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Dec 13

Keeping It Real

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A cute picture that has nothing to do with this post

There are twelve days till Christmas. I am in tears (those two thoughts are not really related).

When I started this blog… 8, 9 years ago? It was a journal. A fun little way to capture and remember the things I was doing with the kids. It was called Unschooling Chronicles back then, and it was read by mostly family and a few friends. I enjoyed it.

Over time it morphed and changed into something else… and right now, I don’t enjoy it. I don’t enjoy having every word getting picked to shreds. I don’t enjoy getting told what a horrible person I am. I don’t enjoy getting called names. Again. And again. And again. AND AGAIN. I don’t enjoy getting told how I should do things differently, and say things differently, and post things differently. I don’t enjoy getting told I just need to suck it up, that’s it’s just the nature of the beast. I don’t enjoy people who don’t even know me making snap decisions about what kind of person I am, or am not.

This blog is still small according to the blogging world, tiny compared to most, and yet it’s still too big. I don’t know how people like Single Dad Laughing and Matt Walsh do it, I really don’t.

My heart is heavy and my soul is tired.

And it is so, SO easy to say, “Who cares what other people say?” (mostly said by people who don’t have their own blogs, and therefore haven’t opened themselves up to daily public criticism and don’t know what it’s like)

The past week I’ve felt like I’ve been kicked while I was down way, way too many times. It eventually caught up with me. So five minutes ago, I unpublished my TPLT Facebook page – what was once one of my very favorite things, and recently had become a boxing ring – and will be taking a good long break. I don’t know yet that I’ll unpublish my blog altogether, but for now I step away, at least from the kind of writing I’ve been doing.

For now I focus on:

My beautiful family
Christmas
My sweet little cat
The advent calendar, which I FINALLY got up, a mere 10 days late
Supportive friends
Writing for ME again.
Things that make me laugh
Yummy food
Yoga
Working on the conference
Parties and celebrations and fun outings
God

You could say that I’m backing down and letting “them” win I suppose.  But walking away from something that’s not serving me and is making me unhappy?  That’s ME winning.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and have a safe and happy and peaceful holiday season.


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  • kelvert1 .

    I am so sad to hear how heavy your heart is. I can hear the weariness and dejection. Yes, it is easy to say don’t care what others think but a constant pummeling is just going to take its toll. My heart hurts you are dealing with this. I find you to be so loving and open. I always enjoy your gentleness and true desire to make the world a better place. Do what you must do for you and your family. Whatever your decision ultimately is, I support it 100%

    • http://www.jennifermcgrail.com/ pathlesstaken

      Thanks so much for the support and kind words!

  • Natalie Cobb

    I’m sorry. I know the feeling of “mostly said by people who don’t have their own blogs, and therefore haven’t opened themselves up to daily public criticism and don’t know what it’s like”. Give yourself a break. Try to remember the reason you started to begin with… and breathe!

    • http://www.jennifermcgrail.com/ pathlesstaken

      Thank you. Good advice. :)

  • Julie

    I am so very sorry. You are not the only one though, there are others out here like you! Much love to you! http://themattwalshblog.com/2013/12/12/jesus-wants-you-to-judge/

    • http://www.jennifermcgrail.com/ pathlesstaken

      Thank you, Julie!

  • Julie

    Also, I just turned my fb account off right around the same time you did. I am fed up with the constant bickering and I have mostly Christian friends. Thank you so much for giving me a community, you let me know I am not alone in my walk! Julie

    • http://www.jennifermcgrail.com/ pathlesstaken

      I’m about to make a big generalization but…. Christians are really good at bickering, aren’t they?

  • Stacey

    I love what you share with all of us. Thank you so much for putting yourself out there. I’ve been exploring unschooling concepts this past year (I have a 3 year old child) and what you write and how you write it has given me tonnes of encouragement. Have a lovely break, and I hope to be able to read more of the wonderful things you have to share in the future. Much love from a Kiwi mama xxxooo

    • http://www.jennifermcgrail.com/ pathlesstaken

      Thank you, Stacey. I’m so glad what I’ve written has helped you!

  • http://www.prayingthemhome.blogspot.com/ Dawn

    I just wanted to THANK-YOU for everything you’ve written. I have not been here long, but you are one my favorite writers. You chose a hard path when you chose to write, but as you well know, some of us do not actually CHOSE this path, it seems to be a path we were PUT on. And you are one of the best at walking it. (((HUGS))) and God bless. :)

    • http://www.jennifermcgrail.com/ pathlesstaken

      “A path we were PUT on.” Love that. Thank you for the encouragement, and God bless you too!!

  • Gail

    That makes me sad to hear. With all the negativity you have experienced, you have also inspired and made a positive difference. Your blogs have really helped open my eyes to a different way of living, and for that, I give you my gratitude. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and I hope your hiatus is not too long. But if it is, at least you have a lot of blogs I can go back and read to keep me focused on the changes I want to make.

    • http://www.jennifermcgrail.com/ pathlesstaken

      Thank you, Gail.

  • JaneH

    Dear Jen,
    Yours are the only blogs I have followed faithfully, both this one and one on the road to debt freeness. The courage to speak your heart has always connected with me. I myself do not follow Facebook discussions as I find for myself that a little time to ponder words and allow that brain-heart filter to kick in rather than speak from the gut is a necessary tool…especially during a certain time of the month. =) My selfish hope is that your hiatus is temporary, but if not, I wanted to let you know what your voice has always meant to me. =) Thank you and Merry Christmas to you.

