Happy Birthday Bonzai Aphrodite; 3 Years Is A Good Solid Run; This Post Sucks

February 1st, 2012 - filed under: Furthermore » Feedback

Today marks three years that I’ve been inhabiting this little slice of cyberspace. Three years of sharing my life online. Three veganniversaries, two books, one pregnancy. Three seasons in the garden and three years of recipes. Countless comments and conversations, shared creativity, and blossoming community. In some ways it’s hard to believe it’s really been three years, but then I think back to where I began . . . and man! I was a whole different person back then.

When I started down this path, my life was wide open. I had just quite a job I hated, I was ambitious and excited and had all the time in the world to throw myself into my writing. I worked tirelessly, as has been my nature, and slowly but surely I pieced together this precious little space. My intention was to create a community of like-minded individuals, a network of action-oriented optimists to move and shake and make the world a better place. And . . . I think I did! We have done amazing things here, you and I. Whether you found Bonzai at it’s beginning, or whether you joined us somewhere along the way, or even if you just arrived last week, you’ve all played a part in making this place incredible. Thank you.

But there have been hard parts, too. For me, there are times when it’s difficult to live my life on display. At first I really appreciated being held accountable; it was motivating, and I loved connecting with people on a similar path. I found it empowering to feel like I was making a difference in the world. That may sound silly, but I’ve received enough emails by now that I do believe I’ve played some small but important part in changing a lot of lives. These emails light me up, and often bring me to tears. Every email, every single one, has filled me with gratitude. That has meant more to me than anything else, and has really become the force that keeps me moving forward here.

Over the years I’ve grown, and everything else has grown too. I’ve become a mother! Things have changed. My responsibilities and obligations, my day-to-day life and the way I use my time, and many of my priorities, have had to shift. And oh boy have I fought it! Often to my detriment, I have fought it. I can run myself ragged but the truth is, I no longer have the singular focus and endless energy to throw myself into this project. Bonzai is so much more than just a series of isolated blog posts, you know? Nurturing a community takes a lot of energy.


There’s a few things that you should know.

See, there’s this elephant in the blogosphere.
When I created Bonzai, I dreamed of a space that would provide for others what I’d wished I had for myself: a place to belong and to be inspired. A space for hope and positivity, for sharing ideas and spurring creativity, with simple mindful solutions for building a better, more beautiful life. I had nothing but the best intentions.

What I’ve since come to realize is that this is an unfair model. In the process of preserving Bonzai as a “happy place”, I’ve painted an incomplete image of my life. And although I always knew that it was only a partial picture, I realized (too late) that this [mis]representation – even coming from a place of caring – was having unintended consequences.

To be clear, this is a problem that goes well beyond Bonzai Aphrodite. The same thing is happening all over the blogosphere (especially with “mommy bloggers”), and it’s something I’d love to see addressed by the larger community.

The dilemma essentially is this: bloggers want to perpetuate positivity. To lift people up and empower them. We want to show you beautiful things. Or maybe I should just speak for myself. That’s what I want.

But in doing so, we paint an unrealistic, idealized version of a person – me – and of a life – my life. Again, just speaking for myself, I fear that I’ve created an impossible standard. A measuring stick whereby readers, trying to live up, will always believe they fall short. I know this because I’m also on the other side of it, with other bloggers, comparing myself to my perception of them, and feeling like I’m “less than”. And I know it because people write to me, feeling just exactly that way after reading Bonzai.

This is a real problem and it really breaks my heart. I don’t ever want to play a part in someone feeling bad about themselves.

It’s something I think about a lot these days, but as of yet I haven’t been able to see a perfect solution. (And it’s entirely possible that there isn’t one.)

Postpartum Anxiety.
So yes, there are parts of myself that I choose not to share on Bonzai. That’s pretty obvious I guess, since I’ve never gabbed about my sex life and I’ve never discussed the specifics of my finances. And along those lines, something that I’ve kept private is the difficulty I’ve experienced as a parent. Becoming a mother has been a really rough transition for me, actually, and I struggle with it . . . a lot.

It wasn’t even until a few months ago, more than 18 months postpartum, that I realized my suffering went beyond the normal aches and pains of adjustment. That it was more than just me being bad at this (which, sadly, is something I’d considered).

