Addressing the Critics

The problem with being too straightforward is that you often shoot yourself in the foot. Reveal too much and you get in trouble. Candor it seems is often what people ask of you, until you tell them what you really think and then they criticize you for being too honest.

Admittedly, it’s my fault.

It’s not part of my system to remain too quiet and enigmatic. My family has a pretty open way of communicating.

Car time was talk time.

Dinner time was talk time.

My father can be the life of a table whenever he feels like it.

I grew up in an environment where we were encouraged to voice our opinions with hopefully as much tact as possible, no matter how unpopular it may be. In fact, it was after grade school that I realized that other families were quieter than mine, and my friends’ fathers were stern and kept their mouth shut. In fact, I don’t think other fathers don’t talk as much as mine…

Sometimes, dad went overboard. Especially as he got older, he sometimes grew less tactful much to my chagrin and embarrassment of my mom. Regardless, what’s funny was that he still other people’s respect. Sure, he didn’t always get their adoration and a lot of people actually don’t like my dad, but respected him they did.

It brings me back to my situation where I’ve been on the receiving end of the critics’ stick more often than not. Having a lot of casual acquaintance has its pains — when a lot of people know of you, you run the risk of either being liked, or not. “Oh her,” they’d probably say… followed by something either positive or negative depending on what they think of you.

The downside of saying exactly what you think is that you open yourself to criticism. When you reveal more of yourself and your perspective on a certain subject, you’re also at the mercy of other people’s opinions about you.

Revealing yourself is like giving artillery to the other person — in the wrong hands, they may use these bullets to shoot you in the back.

So sometimes, they’ll like and respect you.

Other times, they think you’re just a stupid girl who should just keep her mouth shut. Please.

Posting your opinions in a public blog is also another stupid way of opening yourself up to criticism.

You cannot believe how bothered I was when I realized that some casual acquaintance are devoted readers of this blog. How stupid am I to even believe that I can keep my anonymity for long despite my not telling other people.

You know what? I felt naked.

Exposed.

By writing down Raven’s thoughts on a public forum, I also revealed certain tidbits of myself that people may misread or take out of context. They take a few paragraphs and immediately, form an opinion on the type of person you are, despite the fact that what you provide is limited, and often times, what you write on a blog is merely a segment of your thought process, and shouldn’t be taken as a whole.

The ironic thing is, you can’t please everyone.

People either like you, or just thoroughly dislike you.

Or they just don’t care.

I’ve learned that with those who like you, you can basically do no wrong.

When you are late for an appointment for example, they forgive you because they know that you’ve been up all night working on your company’s biggest event. They understand and realize that you being late does not make you irresponsible, but exhausted (and of course, you promise not to do it again).

Meanwhile, to those who aren’t your biggest fan, you can basically do nothing right.

I remember I had a colleague who just didn’t like me. He made sniping side comments, and a lot of them hurt. When I help him finish up a big project, he’d merely shrug it off, as if it’s by luck. When I missed a spot, he’d be in my ass all the time just poking and proding the wound until it bled.

Life’s like that, don’t you think?

On my second year in Taiwan, I was very active socially and expanded my network of acquaintances. Some people gushed that I was popular and knew a lot of people. Others just hated my guts and made it clear that it was so.

It used to bother me in the beginning.

I remember feeling saddened because a handful of people were complaining about a project we organized for free for them. My friend wisely advised, “If they want to complain, then let them do it. Let’s see if they’ll step up to the challege. If they don’t, then they can just screw themselves.”

It didn’t make the experience any easier, but I did feel a bit better once I incorporated this mantra in my brain.

When you reveal yourself to the other, you open your identity and work to other people’s opinions.

They’ll like it or maybe not. This you have no control. However, what you can control is how you react to it, and how badly you allow it to make you feel.

Sure, I can cry myself to sleep asking myself, “Why?” Who doesn’t want to drown ourselves with self-pity… we do that from time to time.

Nonetheless, the fact that I’m too busy and tired to even ask this question mean that in the end, you can’t please every single person. You throw a bunch of leaves up in the air and let them fall as they may.

You don’t stop working just because a few people hate your work.

Instead, you forge on and do the best you can, and so long as you get more wins than losses, then you’re still up ahead.

The funny thing I noticed though is that your greatest critics are those who don’t really know or care about you. Did you notice that usually, it’s those that complain the loudest are those whom you are merely casually acquainted?

Personally, I think that it’s because they operate with limited information that they have the galls to scream the worst about you. People are inherently good in my opinion so give me a break. If you don’t like me, what I think or how I write, then either you can stay and publicly criticize what you’ve seen or read.

Or if you can, how about just walking away?

