Getting Shot

You know what I’m really scared of? Getting shot. Not with a gun. Or one of those creepy high-tech crossbows with the camo on them. Or with a regular bow and arrow. I’m scared of getting shot with a comment. It sounds lame. But honestly, I’m terrified of it.

Remember how I told you about that girl from when I was fourteen, and what she said about my nose? Her name was Carly. I still remember that, even though I only saw her once. Once was enough. She changed my life.

It only take a few words. A few really mean words. And there are a lot of people out there who are willing to be mean.

That’s the thing about being fragile. You only have to drop a glass once, and it’s broken. So you have to make sure you never drop it. Or you surround it in bubble pack. Or make it bullet-proof. But bubble pack never matches any of my outfits, and I don’t know how to bullet-proof myself. Not my ears, anyway. So I walk around the world incredibly fragile, knowing that at any moment someone—a stranger, an acquaintance, a homeless person, a pilot in a low-flying airplane—can call out something that will break me. I am in constant danger.

These random people who I don’t know and will probably never know, the people who I haven’t even encountered yet—they have so much power. Just in their potential ability to say something cruel. It’s like walking out of your door and knowing that everyone you see has a concealed weapon. Most of the time, there’s absolutely no reason to use it. But it only takes one bullet.

And the mess is all mine to clean up.

Everyone: How do you protect yourself against being hurt by other people’s words?

13 Comments »

Kate on March 25th 2010 in beauty, body

13 Responses to “Getting Shot”

  1. Cindy responded on 25 Mar 2010 at 2:32 pm #

    OH MY GOSH KATE. you have just managed to describe my biggest fear to a T. I never ever even realized it. I started bawling the minutes I got into your post.

    I think it stems from a wound. a very deep wound that never heals.

    oh my gosh. i need to go eat some CAKE.

    :)

    but you hit it on the head for sure! it’s so hard to open up and trust…so hard some days

  2. Kim responded on 25 Mar 2010 at 6:38 pm #

    I’m really sensitive, so criticism or rejection or whatever is really hard on me. Plus, I tend to imagine that people don’t like me, which just compounds my issues. My husband said recently, “I think you’d rather make a decision that makes you lose yourself and be mad at yourself instead of doing something that makes others mad at you.” Yes. I will avoid that at all costs. I’ve learned that most people are kind, and that I can be me and they won’t think I’m too weird. Blogging has made me realize that lots of people actually relate to what I deemed crazy thoughts. That’s comforting! Still, every now and then, I get a nasty comment and it makes me cry. Ho hum.

  3. Maggie responded on 25 Mar 2010 at 8:42 pm #

    I totally agree with kim… I always feel like people don’t like me! Sometimes I’m scared to just be me, but then when I am I usually feel so much better.

  4. laura responded on 25 Mar 2010 at 10:31 pm #

    Bubble wrap doesnt have to match your outfit, you can MAKE it your outfit. You just have to think wild enough. –>
    http://j17productions.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/lady-gaga-bubble-dress_l.jpg

    Lady Gaga, an unexpected inspiration :)

  5. Kate: The Monster in the Camera « Eat the Damn Cake responded on 26 Mar 2010 at 2:45 pm #

    [...] feel like I’m talking about danger a lot these days, and I promise next time it’ll be something totally different, but first I’ve got to just [...]

  6. Bronwyn responded on 26 Mar 2010 at 4:45 pm #

    I don’t really know how to protect myself from the powers of other people’s comments. I’m the first to admit I take it hard when people criticize me. Even when it’s constructive and not about say a body feature.

    I know though, that I can’t go walking around in fear of the words. At least not anymore. Oh there are days I want to wrap myself up in bubble wrap, or stay on the shelf and be safe… but you can’t live like that.

    I’ve found that sometimes when a glass gets dropped in doesn’t break, it’s terrifying but the glass is whole and intact, they can be surprisingly strong. I let myself have a good cry (preferably not in front of the commenter) and then I feel better. Usually I find some medium way to accept the comment too. :)
    You’re stronger then you think.

