So there’s this hill, right before I get to my gym, that is a total nightmare to ride up on my bike. I strain and groan and stand up on my pedels and almost fall over, and by the time I get to the top, my heart is thumping wildly and I can hardly breathe. Sometimes I just get off my bike and walk it. Every time, I get mad at the hill for even existing. Stupid hill.

But it’s really stupid me, right? Because why am I even going to the gym? Yes, to workout. And in fact, I should be grateful to the hill, not only for causing me to burn extra calories, but also for demonstrating how not hard I typically workout when I’m inside the gym. I used to feel that sort of physical strain and exhaustion all the time, back in high school, when I played sports. And was in really great shape. And yet now, the 20 seconds of intensity created by that hill seem unbearable. I guess I could stand hating the hill a little less and hitting the gym a little harder.

Ok, so the op-ed was also about Obamacare. I was intellectually prepared for nasty comments, but not emotionally.
Ok, so the op-ed was also about Obamacare. I was intellectually prepared for nasty comments, but not emotionally.

The hill wasn’t the only thing that got me down today. I got sucked into internet commenters. First, I was reading comments on a Detroit Free Press article about Gov. Snyder’s secretive non-profit funneling money to Detroit’s emergency manager, and – as if the story wasn’t sickening enough – the comments made me want to curl in a ball and cry for the soul of humanity. Inexplicably, I then went to a column of my own that published this week in Bridge, and read the comments there.

Bad idea. Such a bad idea. That got me really down, as those comments weren’t just disappointing, they were directed at me. And some were sort of mean. Why, internet people? Why do you have to be like that? But though my instinct was to wallow in it (and maybe I did, for a little bit), I have no more of a right to be mad at those people than I do at that hill.

Just as the point of going to the gym is to workout, the point of sharing personal experiences is to challenge people to think. Maybe I wish their thinking was different, and maybe I’ll never get a single one of those commenters to respect my perspective, but it’s my job to say my story, and I chose this job. Getting negative comments should just motivate me to work harder, write better, and put more things into the world that don’t necessarily please everyone, but do matter a great deal to some.


2 thoughts on “On hating hills and writing better

  1. My dad used to get a not-insignificant amount of nasty letters from people for his editorials at the Ogemaw Herald. He always said “If you’re not getting hate mail, your opinion isn’t strong enough.” Or something like that.. Brooke remembers the exact quote.

    So you’re doing it right. Keep going.

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