Read the book with “not much info on anything” and “nothing to be learned by reading” it!

by julie on May 17, 2014

My book got it’s first one-star review on Amazon and I sort of LOVE it. Read below:

narcolepsy book the doctors show narcolepsy memoir information julie flygare wide awake and dreaming

I won’t use this forum to defend Wide Awake and Dreaming: A Memoir of Narcolepsy or bash this reviewer. Every reader is entitled to his or her opinion. It doesn’t interest me to persuade him/her/you differently.  

But I DO want to talk about criticism. If you put yourself out there, be prepared for criticism – lots of it. My entire book process has been filled with criticism from start to finish. Dream-squashers are everywhere – people who never pursued their dreams and see your pursuit as a threat. Literary agents are too important/busy to be nice. Publishers care about one thing – $$$. Reviewers are just another notch in the belt.

Like telling people you have narcolepsy – you must be prepared for odd comments and careless jokes. It’s not kind, fair or “right” – it hurts but it’s part of the process. 

How do you handle this? Do you hide? Give up? Or do you shine on? 

Screen shot 2014-05-16 at 1.52.04 PM

I LOVED this hilarious picture from Huffington Post. Talk about turning lemons into lemonade! This photo inspired me to write this post.

We live in a world where anyone and everyone is entitled to an opinion – good or bad mood, even if they just got dumped, or lost a loved one, or have different interests or tastes.

No book (or meatball sandwich) is for everyone. Eat Pray Love has 660 one-star reviews.  Harry Potter has 126 one-star reviews.  Harry freaking Potter, really!? My one-star review indicates that I’ve made it to the big leagues, baby! 

My trick for moving on quickly is simply NOT to engage this person, do not try to change their opinion. In my experience, this is a useless futile attempt. Just let go and use your energy to find a different platform to speak from or another person to speak to. The world is large and there are plenty of people who will “get it”. This is the key to my sanity as a narcolepsy advocate and as an author.

If I let criticism get to me, this book never would’ve existed. I’m so glad that I continued on, and this one-star review is a beautiful reminder how lucky I am for the overwhelming kind messages and positive reviews I’ve received. Thank you!!

Don’t stop. Keep going. Ever onward. Shine on!

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Hilary May 17, 2014 at 11:14 pm

First of all Julie, great post. The picture of the cafe sign cracks me up. You handle criticism well, some of the harshest criticism comes from fellow PWN. Not that you need reassurance, but your book is great. In no way did I perceive you as having a pity party- but more of the struggle and frustration of N followed by shear determination and perseverance of a champion spirit. You are a great advocate and no one can take that away from you via an Amazon review. Keep doing what you do- we love ya! (Well most of us anyway ;)

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julie May 18, 2014 at 4:44 am

Thank you, Hilary! Your support means so much to me! I suppose I’ve read memoirs that I found overly pity-party-esque and so actively tried not to indulge too much, but memoir, by nature, is fairly self-reflective. Thanks again! Sending so much love and smiles your way, Julie

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Valencia Blake May 17, 2014 at 11:43 pm

Julie,
I think you are a great person, and what I have learned from you means the world to me, you gave me courage to want to help others. When I first found out I had Narcolepsy / Cataplexy . I felt like my missing pice of a puzzle was found. However when I was reading your book I seen a lot of me in through your experiences with relationships, social gatherings ect… I had been on FB and had some one criticism thrown my way. And your right it takes a lot of energy out of a person. It upset me so bad my Catapley kicked in and I feel asleep. When I woke I had decided to let it go. Your my inspiration thanks for all you are doing!
Sincerely,
Valencia Blake

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julie May 18, 2014 at 4:43 am

Oh Velencia, you are so very sweet!! I was thinking of you writing this post because of how you took the energy from the Modern Family episode and allowed this to fuel your local news awareness efforts. I can’t wait to cheer you on next week!! Keep going – I’m cheering for you big time! Your friend, Julie

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Lelia May 18, 2014 at 12:01 am

Julie,
I absolutely love the timing of this post!! Not so long ago, I took a step back and asked myself, “Why am I so unhappy?” I instantly knew the answer, my job seriously stinks!! It is sucking the very life out of me and I don’t like the person I have become because of it.

When I first took this job, I loved it!! As long as I could ignore my boss and his complete inability to understand Narcolepsy, I loved my job. What choice did I have? My symptoms, at that time, made keeping any job with strict guidelines almost impossible to keep. So for years, I have allowed this individual to pick away at me whenever he pleases and it has changed me. I am no longer happy and that’s unacceptable!!

