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Backlash, Hate, and Ignorance – The Risk of Blogging

I don’t blog about blogging very often – it’s just too meta. But blogging for me is essentially wearing my chronic illness on my sleeve and anyone who has ever done that in any form knows that it’s a risky business. I strongly urge you to be open anyway, because for every negative experience I promise you’ll have a meaningful, positive impact on someone else who’s suffering, whether you find out about it or not. We all need to know we’re not alone.

But like I said – bad stuff will happen. Coworkers, friends, and even family will make snide remarks, try to tell you it’s all in your head, or worse. And while the majority of the time these things are said with good intentions, they still sting.

Then of course, there are things said with the intent to wound, and those sting too. They’re a bit easier to shake off, though, at least to me. I’ll never forget my first “flame” comment. “Flaming” or “Trolling” are internet terms for users who comment with the intent to provoke, often using profanity and personal insults. The term “Don’t feed the trolls” comes from the idea that if someone directly opposes what you post in a volatile and argumentative way, the best course of action is to do nothing. They’re trying to get a response and you can only win by not responding.

1367308799946

My first flame comments were all from one user, and I didn’t even see them until months after I received them because they were so saturated with curse words that wordpress automatically put them in the spam folder, which I rarely empty and even more rarely actually read. I remember thinking it was funny because they kept writing comments like “Why won’t you show my comments you **** *****? ***** coward only post ***** who agree with you *************.” No my friend, you got yourself marked as spam, I didn’t do a thing.

Of course I still deleted them – who am I to disagree with the almighty spam block? Plus this is a family internet, if your comments are crude for no reason I won’t display them.

But things get a little less amusing when comments come from long time readers or worse, friends in real life. I’ve written before about the reader who wrote to let me know they were unfollowing me because of OTHER commenters, not my content. Still kind of funny since it made no sense, but now it stung a little – this person was actually a top commenter, and someone I felt was a friend.

But by far the least amusing and most hurtful string of comments and messages came from a recent post I did. A post that, if you look at the comment section, was very well met and popular. The outward appearance would suggest nothing but agreement, and that’s not because I hid any comments or anything like that – the flames all came in private message form – actually, on my personal facebook and in text messages. Because they were all from family and friends.

What topic could cause such backlash and hate from friends and family? Talking about the Family Reunion. Yes, it was heresy. How dare I put into writing jokes that we all made in person?!

excluded not one of usBecause nothing quite says “YOU ARE NOT ONE OF US” like the double standard that we can make jokes but you can’t.

And yes, even though I constantly made references in THAT VERY POST about how my by-blood family reunions were just as boring and awkward, I got no backlash from my flesh and blood.

Anyway, it’s all said and done, I’ve been defriended en masse and I’m sure the holidays this year are going to be just lovely. I have no defense for myself, it was a joke and a sentiment that clearly many people share. And like I said, I got a lot of my material from the very people who have decided we can’t even be facebook friends anymore. I’m baffled.

And I would have stayed baffled and probably never have written this post if it stopped there. But it didn’t. For some reason, friends and family just ripped in to me for that post. And though I made no response, fueled no fire and fed no trolls, they kept going after me. The messages didn’t stop, they were relentless. People decided they needed to set me straight and maybe by some tough love could help cure my anxiety.

cure anxiety fear

Ah yes. Nothing makes me feel at ease like being viciously attacked for being different and being myself.

I would almost say this has never happened to me before, but it has. I just couldn’t place it because I’m an adult now. But it had all the hallmarks of high school drama and bullying. Not only the relentlessness, but the choosing of sides, the gossip, the non-sequiturs, and the unfiltered hatefulness. Isn’t that what being an adult is? Filters? Civility? Restraint?

Well, apparently not. Here’s a sprinkling of backlash and “help” from family and friends.

(Note: some of these were sent as texts to my husband, but I happened to be on his phone troubleshooting something for him at that exact moment in time. Surprise! If you text someone about someone they’re likely to be with, you know, like their WIFE, it’s not the most secure method of communication.)

defriend

srsly

If you find yourself asking a question like that, just defriend them. Clearly you don’t think of them as a real “friend.”

nokids

Anchorman-well-that-escalated-quickly

Now my unborn children are involved!

