writing for everyone

I haven’t been writing very much over the past few months, and STOPWAITNOCOMEBACK I’m not here to apologize for it. No. What I’m doing here is just thinking aloud. Er, typing silently. It’s silent for you, at least. Because I can certainly hear the clickity clack of the keyboard. Punctuated by the beau’s farts. 

Be glad for the vast physical distance between you and I, is what I’m saying. Also, maybe two corndogs for lunch is not a good idea. Take notes. Especially you, beau.

I haven’t been writing lately because I haven’t really been inspired to say anything. Every bit of writing advice I read says you have to work through these periods of time; that you have to simply push through and write every single day, even if it’s crap. Well, I’m past the point of caring about crap. What I’m fixated on is equally inimical.

I just want to write for everyone.

I deeply value the relationships I’ve forged online, but the more I know about who reads my words the less I’m able to construct a damn sentence anymore. Every time I make a joke about having a drink, I think of those for whom substance abuse is an issue. Every time I mention my mom or dad, I think of those who don’t have one or both parents in their lives. Every time I talk about my ambivalence toward having children, I think of those who desperately want to conceive. Every time I reference eating meat, I think of the vegans. SOMEONE NEEDS TO THINK OF THE VEGANS.

This is good, to a degree. Sensitivity to people’s backgrounds and lifestyles is a kind and mutually beneficial thing. But it also gets to the point where I can’t put anything out there anymore for fear it will cause someone some level of hurt or annoyance, large or small.

The topics don’t even have to be that serious. Sure, I could write a post about how I hate cuddling, but then I worry I’ll alienate all the snuggle-monsters out there. “What’s wrong with cuddling?” they’ll ask themselves, a lone tear slipping down their cheeks. Then they’ll scroll to check the comments and see this echo chamber of ardent testimony against the Institution of Cuddling, and they’ll click away furiously, wondering: Am I really the only one who loves to snuggle?

Oh, yeah. I worry about stuff like this because it happens. And I know it happens because I’ve been there before.

I know what it’s like to feel like the lone dissenter in a sea of popular opinion, most often over embarrassingly trivial matters. Do you remember a few months ago when everyone was constantly on about The Hunger Games? I spent that entire time flailing my arms as smoke and sparks went shooting from the top of my head. “I AM OBVIOUSLY THE ONLY PERSON IN THE UNIVERSE WHO DOESN’T CARE ABOUT THE FUCKING HUNGER GAMES! Fuck me!” I would shout at no one in particular. Alone in my living room, raging against The Hunger Games. Even now, I am getting a little huffy just recalling it. I mean.

I’ll give you a much less ridiculous example than that. Well before I got married, I began feeling super sensitive about the topic of wedding budgets. Since mine was spiraling out of control, every time someone mentioned how they’d managed to pull theirs off for the low, low sum of $2.97 it felt like a kick in the stomach. After I got married, I still carried residual resentment around with me. I couldn’t shake it off. Every time anyone would talk budgets, I’d tense up. Their tiny budgets were value judgments. Proof that they — and their weddings — were morally superior over me. 

You know what though? That was all me. ALL ME. To couch it in terms of Ice Cube, I didn’t chiggity check myself before I riggity wrecked myself. The Wu-tang Clan advised that I’d best protect my neck, and I’D TOTALLY NEGLECTED TO DO THAT VERY THING. There was my neck, unprotected, with my little heart on my sleeve; my anxiety racheted up to top torque. Yet no one had ever said to me, personally, that they were judging me — they were simply sharing their stories. Their own experiences. My guilt and pent-up anger over my own situation had me putting words in their mouths.

I only learned this recently, but I hope I learned it well: If something someone says is bothering me, then I’m likely the one with the problem.

I sometimes wonder if the knee-jerk assumptive mindset is symptomatic of online life. Has the Internet, with its unfettered access to myriad communities and sub-communities, convinced us that there’s always a place our opinions are unquestionably valid? Does it only serve to reinforce our belief that our day-to-day interactions should be the equivalent of walking into a bar and everyone turning to genially shout “Norm!” Are we so sequestered on our islands of virtual ego that we take it as a personal affront when we cross paths with someone in a different mental space?

