Bloggers are artists. You might not think of us that way because there's no blog posts hanging in the Louvre or the Met, but it's art just the same. We are like painters - our oils are honesty, humor, and emotion; our canvas is the World Wide Web.
And just like all artists, we want you to like us. I mean, we really want you to like us. But if you don't, that's okay, too.
I can't stand Lady Gaga music, I hated all the Harry Potter books, and I wouldn't cast Kristen Stewart to make a collect phone call, but some of you might disagree with me. Well, except for that Kristen Stewart thing. I mean, seriously.
The point is that we're all entitled to our opinion.
I wrote a post called 20 Things A Mother Should Tell Her Son in about 15-minutes on a Sunday afternoon while cooking dinner. If I had known that millions of people were going to read it, I probably would have spent more time of it. I would have devoted a solid twenty.
It's like that dream where you accidentally go to school naked, except my school was the Internet and my class was the population of New York. Suddenly I was all like, 'Does this blog make me look fat? Is my HTML on straight?' I swear, it was just like middle school all over again.
Since then, I've read hundreds of negative comments, several articles personally attacking my parenting, and one message board full of people convinced that I'm single-handedly ruining the next generation of men. (You're welcome, by the way.) And unfortunately, on most days, the hundreds of criticisms outweigh the millions of shares. I'm no mathematician, but that doesn't make any sense.
I don't mind you disagreeing with me. In fact, it's quite the opposite. I love it because that means I made you think. You read my list and thought to yourself, "Pfft. Really? She's so stupid. If this was my list, I would tell my son...."
And that's just awesome. If my stupidity inspires you, then I'll be happy to be this moronic again tomorrow.
Disagreeing is fine, but please do not attack me personally. Counterpoint my thoughts. Share your opinions. Just don't cut me with your switchblade, m'kay?
"You are stupid and selfish."
"I don't know what dinosaur wrote this, but move out of the south!"
"When you teach a false doctrine, you are not helping you're children, but you are destroying their lives before they get a chance to live."
"You are raising a mangina. Your son doesn't have a chance."
"And look at the advice she gave her daughter? Let's just say that I feel sorry for her husband having to live with somebody like that."
"What closed minded dumbass wrote this?"
"My first thought was that you hated all men and you were divorced (not remarried) and bitter, but I read one post implying that you loved your husband."
"It could be read as gender discrimination either way - either you are over-protective about your daughter or that you just don't care about boys."
"I will pray the Lord takes away all the hate in your heart."
"Whoever wrote this is an idiot."
"It's not easier having sons. You have to teach them values and morals too."
"Are you really this stupid?"
"This is seriously the most paranoid thing that I've read on here."
"You are raising the type of son that you are trying to protect your daughter against."
And that doesn't include all the people who just said they hated it or they weren't impressed. Ahem.
I would say it didn't bother me, but I don't lie on my blog (that much).
Other bloggers have also shared their opinions about cyber-bullying.
Michele, of the hilarious blog ODNT, wrote about her feelings when she received hate mail, which eventually turned into a public Twitter breakup. And every blogger knows, a Twitter breakup is the worst kind.
Leslie, of the award-winning blog The Bearded Iris, took down her comment section for the summer after a photograph was criticized inappropriately. I saw the photograph and I thought it was pure awesomeness.
It's good to know I'm not alone.
When I read the personal attacks posted about me, I felt like Robin Williams talking to Matt Damon on the park bench in the movie Good Will Hunting: "But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine and you ripped my fucking life apart?"
I'm an artist and I painted something - something original that I created - but you took one look at my painting and you called me an idiot, a horrible wife, and a bad mom. And that's not nice, y'all! Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?
You cannot possibly understand the depths of me as a woman, wife, mother, or writer simply from reading one post. I've been hanging out with me my entire life, and I haven't gotten me figured out yet.
Online bullying has become just like road rage. It's too easy for us to login and release our personal frustration on strangers without any accountability or repercussion. In short, we need to stop giving people the cyber-finger while we're stuck in traffic on the information highway.
Years ago, I watched an interview on VH-1 with Rosie O'Donnell about Madonna. She said that she and Madge were on an elevator in New York shortly after Madonna dyed her hair black. A stranger got on the elevator, said, "You're Madonna, right? Your hair looks like shit like that", and then he got off at the next floor as if he hadn't said a word. Rosie said that Madonna was genuinely upset about it, and even teared up over the insult.
It stuck with me because I think somebody like Madonna is invincible. But wait, Madonna cared about what some stranger said to her? The same woman who can do 42 hours of yoga per day, she cried? Imagine how somebody like me must feel. I haven't seen the inside of a yoga studio since, well, ever.
I'm not what you'd call a "thick-skinned" person. In fact, my skin is so thin that you can determine my blood type simply by looking at my forearm, but I'm learning. I'm learning how to take those hurtful words and put them in a box. I deal with them when it's appropriate, and when it's not, I shut the lid and walk away.
Last night, I went home and kissed my husband and hugged my children. We laughed and talked and played ball together in the yard. I tucked my babies into bed and snuggled up with my husband before drifting off to a peaceful sleep, and I didn't allow those negative comments to define me as a person.
So you didn't ruin my day. You were just a part of it.