We read a lot about cyber-bullying now that everyone is everywhere. There is no place to escape from some of the things said about us...or the things we say about others. Things like emails and blog posts and texts can last forever. And often, too often, they can find their way into the hands of people we'd prefer never knew just how mean we are to those around us.
I have thought about this a lot lately because a few weeks ago, I had a series of emails sent out about me by some of my fellow bloggers on a different site. Well, let me not exaggerate - it was not a big group. It was 4 people. Three of them had met me, one had not. One of them was involved in the original conversations, 3 of them chose to involve themselves later.
No, I will not disclose the names. I will only say that it was all much ado about nothing.
I would not rescind an invite to someone who wanted to attend a party. Why? Well, for a few reasons:
1. I didn't extend the offer in the first place;
2. It wasn't my party to say 'no' to;
3. The people being excluded have/had never done anything to me and I had never crossed into their blogging home before I was asked to exclude them. Funny, right? I should dislike people I didn't even know. To not dislike them out of hand meant that I am too dumb to make decisions. It's a wonder I can cross the street. Hold down a job. Raise a kid. Oh, wait....
When the first round of emails arrived in my in-box (they had been sent to a number of other bloggers and never to me until a friend forwarded them) I was surprised that things like my parenting skills; choice of friends; who I sleep with and my job had been tossed into the mix simply because I insisted on staying out of the initial argument...yeah, because it had nothing to do with me.
What was the offense? I refused to take sides.
Not because I am a punk but because it isn't for anyone to demand that I:
1. Choose a side in anything because I make my own decisions;
2. Get others to call or email me to demand that I choose a side or sides (see above item #1);
3. Try to bully me into choosing a side or sides (see above items);
4. Think that talking about me behind my back does anything to actually bother me.
Yes, I know. Bitchy sounding, right?
Yeah, I already heard that I'm not as nice as people think. You are right.
I am not.
Now, I could have easily started posting some of the things said in these back and forth conversations but why bother? I knew that once I stepped away the bullying would find a new venue because that is how it works.
That's why I called bullshit.
I spent my life being popular. Again, bitchy thing to say. I know. My popularity isn't built on anything other than being totally honest. If I don't like something I will tell you. But I will never shout it from a roof-top, I will quietly tell you when no one else is around. Then you get to choose how you want to deal with me. Apparently, adults like honesty. Go figure.
I read something that a brilliant writer wrote last night and I chose to make a reference to one line: No one here is insignificant. Yes, I chose to not focus on the rest of the post.
Every single writer out there has something to say. Every single one. Will you always like it? No, probably not.
But maybe instead of following people around to see where they are commenting, you might consider doing something like sending a private email to someone to ask why they felt a certain way. I dunno, maybe that's just me.
To be honest, I'm an asshole for suggesting it.
It's far easier to set flame to everyone around us than to say: Hey, why do you feel this way?
So I say 'fuck it'. I loved my other blogging place for years. To be honest, there are so many wonderfully gifted writers there that I am sad I can't find any place safe to comment except for a very small group of bloggers. Thanks, said bloggers, for keeping a blanket ready for when I am cold.
But before I finish this ill-formed monologue, let me say this:
Every single one of us has a friend who says things we either wish we could say or wouldn't say but have thought. Don't lie to yourselves because some of you are actually writing posts on behalf of those bloggers right. as. we. speak.
Go ahead and tell me you aren't.
The point? Yes, sometimes things are said that we don't like, or agree with or don't know the reason behind, or, or, or, or.
Find a better way to ask 'why' instead of group-think. That's killed off all civilized communities since the dawn of time.
And another thought: Sometimes, people have something going on in their lives that makes them more susceptible to a rant or an angry word or whatever. Leaping on that person like sheep on steriods is really only going to make matters worse.
It ends up making the 'victim' look like a bully.
And yes, I did go all "Hakuna Matata" on your asses.