I got some really, REALLY nasty comments from readers about the ban towards the end. I didn’t publish many of them because they were so hurtful and, I felt, not the least bit constructive. I cheated a few times as things were winding down, and some readers told me they thought I was setting a bad example, being irresponsible, acting stupidly and selfishly, buying stuff I didn’t need, and all sorts of other judgmental stuff that was very difficult to hear … especially as I was doing this experiment for myself, with no intention of setting any example, good or bad.
To clarify, I used the shopping ban to explore my own spending issues and work on a behavior that had challenged me for a long time, and I chose to share that journey. If my actions were inspirational to people, that’s fantastic! I never encouraged anyone to follow in my footsteps, but if they wanted to, that was just fine. Being told that I was disappointing people by not living up to their standards for ban-behavior, however, felt upsetting and unfair. I understand that publishing writings about myself may make me a minor role model, whether I want to be or not. But I felt maliciously judged by some of these comments in a way that shamed me for being honest about my missteps. Like I was being told that anything less than perfect-superhuman behavior was unacceptable. And, as I’ve said, I am far from perfect. FAR, people.
Now, I do love it when my readers challenge me, and disagree with me, ask me the tough questions, and get fired up about issues that we can all discuss together. So don’t get me wrong and think that I expect everyone to lavish me with praise no matter what I say or do. Not at all. But I am even more sensitive about money than I am about weight, and sharing the shopping ban was even more difficult than sharing my body-image hang-ups. To get a big dose of comment-based shame for my actions has made me very wary of sharing that type of information again.
So I’m not immediately ready to write about ban-related matters, especially as I have continued to struggle with my finances in the aftermath. In October, once a full year has gone by, I promise a mondo recap … but I’m simply not ready yet. I need some more distance on the whole experience before I’m ready to share again.
Image courtesy uvm.edu