Honesty Box you can kiss it; online harressment at its worst.

Honesty Box you can kiss it; online harressment at its worst. October 17, 2011

I am coming to terms.  Truth is, the interwebs is not always a nice place to play for a Mommy blogger.  Bottom line: folks are mean.  Especially the lady folk.

A few weeks ago, I got an Honesty Box inbox message that wasn’t very nice.  A woman said, “you hide behind your personality.” Immediately I’m thinking, “how do I?  Do I do this in a bad way?  How can I fix myself?  How can I make this anonymous woman happy?” I am 1/2 people pleaser at heart.  The other 1/2 is a rough mixture of I DON’T give a crap & I DO give a crap for the sake of being a Jesus follower.

It bugged me though.  I stewed.  I wrote a facebook status update about it, just to let this anonymous woman know that I am not afraid to address her biting comment publicly in addition to actually being open to figuring out if it’s true and if need be, changing things.  I responded, “how so?”  No response back yet.

If your reading, listen here, baby girl: maybe the fact that you think I’m hiding something has a leeeeeetle something to do with my life falling apart at the seams.  Ya think?  Maybe you could evoke some compassion for me –perhaps even pray for me and let me know it— instead of writing something seemingly judgmental anonymously?  I am not a solid rock for crying out loud.

You, blog readers, may be thinking, “Grace, why are you still using Honesty Box?  Didn’t you get a mean Honesty Box message a few years ago?  And didn’t you all ready write a blog post about how much it hurt your feelings?”

Okay, yes, fine I did.  In short, a few years ago another anonymous woman wrote in my Facebook Honesty Box…

“I think u are kinda fake. I dont know if you are nice or not. I know a lot of people that are not crazy about u. I think ur kid is beautiful but u get waaaaaaay to jealous of others. U need to not be so clicky and showy and focus on solely advancing GOd’s kingdom.”

…and I was sad about it, honestly, on and off for about six months. SIX FRIGGIN MONTHS!  And reading it again today, makes me sad again.

So.  I responded…

“Give me some examples. If there are ways that I can improve myself -whether that be spiritually, or with friends- or in any way, I’m generally pretty open to that. I don’t consider myself to be “fake,” b/c I don’t typically mind sharing whats on my heart whether it makes me look impressive or not. Even sharing if I’m jealous or jaded or whatever. Your entitled to your opinion, but I think some concrete examples would really help me if it is indeed an issue I have. And I do try to focus my life (& indeed my life’s work) on advancing God’s Kingdom, but I’m not perfect & if that’s your expectation of me, I will let you down. Again, examples will help. Thanks for your opinion. -grace”

And she responded…

NOTHING.  Big, fat nothing.  Maybe because I forgot to thank her for saying my kid was beautiful.

I was reading the other day about a woman who has undergone so much scrutiny on her blog, she shut it down.  It was mayhem.  My blogging friend, Loralee has been very upfront about how hard it has been for her for folks to beat her up publicly as a personal blogger who admitted she was suicidal after the death of her infant son.

On the one hand, maybe I should chalk it up as online mean-ness being part of the profession-hobby of blogging.  Maybe I need to think like Beyonce, or J.Lo.  They do what they do because they love it and can’t be hassled with a few biting comments made about them on the internet.  I heard that Ashlee Simpson was suicidal for weeks after an online petition that she stop singing for the rest of her life garnered more than 17,000 online signatures.  That’s awful.

Maybe my complaint about online mean-ness will be taken about as seriously as when Jessica Alba complains about the paparazzi or Johnny Depp complains that his PR related photo shoots are like being raped. (Um, yeah).

I like think that Johnny Depp is as beautiful as the next woman Johnny Depp.  I like Jessica Alba.  I even have a whole pinboard on Pinterest dedicated to her street style, that is how much I like her.

wow. just wow. Look at those cheeks!

But seriously?  They know what they signed up for.  They both know American actors are loved, worshiped, followed, photographed, stalked, haressed and….last, but not least, talked badly about on the internet.  If any of us start feeling bad for them we easily write off their complaints because Johnny pulls in $20 million for 5 months of work.

And even though they are getting filthy rich off their work, what people do to them –worship, harass, follow, photograph, stalk & speak badly of them IS STILL WRONG.

So.  Here is my white flag.  I surrender.  I will keep writing this personal blog –which I will do because NOBODY puts Baby in the corner will shut me down.  I don’t run folks.  And I don’t hide.  I will not be silenced.  I am too grown and too loved for that hot mess.

If I am able to miraculously publish my memoir, won’t I too, know exactly what I am getting myself into?  Don’t I know that people speak badly, HORRIBLY of New York Times Best Selling authors, let alone my little green, freshman project?

What if Pastor Rob Bell had hung up his preaching-writing-mega-Church shoes when the entire world was making a fuss over his NYT best-selling book, Love Wins?   (I completely disagreed with that book, by the way, with the idea that Hell is not a real place, but I decided not to dog him out, discredit him or otherwise be mean.  I spent three days writing a blog post about him and the book, and I canned it.  There was no need to be another harsh critic out there).

What I need to own is that I am slowly walking into the abyss, opening up myself to more and more criticism as a personal blogger, a future author (about my personal life no less) and a preacher (a woman preacher no less). 

Why on God’s green earth have I thought everyone would just play nice? I am giving up that golden dream y’all.  That idea that everyone will like me simply because I try so hard to be a good person, and I feel like a nice person! (So, I TOTALLY am, right)?

The past month as been really hard surrounding these issues.  In addition to my Honesty Box blues I managed to anger and hurt my husband, my Ma, my 2nd Ma and about 15 other important people on Facebook AND on my blog.  Seriously, I wanted to throw my laptop at the wall and hope that helped. I actually thought a 6th grader thought, while crying, with a pouty voice: “everyone hates me.  Maybe I should just go away FOREVER!”

(Um, yeah, that was the low point).

Thankfully, these people loved me enough to tell me I hurt them and to suggest creative, fixable ways to say things differently.

If you are someone whose taken to saying mean things online about bloggers, preachers, celebs or human beings STOP IT.  It’s immature, it’s wrong, it’s unhelpful, it’s hurtful, it’s catty, etc. etc.

If your like me, the oft recipient of mean online jabber, we need to…

a) eat the meat and spit out the bones

b) decide some rude anonymous commenter’s don’t get space in our brain

c) know that our value and worth is set, fixed in stone by God. It is not decided by others, whether they worship you or abhor you.

Easier said than done, but let’s all give it a shot. K?

Have you ever said anything mean about someone on the internet?  You can be honest, I won’t judge you!  What is your response to these issues in general?

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