I didn’t understand criticism – REAL criticism – until I faced it.
Until it shattered me from the inside.
It became the biter pill I could neither swallow nor throw up.
It got stuck in the middle of my throat – like a hundred tears threatening to fall if I removed that fake smile from my face.
But I couldn’t maintain my composure for much longer. The smile did fade away. The tears did fall. I told myself- “It’s the internet after all.” – but for some reason, it wasn’t working. Because in some part of me, I knew that there were actual people behind those made up usernames, people for whom what I write was the most disgusting and untrue thing they had ever read.
People for whom my style of writing came across as desperate and needy.
People for whom my ideas were worth nothing, my words were worth nothing, my effort was worth nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Upto that point, I had only known love from my readers. And that sudden burst of hateful criticism was becoming a bit too much to bear. I ended up crying my eyes out, not going to lie. Because I was still far from reaching that point of saying a bold “FUCK YOU” to the people who didn’t like what I was writing. Sure, I wrote it – half-hearted – as a response – but deep inside, my insides were in a knot and no amount of consolation was proving enough.
Why? Why did it feel like that? Why did I feel their hate so deeply? Had I not acquired any self-worth at all?
The thing is, it wasn’t a question of self-worth. It was the question of self-expression. I have always poured my heart out in everything I write, in every word I type with my little fingers. And for people to discredit it was like discrediting my life – the experiences I have had – the journey that shaped me into who I am. THAT was the hard part. That was what I was having trouble accepting.
The breakdown was real. But not long. I couldn’t afford to lose what little spare hours I get during the day over crying about someone’s rather unjust words. What I COULD do, however, was put my whole self into what I was about to write next. I was afraid -afraid that my desperation as they said is very prevalent – would show. But I didn’t care. I had to write. That was the only way I could see to release the hints of anger, loathing, and irritation that had seeped into me having faced that kind of hate.
It was time to bleed.
Tell my story.
The way I wanted to.
The only way I had learned how to.
Because take that away and what do I have?
Take my authenticity away and what am I left with?
Empty letters. Hollow words. Fake experiences, just for the sake of a few people who couldn’t understand me?
I wrote – bled on the paper, let out all of my frustration all of my anger, all of my sadness – and converted it into a flawed yet genuine piece of writing. I felt at peace. I felt the beauty of quiet satisfaction, one that I had taken for granted but never will again. I hit publish. And I knew – in my heart, I knew – that it will be loved. It will be adored. It will be understood by the people who WANT to understand.
The rest of them? Well, it’s a wide ass world with a LOT of people living in it. How could I EVER hope to please every single one of them? How could I touch every single heart pumping in this beautiful world?