Look, we’re adults — Sure, I am not stupid to not know that blogs are public forums and everyone with an ADSL connection can read it.

But if it bothers you that much, which is better: Reading about my thoughts and ranting shit about me to other people, or not reading it at all and get busy with other productive things?

I am sure there are more things to do in your exciting lives than reading what Raven thinks about this and that.

You have a choice, so why not enact on it?

Does my writings give you so much sadistic pleasure that you just can’t help yourself?

And after reading, does it actually make you a better person when you gather your friends and discuss about the topic of the day in a negative light?

There’s a war ongoing in Iraq, the sub-prime issue that’s affecting the US and beyond, Taiwan’s recent elections or your exciting life to talk about. So many things to discuss to make you a more interesting person. Can you please utilize more intelligent topics instead than talking about other people?

Look, I can’t stop anyone from reading my writings. Do note however that by doing so, please be respectful of the writer as well. I know I am going to have such a slashback from everybody reading things, and am not asking for any favors, but seriously, if you don’t like what you read, for both of our sakes, please stop typing out my URL and stop reading.

I’ve tried to stop posting, censor my words and be careful about what I say. However, it’s difficult for me not to write, to express, and to be honest. I felt bad not being myself. And if you don’t like me being myself, then kindly exercise the choice of not being around me. No one is forcing you to be in my presence, and vice-versa, so let’s stop being superficially polite. It gives either one of us nothing in return.

As for the rest, I’m sorry if many a times, you may not agree with how I think. Nonetheless, instead of talking badly about me to others, as adults, it may be better to respectfully agree to disagree.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, if you don’t like me or how I think — just stop. Stop reading. Stop being fake. Stop being polite in my face, then rush out and express just how impolite you dare to be with others.

Despite me not liking the fact that there are a lot of people who dislike me, I do respect those who are politely honest about it.

They don’t talk crap about you, nor smile at you and then stab you in the back. You know they don’t like you, and you respect that. Likewise, you also politely keep your distance, because like them, you also have a choice on whom you hang around with.

So to end, I implore everyone to keep an open mind, be it reading anybody’s blog or dealing with people in a daily basis. Sure, it’s silly to expect people not to have a negative impression of you when you reveal aspects of yourself that they don’t agree with. However, there’s a difference between respecting the differences compared to gossiping about these differences to others.

Life can be harsh. It sucks when you realize just how much some people don’t like you. T’is the cost of placing yourself too far out there in the spotlight. When you’re in the middle of the action, all your flaws are revealed for everybody to nitpick.

There’s a choice on how to deal — cry oneself to sleep, disengage yourself from society and hide in a cave; or be courageous about it, realize that this is a fact of life and let leaves fall as they may.

I choose the latter, and just do the best I can. Whether people like or hate me is their issue, but I do the best that I can.

Admittedly, this choice hurts more. It’s more painful.

But to hide oneself in the dark because there are bad people outside is even worse because you are fooling yourself. You are a mere ghost, stuck in the whims of others who will always find something bad to tlak about you.

In the end, I’d rather be myself.
And let leaves fall as they may.

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About Bonita

I'm a forgetful person. But I think a lot. Every day, a lot of thoughts enter my head. That's why this blog came to be: first, to keep my memories alive through the years, and two, to actually see how I and my thoughts have changed. Please note that I seldom draft or edit my posts. Sometimes, if I'm not careful, I offend some of you, my readers. And while I apologize for making you feel uncomfortable, I am not sorry for being honest or for making well-intentioned mistakes. I will however be the first to admit if I change my mind. Hence, do read and proceed with caution. My life is as colorful and as boring as you make it. I complain many days, but offer some encouragement in others. Life is fluid, it changes. So keep the positives and throw away the negatives, and I do hope that at the end of the day, you will enjoy reading the blog and leaving comments here and there if my posts touches you. Happy reading!
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4 Responses to Addressing the Critics

  1. Anonymous says:

    Y’know, I cannot really tell if that is a general feeling or there was actually a specific problem with specific people who were rude about something you wrote.
    I’ve never blogged a lot myself but I did have one particularly ugly cyber-bullying experience. Now I laugh about it, but before I got over it I recall I felt quite the same as you describe.

    Regardless, I hope that these few unreasonably-optimistic readers give you some solace both online and offline.

    Cheers!
    Goran

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hey, I like reading your blog, so cheer up.

    Have a good day, Raven.

    eya

  3. J. Xu says:

    Hej Raven,

    ..I have read the newspaper today and it said that there was a typhone in the Philippines… and your parents and lil brother are there?, if i’m correct…. I hope everything is ok with them…

    With love,

    J.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I love you blog cause the way you analyze things; have not found any reason for suspecting that you are purposely criticizing other people so what gives them the right to criticize you?!…

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