843 comments and half a million hits and counting… Wow. I must say, I did not see that coming. When I woke up the day after my friend’s wedding and jotted down some thoughts about the reaction that a pair of high heels I wore received, I certainly didn’t expect all this. Sure, I knew the shoes were slightly controversial at the wedding but when it comes to writing, I’m always surprised if anyone besides my mom reads my stuff. When speaking with a Huffington Post editor about my first blog and another piece altogether, I mentioned the incident not intending to use it or even blog about weddings. Soon, it was posted (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/natalie-thomas/jimmy-choo_b_1468325.html). A few days later, AOL picked it up and put it on their home page. In between major news stories like the death of Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch and the latest on the John Edwards trial was a shot of my husband and me with the headline “It was Straight Up Harrassment”. Talk about a debut!
Then, the shit storm (sorry, Mom!) rolled in. I’ve done my share of blogging on big sites (usmagazine.com, theweddingchannel.com) and thought I was prepared for the negativity. Writing in the digital age is an interesting concept. While you receive immediate gratification, you also allow instantaneous feedback. On one hand, there’s the ability to communicate more readily with your fans, on the other, are the haters. Two years ago, while reading my first comments on the aforementioned sites, I cried. Anonymity, it appears, breeds hatred. I was called ugly, told I needed a facelift and that I should spend more time fixing my face than on my writing. It apparently incites delusion as well. I was also informed I needed to lose 400 lbs. Yes, 400. If they had said 20 or 30, I might have been offended but over triple the amount of my actual weight was absurdly funny. Since then, I’ve grown a thicker skin and was prepared for some haters. I just didn’t realize how many and precisely how vitriolic they would be. (Before I get more comments: I’m not playing the victim. I’m simply illustrating my experience and speaking to a greater problem.) And, I know I’m not alone. For every hateful comment I received, I know there are just as many, if not more, out there for every other writer not to mention every actor, singer, television personality, teacher, mother and kid.
I believe in freedom of speech. I believe everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. I believe that in order to receive the good, you must also accept the bad. I don’t expect everyone to like or agree with me and welcome different points of view. So, therefore, I am thankful for each and every one of the comments and the following is not an attempt to get the haters to see my side, change their minds or defend myself. But, out of respect for the others involved and my fellow friends putting themselves out there whether it’s through a blog or a different medium altogether, I would like to clarify and address a few things.
First, no one and no thing that day—not me, not my shoes—outshined the bride. She was stunning. The groom wasn’t too shabby either. All eyes were on them as they should have been. Several comments here and there by a select few did not detract from them, their moment or their happiness on their day.
Second, I am proudly Pennsylvanian. I’m proud of where I’m from, I’m proud of my family and I’m proud of my friends. Period.
Third, my husband has worked very hard for many years. If he wants to buy me a nice pair of shoes as a one-time splurge for Christmas, so be it. Hell, if he wanted to buy me nice shoes every day, that’s his prerogative. I hardly think a piece of jewelry would have elicited this much negative reaction, which is what many women ask for/get for the holidays. How he chooses to spend his money is his business. Just like how others choose to spend, or not spend, theirs, is theirs.
Fourth, the blog was written with a sense of humor; the intent was for it to be read the same way. I’m sorry for those who missed that. My friends and family, the ones mentioned in the piece, found it amusing and, at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters to me.
Fifth and finally, as light-hearted as the blog was meant to be, it’s now become somewhat serious and far bigger than my Choos and me. I’m saddened by the negative comments. Not because I can’t take it. I know a silly piece on shoes doesn’t determine my value. I know my choice of words was intended in a playful and fun way. I know I donate a considerable amount of time, money and belongings to charity and my husband buying me a nice gift doesn’t detract from that. I know I don’t judge my loved ones or think I’m better than anyone. I know my family and friends are good people, love me and simply didn’t agree with my taste in shoes and that’s okay. But I’m disappointed about the amount of time and emotion complete strangers spend hating on others. It’s gravely misplaced. I’m certain that energy would be better served elsewhere, somewhere productive, somewhere positive. I’m not getting on a soapbox, I’m simply saying: Let’s be kinder to one another. Let’s step out from behind the computers and anonymous names and support each other. Life’s hard enough without the haters.