I’m no longer sorry for who I am

This makes me sad to even write

My name is Kelly, and I’m a conservative. The previous sentence reads as a combative way to start a post, and I genuinely don’t mean it that way. It makes my soul sad that such a simple declaration would make so many either inclined or disinclined to read further.

When I started this blog, I viewed it as an opportunity for a fresh start. You may or may not know that I have spent the vast balance of my professional life in politics. In fact, I hope that if you’re a semi-regular reader of my sporadic postings here, you have no idea what I do for a living. I created this space because I love food; I’m passionate about our small farm, goats, and making cheese. As Barbara Cooney said in her book, Miss Rumphius, “You must do something to make the world more beautiful.”

Those words inspire and haunt me often. I started RealBestLife to try to express the deep need gnawing at me to be 3-dimensional in a world where I feel relegated to acting as just a political paper doll. Yes, I have a political philosophy, but it’s just a facet of the many things I am. I do my best to show you the beauty of my world in the words, pictures, and videos I post.

Good intentions

Like so many others, I started in politics for all the right reasons. I’m a conservative because I believe innovation and the free market are some of the most stunningly beautiful expressions of our humanity that exist in the world. An unchecked government will stifle us, or worse, in my view. I also believe that the phrase “endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights” is one of the most powerful ideas ever conceived. For me, my conservatism is a loving expression of those core beliefs.

Unfortunately, professionalized politics is far from what I idealized when I started. In the 1998 movie Hope Floats, the character Justin Matisse, played by Harry Conick Jr., describes his challenge with the American Dream: “You find something that you love, and then you twist it, and you torture it, try and find a way to make money at it. You spend a lifetime doing that. At the end, you can’t find a trace of what you started out lovin’.” His monologue perfectly encapsulates how I feel about politics.

I sometimes look back over the last decades and wonder exactly what, if anything, I have accomplished. Have I done anything to make the world more beautiful? Often, I tell friends that if this blog or crazy project ever takes off, I can finally “check out of the Hotel California of politics.” But, like the Hotel California, you can never leave.

I have to stop running from myself


So, I started this RealBestLife project as an escape from my political identity. When working in an environment so toxic and polarizing, it’s natural to want a reprieve. On RealBestLife, I planned never to share anything about what I do for a living. Not that I can hide it, a brief google of my name makes it pretty obvious what I do.

In the current environment, it all feels like such a liability. I didn’t (and still don’t) want to alienate those who have differing views, and, like so many others, I am afraid. The speed and brutality with which you can ruin yourself and a brand you’re working to build is staggering.

I want this site to be about my love for tiny sustainable farming, goats, Mom advice, the occasional inspiration and support for others, a few DIY projects, and a journey through a bizarre challenge.

But, yesterday, yet another example of a coordinated online attack on a woman whose business is entirely unrelated to politics emerged that compelled me to write. A famous baby sleep trainer on Instagram, Cara Dumaplin, was revealed to have, gasp, given personal donations to the Trump reelection campaign.

The backlash was swift and merciless. Baby Instagram influencers went bananas. Many apologized for ever associating with her and talked about their need to “process” their feelings of betrayal. As if Ms. Dumaplin’s sin of having personal political beliefs that differed from theirs made all of the VERY NEEDED (I say this as someone with a baby currently in sleep regression) skills and advice she brings to the table invalid. They posted her premium content, those videos for which she charges, for free, to undermine her business, ability to make money, and keep her employees paid.

They treated her as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and as a fraud. She is neither.

Cara Dumaplin is living my nightmare (and girl, I hope today you have google searches for your name turned off, but if you don’t – I support you). I am so afraid that my political life will invalidate everything else I love, believe in, and want to share. Recently, I’ve caught myself preemptively pulling content, wondering if THIS is the thing that will turn the mob on me. I want to make this site and project successful, but I also know it’s a target as soon as that happens.

It’s sad to hide who I am because of worries that if a book publisher would ever consider letting me write a book about this project, my life so far will be too big a liability for them. If I have this other secret part of me, maybe someone who would partner with me will decline, as I’m too high a risk. I self-censor in the hopes of being marginally more socially acceptable.