There is a sea of personalities out there, perpetually whipping themselves up into a self-righteous fury over their own opinions. Scroll through any social media feed, for example, it’s evident that all we tend to talk about are how People are wrong, people are SO WRONG, everyone is absolutely wrong and by golly, A SELECT GROUP OF PEOPLE AND I ARE  THE ONLY ONES WHO ARE RIGHT

Eh, people act like this offline, too. Maybe in the end it’s less symptomatic of Internet uasge and more symptomatic of sheer human ego. 

I started the semi-anonymous blog and a semi-anonymous Twitter account so that I could feel comfortable saying whatever I wanted, but I’m finding out that on the Internet there is no such thing as saying what you want. You have a responsibility to be a decent, thoughtful human being at all times. Same as in real life. It’s a basic concept we learned in primary school. Yet most people don’t seem to believe the Golden Rule applies to Internet space, choosing to interpret relative anonymity as permission to be a dick with zero repercussions.

Blogging isn’t fun anymore, no, but it’s bigger than just my blog. The Internet isn’t fun anymore. Period. Visit almost any comments section anywhere and it’s essentially a yowling chorus of sheep and trolls, duking it out in miles-long threads. Several weeks ago I read a post by Lizzie about the squeaky wheels of the world and it’s kept me thinking. The squeaky wheels have taken control of the Internet. I’m starting to feel like it’s time to fight back. It’s time to establish some order of kindess and decency.

If I speak up about anything, though, aren’t I no better than a squeaky wheel myself?

And even if we do establish “nice” Internet space, how does that resolve the problem of hurt feelings? 

How can you have a responsible, thoughtful, and inclusive online persona, and still speak your own opinion, and from your own experience?

I guess I wrote this looking for feedback or advice, but I’m not sure what anyone can advise outside of “I don’t fucking know, dude.” I suspect that the answer isn’t to quit writing, to pull this blog down and delete my social media accounts and run off into the forest to commune with the trees. I’ve almost done that. I’ve been on the verge of it for weeks now. Because say what you will about trees but at least they’ve never filled out a comment box with “hope u die” and clicked the submit button.

I know there is no writing for everyone. There will never be. Someone, somewhere, is not going to like something I have to say, and by extension they’re not going to like me. You win some, you lose some. This is the way of life.

I need to deal with that.

But that still doesn’t solve the question of finding that delicate balance between sensitivity and self-censorship.

Any thoughts?

50 Responses to “writing for everyone”

  1. I have a similar affliction regarding my own site, and sometimes I fear it has made my writing bland. My best friend’s Mennonite minister father, for example, is an avid reader of my blog. What…to do…with that information???

    I guess my rules of the internet/writing online for myself boil down to this these days: 1. Don’t be a dick and 2. You have a right to your own experience. Of that last rule: you do!

    I wrote something on Twitter last week about my anxiety that I got unexpectedly knocked up. I got shit for that, but it didn’t bother me because I am allowed to not want to be pregnant right now, and I wasn’t being a dick.

    (Writing a novel here…) I am not going to say “f*ck the haters, write whatever you want, grrrl!” because that’s not helpful. But man is it tricky. I write more on paper with pen these days, for my eyes only. Sigh.

  2. I am with Evie. I try not to be a dick. I wish that people would remember that we all, all of us, have issues. Some are big, some small, some we talk about but many we don’t. Opinions are just opinions and experience, experience. Right and wrong don’t usually apply.

    And sometimes I want to scream “get your panties out of a bundle!!!!!” at some of the ridiculousness.

  3. You can’t. Which is why I stopped, and now only take about shallow, insignificant things (for the most part) and use sarcasm as a crutch. After about the 1,000th person that I considered to be a friend un-friended or unfollowed me for not agreeing with their political views, or hell, not even talking about THEIR political views but mine (or lamenting my lack of choices, or pointing out inconsistencies in media reporting OF politics, or pointing out that any given president is not perfect, by far, stop being blind), I learned to just keep my mouth shut and stop having opinions.

    Isn’t that what everyone wants? Everyone to just agree with them, or shut up? Isn’t that what the internet is for?

