Here in the good ‘ole US of A, we’re allowed to say whatever we want, but our Constitution doesn’t protect us from our listeners. Because while we have the freedom of speech, they have the freedom of interpretation.
Have you ever noticed that when you like someone (even for 5 minutes), you don’t mind so much what they say? Because you like them and appreciate them and think well of them, you also (by default) like what they say and appreciate what they say and think well of what they say. Basically, you assume good intent, you assume they mean no harm, you smile and say, “Oh, that Julie! There she goes again being the Julie that we love!” (for example).
And have you ever noticed that when you don’t like someone (even for 5 minutes), you mind everything they say? Because you don’t like them and don’t appreciate them and don’t think well of the them, you also (by default) don’t like what they say nor appreciate what they say nor think well of what they say. Basically you assume mal-intent, you assume they mean total harm, you snarl and say, “Oh, that Julie! There she goes again being that terrible, horrible Julie that we can’t stand!” (for example).
And so it went, oh around the middle of October, when I wrote a sarcastic, ridiculous line in a post. A stupid, silly thing to say right in the middle of a deeply heartfelt post about learning and growing and being rather humble in the midst of a new world. And these words, they were misinterpreted, rearranged and then broadcast to people all around me. By someone who seems not to like me, but IN REALITY (when I really thought about it) doesn’t know me at all. Not even one iota of me.
It was a bummer. The kind that just kept on giving. And growing. And then giving some more. More and more people told me what this person had told them. It was like the Ebola virus. Eating away at my public, work and private self.
After I first learned about the ‘rumor’, I sat down at my computer per usual to write a post. And I wrote it. But I couldn’t publish it. I just couldn’t. It’s still in my drafts. Along with 5 others.
I felt violated. In this holy, wonderful place that my blog is to me. In this, my favorite writing space in the world.
As my hand hovered over the publish button, I felt my positive self shrinking. Behind some serious and sad armor.
Why should I share anything with anyone? Why is it anyone’s business what goes on in my head? Why should I set myself up to be knocked down again?
I’ll just stay here, on the other side of my computer. And hide. I said. And I did. For the last 2 months. (And by hide, I mean purely: not writing this blog…in the meantime, I’ve been creating and writing my buns off work-wise. And having a blast!)
But who are we kidding? That’s not me! That’s not how we do things around here! And I miss it. I miss all of you. I miss the outlet. I’m bad at quiet. Really, really bad at quiet. I’m just sayin’.
And then there were all of the emails and twitter messages I got from you wonderful people saying things like how you were breaking down and reading my archives because you needed a fix. And I thought, why should we all suffer because of one misinformed person?
So here I am, writing and publishing. And I think we should celebrate—but not because I’m here writing a post (it was that sort of ‘seemingly’ ego-filled jab at myself (seriously, a jab at myself — AS IF I think I’m so great…puhlease!) that got me in this trouble in the first place).
Instead, let’s celebrate all of the writers that have said, “WORLD! HEAR THIS! I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY. AND DAMMIT, I’M GOING TO WRITE ABOUT IT. NO MATTER WHAT. NO MATTER WHO’S LISTENING OR HOW THEY INTERPRET MY WORDS OR MY CHARACTER!”
And how better to celebrate them….drumroll please….than with a brand new, NOOKcolor for your reading (of writer-badasses) pleasure!!!
The wonderful folks at Barnes & Noble have given me a brand new, hot off the presses, NOOKcolor to give away. (And they gave me one to play with, too – and I frickin’ love it!!!! Everything about it is beautiful and awesome and fabulous. Everything. For reals, you want this thing.)
Here’s the deal. Tell me a time when you were almost beaten down by something or someone, but you stood up and stood your ground and persevered. I’ll pick a winner with that random doo-hickey website on January 8th.[And if ‘the one who doesn’t know me’ is still here and still reading. I’d love for us to get to know each other. And if there’s something you read that is upsetting to you, come on down. Let’s talk it out…and practice that free speech thing. Together.]