October 9, 2020

Arguing with the Ones Who Bring the Daisies

“Because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer,
is ultimately about asking yourself,
How alive am I willing to be?”

~ Anne Lamott

I wrote a piece last week that got chewed to bits on the interwebs.
Chewed. To. Bits.
I mean, not by everyone.  Probably not by you.
But enough people pecked at it that I felt chewed up.

It was a story.

A story about my sons and their intentionality, their courage, their relationships, their sculpted natures as gentlemen.  (I almost said "gentlemen in training," but that's not accurate.  They are gentlemen now. Already.  Today.)

I tossed it out there, and I gave it voice and breath and life.

And instead of a story for the sake of a story, a few mercurial readers took it as a statement on consent, women's rights, and an attack on Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

I used to write for an online political magazine. The editors hired me to bring stories, to bring life and vibrancy and voice to the table.  They didn't ask me to be left or right, liberal or conservative, or even to have an opinion.  They asked me to tell stories.

I had to stop.  I had to quit that gig. I had to step away from that platform.  I had to shut down the column and walk away because I discovered that nobody comes to a political site for stories.  They come to argue.  They came to disagree. And it got really toxic, really fast.

Last week reminded me of that, about the need to step away to protect my heart, my sons, my family.  It reminded me of that feeling that it's safer to be quiet than to say something lovely.

It reminded me why I stopped writing for a season.

Sometimes a story is a story is a story, just for the beauty of stories.
And as Anne Lamott also says, people are more hungry for story than they are for a glass of water.
I was bringing a glass of water to the table. I brought a story to the conversation.
Not an argument. Not a thesis.  Not a contention with which to contend.
A story.

Listen, I can handle some disagreement.  I don't love it, I likely won't debate it because that's now how I'm wired, but I can handle it.

I can't handle toxicity.  And I won't.

My space on the internet is like a party that I'm hosting, a dialogue I've invited you into.  I treat it like a room in my home, and I'm curating the environment.  I'm responsible for what is okay, what's not okay, what is accepted, and what is not.

Last week, I blocked a few people from the conversation.
If I wouldn't let them talk that way to guests in my home, then I won't let it happen to friends on my page either.

I have a long fuse, but it is not endless.

Try not to argue with the storytellers.
The ones pouring the glass of water.
The ones who bring flowers to the dinner party.

If people pick the petals off the daises you bring to the table, you'll stop bringing daisies to the table.

To those of you - and I believe it's most of you - who are bringing the daisies,
Please. Keep bringing your daisies.

I'll hold them with you.

27 comments on “Arguing with the Ones Who Bring the Daisies”

  1. Please don't stop writing! And please know how grateful I am for what you are teaching your sons!! I showed that article to my husband, because as the mom of daughters, that really gave me hope when so much of the news these days is negative. (I also have sons, too, so I know the struggle is real.) Praying God's blessings on you and your family!

  2. Never stop bringing water to the table! I have eagerly looked forward to your posts for years! I am so sorry that people decided to pick your story apart. People just need to learn to be kind!

  3. I love your writing, too! Your book “And Life Comes Back” was so helpful when I became a widow as you did. Be encouraged that your stories bring life and a smile to many!

  4. I love reading your stories! I also love that you and Peter expect your sons to respect women. Thank you for your wit, wisdom, and humor! I'm sorry some are unable to enjoy the beauty of life. Keep writing!

  5. The best thing we can all do for those who have chosen nastiness over joy is to pray for them, that God will cleanse the enemy's poison from their blood and renew their minds.

  6. I love your stories and have been a fan ever since I learned that you wrote the story for one of our CFCArts Christmas shows . . . a story that literally brought me to tears, which made it difficult to sing at times. Your writings are a refreshing oasis in this world of toxicity and I pray that you never stop writing and that you always remain true to yourself and your beliefs. If it's OK, I would love to post your quote about not bringing daisies to the table any more just to protect the petals. God bless you, dear Tricia.

  7. Your story put a smile in my heart and I shared it with my husband. I was unaware of the backlash, and am so sorry. Thank you for bringing the daisies. I hope you still will.

