Women’s Running Magazine seems to be one of the last places you would find an article about director/podcaster Kevin Smith. “But sometimes, the best running advice can come from a very unlikely source,” according to Alison Barsalona, who published “How Kevin Smith Taught Me Not To Listen To Haters” on the magazine’s website in October, 2016.
Smith has a unique knack for holding on to personal artifacts that later surface as totems of inspiration. From his Emo Kev audio cassettes (SModcast 222-224, 226-227) to the Carrie Fisher publicity photo he received from 20th Century Fox in response to a love letter he sent the actress in 1980, Smith has been sharing these mementos with the public, and the response has been extremely positive.
Barsalona wrote about the inspiration she gleamed from an Instagram post Smith shared. Those familiar with the SMorning Show and Tell videos might remember the story behind that particular artifact. It is a hand-written note that was given to a 19 year-old Smith, from an ex-girlfriend’s mother in 1989 and reads, “Kevin Smith will never be a famous writer. He does not have the drive. I do him wish luck."
In his post, Smith said, “The note served as a constant reminder that NOBODY writes my story but me. Rather than believe this adult who had some minor insight into my character, whenever I looked at this piece of paper, I'd start typing. And one day, I typed a screenplay that changed my life.”
Barsalona took inspiration from this piece of Smith’s history and in her Women’s Running article, wrote, “his response serves as a reminder to all of us to not let the opinions of others shape how we feel about ourselves. This message should resonate particularly with runners because so often, it’s easy to fall into the comparison game and measure ourselves against the successes of other runners, or to listen to negative talk from people who think they know more about the sport than you do.”
What it's like to be my daughter: 17 year old @harleyquinnsmith_ received this message simply for the heinous crime of posting a pic of herself on @instagram. I have zero clue what the reference to #TheMatrix is all about but, wow - way to unload on a teen girl because YOU have nothing to do in life. But even though I should be apoplectic about it, my kid thought it was funny. "I'd be mad if I had a tiny dick and anonymous voice too," she said, bemused by the bitterness. But here's a nickel's worth of free advice for folks like this Troll: if you hate me (or my kid) this much, the better use of your time is to make YOUR dreams come true, instead of slamming others for doing the same. The best revenge is living insanely well - so if you wanna get back at a 17 year old girl for the grievous crime of enjoying her life, the best way to do it is to succeed in your OWN existence. Show the world WHY we should be paying attention to you instead of anyone else. Because randomly attacking others merely communicates how creatively and emotionally bankrupt you are. You think you have something to offer the world but others are getting all the attention? Don't bitch or punish the world: just create. Create something nobody's ever seen before and there is a good chance the world will notice you. Attacking teen girls on the Internet is the saddest form of masturbation that exists and requires no discernible skill or talent. You want attention? Don't make yourself mad, make something original and fun. Because if you're not being useful in this world you're being useless. Don't be useless: go make stuff that makes people happy! #KevinSmith #HarleyQuinnSmith #YogaHosers
But one doesn’t have to be a runner or athlete to take inspiration from the SModfather. In a comment on The World of Kevin Smith, a fan-run Facebook group, Joseph shared a deeply personal story about his approach to dealing with negativity after seeing how Smith dealt with an online verbal assault on his daughter.
Joseph has epilepsy. He is very frank in his position on those who belittle people with epilepsy like himself, “Now as far I am concerned people [who] like to make fun of my epilepsy can suck my balls. I have zero tolerance for those who do.”
He goes on to describe heart-breaking examples of how people make fun or discriminate him and others who have the neurological disorder. And then, he explains how the disorder affects so much more than what people may see.
“The worst is when people assume that epilepsy is just about seizures. It’s not. It has all kinds of psychological issues stapled to it as well. Epilepsy crushes self-confidence. Many of us go through fear, hostility, depression, bouts of anger, anxiety attacks, and literally the list goes on and on. In a nutshell, those who suffer from epilepsy have a suicide rate 3x times higher than any other normal group.”
“I have many negatives and honestly as far as epilepsy is concerned I am one of the lucky ones I can control my body at least half the time,” Joseph wrote. “This thing I have is vile and disgusting but like Kev had done with this troll is that it’s all about trying to turn a negative into a positive. Battling this condition I am always trying to do this. Even now while I type, my hands shake like a madman. I think to myself how do I take my pain and turn it into something positive. I am going to leave you guys with a quote from Carrie Fisher. I think it’s in the best interest of the spirit of turning a negative into a positive: I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that. I survived that. I am still surviving it. But bring it on. Better me than you.”
In facing the negativity that confronts us in our lives, let us all look for inspiration in unlikely places and turn that negativity into fuel for something positive.
Please share your Kevin Smith inspirations on social media with the hashtag #SModivation, and SMod News will continue to revisit this topic with your examples.