Hate Mail – Is It Really Hate, or Is the Writer Just Chicken?

Hate Mail

There’s so much hate mail on YouTube today. Is it necessary? We started our YouTube journey three years ago. There were about 1,000 sailing channels at the time, and we didn’t get into this to compete with any of them. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but it was never a passion. Just a hobby. I’d kept diaries over the years, mostly as a teenager and major moments in my life. I’d write my feelings in journals, on legal pads, on my computer, wherever. So keeping a log of this next chapter in our lives was important to me.

We decided to keep a video diary of our sailing adventures and post it on YouTube for anyone to see. We thought our friends and family would be loyal followers, and maybe someday, we’d even have 100 subscribers. We never expected to have over 13,000 subscribers, to have a line of fans six deep for two hours to meet us at the boat shows, or to be big enough to actually get hate mail.

But here we are. We have about 1,500 loyal viewers, and occasionally we put out a video that flies. Nothing viral, but over 10,000 views. The vast majority of our comments are positive. People mostly enjoy what we’re putting out there. Maybe we inspire someone to go sailing, maybe someone lives vicariously through our travels, or maybe we help someone fix something on their boat. Whatever the reason, most people like what we’re doing, especially our grandson. I think he’s our biggest fan.

Our last video covered our Atlantic Ocean passage from Hampton, VA to the British Virgin Islands in November 2022. It was our first ocean crossing, more than 400 miles offshore and a total trip of 1500 miles. I was nervous, and rightfully so. We were alone out there. No one would be there in a few minutes, a few days, maybe ever if we needed help. We were on our own. I get sea sick. Would I be able to take all of my shifts? What if someone got hurt? What if our steering went out? What if we got caught in a storm and lost our rig? What if??????

All these are valid concerns. But we had Allen and Nola on board with us, two competent sailors. And Jeff and I had been sailing a lot over the last three years. We’d gotten to know our boat and each other very well in that time. Most of all, we are of the belief that if you wait until you’re not afraid to do something you’re afraid of, you’ll never do it. So, we prepared as best we could, and off we went.

It wasn’t fun for me. I was on the verge of being sea sick most of the time. My anxiety level was sky hight. The waves knocked us around a lot, the winds were high, and I couldn’t get into a groove. I couldn’t relax. I couldn’t sleep. I did have some good moments, though, like when a pod of dolphins swam with us for a while, and when I was able to FaceTime with our kids and grandchildren from the middle of the ocean. (Thank you Elon Musk for giving us Starlink.) But mostly, I was pretty miserable. I’m not complaining. I’m not writing this hoping for everyone who reads it to say, “Oh, you poor thing. It must have been terrible.” I’m writing this because this was my experience, and I’m putting it out there. Nothing more. The same with our YouTube channel. Our channel shows our sailing experiences. Nothing more. We’re not in it for fame or fortune. It’s just our diary.

So, what inspired this particular blog? This last video has logged more than 19,000 views in the seven days since it was released. That’s huge for us! The comments have been great and supportive. But there’s always going to be someone who hates you and hates what you’re doing, for whatever reason. 

Hate mail – is it really hate, or is the writer just a chicken? Does Pat Mi, who said Jeff should put me “on a piece of plywood and say goodbye forever”, really hate me? Or how about Marielena Soler Logan, who told me to “get some cheese to go with that wine”? (It should have been spelled “whine”, by the way.) Or J C Hill who wrote, “Too much complaining to even enjoy the video of you crossing the Atlantic. Why go if you know you’ll not like it?” Because maybe I will like it. Or, lastly, WonderWhaz who suggested Jeff “throw the whining JAP into the drink”? 

How can you hate someone you don’t know? I’ve never met any of these people. I don’t know them and they certainly don’t know me. Such anger. It’s too bad, too. Living constantly with all of that hate and anger must really be miserable.

This got me thinking about hate mail. It’s been around for how many years? As long as I can remember, there have been haters. And in this day and age of computers, it’s so easy to criticize others from the safety of your own home, hiding out behind your computer where you can simply spew your venom and then go hunt for something else to complain about. I don’t take any of this personally. Hell, these haters actually watched our video. That’s great for our channel! But I do feel sorry for them. How sad for them to find the negative in everything. That’s what they’re doing, right? A few years ago I attended a fancy party with my husband’s side of the family. It was an awesome party! The venue was beautiful, the music was great, the food was delicious. Everyone had a fabulous time. On the way back to the hotel, I asked my mother-in-law if she enjoyed the party. She responded, “I couldn’t find one thing wrong with it.” Is that how she spent the evening? Looking for something wrong with it? Imagine how wonderful life can be when you spend your time and energy looking for the good.

Our friend, Allen, was aboard for the crossing. As the waves were building and I was stressing, he asked, “Is the juice worth the squeeze? How badly do you want to drink that juice? How good is it going to taste? Is the squeeze hard or easy?” It’s all about perspective.

Well, Pat, Marielena, JC and WonderWhaz, y’all keep doing what you’re doing from the hate-filled stagnant comfort inside your bubbles. As for me? I’m going to keep sailing the world, experiencing new cultures, sampling new foods, and making new friends. I may not enjoy the squeeze, but I’m definitely going to enjoy the juice. I may even put some rum in it.