I am always surprised by hatred.
Anger, I get. Rage, I understand intimately.
But that personal hatred, that vile that some people carry around inside of them, it always catches me off guard. Specifically when I find myself the target of it.
My husband says I’m one of those people you either love or hate. No in between. I asked him again tonight what he meant by that, why it is easier to hate some people than others. He attempted to explain that I have “one of those personalities”. In an effort to explain why a “strong personality” would so easily incite hate, he noted that I “am who I am,” and that I “don’t change that – for anyone. Babe, some people aren’t going to be able to handle that well.”
He’s told me that before. My grandfather tried to explain this to me when I was very, very young. Looking back, I realize he was trying in vain to prepare me.
But still, it surprises me. Every time.
The first time I remember being overwhelmed by hatred was in highschool. I remember walking through the halls and holding back tears as a mob of girls proudly displayed their “We Hate Britt” pins. God that was agonizing. As a 16 year old girl I was devastated that I could inspire so much hatred in people. I felt helpless, unable to recall any specific thing I’d done that could have caused such disdain.
Those girls moved on to something else, and I grew up. I brushed away my tears and pushed through the rest of highschool, determined to hold on to who I was. As if there were any other options.
As I’ve gotten older, the hatred has come less frequently. Mainly I suppose because you get to choose who you surround yourself with more and more the older we get. Sure, living in a small town I occasionally had to hear about this person’s issue with me and that person’s inability to “handle” me. But aside from the infrequent misplaced gossip, I could basically go on about my merry way.
And then I moved, and encountered a whole new group of people who had never been exposed to me before.
Apparently there is a very grown man that remembers me from a party, whom I wouldn’t recognize if he bit me in the ass (except of course, to ask him why he’d bit me in the ass), who spends quite a bit of time hating me. Like, openly, verbally, hating me.
It seems I’m one of those people that it’s not only easy to hate, but acceptable to loathe. Yeah, that part still gets me.
And then, there is blogging.
I’ve been thinking again today about why I blog, trying to sort out what matters and what doesn’t – what’s worth responding to and what needs to be ignored.
Am I blogging to Win Friends And Influence People?
I don’t think that’s exactly it. I’m certainly not looking to be Internet Prom Queen.
The truth is, when I sit down to write here, I usually think about what I have to say that might be worth hearing. What needs to be shared? Whether it’s laughter or heartache – what are the things that are spinning around inside me that for one reason or another have. to. get. out?
I always forget that it might incite the hate.
I mean, sure, I expect some dissenting comments here and there when it comes to sports or politics or religion. Or hair styles (because good LORD you people are passionate about hair). I’ve come to expect that if I mention any type of parenting detail here, there is going to be Internet Advice coming through in waves.
But the hatred still surprises me.
It never occurs to me when I post pictures of my kids that someone would get venomous about it. It never crossed my mind when I exposed the Internet to my husband that someone would attack him. I always forget when I put myself out here, that it leaves you open for all types of feedback – good, bad, and otherwise. And that the more personal the exposure, the more personal that “feedback” can feel.
It’s insanely naive, I know. Naive because people are what they are; insane because it’s a lesson I’ve learned a million times in the last 28 years.
But still, I’m caught off guard. I’m often left between shaking with rage at the wrongness of it and sick to my stomach at how hard it still is, even at my age, to be so disliked. I have to hold off the urge to fight back – and often fail miserably, managing to twist in a dig here and there in a ridiculous effort to say something in my own defense.
I’m not a puppies and hearts and rainbows girl. At all. I can flip shit and make jokes that hit below the belt as quickly as the next person, if not more quickly. I know that we won’t all sit around singing campfire songs with our arms around one another. I don’t expect the entire world to fall over themselves to tell me how much they love me.
But still, the hatred… surprises me.
And I wonder why it doesn’t surprise everyone else.