    Call me a quitter, but it was that or leave social media altogether. And yet, sometimes, I still find myself the target of something ridiculous – such as being able to conceive. Even with my issues, that’s apparently an enviable thing. I am not being insensitive when I say UM OKAY, I’m saying – Look, I’ve been through some shit. Some shit you’ve probably not been through. And I’m not hiding my pregnancy online because it interferes with your life, sorry. Because I’ve been through some shit too, and I never expected anyone else to do that for me.

    Anyway. What was I saying?

    I love rainbows!!

  4. Sometimes I think I’m not a very nice person.

    I haven’t always had a ton of friends. What I have had are a small group of very close friends. And those people know that I’m going to speak my mind. That I’m going to talk about the BS that bothers me. But that if they have shit going on, that I’m going to be right there listening to them. And occasionally those two things collide and shit gets complicated for a bit. And then it’s okay.

    Which works with friends. But with the internet at large (and with sorta friends or acquaintances) it doesn’t really work that way. They don’t realize that I’m not trying to be offensive and that I probably care very much about their story or struggles. Which isn’t true.

    But mostly, I hate when people are easily offended. Which if you asked Forrest he would probably find pretty odd considering how easily offended I am sometimes. I try not to be an ass but sometimes I come off that way. I think people should generally assume that people are not assholes; and if they can’t meh. I’m sorry. (And is probably why I don’t have a ton of friends.)

  5. I love this post (and you) and not just because you’re THINKING OF THE VEGANS. (Really, we’re okay, references to meat do not offend, the only thing that offends my vegan sensibilities are repeated jokes about imitation crab not being meat. And that offends my sense of humor more than anything, because it’s really just a bad joke.)

    No, I love this post because it made me think about writing again. I haven’t, and I stupidly thought it was just because I run a business. Because running a business where my online persona is tied into who I am as a photographer means that I have to be extra careful about what I say. But you know what? It started long before that. I can point out so many posts that I wrote before I became a photographer that are mushy pieces of crap that don’t sound like my writing, let alone the writing of someone who has an opinion, because I was trying to so hard not to say anything that would offend anyone reading. And it got harder when my mom, my brother-in-law and my friends started reading my blog. I mean, that’s all my groups of people that give me stories to talk about. Damn.

    I told myself that I would start writing travel posts on my photography blog. Some of my favorite photographers write personal posts, and they do it really well. But for some reason I can’t let go of that terror that it’s not going to come out right, that I’m going to forget about X or Y situation and want to take back my words, but a friend or client will have already seen them.

    See, the internet is selfish because I’ve made this comment all about me. Sorry about that. Maybe that IS the problem – we all take what we read, and ask how it affects our lives. We forget that it’s coming from someone with a unique set of life experiences and thoughts, and that theirs are different than ours, and that they’re not talking about us. Because the tone is so informal, and we get to know them so well through tweets, blog posts, and emails, that it feels like they’re talking to us and only us.

    If you figure out some kind of happy medium, or some kind of awesome fuck ’em all attitude that’s less of a fake it til you make it and more of a general bad ass persona, please let me know. ‘Cause I could use her over here.

    • The internet IS selfish — that’s sort of the inherent beauty. Because people are selfish. We can’t help but take things in and then wonder how it relates to or affects ourselves. We can’t help but speak from our own positions and experiences — that can be an awesome thing, the power of sharing perspectives.

      “Because the tone is so informal, and we get to know them so well through tweets, blog posts, and emails, that it feels like they’re talking to us and only us.”
      You have a really, really, interesting point here. I love connecting with people, but I’ve always been a people pleaser, and it pains me to think that I’m going to write things that people AREN’T going to connect with. But that’s okay, though, too.

      It’s a scary prospect to have to write for your professional, client-facing self, but I also think it can be a boon — a client who identifies with your writing is likely to be a killer client, no? I’d love to see you give it a shot!

      • That’s an awesome point – in my photography message boards, we always talk about making sure we’re a good fit with a client. I guess that writing – and the personality that comes through with it – could be another means to that end.

        Still scary when I need to put food on the table though! If anyone has good starter ideas on this – a way to ease myself in? I’d love to hear them. :)

        • As someone who also writes for my job’s blog, I can say with confidence that a “professional” tone can be found that doesn’t totally erase your voice. It takes some work to find it, though.

