Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Refusing to hide behind anonymity

I've been blogging/writing for years, starting with our family blog that began when I was pregnant with my first son over four years ago. From the beginning, I've always been an honest writer. I regularly wrote about my fears as a new mom, the horrible childhood I had growing up, the challenges I faced in dealing with my in-laws, and my evolution as a woman during motherhood. Nothing was off limits to me and I put it all out there for the world to read (tastefully, of course).

I continued that same controversial honesty on my personal training blog that I started, writing about fitness myths, useless supplements and time-wasting exercises. It was a natural progression when I began my restaurant review blog, keeping up the honesty about the quality of food we were being served, even if declaring the Best Breakfast Spot in town to be mediocre was blasphemous.

One thing I've noticed with all of my blogs is that some people don't like to hear the truth, whatever it may be. I've had my fair share of hate mail from my honest writing. After writing about my traumatic childhood and the issues with my in-laws, I had to install comment moderation on my family blog due to the hate mail calling me names and ripping my experiences apart. It got ugly from people who stood behind the title "Anonymous".

I kept comment moderation on my personal training blog, learning my lesson from my family blog. It was a good call when I started receiving hate mail from people after writing about my dislike for the time-wasting abductor/adductor machines in the gym (seriously!). I did not install comment moderation on my restaurant review blog and I've already had one restaurant owner send an e-newsletter to their customer base telling them to comment on my blog after my honest and less-than-glowing review of the salty sandwich I ate there. I've also had a name-calling heckler, leaving me insulting comments on a review that I wrote because they didn't share the same opinion.

I've learned to let these anonymous comments roll off my back (sort of), even if it took me years to do so. I've never understood why someone would hide behind their computer screen to tear someone apart, someone they've never met and only know from their writing. I've never been motivated to leave nasty remarks on someone elses writing, even if I didn't agree with it. What is it about truth and honesty in my own life that makes others so uncomfortable? Is it touching on a nerve? Does the truth hurt, no matter where it comes from and no matter who it's for?

Despite the hate mail I've received, I know I can never keep the truth from myself and my readers. It's a core issue for me after living many years reeling from the aftermath of the dishonesty of others. Being less honest, only telling half of the story, isn't how I roll. This is my life, as imperfect as it is. Pretending otherwise doesn't change it. I may get hate mail, I may lose friends or readers from it, but at least I won't lose myself.

Kristin Mastre


Em said...

Kristin, I personally find your honesty - all honesty - more refreshing than an ocean breeze. I tell ya, I get so sick of people who judge others for being real. But at the same time, I have to try and remember that those people are most likely just afraid to share their true selves, risking being judged themselves. My hope for those who feel that way is to be okay being judged... Because it'll never end, no matter how genuine or fake you are. It's human nature to judge! Anyway, point being here, I am a huge fan of your honesty, and I am right there beside ya in wearing our hearts on our sleeves! :)

Peg said...

Yeah for honesty ! Good for you. Keep it up. If we weren't being honest, we would be writing fiction, right? But we are writing REALITY, and telling the truth is always the right thing to do.

J said...

Hi Kristin! Great piece..I love your voice! I can't wait to read your submission to Univerity of Baltimore's literary journal!
-Jen Irvin

Dawn B said...

great post. And so very true especially about the part about how someone could be anonymous and stand behind that title and feel the need to hate and how that's no even something you would think of doing. If they posted their name and then commented, then wow, balls they have and respect they shall receive. If they don't, it's all completely cowardly and for me, always seems to prove how deeply they have serious issues. I appreciate your take on this. Can't wait to read more!