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Screw political correctness!  The other day, I put it all out there and I received a cyber-tongue lashing that was memorable.  I was witnessing someone sharing their point of view.  I would have preferred a respectable back and forth, but this is a new game for me and I don’t know the rules.

GAINING CONFIDENCE AND A THICK SKIN

Blogging has helped me build confidence and develop a thick skin.  By putting myself out there day after day, I was getting better at responding to life’s snide comments and nasty grams.  I’d love to be the most popular girl in school, loved by everyone.  But that girl has ended up dead in a few Lifetime movies.

HOW EXACTLY THICK IS MY SKIN?

In the past 6 months, I’ve received the following insults; I swear I wasn’t asking for it:  Bitch, Difficult, Disgusting, Hypocrite, Incapable of loving Jesus, A Joke, Miserable, Negative, Pathetic, Pitiful, Supporter of police abusing elderly veterans and pregnant women, Supporter of the US military raping foreign citizens, Supporter of killing babies, Unhappy, A Whiner

This is the price of putting ourselves out there?  This is the price of sharing our beliefs?  This is social networking? Fine!  I will not avoid speaking about politics, religion, and race, because someone else might be offended and start throwing stones.  The inability to grow as human beings produces people who abuse animals and children, picket funerals, and resort to racial slurs and taunts.

Plus there’s some pride in being able to stand strong when my beliefs are challenged; if I can intelligently and respectfully articulate my point of view while staying open minded to another view point, then it doesn’t matter if I change someone’s mind; I’m here for the kick ass conversation.

YOU WANT TO BE A BLOGGER? GET THE F$%& OVER YOURSELF AND SAY SOMETHING!

The cyber-world has put us in the same room with people who hold opposing points of view.  Social networking has made it easier for people to do to a drive by tongue lashing, clap themselves on the back, because “they told you!” and sign off.  As bloggers, we have a platform, a podium, and an audience.  If you want to make a difference, then you’re going to offend someone and it’s not the end of the world.

The day a dog trainer called me a Nigger on Facebook, I curled up in a ball and cried for three days, even after she apologized.  Last month, a friend called me a joke when I called her on how she treated her dog – that one stung, but it didn’t knock me down, because I finally got over myself and realized that I had something to say.

WHEN ATTACKED: IGNORE | ENGAGE | or ATTACK BACK

Today, I have a pretty good system for dealing with the critics.  First, I respect that everyone has a right to their point of view.  What we think and believe comes from the experiences we’ve had.  I haven’t walked in their shoes; I can’t expect anyone to know the feel of my shoes either.

IGNORE THEM

Ignoring an attack isn’t in my DNA, but I do believe that sometimes the best response is silence.  Taking some time before reacting allows me to set emotion to the side and address someone’s feedback respectfully.  Hopefully they have calmed down too.  I can take the time to re-read the comments and formulate an intelligent response.  It sucks when an hour passes and the perfect comeback saunters into my head.

ENGAGE!  I LOVE A GOOD DEBATE

I’m always down for a good debate and if someone jumps to insults, there’s nothing like the feeling of responding from a place of logic.  When I choose to engage, I don’t trade insults or lower myself to sarcastic comments, although it is ohhh so tempting to let someone know that their hypocrisy is showing.  That will just get me off track.  When it comes to social networking, remember that we have an audience –all those nice people who read our blogs – they prevent me from making a complete ass of myself.

When someone starts into the insults, I ask questions…When did I write that I support the raping of Middle Eastern women?  Why are you lowering this conversation to racial slurs?  How can you presume that I don’t love Jesus or that he doesn’t love me?

I rarely get answers; usually when someone is impassioned, they’re focused on their own righteous indignation and uninterested in having an intelligent debate.  But every now and then, someone surprises me and I learn something new – that’s how I ended up jumping ship and becoming a Republican for a few years.  Even the person who dropped the N-Bomb apologized and explained why she had temporarily lost her f-ing mind.

Sometimes I’ll call in for back up.  I’m not ashamed to admit it.  I have intelligent girlfriends and will have my Blackberry in my hand, texting for reinforcements.  And if you’ve done your job, you won’t even have to do this; I’ve had followers jump in the conversation to show support.

THERE’S NOTHING LIKE A GOOD FIGHT – ATTACK BACK

I have had fantasies of ripping someone to pieces with words.  Pointing out all their flaws in a witty, smug tone.  Bing!  I did it once, scared the hell out of a group of women when I fell back into my old neighborhood’s accent.  I was able to get the ladies to back off, but it didn’t feel good.  Actually, there were moments that felt great, but I finally had to admit that I was no better than they were in the end.  My hypocrisy was showing and it was dingy.

THAT GIRL’S GOT MOXIE

My business name is A Novice With Moxie…

NOVICE | A person who is new at something, has really no clue what she’s doing half the time, but her shear enthusiasm and naiveté keeps her forging ahead (my definition)

MOXIE | A person who refuses to let others get her down; a person who refuses to get in her own way (another invention)

Despite having ruffled a few feathers, I recently ended up having a great conversation about two touchy subjects.  I’m going to continue asking questions, raising topics, and sharing my point of view.  When I think of the conversations I can have and the things I can learn – it makes me see  that a few nasty grams may be worth it in the end.  It’s not about changing anyone’s mind, it’s about opening mine.

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About

Kimberly Gauthier, a perpetually happy person, lives with her amazing guy, their spoiled dogs and cats, and loves dog rescue, photography, reading, and laughing. She's the author of three blogs, sharing tips and tricks about photography”, blogging”, and raising happy, healthy dogs. You can also find her over on Girl Power Hour as The Fur Mom.

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