          Maybe you could try writing a few different kinds of pieces? Vignettes, personal stories, maybe with accompanying photos. Give them time to let them simmer and maybe ask a few trusted people for their opinions. Then just jump in — a toe at first, neck-deep later.

          Since your blog is on your site’s home page, I don’t know how you would feel about having “personal” posts appear, even briefly, at the very top of the page. Perhaps you could add a “me” or “stories” link to your navigation, and when someone clicked there it would only display posts with the personal tag. Or you could turn your home page into a static image or slider, move your client posts to your Portfolio page, and have a separate page for personal posts. Or you could just move all posts, client and personal, into a “Blog” page.

          Hopefully that sort of makes sense?

          If you’re looking for inspiration, I’ve always liked how Lauren McGlynn works personal posts into her professional site: http://laurenmcglynnphotography.com/category/personal_post/

          Christy Tyler’s personal posts, which you can drill into by category from the main blog page, have a seamless way of weaving her working life in with her personal life, too:
          http://www.christytylerphotographyblog.com/2012/06/life-lessons-from-a-dog-chicago-wedding-photographer.html

          In the end, though, it’s really about what you feel comfortable with. I’ve come to realize that on the “professional” blog I write for work, I have to be into the topic to have any enjoyment. So follow what you enjoy — I doubt that will lead you astray.

          • Makes perfect sense, and thanks so much for taking the time to share that – it’s so helpful to brainstorm ideas with people who get where I’m coming from. My husband tends to say that anything works, haha, but it’s precisely the top of the page thing that stops me every time. Perhaps a new layout is in order down the road, too. I’m checking out those other photographers now, thanks for linking!

  6. I dunno. I just unfollow anyone who says something that bugs the shit out of me, so that works. They don’t have to change what they say, I can just block em. The internet is amazing like that. And I block like a motherfucker.

    So yeah, just say what you want. People will self select.

  7. I’m with you! I feel that the internet has become an incredibly snarky place of late. I remember mid 1990s internet, it was so fun and innocent back then.

    At the end of the day you can only write for yourself. If people get offended by things which are not inherently offensive.. there’s not much you can do about that… except perhaps change how you choose to respond to these reactions, if at all. On occasion I have blocked readers who are being unreasonable.

  8. The internet isn’t fun anymore.

    This is how I’ve been feeling a lot lately. Trying to figure out a way to take a break, but when your life and friends are so wrapped up in it it’s really hard to actually do that.

    It would be easy to say, it’s your blog, write about what you want and don’t worry about the rest but it’s not that simple of course. That doesn’t make it untrue though. You should be able to voice your opinions and feelings. Other people may have their own opinions and feelings and hopefully they can be constructive with that or choose not to read. This is actually you’re space, not something broadcast to people directly.

    As the token vegan, I’m glad you’re thinking about me (although I also am not so vain as to think it is actually me) but I also don’t care if you eat meat or even if you write 1000 words on it. I might not read it, but I might, because I enjoy your writing and it’s just words and thoughts. You’re not making anyone do anything they don’t want to.

    The bottom line is you’re a good writer and you should try not to let the possible responses from others bog you down. Oh and all the smart things people posted above me that is probably nicer.

  9. Maybe you all should leave the room for a while while me and this post make out. Weird? Yes. Do I care? No. We have something special and you just don’t understand.

    I am easily offended, I take things personally that I shouldn’t, I have skin thinner than rice paper, and I have opinions. But most of the time I manage to keep a decent wall between all that insanity raging inside and the outside world. I try not to give voice to my knee-jerk response, online or in real life. Bottling it up! That’s the answer! I guess I never thought of the internet as being anonymous . Sure, my online life is not linked to my real-world life (very much) but that doesn’t make me anonymous. I am still part of a community and frankly, it’s easier to track down any bad things I might say online than any bad things I might say to someone at the local coffeeshop.

    I do think we have started to believe that in our little sub-communities of the internet we all think with the same brain. It’s comforting to think that way and I think it speaks to the positivity of the experience more than the negative. We do think the same way on A LOT of topics, and when I read a blogger’s words and nod along the whole time thinking this person so gets me it speaks to the power of this place, its magic. That bonding is the reason I put up with the rest of the shit that goes on here. Which does make me want to run off into the forest to commune with the trees sometimes.

