Friends, I have officially arrived on the internet. You have spoiled me for years with your niceness and lack of a dislike button. I have been doing some singing on YouTube, and I have had my very first hate comment. Actually, hate is too strong a word, so we’ll use “critical.” But hey, the rule is that when someone says something mean about you in a social media post that has been liked by some people, it means you’ve made it, right? Well, it seems that I have. Finally.
Someone watched my “My Immortal” cover on YouTube Shorts and said this, “U r missing beats and rhythm. Pathetic. Plz practice.” Here is the video in question. You may also check out my channel here.
Now if anyone has been inspired enough to browse around my channel, they might have read the “about” section that states: Singing and dancing for the heck of it. I, in fact, started the channel as a joke among friends when they praised some videos I had posted on our WhatsApp groups. I may lack self-awareness in other things, but I am deeply aware of my abilities as a singer, considering I’ve spent my whole life trying to understand if I’m any good at it. And I’ve watched enough American Idol to permanently have Simon Cowell’s voice seared in my brain any time I try singing Mariah Carey outside the shower. Actually, he would probably use the word “pathetic” too.
The point is, I know I’m not about to get signed to a label and sell a million records or something. Even if I did have the talent, being in my early thirties means I’m too old for that. I know my voice can carry a tune if needed, that it’s pretty deep for a woman, and if I get vocal lessons, I could probably get a bit better. But, I still ain’t gonna have no record deal in this lifetime hun, even though artists such as Bob Dylan and Madonna have existed. And I’ll tell you why. I have spent my life LOVING popular music to know exactly how it works and Amrita is not going to be the next mononymous popstar, even though that is what she has secretly desired her whole life.
Also, my first critic on the internet did not know she’s talking to someone who is never too fazed by criticism because she’s quite comfortable in the self-loathing she lives and breathes in. Of course, I’ve received a ton of criticism in real life for all sorts of things. And being a perfectionist, highly self-critical person myself, I almost always criticise myself more than someone else criticises me. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had “hobbies,” because I always get serious and obsessive when I do something that I intended to do for fun. Even for a deliberately joke channel like this, I record take after take, while dripping in sweat because I need to keep the fan off. Doesn’t mean I’m asking for praise as I share this exclusive, behind the scenes information with you. Just that it is in my nature to work towards perfecting something before releasing it to the world, which is why despite having some talent in other areas, I rarely have much published output. Doing “fun” and “silly” on the internet is something I don’t even think of, because I know just how “unfun” it would be for me.
I also happen to be an eternal optimist. I would have felt worse had she not told me, “Plz practice.” Which means ah, she does think I can get good enough if I practise! And to be fair to her, it’s not like she told me my nose is fat or my existence itself is pathetic or something more unpleasant as people being mean on the internet generally tend to be. She critiqued my singing as she should. And I ended up thanking her for the feedback though liking the comment, I felt, would have been a bit too much. Liking would have been agreeing and to tell you the truth, I don’t see myself practising “My Immortal” again unless, you know, a record company executive does “discover” me and says I’m the next Amy Lee. In that case, just erase everything you’ve read so far from your minds. And go and buy my album and concert tickets.
I’ve talked about this a lot before on this blog. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to translate likes and dislikes on the internet to something reflective of the merit of anything I’ve posted. Say I posted a video of myself playing with my nephew. Do I really want to be concerning myself with how many dislikes, or even likes, that video gets? If I post something I’ve made, like a piece of writing, a film or even a singing video, no matter how silly or amateur, I completely understand that people should be able to like or dislike it (though I’d still prefer ignoring it in the latter case, as people do on WordPress and I believe Instagram too) and preferably share their feedback on the work.
I was, in fact, having a discussion about something similar with some friends of mine over the Hungarian Oscar-winning short film Sing (Mindenki). I won’t spoil the film for you, but one of my friends said that everyone, and especially children, should be allowed to pursue what they want. I tried to differentiate between pursuing, such as singing in the school choir or in class, and singing competitively, which only those who’ve worked at it and have considerable talent should be doing, especially if they’re representing a school team with limited slots. My opinion wasn’t popular in our group, but I still believe the world is a hard place and children should be taught to learn to accept rejection and failure and work at the things they want to achieve. That we should not cease to learn and improve even at things we are skilled at or have training for.
The thing with me singing and dancing is that they are some of the few things that bring me true, unadulterated joy. I know of too many people who do them too well for me to take myself seriously. It is not that this person was critical that caused me to reflect so much on this. It is that the video got as much attention as it did in the first place. It is a very small channel, and even my near and dear ones hardly subscribe to it or watch it. Therefore, I do wonder sometimes what if I become someone who does have a sort of “presence” among people she doesn’t know. What would that be like? Would I ignore all unpleasant feedback, even though there is something valuable in them? Or does being narcissistic actually help, because then you’re motivated enough to keep pursuing something you love, instead of spending a lifetime mired in self-doubt. I mean, legit singers get dislikes and critical comments too. Loads of them. Maybe, getting only one and a few dislikes here and there isn’t too bad. It certainly doesn’t make me want to stop posting videos, and it will never make me stop singing for my own pleasure for as long as I live.
What do you make of dislikes and critical comments you receive on the internet? Do you also believe in and practice the same?