A Response to the Harsh Truth

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I recently received this comment on my “A Little About Me” post:

“How is this post going to make a difference in the world? Those who have been immortalized by our society  is their willingness to make selfless sacrifices to better their fellow man, regardless of the cost. In your own words this blog is a for “Shameless Self-Promotion”. Not only are you writing this for yourself and with the sole hope of being worshiped after your passing, but you don’t see how your very attitude has doomed your ambitions from the beginning. How dare you compare yourself to Nelson Mandela and Gandhi? Do you honestly read about them and believe that you could make the emotional and physical sacrifices they have made? You are nothing more than a spoiled teenager who thinks that posting about her well-off life and complaining about mild adversity (if it can even be considered adversity) will deify her. If you really wan to make a difference, volunteer, donate money and good to charity, and instead of buying your latte every morning provide a homeless person with a meal. That’s a good starting place, not writing a blog.”

-Senior Esteban

First off, I’m not going to lie, this stung a little. It’s not fun for anyone to receive negative criticism, especially when some of the foundations of what was said are based in truth. I AM a spoiled teenager (well, 20-year-old, but same thing), I AM posting about my well-off life, and I AM complaining about mild adversity. These things are all undeniably true. I am a young, middle class, white girl at an expensive small liberal arts college. I have a loving family, amazing friends, and am receiving an incredible education. I am fully aware that the adversity I will face in my entire life is not comparable to the adversity some people in the world face every day.

There are, however, some major flaws in the arguments of this comment. First of all, I’m not hoping, in any sense of the word, to be worshipped, especially not as a result of this blog. The sole purpose of this blog is to share some of my opinions – which may or may not be important (probably the latter).  In the blog post that this comment was responding to, I specifically said, “I didn’t have anything profound to say.” I have never claimed that this blog was going to help the world in any way – this is purely for the enjoyment of myself and the potential enjoyment of those who choose to read my thoughts.

Second, I never meant to compare myself to Mandela and Gandhi in the hope that people would think of me like them. I wrote, “So here I am, writing this, trying to make what I’m writing matter to people other than my two friends who just laughed at my failed attempts at dates, trying to become someone who matters (obviously a lot less than people like Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, but you have to start somewhere, right?). Here goes nothing.” I made it clear that I was by no means going to matter as much as either of these two leaders – I do not honestly read about them and believe that I could make the emotional and physical sacrifices they have made – not in a million years. I was using them as examples of people who matter and who have made a difference – I do not consider myself someone who has done either of those things, I was just bringing them up because they are role models for people who would like to change the world someday.

Third, the piece of the comment that hurt the most was saying that I was nothing more than a spoiled teenager. I recognize the reasoning behind saying I am spoiled, but the truth is that I AM more than that. This blog is not my entire life, and I post about things that I think other people will find entertaining. I don’t write about every aspect of my life – like how I am the president of a community service club, or how I spend my spring breaks volunteering around the country, or how I spent my Halloween collecting cans for a local food shelf (oh wait, I did write about that… maybe you should read it). I recognize that I am in a very privileged position in society – most people do not get to have the experiences I do. I work very hard to check my privilege, though; I work two jobs, I donate my time and money to charity, I work hard in school, and I care about others. Writing this blog is, for me, just a creative outlet – it is not how I expect to change the world.

In conclusion, despite the harsh comment, I want to thank you for reading my blog (the entire thing, if I’m not mistaken), and for sharing your opinion. I also want to say that sometimes you really can’t judge a book by its cover, and I’d argue that this blog makes a strong case for that statement. So, Senior Esteban, I ask the following of you: don’t be so quick to judge, take what I’ve written into consideration, and please follow your own advice and “volunteer, donate money and good to charity, and instead of buying your latte every morning provide a homeless person with a meal.” That’s a good starting place, not writing snarky comments on blogs.

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8 thoughts on “A Response to the Harsh Truth

  1. Spoiled Minority says:

    I just want to shout out in your defense Ileana. Clearly, Sr. Esteban, you have never taken any sort of business or economic course, or you would recognize the insignificance of Ileana’s coffee purchases. Through profit maximization and other economic terminologies that I would be HAPPY to blurt out for you, her 3$ coffee will in no way influence a charity/homeless person (in fact the entire BASIS of Charities are foolish, but that’s another story). P.S. PLEASE spare me the “but if she doesn’t do it, who will? It has to start somewhere,” because if you are, then you sir are a hypocrite. Insulting her for writing a blog, and sharing her opinions IS a beginning to her path of enlightenment and prosperity. Who the FUCK are you to insult her for comparing herself to Ghandi, and whoever else she pleases? You have NO idea what she’s been through. Sure, she has white privilege, she goes to an expensive elite private college, but you don’t know ANYTHING. I know plenty of people in her situation who have gone through extremely traumatic events. You have no idea what emotional sacrifices Ileana has made, or what sacrifices she WILL make. You, fine sir, are the exact reason WHY society is a crap shoot. If we shut each other down before they’re successful, then whats the point in trying? If she doesn’t aspire to be a Ghandi, who does she aspire to be? You’re comment was absurdly rude, and provided no insight for her growth. You are no better than a malignant tumor. Spread your ridiculous ideologies elsewhere, or better yet, take some more courses in different departments (can’t wait to hear what bullshit “courses” and “majors/minors” you have. Funny how you can change your education just to fit an internet argument). I hope your ignorance doesn’t seed from a Skidmore education, otherwise I’m nothing more than disappointed, as I’m sure Skidmore would be, on your prospects as a student with such close-mindedness.

