You may have noticed that I haven’t posted lately – which I know isn’t great for a blogger, and its quite unusual for me to have such a long break! (1 month today to be precise) but what with being mega busy (not complaining), I also had a little bit of a confidence crash! It’s very unlike me, I’m quite thick-skinned, can take criticism and I also don’t believe in highlighting or paying attention to negative situations online, or in my life.
BUT for one time, I’m going to break my rule on that. Why? Because its my blog, and I can write what I like right?
I also believe that I can’t be the only one who has experienced what I’m about to write about – TROLLS, BULLIES, AKA what I call complete TIME-WASTERS really! Because it is a waste of time to try and intentionally upset someone right?
So, I’ve thought about writing this post a couple of times, then shrugged it off as I didn’t want people to know they had upset me, that the nasty comments that they felt was OK to email me played over & over in my mind, that I questioned my whole place and significance in the cake and baking world! BUT I then thought why the heck not! I should be able to defend myself (not the point of this post though) and I should be able to hopefully, make anyone feel stronger or better about themselves if they have ever gone through this too (the main point of this post).
It started off with a few digs, a few passive aggressive comments on some cupcakes I created. I used someone else’s fab design and I did credit the original baker on my Facebook page and on my blog, with their website and Facebook page too. I stressed in the blog post I wrote about the cupcakes that these weren’t my design and I had taken inspiration from others. Hands up who thinks that’s OK to do? I did! And for the first time I did do this…
I must stress though, and this is the slightly strange part, the baker who created the original cupcakes didn’t seem to mind at all, I sent her a message and she was perfectly fine with me, in fact was very lovely and polite, and she said appreciated my message.
All good you’d think. What happened next is what I didn’t and don’t understand and that is why 6 different people felt it was OK to send me private messages and email me telling me how wrong I was! I am apparently “an insult to the cake industry” “should be ashamed of myself” “talentless” I was even threatened with the plagiarism word! I got thrown out of an online collaboration that I’d even withdrawn from! How strange is that? I guess she just wanted to get her two pennies worth in too and needed an excuse to ‘have a go’. Just to confirm what this means:
Plagiarism is the “wrongful appropriation” and “stealing and publication” of another author’s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions” and the representation of them as one’s own original work –
Wikipedia – just to be careful I must credit right 😉
Did I do that? NO I most certainly didn’t. I used an image on Pinterest and I recreated something I thought was so cool and fun and I credited the original designer – not taking credit as my own work at all! I hope that one day I create something so beautiful that people would like to recreate it, I’d be flattered and take it as huge compliment!
Anyway, I was shocked to say the least! I tried to ignore these comments, deleted and blocked and moved on. But then a week later it was still going on! I removed the photos from my Facebook feed, and I replied to one email. Why this one? Because I thought we were kinda friends. I’d admired this certain cake artist for some time, her work is flawless, we live in the same town, she is original and we’d always commented, liked, and praised each others work too. I’d even lent her some of my fondant once when she’d run out! But then I heard she sent emails to someone I work with and it was just a step too far. Why not come to me first and talk to me? Was she really that naive to think I wouldn’t find out? Why go behind my back?
All sorts was going through my head, I let my emotions jump in rather than my sensible side of ignoring it all and I responded to her email to me. Did it make me feel better? NO. Did I regret rising to it? YES. Her excuse – she is an ‘honest person’ and felt so strongly that she had to get involved. It was just a shame that I was the last person she spoke to about it and it felt like it turned into an unnecessary witch hunt!
You know that sinking nervous anxious feeling you get when something upsetting happens, I got it. I was pretty mortified 🙁 It felt like a strong personal attack on me, when I really felt like I had followed all the ‘cake rules’ by crediting. And don’t forget, the original designer had no problem, these were all message (bar one) from people I have never even spoken or heard of before!
Its not nice having a fall-out with someone (if that’s why you can call it). In my three years of running Cuppies ‘n’ Cream I’ve made mistakes. I’ve learnt from them and I’m so so happy that I do have a tight circle of cake buddies who helped me through this. Especially to my feisty little Lucy! To them I owe a big thank you.
So, its all back to normal from now on. I’ll be back on top form in no time and my blogs will be regular again! If you ever go through anything like this my advice would be to just ignore it! Use that block button and stay strong. People hide behind their computer screen and keyboard forgetting that we are all real people!
I recently read this quote and it stuck in my mind “You’re not rated until your hated” Made me laugh!
The online world can be cruel but at the same time we all love it too! Otherwise you wouldn’t be online reading this blog right now would you? 😉 In the (admittedly cheesy) words of Taylor Swift.. I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake – I shake it off, I shake it off.