The problem is that they always talk about postpartum depression, and I didn’t feel depressed. I wasn’t sad or listless or losing sleep or extra sleepy or losing weight or extra hungry or any of those other signs of depression. I was just . . . anxious. All the time. And irritable and short-tempered and angry. As a pacifist and someone who deeply values compassion and communication and cooperation, this was pretty horrifying for me. It threw me for a loop and consequently, I’ve been cloaked in shame and self-doubt for a very, very long time. And all the while, I didn’t really realize it was happening.

I don’t want to get into the details of it here (this is an epically long post as it is), but if you’re interested in learning more about postpartum anxiety, you should read this blog post, because it describes what I’ve experienced to a tee. Like, exactly. I couldn’t have written it better myself.

I just want to say, now, that I’m so sorry for keeping this from you. At first I was just confused, and then it grew into embarrassment, and eventually self-loathing settled in. I know that mental health issues carry an unfair stigma and I wish I’d had more of a grasp on what was really happening to me, so that I could have shared my process with you. As it was, I hardly even realized it was happening, and mostly I was just trying to put my head down and hold strong, get through it, and put on a pretty face in the meantime.

I’m sorry.

But ultimately, my life is too full.
Since Waits was born I’ve written two books, maintained a thrice-weekly blog-posting schedule, and kept up with freelance writing work, all while parenting full time, trying to be a good wife and partner, keeping house, and making most of our food from scratch. Oh, and being a dog mom and chicken guardian and farmer/gardener. It’s a lot that I’ve been juggling.

Over the years, one of the most frequent questions I’ve received is: “How the hell do you do it all?” Ha! But I’ll tell you the truth. For the first time, I’ll actually answer the damn question.

It comes at great cost. In order to “do” so much and give so much of myself, I set aside the things which are the most important. I sacrifice my relationships.

I skip relaxing craft nights with girlfriends, and evenings spent on double dates, and unlimited afternoon reading time with my kid, and weekends away and weekends doing *nothing* at all and having the space in my day for a spontaneous picnic, and all the other moments that make life, you know . . . sort of actually worth living. Not that I never have fun, because I do, but so much of it – too much of it – is buried under a pile of stress and deadlines, pushed back with promises of “later” and “when/then”.

I. Am. So. Burned. Out.

I’m an atheist, did you know that? So no afterlife for me. I only get one shot. I used to believe that in my 100 or so years of existence, I had to make my indelible mark on the world. Do something great. Secure my spot in the annals of history so that I’d be . . . remembered.

But I don’t think that’s what it’s about, anymore. Because even the most important person ever – even Mozart or Einstein or Alexander the Great – even they are just a blip in the entirety of human history, and all of human history is just a blip in the entirety of the Universe. I know that it sounds like a 14-year-old’s acid trip “deep thought”, but for me, it’s been an epiphany.

If I only get 100 or so years of existence, I better make damn sure that I enjoy them.


So, why am I telling you all this?

Because I need to step away. I need to stop blogging. It breaks my heart and I’ve fought it for a long time, but I know, deep down, that it has to happen. At least for now.

I need to clear everything out so that I can really see. I need some quiet so that I can take stock. I need to slow down. I need to know what it feels like to not always live a week (or a month) behind at my life. I need to find my happy, because I seem to have misplaced it.

So this is my goodbye-for-now. This is my goodbye to Bonzai.

I’ll still be around the Internet though, sharing interesting finds and my freelance articles on my Facebook page. And tweeting my general musing, random thoughts, and silly silliness, through my Twitter. I’m sure I’ll continue to flood the net with photos of my kid, via @sayward on Instagram (or Followgram) (also Tumblr) And I’ll definitely continue to obsessively curate my little collections on my Pinterest boards. Bonzai will stay here, just exactly as it is now.

But yeah, who am I kidding. That’s not the same. And this hurts. I have a knot in my belly the size of Kansas and I feel like I’m letting everyone down, and I’m sorry, and I’ll miss you. I just really hope you can understand.

And I hope that I’ll see you ‘round the Internet.

And I hope you know how sincerely I cherish you. Thank you so much for being a part of this.

With all my love and from the bottom of my heart,

*** I’ve been absent lately when it comes to answering comments, questions, and emails. I’m sure it was just my way of keeping some [emotional] distance as I prepared for this post. But I want you to know, I *will* be going through and responding to everything. It may take me some time, but I will.

As well, I’m about halfway through my Great Grand Diet Trial. Im not one who likes to leave unfinished business, so I do plan to post the rest of that series. Eventually.

