I made a mistake. I decided to post an inside joke on my blog. I was having Siri read Facebook posts out loud and a friend of mine posted about a local taqueria being nominated best tacos in the west. The comments that followed went from tacos to gentrification, race and hipsterist slander. I wrote a blog tying all the comments together and putting my own spin on it and posted it mid-afternoon.
At first people thought it was funny. Even people that didn’t know about the original Facebook thread I was making fun of liked it. People were really digging it and were giving me positive reviews.
Then someone I didn’t know posted a criticism on my Facebook wall. A mutual friend had commented so he saw it, read it and didn’t like it. It wasn’t a big deal; you can’t make everyone happy, but it was weird for it to come from someone I didn’t know on Facebook.
A few more negative comments came into my blog inbox. Nothing about disagreeing with me, just about how they hated how I wrote. I was bummed, but I didn’t know these people, so I ignored them.
I went to a meeting and when I walked out I saw I had 72 comments, a few more comments on Facebook and a few Facebook messages. All 72 comments were mean, critical of my writing, but not disagreeing with the subject matter of the blog post itself. A few of the comments were also from people that were friends of friends and were mean and the Facebook messages were mean as well.
One Facebook message had the line “your article is a piece of shit and when i see you im going to fuck you up.”
In the comments I got, “you write like a fucking retard”, “nice blog you fucking hipster faggot”, “Don’t try to get a job at the Mercury”, “Fuck off with your shitty article”, and my favorite, “I hope you fucking fail at everything you do.”
All of the comments were directed at my writing and not the subject matter of the blog post. Some of the comments were making fun of my grammar and the structure of the essay.
A few criticisms are all right to deal with. I need criticism to be a better person, but 72 comments tearing my writing apart was too much. Some of these anonymous commenters started tearing apart my other blog posts including the poems and the cancer series.
One commenter wrote, “I hope you get cancer again and this time it kills you.”
I was devastated. I was alone on a MAX heading home at midnight just reading put down after put down. If the commenter left his name (they were all males), I would look them up and see how they found my website.
Some of your friends are assholes.
I cried. I never felt worst. I just got over cancer, losing my job and being dumped by the love of my life and this was hundred times worst. I didn’t want to live anymore. I couldn’t fucking breath and I was crying on a MAX and then a crowded bus.
I want to be a writer. I have always wanted to be a writer. I remember reading the Sun Also Rises by Earnest Hemmingway when I was young and I knew that some day I would also be a journalist who wrote novels. Shit happened and I got distracted, but I always came back to writing.
I know that some people will not like my writing. People will put down famous writers, so why would I be bummed that anyone would put me down. I criticize people all the time, but I try to respect that they’re trying. When someone puts out his or her labor, it isn’t easy –it’s scary. Every blog I post I’m scared that it is stupid and sometimes when I reread them I regret ever writing them, so when people tell me that it is terrible, it magnifies the regret.
While I think constructive criticism is important, I think how you criticize is important. You don’t know what a person is going through. I have never been more sensitive in my life. I’m just beginning to rebuild my life after losing everything. I think my own friends don’t like me right now, so when a bunch of strangers lash out at me and feel compelled to comment horrible negative words at me, I become a lump of shit that wants to disappear and never be found.
It might take me awhile to get my courage back to write anything like that again. After I took down the blog a few of the commenters called me a pussy and weak and other words that aren’t known to be friendly or courageous. I am scared of posting this essay.
I have spent this last year not commenting on arguments on social media. If I have a real beef with someone I either don’t talk to that person or I talk to him or her face to face. The Internet is a wall for people to become assholes and great debaters. People are different online than in the real world. I realized that I didn’t need to win any online arguments. I realized that it was a waste of time and most of the time the argument would begin to get personal and malicious, so no one learns.
Now I just like things and comment positive or funny things, but stay away from the online debate society.
Thank you to all who support me and push me to do this. Sometimes I don’t know why I do this and then one of you relates or gets some sort of strength from my words and that is why I write.
I just won’t blog anymore inside jokes about tacos.