Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mean girls (and boys)

National Health Blog Post Month Day 14: Advice for dealing with negative feedback in your community

Chelsea is a blogger who's had to deal
with cyberbulling AND stage III melanoma.
Today's prompt happens to be extremely relevant to something that's been going on in the melanoma community. My friend, Chelsea Price, a self-proclaimed melanoma diva, is the epitome of what it means to be a health advocate. She documents her journey with melanoma so candidly that she's hard not to like. Chelsea has made appearances on TV, she graced the cover of the Skin Cancer Foundation's journal, and has given a speech at a major fundraising gala. Though she can easily net over 50 "likes" on Facebook when she reports clear scans, Chelsea's had to deal with her fair share of haters, too. Just yesterday she wrote a very emotional blog post about being the target of cyberbulling.

Unfortunately, if you're doing something big, you're doing something important, you're challenging the status quo--you're going to piss people off. It's hard not to take personal insults, well, personally, but take Chelsea for example. I can guarantee that for every negative comment she receives, there are exponentially more individuals whose lives have been positively impacted by her blog.

A little inspiration from my friend Susan Clark at heartspark.

I can't tell you how difficult it has been to write about my melanoma diagnosis on a public blog. To admit to the world that I've had severe self-confidence issues as a teenager and young adult. My family can read this, my friends can read this, some girl I went to elementary school but I haven't talked to in 12 years can read this, my boss can read this, and the list goes on and on. Not to imply that I regret blogging. I've made wonderful friends, experienced catharsis in sharing what I've held inside for too long, and motivated a few strangers to take better care of their skin.

I think it can be particularly challenging for those of us in the skin cancer arena to stand up against the tanning bed industry. People don't want to hear that tanning causes cancer. Even well-meaning friends sometimes veto my warnings about UV tanning. As with anything, we're all entitled to our own opinions. I try to reply calmly and back up my arguments with as much empirical evidence as possible.

When all else fails, hit the mute button. Follow your passions, and don't let anyone stand in your way. And remember: you'll never change the world without pissing someone off.


This post was inspired by the Day 14 prompt for National Health Blog Post Month.
View posts by other participants.


  1. Katie, I love that last little paragraph...."When all else fails........
    Wonderfully put.
    Thanks for your sweet message.

  2. Love it! And I agree, that last paragraph was amazing. I may even post that on my mirror tomorrow...You'll never change the world without pissing someone off. I can definitely identify with the vulnerability of sharing with the world that you had self esteem issues. As you know, I was there myself and still struggle some days. It takes a tough person with great character to stand up for someone else. You are definitely amazing in my eyes!

  3. Thank you Katie!! I really needed this inspiration today!

  4. It's honor to be included in this post, Katie. Thank you.

  5. Mean Girls (and Boys) is an entertaining and thought-provoking film that explores the complexities of teenage friendships and cliques. ipvanish sale It's funny, insightful, and overall a great movie. Highly recommend it.