Awhile back I was emailing back and forth with an art friend about messages received online with negative intentions. A month or so before someone who runs another group online sent me a long rambling email telling me, “Hey I don’t want you to take this the wrong way and I don’t think you suck, but I don’t want to be associated with you, and by the way, you suck.” The way the message was written she wanted some sort of apology for an imagined slight, it took me off guard, and the tone in which it was written ticked me off. I collected myself and fired off a response. She fired off another long rambling email which again beat the dead horse of me sucking. I fired off another response and her another. After the 3rd exchange I realized I wasn’t going to get anywhere, no matter what I said or did this person was always going to think that I suck. I stopped responding. I let it go. I let her go.
In my conversation with my art friend I suggested that my friend shut out the haters, block their email and IP addresses, give them the finger and go on with her life.
The realization that I came to today is that is not what I did with the person who repeatedly said I sucked, you know, for my own good, in a patronizing “this hurts me more than it hurts you tone.” I let her go, which is inherently different from shutting her out. I said my piece and when I realized we were never going to see eye-to-eye, I let her go.
Fighting with someone who wants nothing more than the fight is a pointless activity. It detracts from the real good that can happen and from your reality. Life doesn’t need to be full of drama for it to be exciting and full of wonder.
I did learn from the experience. I learned that if someone comes to me first spouting sweet nothings about how great I am and then pretends to be a friend that they can turn on a dime at some perceived misstep. In the end I did block her email and IP address, I did that first, before I realized I’d let her go. I have to think that the conversation that I had with her before blocking her was as useful as the act of blocking.
This negative Nancy’s wanted nothing more but to tear me down to build herself up. But why? Some might say she’s jealous of my success (I run 2 websites that don’t make money, um yay?) or that she wants what I have. I asked myself all kinds of questions immediately after the interaction what exactly had I done to incur her wrath? I wanted to know where it came from. I wanted to explore it learn from it.
In the end I wasted a lot of time pondering her words and her anger, wondering if she were justified.
I let her throw a wrench into my life.
I gave her control.
I took the control back and let her go.
What does this have to do with art? It’s the time suck, the time I spent worrying about her I spent away from art, I let it get me blocked up and upset. Online interactions can sometimes leave me feeling grumpy and tired and sometimes I just need to let go.