    Basically what I’m getting at is I think a lot of the problems of this place are built right into the foundation. You take the good with the bad. And on that note, please don’t leave. I’d be really sad.

  10. When I disagree with people online, I mostly keep my facebook/twitter mouth shut and just rage to my partner. Or to myself. Which is probably why my presence on those sites is boring as hell, and my tumblr is just full of photos. I struggle with the balance — my in person self is way more opinionated and generally loud. I like reading about other people’s experiences and opinions, assuming they follow the “don’t be a dick” rule. So why am I so afraid that people will be upset at my own?

    • I don’t know! I think sometimes it’s easier just to absorb the negative than to catch it and throw it back out there. Even though that probably makes no sense. For me, maybe I’ve spent so long reading things that make me angry online that I get afraid at the prospect of causing someone else anger — even if I don’t know that person. Bizarre? Yes. Trying to parse it all.

  11. One more thought. People pleasing hogwash is not fun to read. Gimme your truth. If I agree or disagree it’s a whole lot better than being wishy-washy.

  12. This! Zeitgeist of the year.
    I tend to just keep most of my opinions to myself and avoid as much drama as possible. That’s the main reason my nature-y blog never mentions climate change or evolution or the rest of the list of downer environmental issues. Someday, in a more anonymous life, and when I have a thicker skin, I may get more opinionated online, but for now I have to maintain my sanity.
    I DO think that more of us who participate in the internet’s vibrant community have the right to speak up to defend what we contribute. We get to tell our stories with kindness and not being a dick, and they can read or not read with kindness and not being a dick. If that chorus gets loud enough, hopefully the power will balance out between contributors and readers, and all of us will have an easier time pulling on our grown-folks panties and dealing with our own issues.
    I.e., maybe the biggest favor we can do for everyone is to remind each other that we’re each responsible for our own happiness — which often improves when we add to the Overall Happiness Quotient, instead of subtracting from others.
    Also: Please don’t stop writing. That would be subtracting from the Overall Happiness Quotient, and we can all use a few more laughs.

    • I love the Overall Happiness Quotient. “Type faster, friends! FASTER! We can do it! We can make the internet WIIIIIIIIIIN!” [Internet lifts off into space, zooms into infinity]

  13. I don’t fucking know, dude.

    But I do know that I’ve been thinking about this a lot.

  14. I’ve been thinking about this a lot.

    When I was planning my wedding, there was a few month stretch where I would whine and complain to my friends about our Honeymoon and whether we would be going to Greece or Australia. It was so important to me, it consumed my mind. And all the while one of my friend’s boyfriends had lost his job and they were struggling with debt so bad that they were considering packing up their apartment and moving in with her parents. In another state. I look back at that and am so embarrassed by myself and my silly problems. But the thing was, she never said a word, and I am sure there were Words that she wanted to say.

    What I’m getting at is, yes, these are our experiences, but like everything else we should be able to look at it objectively. My honeymoon was a big thing to me at the time, but it wasn’t really a Big Thing, you know? I could’ve used some perspective. Likewise, especially amongst friends, we should be able to speak up when something is offensive or hurtful to us. I wish my friend had told me I sounded like an asshole.

    I think women have a tendency to police each other. We’re supposed to be polite and thoughtful. We’re supposed to think about everyone else’s feelings. Those are great character traits, but I wonder if sometimes it comes at the cost of stifling our own voices. How many abuse victims suffer in silence?

    One of things I’ve found really ironic, these last few weeks, are how people are so quick to jump on the “over sensitive” person, lighten up! Chill out. And how quick they are to coach them in what is a proper way is to voice their dissension or malcontent with the group (note: it is rarely, if ever, ok to voice dissent from the group). All the things that would ruffle our feathers if a man were to say. Let’s call him Tosh.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, maybe we all need perspective. I told someone else, yesterday, that if the question had been: I am trying to get out of debt and would love some tips/advice, and someone had responded, “Work your ass off” or “Get a better job” the conversation would have gone differently. We react from our own experiences; that’s human. How many of us are over-educated and under-employed right now? How many of us are working our asses off and would still be lucky to have two dollars to rub together at the end of the month? I think it’s reasonable to expect adults to have thoughtfully formed opinions. I think it’s acceptable to call them out if they don’t. What kind of society would we be if we all stood silent?

