I wrote this piece after another one of my pieces was just crucified in the comment section yesterday. It’s not so much an open letter to people who comment on articles as it is a love letter to the many many writers I love on Thought Catalog who I know can identify with this piece.
You know who you are. You’re the ones who call us out on how bullshit all our list are and how terrible our grammar is. You hide under the fake domain names you think are clever and try to provoke us by saying our writing sucks, among other, less appropriate wording.
We try not to take it personally — hell — most of us subscribe to the motto “let your haters be your motivators,” but we’d be lying if we said it didn’t sting a little sometimes. We understand that commentators aren’t the enemy, we want you to read our stuff, debate it, point out the fallacies in our assertions if that means having an open dialog about things that are really important to us. Yet outside of that the fact remains that this is us, on a page, just looking for people to relate to the same way that you are. We want to know that we’re not alone going through this human experience, that even with our different backgrounds and geographical locations we are somehow connected.
We probably articulate and express it differently than you would to your friends — maybe we hide a little too much behind the humor and the “17 ways” so that it palatable for those who can’t seem to click on a link without gauging how long it will take, but we’re all the same. From our Tinder experiences, to our sexual experiences, to dating, to family, to heartbreak, to loss, to even the unimaginable things we share with you — they hurt but we explore them by putting them on paper — then into the world. To open yourself up like that, to be vulnerable and exposed isn’t easy. Then here you come, with another jab at how we’re all “hacks,” “copy cats,” “too shallow to write anything of substance,” and some days we are really sorry you feel that way, but other days we just do’t give a fuck what you think. Because we write for ourselves too, to save ourselves to try to make sense of it all.
If we only wrote for the people who comment at the end of our articles we’d be empty.
I’ve seen commentators rip apart an article of someone who’s just starting out writing before and it broke my heart. Writing is an art, it takes practice and not everyone is great at it right away. We have parents, and siblings, boyfriends, and friends who read our stuff too, but you’re not thinking of them when you write how we’re “dumb as shit” in the trolling way you do. Trying to see what drama you can create in an already too dramatic world. Destroying something you don’t even know how to create is something I’ve never quite understood. Words have an impact and no matter how big we get as writers, it still means something to us that you spent your energy trying to bring our ideas down rather than merely telling us why you disagree and leaving it at that.
There are great commentators too. Their words of support and shared stories make me smile all day long. Doesn’t matter how many times we hear it – “so true!” is our favorite compliment. Every retweet, share and like isn’t the validation we need but rather the currency we accept for taking the time to express a generations worth of emotion and feeling into paragraph form day after day. Being appreciated for something you love doing, well there isn’t a greater feeling in the world. And for you to share how you identify with us, some person you only know through words on a page — that is noble and brave too. Those comments from people that have watched our writing and, consequently us as people, grow is nothing short of amazing.
In the end you don’t all have to like us or agree with us to get what we’re saying. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, here more places than others because, “all thinking is relevant” on Thought Catalog, which is why you get to comment on so many subjects and pieces of pure ecstasy in the form of writing. I write here because of that, but long before and long after that part of my contribution has ended I will read and comment with the utmost respect for what has been born here. I guess it’s up to you what you decide to do, but even if we say nothing know we hear you, loud and clear.