“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points
out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds
could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man
who is actually in the arena.” – Teddy Roosevelt
For a long while I was struggling to rediscover my true writing voice. That is, until I penned a little piece about shoulding on myself. This post was uncensored, a bit messy, from the heart. It was mine and I can actually hear my own voice as I read the words on the screen. People actually read it. It’s how Mallory got her groove back.
And then I got my first negative comment. Ever. And not a civil discourse kind of comment, more like a “This sucked” kind of contribution. (Go ahead, I know you’re dying to check it out.)
I was caught off guard and I honestly thought it was spam. (It wasn’t.) So I did what I do best… and I dwelled.
Who is this person? Why did they feel compelled to leave a comment on a post they didn’t like? Maybe they are right, anyone could have written this. Should I respond? Should I delete it? Maybe I made a huge mistake…
And then I took from the T-Swift Playbook and shook it the eff off. (*dance break*)
“And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off.” – Taylor Swift
No, the post wasn’t rocket science, but it was a piece of me, it was my truth. I created it and I care about it. I stand by it, and so do some of the other people who read it, shared it, and offered up a congregational “AMEN!”
After responding to the not-so-positive comment, I had an epiphany about why I missed blogging so much. I was yearning for the community it builds and the reassurance (and challenge) it can provide. Writers bear their souls when they’re feeling alone in This Thing, only to find that the opposite is true. (Kind of like when I Googled, Did Kevin McCallister from “Home Alone” grow up to be Jigsaw from “Saw?” only to find that someone else had the same whacked idea first.)
But I digress.
When you write about what matters – the stuff YOU want to write, not what’s politically correct or popular – it’s always going to ruffle feathers. We spend way too much time censoring ourselves for the sake of “what other people will think.” The hard truth is that not everyone is going to agree with you or even like you. They probably won’t be quiet about it either. But who the hell cares? If we all agreed we’d be terribly uninteresting, and if you’re always trying to be normal you’ll never know how amazing you can be.