The Opposite of Ugly

Carrie Jones
5 min readJun 11, 2024
Photo by Alex Vasey on Unsplash

This last week, because we have a local online newspaper that focuses on our community, I’ve been inundated by negativity by a couple of people. These are people who get our newspaper for free. It’s a lot of work. Imagine 1,000,000 words a year on top of my real job.

And yesterday, I just looked at Shaun (my husband person) and said, “I have failed.”

“You have not,” he blurted and then he paused. “How did you fail?”

“I can’t-I can’t understand these people. They just lash out with negatives and never support with positives. It’s hard to explain.”

“That’s not failing.”

“I’m failing because I’m lacking the empathy to understand them,” I said.

“So, you fail because you don’t understand their meanness?”

“Pretty much.”

And I really felt that. I tried to envision what some cool, balanced humans that I admire would do if they were faced with these people and their constant us-versus-them mentality in which they are the only ones villainized.

They’d not take it personally, I realized.

They’d actually feel a little sad, maybe paint a black bird, maybe write a picture book or a poem or plant a tree or sing out to the ocean and their loved ones and they’d move on.



Carrie Jones

Internationally & New York Times bestselling novelist. Writing tips. Podcasts. Poems. Psych stuff.