Monday morning I woke up, felt great, everything was normal. Sometime between the hours of twelve and three o’clock, apparently, someone felt like the idea of me having a pleasant Monday was unacceptable. To make sure I knew about their deep-seated need to make me feel inferior, whoever this person is made their feelings (and my full name) known on YikYak and I just want to say…
The great Samantha Jones of Sex and the City fame once said ‘any publicity is good publicity.’ When I first heard this, I thought she was a little insane, but whoever you are, you proved to me that Samantha was on the nose. Because the thing about haters is… it means people are listening to you.
Having people who can quote (or misquote you) means people are paying attention to what you’re saying and what you’re writing. As a writer, I can’t really hope for much more except for people to hear or read what I’m putting out, and to care enough to actually talk about it. To talk about it enough that they remember a name is what creates buzz, creates impact, creates relevance.
As someone who has spent years of her life fearing invisibility and irrelevance, it’s nice to know someone has noticed. Whether or not that noticing was positive or negative honestly doesn’t really matter in my book, because marching to the beat of my own drum might interrupt your song, but I’m still gonna call it a drum solo. In case that metaphor didn’t make the most sense what I mean is—I AM HAPPY JUST BEING HEARD FOR BEING ME.
I’m proud to know that my writing does enough to make someone, anyone besides my own self, think or get angry or speak out or cry or laugh or whatever. Any reaction means that people are genuinely interested and paying attention. If I want to make a living writing (and I do) then that’s all I can ask for. So thanks, I owe you, kiddo. I feel a lot better about my future and my presence as a human in others lives.
To everyone else who read this, remember:
1. You have haters, because you also have supporters, people who like you or whatever you’re doing. They hate because it bothers them that people support things that aren’t them or oppose them. For every hater, you had enough supporters that the other side of things is hearing about you.
2. Haters mean people know that people support you. Haters crawl out of their den, because they can hear your supporters and they want to put those lovely supportive people on mute.
3. People who are doing things, don’t have time to hate. If you’ve got haters, you are getting stuff done!
Now we’re not all Tswift, and we can’t just roll with the punches, or roll into our pile of grammies and millions and decide to move forward. Knowing that people dislike your creative output– or worse, they dislike you as a person– flat out sucks. After years of classic bullying in middle school and high school, though, I’ve developed my own process of getting through it. First, I cry. Second, I get out my aggression in a healthy way. Third, I ask find support to negate the hate. Fourth, I do something that makes me feel worthwhile to remind me that I am more than whatever people dislike.
I cry because it’s necessary. When you’re hurting you have to admit it, and you have every right to feel hurt by people who tell you that you’re less than them. It’s cruel and mean, and usually they find the exact weaknesses in you to get under your skin with. Take a good, long cry. You deserve it. I usually take my cry with a bubble bath and dark chocolate.
Get out your aggression in a healthy way. Inevitably, you will also be a little angry that someone felt the need to not just dislike you but also to voice this. Going for a run, a kickboxing class, a scream session, songwriting, poetry, write their name on a piece of paper and burn it if you have to. GET IT OUT WITHOUT LASHING OUT. Whatever you do, do not lash out. Haters hate because they are below you; don’t lower yourself.
You are allowed to ask for a little love. It’s not selfish when it’s self-building. We genuinely need to be reminded that we are loved when we feel hated. You can call your friends for cocktails and a retail therapy or Netflix and cuddle therapy. You can request compliments and kindness, as long as you don’t go overboard.
And finally, do something that lets you remember that the hate didn’t stop you. Taylor Swift wrote shake it off, I wrote an article, you could simply just write a killer essay and celebrate a job well done. Whatever it is, celebrate yourself for a second.
Basically, Tswift’s Shake It Off is less about ignoring haters and more about the fact that they prove you’re doing something… and in her case you’re doing so many somethings that you write a song about it. Since I’m not Taylor, I made my equivalent. I wrote an article. So here it is, my shake it off, and my thank you, and a bigger thank you to everyone else who reads the tidbits I produce. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
Image Credit: Vulture, Gurl, Awesome Gifs, Perez Hilton, We Heart It, Giphy