Friday, January 29, 2010
I belong to a chronic pain support group on the Web. I had forgotten about it until a few days ago, and left a few messages. Since I've been writing so much recently about pain, I figured (with hesitation) that I'd post a link to this blog. This morning, someone left a public message for me. It said, "I read your blog and it's depressing. You are a depressing bitch." I think there was another disparaging word in there, but now I can't remember, and that causes me to realize I was more shocked than I thought at seeing those words.
At first I thought it was somewhat funny that I was being name-called. I thought (name calling myself) "What an asshole!" I didn't say this, though I started to write something about how there were at least 300 non-depressing entries on here (and that's a low estimate). Then I decided that someone who would call me a bitch wasn't deserving of response, so I left it at that. And later in the day, the administrator chastised this person, and removed their comment from the board. But, I had already pulled my link.
I had wondered if I should stop blogging in the midst of so much emotional and physical crisis. With only a few people telling me to continue writing, I not only didn't stop, I started to write more. Writing is therapeutic, and there's something about not writing for myself alone that causes me to feel better (so much for the way J.D. Salinger felt). Obviously, we're all quite different in how we relate to the world.
That comment has been like a toxic worm that's worked it's way into my system. I can't seem to expel it and it's causing ripples of self-doubt. No, a person shouldn't call me names. But, I don't want to cause others to feel badly.
I do know at least two people who are distressed by what I write, and I've advised them to stop reading. I know their distress is prompted by caring about me, but at the same time, I feel it's liberating to be able to write freely, and that which is liberating is surely healthy. Isn't it?
I'm often not sure.
I'm not writing this for reassurance. There are good questions that I need to wrestle with. How does one express "negative" feelings and ideas without causing others to suffer? Is that even a legitimate question? After all, the suffering is there. Pretending it is not is lying. It would be like saying not to report the news because it's too painful. People who don't want to be stressed by the news do not have to listen, read, or watch.
But with the personal, it does seem different, though I must admit I am not sure why. We are all too used to hearing personal interest stories of hope and triumph over adversity that folks seems downright offended by anything else. There's a part of me that rails against that. I have no intent on presenting hopelessness for the sake of it. I am not dabbling in the transgressive or trying to be in your face. As I've written, if anything, I can be really too sincere for this age. It is rare that I allow myself to write out of anger (though I'm trying to allow myself to express this emotion with honesty). See? There's that sincerity again.
When I wrote I was bitter, I believe I was not correct. I only wish others the best, even the fellow who called me a bitch. My reaction, besides shock, is that he's got to be hurting to lash out at this stranger in such a way. He also told me (and others) to take a bunch of painkillers and shut the hell up.
That is the attitude of someone who is scared. It's interesting that anger is the response to being taken to a dark place, even though almost all the entertainment that is consumed in this society is violent in some way. I feel there is a bigger point to be made here, and I am not analytical enough to pursue it further. Someone else can pick up where I'm trailing off.
No, I'm not an intellectual. Still, I try to think on these things. Now, I'm going to go spin some wool.
Image note: Variations on this sign are seen at schools and on school websites across the country. Cyber-bullying has become a real problem. "Regular" bullying is no longer tolerated at many (if not most) schools. I notice in myself, a person who has been bullied and also was a bully (yes, I admit it), and was brought up in such a different social milieu than today's in this regard, that I tend to think that children are naturally mean. The minute that thought arises, my "educated" self kicks in and counters that thought. No, I do not agree with myself! I think children are given such mixed messages. While we are now saying that bullying is not tolerated, there's still a belief that it is natural; yes, "Children Are Mean." Children can be mean, but this is learned. I have no doubt at it, even as I have a knee-jerk reaction that bullying can't be outlawed. I find it most interesting to see my socialization arguing with my higher self.
Addendum: I wanted to pull the lousy graphics and insert something dark and medieval. But I can't. I want the bullying piece to stay, and it needs the graphic. I haven't posted much truly interesting artwork in a while. If you want to see some, go to BitterGrace Notes, where you'll always find it (and interesting posts as well!