UPDATE: She responded! I won’t bother showing them, they’re petty. I do want to thank everyone for making this my most successfully viewed article on the blog, since its inception. It’s really important that we shed light on harassing behavior. I’m not going to write any more about this subject, but I appreciate all of the kind words and reaching out that have happened!
I actually had a very different article written for this afternoon. I was planning on drawing a link between chronic illness and the exhausting and inevitably failing dichotomy of “recovery.” I think it is pretty high quality and I was excited to post it. However, something more pressing has come up.
The other day, the wonderful theater that I work at, a theater that meaningfully employs adults with disabilities, had a rock thrown through its window. This was perpetrated by a handful of young boys, who were eventually brought in. As part of their set of repercussions, they must sit down and listen to the plights of formerly bullied employees, to try to get an empathetic sense of their point of view, and why the rock was more than just shattered glass. I’m hoping to be one of those employees, and am eager to help.
There’s been something afoot in my comment section. This has only happened on two drawn out occasions, and only when people are mentioned anonymously. My exes haven’t expressed frustration to me, though I imagine that they read this blog and aren’t crazy about their laundry being aired (I would read, and wouldn’t be happy, if I were them!). I give them credit for this. The blowback I’ve gotten is from the other kids from my old, therapeutic school.
I’ve talked about the destructiveness of these people before. If you shove a bunch of mentally ill kids together in one building with inadequate guidance, all hell breaks loose in terms of enabling unhealthy behavior. And while there was a decent population of earnest, kind hearted kids in the building, some were not quite that. When I highlighted these faults, both of specific (unnamed) people and damning circumstances, I got seriously nasty comments.
Word to the wise: I have my comments set on approved only! Your comment will not see the light of day unless I want it to. I’ve generally been just deleting the ridiculous hate comments without a second thought, but this incident at my work has me feeling a bit more exploratory. If you let people perform hateful acts, it’s enabling and they will do it again. So here’s one of my hate comments.
I’m going to unpack each fault in this comment, but more generally, I don’t believe I should have to. It’s not my job to dispel every little jab that people who want me to feel bad about myself have to say about me. I feel compelled to since I’m publishing it, but I have a bad habit of being extremely invested in what’s true, and will scream it from the rooftops if I can. Here’s me doing that!
1.) I’ve ingested weed twice. On the first instance, I was sexually assaulted while I was forcibly under the influence. I’ve only ever told this to two people, and my medical chart, in my life. I hate that I have to say it now, in such a public forum, but I do. The day that I ingested it the second time, with my dear friend and with the awareness and supervision of her parents, was a replaying of that event because I was having a PTSD flare up and felt a compelling urge to re-enact, to see if I could connect with my memories from that moment. I don’t count either as recreational, and I’m not sure anyone would. But honestly, is this even an issue anymore? I don’t think “you’ve tried weed!” is much of an argument. So has nearly everyone, including the commenter. Next.
2.) I’ve let go of some friends. Others change, I do too. I’m proud of that. In this specific instance, I actually initiated the very gentle split for my own mental health, so I’m not sure what harm was intended. Next.
3.) I am likely going to a fine, huge, public school next year because they’re giving me a full ride and an honors college designation. I will not apologize for being at a low socioeconomic level, and for needing to choose my school accordingly. We can’t all shell out 60k a year for a private school, Aunt Betty! I’ve gotten into schools that are far more prestigious, and have made an active choice to do what makes sense for myself and my family. I love the school I’m probably going to, with all of my heart. This argument says far more about her than it does about me. This is usually the case with bullying. Next.
4.) If by indirecting she means speaking the truth about what happened to me without using identifiers, then sure I am! I’ve helped a lot of people by doing this. It’s called a compelling story, and giving voice to different figures of interpersonal interaction in my life creates a relatable, coherent narrative that can be learned from. I’m also proud of this.
Now, I’ve also fielded comments that have called me a “pussy, bro.” I’ve seen a comment in which the poster called Bentley University the “Harvard of business schools” because he wanted to, I don’t know, flex, as the youth say? I’ve gotten a comment that called me a whore. I’ve failed to respond to all of them, until now. In a sense, I’m happy that I didn’t. They didn’t really deserve the light of day, and I didn’t want to shoot back at vulnerable, mentally ill kids, as if they and I are on the same level of self awareness, as if I couldn’t rise above it all. That’s what I’ve been doing.
But there’s something to calling people out for inappropriate behavior. Considering this girl obsessively attempts to follow me on Instagram with varying accounts, she will see this. I hope she pauses and takes a moment to ponder the kind of energy she’s putting out into the world.
If you are someone who has experienced pain and persecution in your life, you are uniquely poised to do good. You know what the worst of things feels like. You know just what bullying, loneliness, isolating illness self hatred, unkind words, do to a person. Many people don’t get the opportunity to be this introspective. Unfortunately, there are some people who take these phenomena and project them right back onto others.
I’m not going to be that person. I’m not going to let that energy bounce off of me. Maybe this will get me labeled “narcissistic” again. For once in my life, and I mean that, I really don’t care. I pity those who write hate comments in the face of others’ healing and success. They are suffering inside. I also want to be an example of perseverance for folks like the wonderful people employed at my theater, who are deemed easy targets and perhaps don’t know how to stand tall in the face of bullying behavior. Finally, I hope for only the best for those who are at my old school, those who have hatred in their hearts, going forward.
In the future, I’ll seriously consider publishing hate comments in an article, so I’d consider not doing that from now on, if you are tempted. If you post a comment, I have a way of knowing who it’s from. Try compassion! Or at the very least, just start your own damn blog if you have so much to say.
Don’t worry, you’ll get the intellectual comparison between PTSD, eating disorders and addictions, and a “chronic” label tomorrow!