I’m back to self-hosted. You can find me at www.AprilPalooza.com
So several months ago, I got rid of my webhosting because HostGator sucks. (Their one-click install stopped working, their billing practices are screwed up, and customer service is the worst, nothing ever got resolved.) Before I canceled, I created a backup of everything and took some time to research other providers. After getting frustrated and basically running out of time, I put it on hold. Now I’m trying, for the second time, to get my backup uploaded and it’s just NOT going well. It doesn’t help matters when it takes me 1-2 days to get a reply on my support ticket which really sucks because every time I fix one problem, a new one pops up, so then I have to reply back with “okay, I did that, now I’m getting THIS error” then wait another 1-2 days for that. I don’t know why they can’t just go into my account and put the shit where it needs to be.
Anyway, this thing is pissing me off. The whole reason that it took me so long to find another host is that they’ve all changed the way they do things. You used to just be able to sign up for free and pay every month. Now they all want you to pay for 6 or 12 months at a time and/or pay a set-up fee, especially if you want to pay month-by-month. I ended up just using the same provider where my domains are registered. Unfortunately, I paid for hosting 4 days ago and still don’t have my sites up because it takes at least a whole day to get a reply from customer support.
And that’s why I’m writing a blog post now. I needed to vent and none of my Facebook groups are going to give a rat’s ass about this and then I remembered I have a blog. A blog that will, hopefully, go back to being self-hosted sometime in 2016.
So much for using this to help me procrastinate from writing.
I am finding out the hard way that I was wrong; family isn’t everything. I always told my kids that no matter what happened, no matter what we went through, no matter how much we may disagree and argue, we will always be family and we will always have each others’ backs. Ride or die. Blood will always be thicker than water. Or so I thought.
I didn’t spend much of my life with my extended family. I lived in Georgia for the first 9 years of my life, so I saw my aunts and my cousins on weekends and holidays. I have fond memories of those times, and I always felt like I was missing out on something by being a military brat. When you move around a lot, it’s hard to hold onto friendships and stay connected with family, especially in the days before texting and Facebook.
As my youngest child started to get older, I worried about her missing out on some of those memories, of family reunions and big family get-togethers. My older kids had cousins on the other side of their family, but my youngest didn’t. The only cousins she had lived in Texas and she’d never met them. So one of the reasons I had for moving down here was so that she’d get to meet and maybe spend time with her “cousins,” the children of my own cousins. And maybe I would get to spend time with my aunts and my cousins.
To put it nicely, things aren’t going as well as I’d expected. Growing up, I was closer to the three cousins that were around my age. Now one of them has severe mental health issues and is pretty much “lost,” one is a raging racist and extreme conservative bully, and another considers herself a member of the older generation (one of the children rather than one of the grandchildren.) The rest of them were a bit younger than I am, so they don’t really remember me from when we were kids and there’s not much of a bond there. Some of them, I genuinely like as adults. I don’t really interact with all of them enough to get to really know them. But I assure you, it’s not from a lack of effort. I have tried.
Since we moved here, I have reached out and tried to connect with family. I had them all over at my mom’s house for a welcome home/family reunion/birthday party (for my daughter). I’ve messaged them on Facebook, I’ve commented on their family photos, congratulated them on good news. You know what I’ve gotten back in return? Barely anything. One local cousin and one (geographically) distant one are the only ones that ever really have conversations with me. When my daughter’s father died, I didn’t get a single text or private message from any of them. (I do have two aunts that I am pretty close to who have been very supportive, and any references to “they” or “them” does not include those two.)
I’ve been deleted and soft-blocked by several family members now. (Soft-blocked as in not de-friended but privacy settings were changed so that I don’t have access to them. The only reason for that would be to keep your nose in MY life while keeping me out of yours. Otherwise, why not just de-friend me?) Apparently my posts about sexism, racism, homophobia, and transphobia are “offensive” and I’m “shoving it down everyone’s throat” even though 95 percent of my posts are about music, Wonder Woman, parenting, music, animals that need homes, music, jokes, BuzzFeed posts, and celebrity deaths.
