So a few weeks ago I wrote a post that many people found obnoxious. A week or so later (after new information about the news event had come out) it actually got published, already somewhat out of date. After that, a few friends took notice. One friend apologized, which horrified me because I’d made her feel guilty, so I wrote my own apology. Other friends wrote nice, encouraging things on FB. One wrote a long, thoughtful blog response. One wrote something quite mean (that paled in comparison to the comments that followed). Last night I came across a stranger’s blog, congratulating the friend who’d written the thoughtful blog response to my (obviously hysterical) piece (Thank goodness there is at least ONE smart woman out there! was the general sentiment). Tonight, after I’d thought the whole damn thing was over, another friend, a really close friend who doesn’t look at FB, who’d only just seen my article, hinted that she’d been offended by the piece. I sent her my apologies and await her response.
The piece I wrote was from the heart and from the hip, and the folks who liked it liked PRECISELY those qualities. But throughout this process, I have questioned myself, because the folks who hated it hated PRECISELY those qualities. Why did I write it? Why didn’t I think more carefully about how I wrote it? Why didn’t I wait 24 hours before submitting? Why didn’t I consider everyone else’s feelings? “You should shut up, Kate,” says the Inner Troll. “Nobody needs to hear what you have to say. You are a selfish, terrible person to waste their time with your quasi-intellectual, overly-emotional drivel. You just make everything worse.”
“But,” replies my Inner Protagonist, “someone has to say such things, otherwise the loudest, meanest people always win!” If foolish gals like me won’t speak up about such things, who will?
“Well, fine,” says IT, “but if you must speak, at least speak in their language, according to their standards of what is appropriate and/or worthwhile, so that you can gently but firmly persuade them to your way of thinking.”
“But,” replies IP, “why do they get to say what the rules are? And why do I have to cut myself down to size just so they can find me palatable?”
“Well,” interjects Inner Wise Voice, “you don’t have to cut yourself down to size. But you do have to be prepared for them to hate or be hurt by what you say. They shouldn’t be mean or sensitive about it, but they certainly will be, so you shouldn’t write unless you are prepared to be made an example of and to weather the storm.”
Anyone out there have a better Inner Wise Voice she would be willing to share? In the spirit of “This, too, is joy,” I am looking for some lessons – but gentle ones.