    To Ileana: You’re amazing. I admire your wit and intelligence from a far (although I have purchased a shirt from you.) Don’t shut yourself down. Be the next Ghandi. Be a new Ghandi, be a better Ghandi. Aspire for the best, leave the haters to muddle in the turmoil of their failure. Use your fortune and “spoiledness” to learn and grow.

    Peace out motherfuckers.

    • Senior Esteban says:

      A whole lot of speculation and insulting going on in that post. We’ll see if I can address some of your questions and concerns. Also, Ileana, I won’t comment anymore. You are correct in saying I have no obligation and so I will not comment beyond this post.

      We’ll start with my background. I am truly flattered that you think I have a college education or at least am well on my way to obtaining one. The truth is that post-high school I enlisted in the military. I recently got off active duty and was finally able to start my first year of college this Fall. My military service may shed some light on my feelings when a young, upper-class, straight, white female compares herself (even with implication. You need to reread your “A Little About Me” post if you don’t think you compared yourself even a little to Gandhi and Nelson Mandela) to Gandhi. Although I have never deployed, I have lost close friends in the past year to combat in Afghanistan and seen many come back with severe PTSD. They have given sacrifices.

      On the note of “You don’t know what Ileana’s been through”, you are correct, I don’t have a clue. But I doubt that anyone (including yourself, well, maybe YOU can) will deny that it is unlikely she has experienced the hardship that non-white South Africans experienced during the apartheid, the Indians experienced during colonial rule or African-Americans experienced before anti-segregation laws (or for that matter to modern times) and let’s extend this to refugees and anyone living in a non-developed country. Comparing yourself to those who have given their lives for what they believed in, what was the right thing to do, to better their brother and sister without a single selfish agenda, from her position, is absurdly ignorant.

      No one of these great men or women who made sacrifices has had selfish motivations behind their actions. As I said, she claims she wants to help people with this blog, but she doesn’t have the right mindset. Martin Luther King did not march on Washington because he sought glory. The point of telling her to sacrifice her coffee to help a homeless person buy food is the idea behind it. Will it solve homelessness? Unlikely. But it will allow her to sacrifice something she does not need to help her fellow human being. The key to that word is sacrifice, sacrifice for the sake of others is what makes people great. It’s what makes Nelson Mandelas and Gandhis.

      Finally, Ileana, bragging about your charitable work does not look good to me. Whether or not this is true what it looks like to me is nothing more than a publicity stunt. No different from most major corporations donating to charity. They do for the good publicity, not to help people. Consistent sacrifice and generosity without anyone knowing is admirable. That’s what honor and integrity are, doing the right thing when no one is looking. So far, it seems you only want to help people if the whole world is watching.

      Have a nice night “Spoiled minority”

  2. Emma... obviously says:

    This is a great response. A blog can be about anything a person wants it to be. It can be an exaggeration of the truth, or hilarious pictures, and/or just for the entertainment of others and people who know the writer. I’m sure that the creator of Reasons My Son Is Crying was not attempting to change the world. In fact, the blog was created to make others laugh. Most internet websites do not focus on changing the world, and are just for the entertainment of others. If Senior Esteban does not find this blog funny then they shouldn’t read it.

  3. English Major says:

    You would do a little bit better, Ileana, to check the tone of your blog posts. While they may not be as extremely objectionable as some (Senior Esteban) may argue, they are certainly off-putting in attitude and tone. You come across as spoiled, entitled, oblivious—to this reader, at least.

    Any writing class at the college level should teach you how to accomplish a more effective prose style. Best of luck.

    • ipaulesbronet says:

      English Major,
      Thank you for your comment and for reading. The tone of my blog is not meant to be academic; it is meant to be light, as I am not talking about things that are very substantial. I have taken multiple college level writing classes, and have excelled – I am very deliberately not writing my posts in the style I write in for those classes. If you are off-put by the attitude and tone, please do not feel obligated to continue reading. I tried to address the issue of me coming across as spoiled, entitled, and oblivious in this post, but obviously that is not my goal. Again, I am writing this blog solely for entertainment purposes, so if you are not enjoying yourself reading this, I will not be at all offended if you stop.

  4. Jgirl14 says:

    Ileana, you do you girl. Clearly the critics above need to LIGHTEN UP and “check the tone” of their lives and recognize that entertainment, sarcasm, and satire exist, and not for their personal benefit or appreciation. Entirely too into themselves. You are doing nothing wrong; love your posts!

  5. Jgirl14 says:

    p.s. Senior Esteban, just as you cite Ileana’s “bragging” about her charitable work (which seemed more a defense against your rather personal attack of her) as unnecessary, so I find your bragging about your personal situation and “sacrifices.” Seems you want “the world” to be watching too.

  6. Shirine Taylor says:

    It amazes me what negative things people are willing to say over the internet because it’s not face to face and personal. Whenever I read an article I always breeze by the comments, and I am saddened by the fact that normally they are criticizing the author without much basis or thought. Those negative comments then turn into arguments between people who throw harsh words back and forth just to make themselves feel superior. If only there was a filter button on our blogs to deal with unproductive and harmful comments!

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