Texting with a friend who is a legit food blogger as a profession (#goals) yesterday about the Dumaplin canceling fiasco, she made the critical point that the mob justice was brutal, but few stood with Dumaplin. We don’t support or protect ourselves out of fear. We allow ourselves and others to be publicly shamed, and every conservative feels more isolated when this happens. No one stands up and says, “ME TOO. I’m conservative, too.”

One of my best friends just sent me a message I desperately needed to hear. She reminded me of the quote from St. Katherine Drexel, “Press forward and fear nothing.” I promptly bought a super-basic wall-hanging from Etsy to remind myself of this, every day.

I have spent the better part of the last several years apologizing for myself, for what I believe, and for my profession. I don’t want to be ashamed, and I don’t want to be in fear of cancel culture anymore. My voice is small, and it’s just one person, but I’m a regenerative farmer, a Mom, a wife, a goat herder, a gardener, a cheesemaker, a friend, a person who tries to take joy in the small things and make the world more beautiful. And, I’m a conservative. And I’m not sorry.

76 thoughts on “I’m no longer sorry for who I am”

  1. Was incredibly conservative when I was young, became incredibly liberal after my divorce. Now am finding myself feeling more “in the middle” or appreciating the perspectives of both sides.

    Have met amazing people who are conservative, and amazing people who are liberal. They didn’t lose their “amazing” status just because my political thought or opinion on a matter changed.

    Would also make the argument that being Conservative does not equal being a Trump supporter, and donating once to a cause doesn’t mean someone is zealously supportive of a movement. They were just supportive of the ideas shared on that day. Think many people forget that.

    I look up to the strength and confidence you have when speaking about your opinions – especially publicly where scrutiny is easier to dish out than acceptance. Hope to see you again represent your perspective and political opinions in the future. Even if I do not agree with that, or because I do not agree with them – because it makes me think.
    We need more thinking as a society….and videos of baby goats. Loads of videos of baby goats. 🙂

      1. The worlds problems would be insignificant if the possibility of God Almighty were to show Himself. With He who created us were to provide all of its’ people a view of Himself there would still be those opinionated to the point of distrust and claim it was a mirage!

        Another words no one can mind there mouth or there own business! Its not the world that is the problem, its the people!

  2. You always know the right things to say. Don’t ever stop being who you are. I may disagree politically but never would let that interfere with a friendship or a great blog. Keep doing the great things you do.

  3. Hello,

    I stumbled upon your blog. It was shared by a Elisha Krauss on Twitter and I have to say that I felt every word of what you wrote. There are so many of us (conservatives) out there that feel the same way. I am grateful that you shared how you felt. We are not alone.

  4. I so resonate with your underlying message related to sharing my conservative political views in fear of losing those I love. I’m fact that is what’s happened over the past years events, I’ve lost contact with my 29 year old son because my views are different than his. It basically has stifled me from sharing my views in hopes by not doing so we will find our way back together.

  5. Thank you for the interesting article. In our present culture it seems we are expected to please total strangers who who in your real dealings are mere shadows . Perhaps St Theresa of Avila said it all, ” Let nothing upset thee, let nothing disturb thee for all things are passing and God is sufficient “. That life on the farm sounds a treat. Hang in there and don’t let the m get you down.

  6. Yes , I too am a conservative and on top of that, a christian, catholic. I know the feeling of fear, that someone will cancel me out…. This is a rather brutal world we live in today. And I have seen a lot of this old world, I am 87, still working part time, take care of my house, garden, and pray for this great country that I love. Thank you for your post.

  7. Thank you for writing this! I’m a conservative too. I work in an extremely liberal company who can’t fathom how someone has opinions different then theirs. The funniest thing I heard was my boss discussing who was going to tell him it was OK to move about and not wear a mask. I felt for him but I did my duty and reminded him that no one gets to tell you because he lives in the US and we have the right, and responsibility, to make our own decisions.

    It is very sad that so many people want to relieve themselves of these duties. Experts will guide them, but we have seen clearly that the “experts” aren’t. In many ways, many of us are smarter and we all know getting a PhD is pretty easy these days. People are handing out parchment everywhere.

    Good luck.

  8. Kelly,
    My name is Chris Maher and I’m sure we are related somehow. I banter with you on Twitter often and it makes me smile. I want you to know that you have the full weight and support of the Maher Clan. My wife is a badass attorney and I build things, great things. We cried reading this post. We love Cara D as our boys are amazing sleepers because of her.

