When I was roughly fifteen, I had a gun put to my chest by someone I owed enough money, to know I was never going to be able to pay them back.
He looked me dead in my face and asked if I thought he was playing — before thankfully telling me he was a few seconds later.
I don’t remember being scared. I don’t say that to sound tough, I’ve just never really understood the fear of death. It could be because I’ve never found life to be all that awesome, who knows?
A few years later, the same person had his door kicked in and was shot three times. I was supposed to be right there with him when it happened and would have been if he was better at answering his phone.
A short time after this, I was walking down the same street I was born, raised and lived on, when a guy three times my size across the street asked what I was looking at. I don’t recall my exact response but whatever it was, it resulted in me being beaten to a bloody mess in broad daylight.
A few years later, I’d be beaten a few inches within my life when I was so intoxicated I could hardly stand, let alone fight. The doctor who treated me said if I would have gone home to sleep, as I tried to before a family member insisted on taking me to the hospital, I would have no doubt died in my sleep.
I’ve been to more funerals of friends and family members who passed before their thirtieth birthday then I could count on both hands and feet.
So imagine me being bothered by something someone I never met posted from behind a computer, under one of the hundreds of stories I’ve published online.
To be quite honest, I’m sometimes shocked I don’t get more hate sent to me than I do for posting some of the downright outlandish shit I’ve said over the years. Not one time before I’ve published anything have I worried about who my words may bother. It’s just not how I operate.
While I’ve never written anything to purposely offend anyone, plenty of my opinions and thoughts I’ve published have bothered others enough for them to tell me so, insult me, criticize my writing and personally attack me.
It’s just apart of it. It comes with the territory and I never take any of it personally. I once had the rapper Talib Kweli and what must’ve been everyone who bought his first album insult me and call me names for something I posted on Twitter. I legit had to block him to put an end to the insanity.
A year after that, some maniac with an unhealthy obsession with proving how woke he was to others sent me endless hateful DMs and Tweets, for the post I wrote about the whole encounter. Thankfully, I know how to utilize the block button.
The far-right and the extreme left make a sport out of being outraged and offended. Given I stand somewhere dead center between the two of them, both sides tend to not like me and it’d be hard for me to express in words how little I care. When they leave negative comments under my posts, I typically thank them for reading and responding and then move on.
I’ve overcome too much adversity in real life, to let a comment left by someone who knows nothing about me except what I’ve written impact me.
I’ve been poor, beaten, battered, bruised, betrayed and abandoned. Anxious, depressed, hospitalized, locked up for something I didn’t do, harassed and threatened by police and plenty of others. I survived all of it.
So again, imagine me being bothered by something someone has to say about words I wrote. Hell, at least they read them. That’s a win as far as I’m concerned. Every reader and commenter counts.
Lastly, for every negative comment ever left under anything I’ve written, I’ve received a hundred positive ones from readers who tell me how much they appreciate my work. Some have even gone so far as to tell me I inspire them.
When I weigh all of that against a few negative comments from people with nothing better to do than criticize someone for doing what they can’t do or are afraid to, it’s a no contest. Positivity always wins.
If I couldn’t handle a handful of negative comments from strangers now and again, I wouldn’t write online. It’s as simple as that.
Besides, I enjoy doing this far too much to ever let anything anyone has to say about it stop me from doing the work I love. I’m in it for the long haul and appreciate every reader, even those who leave negative comments.