The gaze of others

Saturday, March 20

By Paloma Doti

I never ask myself my opinion about what I do.
I write. I like to write. It makes  my ideas seem clearer and, when I am inspired, it's even easy for me to do so. When I put an end to any of my stories or articles, the first thing I do is go and ask my family or friends:
 What do you think?
If any of them have a negative opinion, I don't hesitate for a second and I lock myself up in my room to write it back.
What do I think?
 It doesn't matter. My criteria do not have any kind of validity or importance. Asking myself for my opinion is not enough.
It is as if before doing something,I need everyone to sign a contract that says, "I approve you." But, that all the wills of the earth, with their different political ideologies, religions and values, support your decisions, it´s something a little complicated to imagine. Every time we expose ourselves, we don't only expose ourselves to the world, but the world exposes its opinions about us.
Since I was aware of this information, I´ve been hiding. I keep my achievements, the clothes that I would like to wear, the photos that I do not upload to instagram because of how my nose looks and the movies and series that I do not stop watching, in a box, I sit on the top of it and I only leave those who implicitly signed the contract of "I approve you", look what's inside.
But even though I do sit on the top of the box, sometimes I let things slip away. 
I published an article.Making my unpopular opinion clear. It was a moment where I opened the box without thinking. Probably if I had thought about the consequences of such an exposure, of looking for my name in google and that a bit of what I think is accessible to everyone, I would have stayed there forever. But, I didn't think. I acted and I exposed myself.
And the haters hated.
I received a couple of comments that strongly disagreed with me. They did not attack me, they attacked what I wrote. But I felt it as a personal attack. Probably someone smarter would have reacted differently, but for me doing this had already been somewhat difficult. And that no one had approved it, even more so.
At first I didn't care, I even laughed at the comments.
Afterwards, I started answering each one. What I wanted to say included the words "Ignorant" "Lack of reading comprehension" "Fool" "Read a book" "Idiot". And I ended up answering "You may be saying it from ignorance, but ..." "You got the idea wrong!" “It's kind of silly to think that…” Spending time and energy finding ways to be kind with people who only saw one post on the internet and commented the first thing that came to their minds, and who definitely didn't think about being kind or friendly.
After the anger, I started to think that maybe they were right and that my opinion didn't make sense.
So I was sad, thinking that nobody liked what I wrote.
Until I realized that it doesn't matter if right or wrong, they were talking about me.
I had done something that was making people debate, argue, talk. I exposed myself to the world, I did something different.
If no one is saying anything bad about you,
 it is not because you are doing something right,
 it's not because you are doing something wrong either, 
but because you are doing nothing. 

What do you think?

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