If You Can’t Say Anything Nice….

There’s been something on my mind lately.

A few years ago, I was blogging under the name The Fake Hipster. I considered myself a “Fake Hipster” because although I had similar interests and style as a Silverlake or Williamsburg resident, I didn’t have a trust fund or my parents helping me out. No, instead I worked several jobs, took unpaid internships to build my resume when I could, and shopped vintage (mostly in Montana!) because it’s what I could afford. At the time, I was 22, new to New York, and I couldn’t afford to live in the city, and a friend recommended I live in Williamsburg because it was safe and still affordable. I constantly felt a bit self conscious walking down the streets there, like I wasn’t cool enough, or didn’t quite fit in, but I didn’t care. I was here to follow my dreams, work hard, learn about myself, and enjoy the cultural benefits of a big city.

A couple years into blogging, my blog was picked up on the site DieHipster, and I was subject to several nasty comments and thousands of hits within the next 24 hours. Looking back on it, I was devastated. I wasn’t devastated because people were making nasty comments, but because they were making nasty comments without knowing me or my situation. I eventually gave that blog up because I was tired of being made to feel bad because I used a name people didn’t like and I only discussed the good parts of my life instead of dwelling on the depression, living paycheck to paycheck, mouse infested apartment, getting told I wasn’t good enough because I was “just a bartender” by a guy I really liked parts.

I bring this up because last week, Gala Darling, announced her new role as Editor over at XOJane. Within 24 hours there were hundreds of nasty comments in her direction. Now, while I understand a lot of what people are saying, it upset me to see people being so vicious.

I’m all for freedom of speech, but aren’t we forgetting about the Golden Rule here? Treat other’s how you want to be treated? When did it become not only acceptable, but perfectly natural to take to Internet forums and tear someone down? Or to use Pinterest to say nasty things about perfect strangers? I understand that by putting myself out there, I’m asking for a certain amount of possible negativity back, but I guess I just have a hard time understanding it. I would never look at someone’s blog post, and think to myself “this person totally sucks and I’m going to tell them so.” Generally, if I don’t like what someone is doing on a blog, I close the page and move on to the next thing.

I guess I’m just trying to find the positivity and light in my life and that can be hard when you’re inundated with negativity from all angles. Between working 50 hours a week, commuting on packed subway trains, writing exorbitant rent checks, and trying not to get sick because I don’t have health care, being nasty to someone because they disagree or like something I don’t just seems so…sad.

But, maybe that’s just me. Maybe my personal experience paints a different picture than most people’s or maybe I’m just a bit too thin skinned to deal with it. Either way, I understand that not letting the negativity get to you is a process, and one that I need to take one day at a time.


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