Simple words cannot express how touched I was by the outpouring of support on my last post. All day long (and well into the next) I read your kind words about my blog, and your advice towards dealing with negativity and criticism.
Criticism is a difficult topic. I deal with it on a daily basis – I am constantly critiqued in my own lessons, performances, and auditions, and it isn’t always easy. I also believe that one of the most valuable lessons I can impart to my own music students is how to gracefully deal with constructive criticism. I hesitated to even post the comment, because I didn’t want to be “that blogger.” But… I also knew that I couldn’t ignore it, as I have ignored plenty of comments in the past.
You see… I’ve always been the quiet one. Growing up, I learned that running away from anger was the best way to avoid being hurt. And so I did. I ran from criticism, from conflict, and even from difficult relationships. None of that made me happy, and it never made me feel as though I had any power. I spent a good portion of my 20s trapped in a bubble of silence, unable to state my real views and opinions, and unable to ask for what I really wanted out of life. I know this is not an uncommon feeling for women, as many of my female friends have expressed this fear – we must always be nice, because there is no other alternative, lest we be called nasty names.
I reached a point where enough was enough. If I wasn’t happy, it was because I wasn’t expecting enough out of life, and I wasn’t standing up for myself to get it. I started stating my beliefs and allowing myself to present my true face to the world. To my surprise, rather than my life falling apart it began to blossom! As it turns out, people respect genuineness, though they might not be able to give a name to their response.
When I saw the comment I felt sad, but mostly I felt powerless. It reminded me that while I have come far, I am still the same 10 year old girl who came back from recess to an anonymous letter on my desk assuring me of how ugly my hair was. I don’t like to feel that way, as it takes me back to an ugly place. So I posted my frustration with the state of interactions online.
The internet has long been a place where civil discourse is lacking (as I found out in 1998, posting on X-files fansites about my belief that Mulder and Scully should be together 4eva! which was apparently a controversial subject.) Even so, I find that the crafting community is absolutely the most supportive I have ever been involved with.
This blog has meant so much more to me than I ever thought it would. In 2006 I started a blog on a whim, shortly after I took up knitting. It has seen me through many hobbies and obsessions, two jobs, starting my own business, getting married, and going back to school. I have had many ups and downs, but I have never failed to be cheered by the support and comments of your all – those in the crafting community, and even those who don’t do either yet continue to read (I didn’t know there were any – and I’m glad to meet you all!)
So… nothing to see here, move along. I had a great day today – I sewed on Simplicity 2406, taught 5 lessons, made a berry/jasmine green tea smoothie, went to an excellent rehearsal, and then went out for dessert with my friends. I know that were it not for the support of you all I would still be upset about the comment (though I know I shouldn’t be!) and instead I can only think of how many wonderful friends I have. Thank you all!