  • wendy

    I started following your blog because we were in the same due date club on a motherhood message board. you are one of those people in the online world I feel like I’m friends with, even though I am only I lurker on your sight. our kids are the same age, so it has been fun watching you and waits grow as I grow along with my little one. after being a vegetarian for years and raising my kids as vegetarian too, you inspired me over and over to take the final plunge to the vegan side, gave me the encouragement I needed to deal with people who think I am ruining my children :) I can always remind myself that sayward is doing it, too :) I so aapreciate your honesty and the trust you have to do what is best for you nad yours FIRST. relationships in real life are much more valuable than anything else. thank you for the honesty about postpartum anxiety. my husband points out this change in me regularly, and I am so glad to have words to connect to my feelings now.

    thank you for sharing so much of yourself with me. you will never know how far out your ripples have reached.

  • kristen

    thank you so much for everything you have had the courage and integrity to put out there for the rest of us who may or may not be struggling with our own lives. i have never, ever felt badly about myself for reading your wonderful blog; i have only felt inspired and motivated. you have been a part of several things coming together for me, changing my life for the better. thank you for that. i wish you nothing but the best. i will miss your presence here, but i will always appreciate what you have done (which is a lot!!). take care.

  • Lotus

    Will continue to love and share Bonzai with others, but please take care of yourself. I stopped my own blog recently for similar reasons. Enjoy the hell out of your life, girl! You deserve it. And please do not feel the need to respond to this comment, I’d be happier knowing you used those minutes for yourself. Korina

  • Remy

    Well now I don’t know what I’m going to read during my “lunch break.” But oh well! You are AWESOME and don’t you ever forget it.

  • Heather

    Thank you Sayward, for your wonderful insight and inspiration.
    Your honesty in this post is stirring, and much appreciated. I have to echo the posters who have said there is absolutely no need for any sort of apology. Your blog will continue to inspire and help people, while you do the thing of utmost importance: enjoy your life.
    I wish you so much joy and fulfillment, Sayward! I recommend reading “The Power of Now” as you continue on with your journey. :)

  • Kris

    I’ll never be able to communicate what your blog has done for me and my life. The things you’ve written about have spoken to this ‘inner hippy’ that I have discovered in me. And for the first time I got to say ‘yes! there is someone out there in the world that values these things, thinks about these things, is doing something about these things’. I know you’re not the only person on the planet that has similar ideas but you were the first blog I followed and therefore opened my eyes to a greater community and for that I thank you.

    I’ve appreciated your honesty, your hard work, your awesomeness, you’re ‘you-ness’. Which is kinda wierd since we’ve never met. But alas, the things one outs out into this world can never really be measured.

    Personally, I’ve never felt bad seeing what you do. It’s inspired me. I’m also sorry if there were people out there that didn’t realize that what you were trying to do was inspire and they took it the wrong way.

    So, I will patiently wait for the things you feel are worth sharing, on your terms, in your own time. Because that is what it’s suppose to be. I wish you the greatest happiness Sayward. And live as well as you dare!

  • Rachel Hill

    <3 Take care. I will miss you.

  • Luci

    You’re writing has changed my life. It’s odd how a blog can have such an emotional impact, but Bonzai has helped me improve myself in so many ways. Thank you for everything you’ve done.

  • Kory Rigler

    Oh my. I felt it coming.
    I have to admit I felt really sad at first reading this… all my favorite blogs (no really, I thought I was a plague for a minute) stop (I don’t want to say quit, it’s not the right verb).
    But then I realized… it’s always because they’ve realized greater priorities, usually family over blogging, which is SUCH a great lesson and reminder for me (and I’m sure many others).
    So thank you THANK YOU for everything you have shared with us, your blog is such an essential resource for me!
    I just have to say… please don’t take it down! One of my absolute favorite blogs did that and I couldn’t even go back and reference the great info that had been posted there, I was SO sad!
    I also want to thank you for posting about the postpartum anxiety… I think this may be what’s been going on with me! I have had SUCH a rough time since the birth of #2, anger and anxiety and irritation and I blamed it on my hormones readjusting but it’s been 6 months for goodness sake and I just want my kids to nap more and go to bed earlier and then hate myself for it… lordy. Postpartum depression never crossed my mind because I don’t feel depressed. So there you go, helping me again.
    Thank you.

