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Saturday, December 08, 2012

Say it anyway

I hate giving feedback on other people's writing. It makes me feel pretentious and self-aggrandizing and obnoxious, like who am I to tell someone else how to write? So I don't, generally. If I like a book, you'll know. If I don't, unless it's a political issue I strongly disagree with, you probably won't. But the other day I came across something in a piece someone had asked me to look at and there was one line, a phrase, really, that offended me. It stayed with me, and while I moved on in my reading, since it wasn't a part of the plot and was truly something that happened in passing, when I was set to reply I was faced with this dilemma: do I say something and risk sounding overly picky or possibly rude, or do I not, and wonder how the person would have responded?

I came to the conclusion that I've come to about a lot of situations in my life this year, which was that I had nothing to lose. Worst case, I don't know, the person never speaks to me again and thinks I'm crazy. I live with so much fear of people not liking me for one reason or another that I forget to ever question whether I really want that person to like me in the first place. Not applicable to this situation 100%, but there was still that fear of someone thinking I'm somehow bad or wrong or mean. Not wanting to be those things is not only unrealistic, since I can't control what other people think of me, but hurts me because in trying to nevertheless make everyone like me, I go against my best interests. I do this so often it's ingrained in me. So anyway, I said what I needed to say as politely as possible and not only didn't I get a resounding "You suck," I got a thanks for pointing out what I did. I hope I remember that next time I'm scared or nervous or fearful about speaking up, no matter who I'm talking to.

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