How I'm Dealing with my First Internet Hater

I'd like to share a story..

In 2015 I jumped on the Periscope train and started doing live videos via the app. One day, I had the spontaneous idea to do a video of a painting in progress.

People were popping in and out of the Scope. It was fun! We chatted about art school, what life in New Zealand is like, the kind of paint I was using… all nice things.

Then a man asked: "Are you five years old?"

I wasn’t sure if he meant it in a rude way, so I laughed it off and kept painting. Then he came back at me.

"My six-year-old daughter paints better than this."

Gah. My heart sunk. I blocked him. Others on the Scope were super supportive and kind. "Don't listen to him!" "Keep doing your thing!" But I'll admit — after I signed off, I cried.

And then I called a friend. And then I laughed. And then I got really mad. And then I decided to use this low point to my advantage.

[[Side note: I've been painting for a while, but I’m still not making stuff I really like. Can you relate? It's normal (you can breathe!!). I once attended an abstract artist's exhibition opening, whose work I LOVE. The artist and I were having a conversation about her process and I eventually mentioned my distress about not liking my own work. She swirled her wine, took a quick sip, and laughed: "That's not always how it works."]]

Regardless, I love to share. And I know it opens the door for constructive critique AND pure, meaningless negativity. But it can still really sting.

So I say, instead of just ignoring the haters, go a step further:

Exploit the hater. Use their negativity as fuel. How can you GAIN from it and use it for a positive cause?

For me, it gave me today's blog post. And my first official art print. Yes..

I’m not doing this because it’s a piece I particularly love or am proud of, but as a symbol for empowerment and rising above negativity that can come from the web.

If you've been here too, know you’re not alone. It happens to almost anyone who has the guts to put themselves out there and not just hide behind a screen.

Keep doing you and making and sharing and making more. Screw the haters. Use their negativity for your own beautifully expanding creative empire. YOU GOT THIS!!!

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