If you can’t say anything nice…
… don’t say anything at all. Is this what we’ve become?
You may have noticed I’ve been a bit radio silent the past two weeks. I’ve been ruminating about something that has caused me a lot of reflection. Now, what I’m about to discuss is probably going to turn some of you off, cause others to send me hate mail, and a few more of you to hit the unfollow button. I promise you though, my heart is still full of joy, and my arms wide open to give you hugs.
I’ve been thinking about the quilt land ideology that everything that is made is meant to be adored simply for existing. Let me first make it clear (you with the hate mail, make sure you read this again) I completely appreciate that the very act of making something handmade is amazing, generous, life-giving, soulful, heart-warming, unique, and usually under-appreciated. However, for me, being handmade does not automatically qualify it as beautiful, artistic, and worthy of praise. Some of it I just don’t like. Ouch. Yeah, I said it out loud.
My point is not one of elitism. It is one of realism. I am self-aware enough to know not all of my quilts are shit-hot. You probably think this as well (about my quilts, not necessarily yours, but maybe those too). And here is my ruminating question: Why is it not allowed for someone to tell us so, if it is coming from a place of constructive improvement? Quilt land has me scared to offer any dissent of the handmade, with the only approved line of commenting being “I love it! I love you! I love everything about it and you!” Can you imagine if I commented, “I don’t like it.” Ordinarily, I would follow that sentiment with a reason, but is it necessary? There is often zero causation offered for positive commentary.
But wait! If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. Right? If it’s not considered nice, I am just not allowed to say it. Well, screw that. I have a big mouth, and I’m tired of biting my tongue, just to appease the sentiments of the quilting masses. You must remember though, my opinion is no more important than yours, nor yours more than mine. Whatever I say, you can choose to listen voraciously, nod vapidly, bitch slap violently, or engage in further dialogue. If you believe in what you’ve created, a voiced opinion can not tear it down.
I’d rather a big dose of realness than silence or generic, unsubstantiated positivity. Perhaps I need a disclaimer, “Tell me how you really feel!” My feelings will not be hurt when you say, “I like it, but I wish you would have used chartreuse rather than emerald. It looks flat and I don’t like it.” And I hope yours aren’t hurt when I say to you, “You don’t know what you’re talking about. Emerald is the shit!” Then we laugh, and go grab a cocktail. Two olives, please!
Simply, it’s okay not to like something–as much as it is okay to like it–and it’s just fine to tell someone so. It diminishes nothing, and I believe it would only make our quilting relationships stronger and develop further with honesty. Isn’t that what we’re all here for anyway, a real community?
I’ve made an unbranded button–well, there might be a bit of sparkle thrown in!–for you to declare that “truth tea is always welcome” on your blog. Button code is on the sidebar, use it at will.