I’m reading this great book called, A Slap In The Face: Why Insults Hurt And Why They Shouldn’t by, William B. Irvine.
People can be very critical and mean, but what I’m learning is, we don’t necessarily have to take on the arbitrary criticism. We can choose not to wear it as it’s flung in our direction like a loaded mud pie. It’s where the term, mudslinging, comes from : the use of insults and accusations, especially unjust ones, with the aim of damaging the reputation of an opponent.
That does sound a trifle dramatic, but when someone goes for your jugular for mere sport, isn’t that just cause for drama?
I had someone send an email acknowledging the third year of my blog. But her parting gift to me was…I never read it…that remark stung like a wasp caught in my sleeve. Why even tell me that, what was the point? I do know how creatively constipated she is, but is that my fault? You may not like my prose but you have to admit I’m prolific since I post five essays a week and pen more for potentially paid publication.
When someone says to me, I write too you know, like I’ve stolen their pen, I say, great…glad to hear it. The truth though more often than not is they really don’t write all that much at all. I do, every day, even if I’m sick. I’m more dedicated to what pours out of me than anything else in my life.
Why can’t that be celebrated. Where’s the threat to mankind?
I may need a catchers mitt to keep that mud from landing square in my face.
What I do is offer encouragement. If someone is working on a piece I support them…urge them to continue. I don’t ever make it about me and for as long as I live, will never understand the need to steal the moment as if playing a sport.
I’m using writing as an example because nothing hurts as much as having your art attacked. I can only compare it to someone harming your child.
There are other insults to cut and parry. I’ve been the unlucky recipient receiving a barrage of remarks concerning my looks. I’ve been a model since I was thirteen, I’m not used to having my physical being verbally battered and beat up. Yet unsolicited opinions rage like a brush fire. And it’s always from the one who could lose a little weight or take better care of themselves. At my worst moment I’m coiffing. I keep at it, even if the vista has altered a bit…but that’s another essay.
I’ve said this before, but people say things to me I would never dream of saying to anyone. It just seems to be open season on the Thin Girl. Wonder if Dashiell Hammett’s The Thin Man had these problems. Another great series I recommend.
And yes, we can sling that mud right back over the net, but that never seems to do anything but make life uglier, and who needs that…isn’t it an area ugly enough?
I suppose the best action would be to turn to one’s art…the page, the easel…the instrument…and rest in the gift of having something in your heart you love so, so much.
sticks and stones.