  • Alyssa

    Hi Sayward,

    Thank you thank you thank you for your excellent blog. I’ve been reading for nearly a year, and your blog has been an honest to goodness ray of light in a year that has sucked in so many ways. It’s a year in which I left a job that wasn’t good for me, but was my community, and a year in which I have come to the conclusion that as much as I love my chosen profession (I’m a classical musician) the beautiful parts of life that I have to give up for it – time with friends, family, just time to enjoy being alive – aren’t really worth it. And your blog has helped me come to that place -it’s a place that I haven’t 100% accepted yet, but that I feel is right…and I’ll get there. Your blog has helped me with so much (not least of which: bakings soda and ACV replacing shampoo and conditioner – THANK YOU!!) and maybe this sounds weird, but your blog helped me feel way less alone this year. And I can’t thank you enough for that.

    Also, in the spirit of full disclosure that you so eloquently expressed in your post, I’ve felt guilty for a few months about something. I saw you at Herbivore last September (I was in town for an audition) and was there to buy YOUR (excellent, awesome, wonderful) pregnancy book, and I saw you and totally went all sheepish and shy. You were there with your adorable, sweet little Waits right after he broke his arm, and I have kicked myself so many times for not just being open and taking the opportunity life had just randomly given me to tell you to your face how wonderful this blog of yours is, and what a difference you’ve made in my life. I’m sorry that I didn’t have the courage that day to tell you.

    Anyway, as much as you will be missed by so many, I’m happy that you are taking the steps you need to take to enjoy your life on your terms. I know that is a fucking hard thing to do, and I admire you so much for doing it. All the best to you, Sayward!! And thank you again for your beautiful thoughts, projects, photography, and life!

  • Arianna

    Words cannot express how I am feeling right now. I have been struggling as a mother. Just today, I had a complete mental breakdown over it. I thought I was totally alone until reading this and the postpartum anxiety link. I do everything to be an amazing mom but am just spiteful, resentful, bitter…angry. I thought I was insane until just now. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. Thank you.

  • Shamima

    Thank you for sharing with us, it means a great deal. While I am sad you will not longer be blogging I can totally understand where you are coming from. You have given me great ideas to help nourish my son and been a source of inspiration. Take time for yourself and be happy!!!

  • Shamima

    p.s. congratulations on your nomination in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Vegan & Vegetarian Moms!!

  • Joselle Palacios

    Thank you, Sayward, for sharing Bonzai with us and for this post in particular. I think it’s really brave to admit to how HARD this is. I may read a post and look at your photos for 5 or 10 minutes and you have spent at least hours on one post. Additionally, you share little edited snippets of your life (and we all do in different ways all the time, not just bloggers) and then people compare themselves to you. I know better. I am constantly telling my husband not to compare our lives to other people because we have no idea what goes on behind close doors and behind people’s eyes. And yet, I do it all the time. I’ve done it here.

    I have had anxiety and depression in my life since I was a young child. Mostly, I function. And then I have episodes where I don’t. Anxiety has become very familiar and then erupts into a depression. I think they are very connected. I think these 2 links might be helpful to you (I love the link you shared, “I feel angry all the time.” Boy, do I. That really resonated with me and even though I am planning on being a mom, I know I will likely struggle with PPD and I feel sad about that). They have been to me.

    1) http://postpartumprogress.com/ Is a great website, full of peer support, which I think is so powerful.

    2) This essay, “Eden,” by the brilliant Kristin Hersh isn’t about PPD per se but about our small little worlds, home, relationships, mothering and how we’re made to feel bad if we’re not constantly “tap dancing” to look perfect. God, she’s amazing: http://www.kristinhersh.com/eden/

    Your blog has been a source of inspiration to me since I found your birth post on Offbeat Mama. I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this community. You owe no one anything. I think it’s so HEALTHY and KIND to unplug from this. If something that once brought joy is tearing at your insides, even if you feel ambivalence, it’s okay to walk away. That too is brave.

    Thank you so much. If you ever need to talk, please email or connect in some way. It’s the least I can do. XO

  • http://www.goodoldhousehold.com/ Monique

    Dear Sayward,

    as many more people just said earlier in this blogpost, Bonzai did really changed a bit of my (and my families) life. Thank you so much for that!
    It makes me so sad to read something about you that also made me stumble a few years ago. And sometimes – I have to be honest – even now it can make me stumble now and then.. I just want you to know that I think you are a stunner and I really hope that you will be strong enough to find some time to occasionally post on this blog.

    For now I want to wish you ALL the best, take good care of yourself (the rest of the family will then follow) and don’t forget that there are many, many people on this whole wide world (yes.. WHOLE WORLD!) who are loving you. Even if it is just a little part of you. You’re a wonderful woman, remember that and cherish it!

