Several people have asked me about the comments on my Babble.com piece. When I first realized they had finally published my piece, I wouldn’t read the comments. I had Micah screen them for me. I was sure people were going to be just brutal in the comments, and given the circumstances (new baby, not a lot of sleep, hormones in flux) I thought it was probably best not to give myself a reason to have an emotional breakdown. At first Micah just gave me the nice ones — the people who were understanding, or at least seemed to get what I was saying (hint: it wasn’t that I truly think I’m a bad parent). But after a while I was feeling a little tougher and he started sharing some of the not so nice ones with me.
And that is when I really realized that the comments have nothing to do with me. The people who comment clearly do not know me or the situation and their comments are generally more about themselves than they are about me and Simon. The way I think about it now is that my job was to stand in front of the class, give them a scenario, and walk out of the room, leaving them to discuss it for themselves. Some people only picked up on part of the scenario. Some people latched on to the part that reminded them of something they heard about once and tuned out the rest. Some people twisted what I was saying to fit what they wanted to say anyway.
I talked to several of the other writers at a mix-n-mingle Babble.com had last Tuesday (they just released a book of essays from the magazine — neither of mine were included — and some fancy Facebook application), and many of them mentioned how cruel and vitriolic people were in the comments on their stories. It just reaffirmed to me that I just can’t take things personally, no matter how personal the story was to me. So that is that. I’m sure it will still be difficult for me to read negative commentary on my writing in such a public place, but I’ll just have to try to maintain that perspective.
Side story: At the mix-n-mingle Micah claimed to be the bag holder, since I was the writer and the reason we were there. He was walking around and one guy told called him over specifically to tell him he had a nice bag. Micah laughed, “This old thing?” (Hahaha.) But it turns out the guy was the founder of SkipHop, and we happen to have a SkipHop bag. You never know who you are going to meet at these things.