I’m on the patch right now. Where it releases small dosages of approval until I no longer crave it, and then I’m gonna rip it off.
– Ellen DeGeneres
The past two weeks have been a whirlwind. I have drafted this post a few times, searching for the right words.
Words are powerful. That is kind of my point with this whole thing. I choose mine carefully. Others… not so much.
I have had some stunning, dance & scream, possibly even career-making opportunities come my way over the past two weeks. Some of them have already come to pass- such as articles & features on House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Remodelaholic, Organizing Made Fun, Hometalk, & more. Insanely exciting stuff and a ton of positive came out of it! Unfortunately, there was a shadow looming over some of this, and I quickly had to learn to suck it up and move past it, because there’s more ahead.
Hey, remember that time Elle Decor & House Beautiful shared my painted kitchen to over 4 million people combined on Facebook? (Pinches self.) Yup, that happened…
While the numbers were staggering (hundreds of thousands of likes, shares, comments, and views…), frankly some of the commenters were… awful. I SO wish I was at the point where I could just casually brush it off. While I never expected that everyone in the world shared my taste or would like it (that would be boring, wouldn’t it?) I was stunned and initially hurt by the apparent drive that some people have to tear others down.
“Put away your paint sprayer, this white prison is disgusting.”
“All of that hard work was a waste, this looks awful.”
“Looks like an operating room/ the asylum from American Horror Story/a morgue/ sterile, etc.”
“Wow, you must be a boring person to have made it look this terrible.”
“You are going to Hell for painting God’s beautiful wood.” <– This one actually made me laugh, in spite of the creepy underlying vibe… I would never presume to know what God is thinking, but I’m pretty sure that in the grand scheme of things my kitchen cabinets are low on His priority list.
“Good luck keeping it clean! Grease and grime stick more to white cabinets!” <– This a very common one I’d like to quickly address, just because I’m baffled by it. White cabinets don’t attract grease any more than any other type of cabinet (unless they have magical properties or there is some scientific study I missed)… it’s just more obvious. You can see it and get rid of it more quickly when it shows up. A cleaner kitchen is a negative? Personally, I’d much rather be able to see the grime and get rid of it quickly than have it build up because it’s the same color as my cabinets (which is what used to happen). The paint also makes it easier to clean than the textured wood did. Just a thought!
I initially panicked because the first commenter on the Elle Decor post was a troll, and that seemed to open the floodgates for negatives. I had visions of every single person saying they hated it, and that would be both the beginning and the end of big magazines ever wanting to work with me. I needn’t have worried because positive comments rolled in on their own, and after a quick SOS- family, IRL friends, and especially blogging friends also chimed in. Truly, the positive comments now vastly outweigh the negative. More importantly, the “likes” are high (and frankly, I know that I don’t normally read comments on posts like that because of all of the awful people, so I know a lot of people feel the same way and are just going to “like” and move on.) I had never had experience with the feeling that comes along with something going “viral”, a mixture of nervous excitement, elation, and some stabs of disappointment, but now I know what to expect. By the time House Beautiful shared the post, my skin was thicker, and the comments were more eye-roll inducing than hurtful.
As time passed, most people were kind enough to recognize the blood, sweat, & tears- and the long term vision of the kitchen. One of my favorite comments, from a complete stranger, was “You can add any color decor you want as the season changes.” YES! Exactly- and not just the seasons, but I can change the decor with my evolving taste.
After all, I’ve been pretty transparent about the fact that the kitchen isn’t anywhere near done- our goal all along has been to make this house into a blank slate. It does look very blank and white in the particular photo that was shared (which I suspect was chosen as a standalone to elicit the conversation and interaction it caused). But that isn’t my final word on this kitchen- it was simply the end of the cabinet phase in the project. I moved A LOT of stuff out of the room to showcase the cabinets alone, and I never dreamed it would get so much attention at this point in the project.
Of course, people are entitled to their opinions. People who “just don’t like it” don’t bother me, although I can’t understand why they bother to stop and comment if that’s the case. Whatever. However, there is a difference between that and trying to bully someone into not sharing their progress! Or, more importantly, to not do what they like to their own home!
I have never once felt the need to write something negative about someone’s work, and I never will. I’ve never hated something that someone created with their own two hands and posted on the internet. I’ve never felt the need to try to make them feel like less with my words, just because they aren’t exactly like me. Is that not the very definition of bullying? That says a whole lot more about them as a person than it does about my kitchen cabinets (or taste.). There have been plenty of things that haven’t been “my taste”- but that is not the point. They aren’t making it for me. They are sharing the hard work they put into their project… THAT is the inspirational part, and the aesthetics have nothing to do with it! They should be proud to share! Painted, stained, natural, stenciled, wallpapered, white, oak, black, purple, pink, or blue- it’s YOUR kitchen, or dresser, or wall, or whatever! Do what you want with it! I know that I did, and I will continue to! And I will continue to support, encourage, congratulate, and uplift other makers- even if their project isn’t what I would put in my own home! I respect creativity in all of it’s forms.
It took me a little bit, but I’ve finally gotten to a point of feeling excited about blogging and sharing again. I have now learned an important lesson, and I feel at peace knowing it. Yes, those of us who share put ourselves out there- we open ourselves to the comments and criticism. I get that. But I don’t share because I want people to tell me that they love what I’m doing- I share to INSPIRE them to make things. As long as there is still one person out there that I inspire, I’m going to keep creating and sharing!
I just want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has been so supportive while I work through these growing pains. I know that everyone who has blogged has experienced this at one time or another, and I appreciate how kind and encouraging everyone has been!
We will be back to our regularly scheduled DIY posts this week, including revealing the Powder Room!
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