    • http://www.jennifermcgrail.com/ pathlesstaken

      I do believe it will be temporary. :) And I so wish more people saw the truth in this: “I myself do not follow Facebook discussions as I find for myself that a little time to ponder words and allow that brain-heart filter to kick in rather than speak from the gut is a necessary tool.” YES! Thank you for the encouraging words, and a Merry Christmas to you too!

  • Karen Lynne

    Jen, I just wanted to tell you I so hear you…about two months ago I got hurt and fed up with some of the arguments on facebook, and just deleted the whole account. I went completely cold turkey. I miss you guys in our unschooling group, but……honestly, I don’t regret the decision at all. Lately I have been working really hard at making my life more peaceful, joyful, and gratitude-filled. FB worked against those things for me. I have to say, I am having a much more quiet Christmas season, without the bickering about “Christ in Christmas” and whether you should buy this or that for someone. Just enjoying!! I have recently deleted some of the blogs I have previously subscribed to, I’m tired of hearing people rant about how their opinion is the right one. I will miss you, but know exactly how you feel.

    • http://www.jennifermcgrail.com/ pathlesstaken

      You know, it’s amazing how much I let Facebook stress me out. I kept my personal page (but have gotten pretty good at keeping it a peaceful place) but getting rid of my blog’s page has been HUGE in reducing stress and making life more peaceful! I hadn’t realized just how much it distracted me. I do think I’ll be back…. but not until I can figure out how to deal with the naysayers in a way that keeps things peaceful, and keeps stress to a minimum. It’s absolutely not worth it otherwise. Thank you, for sharing your experience. I’m glad to know that others get it.

  • ASunnyDayFor Bluej

    You will be missed. But good for you to take care of yourself :)

    • http://www.jennifermcgrail.com/ pathlesstaken

      Thank you!

  • Hillary

    I was wondering where it went! I completely understand and can empathize. Even well-meaning posts of my own have been picked apart and I felt completely misunderstood. Such is the nature of the internet beast. Someone who knows me personally wouldn’t pick apart something I say in that same way, because they know my heart. That all gets lost with typed words. Still, you’ll be missed! I wish you and your family a blessed Christmas and a wonderful 2014!

    • http://www.jennifermcgrail.com/ pathlesstaken

      “Someone who knows me personally wouldn’t pick apart something I say in that same way, because they know my heart. That all gets lost with typed words.” Yes, exactly!! I am sorry that you’ve felt that frustration too. It is very helpful though to know that others can commiserate. Thank you. And a blessed Christmas and wonderful 2014 to you as well. <3

  • Lisa from Iroquois

    I do not have kids. I do not share your religion. But I somehow found my way to your blog and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed your take on the world and your fierce passion about the choices you’ve made. I hope you are not leaving the blogosphere forever and I really hope our paths cross again. That said, you need to do what keeps you well and makes you feel good. Take a pause til the new year and then see what happens, maybe start again with a new name and a special invite to the people you are comfortable inviting. Be well with yourself.

    • http://www.jennifermcgrail.com/ pathlesstaken

      Lisa, taking a break till the new year is exactly what I’ve decided to do. Even just a few days perspective has helped so much. Thanks for the encouragement. It especially means a lot to me to hear from people who are making different choices, and still appreciate and enjoy hearing about mine. :) So thank you.

  • Michelle

    I just wanted to say that if you ever decide to stop writing the blog I would really miss your words!! I have not seen the comments on Facebook, but am sorry to hear how they are weighing you down. You provide a sense of connection for me (and I am guessing for many others) who are choosing a path less taken and can feel alone at times. Your words have made me feel less alone in our choices and I can’t tell you what a difference it has made in helping me to have the courage to keep going even though we may be on a different path than most. I thank you for all of your time and words and look forward to the possibility of more:)

    • http://www.jennifermcgrail.com/ pathlesstaken

      Thank you for the encouragement, Michelle! These kind words from all of you have helped more than I can say.

  • Shannon Wasie

    Have you read much of Brene browns work or blog? I love her… I’m just at the beginning of the very vulnerable journey of blogging… But her stuff has encouraged me to keep courage. She just did an interview with author Elizabeth Gilbert… And she said this awesome quote about exactly the pain you’re feeling (but specifically about not reading mean comments on purpose!). I thought immediately of you and wanted to share :) I love your blog so much!

    “Protecting yourself from that kind of temptation requires a fierce, self- loving discipline. It is not in any way “courageous” or an exercise in “facing the truth” to read mean-spirited comments about yourself; it is just self-destructive — just an excuse to feed yourself a bunch of empty calories of pure evil. You have absolutely nothing to learn from the comments of mean, unhappy, critical people who know and care nothing about your soul or your life.”

    You are valued and wonderful!

    • http://www.jennifermcgrail.com/ pathlesstaken

      I haven’t, I’ll have to check her out. Thank you for the encouragement! That is some sage advice for sure.

  • Clare

    Oh no, don’t say that! I’ve just found this blog! And as a Christian investigating radical unschooling, I really like what I’ve read so far.. I hope you feel better about everything soon.

    • http://www.jennifermcgrail.com/ pathlesstaken

      Thanks so much, Clare. :) And it’s just going to be break. I needed some time to gain some perspective, but I’ll be back!