In my essay, “Bad Feminist,” which I wrote much earlier in my career, I said I did not want to be put on a pedestal as a feminist or, really, as anything, because I understood, even then, that when you’re put on a pedestal, you’re frozen in place and time. You aren’t allowed to move, to grow, to fail. People see you as you were when they put you on the pedestal and are resistant to seeing you as who you become. I knew I would, in one way or another, disappoint anyone who once saw fit to elevate me, so I thought it would be good to bypass all that and just be myself, the best and worst of me, on solid ground. People put me on a pedestal anyway and, inevitably, I have disappointed a great many of those folks. I have disappointed myself.
Nemesis was the ancient Greek goddess of retribution. She punished evil deeds, undeserved good fortune, and hubris. Disgusted by his arrogance, Nemesis brought Narcissus to his unfortunate end, punishing him for his vanity by luring him to the water where he fell in love with his own reflection and died because he simply could not look away. The story of Nemesis is compelling because she was inescapable; her brand of justice was uncompromising. I, however, am not the goddess of retribution. I am just a writer and a woman. I am too sensitive. I have thin skin. I love having the last word. I am a control freak. I cannot let things go. I take criticism personally. And being on social media offers ample opportunity for me to reveal the worst of myself.
I am just a writer and a woman. I am too sensitive. I have thin skin. I love having the last word. I am a control freak. I cannot let things go.
The nature of being a writer is that I must often contend with criticism. When it is constructive, I do, eventually, try to absorb the criticism and improve my craft. When the criticism is less than constructive, I get defensive. I feel attacked. I start to doubt everything I have ever written and everything I will ever write in the future. Social media has done a great many things for writers. It has allowed us to promote our work and that of writers we enjoy or admire. It has allowed us to interact with readers…