That time my blog got hacked (or did it?)

You may notice there’s a bit of a lapse in time between this post and the one before. You may be wondering what happened to weeks six through twelve. Well, let me tell you a little story.

Bootcamp got crazy about halfway through and I could not keep up on writing posts. Every week, I would take notes and compose a quick draft, but could never find the time (or leftover brain power) to polish the piece.

Fast forward to the end of school (middle of December). We were given three weeks to create our final project and there I was, four days before demo day and thinking, “I finished early! Yay! Now I have time to get my blog up to date!” I try to log in and can’t. I quickly figure out my site has been blacklisted for phishing, which I find hilarious because I don’t have users on my blog, I don’t allow comments, etc. – it’s mostly just a place for me to lay down my thoughts and show people that I can indeed put sentences together. So, good job phishers! You picked a winner! I find out it takes about $200 to get a site ‘cleaned,’ which I can’t justify spending. I turn to the AMAZING Utah JavaScript community for input, and a complete stranger offers to log in to my site and clean it for free. Thing is, he can’t find any malicious code at all once he gets in there. So we ask Google to review it, and they say, “Nah, it’s still blacklisted.”

Meanwhile, school is over, then the holidays come and go, then job hunting begins in earnest. Why yes, I am still paying monthly hosting and domain fees, because annual contracts, don’t ya know! I spend a lot of my time coding and decide that since I can’t have the site cleaned, maybe I’ll just copy what I can to a web app I built myself. So just a few days ago I pull up my site to find a posted date, and what do you know, it’s not blacklisted anymore!! And there they all are, my 18 or so drafts waiting to be finished and published. Which maybe I’ll do someday, after I have a job 🙂

Specks of victory

They warn you to be okay with being uncomfortable. You read a hundred blog posts that say the same. YOU RETWEET QUOTES ABOUT IT. You think to yourself, “It’s part of why I’m doing this, because I was too comfortable in my previous life – I was getting too stagnant.” But no…you have no idea.

No idea what it will be like to go from having every answer you need, from being queen of your domain, from feeling good about yourself because in general you’re doing shit right, to experiencing day after day of failure, to being thrown so off-balance by the paradigm shift that it even starts affecting the rightness of stuff you do in your home life, to feeling afraid to do anything at all because recent experience has taught you the probability of getting it right is NOT GOOD.

And you thought you had this discomfort thing down because hey, you’d already survived letting down the ones who count on you by quitting your cushy job; and hey, you’d already gone against everything you believed about money in order to take a giant risk with basically your entire savings account; and hey, you’d already spent countless hours over the last 16 weeks alone, with yourself, dealing with the crazy beasts inside your head. But no…you had no idea.

No idea that this discomfort would tear you down, but it doesn’t build you back up, no – it leaves you to fend for yourself, leaves you to sift through the rubble looking for the tiniest speck of ANYTHING you can call a victory. Last week you were aware that you had strengths and weaknesses. This week you only have weaknesses and a keen desperation to not feel like a fool. So you search, and you search, and eventually your brain comes up with:

Weakness: Teaching others.
Speck of victory: Within that inability to guide/teach someone else, there lies a window for them to find their own way. And I do have the ability to support people as they discover their own best way of doing things, and encourage them, and help them feel safe making mistakes.

Weakness: JavaScript solutions don’t come naturally to me.
Speck of victory: My code is organized, detailed, and at least I do understand what it’s doing.

Weakness: Basically terrified of meetups.
Speck of victory: I still make myself go.

And your brain has to be satisfied with these three itty bitty victories it found, because you now have 5 hours to sleep before getting up and throwing yourself at failure again. And you’re not quite sure if the rest of your life will be this way, but it’s the decision you made, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

On risk

That thing where you get the final, legit notice that your financing for a coding bootcamp has been approved and you think to yourself, “Dear lord, this is really happening!?” Yeah, that.

Last night I sat at Whiskey Street with my love, drinking cocktails and catching Pokemon. Just across the way stood the building where said coding bootcamp will be starting in two short weeks. I stared at it. I tweeted about how this is the riskiest thing I’ve ever done. One of my inner voices popped up and reminded me, “Hey, you’ve remarried after a horrible divorce, are you sure this is the riskiest?” To which I replied, “Yeah, girl. Yeah.”

Then another inner voice proceeded to yell, “YOU ARE THIRTY FREAKING SEVEN AND JUST NOW DOING THE RISKIEST THING EVER? IT’S ABOUT TIME!”

Ah, my brain.

What makes this the riskiest is that I have people depending on me. I have kids, a husband. If I fail it’s not just me in the poorhouse, living in my car again, eating ramen and bologna sandwiches every day of the week. It’s my kids who’ll lose their own bedrooms in the traditional suburban home I’ve finally been able to provide after all these years; it’s my husband who won’t have the freedom to keep doing what he loves because there will be pressure for him to get a better-paying job with actual benefits. It will be all the savings I’ve painstakingly set aside over the last eight years gone in a flash and nothing to show for it.

Risk in this situation is a different ball game than risk on my own. As a teen, I took crazy risks even after thinking things through. Sure, I’ll take my friend’s Lotus up to 150 on an unfamiliar mountain road. Sure, I’ll get a jailhouse-style tattoo from a guy who was introduced to me over lunch at Denny’s. Sure, I’ll fall in and out of love with abandon because hey, it’s just my own heart I’m hurting. Then you have kids. Or you get married. Or you have family members you need to take care of. And risks, even though they’re not life-threatening and really sound quite safe, suddenly become about ten times scarier.

I am scared. I hide it pretty well. Most of the time, I’m confident I’ll succeed because career-wise, I always have. But often I wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat (cliche but true), absolutely terrified of being a source of struggle for the people I love the most. God love ’em – they’re not even worried about it. I guess I’ve got that part covered 🙂

Also published on Medium.