Hey, Chump Nation, happy birthday! The blog turns 6 years old today! Have some cake! (Or, in the proper spirit, take away cake.)
Viva la revolution, CN! We are changing the infidelity narrative. Have you noticed how “pick me dance” has slipped into the lexicon? Or how the comment sections on those blameshifting RIC articles are getting stroppier calling out bullshit? Are you detecting a certain “cheaters aren’t cool” vibe in popular culture?
I don’t think I’m imagining it. We did that, Chump Nation. Hundreds of thousands of us, around the world. We did that together.
When I started this blog, I never imagined I would still be Chump Lady six years later, or that the blog would take on a life of its own, with a book deal and meet-up groups in far-flung places. Clearly, I wasn’t the only one hungry for a narrative change and chump-centric support — the odometer flipped 19 million a couple weeks ago. That’s a LOT of chumps.
If you ever thought you were alone, feeling freakish, the sheer volume and unoriginality of Stupid Shit Cheaters Say should put your humiliation to rest. Being chumped is a very common experience — and there’s strength in numbers. What Chump Nation does is bear witness to the real costs of betrayal and demonstrates how absurd the “exuberant act of defiance” cheater narrative is. Every day we deconstruct that shit — and archive it.
Chump Nation is also a testament to resilience. That you can overcome the most shattering and intimate of rejections and rebuild. You don’t believe me? Read one “Tell Me How You’re Mighty” thread. (You can’t do it with a dry eye.) Many chumps have walked this path before, and they’re here cheering the newbies to the other side.
I am so proud of what we’ve built with this community. It’s not just a support site, it’s a movement!
Now for the news.
I am at a crossroads. I want to build on this momentum. Every time someone asks me to write a New York Times op-ed, or lobby for a TED talk, or somehow be the public face of chumpdom, and I don’t have the time to do it, I feel like I’m disappointing them. I’ve committed myself recently to taking on podcasts (more on that in a moment), and I post five columns a week, and maintain a website with traffic most Fortune 500 companies would kill for. (Fortune 500 companies with full-time webmasters and IT staffs.)
The reality is, I have to fit all my CL work around a full-time job, plus life. I don’t live the freelance existence in rural Texas any more when the blog was a quaint hobby that fit in a shoebox. I live in Washington, D.C. and the blog is a Godzilla-sized behemoth.
Imagine if you had to get up and write an 800-word essay before you left for work each morning. Well, that’s me. Now add in IT headaches, troll attacks, and a bazillion emails each week that need attending to.
I’ve been burning both ends of the candle for two years since we moved to Washington. I fear it’s not sustainable. As in, I have little life margin. As in, my inbox follows me everywhere. As in, I write when I wake up, I write all day at work, and I dig out when I get home. Either, this place must become a proper full-time job, or I have to scale it back. (I post once a week, rerun columns, and maintain the archives.) Obviously, I would prefer the first choice and not the latter.
I wish I could keep this place growing as it is and not ask you guys for anything. Of course, being a chump, I’d rather chew off my arm than ask anyone for anything…
However, there’s a solution — I’ve joined Patreon — a platform that supports creators. (When it asked what I was creating, I replied “A chump revolution.”) You’re not just giving to me blindly, there is accountability on my end, and perks for your patronage. If 1,000 of you subscribe for $10 a month, I can leave my salaried, “civilian” job and be Chump Lady full-time. You will all own me. (Like layaway, in installments… but you OWN ME!) Given this blog’s numbers, the importance of our mission, the gallows-humor fun we have along the way, and the passion and commitment of Chump Nation, it’s completely doable.
But, but! Change! Ennnnh!
I’ve created a handy FAQ here to address your concerns.
What are the benefits of a full-time Chump Lady? Should that really be unleashed on the world?
It means more content — podcasts, live stream “Ask Me Anything” video broadcasts, and me actually engaging in the comments and more on social media.
It means this support site GROWS and continues to support new chumps.
It means more Universal Bullshit Translator. More cartoons. More bandwidth. And hell, I may even actually show up at some meet-ups, because whoa… life margin!
Is this a pay wall?! I can’t afford $10 a month!
If SOME pay it forward for OTHERS, the existing content (blog, archives, and forums) will not change. The vital core content of Chump Lady (“Trust That They Suck,” “Five Things That Keep You Stuck With a Cheater,” “Real Remorse? Or Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse,” and hundreds of other columns and their comments) will remain available and free to all who need it, regardless of ability to pay, subsidized by those who can and do contribute. Plus, subscribers get MORE content.
