Today I received my first negative comment about a post. As much as I had prepared myself for the likelihood this happening, it was still difficult to accept.
I think it says a lot about humans that, even when we are flooded with positive feedback, we inevitably get hooked on the one dissenting voice. Maybe that can be a helpful thing. It keeps us grounded.
Yesterday’s post was the first one that I felt truly truly anxious about. The others have caused nerves, yes, but yesterday’s was really scary. I’m not used to speaking out quite so passionately, quite so publicly. I realised that was I was saying could be found offensive. But I thought, fuck it. I’ve been keeping these thoughts and feelings inside for so long, and they were triggered by my experience. I want to make a difference. I want normalised unacceptable behaviour to be challenged. Why shouldn’t I raise my voice?
The person who commented is possibly right. They said that I was being ableist by saying that I thought that the man who followed me had a mental disability. I certainly didn’t intend to be. The reason I said it is because it felt relevant to the story – it was a factor in the situation that I was in. I apologise that it was found offensive. I’m not sure if I should remove it, though?
When I saw the comment, I was first angry, then upset. I thought she was wrong, and how dare she call me out for something I didn’t intend to do? Then I copped onto to myself and laughed. I was doing the same thing I’m trying to challenge others for doing. I swallowed my defensiveness and re-examined the situation.
Still, it shook my self confidence. And because of that, I thought I would remind myself of other, positive responses I’ve had to my writing.
And just… wow. I’ve started to make a record of all the feedback I’ve had since I started the blog, and I am just so humbled. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me and encouraged me. I appreciate every single one of you.
(Also, I have to say I had a major fangirl moment yesterday when Paula Penfold responded to my post: “It’s important alright. And brilliant. Thank Christ there are young women like you saying this. I was beginning to despair.” She’s an amazing journalist and her work covering important issues in New Zealand is so impressive, so I was just totally blown away by this.)
I do have a couple of particular thank yous I want to make, to some wonderful people in my Twitter community. Your generosity is incredible.
To Michael, for this:
To Dan, for this:
To Naomi, for this:
And Carina the cat would like to say a very loud thank you to Simonne, for this:
I really can’t say thank you enough to those of you who are there for me every day, with kind and encouraging words. With people like you around, it really does make me think we have a shot at changing the world.
You make all the difference.