I've toyed all afternoon with writing this post and, in the end, decided to go ahead in spite of the dangers of dealing with this issue publicly. Yesterday, someone left a comment referring to what I had written that day as 'drivel' and advised me to go without a post rather than posting something, I guess, trivial.
I admit that when I got up in the morning to write a post, I didn't have really anything in mind. Joe and I had spent a pleasant day doing typical Saturday kind of things. I decided just to write something chatty about the day and leave it at that. I mean I can't have meaningful experiences that lead to insight every single day of my life. So, I wrote what I wrote and enjoyed the freedom of simply describing a day rather than having to pull a 'lesson' or a 'homily' from the experience. It was kind of freeing.
So when I got the first couple of positive responses, I was pleased. It seemed to me that people had 'got' what I was doing and that it was OK to have 'casual' day here at Rolling Around in My Head. There is a tyranny in daily posting, those who write will understand what I mean by that. For the most part I don't mind the demands of the blog and the commitment that I have made to the blog and to my blog readers.
And I have wonderful, regular readers, who make largely positive comments. I like it too, that my readers will disagree with me and often come forth with another perspective or another way of looking at a situation. So, I get feedback that allows me to learn and grow. I seldom get the kind of brutal feedback that I got yesterday.
I do not monitor my feedback because I want people to feel that there is an 'uncensored' aspect to the conversation. So, in the end, I get comments that are sometimes unkind.
That's OK. I suppose. But I do wonder about the need to be cruel in the comments. After all, it is a human being typing these words, it is a human heart that exposes itself here regularly, it is human feelings that are encouraged, or delighted, or hurt by the comments. Maybe it's easy to forget that the person who reads the words will feel the words.
As a lecturer I cannot read the evaluations right after a presentation. They terrify me. There is always someone, often several someones, who takes offense to my style, my stories, my ideas, my language. I get that, I even can appreciate the suggestions and make changes because of them. But there are those who attack, not the presentation, nor the language, nor the ideas, but me.
'If he had any self esteem at all he wouldn't be so fat.'
'Presenter is arrogant and ugly, a strange combination.'
'Whoever decided that this guy should be given a microphone should be shot.'
I wonder about the people who wrote those comments. They must know I will read them. They hide behind anonymity. They are long gone by the time I read them. They are probably safely home sipping a beer, having forgotten words that will take me a long time to forget.
I guess I'm saying:
Cut me. Do I not bleed.
So I ask for me what I'd ask for others. Write comments that disagree with what I'm saying, but be kind in your intent. Write comments about content, or style, or the words I choose to use -- but at the same time be careful with your content and your style and your words.
I was hurt by those words yesterday. I shouldn't admit to this, but it's true. I am not invulnerable to the opinions of others. So, be kind ot me and I'll do my best to be kind to you as well.