reject

January 17, 2007

life lessons

"Greatness is measured by your gifts, not your possessions."  It’s written on the tab of my Mother’s Milk tea bag.  I’m "snowed in" here in Austin today.  Iced in, really.  Austin shuts down when the city dips beneath 32 degrees.  The city isn’t outfitted with salt trucks.  They track a bit of sand here and there, not enough to make a discernible difference.  Every television program is stamped with a weather-warning ticker.  Grocery stores are closed.  The post office is closed!  The town shuts down.  We haven’t been able to get to the hospital.  Now that we’re parents, I’m even more neurotic, insisting Phil and I cannot travel in the same car during such storms.  "I refuse to leave them without any parents, and since I’m drinking the tea anyway, they cannot live without me, or my milk."  It’s really not the kind of thing to joke about.  Still, I tell Phil I love him as he sets off for the hospital. 

So the quote on my tea got me to thinking about success and how so many of us apologize for it, are asked to dumb it down with words like "modesty" instead of "proud."  So I dug up this post I once wrote and never made public and decided, fuck it.  It’s about time… 

I most likely won’t.  There are things you don’t write on a blog, not a blog that people actually read anyway.  Namely, success.  Because when you write about your personal successes, and you’re me, it’s giving the haters something else to throw shit at.  Mostly people cheer and are happy for you, and even with "most," you get hung up on the bad and the mean.  Why?  Is it because you deep down doubt yourself and wonder if you’re really worthy?  I don’t think so.  Not in this case.  I’m fine with not being liked.  It’s not the greatest feeling, but I accept it.  Not everyone has to like who I am or what I write.  "Well if you were just more humble," or "if you were more self-depricating," or "if you didn’t take yourself so seriously" or "if you laughed at yourself more and weren’t so self-absorbed," or "if you weren’t so fat with a big forehead."

If. 

If I cared that much about what some stranger behind a cloak of anonymity had to say, I wouldn’t write anything honest.  I’d care so much, and be so afraid of not being liked that I just wouldn’t write it.  Clearly I don’t care all that much or my writing would have changed.  I’d begin to poke fun at myself more, down play things, act.  And it is brave to keep doing it with all the shit I take.  It would be easier to stop, or to adjust and cater.  I’m not about easier.  We’re not put here to live an easy life.  We’re here to learn, I think, to grow.  To overcome fears.  I’m not afraid of being hated.  I don’t particularly enjoy it, but I’m well aware that the more visible one becomes, the more people will be vocal about loving and hating who they are, what they stand for, or how they wear their hair.  The minute I fear how someone will respond to something I write is the moment where I’ll stop being completely honest.  And for what?  Fear of what?  Not being liked?  Believe me, I’ve been rejected enough times in life, for just being me, that I’m not about to let some anonymous clump change who I am, or how proud I’ve become of myself.  And I am proud.  I’ve been rejected by lovers, bosses, sororities, and The Wasband.  Bloggers who comment, who either have or have not ever met me, are the least of it. 

Get On It (Keep On It)

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50 Responses to “reject”

  1. sara Says:

    one word: bravo.

    Reply

  2. gina Says:

    thanks for blogging stephanie, and being human. when people slag you it's a pretty pathetic way to pump themselves up, and only shows their true colours, not yours. you are inspiring. thanks.

    Reply

  3. Megan Says:

    If only we knew this when we were younger, right? At least I know my life would have been easier. But then again, I guess that's what becoming an adult's all about…

    Reply

  4. jocelyn Says:

    Stephanie,
    I applaud you for your ability to rise above the harsh words and stay true to your heart. I guess this comes with the "blogging" territory…putting yourself out there makes you somewhat vulnerable…but I am actually shocked and disgusted with some of the rude and hurtful comments that people make. What gives anyone the right to comment or condemn you for your thoughts, feelings, fears and life??? It really saddens me that people have nothing better to do with their time then to leave mean comments on someone's personal expression of creativity. I wonder if these are the kind of people who would read their children's diaries or journals and write a comment in the margins? Stephanie is essentially allowing us into her private world and I personally love experiencing these life moments through her writing. …and I'm not a friend of hers, I've never met her…I just really like her writing.

