Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Don't Have To Apologize Because My Life Isn't As Wrecked As Yours

Something that I've noticed happens often on the blogs (and particularly on my blog over the course of the past five years) are the angry commentators who come along and start yelling at me because my life isn't as wrecked, unhappy, miserable or otherwise awful as theirs is. Due to this (according to their logic), I have no right to write.

You are correct. I am not:

-Dying in Rwanda
-A victim of the Holocaust
-A victim of a terrorist attack
-Divorced and/or dealing with my partner's infidelity
-Related to cruel or unstable people
-An apostate/ heretic because I was molested by a Rabbi

And the list goes on.

At the same time, this doesn't mean that I cannot feel. I feel pain at times. It may not be pain that ranks particularly high on your radar. It may seem shallow, superficial or unimportant to you. But that's why you're not living my life for me. I don't have to apologize to you because my life isn't as wrecked as yours. You're not the one who gets to determine whether or not my feelings are worth feeling or writing about or otherwise discussing. Your attempt to say my feelings aren't valid makes you just one in a long line of people who have tried to sell me on that message.

I've been called stupid, pathetic, melodramatic, snob, braggart, crybaby, flirt, cruel, unfeeling, cold and so on and so forth. Do you really think your saying it, at this point in my life, will make any difference at all to me? Judgment (and judgmental crap) colors the air around me. People have chosen to pass judgment on me for all manner of things, ranging from the way I plan to cover my hair to the short stories I write to the fact that I attended North Shore Country Day. My best friend judged me and found me lacking, then cut off the friendship. One of my favorite teachers told me she was disappointed in me when I wrote the transsexual articles in The Observer. You think that didn't bother me? Sure it bothered me. But I refuse to let judgmental crap dictate my approach to life.

I won't apologize for my life. I won't apologize for living it on my terms. I won't apologize because my life isn't as sad, depressing and wrecked as yours is. I won't apologize for feeling because my feeling seems unimportant and invalid to you. In short, I won't apologize at all.

And I think it's time more people started taking that attitude toward their lives rather than cowering in corners and saying sorry in an attempt to please others. You don't have to please people who are acting inappropriately. And those who decide your feelings don't count because nothing "bad enough" happened to you are definitely not those whose opinions you need to respect.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more.

Shades of Grey said...

I second Anonymous 6:06. People should focus on finding the good in their own lives rather than berating others to feel better for the lack of positive qualities in their daily existence.

RT said...

Chana,this post is fantastic on so many levels. Approval from others should NEVER be seen as something that defines one's self-worth. Being a "people pleaser" is for those who push down their inner passion, self-expression, creative pursuits and remain in the box of being slightly pareve if such a state exists.. Glad you don't wish to apologize for who you are or the way you write and/ or choose to live your life. You are one of a kind and that, my dear, is something to celebrate!

Atara said...

I love this and I can totally relate! It's one the greatest lessons about life that I've heard in a very long time.

inkstainedhands said...

And I applaud you for that, Chana. I applaud you for saying what you feel needs to be said and for being true to yourself.

As for people saying that you should not be writing because your main topic isn't misery -- one of the things I love about your blog is that it's not about complaining or parading only the negative emotions. It's about the normal spectrum of emotions that every human should have -- both the ups and the downs. Some people only focus on the downs, and I don't find that appealing. I love that I can read your blog and it will make me smile. It's human, it's something I can relate to and understand. I find it beautiful.

So do keep writing, because you rock!

Benzie said...

Hey Chana, I read your blog because I'm interested in hearing what you have to say. Keep it up!

We all have our own issues so when people respect that, even - or especially, when - they don't understand why that issue bothers us so much, it's better for everyone.

Anonymous said...

So are you saying that feedback from others on how you are percieved has no value to you?
Joel Rich

Irina Tsukerman said...

Well said! I couldn't agree more!

fear from love. said...

awesome post

Anonymous said...

Not sure I really see all the angry commentators you are speaking about. This blog seems generally unwelcome to disagreements with you- your supporters tend to attack anyone who doesn't agree even if there was no personal attack involved (never a reason for a personal attack) Actually I have stopped commenting because of this. I always thought you could handle a bit of alternative positions. Oh and by the way you do not shy away from criticizing others - Again not sure why you think that other lives are wretched and so concerned with yours.

Tania said...

I loved that. So true

Rachelli Dreyfuss said...

You're completely right! Everyone is entitled to express their feelings... true, like you said, you have not experience horrible things, but to you, your struggles are painful... and that alone is reason enough for you to be allowed to express them....
so keep writing!

Anonymous said...

great post

Anonymous said...

great post

Anonymous said...

great post

Anonymous said...

awesome blog, do you have twitter or facebook? i will bookmark this page thanks. lina holzbauer

Anonymous said...

Yes, probably so it is