2/21/2017

An Open Letter To My Hater

An Open Letter to My Hater x Ashley Neese

Dear Hater,

I’ve been quiet and polite on this journal long enough and tonight I am speaking up for myself. I’m super riled up right now and grateful to be taking the time to use this frustration as fuel for a journal post. Since committing to a daily writing practice six days ago, I have worked really hard to check in with the journal and get some words on the screen. I haven’t written any essays or poems, but I have kept up with my gratitude lists and that has felt really good. I’m incredibly busy right now with clients and projects and between mountains of emails and everything else that needs to get done in a day, I am happy to set aside fifteen to twenty minutes to share something meaningful and thoughtful here in this safe space.

Tonight I received your very nasty comment on one of my recent gratitude lists and felt like I got punched in the gut. I’m a super sensitive person as you probably know since you are clearly paying attention to what I write and are checking my journal daily. If you had been paying a little closer attention you would also know that I have worked tirelessly for years to develop a thicker skin and not absorb your negative energy. While reading your incredibly hurtful and judgemental comments about how my gratitude lists don’t count as real writing I started to let your words take me down. Your words felt like such a slap in the face to authentic creatives who are doing their best to show up each day and stay devoted to their practices.

Today was a full day and I am exhausted this evening. I miss my partner Nic, I spent most of the day writing copy for a sponsored post I have coming up, dealt with the intensity of folks at the DMV, and I held space for several clients who have a ton going on in their lives. And you know what, I moved through my entire day with ease, joy, and grace, no small feat for a woman who used to be just like you, a serious hater and judger. In fact, you might want to revisit my essay about judgement, it’s a really powerful post.

After a long day I sat down to eat dinner and check in with the journal. I always get excited to receive a notification that someone left a comment and was looking forward to reading it. Tonight was a bummer. Reading your shitty words made me feel, for a few minutes, like I was failing. They made me feel like I am not doing enough because god knows if you had to do as much as I do in a day you would not have energy or time to leave people rude comments on their blog.

But hey, I get you girl. And I see you. I spent years judging other people. Though I didn’t troll their journals and leave disrespectful comments, I did more than my fair share of gossiping and stalking their websites only to txt my friends so and so did xyz, can you fucking believe her? Yes, girl, I was you, which is why after just a few minutes of feeling crappy from your words I snapped back into reality and patted myself on the back, because you know what? I am actually doing it. I am writing, in one place, everyday, and the fact that it doesn’t meet your standards is absolutely irrelevant and meaningless to me.

I am living.

And I am living out loud. As Brené Brown says, I am in the ring dancing with my fears of not being lovable and those annoying and thankfully infrequent voices that tell me I am not enough. And you my dear sister are in the bleachers, screaming your self doubts at the top of your lungs to those of us in the ring. I heard you for a moment and recognized you as a younger more discouraged version of myself. I took a deep breath and kept on dancing with that fear, fire, and passion that burns deep within my belly and drives me to keep showing up and doing my work because it gives my life tremendous meaning.

The truth is I cherish my life today. I am proud of myself for committing to a daily writing practice, something that has been very challenging for me in the past because I put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself which it sounds like you can relate to. That comment that you wrote struck such a chord because it was exactly the kind of unsupportive and mean spirited bullshit I used to tell myself all day long. And I remember, when I was in that place how much pain I was in. Oh girl, I really see and feel you and my heart aches for your suffering to end.

Looking back I wish I could have been in the place I am this evening earlier. I am reminded of the first time shared in an incredible writers group that I received a nasty comment on my blog and was very upset. It really threw me off. My teacher encouraged me to write a post like this on the journal but I wasn’t quite ready for it. I needed to do some more healing. Tonight I am taking his advice and wow does it feel liberating. To write something that in the past felt like it would be too much or viewed as too negative, to just let the words fly and use the fire to out create the frustration. Damn does this feel good.

So my dear hater child, tonight I have nothing but gratitude for you. I know deep down that you are angry, longing to be seen and heard and are fighting hard to make yourself known. I get it. I’ve been there. Thank you for taking the time to express your disdain with my writing practice. Thank you for preparing me for a glimpse into the reality of growing my platform and reaching even more people with my work. Thank you for reminding me that the best litmus test for my spirit is living with integrity, not measuring my worth against your limited idea about who I should be. Thank you for bringing to light what an incredible and supportive community I am part of with radical women who are in the ring, dancing with their fears, and living with their gorgeous hearts open wide. And mostly thank you for showing me that when the rubber meets the road, I have everything it takes to be a damn fine writer.

All my heart.

x

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Comments

  • Tracy

    Thank. You. Thank you thank you. Thank you for not being afraid and for sharing and for unapologetically being who you are while admitting who you used to be.

    • ashley

      Thank you so much for being here Tracy. I really appreciate your thoughtful and supportive words. It was a little scary putting this out there but I am glad I went for it. Wishing you a wonderful rest of the week.

  • S. Perry

    Right on! Admiration.