    Good luck with everything, Stephanie!

    Best,
    Jocelyn

    Reply

  5. Kellie Says:

    Your honesty is what keeps you real. It's what keeps people reading and keeps them coming back. And think about it, even the haters continue to return. That's gotta mean something, right?

    Sometimes I think people like to stir up shit on here because they are jealous/bored/immature/wish-they-could-write-like-you. Which I guess falls until jealousy, but whatever.

    Keep it real! :)

    Reply

  6. Jocelyn Says:

    Stephanie,
    I applaud you for your ability to rise above the harsh words and stay true to your heart. I guess this comes with the "blogging" territory…putting yourself out there makes you somewhat vulnerable…but I am actually shocked and disgusted with some of the rude and hurtful comments that people make. What gives anyone the right to comment or condemn you for your thoughts, feelings, fears and life??? It really saddens me that people have nothing better to do with their time then to leave mean comments on someone's personal expression of creativity. I wonder if these are the kind of people who would read their children's diaries or journals and write a comment in the margins? Stephanie is essentially allowing us into her private world and I personally love experiencing these life moments through her writing. …and I'm not a friend of hers, I've never met her…I just really like her writing.

    Good luck with everything, Stephanie!

    Best,
    Jocelyn

    Reply

  7. Jaime Says:

    Well said woman! Are you happy with what life has brought for you? You defintiely shouldn't care what people think of you, as long as you are happy doing what you do and being who you are.

    BTW, did you happen to catch baby boom this past weekend? I thought of you while watching..

    FROM STEPHANIE: God I love that movie! It makes me want to make apple sauce!

    Reply

  8. brookem Says:

    I LOVE this. It's perfect. It's just what I needed right now too. I just wrote about this today on my blog. Thank you. I think you're absolutely wonderful. Any haters just suck.

    Reply

  9. Victoria Says:

    Bravo!

    Reply

  10. Jaime Says:

    I second gina. You really are inspiring..

    Reply

  11. Deborah Says:

    Bravo. I enjoy your honesty and hope you never change that aspect of your writing. You are an inspiration to me and many others, and I am very glad you are proud of yourself. You deserve to be.

    Stay warm and tell Phil to give the beans a hug from us all.

    Reply

  12. Becca Says:

    I know I take photos of the ice and send it off to friends saying look I am stuck inside yet once again. To be honest after having my kids it was flying that was the hardest. I worried so when we were all on the same flight.
    Stay warm. i think days like this are not made for chores but cooking and crafts and fun stuff. So I hope there is something fun to do. I am making stuffed mice as Valentine's day gifts for my class of 4 year olds. Too much fun.

    Reply

  13. Andrea Says:

    Good for you!! And…you should be proud of yourself. Again, GOOD FOR YOU!!

    Reply

  14. Beth Says:

    Dear Stephanie,

    I began reading Greek Tragedy when I saw you featured in The New York Times during my freshman year of college. Two years later I am still reading. I want to thank you for being so candid and open with your readers. While I know that you write for yourself, reading your blog makes me feel as if you're sharing your life with your closest and dearest friends. Although we've never met, I sometimes feel that I know you better than some of my actual friends! I laughed reading your stories about living the single, sexy life in the city. I empathized with you when you were feeling discouraged about relationships and jeans that somehow didn't fit. I rejoiced like a friend when I learned of your book's publication, your marriage to Phil, your move to Austin, and your much-awaited pregnancy. My heart went out to you when I read Phil's post. Now, I continue smiling and wishing the best for you as I read updates and look at pictures of your sweet Beans. I am so thrilled for you and your growing family! You've gone through so much in the past two years…I can't wait to see what adventures await you in the future!

