What to do about Internet haters? I’m back from a week posting at Corporette, and while in the end it was a lot of fun, and the vast majority of the readers very gracious, the first comment on my first post read,
She meant it, following up with,
I stand by I hate the jacket, think its(sic) pretentious, and think most of you women are and especially so to the guest bloggers(sic) blog.
This was not my first rodeo, as they say. I’ve dealt with all kinds of comments over the years. For example, in reply to an early post, Can You Wear A Simple Pearl Strand With Simple Pearl Studs?
You are so WRONG! I just keep thinking you must be a fake because of the things your (sic) write about. Pearl studs and a simple strand of pears (sic) is understated, preppy, old money, elegance. Where did you hail from? It took your son’s friend to come to the East Coast South (sic) to learn to dress like a lady. No offense intended, but you could not be more wrong.
Then on, Why Do They Call Paris the City of Light? we have this. Hey, both camps of the socioeconomic/political battles into which I’ve parachuted deserved equal time.
is this for real?
i’m not seeing any ‘examination’ of the ‘implications’ of ‘privilege.’
all i’m seeing is the eulogising of wealth & greed, in the face of global poverty and crisis.
where is the ‘examination’?
where is the reckoning with ‘privilege’ – and the recognition of backs it stands on?
if your blog claimed simply to be “Glorifying Money, Power, and My Own Special Rank”… i’d get it.
maybe your next little trip could be to refugee camp in the Congo, where you could assist the women victims of genocide and rape… it might make your position of privilege a little more clear.
While the most serious and deepest hit came elsewhere on the Internet, where it was said of me,
Can’t help but think that she started this blog so she could feel like a “somebody” in this world, because barely anyone in Silicon Valley cares about her East Coast snobbery. I mean, for the most part tech millionaires/billionaires leave that NYC society circuit shit alone (not that they don’t donate, they do). She posted once that people in the Bay Area can wake up a millionaire suddenly … as if that were a bad thing. Well, yes, it would be if your self esteem were based on what your family did two or three hundred years ago instead of what you’ve contributed to society today.
…the silliest, or at least the ones that made me laugh, were right here at home.
White legs(ugh) use a self tanner! Hair(scary) great figure, clothes, pose. That hair kills the look. Mabey(sic) start to wear it in an updo.the hair looks like a Calico cat.
After 5 years, I’ve developed some ideas on how to cope with what is perhaps not quite Internet Hate, but surely Vociferous Scorn. Although many of you don’t blog, or maybe even say much online, the thoughts might be useful even when faced with criticism in the flesh. Hey, I hope they are useful to someone because they made a serious dent in my lifetime supply of Deep Breaths.
Principle #1. Learn From Even The Worst By Accepting What You Hear As True, Even If It’s Not
Heard in calm, almost everything teaches. Even if what’s being said is completely preposterous, your own reaction to the words is information you can use to better understand yourself. And if what you hear hurts, and cracks self-beliefs you’d held onto for a long time, sit quietly with the ideas as though they were not dangerous and you can come out larger than when you went in.
- The commenter who questioned my bona fides made me realize that I am in fact real – I just don’t comport with the generally held stereotypes about my culture of origin. In some ways those stereotypes are wrong, in some ways I’m just weird. I can live with that.
- The commenter who suggested that I travel to the Congo, well, he or she is right. The most absolute moral reaction to a realization of my privilege would be to dedicate myself to service. I’ve talked about that on the blog, and how my response will involve volunteering, in time. But virtue is possible on a small, immediate scale too. I hew to a personal behavior standard of generosity and loyalty, also known as, I Try Not To Be A Jerk.
- The writer who pointed out that I felt small in Silicon Valley was right. Ouch. Learn from ouch. I have used this blog to hash out anxieties driven by an unspoken history, to sort out what is cultural and what specific to our little family. And in the process have found my anxieties recede. Anxieties will keep pounding at the door if you sit on the other side, trying not to open up, they are much quieter up close.
- And Lewellyn, where has she/he gone, taught me that somewhere along the way I must have decided that I am attractive enough. Therefore, when you point out the failings of my hair and skin I’m going to laugh. That’s a long way from bulemia. Go little life experience, go.
Principle #2. Be Careful About Involving Dear Ones In Your Battles
The thing is, when you decide to rise about the fray, those who care for you may step in. And then they may take some punches. My readers here are very important to me, so I stand by a policy which allows you to say almost anything to me, but nothing rude or hostile to each other. It felt good the first time you all rushed to my defense. The next few times, I started to feel cheap, like if I am not going to fight my battles, it’s not right to let others get hit.
Principle #3. Sometimes The Lesson Is That You Don’t Have To Take It, So Decide How You Want To Engage
Which bring us to this. Sometimes you just have to fight. And when you do, you’ve got to choose a voice that you can live with. My cultural heritage says Do Not Show Excess Emotion; my temperamental heritage insists; Feel All The Things; hence, a history of remaining almost belligerently rational right up until the moment I pour a glass of red wine onto the white tablecloth and burst into tears. In other measures, 0-35 OK, 90-110 OK, 35-90 completely incapable.
The blog has given me a little gem. Time. It’s allowed me to inhabit the deep breaths. The minutes between reading something that hurts or humiliates or angers me, and my response, are teaching me who I am in that space. Expanding my self, if I can speak in large terms, and with gratitude to you all. And in full recognition that I am not now nor ever will be the Buddha.
When I replied to the commenter at Corporette, here’s what I said.
If you guys find the jacket boring, click on the link – the interest is in the perforations. If you find my posts boring, perhaps someone could ship me some Ayahuasca and I could lead you on a vision quest for leopards? Or maybe we could get the Long Island Medium to give a hair tutorial? I’m sure there’s something this resourceful community could come up with.
The other day I even deleted a rude comment on Privilege that offered no new insight. Horrors.
I suspect I’ll rely on humor. What else I’ll need I don’t even know yet. But as long as I keep writing here, I have no doubt someone will teach me.