never read the comments

An article I wrote for The Good Men Project was recently picked up and published by Yahoo! This mini-milestone occurred the day after another article I had written had been shared more than 10,000 times on social media. I continue to be surprised and amused that anyone finds my anecdotal tales of parenthood worth the click. I started my blog as a way for me to remember moments with my family, big and small. It was a journal of my journey – a chronicle of my new life as a parent. I wrote it for myself. I still do.

Having said that,  if a few dozen acquaintances or several thousand strangers enjoy reading my stories then all the better. Still at the end of the day those words are mine. They are just for me. They make me laugh when I’m sad. They make me cry when I need to move past a bad day. They remind me how lucky I am to have this life.

The first time someone made a comment on my blog I was genuinely shocked. It surprised me that someone not only took the time to read what I had written, but they then felt compelled to go to the trouble of telling me they enjoyed reading it. Several hundred comments later and I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. People were listening. People were laughing. People were seeing the boys through my eyes.

Not that everyone listened and laughed. I did receive a few negative comments on my blog, but ultimately I dismissed them for what they were: worthless, like the people who wrote them. I’m used to people not always liking me. I think we all are to some degree; yet something about me seems to generate a strong reaction in others. Of course usually when someone doesn’t like me, I know them.  Being hated by strangers was a new concept.

The article on Yahoo! was an innocuous piece about losing touch with friends after you become a parent. It was a self-deprecating post, the tone very tongue-in-cheek. Not exactly divisive stuff. Surprisingly, there were more than 200 comments. I read the first twenty or so. Some of the comments were nice.  The majority of them were mean-spirited, hilariously mean-spirited.

In the post I had made a passing reference to my gay wedding which apparently did not sit well with a few of the readers. The more restrained commentators said my lifestyle was an abomination while the less restrained said I was a pedophile and that my children should be taken away from me.

People are awful.

One women noted that I was an out-of-control egomaniac, supported by my excessive use of “I”, “my” and “mine” in the piece. And while I would agree that I’m full of myself, I would also argue that the article was written in the first person so my use of “I”, “my” and “mine” seems wholly acceptable, if not absolutely necessary.

Eventually I grew tired of the excessive bad grammar, rampant misspellings and the interchanging of “their”, “they’re” and “there” so I stopped reading.

Never read the comments, I told myself. You write for you, not that homophobic bitch in Idaho!

Unfortunately my husband did not get the memo. I found him two hours later, red-faced and out-of-breath with his fists clenched around his phone, screaming about internet trolls and vowing to get every last one of them. My hero.