I have had the pleasure and privilege of writing guest posts on various blogs of writers I have connected with over the years. I have also been offered the gift of contributing to Mothering From Scratch for a year, and I continue to contribute to 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting monthly. Just this year, I have had the incredible opportunity to expand my reach with my writing on some pretty big sites. It has been an exciting and exhilarating experience to publish my writing on such massive platforms like For Every Mom, and Huffington Post. When Huffington Post invited me to be a regular contributor, I was ecstatic and utterly honored. I have dreamed of one day having such an opportunity! I am thrilled that perhaps my hard work and prayers for a bigger audience have opened up these avenues for my words. (The page listing these posts can be found on my sidebar, if you are interested in reading and supporting me!)
It’s pretty awesome, really.
Since I’ve been over at Huffington Post, I have experienced both elation and a downward dive into emotional paralysis- two extremes I didn’t quite anticipate accurately at all. There are first and foremost, so many incredible things I have since learned through investing my time and efforts in navigating my way in this new big writing world I now belong. There are verticals that are inspiring and full of good reads, from many talented writers I know- there are wonderful options in which I can publish my work. I love that. On the other hand of this victorious pursuit, is the variety of people that can chime in on the comment section and either add to the message of my words or slam my content down like a vengeful irate bully.
This is where I struggle.
I’m thankful that out of the 17 articles I have published over on Huffington Post, only a few have taken heat. Lots of heat. Boiling bubbling heat. Scalding sinister steam that seems to radiate hate and anger and puzzling proclamations.
I try not to read the comments…
I really try.
But when I am caught off guard and click to check on how my post is doing for a quick second, and find over 400 comments… I have to look. And I get sucked into the sickness of it all.
And I freeze.
Knowing there are people taking the time to write such horrible things about my words, my message, or my story?
And I know- I know so many seasoned writers tell me NOT to read the comments.
So I pull my crumbled self away, still in shock for what I witnessed. I try to tell myself that those are the people I shouldn’t care about. I attempt to convince myself that the amount of likes on a post is what I should celebrate, knowing that it takes a lot of passion to get someone who doesn’t know you at all, to click on that ever elusive “like” button. So I affirm myself through knowing that if my words are shared and liked, then there are some people that were touched, inspired, and moved by my writing.
But those spewing comments.
I’ve been told my skin will get thicker. That I’ll grow less sensitive as I gain more exposure. I am not sure that will ever be, with me.
I’m a sensitive soul. I tend to burrow in, looking for protection from mean people. I don’t do mean well. I allow the negativity to seep through my skin, when I shouldn’t. One of my favorite pieces was shared 9K times on For Every Mom… but I saw a handful of comments criticizing the post, that punched me in the gut and tore down any excitement I could have for its success.
That doesn’t seem right. But the weight of those critical words can pull me down.
I must learn to deal with those ugly responses, if I am going to keep sharing my work. Freedom of speech goes both ways…
So I sit paralyzed. Afraid. And honestly? Sad. So very sad.
People can be so cruel. And yet? I’m finding many comments are fueled by other commenters… and watching it play out has been quite fascinating, really. If only it could be a dialogue of respectful disagreements rather than slayings of verbal assaults.
I don’t know why this happens. I don’t understand the inner-workings of a person who lashes out in ways I have read online. It’s really the opposite of what I live, believe, and feel.
I suppose it’s part of the dark side of humanity. And because I set foot into the open wide road where all can walk…
I will at times find myself on the battleground getting pelted with some brutal bullets.
It’s not an easy way to go.
But I am passionate about writing.
So I will continue to forge my way through this tough terrain, and pray that my words are worth it.