Sep 1 2008

regret being on the web?

Me as a small child

you should probably be warned now, this is my most personal post to date. it might make you feel uncomfortable, it’s probably something which i should keep personal and not post for the whole world to see. but this is the way that i live my life and that is the decision that i made. so i apologise now, but i hope that you’ll understand.

for those who don’t know my background, i’m an only child that was brought up by my mum alone from the age of 11. my mum worked hard to provide for me after my dad left us and became both parents for me for my teenage years. i didn’t go to university – i made the decision that i knew my mum couldn’t afford to pay for it and i didn’t want to end up with huge debts so instead i went out to work. i’ve worked incredibly hard to end up in a job that i love and that i’m good at and there’s been many trials and tribulations on the way as there normally are for most people, but i’m immensely proud of my mum and i hope that she is of me too.

i came to terms with the fact that i’d probably never hear from my dad again, it wasn’t something easy to get my head around, but after all these years it’s something i just accepted. you can imagine my surprise when some 16 years later my step-mother had found my websites and knew everything about me.

i know that’s such a daft thing to say, but so often, you post your pictures to flickr, your every day thoughts to twitter, planned journeys to dopplr and, well, your random videos to your blog – without thinking who is actually viewing or reading it at the other end.

when i received an email from her, it came as a total shock and turned my world upside down – a mixture of emotions, sadness for the lost years and hope for the future. there’s no need to go into specifics but after a few conversations, my dad decided that he didn’t want me in his life after all…

this led me to really re-assess my approach to the web. if only i’d not been so open – he knows everything about me, i know nothing about him. if only i’d not been on the web, he never would have been in touch and i wouldn’t have to face that pain all over again. if only i’d not been on the web i wouldn’t have to face abusive emails. if only….

for a while, i really really thought and i even considered stopping the blog. But then… then i got an email from someone telling me how my videos were helping them through a rough time in their life…. then i had tweets from people telling me they hoped i felt better when i got sick…. then i have the comments for each of my posts and videos which bring me the biggest smile, and that’s what reminds me what it’s all about.

i have the best family… i have a mum that i’m fiercely protective of, a step father better than i could wish for and a whole swarm of friends that i never would have been priveliged enough to meet if it hadn’t been for this wonderful web-o-verse that we live in. it’s then that i’m grateful, so grateful to live my life on the web. it’s not for everyone, that i admit, it’s tough for many to get their head around – but when it’s what makes you tick, what puts fire in your belly and a smile on your face, well then you’re one of the luckiest people in the world.

thankyou xox

  1. Jon B says:

    What an idiot! It’s his loss if he can’t see what a wonderful person that you are! You bring so much to the web and I’m so grateful that you bring sunshine to our lives week after week. Keep it up.

  2. Annabel says:

    You’ve great strength and courage Mel – well done! x

  3. Geoff says:

    Your light-hearted, humorous videos are always great. Withdrawing from something you appear to enjoy immensely would be a shame. I’m glad you’re still pushing on and hopefully, through the roughest of pain, you’ll always end up with something positive in one form or another from each struggle you take on.

  4. Vero says:

    Those of us around here think so highly of you; you’re fun, incredibly stylish but most of all, you’re a totally shameless geek girl living life at its fullest!

    We’ve only got one life to live so you’ve got to punch right through tough/scary/dark times (she says bravely-ish…) and come out at the other end radiant and happier than if you’d spent your life thinking “what if it all goes wrong?”

    Be strong and remember we’re here for you :)

  5. Erik Kastner says:

    Dude……… just dude….
    In any event, I know that myself and everyone who knows both of us love you immensely and would do ANYTHING for you! So if you need me and the boys to make a visit to anyone, just let me know… (we’re all nerds though, so the most we can do is disconnect someone’s internet, but WOAH would we be badass about it).

    This whole post is hard for me to get MY head around… both as a newish father and as someone who’s father wasn’t always there for him (like not calling me for this birthday, I know it’s not even in the same universe as your deal, but it still hurts)

    MASSIVE trans-atlantic hugs.

  6. Alex says:

    It’s not often you read a truly honest blog post – thank you.
    In the world of Google, Facebook and Flickr – it’s easy to see the positive side of making yourself so accessible, but we do forget the negative side.

    If writing and sharing your laughs online makes you happy – then keep doing it!
    I for one will still be reading and watching to cheer me up!