Ten bucks a month is $120 a year, which is the cost of one hour of therapy. How many of us spent that and more on Reconciliation Industrial Complex bullshit?
You mentioned perks…
Here’s the perk tier — for $10/month you get podcasts (interviews most likely, with mental health experts, lawyers, academics, and notable chumps — at least one per month once I’m up and running in June.) For $25/month you get podcasts PLUS life streaming Ask Me Anything broadcasts. For $100/month you get all that, PLUS, once your year’s subscription is fulfilled (drum roll please . . .) I will draw a cartoon of your cheating ex (or cat, if you’re at meh.)
Hang on. Isn’t this place supporting itself on ads?
It’s not sustainable. Ads annoy everyone, make the site load slower, and many have ways around them. (Google Chrome comes with a built-in ad blocker.) Ad revenue has been a helpful band-aid over the last two years, but it can’t provide the support this site needs to continue, much less grow.
If we can Patreon-enlist 1500+ (so doable!) we can kill the ads and make this site much nicer and faster loading.
I already donated. Why should I again?
Because I can’t change the narrative and support this site alone. New chumps are minted every day. Old chumps gain a life, move on, and don’t need this place. And yet, we need a place of chump-centric support. I won’t leave the interwebs to the RIC.
There are a few ANGELS who are paying it forward for the rest of us. But it’s a tiny fraction of readership, and you guys do it out of goodness of your heart with nothing in return. (In fairness, I’m terrible about fundraising and haven’t asked until today.) Patreon spreads the burden around more, and offers you bang for your buck — extra subscriber content.
There’s still a donate button (on the footer now) if you’re feeling crazy generous. My preference, however, is move support over to Patreon.
Are you getting rich off of this?
Sure. That’s why I work two jobs.
I plow most of my earnings back into this site, mostly in IT costs and lately, training for myself. (I’m now Adobe-cerfitied in Audition… hello podcasts!)
The other month, I mentioned I was tweaking the site and a bunch of you generously, without any prompting, donated $2K in a day. A beautiful, generous thing.
My IT bill that month was $3.1K.
Adobe training? $1K. And this is before my usual costs of hosting the place.
You get the picture, it’s a labor of love. Mostly, it’s not so much the money (that’s always a hustle) — it’s the TIME. There just aren’t enough hours in the day right now to be Chump Lady.
Why should I support your ass, Chump Lady?
I cannot both be an original prose stylist for a Bar association AND Chump Lady. I’ve been doing it for two years and it’s damn near killing me. Something’s got to give.
I can write sparkling sentences about Washington lawyers at ribbon cutting ceremonies, or I can drop F bombs and snark about cheaters. I mean, really, where do you think my gifts lie? (Have you BEEN to a ribbon cutting with lawyers? Do you know the psychic pain of writing “access to justice” 15 times in one paragraph? Is there anything original left to say about pro bono services?)
Please, save me from the lawyers.
But snark aside, please support this community, ensuring its future existence.
And now before we cut the cake (or snatch it from some cheater’s sticky little hands) I’d like to thank a few people.
A giant round of applause for Tempest who is Che Guevara to the Chump Revolution and all around badass den mother. She volunteers countless hours to CN on this site and in person. She’s a saint, a moderator here in the forums, and my number one troll slayer.
Another round of applause for Rebecca, our latest forum moderator. If your comment wound up in moderation over there, Rebecca fished you out. Policing our spam filters is a thankless job and she’s doing it. Rebecca’s been a supporter of the site from nearly day one. Yea Rebecca!
I’d also like to thank my stepson Whit, a software engineer, whose idea it was to introduce CN to Patreon. I’d resisted the subscription model before, and on a long train ride to Boston he pitched my husband on the idea, and how Patreon works. He also explained how CN’s passionate commitment to a higher purpose, sense of community, and interactivity make it a perfect fit for Patreon and the membership-based model of sustainment. He’s a bleeding edge futurist type, hip to the latest everything, and he gifted us with his IT superpowers. Thank you!
Also the hugest of accolades to my husband. Without him, there would be no blog, no book, and Chump Lady could never be possible. He endures my on-deadline morning grumpiness and is unflagging in his support so I can write. You can’t imagine what a sweet man he is and the deep commitment he has to CN. Let’s hear it for Mr. CL!
And finally thanks to all of you! There would be no Chump Nation without you and the support you give each other. It’s one thing to be one voice railing agains the predominant narrative. It’s quite another to have literal millions of you calling out bullshit with me. Thank you! Let’s keep this good thing going! Please support CN on Patreon! I’ll answer any questions in the comments. <3 Happy blog birthday!