I've garned a lot of respect for famous people. The guts it takes to go out into the world, put your face first, your personality in the forefront, your ideas, successes, and failures out there for massive group of people to see. I have a fear that is oxymoronic to how I choose to live my life. I have a huge fear of being judged. Since I was a child, I'd have severe anxiety around this fact. It's something that I still battle today.
Being the person I am, of course, I would repeatedly put myself out to the public in a way that welcomes judgement, and makes it easier for people to dish it out.
In high school, I started writing spoken word, and from those who knew me in college, they new it was raw and unedited, skillfully done, but real. On a stage, weekly, I found myself performing pieces that ranged from venting about the Bush Administration, to admitting a tryst I was having with a man who was already taken.
I have my faults, and will continue to. Yet, and still there's a reason I've always thrown myself to the fire. It's the people that pull me to the side, the text messages, the private messages on Facebook and Twitter, and the cherished one on one conversations I'm able to have (that I have been having since 2002) of people thanking me for putting words to what they felt they couldn't. Their thanks for me telling their story, through my own. Their feeling brave enough to get out of unhealthy relationships, and stand up to men that drained so much of them. For the men, who would come to me and write male rebuttles to my work, or reach out to say 'Sis, keep it up." And that's just what I did. I even had a man tell me he'd never date another writer again because of me...we're cool now though.
This weekend was one of digestion and reflection. An email, that I am convinced was sent with the sole purpose to hurt my feelings, garner a negative reaction, and make me feel like less of a person, and less of a leader found its way to my Inbox. Read. Read again. A few more times still, until I'd had enough and needed 24 hours away from it. My goal was to pick out what rationality that could be salvaged from it, and address those points head on. Again, taking my mother's advice by 'not reacting to the pathology'. I did. I digested. I learned. And as positively as possible, I responded, not to the tone, but to the content.
This morning I spoke to my mother, and something happened that didn't this entire weekend. I cried. I asked my mother, if people do not understand that just because I am strong that I cannot be spoken to any particular way? I asked my mother if because I put myself out there, do people completely disregard the fact that I am human and have emotions to? I am sometimes surprised by how hurtful people can be.
I know in my role, my job is to make it look easy. I get it. But some things will take you by such surprise, that you have to take a moment and write about it. Details, will never come from me. Emotion and self-preservation have.
"Have you ever read the poem 'If' by Kipling? It reminds me of you and it's exactly what you are experiencing right now," my Mom asked.
"Look it up. I think it'll help. I'll have a copy printed out for you the next time you are home."
Turning to Google, I started at my Blackberry, and felt as though I could have written the words myself. It's become a mantra f sorts for me now. I share it with you all, if it may help with anything you are going through in your own person Universe.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!