    Your friend,
    Beth

    Reply

  15. Kathi Says:

    Hi, Stephanie…Thought of you this morning when I had the news on and the "crawl" on the bottom of the screen talked about Austin being really socked in by the weather…a great day to just "be"! As always, you really are ahead of your years in so many ways: you have already learned and live the important lesson of "F*** em…they don't pay MY rent…" (and we all know that old line about what opinions are like…)
    Frankly, I always picture any of the freakshows who post the truly nasty comments as pathetic…They are truly the polar opposite of you and your gift of sharing your voice and your life with us: they hide behind a computer and spew their ludicrous bile in the dark…While you use this medium to shine a bright life on your life, in all its wonderful complexity.
    (…and as I write this…I can sense all the creepy ones out there slithering to their screens to denounce all of us fans & "Cheerleaders"!…heehee)
    I so enjoy this site…and sense even bigger things 'acomin for you.
    Hope you can get out and about to see your beautiful beans…But: I bet Linus is thrilled with the status quo today!

    Reply

  16. Kaia Says:

    It's giving people the unexpected that makes the most impact. I've learned long ago if someone has a problem with you – it's about them – not you. Don't give it another thought – it's so not worth your emotional and mental energy to waste on someone who's hiding behind a computer screen. You should be proud of yourself – revel in that.

    Reply

  17. andria Says:

    Austin is miserable today. I know exactly what you mean about the city closing down. It is funny seeing Texans drive also when the weather gets this way.
    I thought you might find this humorous. It is the "truth about Austin"…
    http://andriajolie.com/austin/the-truth-about-austin/

    Reply

  18. Tiffany Says:

    I only recently read your blog, so congratulations to you and your husband for the new arrivals (smile). Sadly, it is so much easier to pass judgement than it is to try and seek understanding. I do believe those who pass judgement so quickly and harshly might be wise to look in the mirror sometimes. Myself, I love the words of Kahlil Gibran on Self-Knowledge, because I feel everyday I am learning a new truth about myself and about the world. Probably you already know the words, but just to share:

    Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.
    But your ears thirst for the sound of our heart's knowledge.
    You would know in words t hat which you have always known in thought.
    You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.

    And it is well you should.
    The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea;
    And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.
    But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;
    And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.
    For self is a sea boundless and measureless.

    Say not, "I have found the truth," but rather, "I have found a truth."
    Say not, "I have found the path of the soul." Say rather,
    "I have met the soul walking upon my path."
    For the soul walks upon all paths.
    The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
    The soul unfolds itself like a lotus of countless petals.

    -The End-

    Reply

  19. kess Says:

    THIS is why 20/20 interviewed!

    Reply

  20. Julie Says:

    Without the haters your blog probably wouldnt be what it is today. The lovers as well as the haters. I think it takes both to really put yourself out there in the blog world and become known, dont you?

    I mean, sure, you probably would have been published elsewhere and became known that way, but I mean through the avenue that brought you to your book. Unfortunately it does/did take both.

    That's what makes you such a great writer other than your talent alone. It's the topics, your attitude, the honest to god truth in your words.
    And some people perceive this as even controversial and their reactions are fucking funny b/c they get so pissed.

    But I also believe those who know they're destined to become well known prepare themselves mentally for the haters through their childhood experiences, which as hard as they were to endure were still life lessons. Experiences that make you more emotionally evolved than others.

    And looking up at this longass comment it screams too long, aint nobody gonna read that shit!:)

    Reply

  21. kess Says:

    -you. That was supposed to be 'THIS is why 20/20 interviewd YOU!'

    ps: the babes are absolutely gorgeous! So much personality already!

    Reply

  22. rosie Says:

    It really is strange how we (collective we, bloggers) are affected by the comments of people who are merely nothing more (to us) than a name on a page.

    I'm also dying to know what goes through people's heads when they write something mean/rude/judgemental about someone on that person's blog. How can they possibly be happy people?

    Blog psychology. So interesting.

    Reply

  23. 3 teens' mom Says:

    blogology. Psychblogogy. A neologism in the making.

    Stephanie – let me just stand and applaud. Oh wait – I'm at work. But I'm standing and applauding figuratively.

    Reply

  24. tracey Says:

    as a long time reader, full of opinions, who rarely comments.. i've noticed with your increase in popularity (or success) comes an increase in harsh comments.

    do you ever consider not reading the comments at all? if i were you and these were my comments, i wouldn't be able to resist.

    just curious..

