My mom is coming out to visit me in New York to spend a few days with me as I move. "Dad is very worried about you," she says. "He is worried about the living situation falling through and about the Internet commenters."
"You are telling him about the Internet commenters?" I asked.
Jesus Christ. "You know that this is how it is on the Internet in general, right?" I asked.
"Yeah," my mom said. "I know."
"Don't read them," I told her. "Don't worry about it."
"Okay," she said. "I just want to know you are okay."
"I am," I said. "I am okay."
I went on Facebook just now and wrote, "It's 1 in the morning. Let's read what the Internet thinks of me. Okay. I'll start."
"She's professionalizing immaturity. Her interactions with others are full of crass manipulation, and so too are her articles."
"I am afraid that you are much like certain friends I have cut out of my life because they are constantly subjecting everyone around them to the roller coaster of their own emotions. From the other end, it's neither charming nor fun to be around. It's exhausting to be the emotional crutch to someone who essentially CHOOSES their own unhappiness, time after time."
"The more I read Mandy's work, the less I like her. If it weren't for her telling us her age, I would've assumed a 19-year-old intern wrote this. For all her caterwauling about living in light and love, she spends most of her time in darkness with her hand on the light switch."
"You acknowledge that you are this burning pit of need and want. You recognize that you are an emotional mess, and kind of flippantly dance around that like it's kind of cute. But it's not. It's tragic that you have all these people around you who give and give and give, and you never seem to give back."
"The composite character Mandy puts forward in articles seems like the sort of person to not give any shits when she blows off someone else's birthday, but throws a tantrum when hers is suck. My response would be: You're 37. You've had a couple. Time to get over the fact that people don't much give a shit about your birthday anymore."
"As I just said, when commenting about the Cat Conundrum, it's time xoJane stopped glamorizing self-obsession. If so many people are blowing Mandy off -- on her birthday -- there's a reason. Writing about it on the Internet under the guise of introspection only helps if you actually learn something."
"There are obviously a few folks who aren't 100% sure that Mandy is a good person."
And my favorite:
"My God! You're what, almost 40? You have the maturity of maybe an 18-year-old, so unforgivably self-obsessed. And I don't think you have one real friend, terrified of being alone. Get it together!"
I'm going to see if I can thoughtfully and dispassionately address a few of these points in order of importance.
1. Okay, first things first. Almost 40?
2. I mean, really.
3. I'm 37! Two days ago!
4. And there's 3 freaking years between 37 and 40. That's 365 days times three. I could calculate the minutes. Let me know if you want me to do that. Send me an email or something.
5. If you wanted some alternatives, you could say, "no longer in her early 30s." That might be one option. "Older than 35," even. So many different choices!
6. Okay, in all seriousness, though. It is my job to write about my life.
7. I do believe myself to be an incredibly giving person and have helped many people personally and professionally, including helping people get gigs, agents, jobs, movie deals, boyfriends, girlfriends, therapists, sobriety, money, places to stay, internships, promotions, confidence, evil characters and my favorite gift to give of all: resilience and support.
8. xoJane's mission statement is where women go to be "selfish." [Until we get the tech capability to change it daily with your brilliant tag-line suggestions --thanks for those, guys and keep em coming. --Jane] Meaning it's okay to foster a community of reflection and daily memoir and "It Happened to Me." I try to abide by this sense of personal narrative, including looking at my own flaws. I also try to learn from these flaws.
9. I do try to actively deal with my "burning pit of want and need" in weekly therapy sessions. I consider this the right action. I also love this incredibly attractive tagline as my new online dating profile.
10. Honestly, all of this makes me think of a defining little moment in my journey here at xoJane. One day last week, when Jane and I met with a few different production companies regarding a potential reality show, she accidentally let drop the one-liner she had on me. In front of me. It was a total awkward brilliant mistake. It just slipped out. "She's the girl you love to hate," she said. Everyone nodded. Uh-huh. Right. [It wasn't a slip. I wanted you to know how I originally saw your "character," but that was just one part of it. --Jane]
I think that people who know me -- and perhaps Jane, too -- recognize my kindness and introspection and resistance to the easy sadistic urges that come with working in this industry. But if my role on the Internet is to be the "girl you love to hate," then I suppose I will learn to accept that. I am tired. I am not trying to emotionally manipulate or subject other people to anything other than the journey that comes with personal memoir. And now I am saying: I understand. I get the game behind the game. I am the girl you love to hate.
It's nice to finally have a place to call home.
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.