    Lots of love from Holland (but I think you already quessed that at my crappy english…) ;o)


  • Chelibw

    sayward, if you knew how mcuh you changed my life and it s impact on the world… i read this sad post on my phone while on vacation and i was blue. it is very sad to see you go
    but in a way i totally get it. half the time im thiking how the frikin hell does she manage to take pictures of all this? forget uploading them. posting!?!? ha! i get it, it adds to the stress. and sometimes you need tobe more present. in mind and spirit. these critters demand it
    speaking of which, i should respect that it is your choice what you share, but i always wished you d share more about your parenting experience. the blogosphere is so full of these “mommy bloggers”, who are full of jesus love and silly mishchief, who are intent on getting their kids to do xyz, who think they are commodities, cute accesories… mompreneurs who thikn they can dispel advise and share ah jeez moments. ugh! it would have been nice ot hear from someone more real, on how crazy insane it is to spend 28 hrs a day w a child, trying to be all loving, respectufl and AP, and then losing your cool, and wishing you d just plopped it (yes, it) in front of the tv, shared a frozen pizza and laughed together, instead of rawing the crap out of organic everythings while losing your shit at your stinkin kid who wont let go of your leg or stop screeching because you deigned put him down. sometimes i wish you’d kept it more real on the parenting. but that s just me (and you dont see me blogging about my demanding little bosses, so i m one to talk)
    so on to my suggestions: i have two
    maybe you could keep bloggin but blog less. say once a month or soemthing?
    or maybe… we could do the blogging. it could be a community bonzai. whoever wants to could submit posts and either you or someone of your liking that you appoint could give them the looksee, see if they are bonzay and all, and we could KEEP THE BONZAI ALIVE as a community. beacause i really need it.
    anyhoo. i do wish you all the happy you have coming. and i applaud you for picking and chosing. go be more present.

  • Jess

    Your blog is my favorite blog ever, Sayward. In fact, it is the ONLY one I read with regularity (even though I rarely comment). I used to love blogs and read TONS of them, and I even blogged myself for awhile – but then I started to get burnt out and frustrated with the very things you mention in the beginning of this post: People projecting an unattainable image of a perfect life and pretending like their life is OMGTHEMOSTAMAZINGEVER!!! every single day. I love the way you shared sweet little snippets of your life, along with great cooking/household/lifestyle tips – but never came across as fake or perfect. I can’t really articulate why I love your writing so much, but it’s just so evident that you are a great person.

    Anyway, I’m totally rambling, but I just wanted to say that your blog never made me feel anything but happy while reading. Your blog is literally the only one that never irritated me, even though your life does look amazing. :) Just not fake amazing, if you know what I mean… You always write with such an honest voice (though I know now, not 100% honest – and that’s okay when you’re working through things and issues for yourself!). I find you very inspiring – as a vegan, and as someone who hopes to be a mother someday.

    I will definitely miss your posts, but please do NOT feel like you are letting your readers down. I am happy you are taking time for yourself and getting back on the right track after feeling burnt out and struggling with anxiety. Your readers will be here should you decide to return someday – but until then, I will definitely enjoy looking through your archives, and keeping up with you on Pinterest and Twitter!

    All the best to you and your family, Sayward! xo

  • sara thomas

    i would just like to thank you for everything sayward. you changed my life. not only did you inspire me get back to eating vegan, but you provided me with knowledge that helped me feel confident enough to raise my baby vegan as well. you have inspired me, and now i am inspiring others. my little sister (13) has become a vegan as well!

    bonzai has played a huge part in helping me to find myself, and gave me the strength to recognize where changes needed to be made in my life (no matter how risky or insane they seem!) you have made such a difference in so many people’s lives. you are truly a fantastic person, and i am grateful for what you have shared. also, i really appreciate you leaving the blog up as a resource, i refer to it several times a week! =)

    you’re right. you get one chance at this life, and i am really happy for you that you are able to let go and do what you need to do for yourself now. living in the moment is super important! i wish you, your husband and your beautiful little waits the best.

    ps-my husband and i are moving out to portland with our 15 month old son this summer. my husband is going to be attending PSU for architecture. i will be keeping my job as full-time mom and hopefully picking up some reiki clients and teaching bradley birth classes. i am especially excited after reading all the great things you have written about portland! it sounds fantastic, and we are sooooooo ready to be out of upstate NY!