  8. The reaction you received is so representative of what our society is like right now. People are looking for something, anything, to be offended by. There is NOTHING that you can say that someone won't claim to be offended by. Please, please, please don't change what you bring to us, your readers. We love you and learn from you!

  9. I too have been encouraged by your posts. At least one friend of mine now follows you after I suggested she read your first 2 books (she lost her husband 7 years ago). My husband developed a class at a Christian school for young men, to teach them what it means to be a godly man (we lived in a Chinese culture), and hearing the story of your son, and how mature and respectful he was/is really did my heart good, and I read it to my husband, as I knew it would mean a lot to him as well. Keep writing!

  10. Please don’t let the negative people affect what you say and do. That was a beautiful story about your wonderful boys. You have so much to be proud of and they are a reflection of your sweet spirit.

  11. Your post last week was lovely. Thank you, thank you for bringing the water AND the flowers. We need your words now more than ever in this world of unnecessary argument and misplaced anger. And your gentle men? We need them, too.

  12. I so look forward to reading your stories/ posts,! They are so delightful and meaningful!Im glad you don’t let the naysayers rain on you! Keep u the good work!

  13. Your post last week was lovely. Thank you, thank you for bringing the water AND the flowers. We need your words now more than ever in this world of unnecessary argument and misplaced anger. And your gentle men? We need them, too.

  14. Your post last week was beautiful. Thank you for bringing the water and the flowers. Your stories are an oasis in our current desert of unnecessary argument and misplaced anger. Please don't stop writing. We need you now more than ever. And your amazing boy? We need gentle men like him, too.

  15. I’m proud of your son AND the father of the young lady. Good job by all. Common sense!

  16. I am so sorry this happened, but so glad you took action against those who are mean-spirited and who must find fault everywhere. Sadly, it seems there are more and more of these types who must be the most miserable creatures.

    Thank you for bringing the daisies and brightening our world. I so love your stories! ❤️

  17. Please. Don’t. Stop. Writing. Not because of negative comments. I enjoy your posts so much! You are such a blessing to me. I can’t understand what was so controversial about such a beautiful event in your family’s life. I thought it was a great example of respect and kindness.

  18. I’m all about politics and I fight for my political opinions. I love your stories and wisdom. I buy your books because I love your life stories and experiences and how you express them and the many lessons I’ve learned. I read the story about the boys. Politics and political comments never entered my mind in that post or any of your posts or books. I sorry you even had to write this.

  19. I loved your story and was so proud of your son. Very respectful and thoughtful child.

  20. I have never ever left a second comment about the same blog post, but I just went back and reread last week’s story about your sons aloud to my husband. We are incredulous that anyone could object to a young man having the decency and courage to treat women so respectfully. There would be a lot less trauma in young women’s lives if there were more men to date like your sons.

  21. Tricia, it was a beautiful story and I am sorry that some decided to make it ugly. You and your family do not deserve that. Keep encouraging your young gentlemen to keep being that way. The world needs more of that and we love it.

  22. Amen, dear friend Tricia! Stand your ground, write what you are moved to write, post what you are moved to post, live how you are moved to live. If you don't stand up for your work, it will give the green light to those who tore you and your story apart to continue their vitriol and hatred. You are right - you don't have to kowtow to how they want you to write, post, and think. They don't have to read your work if they don't like it, but they don't have a right to tell you how to run your site. Standing up to them - which includes deleting them from your list of subscribers and similar actions - is a positive direction in which to begin to teach them that they aren't in charge of the world.

    You keep doing what you do, Lady. It benefits anyone with an open mind.

  23. Tricia! It was a delightful story! How sick are the people that could turn such something sweet into bitter. They are missing some daisies in their lives!

  24. I absolutely loved last week’s story about your sons. Our world needs more stories, and more gentlemen like your fine sons to write them about. If I had a field of daisies I would go and pick every last one of them and bring them to you right now. Metaphorically at least. Please keep pressing on, Tricia. This sorry old world needs your voice.

  25. I am so sorry this happened to you - I adore you, your family and appreciate your stories

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