Thanks for the Material

I recently had two articles published on MindBodyGreen, both of which I shared here on my blog. The latter was incredibly difficult for me to write. But I am inspired by writers I admire, to delve deep and dig into the yucky stuff. I’m comfortable now writing about my battle with anorexia as a teenager. That’s safe territory for me now. But addressing the present insecurities that plague me, in our body-obsessed society? Opening up about the grossly unconfident tides in which I sometimes (all too often) find myself bobbing? Being honest about the real, true thoughts that pass through my ever-chattering mind? That’s hard stuff. It’s difficult. But it feels so damn good to do it.

So, when my latest piece received four comments, I heartily chewed on them. I’d like to say I chewed on them equally, but that would be dishonest. Four comments: two positive, two negative.  Can you guess which I chewed and chewed on until they were liquid matter, sustenance nowhere to be found, just guck doing me no good?

Yep, you guessed it, the negatives.

This morning my friend Jen sent me a vlog of hers; it was one I tried to watch about fourteen times earlier in the week, and my internet was just not cooperating. I was so frustrated not being able to watch it, the shoddy connection causing the video to freeze about eight seconds in, and refuse to load any further. Frustrated after two days of trying, I gave up. Last night my roommate showed me I’d been fussing with an inactive dial-up connection that sat right beside the actual wireless router. That’s a whole different conversation on my disconnect with advancing technology, so I digress…

I got to watch Jen’s video in full this morning, is the point. I shared it just below this post. It talks about “The One.” Not the romantic, soul mate “one” we so often discuss. The more present, everyday “one” that we all encounter on a daily basis, probably. The one person who doesn’t like you in a room full of people that do. Do we honestly focus on the room full that loves us back, or the one person that doesn’t?

I focus on the one that doesn’t. I focus on the two negative comments. I reply to the positive ones, yes, but the negative ones leech the beauty from the two positive comments. They sit in my belly, stewing, marinating in angst. They plague my mind the next time I sit down to write. I click on the names of the commenters, peer at their pictures.

“How could you be so insensitive? So cruel with your words? Did you mean to be cruel? Why don’t you like my article? Why why why??” 

The smiling picture of the stranger who so emphatically criticized my honest, deepest truths from behind their computer screens in their respective cities just gaze back at me, unfeeling.

The one person, in the room full of people, who doesn’t like me. 

Why does it matter what they think, you ask? The answer is it doesn’t. Not at all. But it triggers my emotions. We’re human; it’s difficult not to react when we find out someone doesn’t like us (or heck, if we suspect someone doesn’t like us), if someone makes a negative comment, looks at us the wrong way, says something to someone else about us…I find myself sometimes holding onto those negative episodes, pining for an explanation, longer than I do the wonderfully positive encounters.

Why is that, I wonder? If it doesn’t matter, then why do I care? Why can’t I brazenly say, “I don’t care,” like a 10-year old girl, boldly and beautifully confident in her innocence? I want to say, “I don’t care,” and mean it.

I suppose the purpose is this…all of this. This post. This conversation. This growth that is occurring. The substance that has bettered me, fortified my confidence, created this very essay you’re reading right now. People are always going to criticize, and it’s not always going to be constructive. There are always going to be people who don’t like us. There just are. It just is the way it is. It should be that way. We learn and grow from experiencing those who don’t like us; we learn and grow from the realization that we care (sometimes deeply) about the people who don’t like us, about trying to make them like us. In that self-study and observation there is growth, immense discovery.

So, if I could say something to the haters it would be that I’m grateful for the self-discoveries, I appreciate the ensuing growth…and thanks for the material.

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