I am now at the point where I’m done giving a shit. If one out of every 20 posts or so is considered “shoving it down their throats”, if asking that we treat people of all races and religions and genders with basic human decency and equality is “offensive,” then THEY are the problem, not me. I refuse to change how I communicate online to make some distant relatives who don’t give a damn about me feel better.
My family now is more about support than DNA. I have “family” all over the country and all over the world. I have people who have been there for me and my daughter when we needed help the most, many of whom I’ve never even met in person. They do not judge, they do not discriminate. That’s who I consider family. And, in that sense of the word, family IS everything.
I needed a place to write, someplace more social and interactive than my private blogs or offline journals. Until I can settle on a reasonable webhosting company, this is going to be it. Don’t expect frequent or consistent posts, don’t expect a common theme. This could cover everything from just pop culture to parenting, and could be as short as just a link to something interesting or as long as an essay about feminism or politics.
For now, let’s start with what’s going on in my life. As we begin the second month of the new year, I can honestly say that it’s off to a good start. My daughter and I deserve that after the way 2015 ended. I got into and then out of an abusive (verbally and emotionally) relationship that ruined a lifelong friendship and then we lost my daughter’s father to lung cancer just days before the year ended. Those two events combined have reshaped some of my ideas about what I want in my life.
Getting involved in that relationship made me realize that I am still definitely not interested in trying to make room in my life for another person. I have my family, I have very dear friends, and I have romantic connections that fit into my lifestyle. The last thing I want is another adult taking up a large chunk of my time and energy. I never wanted that in the first place, I let someone push past my boundaries to the point where they ignored them completely, it destroyed my mental health for those three months that I was involved in it, and it left me absolutely hating someone I never expected to hate. In the end, I was left with a reminder of how important it is to stand up for yourself and not let someone railroad you into doing something you don’t want to do. It was a total waste of my time and I wish I could erase those three or four months from my life.
Losing my daughter’s father, a man I was once involved with and someone I loved, really put my relationship with our daughter in perspective. Throughout the entire week that we spent back in what’s considered her hometown, I was in awe at her strength and courage. She’s always been a bit behind her peers when it comes to social and emotional maturity–something I attribute to being forced into school too early–so I was concerned about her ability to handle her father’s death. Granted, he’d been sick for over a year so she knew that dying was a possible outcome, but knowing that it is a possibility and coping with it as a reality are two vastly different things. She’s never lost anyone before, other than pets. Losing a parent when you’re a vulnerable 13-year-old girl…well, that’s not something I was prepared to help her with. I’d always told my kids that there wasn’t much they could go through that I hadn’t been through myself, so they could come talk to me about anything and there was a good chance I had some experience in that area. But this wasn’t something I had ever faced. I’ve lost my grandparents and I’d lost my brother, but not a parent. I’m not even sure how I would handle losing my mother now, so it just amazes me how courageous my little girl is. She is grieving appropriately, crying when she needs to, laughing when she needs to, talking to me and to her friends, and letting me know when she just needs some space and silence. I had put her in therapy a couple of months before, knowing what was coming, and she’s received some very helpful books through the Kids Konnected organization and through author Jenny Lawson’s (aka The Bloggess) “Booksgiving” post.
Anyway, aside from helping her cope with her father’s death, we’ve also become closer. We make the most of our time together, we do more together, we talk more. Now that she only has one parent, I feel like she needs me now more than ever and I am going to do everything I can to be there for her, both physically and emotionally. By physically, I mean taking better care of my own physical and mental health so that (hopefully) nothing happens to me and I can still be there for her for many years to come. By emotionally, I mean limiting distractions that could potentially take away from what I could be giving to her.
She needs me and I need her. We have our own little world and it’s quite nice here.