Whether it’s someone hurling insults, or just stealing your work, some of us deal with parades of hate.
Reporting hate doesn’t always work. Even when it does, that doesn’t undo the damage. That’s your job. In school they told us words could never hurt us — a lie. Words injure, sometimes worse than stones. A third-degree black belt once told me, “Words hurt, and they hurt bad.”
I’ve been punched in the face. I’ve seen dead bodies, including one of a 7-year-old girl, and blood to last a lifetime, and none of it hurt as bad as the right words at the right time.
We all want to confront hate, head on. But if we’ve learned anything from history, it’s that you’re better off redirecting it.
Sometimes you just have to get out of hate’s way.
Send hate back on itself.
Hate has a way of going after its own kind, in the end. It attacks its very bones. That’s because a hateful person needs an audience, and a victim. Without one or the other, it doesn’t know what to do. It will turn cannibalistic. Someone may try to make you the victim, but here’s some news.
You don’t have to be hate’s dinner.
Hateful people have said they’re afraid of me. Maybe they know that I can hate better than the rest, but I choose not to.
I’ve got lots of hate. Somewhere along the way, I learned that you can do alchemy on your hate. You can turn it into kindness.
You have to, really. Because hate destroys everything. A hateful person ultimately destroys themselves.
It’s possible to inherit hate. I inherited my mom’s. She passed it on to me every single day. Her hate strangled her. Sometimes I wonder about the nameless illness that killed her for 25 years. The one that behaved like schizophrenia, but also five other diseases. I wonder if it wasn’t just plain old hate — something the doctors missed.
My mom’s hate ran out of friends, parents and other relatives, daughters, sons, and husbands to unleash it upon. And in the absence of loved ones, the hate attacked its host.
She died alone, in a hospice. From hate.
Maybe it’s not her fault. My mom got her hate from her parents. After all, my grandparents hated other races. They hated smart women. They hadn’t heard of other genders yet, but they would’ve hated them, too.
When my mom died, my little brother took the ashes to my uncle. (I had to work.) My uncle lives on a hundred acres of land, with a small fortune. He earned every penny of his money — but he has nobody to spend it with. My uncle had one bad relationship experience. He decided to hate all women after that; they were just a bunch of gold diggers.
My uncle and I haven’t spoken since I was 21. A woman filed a restraining order against him around that time. Now he lives on a vast stretch of land by himself, which butts up against trailer parks. He wakes up to find meth heads staring through his windows. Despite all his guns, he still lives in fear. And his fear feeds his hate — of literally everyone.
His hate is waiting for him to die alone, just like my mom. Except he won’t die in a hospice. He’ll die in a cabin out in the woods, surrounded by trailer parks full of meth heads.
I’m hoping the hate dies with my mom, and my uncle. My past looks smaller in the rearview every day. I’m turning all the energy behind my hate into something good, and whatever’s left, I’m leaving it behind.
With any luck, so will you.
Nobody can argue with hate, or have a conversation with it. Hate slithers beyond facts, reasoning, and compassion. It contorts reality into the hater’s worldview, offering a quick high.
If you’ve ever spoken with a truly hateful person, you know the maze their mind builds around the simplest truths.
When logic paints them into a corner, that’s when they lash out, that’s when they get physical, that’s when they start making threats, either veiled or explicit ones — depending on how desperate they are.
Hate can wear a smile, but it always shows its true face.
A while back, a sidewalk evangelist started a dialogue with me. It began with witty banter, but ended with him screaming that I was a “fucking whore,” on the fast track to hell. He blamed everyone at my university for the invention of yoga pants and PornHub, insisting they would end civilization.
Not nuclear weapons. Not climate change. Not a state of perpetual warfare over dwindling resources.
Yoga pants. And porn.
What makes someone hate you is arguably your greatest strength. The sidewalk evangelist hated me because I was smart, articulate, and successful — and he wasn’t. He couldn’t reconcile what he saw with everything he’d heard growing up. He couldn’t understand.
You can fear what you don’t understand, you can hate it, or you can learn about it. Curiosity is a nice antidote to hate.
Don’t let someone’s hate stop you from doing anything. Live. Pursue your cause. Make your art.
Hate kills creativity and uniqueness, but it loves mirrors and echo chambers. Hateful people want everyone to think, act, and look the same way. Hate is only good for tearing things apart and breaking down souls, which is why so many basement dwellers spend their time making hate-read videos and subtweeting anyone more successful than them.
We all have some residual hate. And we can always grow some fresh. Hate blooms any time of year. It tastes good to hate, at first. That’s why so many of us still suck on hate. But hate is poison.
If someone hates you, they’re in a misguided quest to rid themselves of hate. The might call you all kinds of names — all in a desperate attempt to stop hating themselves for just a few minutes.
You don’t have to spread the hate that comes your way. You can mark “return to sender,” and be done. If you’re religious, you can say a quick prayer for that person. If you’re not, then your job’s done.
At a certain point, hateful people have to learn to treat their own pain. You owe them nothing, especially not a response.