Also, I made the mistake of writing that I had really bonded with someone at the reunion, but according to that person and everyone else on earth, our bonding experience was fabricated. And even though I did talk to them about my plans for this post poking fun at the whole idea of family reunions, everyone agrees I never asked express permission to write about the good times or the bad. Again, it’s all very reminiscent of high school, I don’t really know what to think.

we're not friends

Sorry-I-annoyed-you-with-my-friendship-831

Of course, people were offended by a variety of things.

10462698_10152772221230774_5981130426833683721_n

it's just oklahoma

And like I said, most of these texts were to my husband, and one person even admitted they just needed to rant about me. To the person who vowed to love me so much that they went through a big costly ceremony that was just basically saying “she’s my favorite human – I’m on her side 5ever.

just need to vent talk shit about my friend i will cut you

And then there was, of course, the “helping…”

hateallpeople

pityparty

And yeah, I noticed the spelling, but being a typo nazi won’t win me any points so no jokes on that.

comfortzone

WHOA WHOA WHOA WHAT. WHAT. NO. Just this year I drove halfway across the US to spend a weekend with someone I’ve never even MET. I let a ROBOT perform surgery on me. I BOUGHT A HOUSE AND MOVED AWAY. LIFE is outside of my comfort zone!

But that aside, don’t you think my doctor might let me know if I could be cured by “pushing myself?”

ADTWO21

Thank you Hyperbole and a Half – one less that I have to draw.

infants

 

that is an abuse of the spoon theory

 

donthavekids

 

i'm not saying don't have kids but don't have kids

Now. Let me be perfectly crystal clear – the person who said this is a good person who I love very much. I don’t believe they have a mean bone in their body. I know they speak in earnest.

I know they also didn’t know that pregnancy is the only treatment that has even a sliver of a chance of getting rid of endo instead of just putting it in remission.

And they didn’t know that I was just diagnosed with PCOS, a form of infertility.

And they didn’t know that I’ve always wanted to have kids and now I’m coming to terms with the fact that maybe that’s not in the cards. Which not only means I might not have kids but I also might never be healthy.

And there’s even more that’s happened that I haven’t even had a chance to process enough to write about it.

And there was no way for her to know that.

But there’s no way for anyone to know any of that.

Which is why that’s something you should never say to anyone. Ever.

tumblr_mbioxdhrMQ1qb9sxqo1_250

Like I said from the very beginning – this is the risk you run by sharing your story. People will, knowingly or not, really hurt you. But really, that will happen no matter what. Working in an industry dominated by men I hear a lot of ignorant things about how selfish it is to have kids and stuff like that, and they have no idea I even have endo, much less anything with a direct correlation to infertility like PCOS.

I know that every time I write, there are people out there reading. People who needed to hear something, and maybe they got to hear it from me. I’ve had people recognize me on the street and tell me about their health and their fears, I’ve had friends text me when they need to have some medical testing or procedure done and they’re scared, and I’ve even had businesses and schools contact me for help with being accessible and understanding to the 1 in 2 people with a chronic illness.

So in the end, I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing because the positives are worth it. And the more people who share their stories and help eachother, the less hate, ignorance, backlash, and risk there will be.

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About rachelmeeks

My name is Rachel Meeks. I have endometriosis, an incurable pain condition, IBS, a digestive illness, and PCOS, which causes irregular periods and infertility. After keeping my illnesses a secret, I started to get upset about how my fellow sick people were being mistreated because of ignorance. I knew that I'd need to stand up, make some noise, wear my heart on my sleeve, and admit that I am not well to make a difference.

22 responses to “Backlash, Hate, and Ignorance – The Risk of Blogging

  1. Ellen Sykora ⋅

    I’m sorry. I had no idea the family was being that way.

  2. joynpain2

    That really sucks. I hope you are able to straighten everything out with your family. If not, then in my opinion, screw them. You’re just being honest and they get vicious? I mean, come on!

  3. kyladevin

    Rachel, you are an amazing, gifted, wonderfully fantastic human being. Screw them! I’m so happy you will continue to do what you do.
    As we’ve talked about before, I had mild endo and was told kids would be hard. 3 babies later, and the endo is practically null. And who is to tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t have children?! I root for you and Toby almost everyday. I long to see THAT announcement. I know we were never close in school, but Facebook made me see we would have been awesome friends IRL. Family is supposed to stand beside you, not act like the cast of Mean Girls.
    You and Toby are two amazing people that I am so happy to have met in my life, even if it’s just my friends list at the moment. You two are always welcome in our home, and nothing you type will make me defriend you 😉
    Much love!!!! ❤

    • Amen to the “mean girls” bit lol. Thank you for your sweet, heartfelt comment. It made me feel warm and fuzzy the day you posted it and it warmed my heart again today. You’re so sweet. I can’t wait to be IRL friends with you. 🙂

  4. THREE DAYS? And so many people you need a name tag? I’m an introvert too. It’s just overstimulating, lots of people for several days.

