In the past three years of my brain injury advocacy work, I have encountered my fair share of haters. Some are much louder than others and continue to pick away and add salt to the wound. No matter how much good you know you’re doing, it still hurts deeply to have people say untrue things about you, or unfairly make inaccurate assumptions about you.
I was in a pretty deep funk over a few recent haters. They were being relentless, posting on my Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, blog, and anywhere else they could seek me out. They were slandering me and accusing me of stealing other people’s stories and publishing them in my anthology even when I assured them that everyone who participated in my anthology filled out numerous online release forms. This person was spreading these lies in numerous online FB groups and was reporting my HuffPost pieces as “plagiarism” — which is a pretty hefty accusation.
Rightfully frustrated, I was ready to throw in the towel. It seemed like every time I tried to do something good for my community, the louder the trolls and haters would get. They criticized me for every single move I made, without even taking a moment to truly understand me or what I was doing.
I am told over and over that the more good you do in the world, the more people will take notice — unfortunately some of them will try to tear you down instead of lift you up. People are filled with their own pain, and social media makes it easy for them to say things they would never consider saying to someone in person.
Enter Drew Barrymore …
At some point I had started following Drew Barrymore on Instagram. I don’t follow many celebrities, and don’t even remember why I started following her. I’m a fan of her movies, but not star struck by her like some of her super fans.
One day I saw her post about how she was back after a social media hiatus. Some followers had attacked her — and she fought back.
Haters gonna hate. Yesterday I saw comments on my Instagram feed about my post that were mean, cruel, and ugly. It hurt me. And you know what women do when they get hurt???? They pick themselves up! Go get a haircut. Put on some lipstick and chant “if you don’t have something nice to say… don’t say anything at all” thank you @markishkreli @yumi_mori for picking a girl up and dusting her off. And more than anything, helping me feel pretty. Pretty is on the inside. But a little love on the outside never hurts. #thisfeedisforlovers
She wrote, “Haters gonna hate. Yesterday I saw comments on my Instagram feed about my post that were mean, cruel, and ugly. It hurt me.” She continued, “You know what women do when they get hurt???? They pick themselves up! Go get a haircut. Put on some lipstick and chant, ‘If you don’t have something nice to say…don’t say anything at all.’”
I was really touched by her open honesty. At that moment I felt connected with her through our experience, and I realized that I had to put on my big-girl panties and choose to ignore my haters. If Drew Barrymore can get past crazy trolls and haters, I can too!
I’ll just be over here playing my theme song by Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”
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