“I hope he was raped by an uncle as a kid.”
I wrote that.
Like, a few weeks ago.
And I think that’s probably the 2nd or 3rd worst thing that I’ve written that I’ve ever attached my name to.
Somebody angrily wrote back, “statements like that are part of the reason why the culture of rape is so rampant in this country,” and it felt like shit because he was probably right.
I once described a woman who I was attracted to as “exotic” in my writing and that resulted in a rather incensed individual responding that objectifying comments like that are disgusting and racist and make me seem like a piece of shit (or something along those lines).
And then, there are the frequent feedback cards and responses I receive after some of our events when I’ve spent a few hours standing in front of a crowd, alluding to casual drug use and telling people to, “shut the fuck up, this isn’t chat-time.”
(I was particularly annoyed about a handful of people who, at one of our events, wouldn’t shut the fuck up so I told them, and I quote “please shut the fuck up.”)
Often, following one of these events, I’ll receive an email along the lines of: “Hey, I don’t think we’ve had a chance to speak at any of your events but I’ve gone to a few and here are some thoughts: cursing makes you seem like an immature twit. A spoiled millennial. Grow up.”
And I’d like to think that I’m completely unfazed by feedback like that, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
It hurts every time.
Sometimes, my immediate response is to forward it to someone I know and tell them about my plans to casually tell that person to fuck off.
But a small part of me is also wondering whether or not they’re right.
That, I need to grow up and move on with my life and not use language and disgusting allusions as a crutch.
And I often respond to these situations in one of two ways:
A. I don’t. Because I know that I’ll always piss someone off.
This is my preferred method because it’s the path of least resistance and it doesn’t require me to change.
To dig deep and change anything about who I am or what I do.
And I simply accept that my words and actions will hurt andor offend somebody and assume that /that person just doesn’t get me.
Is it immature?
I don’t think so.
Some people really know me, as friends and partners and family members and those are the people who I trust.
Everyone else, I don’t really care about.
And I realize that it’s not my job to appease everyone else.
Because appeasing people is what people who are insecure about who they are and what they do tend to default to.
Or, B. I carefully consider their feedback and assume that, in some ways, they’re probably right.
Like, if a half-a-dozen people remind me that I curse too much at an event that they attend, and those are the people who come to our events, they’re probably right.
In that case, the consequences might be further reaching than an angry note from somebody who reads one of my emails and tells me I’m a piece of shit.
And then I try and consider what implementing that into my characterpersonality would look like./
If it’s too painful or difficult or compromises some of the values I hold dearly like honesty, transparency, and genuine kindness, then I probably throw it in the trash like most recommendations I get.
But if it’s something that would be a relatively painless transition (like cutting down on, maybe, 50% of the fuck-words I use on a day-to-day basis), then I strongly consider it.
Often, the people who don’t know you and don’t really give a shit about your own values or goals or anything like that are wrong.
Or, at least, off.
Because they don’t understand the full story.
They probably just experience you in small doses and can’t really give you the full picture.
And sometimes they’re right, too.