I won’t ever forget the day I launched my blog. I was so excited and happy to introduce my “baby” and work of passion to the world— something that was years in the making and a project I poured my heart and soul into. However, the day didn’t quite end the way I had envisioned it to. The day Bayawesome went live, I received a lot of support- really positive messages, texts, calls… but an email I received later that night took all of my attention. I fixated on it as it defeated all of the encouragement of the day, and actually had the potential to change everything. In fact, it almost made me quit this thing all together.
I had a feeling that one day I would share it with all of you, but took some time to reflect. Now three years later, here it is:
My first reaction to this email, well, you guessed it… tears. Ya that hurt— just a bit of a sting. It made me think for a second; “What am I doing? Why am I doing this…”…But ONLY for a second. I realized quickly, that I wasn’t ever going to achieve my dreams and goals by sitting at home bawling and feeling sorry for myself, because of someONE else’s opinion. That’s not going to help anything. Secondly… Did you just say I was fat? But, just not as fat? And thank you for politely bleeping out shit.
When I attempted to respond to this lovely message, you can only assume what happened next. Yes, it was a fake email address. I know, shocking—Mr.Bibbons does not exist. I couldn’t communicate with this person, so what did I do next? Well, I questioned if this happens to other bloggers or people that put themselves out there, and the more I did my research, the more I realized that it was time to develop an even thicker skin. Because apparently once you put yourself on such a public platform, the door swings wide open to getting verbally abused and criticized by people hiding behind the screens of their cellphones and computers.
From that point on, I knew there was always going to be emails and comments that I wasn’t going to like. I questioned why it had to be this way, as I would prefer to connect with positive people, but life is a journey of accepting the good and the bad, right? I’ve also realized over and over again, that simply put- I’m not a pizza. Meaning not everyone is going to like me; Not everyone in this world is going to like you, and I think that applies whether you’re in the public eye or not- but we can’t let that stop us. It’s so important for us not to value our own self-worth based on the opinions of others, and trust me, you will feel strong when you prove the naysayers wrong. As the old saying goes, “the great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do”. At first I definitely found it difficult to see that negative comment, post, or message, but over time I got stronger and learned that it usually comes from a place of bitterness.
This email did get me thinking though too, women in particular are routinely criticized for looking too old, they are shamed for being too heavy, for being too thin…weight and appearance is constantly under comment. It’s a harsh reality that I think we’ve all experienced one too many times. Which got me reminiscing about my career in television news— You wouldn’t even believe the “fan mail” that on-air talent would receive. YES, people actually took the time to write letters to many of us about our wardrobe, hair, teeth, skin, voice— we heard it all. I often wondered how much time they had on their hands to be able to write this note in the first place, get a stamp, an envelope, look up the address, write an address on the envelope and then bring it to a mailbox. That is a whole lot of dedication to being a Cruella De Vil. And now the process of it all is even easier, as people just pick up their devices and start typing. Minimal effort required.
As the years have passed, I’ve come to the understanding that there are much more positive comments than negative, and you have to learn to take the comment for what it is, while focusing on the good (although as human beings we are unfortunately programmed to focus on the bad). But the awesome part is, you know who you are, your roots and what you’re all about. You know your truth. I’ve also discovered that if somebody is being cruel or acting offside, they’re probably just miserable. Example: If you’re having a great day, you don’t walk past someone on the sidewalk and yell, ‘loser!’ If you’re happy, you say, ‘hi!’ and smile.
I believe that our dreams and actions define us, so don’t let others define you with their criticisms. The comments will always be there. There will always be people who aren’t happy within themselves, who use the internet to be negative. But for every troll under the bridge, there are many other people in this world with something positive to say. So no matter how much self-doubt wants to cling to the negativity, find the strength to leave it in your inbox. Delete.
To those that are hitting the send button, next time you’re going to write a message or email that is somewhat critical, I urge you to ask yourself if you would say it to their face, and secondly is it at all constructive, the truth, or just hurtful? Don’t be a Mr.Bibbons. Be a good internet person. Be kind.
If you are on the receiving end—rise darling, don’t fall, because in three years you will look back and smile, happy that it didn’t make you give up on yourself or your dreams.
Bay Awesome. Xo
Photography by Dave Zahodnik of DZ Photography.