flying. This one developed slowely.. over many bad weather trubulent flights. I get panic attacks in bad turbulence. I get irritated bowel syndrome 2 weeks before flying.
    I am afraid of being judged. I keep a low profile, try to be invisible. Take a lot of time to open up. Introvert? May be. but mainly lack of self confidence. (And I blame my mom for having a big hand in this.) An extension of this belief – I am afraid that I am not as interesting as I thought I was, and am pretty boring.

    May be I just need to open up and take the risk of being judged by talking to people and just being myself. With that thought I will stop.

  • I did a similar post on My Top 10 Regrets back in 2013 and it’s one of my most read posts to date, if not the most read one. As terrifying as it is to put so much of yourself out there, I think people really appreciate getting an insight into who you are and your vulnerabilities. Sharing my deepest thoughts like that really helped me to overcome a lot of the guilt I was feeling because of them. I’m glad bloggers are willing to share more of themselves through posts like these, even when websites like GOMI exist; love always wins out over hate.

    Erin | Being Erin

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