I've been tossing up whether or not to write this piece for a while now. When I prevaricate for to long I just decide to do the thing I've been considering because clearly it's had a lasting impact on me. If it's influencing me, it's also impacting others - that's the thing about the human condition, we're all irredeemably similar. The main themes and mysteries that make a dent on my life - will have the same on others. Hence the impact of Shakespeare. A man who had collapsed the human condition into a series of emotions and milestones, like love, jealousy, anger, happiness, ambition, war, success and loss.
We're utter mysteries for the most part, until we're viewed as an aggregate, which is when the real magic happens. When we realise we're more alike then we ever previously perceived ...
But I digress. The human emotion which I was charged with and wanted to dilate into words ... anger.
Who has never felt the roar of this red-hot emotion racing through their veins before?
Why was I angry? And let me preface this by stating that I'm know for my zen condition - what those around me refer to as "Lisa Portolan Zen" (it has it's own brand ;)). Well, it was a review, of my new book. Not by a peer, but by a relative unknown, who took it upon himself to take to pieces every single element, every single page, of my book. Not to mention my identity.
Said person, declared me to be "not the average person", a millennial who's liberal use of f*ck was an indication of my being affected by the social condition of my times and my generation. That my theories weren't thought through, that my prose was unremarkable, even that the person who edited my book (of which there were several) was an utter dilettante (clearly, all of them!).
I read the review on a Saturday morning. It was 6am. The time I consider my own - before my three-year old wakes up and demands attention. Because I work hard - to be a full time mum, a full time worker, and a full time creative.
Let me be "unoriginal" as he would declare me, and say that I was "sick to the stomach" when I read the review.
He questioned my intelligence, the fact that I was an "academic" or that I could write - and it burnt me. Hard. It made me question my very self.
Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love, Committed, Big Magic and a raft of other brilliant stuff) tells us that if we put it out in the world, we need to accept what comes. You know what, she's right, writers, bloggers, artists at large - we get to give our opinion, because we're brave enough to take the risk. That's the difference between us and the rest, right? We're happy to give it a whirl, come what may. But when, what may, comes, we fall into despondency, wrath, anger ...
And that's where I was, anger.
Mostly because I know that said man was a white, over-privileged baby boomer. That he had never experienced hardship or judgment - because he had never put out anything to be judged (other than criticism). As a woman, millennial, and first generation Australian - I haven't had those privileges.
... and thanks for noting that I'm not the "every day person". After all - my parents did get off the boat here as migrants in the 1960s with nothing more than a suitcase to recommend them!
There's the anger. The fire!!
But I need to step down. The key to happiness ... is acceptance.
Accepting what is.
Will I change this man's view? No. Does he care that he's had this impact on me? No (in fact he would probably be pleased). Does he care? No.
When such things happen - I feel the rage. Yes, like everyone who has a reason to think, believe and be. Do I feel the injustice of it? Of course. But we need to process, and consider.
Accept the things you can't change, influence the one's you can.
The only thing I can change is my perception of the situation, and the emotion that relates to it.
I choose not to be angry. I choose not to feel anything in particular about the comment at all. I accept that there will be other comments - some maybe positive, others negative.