The negative stuff is a bit more challenging to process. I see the value in negative critical feedback, so I think about it, even though it might hurt me. I turn it over in my mind even though it might confirm my worst fears about my voice. I have to do this because I am looking for the lesson.
I could very easily paint the negative feedback as "uninformed" or "crazy", but that would be too easy, and I would miss an opportunity to learn something about myself. I try to learn what I can from the people I know, even if it is painful.
I write about what I do to connect with people, I write about my experiences so that people don't feel like they are all alone. I write about my experiences because I know that people are afraid to write openly about their pain.
But I will say...that there is a point past which I will not go.
I grew up raised by a woman who had to lie about who she was. This ate her up inside. My lesbian mother hid who she was for decades. Her partners were forced to do the same. I was raised by women who could not proudly stand up in the world and say, "this is me!" I remember going with my mother and her partner to buy a house in the country. She educated my brother and I to tell the real estate man that they were "business partners". We knew they were more, but when she taught us that lie, she also taught us the intolerance in which the world would recieve her. It never left us, that feeling of not belonging, of not feeling human.
So many of us in the world have been raised by people who would not be accepted as "parents". But we are here, and we have seen the toll that this type of hatred, intollerance and phobia has taken on the people we love.
These women would not be accepted by the society they had to live in. They were business partners. They were covert operatives in a game that they had to play to survive. Because of this, I will always always always stand up for the person who is brave enough, strong enough, to be who they are, and will always give room to people who need it to find themselves. But I will NEVER EVER allow hate speech. I can't. I see the damage that it does. I have suffered for the intolerence that "difference" provides.
So, when you come to me with your speech that defends intolerance, or your speech that defines hatred, please, do not expect patience. I will not give it. I cannot abide hatred. I cannot abide this type of perspective. I watched many women and men suffer for it. I suffered for it. I see the way the people who I love suffer for it.
I am brave enough to write about my perspective because I see what silence costs. Silence and tolerance costs lives. There is no other way to say it. If you will not speak up, will not stand up for those who need to be defended, then you deservve the world that results from that inactivity.
I will not stand by and watch. I cannot. I will not.