Over the past twenty years of writing this blog, many posts have been controversial. A controversial post begins with some people attacking my position and some people defending my position, then people debate each others’ opinions. My last post was not controversial. It was just bad. I knew it was really bad when the most mainstream readers and the most radical readers were both telling me the post was not making sense. No one was agreeing with my position.

Many times you ask me how I cope with haters—people who tell me I’m an idiot or wish I were dead. Actually, those are really easy comments to deal with because those comments don’t make me reconsider that I might be completely wrong in my thinking. Well-reasoned comments from thoughtful writers make me think deeply about myself. Those are the difficult comments to cope with. And I’ve read about 250 of those comments this week.

I kept trying to figure out why I would write a post about a topic I didn’t know enough about. I didn’t say anything new. Why did I do that? I think I wished that I knew more than I did. I guess I tricked myself so well that I thought I could trick you.

I hate writing that, so I will have to change topics.

I work a plot at the community garden. It’s two blocks from my apartment but it’s like a century away from my blog: almost everyone there grew up farming in the South and has been growing vegetables in this community garden for the last 40 years. I take care of a garden plot when someone is sick or busy. And I listen during breaks when people sit in the shade talking. They’ve known each other for so long.

At night everyone takes vegetables home. I stop and buy sugar. We haven’t had sugar in the house for three months. I bought a box of sugar and used it all up this week. I put it on everything. Because it’s hard to be wrong. It’s hard to be wrong and have people work so hard in such genuine ways to explain to me why I’m wrong.  What helps is telling you what I learned from all of your comments. Here’s what I learned:

  • A vote for Biden is a vote for an administration not for just a person.
  • Black people don’t need me to protect them by complaining about Biden.
  • I don’t understand enough about socialism to forfeit my vote in the name of socialism.
  • I can hate Biden and still vote for him.
  • I can understand that our democracy is near a breaking point and still participate in it to try to save it.

Being a good writer is being honest, constantly, about what we know. And then checking again. To make sure. What I know is that I’m trying really hard to be part of this community garden and I’m gentrifying it and I don’t want you to see that. And I love the people in it so much and instead of just being with them and loving them I have this urge to write an academic paper or something because they are history. I want to tell you about each of the people I love but I worry writing about them on this blog will turn them to stone.

I want to do good. I thought I was doing good by telling you that voting for Biden is scummy. But one of the most popular topics at the garden is how important it is to vote. The community at the garden is vibrant. They are activists. They talk about getting relatives in other states to vote. I am ashamed that I told people not to vote. The truth is that my blog community and my garden community are aligned and they are not two blocks away or a century away. My blog community and my garden community are both in my heart, and I have to keep them there by writing honestly and being open and not being a poser and a jerk. That is hard for me. Thank you for helping me by taking the time to tell me when I’m wrong.

Generation Z has identified the people obstructing their way, and Gen Z calls that group Boomers. Regardless of age. A Boomer is anyone not taking action to support Gen Z’s agenda. I love that. Read more

I can’t stop reading about Judge Kavanaugh. I am learning so much about how the world works.

His yearbook from high school is horrifying. There were derogatory jokes about women throughout the pages. Everyone knew, but the boys were rich, and they were going to top colleges, so it was okay. I didn’t know there were yearbooks like that. Read more

I saw a graph about when anyone is most likely to have a birthday. My mom and ex-husband and now-husband all have a birthday in the first week of April. This is statistically unlikely and it makes me think there is something I should know about astrology. Read more

Empathy is one of the key signifiers of workplace success. Exhaustive research shows that when businesses fail, it is often because leaders have stopped focusing on understanding different types of environments and instead remain insulated in their own domain. And the Harvard Business Review shows that empathy is key to successful product design.  Read more

The first year we lived on the farm, my son showed pigs. He did okay (and I got one of my favorite posts of all time). But he realized that the county fair is not about pigs, it’s about social skills. You have to be able to guess what traits of a pig the judges will like this year, which requires talking to neighbors and pig feed sales guys who come by the farm. It’s a networking thing: “How’s the weather? How are hogs this year?” Read more

If you want to understand Generation Z (born in the 200o’s), take a look at Pope Francis. He is not just a new pope. He is revolutionizing the Vatican in a way that Generation Z is likely to revolutionize secular institutions. For those of you who are not following Pope Francis, you should. He is so cool he makes me want to give money to the Catholic church. He is a Gen Z mascot. Read more

First of all you’d be surprised how many meetings I attend given that I live on a farm and I hate to leave. And, to be honest, every time I’ve written advice about how to handle yourself in a meeting, I’ve actually written about how not to handle yourself.

Like, how to gross out investors. How to disrupt a board meeting by tweeting about a miscarriage. How to look crazy in a parent-teacher conference.

For me, each meeting begins with trying on every outfit I have and sending Melissa a picture to ask if it is okay for a meeting. The pinnacle of each meeting is when I wow people with my ideas, which is immediately mitigated by my insanely terrible social skills. Read more

We are at the dining room table eating dinner and my eight-year-old son who is dying to have a girlfriend tells us, “Taylor Swift said she’s only going to date guys who have sisters because they understand women better. Is that true? I think I need a sister.”

I say, “I read that, too.”

Matthew says, “I don’t want to hear quotes from Taylor Swift at the table. She keeps dating men and then writing about them. I can’t stand it.”

“Really?” I say, “You can’t stand it? How do you put up with me?” Read more

I’m still stuck on that study in the Harvard Business Review that I wrote about a few weeks ago. The data shows that what women want from their career is respect, and what men want is a series of engaging problems to solve. This struck me as totally true. Read more