At some point during our formative years, we learn to develop thick skin. From lunchbox toting elementary schoolers, we’re taught sayings like “I am rubber, you are glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you” or “I know you are but what am I?” to empower us to not take things that people say about us to heart. By the time we reach adulthood, “not caring” has become a defense mechanism to protect us against our own feelings. But what if we allowed ourselves to feel? What if we actually acknowledge that things hurt our feelings, or piss us off? It’s so easy to brush things under the rug to the public as if they don’t faze you, but what’s the point in the façade if you still have to feel the feelings anyway? Why not acknowledge them and move on?
Over the weekend, a nasty, character assassinating comment from “anonymous” was waiting for me to approve in my comment bay. At first I thought it was spam and I almost flagged it and sent it to the trash without so much as a second glance. But for some reason my eyes lingered. I could feel myself getting hot and my hands starting to shake. This is most certainly not the behavior of someone who doesn’t care. Pissed is more like it.
I’m at home on a Saturday evening, eating my General Tso’s shrimp and fried rice, drinking that god-awful iced-tea served out of a soup container, minding my business. Here somebody is, all in my comments loud and wrong as hell about something that has nothing to do with me, is completely nonsensical, and not to mention, FALSE.
The easiest thing for me to do is act high, mighty, and unbothered. But the truth of the matter — and what many of us fail to acknowledge — is that sometimes you do actually care what people think about you. And that’s ok. No one wants false information spread about them. Even worse, no one wants people to actually internalize it, believe it, and in turn act on it.
It brings on this whole firestorm of other thoughts:
“I’m sick? The things you heard about me are sick? QUE? Heard about me from WHOM? Someone I’ve met and dealt with once? Someone with whom my only interaction has been an amicable, and what I THOUGHT was genuine hi and bye..ONCE? Ok Anonymous…Ok.”
“Wait…is she lying to add more venom to her comment? Or is someone really just using their imagination and creating interactions with me to share with their friends over a glass of Merlot? (let’s get real, it’s probably Moscato).”
Of course I won’t divulge all the details here, because that’s called being messy — at least in my world. But I think most of us can relate to being completely caught off guard by someone’s malicious intents, which happen to be loaded, cocked, and aimed at you. No, every negative comment hurled at you isn’t going to break you. Yes, its true that most people’s opinions of you DON’T matter. But there’s always that one that’s so ridiculous, yet comes so hard, that it actually breaks your thick skin. Call me crazy, but it just doesn’t sit well with me that there are these extreme falsehoods about me being put out into the universe to God knows whom.
Maybe if I were a completely soul-less and shitty person, these accusations wouldn’t sting as badly. But when you spend your time mostly minding your business and being especially careful to be nice to people, you’re not quite equipped to deal with hateful people. Its one thing to be an asshole and have people come at your neck for it. If I were in fact, an asshole, I would totally give zero f*ucks about someone calling me out on being an asshole, because duh. But no, I’m not an asshole. I’m not one of those people who pride myself on being rude or a “meangirl”. I’ve been over here frolicking in my little sunny flower patch where I don’t need an umbrella, and here you come anonymous, to place a dark rain cloud over my head. So uncalled for.
Society would like us all to default to how we “must be doing something right if we have haters” But I don’t know…I don’t want people to hate me. I’m not going to extremes and bending over backwards for people NOT to hate me. But the goal is being liked. I think that’s everyone’s goal — to be liked, or at least respected. For me, there is something starkly upsetting about the idea that there are people who have formed an opinion of me based on things that aren’t true, and are outside of my control. That’s what I take the most issue with. Hate me because I’m a bitch. Hate me because I stole your boyfriend. Hate me from a first-person interaction you’ve had with me, not because of something that someone else told you to make themselves look better or to justify their own…idk…agenda.
This is not to say that I allow comments from others to affect what I do, my self-esteem, or my self-worth. At the end of the day, I can only put my best foot forward. Anything outside of that has nothing to do with me, and I’m not wallowing in a corner crying about it. What I AM doing is acknowledging that I have emotions, and wondering why someone has so much venom towards me. But as the saying goes: One monkey (or bird) don’t stop no show.
Be blessed, or #runtelldat. Your choice. 🙂