    Well, hey, I wrote you a novel. One more thing. I think if you try to come from a thoughtful place, it shows in your writing. There is always someone who is going to be offended. That says a lot about them. How you react to them, says a lot too.

    • Killer response, Kayce.

      Your points about women and thoughtfulness are particularly compelling. I need to mull this over more.

      Maybe it matters less what’s said than how it’s presented, when speaking from experience. “The only thing that improved my debt, personally, was when I managed to get a higher-paying job — but I managed to work a connection, and many people aren’t as lucky” would go over a lot better while remaining true to individual experience.

      Hmmmm.

      • You know, I don’t even think it’s that the statement wasn’t qualified. We all have privilege. I’m typing this out into the Internet, right? Privilege. I think responses like “work hard” or “get a better job” are too simplistic. It makes assumptions: that working hard is always enough; that it’s easy to get a better job; that our financial situation is always something within our control. I saw a lot of these conversations during the 99% campaign.

        It’s also kind of obvious, right? So I wonder about obvious statements couched as “advice”. I used to read a lot of financial blogs so I’d see these scenarios a lot. Someone writing in about how they’re trying to dig their way out of debt. And without fail, there’d always be at least one commenter talking about how he worked hard. Spent less than he earned! And now he owns his house free and clear! Or retired at age 40! And I wonder, are these statements meant to serve as inspiration? Help someone? Or is it just serving as a platform for a humble brag?

        I don’t know what the answer is. Advice is always a tricky thing anyway.

  15. This post lived up to the hype on Twitter!

    And yeah, man, I don’t know. I say to myself over and over “I’m writing this for ME” but worry constantly about offending people and/or sounding like a dip. I also find saying “I’m sorry” when I piss someone off is usually enough, so that’s something of a relief.

    In the meantime, you are one of the good ones, so please stick around.

  16. Fuck the haters! No I mean really. The people who love this blog love it because you are a funny smart lady who writes funny smart stories about getting boozy and not being sure if you want to have a baby. That’s what we fell in love with because it was funny, and smart, and honest. We don’t all have to be the same – and if someone is pissed about something you write to the point of not wanting to read your blog anymore – wish them well, you know? There are plenty more of us who happily gobble up your stories.

    Also just so you know – when you wrote about not knowing if you wanted babies, I was in the middle of desperately struggling to get and stay pregnant and I wasn’t like: what a bitch! I was like: man this is funny. If only I could read Lynn posts everyday I would be a happier person.

    I bet people have way more of those kinds of reactions than the bad kinds. So be yourself, this is your space. If people don’t like it they don’t have to read it. If someone actually comments “I hope you die” well that’s pretty sad for them isn’t it, but it does just mean that you’re famous enough to attract trolls. Which is good, even if sometimes disturbing.

  17. I think the internet and certain subgroups of it would be a better place if there was more constructive criticism. Unfortunately when people have a problem with something they read, many respond with knee-jerk reactions instead of responding thoughtfully. A critical response needs to leave room for the original writer to readjust and reflect on the criticism instead of immediately running to a defensive position.

    And those of us who write need to respect constructive criticism and learn from it. Not everyone who disagrees with you is attacking you.

    I guess this is all to say, be thoughtful when writing. Reflect on what you write whether it is an original post or comment. Is this going to send people up in arms? If so, revise. If you were thrown up in arms over something you’ve read, then phrase your criticism thoughtfully in a way that can teach the original writer something.

    • I’ve said things in the past that others (gently) called me out on in the comments. I was embarrassed, but more grateful than anything. That really hammered home how easy it is to speak off the cuff without considering other views.

      Ideally, that’s how it would work in shared spaces. The tricky thing, though, is that shared spaces online are never in person. When you’re reading words typed on a page — sometimes with character restrictions — it’s hard to get a nuanced view. It’s hard to remember that the person typing these things might be more than just those words.

