“You gotta have thick skin.”
“If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.”
“If you can’t deal with it, then you shouldn’t be doing it.”
I’ve heard or seen so many variations of this when it comes to the world of writing. If you can’t handle people being mean you shouldn’t write. If people saying mean things hurts your feelings you shouldn’t write.
I’m going to say this because I don’t think I really see it anywhere and I need to know at least maybe someone else out there is the same. If you say mean things, it will hurt my feelings.
I’m a big baby. I promise you. If you’re saying mean things to be mean they will hurt me and you will have achieved your goal. Also I will probably cry. I cry at heart felt commercials, so getting me to that point isn’t that hard.
If you’re saying constructive things, I can handle that. I can handle wanting to help me be better. But I don’t have thick skin. I have thin little cry-baby skin and words can hurt. Don’t give me the “sticks and stones” reasoning because the very reason I’m doing what I do is because words will hurt.
I wrote a book. I’m writing another book. And I am hoping with everything I decide to share that some sort of emotion will be provoked within you. That’s my job. To make you feel things from words. Because words hold power, and you can use them to lift someone up or tear them down.
The nursery rhyme lied and I assure you the sting from words can last longer than bruises from sticks or stones.
I’m not writing this because someone was mean to me. I think maybe it’s an explanation before, a reference point for when I’m hurt. I’m not going to pretend to be brave when it happens nor will I call upon for torches and pitchforks. But I’m trying to be as honest as I can and say that I’m not immune. I don’t think bullying is cool or fun in any capacity. I’ve always been on the outside of cliques, enough to see what’s happening but never allowed in.
Acceptance and kind words are a beautiful thing. Just allowing someone to participate without holding over them the status you think you’ve earned is a gift. Being nice and helpful is a gift.
I don’t need a following of people to throw compliments, that’s not at all what I’m saying. What I am saying is that I don’t think that being hurt by bullies means I shouldn’t write. How backwards is that? I shouldn’t write because people will be mean for no other reason than to be mean.
Not okay with me. I’m still going to write even if you’re nasty because I love to make up stories and worlds where anything, I can literally make anything happen, is possible.
So if you hate my works, tell me what I can work on or what would have made it better, I may ask for your opinion in the future. But for readers and authors alike who say if you can’t handle mean words then you should just stop; No. I won’t.
I will go cry in my room like the grown woman I am and then write more, because I think this world could use a little more of people who don’t let things like that stop them even when it hurts. I want to see more people who can handle the tough and nasty parts but carry on. I don’t think I will be poster child on how to handle those parts.
I’ve tried to harden my heart and what a sad thing that is–that I need to lose the part of me I love the most to prepare myself for what could be. But I won’t do that anymore. I won’t let cruel comments change me, just so I can share the worlds I create.