    Reply

  25. Jill Says:

    Dear everyone,

    Honesty does not equal ignorance. Criticism does not equal hate. I'm sure that my next words will see me ignominiously relegated even further into the shadowy depths of the "hater" world, but this needs to be said.

    It is wrong to assume that a person who critiques another persons' work is/has:
    1.) less intelligent/competent than the author in question
    2.) Mean, ignorant, rude, misguided, hateful, or suffering from repressed childhood memories etc.
    3.) anything to gain from the action – whether it be personally, professionally or financially

    Let's get it out in the open – I critiqued a recent post ("drinking the stars"). I have been reading this bog since the beginning, and have made several appreciative/encouraging comments about the quality of the writing and the passion with which it is shared with the world. I have left sincere holiday greetings. I have seconded emotions. I have rejoiced at the signing of deals, the offering of together forever, the coming home, the arrival of bundles of joy. I comment on blogs when I am moved to do so – my comments are borne of emotional or intellectual reactions to content that is accessible the world over. This bog is content and it is out there and there is a Comments box.

    So I made a comment that expressed my disappointment regarding what I perceived to be a lack of quality/clarity in a post on this site. I didn't make the comment because I hate the author of this bog. I didn't make the comment because I am jealous of the author's life, achievements or hard-won successes. I didn't make a comment because I feel insecure about myself. There are lots of reasons why I DIDN'T make the comment. What other people who read and enjoy this blog are unaware of (or have maybe forgotten) are the reasons why I DID make the comment. I did make the comment because this blog is a part of my life, every day. I made the comment because I am professionally qualified to do so. I made the comment because my feeling/opinion about that post was real and valid to me. I made the comment because I enjoy something called freedom of speech – I enjoy it even more because I take a balanced approach to my own speech. I made the comment because I know that a published author who produces content (whatever the genre, whatever the medium) and puts it on the Internet and asks for comments (there is a box there, folks) should be ready to receive an honest, sincere and not at all anonymous critique of their work.

    I have never met the author, but I read the words that the author sends to me every day. This doesn't mean that I know the author/the author's family or friends personally. Very few who comment on here actually do. Yet people – like myself – feel moved to comment in the proffered field, despite the fact that we do not know the author. Why? We do it because we are invested. We do it because we have been welcomed into someone's world in a very unique way. We do it because we have been made privy to the sadness and joy, the dirty little secrets and inner shames, the hard-fought successes and well-deserved victories of a total stranger. That is the nature of a personal blog. The author has something to say, so she says it to the world. Everyone – including me – has something to say, so we say it. We say it because we can.

    To all those who comment on this site to heap scorn and cast aspersions upon people who dare to speak honestly, to those who name-call and deride their fellow Internet citizens for sharing their feelings and opinions on a blog that is all about feelings and opinions, I say…keep at it. It is totally your right and privilege to do so. The Comments box will not deny you entry. Just bear this in mind: You. Are. Here. Too.

    To the author – for what it is worth at this point, I will not stop reading your blog. Your blog is worth reading. I will also comment when I am moved to do so, either emotionally or intellectually (hopefully both), and I will continue to strive to do so in as fair and balanced a way as possible.

    Sincerely,
    Jillian

    Reply

  26. irises Says:

    I think that is great! (putting yourself out there and trying to remain real and honest, I mean)

    And I congratulate you on your success as well. Don't feel ashamed for one second. Don't hide your pride/happiness.

    Reply

  27. nh Says:

    Bravo!!
    Your honesty is what brings me back to reading this blog again and again. I don't know you but I cheer your every success. I don't trust women who try to bring their fellow women down, if you know what I mean–criticizing them, elbowing them out of the way, etc.

    I don't blame you for being neurotic about taking separate cars. I would do the same thing–I don't believe in taking chances like that. But I do believe in taking chances in other parts of life.

    Baby Boom is one of my favorite movies to watch on a rainy day, for many reasons.