    Spread your wings, Kelly. The mob is loud and ugly but we are a proud people. The Maher Clan are great warriors and community leaders and fought for Scottish independence. We will never go silently into the night. I praise you for this blog and I send all our love and protection to you. Do not ever hesitate to reach out for help, as we take care of our own.

    Chris and Kristine Maher-513-460-2105

    1. Hi Chris! Thanks for the note! The mob is big, but it’s time to stand up and be counted! Best to you and Kristine!

  9. I believe we’re related in some way (I married Christopher Maher, grandson of Walt Maher in Cincinnati). And I’m 100% with you. I love Cara and TCB helped our son become a great sleeper. There is nothing political about her content, and it saddens me greatly that the mob attacked her in this way. I appreciate your perspective and hope more conservatives like us have the courage to stand up in support of each other. I’m an attorney and have offered her my legal assistance if there’s anything that can be done legally to help her.

  10. I applaud your courage in speaking out. I don’t understand how having a different opinion from someone else makes a person eligible for cancellation. Hurting someone’s business or causing someone to be fired for their personal beliefs is so wrong. We all need to stand up for free speech or we will lose our way of life. People need to re-learn how to have discussions again and not be afraid of other ideas. Thank you.

  11. Good for you. You are an inspiration to me as I “come out of the shadows” to be what I have been all along. A Christian Conservative! It seems now is the time to take a stand.

  12. Read about this on Ricochet and came over and subscribed to your newsletter. This is the right move. Live not by lies.

  13. I stand up for other conservatives. Would really like to see some social activities within nearby areas, so we do not feel so alone.

  14. Kelly, you hang in there. You are doing what is right and good for you and the people you know. If there are those who will leap on you and regret their friendship with you that is their loss.

    A long time friend and a fellow believer who will be there for you.

  15. So sad but this is the America of to-day. hate and anger have replaced discussion of difference ,especially in matters of politics,. Why is this so very important? Look at history of failed governments /countries. Each case, in my opinion, was caused by the elimination of free speech, including religion, lack of tolerance for differing opinions and probably the concentrated effort to obtain power over others. I hope i am wrong but as I see and read comments posted on face book Americans do not realize this country is on the brink of moral and soon financial collapse.I have not lost or abandoned up hope that God will save us but I feel we as a country have abandoned God.

  16. In 2016, while working for a major financial company, my supervisor (a woman) said, “if you don’t support Hilary Clinton, you aren’t a real woman.”

    In 2018, while working for a major media streaming company, I was told in a team meeting that if I don’t support the BLM organization that he doesn’t even want me working there.

    In 2020 people who I fed during Covid when they couldn’t feed themselves rejected me because I voted for Trump.

    I am so incredibly tired of the hypocrisy and bigotry.

  17. Bravo for you. As is always the case, it is the Left that cannot accept anyone that has varying beliefs. When the current politics are through I don”t think we will recognize our beloved country. So sad.

  18. Thank you for speaking about this! Personally, I have experienced more discrimination for being a conservative than I ever have for being a woman or person of color. As a small business real estate agent and investor, I completely understand your fear of the mob, because I too fear the destruction they could reek on my business. Even so, just like you, I’ve concluded that I’m not going to hide my political beliefs and live in fear. I also don’t wear my politics on my sleeve or bring politics into business. Internet trolls are ugly and they’ll reap what they sow. You keep doing what you’re doing and cross the troll bridge when you come to it. You’ve got knowledge, experience and integrity on your side.

  19. Great article
    I live in a state where conservative people dominate
    So that’s been good. However a few good friends are
    Democrats. In order to keep these friends I don’t
    Bring up politics. In some ways that’s good. The more
    They say I’m more convinced as ever my views are right

  20. Hi Kelly! Hi Cara! Press on. Ignore those who would diss yoiu because of political differences. They are stupid little people, not worthy of your time. Fifty years ago, at my graduation from Law School, my Crim Law prof come over to me and said “I know you are somewhat to the right of Genghis Kahn. I am a liberal Democrat. I love you anyhow, because you always interrupted me when you perceived the case we were studying led to injustice. You were a loud voice for justice. Press on.” He gave me 2 extra points for my passion for arguing what I believed was right. While most of today’s Democrats, and sadly many RINOs, would stifle a loud voice for justice, there are plenty of us who will stand by your sides. I say again, Press on! We need more like you.

