I still remember the shock of it all, and how very personally I took it.
I had told myself that it wouldn’t happen to me, that I wasn’t that type.
Those kinds of things happened to others, the other kind of people. And, if it did happen to me, I wouldn’t be affected. Other kinds of people were pulled into that, but I’m not other kinds of people. I’m solid and rock steady and sure of myself.
Turns out I was that other kind of people.
I never saw it coming -- I think that’s what sets all the gears in motion. The unexpectedness of it, the force with which the surprise attack hits you.
Welcome to the world of Your First Negative Comment.
Yes, I reacted in all the ways I said I wouldn’t. I reacted in the ways I had seen what I had judged to be lesser people react. I would click my tongue and tsk away when I’d see a blogger spend an entire post on defending herself against the negative word comments. “Sheesh,” I’d mutter, “get a grip, it’s just a negative comment. Get over it.”
Wait till you walk a mile in the shoes, I now say.
I wish I would’ve had a camera mounted on my screen to show my unsuspecting face, smiling, reading, laughing my way through the lovely comments on a post I had written on the surliness of my teenage son. I’d pat myself on the back and tell myself how lucky I was to have such wonderful bloggy friends.
Then, as I continued reading through my post's comments, I found myself having to lean in closer to the screen, furrowing my brow, then opening my eyes and mouth in disbelief (are you with me now in the moment?) as I realized that SOMEONE did not like what I had written. SOMEONE named Anonymous told me I didn't have a brain in my head and was a silly woman. Someone continued on to say that my post was something barely recognizable and passable as a blog entry.
To say I fell off my chair in a crumpled mass is an understatement. But, those words made me do just that.
I now question why I let a comment from a stranger affect me the way I did. I don’t know why, but I did. The coment had hurt me on all levels. It attacked my son. It attacked me as a mother. It came out of nowhere. I think it’s that element of surprise that hits your raw, vulnerable, unprotected nerve. And, of course, they’re slamming your kid... not a good feeling.
How to get over this? I didn’t address the commenter, couldn’t anyway... since they were anonymous. But I felt too frail, in that moment, to even put out another post. Was I silly? Were my posts sadly lacking? I had to deal with this issue.
I decided to post on how my feelings had been hurt by a negative comment. I didn’t defend my post, or put down the commenter. I just posted on how maybe I am a silly woman who posts on some not-so-serious things and so what. It’s who I am. To my surprise, that post did more for me than I ever could have foreseen.
All my wonderful readers came from the east, south, north, and west to my defense. I was loved upon over and over and lifted up high and in receipt of multiple, virtual, electronic hugs of love.
That negative comment turned out to be an opportunity for me to see all the beauty of the lovely bloggers that do exist in the majority of the blogosphere. From something bad, something very, very good. The response to my post affirmed what I had already been coming to believe since I began blogging; that bloggers are a very special breed. That just as easily as one is bruised and knocked down on the internet, one is just as quickly held and comforted and loved right back up again.
Thank you, my lovely, lovely bloggy friends. And, if any negative commenters come knocking at your post's door? I got your back.
Alexandra can also be found at her humor blog Good Day, Regular People.
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