  • Binyamina

    Thank you SO MUCH for this post. I was really in it today, feeling stuck and failing and humiliated. Feeling attacked and questioning myself. And then I read your thoughtful, beautiful and POWERFUL words and I was reminded of an incredible thing: I am in the ring. And although I might hear the voices of the haters from time to time (and sometimes, that voice is still coming from within), I am so proud of myself (and of you, and of all the other courageous souls) who show up day after day. Because showing up over and over and over again for our practice and our passion is the BRAVEST, most BEAUTIFUL thing we can do.

    So THANK YOU Ashley, for this vulnerable share of growth, compassion and being FIERCE AS FUCK. You give me more space to see my own fighting in the ring self.

    Lots of love,

    Binyamina

    • ashley

      Binyamina!
      Hello hello dear! It is wonderful to hear from you. Thank you for taking the time to share your light and energy with us, your words are everything this evening! I feel your huge heart and powerful presence and am truly grateful for your thoughts and feelings. I’m going to be coming back to this over and over when I need a pick-me-up. You radiate so hard!!! Love love love to you on this new moon eclipse. x

  • Julie

    Dear Ashley, please, please just keep on doing what you are doing! I’ve been reading your journal for a few years now and often go back to older posts to catch up on things I have missed. You are an inspiration to me and I’ve found comfort in your writing having gone through a few difficult times recently. I always have pen and paper to hand to jot down notes that I refer back to. I feel excited when I see a new post on your journal and I love your gratitude lists as they jog my memory and make me realise that I often miss moments that I should be grateful for, and your Friday Feels introduce me to new things and ideas too! The photography on this journal is amazing also!

    Stand proud and keep up your amazing work!

    Much love and blessings to you,
    Julie x

    • ashley

      Dear Julie,
      Hi! Thank you for writing and sharing all of this with me. It means the world that you took the time to connect and that the words on this journal bring comfort to your life. Your generous feedback is such a treasure to read and fills my heart with joy. I will come back to your words when I need a lift! Wishing you abundance on this powerful new moon and a fantastic week ahead. x

  • Prasuna

    Wow, that was a beautiful read. For you to be able to express yourself so well, and to have in your heart space for kindness and compassion for this woman gripped by her own anger at herself. I am forever an admirer, and love reading your stuff. Thank you for all you do for everyone.

    • ashley

      Thank you dear Prasuna. It really is amazing what we can see in others when we are willing to slow down, feel, and look deep within ourselves. Thank you for this important reminder and for your kindhearted words and support. Grateful for you! x

  • Marlon

    Dear Ashley,
    I have been reading your journal here for years now. I hadn’t yet expressed this, but I have lately felt really blown away by how much personal growth I’ve seen here lately. You seem to have overcome so much, and are claiming your power! I have always found you very inspirational, because you showed up as who you were and were imperfect but still giving and working. I hope to have the bravery to share and show up for myself as you have one day, in whatever way that may be :) All of us are healing in different ways but I have personally related to many of your experiences and struggles.
    As someone who is very afraid to share the music I make (being as I already disregarded it as redundant and unnecessary myself BEFORE sharing it) and hesitating to share my writing as I really don’t feel anyone needs what I have to say, I think you are wise in seeing yourself in this commenter. Similar voices keep me from sharing! I am pretty sure we all have that fearful voice, and we generally wish to take down others instead of reflecting on why what they are doing makes us uncomfortable. I read many journals where I have seen some VERY mean-spirited comments; I think something about the anonymity of the internet leads people to feel safe expressing their judgement and fear. As you said, unfortunately it is a reality of wide readership, but I have faith you’ve grown a container for holding this compassionately, and staying wide open. Communicating about judgement in such an open way is a wonderful antidote to this.
    I really appreciate that you are writing every day in whatever form works for you. Thank you for being you, and all the work you do :)
    <3 <3 <3

    • ashley

      Hello Marlon,
      Oh it makes me happy to hear from you and read your insightful and inspiring words. Thank you for taking the time to share, I relate to everything you wrote. I really appreciate your willingness to be vulnerable and share so openly. I can tell from your writing, the way you think about and see the world is truly unique and I know the world needs to hear exactly what you have to say! I wholeheartedly believe that. 100%! And I fully support you expressing your voice and creativity. There are people who are waiting to hear and read your magic and about your growth. Thinking of you on this potent new moon and sending loads of light and love to you. x

  • Natalie

    Hi Ashley!

    I only recently found your blog but it resonates calm and love even through a screen, a country away.
    I just wanted to express my thanks for sharing all that you do. I find sharing personal thoughts with myself to even be a challenge (if that makes any sense.) Just sitting down to meditate and letting my truth play out before my eyes is terrifying, and no one else is there to share it with me.
    To share it on the page (digital or otherwise) for others to read, and relate to, is beyond brave.
    So thank you for sharing your personal journey.

    • ashley

      Hello Natalie!
      Thank you for writing and everything you shared makes sense to me. I totally hear you and understand the feeling of being with yourself and how much that can bring up. It’s incredibly courageous to show up in that way and I am inspired by your willingness! It means the world to connect with others that are doing their work. Wishing youa wonderful week and thank you again for being here. I am so happy to connect. x

  • Maja

    ” I am in the ring dancing with my fears.”