  • sara thomas

    wendy that is such a nice comment. and i just want to say thanks to you for sharing that you are also a vegan raising a vegan baby. i have a 15 month old, and sayward also inspired me to raise him veg, and i feel super alone & unsupported sometimes. its nice to see another parent who understands how it feels.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=710641422 Sandra Elanges

    As much as I hate to see you go, I understand. I will miss your posts, but I am happy that you’re getting on with your life. Your little man will only be little for so long, enjoy these times as much as you can. You have been a true inspiration, and I cannot thank you enough for everything you have shared with your readers. Thank you again, Sayward, for all of your wisdom. I wish you all the best! <3

  • Laura, Poughkeepsie, Ny

    You Rock Sayward! I have been reading you weekly (and sometimes daily) for years. You have been an inspiration for many things..and now look, an inspiration to figure out the other modes of following your story~technology, ha. Feel the love sisterfriend. I will always carry your story in my heart. I will always buy your books. You are an excellent thinker, writer and renaissance women. You are so real, raw* and just awesome.

  • Erin U

    This has been an awesome blog/site for resource and encouragement, so thank you for that vision. However, I completely echo your thoughts here….the frustration of the “best parts presented online” when we all know that is not real life, nor should we be ashamed of it, but rather learn to call it what it is and move through it. I recently canceled my FB and blog for the exact same reasons you have mentioned. I spent far to much time “presenting” an ideal rather than just focusing on life. The internet/social networking has a place and can be of benefit, but it can start to take on its own life and swallow us up if not kept in check. Best wishes to you and thank you.


  • sarah

    I am so proud of you… and I so completely understand. This took courage, but I want you to know that you ARE making the right decision.

    I’ve loved following you since the very beginning because I feel like there were such parallels in our lives – somehow we were always on the same wavelength, and that was not only super helpful but awesomely encouraging.

    I feel like we have similar personalities in a lot of ways, namely the whole over-achiever department… I don’t have time to breathe most days, running one business, starting another, starting a blog with a friend… Sometimes I don’t get to spend as much time with my husband as I should, so I can’t imagine being a mom. Terrifying… and if/when that day comes, I will have to make the same decisions you are.

    I know that this feels like “failure” for you, but it’s NOT. Don’t ever let yourself think that. You successfully dove head first into blogging and writing and inspiring and everything else when you did, and excelled. Now dive head first into motherhood and family and craft nights with girlfriends because THAT is the new season you are in. You can’t hang around in the transition – just GO, and enjoy every minute of it.

    I loved it while it lasted, please do keep the blog up for resource material, and if, on a whim, you feel like writing a quick post just because, don’t feel like you are committing to anything. You will be missed, but better missed by the blog than by your relationships in real life. Don’t ever doubt your decision – you are inspiring others even with this. I love you tons ;)

  • shell

    I posted this on FB< but judging by the 173+ comments, look at how many blog books you could sell for this fresh start! I would LOVE to buy a book that is just the blog – maybe through blurb (I have seen nice ones done easy there). Just an idea, before we all print out many trees of your words. xoxo

  • Natasja Balfour

    I love you, Sayward! You have been an amazingly big influence in my choices as a new mother, and I have also just been diagnosed with PP anxiety/depression… at only 3 months PP – I am glad I sought help early on as I have been so *angry* and it’s not in my nature, I thought I was just a bad mother and a bad person for being so upset and stressed all the time, and just keeping busy was helping… when it really wasn’t.
    I am now seeing a Psych for help and I feel so much less alone for reading this.
    I will miss Bonzai soOo much, but I hope that your journey forward is rewarding, challenging and ultimately makes your life more peaceful! I look forward to reading ALL your archives! With love all the way from New Zealand, Tasj xox

  • Brandy

    So I’m sort of crying..kind of have a lump in my throat…I can’t tell you how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE this blog. I’m always telling people about things I read on here. I constantly find myself saying well Sayward says.. and on bonzaiaphrodite..lol.. idk what im trying to say…except that this blog has changed my life, the way I live it and look at things.. I really look up to you. I understand why you need to do this.. although I kind of want to selfishly beg you not to go..lol .. I just wanted to say i will really miss you. and I’m so grateful that the website will still be up. and THANK YOU so much for doing all you do. You’re AWESOME!!!

  • Teannawall

    Well this sucks, just found you three days ago… guess I have plenty of back posts to check out. Just starting on the interthingys, check out my page if you get the chance: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Atheist-Farmers/210792515637137 Good luck with everything!

