I thought twice about putting my “fat-shaming” post out there.
Alright…more like a few dozen times.
Part of me was thinking…”hey, maybe I’ll wait until I lose a few pounds before I publish it so I don’t feel so bad about myself.” But, the thing is, I’m always putting off things I want to do…hoping to lose those few pounds…hoping they magically disappear…hoping no one notices what I see in the mirror.
In the end I thought, “what the heck”…I tell people about my life and this is part of my life and my story…so, I hit the publish button on the “I was fat-shamed by a four-year-old’s mother” post, and held my breath.
Suddenly, I was receiving more support than a pair of Spanx and let’s be honest…those things can support! Folks were sharing and commenting and telling me I was brave!
BRAVE! It’s not brave that I see in the mirror each day but if you think I’m brave…I’ll take it!
Folks were behind me…posting and sharing and commenting and sending me messages and next thing you know, it was read by thousands rather than the hundreds I usually get and I thought…”it was good to post that”…”it was good to share.”
To me…there are lessons in that post for all of us.
Kindness. How we teach it to our children. How we teach it to ourselves.
And…just about the time I was getting comfortable with putting my story “out there”…the haters found me.
My Google Analytics started showing hundreds of people linking to me from a site where the sole purpose is to make fun of overweight people. They claim they aren’t haters…and suggest they discourage any comments or shaming outside of their group and that their group is a “safe place” where apparently they can discuss the horrible fat people and give their mean-spirited opinions.
The comments were revolting.
The attacks on me as a person…were simply unbelievable.
It was beyond hurtful and I will not repeat what they’ve said or where their group is as I’m not really interested in adding fuel to their burning fire and no matter what I say…I’d never change their opinions of me anyway.
I turned to a blogging group I’m a member of and asked for their opinion…should I take down the post, should I break the link so the hate group couldn’t find me as easily, should I ignore them?
My blogger friends recommended that I keep the post up. They also recommended I stop reading the comments that were on the sites and to turn off the comments on my own post so I don’t have to see more negativity…self-perseverance if you will as up until that point, there weren’t negative comments on my own post…but I could feel it coming. They’d found someone they wanted to pick on…what would stop them?
I left my post up.
And here’s what I’ve learned by writing and publishing it…
Anonymous comments are HORRIBLE. But, I can handle them. I put myself in the public eye and it comes with the territory so while it’s not ok, I’m fine…thank you for caring. Really, thank you so very much for having my back.
But here’s the thing…take a moment to step away from what I’m going through and what I’ve read over the last few days and think about our children. These amazing young men and women that we adore. They’re the ones we need to think about. They’re living in this social media age and having to put up with this crap on a regular basis…and the thing is, they don’t have the thick skin and the reasoning skills that I do. I’m a grown woman…I’ve seen a lot in my 46 years and I can compartmentalize all sorts of crap so that it doesn’t leave deep scars. Kids can’t. We keep pushing this “stop bullying” and “just be kind” thing with young people and I truly believe we need to keep doing that more than ever before. I can’t begin to tell you how much it hurts when you’re attacked online and how you question the things they say and how their words repeat in your head and the sick feeling you get in your stomach and your heart…and how our children, who don’t have the same reasoning as I do, have to deal with this…and how awful they must feel when it happens!
This is NORMAL and happening EVERY SINGLE DAY in today’s society.
I’m not looking for your support…I’m ok. I went out with friends this weekend and had a lovely time. I wore a bright pink sweater that showed all of my curves and I held my head up. I listened to a little music to feed and lift my soul. I was surrounded by people who love and admire me…who I laugh with and who share my successes and failures. Along with the people in my life who support me, I’ve this blog and with it comes a great many other people who don’t really “know” me like my family and friends do…but they support me as well!
This isn’t about me.
None of this is about me.
It’s about the people who hide behind their computers and get a kick out of putting others down for any number of reasons. I can lose the weight but it doesn’t matter…at some point, I’ll write another post that ticks off another group and they’ll attack me for something else.
Nope, this isn’t about me.
This is about our children. Our teens who are living in this environment where people can shame them anonymously for their appearance, their mistakes, their passions…where jealously and pettiness can lead to comments that will affect them deeply.
This is about standing up for others when we see an injustice. For taking the time to tell someone that you think they’re awesome when others are being mean.
While I’m not hurting (too badly)…I’m a little shaken that I’ve seen first-hand what others are capable of doing. I fear for my children, for your children, and for this world they’re growing up in. I’m having an incredibly difficult time putting my thoughts into words as I don’t want to give this hate-group another reason to attack me. I’m sad.
There are really good people out there and as parents, we work hard to make sure our children are surrounded by these mentors…by people they can look up to and who can guide them. What we’re not seeing, is the great amount of awfulness that our children aren’t sharing with us. The comments and nastiness that surrounds them online when we’re not looking…when we don’t even know we should look! The shame they feel because someone else agrees with some of the negative comments that might be in their heads…how someone’s hate can validate what they might be thinking…because being a teen is a difficult time at best.
I don’t have answers. Once again…there are no words to fix this…there’s nothing I can do to stop the online hate. But I’ve a new awareness…and a new determination to continue to be kind.
Because you never know how deep your kind words may resonate with someone who needs them.
Because words…can really break you.