Friday, March 21, 2014

An open letter to my critics

Dear Critic,

All of my life you have kept me in chains.  Even before I knew what to call you, you kept me silent.  On the sidelines.

I listened to you.  I believed you.

I labeled you truth and anything else a lie.  I don't understand why.  But I did.  And still sometimes do.

You said I was not good enough.  Never would be.  You said there was no use in trying.  That failure was guaranteed.  I agreed.

You said I was stupid.  I was awkward and boring.  I was ugly and fat and unfixable.  Sub-par.

You said my ideas were dumb.  My dreams were invalid.  My words were best unwritten.

I thought you were right.  And so I didn't write them.  When I did pick up the pen, it was with a shaky, unsure hand.

You have judged me harshly without even knowing me.  You claim to understand, but you have no idea.  You don't care about me, truly, even when you say you do.  You're much more insecure than I am and you won't even admit it.  You think the only way to build yourself up is to tear me down.  And that's sad.  I'm not going to play along.

I have tried to make you happy.  Sacrificing my own joy in trying.  With no reward.  (Why am I surprised?)  It must be impossible to please you.

I am learning that you cannot be trusted.  And I am timid and I am still scared of you, but I do not value your opinion of me like I used to.

I have let you hold me back, but now I am breaking free.  You will not defeat me.  If I fail, it will not be because of you or your accusations or your predictions.  And when I am wrong, that still does not mean that you are right.

Even if I sometimes stumble, even if my words fall flat, even if a dream is unrealized, you still are mistaken about me.

Despite what you say, there is not fault in boldness, in authenticity, in courage, in kindness -- even hard kindness, in persistence and perseverance and patience.

Others know better than you about me.  You do not, but others accept me for who I am.  I am loved.  And I am turning my ear to the voice of love.  That is truth.  I am clinging now to love and truth and justice and security and validity.

And as we part, I hope you seek a better way.


I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.
-Abraham Lincoln