I’ve faced a lot of scrutiny online for the content that I choose to post, the way I live my life, my job and my relationships.
I've always found online criticism sort of funny. Especially comments from those who claim to hate me (the idea of me) but who still follow the blog and my social media channels. I’d like to mention that I went to acting school. I spent over a decade of my life facing rejection and being told I wasn’t enough or better yet-- too much, so I interpret criticism a little differently than others might.
I can’t imagine what it's like to be a teenager or even a twenty-something growing up today. For those of you reading this who are still in school and/or figuring out who you are, what you like and what your idea of happiness is please don’t listen to the hate. I won’t ask you to ignore it, I think that is impossible. I don’t want anyone to ever internalize any hate directed towards them. What I’m asking is that you do your very best not to believe the hate that you're hearing.
For what it’s worth, this is what I have done to help relieve myself of the hurt that these keyboard warriors have tried to inflict.
Tell someone whatsbeanHappening.
This will not bring joy to the person trying to hurt you. This will protect you. Have the people you trust most, be aware of what you’re going through. By doing this, I felt less alone and more protected. Build your own army. Surround yourself with people who will fight for you and love you unconditionally. Consider yourself a VIP who deserves privacy, security and confidence.
My closest friends and I refer to cyber hate as “rats trying to steal from the kitchen” and so we set traps. Never will these sad suckers get a direct response from me. I’m busy and fortunate enough that my team now screens messages before I see them. Those who do harass or threaten receive a friendly reminder ( email, phone or house call) from the police. How embarrassing eh?! Yeah. It’s called criminal harassment and when it's gone too far, bullies best lawyer up.
Don’t own it.
Some of the best advice I’ve ever been given is not to think of myself as a victim. Even if you are being attacked (verbally and or emotionally) envision yourself coming at the world (in a positive way) with what you have to offer, rather than focusing on what is (or what could be) coming at you. If someone doesn’t like you, that’s ok. They are not required to, and it doesn’t make you or them any less awesome. But everyone is entitled to common decency, peace of mind and respect.
Don’t doubt yourself.
Someone who has enough time to harass you online needs time in therapy. You’re not the one who’s crazy. Do not let them convince you otherwise. Winona Ryder was beaten up so badly (by other girls) in her school for dressing androgynously, that she was hospitalized. She went on to become a millionaire, a two-time academy award nominee and for quite a few years Johnny Depp was her boyfriend.
Those same girls later asked for her autograph... So remember some of the worlds biggest “weirdos” go on to be the most successful and they're going to love you.
I spent my twenties beyond broke. I had a university degree and a college diploma and still, I was a waitress. I moved home (and back in with my parents) at 26. Three months later, I spent my first day on set. I sat beside Brooke Shields at lunch. She told me a joke and I ate a pulled pork sandwich that I didn't have to cook or pay for. The moral of this story is that there's always hope. Revel in your weirdness.
Not everyone can do this and it is totally ok if you can’t. What I try to do is find the humour or irony in sad situations. It helps if you have someone you can laugh with. My dad is someone who can always find the humour in a bad situation. I’m not sure he even knows how good he is at it, but he passed the skill on to me. It’s normal to be angry but the freedom laughing can bring you, is incomparable. Haters have a way of creeping into your psyche, in an attempt to become much more powerful than they really are. The hurt they cause can drown you if you let it. I’m not suggesting you call anyone names, but what they are is a bozo, a turkey, a meatball. Those are my favourite descriptive words.
Laughing doesn’t mean you won’t look back and remember how badly you’ve been wronged. Laughing will help you heal so that you will have the chance to look back at what you’ve overcome and see how strong you are to have survived it.
Don't put yourself at risk but live your life exactly as you would if this weren’t happening. Focus on what makes you happy and spoil yourself. This becomes easier in adulthood, at least it has for me. I'm selective in who I spend my time with. I hang out with people who make me feel good. No one is paying my way or deciding how I live my life. I owe nothing to anyone and I'm not looking for approval. The only person I report to, and the only opinions that matter, are my boss (on set) and my clients. I work hard so that if ever I'm in a situation I don’t like, I have the ability (and the money) to leave and live well on my own.
*I do have an emotional support system, who I go to for help or advice when I need it. These people are priceless and they know, I've got their back too.
Be A Contender.
Not everyone will understand this reference but if you feel like shit and someone (or a group of people) are continually bringing you down, you need to watch the film Rocky or On The Waterfront.
There’s a scene where Rocky runs up the stairs… I could cry just thinking about it. It’s this montage where the audience sees how hard Rocky trains to become the ultimate fighter (which is who you’re going to become) and you feel as if you’re running with him. This film has one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever heard. The song that plays during this scene only has a few lyrics. If you’ve seen it you will know what I’m talking about:
“Trying hard now…It’s so hard now… Gettin' strong now… Coming on, now Gonna fly now… Flyin' high now"
at the end of the scene, Rocky reaches the top of this mountain of stairs and he throws his fist in the air... because "It's not about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward."
It's emotional, it's inspiring and it's real.
I think you'll like it.