January 27, 2021

Mona Lisa Smile: My AHA Moment

Like any blog or website, it’s vulnerable to attack. Malicious viruses that have one purpose and one purpose only. Destroy everything.

In 2016,  this blog was in full swing. A newbie on the scene, I wanted to be heard; heard not because I was a showoff or an attention seeker but someone who had a message to share with the world.

And the message was hope. 

Little did I know that hope, was what I was going to need the most.

With writing as my conduit for communication, I wanted to inspire people, be a voice of confidence, strength and faith when they were looking for direction in life. It didn’t take long until my message was found and in that same sense, I found myself.

Soon enough, I couldn’t write the pieces fast enough and by the time they were posted, most articles had been republished, rewritten and shared a thousand times faster than I could promote them. You might be thinking, well that’s great right?

I didn’t think so at the time. I was angry like a teenager whose older brother snooped through her journal, copied her ideas and thoughts and told everybody about it; passing it along like a juicy gossip note. Or someone who copied your exam answers because they knew you got the marks they needed and handed it to the professor first.

It didn’t take long until I realized that the chance of making a decent living at writing was slim to none. Where others were prospering greatly from some of my work (I had been told) I had yet to see much return from my own endeavours. Nevertheless, I kept the faith and each day, I told myself not to be upset about money, “just be happy that others appreciate your work!” and I was for the most part. Some days, however, the ladder was a far climb.

And then it happened…

The money?  Ha! No. Far from it, quite the opposite I would say. A blog that was once thriving, had been wiped clean and every piece of work on it. Every article that I had poured my heart and soul into was gone. It was the malicious attack that all of these web developers try to help you prepare for and needless to say, the site was finito.

In desperation, I did everything I could to get the site, the work, and everything back but it was to no avail. It was all gone and I was left in shock staring at a blank screen.

For two years, I laid idle, awestruck and in turmoil, my entire life’s work was gone and it was painstaking. I began to fall into my own bout of hopelessness, without inspiration, faith, or any idea of how to restart or rebuild from scratch.

If this had been 100 years ago it would be the equivalent of someone taking your personal journal and throwing it into an incinerator, and worst of all, it felt like there was nothing I could do about it. And as 2019 rounded the corner, every morning I pulled my miserable self out of bed, made coffee and pretended to put a smile on my face, usually, it would just come out as half-hearted, bitter, disappointed and deeply hurt. (My poor husband had to live with that version of me for almost 3 years). I had a sorry for living attitude and just couldn’t seem to shake it off.

As spring began,  I finally got the courage to give it another shot, staring at a blank slate I didn’t know where to start, but I was determined to get back everything that was taken from me. With tenacity, fierceness and pride of ownership, I tracked down every website and blog that had copied or republished my articles and started slapping copyright and do not republish on each and every one.

At first, I found a few, and then a few more and I when I plugged a few catchphrases into the search engines. That’s when the bottom fell out.

As I read through the old work that I began to recover and reclaim, something happened that I didn’t expect.  Tears began to run down my cheeks and my anger turned to relief, my frustration to gladness and my pride of ownership to gratitude

There they all were.

My every disgruntled, mumbled under my breath complaint about other people using my work, every article I had ever been upset about and I was elated, overcome with joy, new found hope, faith, inspiration and for the first time I truly, deeply did not care about the money, not one bit.

The articles came floating back to me like flowers, pieces of what I had thought were lost and gone with the wind. Held together by friends I didn’t know I had. Those awful, terrible, incredibly beautiful people who had found value in the words I had written, pieces of my own masterpiece whether it was or wasn’t one. Thank you.

As I stand here seeing and living this blessing in disguise, I truly believe that everything does happen for a reason and this is my AHA moment.

Mona Lisa Smile.

And upgrade your antivirus.

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