Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Every day in April (except Sundays), I’ll be sharing a short bookish memory with you.
Read All the Things! is my first book blog, but it isn’t my first blog. I’ve been blogging on and off since 2005. My previous three blogs were about humor/lifestyle, the history and ethics of capital punishment, and food. You’d think the capital punishment blog would produce the most angst in the comment section because people are very opinionated about the issue. But, readers of the death blog turned out to be pretty cool. Morbid, but cool. The comments on my lifestyle blog were also very positive.
I never understood how hateful the Internet could get until I tried blogging about food.
On my food blog, I tested out different diets and kept a record of how they made me feel. The comment section of the blog was never the happiest place on Earth, but things went downhill quickly when I became a raw vegan for a month.
“Raw vegan” means no animal products and no food that is cooked or heated. I was basically eating raw fruits and vegetables for every meal.
I hated the diet. It made me lose weight like crazy, which is great, but I felt horrible. I was weak, dizzy, and headachy. I had no attention span or desire to get out of bed. After a few weeks of raw food, I was so sick of it that I would rather not eat than put more lettuce in my mouth. Still, I was determined to get through the whole month. A lot of diets make you feel worse before you feel better, so I tried to be optimistic.
I was honest about all of this on the blog, and people went nuts. (Haha "nuts," one of the few foods raw vegans can (sometimes) eat.) The comment section turned into a war between raw vegans and non-vegans. I was caught in the middle. The raw vegans thought I was insulting them, and the non-vegans thought I was proving them right. Very few people were nice about their opinions. I became a reluctant (and extremely hungry) referee.
I didn’t think the comment section could get any nastier. Then I accidentally ate balsamic vinegar and caused the apocalypse.
It was a careless mistake that happened near the end of the diet. I’d spent weeks Googling everything I put in my mouth to make sure it was raw and vegan, but I was starving and in a hurry to get to class, so I just dumped some salad dressing on my lettuce and ran out the door. When I posted my food journal that night, a hatefest ensued.
The salad dressing had balsamic vinegar in it. As the people in the comments pointed out, balsamic vinegar isn’t raw. It’s made by boiling white grapes to get the juice out. Oops.
The hate was so bad that I had to turn off the comments section. People were calling me stupid and uneducated. They claimed I hadn’t done any research before starting this diet. (I did a lot of research, just not on that particular brand of salad dressing.) They claimed I’d been cheating on the diet the whole time, and that’s why I felt horrible. (I swear the vinegar was the first time I screwed up.) They said I was just writing these posts to make raw vegans look bad and wasn’t really on a raw vegan diet at all. (Not true. I don't have anything against raw vegans. If the diet works for you, that's great. It didn't work for me.)
After I removed the comment section from my blog, I had a What the hell am I doing? moment. This whole situation was idiotic. Strangers were harassing me for accidentally eating boiled grapes. Blogging was a hobby. Hobbies are supposed to be fun, and this one was making me miserable.
So, I deleted the entire blog. I didn’t post a goodbye message or anything. I just deleted it and never looked back. As soon as my blog stopped existing, I felt better.
I love being a blogger, but I’m not perfect. I learned that one of the keys to enjoying blogging is to find a community that will support you instead of tearing you down. I needed to find people who would forgive me for my balsamic vinegar moments. I think I’ve found that in the book blogosphere. You guys are awesome.
I assume that most of the people reading this are fellow book bloggers, but if you’re not, what do you blog about? If you are a book blogger, have you ever tried blogging about non-bookish things?