  • Melissa L.

    Sayward, your blog is THE catalyst to the healthier lifestyle that began 2 years ago for our family of eight. That’s eight people (complete strangers) whose lives you have touched. Thank you and take care.

  • OliviaJean

    Go find your happy Sayward!!!

  • http://ladiesholiday.com/ Tamar

    Sayward, I just found you a few weeks ago…I fell in love with this blog!! I am sad to hear that you’ll be letting it go, but I really really get it. I think this final post was so beautiful and honest. Thank you for sharing your truth and doing it with such sincerity, and humor, and love. You are an amazing woman. You really hit on something about the blogosphere and these unrealistic expectations we hold ourselves and each other up to because of the lives that we see as presented in blogs, but there is so much good and you have been a huge part of that. What you’ve experienced as a new mom is so normal and SO. NOT. TALKED. ABOUT. I applaud you for even touching on the subject a little, as i know it is hard. Sounds like you are completely on the right to track to reclaiming *the happy*. Best of luck to you and thank you for sharing yourself for so long.

  • Kate

    I re-read parts of this post almost daily since you’ve posted it. Like many bonzai-ers, I too feel like your little slice of cyberspace has changed my life. Like many, you’re one of two blogs I read every.day. (see, old habits die hard), and I love the site, and your message of positivity.

    Your family is lucky to have you, and even more lucky to have you full time. The internet will always be here if you miss it!!

  • Farmingtheburbs

    Thank you for sharing yourself with us. you have inspired me in lots of little ways and have enjoyed your brand of positivity. i have been on a journey through the whole positive “mommy blogger”/ “posting how perfect my kid is on Facebook” phenomenons. it is just not possible or sustainable, that is, the blog is sustainable but the reader has to realize that life is not that rosy for the blogger all the time. That blogger or facebooking friend is sharing the best parts of themselves, what they are good at, successful and for that i am grateful because….. thankfully we are not all good at the same thing and the blog has made it possible for us to share these things. Good luck, happy parenting. See you soon.

  • Steffaniem

    The only thing I can tell you is that my adoration and love is unconditional. I’ll miss the blog but it’s still awesome knowing you are out there in Portland, making the world a better place just by being you.
    I’ll leave you with this. My 2 1/2 year old fell off the see saw today and came running to me clutching her arm yelling “Mama, Mama! I hurt my wing!” Gotta love the little Vegans!

  • MsGin


    I am nothing like you. I am a Christian. I eat meat. I am more wasteful than I would like to be. I loathe many of the traits in others that I see in myself. BUT… I have so enjoyed your willingness to share of yourself and your family. Watching your little one grow and you right along with him is so fun and inspiring. We may be nothing alike but I bet if given the opportunity we just might be friends. I am thankful to have had an opportunity to know you if only through your blog.

    As for the PPD – it is not the kiss of death. I have two kids and PPD was present after each birth. Longer for my first birth and shorter for the second. Many can give you advise as to how to tackle it – mine is this – follow your heart and take time to love yourself. Your “cure” will make itself known.

    Good luck to you and I will keep you in my thoughts (and Athiest or not – my prayers too!)


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  • Zion

    Hello from across the pond!! I stumbled upon your blog by mistake while researching baby-led weaning for my 7 month old baby girl. We’re a vegan family and I was looking for tips. Well, your blog really is something special! I love all the photos and food-love and people-love and everything else. It’s so cool. I’m sorry to have found it post-production, but that does mean that I have lots of old posts to catch up on :) This is what I do every evening now after putting to baby to bed: I brew a pot of spearmint and chamomile tea, sit down properly for the first time all day, and I read what Bonzai has to offer. Thank you so much for all the tips, tales and resources.. With love from another vegan mama, Zion xxx
    PS My own blog is here: http://www.mammasforvictory.blogspot.com

  • Annie

    Oh, frickety frick, I go to Tassie for the summer and come back to my favourite online thing is going away!

    “I know that it sounds like a 14-year-old’s acid trip “deep thought”, but for me, it’s been an epiphany.” Hahahahaha!
    Totally agree, to quote one of my favourite artists “I am just a speck of dust inside a giant’s eye. And I like giants. Especially girl giants. ‘Cause all girls feel too big sometimes, regardless of their size.”
    The whole concept is both grounding and terrifying; which is necessary, I think.

    Good luck with other ventures!
    Thanks so much for amazing recipes, diy ideas, demystifying ‘strange’ foods and being just all-round super dooper!

