It has happened before and, I’m sure it will happen again. After I write, my words go out into the world and onto social media to be judged. I’ve been comment slammed over a few of my articles but nothing compared to the ignorance and hate that was cyber-spewed at me for the article I wrote for Women’s Running this past week.
The topic was dealing with an unsupportive partner when it comes to running and racing.
When I pitched the idea to my editor, she very enthusiastically encouraged me to write it and asked if I could be candid. If not, she wanted me to seek someone out who would be since we agreed this was one of those topics no one talks about but, a lot of people deal with.
I had no problem being open and honest as I view this as something that is behind me. I have exercised (get it?) all my demons and, as the title clearly states, have made peace with how my husband and I deal with my racing life.
Perhaps because of how comfortable I was writing about it, I was caught way off guard by the grossly negative comments on the Women’s Running Facebook page.
I couldn’t understand where the viciousness was coming from since (for once) I wasn’t being overly opinionated, I wasn’t attacking any group of runners (ahem…Disney) nor was I talking about a hotly debated issue (the election) so seriously, WTF people?
From my point of view the article was about how, although my husband doesn’t support my racing in the way I want him to, I have come to accept it and even enjoy it over the years.
I explain in detail about marriage being hard work, that it’s a two-way street and that communication is key. I wrote about how I genuinely enjoy my kids not being at a finish line sometimes so I can relax and have a beer with my friends, and how there’s no battles in my house who gets to run first on the weekends.
None of that mattered because people are stupid. I’m talking really, outrageously ignorant and mean.
Obviously, I stopped reading the comments and instead, starting focusing on all the good, because there was plenty!
So many women reached out to me via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to show their support, to encourage me and to say “thank you” and “I thought I was the only one.” There were countless outpourings of connectedness and genuine appreciation which made it all worth it.
Those are the people I wrote the article for and I would do it again.
And oh, by the way, it’s the number one read article on Women’s Running right now. Go figure.
I want to be very clear about why I’m writing this post.
It’s not to refute the haters or to offer an explanation.
I’m choosing to write this because I don’t think it paints a fair picture of my husband. He did not opt into this insane world of social media and, therefore isn’t accustomed to being called a “prick” by some stranger online.
I, on the other hand, have been called far worse but I accept that it comes with the privilege of my words being published. And yes, it is a privilege. I can handle the hate but, it’s not fair to my husband.
I never dreamed anyone would read the words I wrote in that article and see anything other than something helpful or relatable. I wrote about our relationship as it relates to running, and only running, since it’s a running publication.
But, running is hardly my entire life, especially when it comes to my family.
What I didn’t write about, because I saw no need, was how many other things my husband does to support me in every other facet of my life. I’ve talked about it 1,000 times over in this space where people are intelligent, good intentioned and fair.
Running and racing is what I do but is not who I am. It’s a big part of my life but, in the grand scheme of things, it’s very small when it comes to our family, and that is definitely how my husband sees it.
As for the haters? They can keep doing what they’re doing, and so will I.
[Tweet “How to handle the #haters online and keep doing what you’re doing! #hatersgonnahate”]
Have you ever been the target of online hate? How about offline? How do you handle it?