    Reply

  28. Michelle Says:

    Thank you for always keeping it real. What a gift to know yourself so well.

    Reply

  29. Frances Says:

    In the overall scheme of life, it really does not matter what others think or say. What is important is how you use your life experiences to grow yourself, know yourself and be proud of who you are and how you live your life.

    Always enjoy reading your blog Stephanie and it is your honesty that wows me.

    Snowed/iced in!!!! It is summer here and it is soooooo hot! Oh for a little ice!

    Cheers, Fran

    Reply

  30. Frances Says:

    Regarding the messages on the tea bag tabs.

    I love reading the Baci chocolate messages. My favourite so far: You bedazzled me in an instant and I will love you forever.

    Just sharing a bit of trivia…cheers, Fran

    Reply

  31. MaggieAtl Says:

    Whoa, Steph… I just came back from ABQ and had a sister tell me I take up too much of her space, I am too happy and talk about being happy too much,talk to too many strangers, say the words "love" and "beautiful" too much and could I just shut the fuck up… (not those exact words).

    Anyhoo, this is the sister who never calls me and when I call her, she only chats for a minute or two and she feels that I "dump my life on her" (her words) when I visit and that it is all about me when I visit and what I want to do… whew, what a visit and yes, we did clear the air and we still love each other..

    Life is just like that… hope yours is going well today and the babes are chuckling in their incubators… (-; You are like my web sister so thanks from the bottom of my loving heart for all your beautiful posts!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

  32. bestmansgrl Says:

    I think people say nasty things here because they can.

    I'm proud that you can rise above the nastiness, but I'm curious; why do you allow your readers to comment? Truly.

    I know you've turned off the comments option on your blog in the past, wouldn't there be less drama if you didn't allow your readers to comment at all?

    I guess, from my perspective, if I had a blog and I didn't give a rat's behind on what other people thought, I wouldn't even entertain the option.

    Reply

  33. sarah Says:

    That term "haters" really bugs me. Sure, I've seen a lot of really horrible, nasty, childish comments on this blog (and, of course, many others) but not everyone who disagrees should be dubbed a "hater".

    I think it's kind of silly and actually…well…a bit naive to think that everyone who has a different opinion hates SK or anyone else. I'm not advocating the hate blitz I just think perhaps the "defenders" or "Stephanie Apologists" if you will, should take a step back and save their righteous anger for the kinds of trolls who really deserve it.

    Reply

  34. brooke alexandra Says:

    I enjoy my haters… to an extent. They keep me in reality. I know there have been times where I've hated myself. And certainly, there have been times where I've said, "Oh my God, I wouldn't even be friends with me either." But then, at the same time I'm like, "Fuck it! I like who I am and what I have to say."

    Reply

  35. Jenn Says:

    Rock on! (I don't usually like emoticons, but in this case :))))

    Reply

  36. christina Says:

    rejection. oh, the love/hate relationship i have with it. i get caught up in wanting to people please. its a pattern. but the older i get and the more i live my life for me, the less i care what others think about me or what comes out of my mouth. now if i could just write as honest as you pour…i'd be uber happy! hope you get iced out soon!

    Reply

  37. Julia M Says:

    Bravo Stephanie, and equally, bravo Jillian. Both posts are valid, in my view.

    Reply

  38. JoeyB Says:

    I don't really get the 'hater' comments either. First, it's rather an open forum. The main reason why Steph's site gets as much attention as it does is because she's open about her life. And that invites some negative commentary. Without the negative input, the concept of 'open and out there' loses a lot of appeal.

    Secondly, most of the people that post negative comments aren't hateful. There are a couple of sickies, but most of the negatives are just people with THEIR own opinion.

    Thirdly, what fun would it be if this site was filled with nothing but an admiration society? Steph would post, and 40 followers would sigh in unison, 'that was the most beautiful thing I ever hear'. It sounds like something out of the Stepford Wives. I much prefer the animated give and take of people with divergent opinions.

    Reply

  39. rosie Says:

    I just have to ask: what makes someone "professionally qualified" to make a comment on a blog?