  7. Eat the Damn Cake » Kate: Wedding Dress, the Saga Continues! And Concludes! responded on 26 Apr 2010 at 10:45 pm #

    [...] And suddenly every other dress looked pretty good on me. What the hell? The saleswoman, Sheryl, now one of my favorite people in the world, was brutally honest. She told me I looked pregnant in one dress, mentioned that the way my hair was parted was a disaster, and thought half of the dresses I picked were vomit-inducing, so when she told me that my body was “fierce” and “wicked” I believed her absolutely. I guess there are some exceptions to the getting shot rule. [...]

  8. Eat the Damn Cake » Arrogantly Beautiful responded on 28 Apr 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    [...] Here’s what I think it might be: If someone sounds arrogant, then it’s OK to criticize them. In a way, they’re asking for it. So when you say, “I look amazing,” it’s almost like someone is more likely to tell you what they really think by saying, “Um….Not really.” And then suddenly it wasn’t worth it, because you feel terrible. [...]

  9. Eat the Damn Cake » The flat stomach police and goals for being old responded on 06 May 2010 at 11:54 am #

    [...] One thing is for sure, I want to turn in my badge as soon as possible. I’m tired of being armed and dangerous. I’ve already hurt myself [...]

  10. Eat the Damn Cake » Self-esteem in the land of the trolls responded on 11 May 2010 at 9:12 am #

    [...] at twenty-four I’m just too old. My self-esteem was shaped in a time when people mostly had to say it to my face. And people are a lot less likely to do that (not that they [...]

  11. Eat the Damn Cake » Training for War and other body image goals responded on 21 May 2010 at 12:34 pm #

    [...] me. I’m terrified of what they might say back to me. I’ve written about this before (getting shot and arrogantly beautiful), but Gena made me think about it even more with her recent post about [...]

  12. Laurel responded on 18 Aug 2010 at 10:40 pm #

    I decide whether or not their words should matter to me. Yes, it hurts, and they are all going to hurt, but the mess can be cleaned up quicker and with much more skill over time if you can learn to properly assess the comments.

    When someone makes a negative comment about my body, or even if I do without really thinking about it, I remind myself the things my body is capable of and everything it is doing now JUST for me. It’s whole purpose is to support me and therefore, I need to support it and myself by thinking positive thoughts. Also, if possible, instead of forgetting what the person has said I confront them about it. When it comes to my body and how it is treated I do not play around, and I tell them that they are wrong, very rude, and that however they see my body there still remains the fact that it is MINE, not theirs, and is none of their business. If they want to judge me for my body, then it is immediately clear what kind of character they have and I have no interest in them beyond standing up for myself.

    A book that really helped my appreciate my body and forget about the judgments around me is The Cancer Journals by Andre Lorde. She has to have a breast removed and refuses to wear a fake one, deciding to instead embrace her difficult journey and love herself anyway, even if people disapprove of her refusing to pretend that she did not have breast cancer. A book opposite of that is Autogiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy, where she has a part of her jaw taken out when she is a child due to cancer and spends her entire life having surgeries done trying to look normal, and she just ends up torturing herself and being a very inconsiderate, self-involved person.

    A book that you should look at to help you is This Is Who I Am by Rosanne Olson. It is a book full of artistic photographs concerning naked women, and each page has a woman with bits about herself and how she feels about her body. It helps, to see the struggle other women have, and the ways they learn to cope.

    “See my body is borrowed, I got it on loan, for the time between my mom and some maggots. I don’t need no one to hold me I can hold my own, I’ve got highways for stretch marks, see where I’ve grown” – Ani Difranco

    “I’ve got a perfect body, but sometimes I forget. Yeah, I got a perfect body, cause my eyelashes catch my sweat. yes they do, they do-o-o-” – Regina Spektor

    Fill yourself with the positive! and I am terribly sorry that someone hurt you. It’s just not acceptable.

  13. Ana responded on 21 Sep 2010 at 8:39 pm #

    I’ve always avoided getting hurt by not getting involved with people in the first place. It’s not a good plan and I regret it immensely, but it works.

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