I have a story to tell. But I need you to promise me something. I don’t want your pity. I don’t want your praise. And honestly, I don’t want patronized or pummeled either. Deal?
Oh well. It was worth a try.
So, yesterday’s post was a smidge exhausting. Rather, reading and replying to your comments was a smidge exhausting. So I told Gabe I was turning comments off for this one. Spending more time with our girlies than on my computer. Resting my aching head and my pounding heart.
“How about this?” he said. “Leave the comments on, but don’t look at them until after the girls are in bed. Just enjoy your day with them, and don’t worry about what people are saying.”
So, my story. If you plowed through any of the comments, you might have seen one from a gal who questioned my stance against spending lots of money on frivolous things when I’d just announced publicly that Gabe bought me a Nook Color for $249. Several others piped up and said we should’ve used that money for Cambodia, and we were sending contradictory messages to our girls.
Their comments punched me in the gut for several reasons. How about some back story?
My husband loves me very much, and he proves it in a million different ways, the most recent being the hours and hours and hours (and hours!) he spent creating a website and formatting my newest book manuscript into e-book format. He recently did a couple other websites on the side (for pay) and planned to use the money for some photography equipment (something he hopes to turn into more than just a hobby someday).
One evening, during the whole e-book madness, he walked in the door from work and said, “I almost bought you something today, but I knew you’d be mad.” It was a Kindle. “We need to be able to see what your book looks like on an e-reader, and besides, if you’re going to write e-books, I think you should have one. It only makes sense.”
My answer was the same it’s been every other time he’s suggested it. Nope, don’t want one. Don’t want to spend the money. I’m fine with my library books, but thank you. You’re talking to the girl who buys her bras at the thrift store, remember?
Long story short, he persisted. And I started to realize there was more to it than my frugality. My loving husband wanted to provide for me, to give me a gift that would show me he was proud of me and that he respected my talents as an author. I felt like I needed to swallow my reservations and let my husband give me an extravagant gift for once. Believe me, I’ve sucked more joy out of his giving attempts in the past 13 years than I care to admit.
We went to Best Buy (my eyes were still red from crying because I didn’t want to go) and looked at Nooks and Kindles. I had a knot in my gut the whole time. We walked out with a Nook Color. I turned it on, we registered it with my Barnes & Noble account, I watched the intro video, and then I told Gabe, “I really want to get this e-book thing done before I even look at my Nook, okay?” (this was June 11) The next day he surprised me with a gorgeous turquoise cover.
I took it to my parents’ house on June 17 and showed it to them and my sister. But, other than that, my Nook has sat in a pile on my desk, buried beneath all kinds of who knows what.
And it haunts me. I don’t want it. It’s too much. I don’t need it. But… it was a love gift from someone who means the world to me.
He asked me a couple times if I’d tried it out. I always gave some excuse. Then, today, when the negative comments started popping up, my protective wife heart flared in anger. Pick on me, fine. Pick on my husband, watch out. I refrained from replying… for a little while. But I had to say something to the girl who said that an e-book author “needing” an e-reader is like a fashion lover “needing” a Louis Vuitton handbag.
I don’t know who Louis Vuitton is, but um.
After a delightful three hours with my friend Krista and her babies this afternoon, I sat down at my computer and my jaw dropped. When the cat’s away…
At one point, I was holding back tears (I am NOT crying over this), and a dear, sweet girl who lives in Swaziland messaged me on Facebook, and I lost it.
Gabe called on his way home from work, and I started crying again. “I want to take the Nook back,” I said. He told me I couldn’t let these people get to me. I told him what he already knew–that I can’t be happy with this thing in my life.
He got home, more tears. He was hurt. And not happy that people were messing with me. I prayed a lot. And then he said, “Let’s do it.” We all piled in the van and drove to Best Buy and returned my Nook. Then headed to Barnes & Noble and returned my cover. The next time we format an e-book, we can just borrow an e-reader from a friend.
So how do I feel? I feel free. Kind of. Except that there’s still some pain, because I also feel misunderstood. And I know that this all comes with the territory–this thing where people who have no idea who I really am just pop out of who knows where and start slinging mean comments at me. Criticism is part of the gig.
And goodness, I’m not above needing criticized and/or held accountable for my actions. Ask any of my family members or true friends, and they could give you a laundry list of my weaknesses and failures. But I’ll tell you what. They’ve earned the right to tell me off, because they know me, and they love me.
So, 1000 words later. The stumbling Nook is gone. If you have more bones to pick (like you think it’s hypocritical to buy plane tickets to a foreign country when you could just send the poor people the $), it would be great if you’d save them for another time. And if you just can’t, well, have at it.
For those of you who took the time to give me a special word of encouragement today (Thursday), I’m thanking my God for you tonight.
And if you haven’t seen our Family Purpose Statement video, you’re missing out on 18 seconds of awkward delightfulness.
Have a great weekend, friends.