    Reply

  40. debbi radford Says:

    read your blog every day; just looking for some insight and inspiration. when oh when can the twins come home??????

    you are a good girl ms. stephanie! ths blog means a lot to me; so please dont stop; most importantly, please dont change.

    Reply

  41. suzanne Says:

    I think Sarah and Jill make valid points. Having a comments section on this blog is partly what makes it so interesting, for it opens up a discussion to which we are all welcome to contribute. That is what makes it a discourse. (If every single comment was 100% positive, I doubt Stephanie would ever feel compelled to respond.) Similarly, living in a world where everyone agreed on everything would make for a pretty boring existence. I think the same can be said for this blog (would anyone read it if Stephanie's life, thoughts, opinions mirrored her own?) as well as her book (it would be pretty damn flat if there hadn't been any strife involved…Discord is at the centre of every movie, book, story out there). Stephanie says herself (in this very post) that she doesn't do easy. So she'd be a pretty large hypocrite if she let the "haters" get to her (ultimately).
    Having written all that, and while I revel in our differences, cruel comments posted here make me cringe. There is a big difference between innocuous and/or constructive criticism, negative opinions (stated politely), and outright intentional cruelty.
    But come on, people, as kind as it is to commiserate, Stephanie can handle it. She's a big girl, just read some of the comments in her archives–she can sling the shit back at least as well as it's flung at her. She doesn't need our protection.

    Reply

  42. a Says:

    Wait. Is it really that brave to become successful AND THEN post an FU to your haters?

    I think your success is impressive and your drive admirable, but this post was, to me, far from brave.

    FROM STEPHANIE: I think it's brave to admit you're successful. It's akin to admitting, "Yes, I'm beautiful." We're raised not to do it. To be modest. To on one hand feel good about ourselves and acknowledge our accomplishments, but on the other hand, never acknowledge these things aloud, for fear of being branded "braggy." It is, believe it or not, hard for me to say, "yes, I'm successful." I followed my passions and believe I'm successful because I'm true to myself and help to shape and change lives. And it's ballsy to say it aloud, to admit to the world, "yes, I believe I'm successful."

    Reply

  43. Janel Says:

    Jillian–your post on the previous entry did not seem meanspirited to me. It was some of the comments that followed by others that came off as spiteful not just someone expressing an opinion. Your comments seemed to be more directed at the writing style of the post and wasn't agressive and attacking Stephanie as a mom. I agree that disagree and expressing opinions is positive thing. It is credit to Stephanie that people are interested enough to read her blog and comment when there are millions out there to read. Kudos for Stephanie for printing all of them and just letting them out there for people to read instead of screening them.

    Reply

  44. Stella Says:

    thank you, thank you, thank you for putting once again into words what most of us think but are unable to share. When I read your posts a voice echoes in my head, "me too", " I have felt like that"…only I have never told anyone.
    I love your blog, your honesty is intoxicating.

    Thanks again for sharing so much of yourself and your life, all of it.

    All my best,
    Stella

    Reply

  45. Cynda Says:

    Ok ok…I promised to back off and give you some space after an earlier day full of rant posts, but I just feel compelled to say along with everyone else, BRAVO!!!

    I also read Rosie.com from time to time, and you need a thing like she has, where you can cut off the reply posts and take a break for awhile :)

    Reply

  46. Jo Says:

    Stephanie,

    i admire you for your writing. Being truthful to yourself is somewhat harder than being truthful to others. And yet, here, you did it. I hope i will be too to finally be myself..

    Reply

  47. melissa Says:

    I saw the 20/20 interview, from that I started reading your blog and couldn't stop, then I went out and bought your book. Now I am thinking of taking photography classes, which is something that I have always wanted to do.

    Thanks for putting yourself out there and being so honest!

    Reply

  48. Courtney Says:

    I think it's much easier for people to criticize others–their hair, their choices, their success, their blog–than to actually create something of their own. It's great that you repeatedly put yourself out there, regardless of what those who lack confidence or those who envy you might say. You are unapologetically authentic, and I truly believe that's the best thing any of us can be…ourselves.

    Reply

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