  5. I have had similar terrible backlash from blogging. When I was still working, it happened there, even though I’d tried to be somewhat anonymous. Then later it happened with my in-laws. So I absolutely empathize. Hang in there – and I love all your pictures!

  6. just focus on your purpose in writing this blog. of course there are going to be uninformed a..holes who are going to say ignorant and hurtful things. i suggest smile and pity them. you are a brilliant writer who has shared a very personal journey. i applaud you and wish there had been someone like you around when i went through this many years ago. information was much too limited and dr.’s. tended to pat you on the head and tell you half the truth followed by trust me. this was for nurses, medical professionals, can you imagine what it was like for the average woman? keep going and following your path my dear friend.

  7. Jenn M ⋅

    I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had to deal with backlash from your family and friends about your family reunion post. 😦 I read the post, and I can understand where you’re coming from. I’m an introvert as well, and I can agree that family get-togethers take a lot of “spoons”.

    Just wanted to let you know that I enjoy reading your blog posts (I love the pictures that you add on too 🙂 ), and that you’re very strong and persistent for continuing despite any negative things that may happen. xx

  8. Oh my goodness!!!!!
    Its sad that the ones we love seen to hurt us the most, I know my brother recently hammered into me about my anaphylaxis and the airborne factors that have left me not being able to get my own food in a store…… It made me cry, I tried to get him to understand there isnt a cure, and there was no medicine that would “glove ” it like he says.
    Sending hugs

  9. I read somewhere once if you don’t get people riled up sometimes, you are not being honest and you are not doing your job good enough. Keen thought, eh? Anyhow, if I remember the post right, it was a post kind of poking yourself (introversion) in a way–just using the setting of a family reunion, which always is a comical setting! Sorry for the lashing you’re getting. I keep waiting for mine to come along from my family and in-laws, too. But I toned it down since I know they’re reading now–which makes the reading kind of dry. Keep writing and encouraging us to write, too.

  10. mo

    I had a problem with an ex-sister in law once. She would write things in my blog comments like, “blah blah blog” and even suggested that I wasn’t really sick. She said I was doing it to get attention from strangers. And what really got to me was she was a nurse and had helped me with shots and understanding medications….we don’t talk anymore. It truly broke my heart. It is the reason I don’t blog much anymore. Don’t let that happen to you. Keep your chin up!
    mo

  11. Families can be vicious instead of the loving unit they should be. Social Media & church families can be just as tough. I’m going to do a blog on my recent and awful blog experience.
    In real life, I sell Nutrilite and another church member sells Shakley. She is adamant that my products are junk and hers are far superior. Years ago, she came to my house and attacked. Not physically but mentally, letting me know I was stupid for not buying/selling her brand. I’ll have to do a blog on that, too.
    Several people that bought from me stopped. One of my friends told me that Cathy (not real name) took the bottles of vitamins she had bought from me and threw them in the trash.
    Instead of accosting Cathy like I was tempted, I decided to let the Lord handle her. I missed a lot church with being so sick. Last Sunday when I finally made it back, Cathy gave me a look of such hatred, I was truly shocked. Did I really see that, or was it an illusion?
    Throughout my nursing career, I’ve been in some tight situations with reason to fear for my life. Never before had I cause for fear when inside a church sanctuary. The look on her face made me worry. I probably need to pray harder than I have been.
    Words on paper are not as worrisome as physical violence, but that’s not to say it’s okay. They can still hurt. In the next novel I’m writing, ‘Jordan’s Justice’, Jordan is threatened by email from an ex-boyfriend. At first the emails don’t read as being threatening, so the police won’t do anything. When I write things like this, my hands start to shake because I’ve been through some of it.
    I’m learning to let God handle things instead of me always trying to. He does a better job than I do! I include all my blog friends in my prayers.

    • Thanks so much – I’ll include you in mine too. That’s truly amazing, like, how can adults act this way? I really thought people would be less crazy after I was out of high school. Nope! Some people never grow out of being “mean girls.”

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