  • Bianca

    Ah, don’t feel bad. Unlike so many people, you’re actually realizing what you need to do to be happy … and actually doing it. As a Type A stress case myself, I know all about taking on too much, and stepping away is a scary thought. But you’re doing it! Good for you! It takes guts to give up things, even when you know it’s for the best! Good luck, Sayward! I follow you on Instagram, so I’ll see you (and pics of your cute ass kid) there!

  • Jessica Roy

    Lady, you rock. You have changed my life, my view of Veganism, my acceptance of Kombucha and about a million other things. I don’t know you, but I really love you! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful place with us. Bonzai will always be one of my favorite places on the web. Go forth and live fully! :) xoxo

  • Resa

    Hi Sayward, I thought you might like to know this:
    Liquid smoke may not be suitable for vegans, depending on who has carried out the animal testing: “One of the smoke flavourings being assessed, named Primary Product FF-B, raised concern. The AFC Panel[1] concluded that Primary Product FF-B can be regarded as weakly genotoxic in vivo ( i.e. animal testing has shown that it can damage DNA, the genetic material in cells). The Panel therefore could not establish its safety in use when added to food.

    Also, it’s really an anti-health food. It is banned here in the UK x

  • Resa
  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    ugh, heartbroken!

  • Heather

    I think I just cried. I found your blog about a month ago and have been archiving it up every since. I finally just got to this post today :( I am the child of two vegans and have been raised (and stayed) that way (I am now 22). I can say with certainty that you are making the right choice raising Waits as a veg, I feel so much more enlightened and like a better member of society from the way I eat and consume (or lack there of). I have copy and pasted every single recipe from this blog and love them all. You have inspired me to throw away less (got some cloth pads, use no-poo, etc.) and really create great meals for myself. I will miss the blog a lot, you have truly touched my life even in this short time. THANK YOU SO MUCH SAYWARD!!!!

  • Holimama

    After 2 children and being a go-getter all of my life, I STILL feel the exact way you describe. Its okay. Be grateful you can afford to take that step back. Its when the most growth happens. I decided to do just that thing 3 month ago and its the best decision I’ve made. So much clarity has occurred. I am present with my boys. I get to play the piano, sing, practice yoga, run, cook with intention and care, be a conscious mother – a holistic mother. Holimama. That is who I am. I honor you. I’ve randomly followed your blog for 2 years and this final post has had the biggest impact on me. Honoring yourSELF! BRAVA!!!! I”d love to keep in touch with you as we have a lot in common – intentional living, conscious mothering, raw foods, natural foods, super foods, creativity…email me @ theenlightenedone@mac.com. xoxo
    Stanzi aka Holimama

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  • Chelibw

    i need blog guidance. has anyone started following other similar blogs? i find myself lonely on my computer…

  • Erin L.

    As I read, I *knew* you were about to say “anxiety.” Mine set in at the very beginning of my pregnancy — before I even knew I was pregnant. It signaled a sharp change in my chemistry, of that I am sure. I have sustained it through my son’s first year, though it does wax and wane from day to day. It is hard to deal with, and I also feel a lot of guilt over my irritability. Thanks for writing this, and I’m going to read that article you linked to right now.

  • Lilmommagould

    HI just came to your blog today after a friend told me to find out everything I need to know to make kombucha from the scobe she just gave me. Funny to read your goodbye when I’m just saying hello. I just wanted to tell you YOU ARE BRAVE. you are doing the right thing and very soon you will not feel the knot in your belly because you aren’t letting anyone down you are listening to your inner voice and you will never regret that. I was talking to my scobe giving friend yesterday wondering how all the blogger mommies do it. Thank you for being so honest. I wish you the very best. Enjoy your time it’s more precious than anyone’s else’s disappointment they’ll get over it. And thanks in advance for the info I’m about to get to make my own kombucha …you see it’s a gift you keep on giving even after you’ve gone on to other adventures. love and light Stacy

  • molly

    Dang. THAT must’ve felt good to do.
    It felt good randomly coming across that particular post, and felt good to read it.
    nice one for putting it out there.

  • Jeremiah Holder

    Only discovered you today, but was inspired (vegan homemade Greek yogurt is what caught my attention). I decided to bookmark the site and look further. My next visit was to this post, which really touched me.

    I appreciate your honesty and completely support your decision to “hang up the spurs”.

    Thank you for the information you’ve provided and a little slice of inspiration for a new vegan explorer.