  7. woweewa says:

    I think it is real testament to the web and such a cool thing that people such as yourself take up the power of the blog with impassioned enjoyment of a subject along with a sprinkling of fun and insight. BTW Happy Happy Thursday video’s are off the hook. The interweb salutes you /O

  8. David Hughes says:

    What a real shame… his opportunity to get to know his wonderful daughter and he chickens out.

    Your openess online is great and rather brave – I’ve personally never posted anything particularly personal.

    I feel that you, because of your open and fun approach, will receive many, many more postivie things than negative through your posting and Tweeting.

    And of course I wouldn’t have got to meet you if you didn’t have the approach you have so I’m pleased you think as you do and of course pleased that you are continuing.

  9. Mel says:

    To everyone that’s posted a comment, sent me a tweet, an email or called, thankyou. I really didn’t write the post as an “oh dear look at me” but I wanted to thank you all and to show you what a difference you’ve made to my life. You’re all totally awesome!

  10. tyfn says:

    Thanks Mel for sharing this personal aspect of your life. It was bychance that we met at South By, but I don’t believe anything in life is bychance and I know that your tweets, blog posts, and randommel, are a beacon of light when only darkness seems to lie ahead.

    Thanks for being you.

  11. Nath says:

    It’s genuinely unique to have someone post something so personal, so honestly. I for one am glad that you’ve decided to keep up your web presence, despite what has happened in the past – you’re an inspiration to a huge number of people, including me (I’ve been geeking it up now for a long time, but it takes someone with your energy and passion to remind me that I should be doing more – whether it’s just a tweet, or remembering that I REALLY need to update my blog…)

    I can understand where you coming from – my circumstances growing up were similar to yours – and I was in a similar state of shock when my biological father contacted me after 19 years of absence. Much like you, the internet provided him with a wealth of information that helped him track me down – which made me seriously rethink what I put out there. Like you, I didn’t let it put me off… Although unlike you, I lack your wonderful motivation and passion!

    Keep up the web-presence – especially the Random Thursday vids – if you weren’t here, it’d only leave a void for the kind of drivel I produce…
    ;-)

  12. Nath says:

    p.s. – realize why my response to your original tweet about your dad getting in touch didn’t go down well… hopefully the above will convince you I wasn’t just being an ass!

  13. Mel says:

    TFYN – thanks for being a huge inspiration!

    Nath – I never thought you were an ass! Thanks for sharing…

    x

  14. H says:

    Take care Mel.

    If you ever want to pick up the phone or pop over and have a big hug, then genuinely give me a call.

    I mean that as a friend.

    Once again, take care and look after yourself and don’t forget you are an amazing person and deserve the best.

    H

  15. Bellepheron says:

    The loss is one your father has to live with. I know you will have to live with the decision he made as well.

    My blog is a mess mainly because I haven’t had the extra time I thought I would when I began it. I also had to deal with the loss of my mother recently and that put it further down the list.

    Stay true to what you believe, and be judicious what you post online.

  16. Christian says:

    Mel, speaking from a similar situation, I would agree with all of the posts reiterating the fact that it is his loss. Your blog and all-round smileyness is an inspiration too precious to give up.

  17. Clint says:

    I’m in the same boat as you it seems dad left before I was born my mom raised my brother and I alone and is a grandmother to our kids. You are a great person and you make people smile and with me being a dad I would totally be so proud of you and rub it in to all my friends and family!! Being a dad now I know our dads missed out we are not the ones that missed out they are we have great lives now and he just missed a great time getting here!!

  18. Jose says:

    I can’t say i know what that’s like but my best friend does. I’ll just say if he chose that, he doesn’t deserve you, and you don’t need him your mom made shure of that. keep making those videos that always make me smile.

  19. Sam Hardacre says:

    It takes a lot to write something so personal. Despite not caring what people know about me, I don’t think I’d ever have the strength to hit the publish button. Having had similar upbringing myself makes this very inspirational : )

  20. Jamie Huskisson says:

    I went through the same recently. With my Dad leaving when I was around eight and him getting in touch with me a few months ago after he found my site accidentally. He went through a lot of the situation of him leaving with me, on why/who/how/when and answered all my questions and we now exchange e-mails now and again to keep in touch.

    I can definitely feel for your situation and I’m sorry it turned out to be a not so positive one on your end. From a quick read of the comments on this post, I can certainly tell you shouldn’t regret being on the web :)

  21. Mel says:

    Thanks to everyone for all of your kind words. I know that my post has probably raised some eyebrows of those who wouldn’t imagine doing something like it themselves and if I’m truthful, I’m not sure what I was hoping to achieve.

