I wish I could say that I've been busy reading... but that would be a lie.
I've just been... disheartened. Not with y'all... or the people who have been on... but just in general... or maybe with The Gal... I really couldn't tell you.
I have had zero concentration since I came here, which in July will be two years. I kept thinking it was a combination of my ADHD and being free and missing home and not having any dried eucalyptus in my living space, but none of that seemed right.
It wasn't until the other day when I was having a conversation about how few books I read last year that... I don't know how to explain it... my mind was filled with memories... and I just stood there, staring off into the distance, feeling things I hadn't let myself feel in awhile.
Irritation. Devastation. Frustration. Anger...
Lots and lots of anger. And that is an extremely hard feeling for me to deal with, to handle.
It's really a behind-the-scenes sort of thing, the drama that goes on in book communities, drama I never knew about until I became part of that community, and always kept out of because it was none of my business and didn't involve me. Until it did...
Shortly after I came here (we'll say about a year ago), a friendship ended, unbeknownst to me, and not in a good way. Instead of just going our separate ways and wishing each other the best in life, this person chose to attack me behind my back... and it has affected The Gal. (I'm sure this person would love to know how much so.) People have unfriended me/blocked me on social media, they have pulled out of being on my blog last minute, they have told me they would never have anything to do with me because of what I supposedly did to this person. In reality, I did absolutely nothing. This person made up a lie that got bigger and bigger... and people automatically believed it. By ruining me, he "built his empire."
To make matters worse, I had to sit by and watch my friends (or "friends"... I'm still trying to figure that out) talk about how wonderful and amazing and blah blah blah this person was... and I kept my mouth shut until people I consider very close started talking about the horrible person that was hurting this blogger... and I had to tell them that the "horrible person" was me... but wasn't me... because it's a lie.
I couldn't go a day without seeing people share the links to his website, and talk about all the great reviews he writes... and even my best friend has been on a time or two.
Reading... my biggest stress reliever, my most loved activity, the one thing in my life that touches my heart and cleanses my soul... became nothing of the sort.
Blogging... talking about books, my absolute passion... started causing panic attacks... and I had to literally FORCE myself to do it. All while keeping my mouth shut because the people I hold dear to me... well... they are this blogger's friends, too. Or maybe not my friends at all.
This affected my reviews... it affected how much I posted... if affected everything.
It made The Gal the hardest thing in my life to deal with, and I've dealt with a lot of hard things.
It made me want to quit... and I guess in some ways I have.
I stopped posting just to post... and there are lots of reviews that still, months later, have gone unwritten. The ones that did... written in haste, basic normal review blather... most definitely not what I have become known for.
The Gal - my one TRUE happy place, the one place in this whole world that I truly feel at home - was gone...
... and maybe still is.
I'm already being honest, so I might as well be COMPLETELY honest. That anger is not just directed at the blogger. The anger is directed at the people who believed what was said about me when I don't have that in my character... the anger is directed at the people who call me "friend" and yet still continue to have dealings with this person... the anger is directed at the people who know about the lies told and didn't step away... the anger is directed at the people who are too blind to see what kind of person this blogger actually is... and the anger is directed at me.
Why me, when I did nothing wrong? Good question. Because I let yet another person in my life steal my muchness. I let someone, who had so little regard for our friendship that they lied about me to make them look better, steal my thunder. I let this poor excuse for a human being make me anxious about my own blog, and take away what he claimed I tried to take away from him. I let him steal my happiness... and tarnish my blog... and my good name.
I have been suppressing this... pain... for all this time. Not dealing with it... and not dealing with The Gal.
Receiving a certain review request the other day made me rethink what I've been doing. It wasn't the author... or the book... or the genre... or the subject matter... but the fact that one of those authors/friends/"friends" I spoke of recommended me in the list of bloggers this person should contact (even if the other blogger in question was also a part of that list) and it made me think.
About life... about books... about people... about friendships... and about The Gal.
I came back today and saw how many people had come to look at each of my posts since I've been gone... and I was shocked. Apparently I'm not as much of a "nothing" as I began to feel I was. Even without me, people came and saw. LOTS of people.
Which gives me hope...
... and what's life without hope?
So today I've come up with a game plan...
The Gal was created originally for two reasons: 1) so I had a place that was just mine, with my own rules, where I could talk about books and book related things (and any other darn thing I want to talk about), and 2) so I could help authors get themselves and their books out there to more readers.
That's how I began... and that's what I will go back to. I'll post on Amazon and Goodreads and BookLikes if I feel like it, but I will always be posting here. I'll create time every day for me and a book - and no one/nothing is going to be able to interfere with that time. I'll go back to using my blog as my outreach, and my place to talk about books, and my place to interview authors, and my place to share their original pieces, and my... It will go back to being MY PLACE.
So... welcome (back) to The Gal in the Blue Mask. I hope you like what you see here... and if you do, please let me know (I always love to hear from y'all).
I have some ideas running around in my "pretty little head," so when they become actual things, y'all will be the first to know.
Thank you... for stopping by, for reading my posts... and for not giving up on me.
I sure do love y'all.
~Meghan, "THE Gal"