Assumptions and Judgements

by Sep 17, 2017

The saying, If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit next to me, has many versions and attributed to numerous people, but the sentiment still rings true. Somewhere along the way, we have become a world of outspoken opinions, often feeling anonymous as we add comments online in our social media chats.The ugliness was never more prevalent than in this past election year.

I’ll admit that I am as guilty, as the next person, of sometimes letting my mouth and brain travel separately. I have often said something that I immediately regretted as well as, had things said to me that I regretted hearing –  I feel very blessed that so little negative has come back to me regarding my book, Kept in the Dark. Of course, many of the posted reviews have come from friends of mine, or friends of my parents, but as word spreads, I find I am getting feedback from strangers, as well. The majority of reviewers have given my book a four to five-star rating. Naturally, this puts added pressure on my writing for the followup book, as I do not want to disappoint.

Celebrities have had the most awful things said about them, many of which are very personal. I appreciate those that take it in stride and even offer hilarious readings of some of the “mean tweets” said about them. In that vain, I’d like to do the same with excerpts from a few of my posted reviews about the book.

  • “It was okay.”
  • “I thought the correspondence became trite, boring, and meaningless.”
  • “Destroy the evidence and let dogs die.”
  • “It was truthfully a little boring to read in the middle.”

Of course, there was one comment told to me in person, by a friend of my father, who said: “I don’t know why you’d write such a book.”  The snark came out in me, as I found myself saying: “And I don’t know why I wouldn’t.” She had not read the book and had judged it on the crime and not the story.

The most shocking “mean tweet” came in the form of an email from someone that I had considered a close friend – someone that I have many wonderful memories of good times shared through the years. Like my father’s friend above, my friend, also, did not read the book and yet, formed an opinion on what they assumed the story to be. Excerpts from their response follow:

  • “I cannot read the book.”
  • “I cannot see a need for the publishing of such a book.”
  • “I see no need to let the world in on a secret that should… remain silent.”
  • “I can’t comprehend as to WHY you want to put this out there.”
  • “Dragging your deceased beloved father through the judgement that now exists?”
  • “I don’t think it’s worth that.”

Honestly, I knew this story would not appeal to everyone. I also realized there could be some negative feedback, and I was prepared for that. However, I am much more willing to accept an opinion from someone that has taken the time to read the book and actually knows what they are talking about, than those that only think they know my story.

Bottom line, there have been so many people that have reached out to me, thanking me for coming forward about abuse, allowing them the chance to say: “Me, too.” Yes, my father was accused and pled guilty to a crime, and yet, there are still so many questions that will never be answered. And yes, I was abused through my childhood years, a secret that I now share. I have found by doing so, it has created dialog for so many others, and I view that as a good thing – a healing thing. I truly believe everything has happened for a reason and if any good can come out of the shame, the painful past, then it is worth it, in my opinion.

J. Ronald M. York, author of Kept in the Dark, is also an accomplished musician and founder of York & Friends Fine Art Gallery.

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