Have you ever had one of those weeks when you feel as if things have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous? Well that is exactly what has happened since I wrote my previous post last Friday.
I'd said I felt I was going crazy, and I was living in an unrealistic world. Well this week things got very real.
Saturday and Sunday I was feeling very much the same as I had been. Very long-drawn-out days and nights with little sleep. Monday is when it all changed. I'm still trying to get my head around exactly what has happened.
Monday started off as any other day for me at the moment. I got up after about 2 hours of sleep, had copious amounts of coffee and did some work. My group has been going really well. With over 300 members in the space of two weeks and growing daily it's getting busy. Recently a lot of members have been posting up their own stories and experiences and not just about dating. Some have posted about break-ups, some about bereavement others about mental health. Some of the posts have been emotional and inspiring.
My group is open to anyone over 18, and it really has attracted people from all over the world. Males, females, single pringles, married and so on. It's a mix of stuff that is posted. Monday evening I was on a long phone call to my daughter and when I got off there were a number of private messages from group members disgruntled by some of the goings-on in the group. I checked and must admit was appalled. I and my moderator who was a very trusted friend need to approve every post. It's hard going as on Saturday alone we had 150 to sift through.
I can have a naughty playful side and I love innuendo and banter and all of that is appropriate for my group, however there is a line. My moderator knew this line, but he allowed it to be crossed. I looked at my group to see absolute filth had been allowed to be posted, and he was using the group as a dating site. Which it most certainly is not. I was not at all happy. In fact, I was more than upset.
I have worked really hard in setting up and promoting the page and group and whilst it's all been for fun on the outside it has been a saving grace for me, and it has often been challenging considering how I have really been feeling. I couldn't actually cope with what I was seeing so decided to shut everything off for the night including myself. I wasn't sure what to do and was still trying to process the very distressing call I had with my daughter. She had text her grandmother only to find out she was in hospital and had been for many days and nobody had told us. She had also spoken to a wellbeing counsellor who had informed my daughter her dad's death was not traumatic, and she just needs to get over it. Now as I am sure any parent would be I was furious and devastated that I wasn't able to give my baby a hug when she needed it most.
Tuesday I needed to see if I had a group or whether the Facebook police had closed it down. I logged on. The group was still there along with other messages from members unhappy at the previous nights postings. I went through and deleted any offending posts, fortunately there were only two but that was two too many and the comments that a few so called 'ladies' and 'gentleman' had made were XXX rated. I'm no prude but there are plenty of other sites out there for that.
I felt very out of my depth and wasn't sure what to do. I also felt let down by my friend. I had work to do but in between was contacting the members who were upset. One of them was a lady who originally along with a few others encouraged me to set the group up. I spoke to my friend and to cut a rather long story short he apologized and said it wouldn't happen again. I trusted him so believed what he said. He is probably the only person on the planet other than anyone who may read this who knows what I've been going through and where my head is at, so why wouldn't I trust him? The long and short of it is, that I was wrong, and he allowed his ego to come before our friendship.
My confidence is already at the lowest it has been in years and this absolutely flawed me. I can't go into everything that happened as I am still trying to get my head around it. I put a very open and honest post up on the group and followed the lead from other members. I put a post up as me! Not hiding behind the profile picture of a fish but me, a picture showing my face. That took every ounce of bravery I had in me. My post was straight from the heart. I was going to close the group.
What happened next made me feel like I was in a fantasy. My alerts went mad. In the space of 20 minutes I had over 150 comments and messages of support. I sat reading everyone in disbelief. These people had taken time out of their day to encourage me to keep the group going. How much fun they were having and one lady said it had saved her. I received messages from a guy who runs Lads Bible page telling me I had created something unique and what an amazing job I was doing. Another from a lady who runs a group with 235k followers saying the same. Truly stunned.
Just before I went to bed I saw a blog from somebody I used to know. I read the last 3 entries and could see how well they are doing. It made me smile. Some of what was written about had been a bit of an issue when I knew them, some of it I could use myself, but the more I read the more the same feeling flooded through. Pride. Proud of them. Proud of myself.
Today is Thursday and the messages keep coming. It all seems so surreal. How can anything I have done impact this many people? I can't get my head around it. I have asked the consent of a gentleman who sent me a message yesterday and I would like to share that here. Not for praise, but I guess I am in shock, and maybe it will help me believe it's real.
Good afternoon POFUs. I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say how I think you are doing a great job and that I'm really enjoying the POFUs page. I've skipped over a lot of the stuff that's been said recently but what I have seen has made me sad for you. This is your group, and it is what you have made it to be. For those who want it to be something else, well, quite frankly they should be looking into putting the effort into making their own group in my opinion. I think you have the balance right between seriousness and frivolity and I think the community spirit you have generated is fantastic. I really hope that you are getting lots of support and that, while the detractors can be debilitating, that support is enough to keep to going. If I were to be running this group I would be proud of it, I hope you are too. Take care.