    What I ended up though is with my belief in the online community that I’m surrounded in growing stronger than ever before. Whilst it’s horrible to hear of so many people with similar tales to tell, it’s amazing that you’re able to share them with me, and I am truely thankful for that.

    I’ve been innundated with calls, tweets, emails and comments and I appreciate each and every one of them. You’re all amazing people and I’m honoured to know you and consider you all as friends :)

  22. Martin says:

    A crazy amount of work delayed my reading of this, an amazing post Mel, please do keep doing what you’re doing, you’re simply too awesome to drift off the web, I’d miss your random vids, tweets and, of course, the most unashamedly happy WordPress template ever made.

  23. Phil says:

    As we say over here, “fair play to ya” for being so open and honest. Can’t begin to imagine the different emotions you must be feeling right now, but hopefully the comments you’ve received so far and those you’ll no doubt receive in the future will help u keep your chin up, and allow you to continue to be the Glamorous Face of Nerd-dom for many years to come! ;o)

  24. Max Shanly says:

    I’ve only ever met you once, nearly a year ago (although you probably won’t remember) and even from that brief encounter, I could tell how lovely you were and I know everyone else does too. :)

  25. John McFarlane says:

    I’m glad you have stuck to what you do best and like you say “makes you tick” although i dont know you, your random blogs and videos make me laugh out loud and keep me smiling whilst sat on my Macbook learning and working towards a change in career.

    It’s his loss, and even with the background gained through your online presence, if he still cant see what a great, kind and funny person you’ve developed into, again his loss and a glowing testimonial to the great work your mum did bringing you up.

    Keep it up, maybe bump into you @ dconstruct :)

  26. Rajdeep says:

    Hi! I’ve only just visited your website recently and I think it’s very brave of you to be open about your life…..and even though I don’t know you I congratulate you on that and what has happened in your life I think is making your stronger as a person. I hope ya continue with the blog because I read some of your posts and videos and found them really hilarious and cool :p and I will continue to visit!

  27. Anthony says:

    Wow, what a heartfelt post. I would have been hovering over the Post button for hours had it been me in the same position. Delighted we haven’t lost you from the webternet. You’ve done tremendously well to get to where you are now (Aardman ftw) and I’ve no doubt that anyone who’s met you would atest to your character. Keep smiling.

  28. Jorge says:

    Mel,
    I’ve only known you for a few months and let me tell you I admire you a lot. You enjoy life a lot and have a job you love and have a incredible sense of humor. You’ve worked hard to get where you are and I’m sure everyone is proud of you. You inspire me to show that College is important but not determinant, specially when at the end of my career i found out that what I love is the Internet and Social Media, and you also gave me the opportunity to get my first job on the internet industry! U ROCK 4 THAT!

    Every day you are changing lifes by the things you do, so never dare to think of stopping. Sometimes it hurts, my father hasn’t been around for me as i wished, but it’s ok. Your father doesn’t know how an amazing person he is missing in his life. And look at the twenty something comments above this one and all tell you “you belong to the web”.

    So keep being random! and keep smiling! because you make us smile too.

  29. Sam says:

    Mel – what a touching story to tell.. your videos are fantastic, and soon I’ll be paying homage to your ‘thursday videos’.. oh and I too didn’t go to University, but have been working since age 17 in areas of tech, music, radio and tv industries. Keep on keeping on.. smile more, you light up your videos when you do.. and the world :) back!

    XlolX

  30. Mel says:

    Once again, thankyou… You guys totally rock! x

  31. Christopher Smith says:

    I realize it’s been a few days since you posted this entry, but I came upon it and felt compelled to add something to this growing chorus of sympathetic support. Mel, the web would be a duller place without your pretty smiling face and cute sense of humor. Imagine a world without Thursday videos…I shutter. I have yet to watch one and not smile. Nonetheless, I realize that being so public with yourself and your life has it’s draw backs. It leaves you open to being hurt. Yet, whether it’s on the Internet or IRL, isn’t that what living is all about? We risk being hurt to reach out beyond ourselves. So, thank you for reaching out and risking all to make this world better. God bless.

    Chris

  32. Mel says:

    What can I say guys? Thankyou thankyou thankyou. I’ve had people ask me since the post whether it was theraputic and it was. Don’t get me wrong, I really wasn’t writing it in revenge or for sympathy but just to let you know what an effect all of you guys have on me. I’m so grateful and sincerely think you all rock. So thankyou for being my rock when I needed you.

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