      So, yes. Agreed. Giving on both sides is key.

  18. A-hah! Check out this serendipity, my friend. My daily “Advice to Writers” quote that comes in my inbox:

    “Writing became a way for me to talk about myself—or a character—in a really personal, surprising manner without any embarrassment. I was brought up to be an incredibly nice person, but not everything I wanted to say was nice.” – LOUISE ERDRICH

    So clearly the answer here is: write fiction. As I’ve already mentioned to you, I would eat that up with a spoon, if you did.

    or:

    Pseudonym. People do it for a reason.

  19. Yeah, I don’t fucking know, dude. I think one thing I’d say is that if someone you “know” online says something that legitimately offended you, using an anon account or creating a sock puppet under a pseudonym to rip them about it is kinda lame. If it really bugs you that much and you think you’re in the right, object under your usual pseudonym and explain why you were upset by the comment instead of immediately resorting to anonymous snark.

    Otherwise I just second what Jacqueline and Kacey wrote.

  20. This this thisetty this.

    I think you said what we’re all circling around feeling right now, and a zillion times better (and funnier! Which is always better!) than I would’ve.

    I’m with Nina. I want to make out with this post. I want to hug it to me.

    My thing is either to block immediately, or after verifying that they meant to be a jerk. I’m getting better at allowing people to be different than me and have that be okay, and I’m also getting better at knowing I may not have to like them. And that not liking them doesn’t make either of us bad.

    But I like you!

  21. Geez, I don’t know. I have been hiding from the internet for months, and on the rare occasion when I poke my head out of my hidey-hole, someone complains and smacks me, so back in I go.

    These days, I’m consuming instead of creating because I’m tired of my sap-filled writing and any time I write from my bitter place, it bites me in the ass because I apparently have thinner skin than I care to admit. Currently, I am reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which is beautifully written for a science-ish novel-ish biography. I highly recommend it if you haven’t read it yet (I was also not hip to the Hunger Games, and I frankly think 50 Shades of Grey is boring and terribly written). So I keep my Kindle Fire going while I wait for Kerry’s next short story (ahem) or yours.

  22. Hmm. We’re clearly talking about stuff that isn’t obvious here – because if someone says something racist or sexist or really offensive I’m not going to shut up, whether it’s online or in person.

    I guess I am biased because my blog was started partly as a way to try and combat negativity about my illness, even if no one other than friends read it. There are battles worth fighting, but it’s possible to do it in the right way.

    It’s possible to run too far the other way though, to treat everyone else like they walk on eggshells, and I think we do them a disservice to do that. It’s fine for people to disagree and still be friends about smaller things, although I do think that at a point there are some issues that can be so divisive they tear friendships and family apart.

    I dunno, I get what you’re saying. And sure there is stuff that is ultimately all in our heads. But there’s a lot of stuff that isn’t, and I’m not OK with backing down on that. There is a way to do it well though, and I think you’ve always done a great job, both here and on the old blog.

    And the old saying about not trying to please everyone is on the money – you will end up pleasing no one, not least yourself.

  23. I should read all the comments, but I barely have the energy to lift my mug-o-wine to my lips at this red hot second. BUT, this is brilliant.
    Keep writing. Keep saying what you want. You can be thoughtful and have an opinion. In fact, you are VERY thoughtful in your opinions.

    You know how much hate I’ve gotten for slamming David’s Bridal or for supporting my photographer when another crazy bitch lied about them online? TONS.

    And some of it hurt, I won’t lie. But I’m not going to change who I am because some anonymous schmuck leaves me a nasty comment. The thing that chaps my ass are the people who hide behind their keyboards. I think I am in person who I am online. What do you think? I think you are less talkative in person, but when you talk you say amazing shit.

    That’s all I’ve got right now. I’m been painting the inside of cabinets and it’s a school night.
    P.S. Miss you!

  24. You’re awesome. Please, just write.

  25. Hm. See, I’m anonymous, sort of. And I curse a lot. So my haters just hate, and the rest of you are gluttons for punishment. But behind my assload of bad language, I am a delicate flower and would either be amused or horrified if someone hated on me. You can’t please them all, so just keep writing.

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