So yea.

I've been really lucky in my blogging experience that I have never dealt with anger or "trolls" or any of the other negative aspects that come from pouring your life out onto the internet for the world to stomp through.

At least not to my face.

But I get hit HARD today when I shared my last post here.

I mean, HARD.

At first, I was defensive. Why were these women so mad?? I was writing about something GOOD. Loving ourselves! Self-esteem! Supporting women!

Then I was embarrassed. OMG, they think I'm horrible. They think I'm this narcissistic, navel-gazing diva who thinks all women should subscribe to society's standards and if you don't, you're worthless. I wanted to just pull the post down. I didn't want to address the comments. What could I say? I felt like I was being chased by a mob with pitch forks!

After that, I thought, well, welcome to the big time! Any writer who's been doing it long enough gets destroyed by the commenters! Maybe this means I've made it!

Instead of ignoring the comments, though, I read them all (ALL negative. ALL.) and responded. I listened (well, read, but with an open mind) to what they were saying, I clarified when they missed something, tried to explain my tone/personality where I could and I considered each comment carefully.

Most of them were totally right.

I came off as smug. Unsupportive. Shaming.

The exact OPPOSITE of what I wanted. And rather than run from the comments, I'm engaging them. Responding. Apologizing where necessary. But most importantly, I'm learning.

Discourse isn't a bad thing, especially with writing. And if the comments were a mix of bad and good, I'd say "cool, a discussion." But the overwhelming negativity says to me that I missed the mark in a HUGE way. Now, people that know me personally would hopefully know that while I may be full of myself, I'm not about shaming people. But if you don't know me? Yea, that post was a stinker. And many of my readers on this side of things may have thought the same thing. I wouldn't blame them.

I could pull it down and hope it's forgotten, but that's just giving into my vanity. Instead, I'm going to keep it up (and own up to this) as a reminder that words can hurt, even if you don't mean them to, and that I need to be more aware of my own privilege in this world.

This event happens at such an interesting time in my life. I've put a real focus this year on surrounding myself with positive influences instead of negative. I am trying to be kinder and gentler and more supportive. So to know that I just put something out there that ENRAGED a group of women hurts, but I think it's important for my journey.

So mark this one down on the calendar: today is the day that rather than tell you how kick-ass I am (and you, too), this is the day I shut up and listen.

This post originally appeared at DomesticDisturbia.com.