When I started writing publicly about my assault, I received such an overwhelming amount of hatred that I deleted my Facebook page. All these years later it remains inexistent. It’s hard to explain the fear that comes with the territory of publicly denouncing wrongdoings with your name attached. I’ve gotten everything from messages from men asking me to consider the reasons for my abuser’s actions to threats for more sexual violence against me. Gross and vile, respectively.
Last week I suffered a miscarriage. You’d probably never be able to tell if you were around me right now, because I’ve worked really hard to get back on my feet and continue to take care of my responsibilities. But if you follow me on social media, you’ll have seen me write about it because that’s how I cope. This incident, unfortunately, is no different; I’ve already been told that my life is “wild”, and had someone I don’t know refer to my body as a graveyard.
These things can be hurtful, yes, but beyond that they’re irresponsible. So many people share their life experiences online in the hopes that someone out there, someone who maybe has been silenced, will know that they’re not alone. That their pain is valid. Over the years I’ve developed such a thick skin (which my therapist calls a “defense mechanism”… Whatever, lady) that I can look at these things once and then move on with my life. I really hate knowing that not everybody is equipped for this.
I would never advise that you “keep it to yourself.” I’m old enough to know the very devastating consequences that come with holding in your suffering. I get by unscathed because I have other people I can talk to. My sister, my partner, my friends, a therapist. I also know that many people don’t have these things, and that’s where the internet comes in.
Please become a fan of the block button. You can literally make ugliness disappear with one click. Please never listen to anyone’s opinion of you or the way you choose to handle something. Unless you love that person, and even then it’s your choice. Trust yourself. Trust your process. Know that nothing lasts forever, not even pain, and that anyone trying to prolong that for you is not worth your energy.
Please mind your business. And, no, something being public does not make it your business. If I had a dollar for every time I heard that pathetic, tired retort I’d be partying with Diddy on a yacht instead of typing this sentence.*
It costs zero dollars to be nice to someone when they are clearly going through it, and it’s roughly the same price to be nothing at all to them if you can’t do that. I know the feeling of power that comes with distance, relative anonymity and a keyboard. I am not a saint and have not been immune to sometimes being a complete ass. But your growth can start now. Just scroll past. Log off. Put your phone down. Breathe.
*Actually I’d probably still be doing this because I genuinely love people and want to help anyone I can for the rest of my life.
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