  21. You are a Queen, and perfect in every way (in my humble opinion)! Anyone who can say or project otherwise is misinformed and small minded. I also censor myself or “shut up” about many of my political opinions for fear of being labeled something that absolutely wrong. It’s very frustrating to have to hide parts of our feelings, when the vast positions of my feelings is to support something as simple as “FREEDOM” in a free country. You are the best! Thank you for being authentic and brave!

  22. Read and share this to my Facebook. Facebook has blocked it from everyone except me, because they say it says
    “your post goes against out community standards or spam”
    “ no one else can see your post.”
    “We have these standards to prevent things like, false advertising, fraud and security breaches”

    I’m done with Facebook. 🤬
    They did exactly what your article says the left does to conservatives.

    1. Wow. I wonder why they would think that it’s against community standards? I don’t think I said anything terrible? (Except that maybe my 18-month-old is in sleep regression – that IS terrible.)

  23. Lord, I am so with you! I’ve taken the last 5 years to lick my wounds from a lifetime in politics, find my courage again, and prepare to re-engage. (And honestly, I have been so baffled by the last 5 years, half the time I have had no idea what to say!) I’ve gotten used to the (false) security of anonymity. And the non confrontational life is alluring… It’s been lovely. But it’s totally fear-based. No way will I sit on the sidelines while my gutsy sisters are under attack. It’s just wrong. Thanks for your demonstration of courage. And thanks to Elisha for posting excerpts! I’m with you. Much love. Kate

    1. It’s been a bizarre ride (at best) but I realize that if we don’t speak up no one will know we’re here. I heard you speak a number of years ago and it was a great talk. I hope you find the will or the words to reengage. I don’t even think it has to be confrontational as long as it’s just . . . there.

  24. Thank you!! I’m familiar with you and all of your ladybrains friends and so glad y’all are out here sharing your views etc! I followed Cara to search for ways to support her. I’m not even a teeny tiny bit famous, – just a regular conservative Christian woman, wife, mom, grandmother- out here living out my values and beliefs in everything I do. Thank you for your articulate, honest, wise words!! There are many of us- your are not alone! The power the left has is disturbing. Keep doing what you do!!!

  25. Thank you and good luck! I also am dismayed by this cancel culture, which is mostly aimed at conservatives. It’s not right. We need to stick together and support each other.

  26. Great article!!! I also do a ton of self censoring. I am a God loving and a God fearing Conservative Catholic who lives in the belly of the beast of liberalism! You and your friend Cara D remind me of Mike Lindell, the CEO of My Pillow. My husband and I love his pillows! He was thrown off of “comrade” Dorsey’s Twitter for being an avid supporter of Pres. Trump!
    Keep up the great work! Lindell, President Trump, (He is still my president) and other great conservatives are making Satan upset!!! That is great as God will reward us for speaking the truth as that will set us free!!!! 🙂 The difference with your friend Cara is that she isn’t as outspoken as Lindell. We need to be not afraid as we have the truth on our side!
    I often feel empty to which direction our country could go in as the Books I read in High School of 1984, Brave New World are coming to fruition!!! 🙁 First they came for our guns, then they came for our First Amendment then they came for our Property. I am trying to remember exactly who said that (not the exact words but you get the drift) as it was mentioned by the Jewish People or person who was attacked from the Nazis. God Bless this Country! We must stick together as conservatives! I like the idea of healthy debates with our opposition as opposed to canceling us!!!
    It is also so refreshing to read these responses as I often feel so all alone!!! Strength in numbers is great! God Bless!!!

  27. I, too, am a conservative Christian. I am not ashamed of my upbringing, my family, my work ethic, or my color. I volunteer, I give back, I raised my children to be good and productive members of society, and I’m getting really tired of people telling me what I can and can’t do or can and can’t say. Last I checked, this is America where the freedom of speech is still the first amendment. The left forgets that opinions are like bums – everybody’s got one (visible or not) – and we conservatives are entitled to express those opinions even if we disagree.

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