As I was contemplating what I should do about my predicament, I came across one of your Narcolepsy Not Alone posts on Facebook and it got me thinking. I am not the same sad girl with Narcolepsy that I was when I first took this job. I have changed, I am not alone and I don’t have to settle!! I can do whatever I want!! I WILL GET A NEW JOB!! I thought about everything you have accomplished, the struggles you have overcome and it gave me inspiration!!

Within minutes, I applied for a new job doing something I’ve never done before. I received a call from the employer to take a test, which I aced!! I was called in for an interview, which I nailed!! I was still not chosen for the position BUT it invigorated me to keep trying!! It’s kind of like your one star review, I don’t have to let it get to me. It is only rejection if I feel rejected and I don’t because I did my best. That’s all any of us can do, be the best version of ourselves and happiness is sure to follow.

Thanks, Julie, for all you do!! I am super proud of you and how far you have come. Keep up the good fight :)

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julie May 18, 2014 at 4:41 am

What an inspiring story, Lelia – I sooo relate!! I’m so very proud of you for taking action and not getting too down by this first attempt to find a more supportive work environment. I’m so inspired that you are taking matters into your own hands to make positive change for your happiness AND health – because I believe happiness is a big part of health that we often underrate. You go girl!! Keep us posted!! Proud to call you my friend, Julie

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Di May 18, 2014 at 12:31 am

I love your positivity Julie. It just shows how far away some of us are from some people who like to wallow in misery. Dodgy boyfriend? I don’t remember that; I shall have to read your book again and watch out for that bit amongst your tales of courage and positivity. Just shows we only see what our energy focusses on.
I don’t remember much ‘feeling sorry for yourself’, but I do know you would be excused for elements of it, as they would need to be shown as part of the process for moving forward. I am a positive person, and I too felt quite sorry for myself, not so much about the narcolepsy as about the failure of medication to put my life back to normal. It is like a grieving process for the life you once had. Once I found my way past the misery that I ‘thought’ narcolepsy was going to ruin my life, and found natural things I could use to help alleviate symptoms, like meditation, proactive positivity etc. I found that people in the ‘support groups’ criticised me for my suggestions, so I moved away from them. Luckily, the few positive ones I met there, I am still in touch with through FB. What we need is a sense of hope, and that is what your book provides. Some people just aren’t ready for that.
And as you said, you are in company with some of the best of them. All winners had criticism, it makes you stronger :)

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julie May 18, 2014 at 4:39 am

Thank you for reading my post and leaving such a thoughtful comment, Di. I’m so sorry to hear that you experienced criticism online, but I’m so glad you found some positive people to add to your support network! So true that we see what our energy focuses on, what a beautiful description. Thanks again! Your friend, Julie

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Julie Fain May 18, 2014 at 3:50 am

Way to take the high road and find a positive spin for that negativity! I had to deal with negativity in the form of online comments after True Life: Narcolepsy aired, and its so tough to deal with rude/negative comments like that. I can imagine its probably much more frustrating when its your own creative work, created with your own personal memories–yet you didn’t let it bring you down a single notch!

I feel like I am always learning more about myself as a PWN and how to be a better one with every post I read from you. Learning to ignore/accept criticism is a very important tool to have. Thank you for continuing to be a inspiration! :)

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julie May 18, 2014 at 4:34 am

Thank you for sharing, Julie. Oh gosh, my heart drops hearing that you faced negativity after MTV True Life… I feel like a protective big sister. I got your back, girl. I would so squash anyone for being rude to my sweet brave friend Julie! Thank you for your bravery and strength. Thank you for reading my website!! <3

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Sparrow May 18, 2014 at 5:07 am

It is fascinating to me that someone read your book and saw their own struggle on the pages and instead of writing something like, “this book really resonated with my own experience of living with narcolepsy! Julie Flygare really captured how devastating the symptoms are and what a relief it is when we are finally diagnosed! I give this book five stars for so accurately and eloquently communicating what our life is like!” they chose to give the book one star because they didn’t think they learned anything new. *shaking head*

Of course, if you had written something completely unlike their experience of living with narcolepsy, they would have given the book one star for “falling flat and completely failing to show what it’s really like to live with narcolepsy,” right?

I find myself remembering a letter I read once. It was sealed in plastic and sewn onto a panel of the AIDS quilt — the last letter a young man wrote to his mother before he died. In the letter, he wrote about walking down the street on a beautiful sunny day when he came across a woman who was slouching along, obviously miserable. Wanting to spread his joy, the young man who was living with AIDS called out to her, “isn’t it a beautiful sunny day?!”

She looked around sourly and replied, “it’s supposed to rain tomorrow.” And in the letter, the young man told his mother, “I may have only had one day of sunshine, but she had two days of rain.”

Keep spreading your sunshine, Julie! There will always be those who insist on seeing rain everywhere they look, even on a bright, clear day. It is a sad thing. But they can’t steal your sun!