    HELL TO THE YES!!!

    All the love for you!

    xxx

    • ashley

      AHHH! Thank you sweet Maja!! I adore you to the moon and back! Love from me to you!! x

  • Kyana

    Yes! You fucking go! Thanks for sharing this honesty and truth and vulnerability.

    • ashley

      Hi Kyana,
      It is wonderful to hear from you. Thank you for your gracious words. I treasure them! x

  • yvonne

    YES! Get it Ashley! You are an inspiration and a light for all! All my love and gratitude to you, darling woman.

    • ashley

      Thank you so much Yvonne! Your words are bringing loads of joy to my life right now and I really appreciate your big big heart! x

  • Maura

    a friend recently said;
    “i am Learning every day”
    for whatever reason and for all the reasons,
    those words landed in my heartspace
    as a mantra of sorts
    with a beautiful echo
    that’s softening fierce self-judgement;
    thank you for sharing what you’re Learning.
    i love you all the way over here on the east coast, xo

    • ashley

      Oh this is everything Maura! You always have the exact hear centered words to share and your timing is spot on. Thank you for being here and continuing to show up and stay open. Thank you for being in my spirit pod. Thank you for shining so bright. x

  • Sara

    Girl, my love for you grows every day. Miss getting to see you in real life. Sending you virtual hugs from across the country. Keep killing it and sharing. I relate to this post wholeheartedly. Also, let it be known that along with being an amazing person you are an amazing writer.

    xoxoxoxoxoxo
    Sara

    • ashley

      Awww right back at you babe! You are one hell of a woman and writer so that means a TON. Just knowing you are out there keeping it real and doing your work fills me with hope and joy. You rule. x

  • vv

    I appreciate your example so much. Your words are powerful. Thank you for sharing always, and please do keep writing! xo

    • ashley

      Hi hi! Oh it’s great to hear from you. Thank you for taking the time to write it really means so much to me. Sending love this weekend! x

  • Briana

    Oh, Ashley how I love you! This was beautiful, perfect, compassionate, strong, determined while taking no shits. You are honestly the most beautiful, authentic writer I know. Your gratitude lists fill my heart with joy every time I read them. Why should you be confined to any one way of doing or expressing anything? I’m sorry that this woman was so unkind to you but it has shined a light on your strength, your growth, your confidence in yourself and your writing. Bravo my dear!!! Much love to you… x

    • ashley

      Dear Briana,
      It is seriously always such a pleasure to hear from you. I love what you wrote about being confined in our creative process, there is truly no reason for that! You my dear are a terrific writer with a heart of gold. It’s been such a joy witnessing your growth and expansion and I can’t wait to see what the rest of this year has in store for you, no doubt it’s going to be incredible. Love you. x

      • Briana

        Thank you, Ashley. You have no idea how much that means to me coming from you. You honestly inspire me each day. Love you so much. xx

  • Melody

    I read your posts from my home in Argentina and I love them. You make me go over areas of life that I can’t sometimes see by myself . Your gratitude lists inspire me very much. I found it hard to write my own lists at first (still do) not because I wasn’t grateful, just because I had to learn to express them, which I’m learning through yours.
    If your word got to me all the way from the US to Argentina I am positive that you are doing a great job. Thank you for the sweetness, the loving spirit you transmit in your journal, the encouriging words and the honesty.
    Besos y cariños para ti!!!

    • ashley

      Hi Melody,
      Thank you for writing, it is wonderful to connect with you half way across the world! I have been wanting to visit Argentina for ages. It makes me very happy to learn that you are starting a gratitude practice and to learn that my writing supported you to open that door. Thank you for your kind and generous works and for taking the time to share here. Connecting in this way is the entire reason I started the journal years ago and it feels even more important today to stay in community with people who are trying each day to grow. Sending you loads of light and love from L.A.! x

  • Hope Hilton

    #preach ❤️

  • Claire

    Wow girl, I know her too, and I know you. I’m so happy for how far you’ve come in this time. You are wonderful and honest and beautiful and awe inspiring everyday. You do you, girl! XOXO

    • ashley

      Thank you so much Claire, means a ton coming from you. I cannot believe how long we have known each other!! It’s wild. Thinking of you tons and I’m coming over to visit soon. Love you!! x

  • Britanie Faith

    Wow. This was a MUST READ for me. I have said this before and I will say it again; You Inspire Me DAILY. You are one of the most authentic people, full of love and light and anyone who leaves hateful comments is trying to dim that light. The way you worded this is pure perfection. You did it with such grace. This was so helpful for me to read as I deal with hate from one person in particular online and it can be so emotionally draining. After reading this I feel more empowered. You are one amazing woman. I love you so much.

    • ashley

      Hey Britanie!
      What a treat to hear from you. Thank you for taking the time to connect and share that with us. I hear you about the emotional drain, it’s really challenging and super important that we support each other through it. You are such a bright light in our community as well and I am truly grateful for the love and joy to spread daily. Love you sister! x

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