I recognize that if I'm going to be a blogger -- particularly if my aspirations are to be as big (or even 1/1,000th as big) as Jenny -- then I need to develop thicker skin.
Last week, I had a bad day / night / early morning. It was not my first one, and it will not be my last one. Some are easier to deal with and shrug off, and some are harder to shrug off. There are some mornings, I admit, that I sit in my car and cry for no real apparent reason, no particular trigger I can point to as to what set me off.
And it sucks.
I am in the middle of a healing process. Those of you who read me regularly know that I ended a 10+year marriage about three years ago. And since then, I had fallen in love with another woman who is not available but whom I love deeply and miss terribly. A good friend who helped lift me up after I had fallen and to whom I am eternally grateful.
But these have been hard blows, and even the strongest of people would need time to heal. And I am, by far, not the strongest of people.
I am human. I am vulnerable. And yes, I admit wholly, that this blog has partly been created to help me in my healing process - to confirm that I am not alone, and perhaps to let others know that they, too, are not alone.
And in that process, I take risk. I expose myself - despite the anonymity that I continue to struggle with keeping.
In the wee early hours of that bad morning, I wrote a post. I knew I was leaving myself vulnerable and open, and when I posted the link on Twitter, I asked "dear readers, be gentle."
Over the months, I've written a couple of posts like this, some I've published, many sit unpublished. One of my biggest struggles is with my ADD. Another is, clearly, depression. I like to hope it's just situational depression, and once I make it further down the line, it will begin to dissipate more, but frankly, regardless of the cause, it isn't fun.
As I have written in my Sticks & Stones posts (with all the follow-ups, and still more promised and remaining to be written), I have discovered that words hurt when they attack something we are already feeling insecure about. So when an anonymous commenter left a comment "Poor poor me" and then misspelled pity party and added a few other "insults" that don't really stick, I deleted it. It was not a simple decision, but one I made quickly and decisively.
Not surprising, the anonymous commenter returned. Or at least I assume it was the same anonymous commenter, since he or she seems to have the same difficulty with spelling that the original one did.
And I know that writing here, I am inviting said anonymous commenter to respond again. I am inviting trouble.
But I guess here's the thing. If I'm going to blog, and I'm going to share my experience - the good, the bad, and the ugly - then I guess I must develop a thicker skin.
Yes, perhaps I was having a pity party that morning. Guess what? One of those labels over there is that "I'm human". It happens. It happens more than perhaps I care to share - but when I do, well, you can either serenade me with the smallest violin you have, or you can support me to get past that moment. I admit there are times when I need a good kick in the butt. And I invite and welcome readers to give me said kick when they think I am wallowing and need it.
But if you're going to give me a kick in the butt, I'm gonna ask a few things of you. First, be respectful. Even though I'm an anonymous blogger who pretends to be a cube-shaped Borg, the reality is that I am a person. I - CLEARLY - have feelings. Tough love is fine. Telling me that I need to get off my butt and get doing things is fine. Even telling me that you're tired of my whining is fine - although, frankly, I'm not forcing you to read my blog, you can go somewhere else if you think I'm whining too much. Generally, I can handle critical responses. I know I'm not perfect. I know I need improvement, and heck, the message was clear, in fact, that I was asking for help. So if you want to give me a kick in the butt and be helpful go ahead, but, please, be respectful.
For one thing, it gives your comment a better chance of really being heard rather than dismissed. If you just throw insults at me, frankly, I have better things to do with MY time...
Second, be specific. Some general observations are obvious. But if you're going to suggest I've done x, y or z, and I haven't explicitly written I've done x, y or z, at least support your conclusion. Don't just randomly say I'm abusive and cruel to one-eyed, one horned, flying purple people eaters without at least telling me why you've reached that conclusion. I am open to dialog. I encourage dialog. I want to hear others' opinions including ones that are different from my own, and I'm here trying to grow and become a better person. If you read my blog, I think you can come to that conclusion fairly reasonably.
But lobbing a grenade and running is not productive, not helpful, not wanted, not needed. My ex-wife threw enough of those, thank you. My life is not yet where I would want it to be because of such grenades. Perhaps, then, I'm a little (overly?) sensitive to baseless insults that leave no substance or logic to which I might respond or might be able to use productively to improve who I am.
I know I need to grow a thicker skin. Not everyone will like what I have to say. The more people who read, the more likely I am to get anonymous "haters". Perhaps I should take it as a badge of honor - clearly I've said something that has hit home to someone else. Even if hitting "home" didn't elicit a positive response. Clearly, nonetheless, my words had power.
Now, if you are looking for a person who isn't going to have a pity party once in awhile, you're reading the wrong blog. I'll try to keep them to a minimum, and I'll try at least to be productive and thoughtful when I do. I don't claim to be perfect. I am human. That's one of the things I told you from the beginning and I'm sure I will tell you again and again. And, in the meantime, the lesson I will take from and try to work on from even the negative comments, is to develop thicker skin.
P.S. Clearly, "clearly" is the word of the day... so there!
P.P.S. No one-eyed, one horned, flying purple people eaters were harmed in the writing of this post...