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julie May 18, 2014 at 5:34 am

Sparrow – Is EVERY THOUGHT you have this beautiful?! I am amazed by your maturity and unique vision on life and honored that you follow and support my efforts. You brought tears to my eyes. I’m forever grateful! Sunshine sent your way from your friend in So Cal where the sun shines every day, Julie

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Julie Barfuss May 18, 2014 at 5:57 am

Julie, I so wish I’ve had this book read. I am not a reader. I don’t make it very far without falling asleep. I do know this…there are many narcos who CAN read and I hear nothing but “well done’s” and “This helped me so much!”. You are a gift to the narcoleptic community. When I think “I want to do this with my life!”. And then I tell myself, “No….narcolepsy will just ruin it.”. But then I ALWAYS come back to, “But look at all Julie Flygare does despite narcolepsy. No excuses!”. You are an amazing example! And look at you, getting a bad review and taking it with a smile and optimism :). Love that!

I remember when Remmie got her first “dislike”….it didn’t even bother or upset me. 5 years ago I would have been upset, lol…but, I know I put myself out there into the cyber world, in hopes to help others, knowing there could be “haters”. You have helped a huge narcoleptic community IMMENSELY! So, one bad review is nit a reflection on you. It says more about them than the book!

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julie May 18, 2014 at 5:55 pm

Thank you, Julie B.! I cannot imagine anyone “disliking” Random Remmie – she’s the cutest!! Oh well, “haters gonna hate”. I’m so glad that I can provide an inspiring example for others with narcolepsy. You and your family are an incredible gift to our community as well. Big smiles and many thanks, Julie

For those who haven’t met Random Remmie: http://youtu.be/riZUVxHuaWw

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Anna May 19, 2014 at 12:53 am

What an inspiring post! It’s a truth easily forgotten. This reaches far past a book review– from sharing any type of art you create to sharing narcolepsy with others, someone is bound throw negativity on extensions of yourself. Personally, as an actor and writer, this post made my day! Finding humor and positivity in negative situations, even explaining narcolepsy to some people, has always helped me in the past, and your citing of Harry Potter’s 1-star is a great reminder of that…! Thanks.

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julie May 19, 2014 at 12:58 am

Anna – I’m so glad you found this post inspiring. That was my hope. As a writer and actor, you are likely very familiar with criticism too. Just keep going!! Cheering for you. Your friend, Julie

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Christopher Ingram May 19, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Hi Julie,

As a writer for the video gaming industry, I’ve been attacked numerous times for things that I’ve spent long hours working on. Then again, I’ve worked extremely hard on some projects, only to barely get any feedback at all, which can be the absolute worst thing at times. You’re right though Julie, if you do decide to put yourself our there to the world, be prepared to recieve both good an bad feedback.

An editor and friend of mine once gave me a fantastic piece of advice: “If you don’t like the feedback you recieve and don’t see constructive conversation as a probable going forward – sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all.”

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Alex Withrow May 19, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Whether you create or not, every single person should read this post. Amazing work here, Jules. And I SO love that you were able to transform this silly review into such an inspiring piece.

“If you put yourself out there, be prepared for criticism – lots of it.”

Yes, certainly. But, as you say, ever onward!! :)

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Alison May 23, 2014 at 10:30 pm

I was just diagnosed in December and finally finished your book, SO glad I did (I’m in college- also an overachiever and also getting an art degree) and found it nothing close to one star, I cannot thank you enough for everything you do.

But you do gotta give that guy some credit, your boyfriend did totally suck. I mean his relationship advice is great “how did she not realize what a loser he was? Why would anyone let someone treat them like that?”-Such Passion, I’m sensing the next Dr.Phil.

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Chelsea June 26, 2014 at 7:48 pm

Julie,
You have this way of touching my life, and you speak the words of encouragement, understanding, frustration, motivation, (and on and on) that I need to hear. And I mean “need” to hear, not always what I “want” to hear. You keep it honest and fresh.
Julie, you are what I aspire to be, strong enough to be vulnerable, a faithful advocate, a beacon of light and hope to someone like me, who also lives in this dimly lit world of narcolepsy. You have the courage to see and speak about the good, without diminishing the hardship. I believe in every situation (even the most dire) there is_some_ good that can be extracted from it. Some situations require a magnifying glass to find it, but when you do, even one seemingly minuscule thing can redeem an enormous hardship.

I can’t tell you how many times you have held the magnifying glass for me and helped me find the redemption in my struggle. And doing so, enabled me to take back what I thought I had lost forever… hope. Hope for a full life, even with Narcolepsy and Cataplexy.

Thank you so much Julie!

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