Saturday, February 08, 2014

Me Three?

I had two very different responses to my blog yesterday. Before talking about them, I'd like to explain how the post came to be written. I got up, had a good morning, got on the bus, the driver was wonderful, the ride was going quickly, we turned a corner and WHAM!! Out of no where came this flood of words, memories overwhelmed me of the times, mostly while young, that I was brutally bullied - the words that were spat out at me - the bruises left on my body - the names, the taunts, the purposeful cruelty. It all came back, I couldn't stem the flow. When I arrived at work I felt beaten, exhausted and ill prepared to face the rest of, what was to be, a very busy day.

I decided I'd write the experience out. It came to me that I'm not alone. That there were others, riding on different buses having the same experience. That there were people vastly different from me who were hearing words that aren't far enough away in time to echo. I wanted to write this experience as my way of saying, "Me, too. It happens to me too." Sometimes I want to feel normal when something happens that makes me feel abnormal.

The first reaction was one that came in an email suggesting to me that I really need to have better boundaries in what I share on the blog. The writer suggested that I looked both pathetic and attention seeking in how I presented myself and the bus ride. They were saying this, they said, because they thought that someone needed to tell me the truth.

I still haven't replied.

The second reaction was a conversation I had with someone who'd read the blog and we sat and shared about these experiences. If nothing else came from what I wrote, I'm glad of this conversation. I needed it. I'm not sure if he did, but I did. It was amazingly supportive to speak honestly about the gruelling and sometimes punishing nature of what it is to be different - or seen as different. After we talked I simply felt better. Less alone. Here I thought I'd shared this so others wouldn't feel alone when assailed by voices that visit with vengeance. But it was me who needed to feel less alone.

I know that some find some of my writing too personal and question why I share as much as I do. I get that. I understand but, remind myself that this is my blog. It's where I record my life, it's where I seek community, it's where I feel a responsibility to be authentic and real. To that end, I chose to write what I wrote - knowing that I was letting people into a very private and very painful moment.

My hope is, always, that what I write matters, and that the words connect with others who share similar moments in different lives.

Community happens when just one other person says, "me too."

I found community yesterday.

And for that, I give thanks.


CL said...

You've mentioned receiving the occasional response before, but I am truly baffled at how anyone can have a negative response to this blog. It's beyond me. You're a gifted writer, very insightful, and I have learned a lot from you. But more than that, you're an ordinary person sharing your thoughts and feelings on a personal blog. And how anyone could feel entitled to some different version of that is astounding to me.

I wonder if some people just have a hard time with the message of some of your posts -- some of the uncomfortable truths. I really don't know. But I think your blog is awesome, and I feel privileged to read it. I know it's not always easy to share personal stories, to be vulnerable, but I know that you're helping people. You've changed the way I think and act in small but important ways.

But if someone else has different taste in personal blogs, why are they reading?? I truly don't understand how someone could encounter your personal blog and tell you that you should be writing it differently.

Anonymous said...


Those who find your sharing too personal DON'T HAVE TO READ IT.

I find it courageous and intelligent and consciousness-raising - and am glad you write it.

If you don't mind it being personal, how dare someone else tell you not to write it. That is bullying all over again.

You observe plenty of boundaries - no real details of work or your relationships. Mostly you write about how things affect you and what you see and think.

I keep reading.


Flemisa said...

So glad you found the community you required. All too often we are our worst critics and can only remember the hateful and horrid things said. We need the encouragement of others to step back and realize that we are not alone and that there are good things in life. And also the strength to say how we are feeling so others can provide the community.
I read your blog because you are honest and open. I may not have the same experience or always agree but I can connect and/or am challenged by another human being. I can understand a dialogue about what is said but certainly not about your right to say it. Hope you continue to blog how ever you choose.

Mary said...

Have you remained within the Blogger/Blogspot terms of use?

Are you aware that words published publicly on the internet are visible, searchable, and may be viewed by sympathetic *and* non-sympathetic eyes?

Are you an adult, in charge of your actions and responsible for the consequences?


In that case, write whatever you damn well please.

I wonder. Does the person who emailed you think that they're the boss of the whole internet, or just the boss of you?

Anonymous said...

I found you read my mind and personally found it comforting. Not that you were having an off day but because we are part of our own community via your blog. I thank you for making me feel less alone and am pleased you could share. Xx

Anonymous said...

Isn't it interesting what pepole read in what you write? I read a very conscious, careful decision to extend a boundary, to allow it to include one of the realities this community knows; and to allow the community which knows that reality to include you in its warmth.

I've been thinking of it, too, that punch under the diaphragm, that too frequent blitz of shamed memory, the attempts to soothe and, chiefly, silence that voiceless massed voice... I'd almost disconnected it from the years of bullying, the years of abuse of power by people who at least intended to have good intentions. It has lived in my head and gut as my failing to Overcome the Past. Shame about inflicted shame.

When abuses live in the head and gut of someone I respect, why, they look very different. What it means to overcome looks gentler, kinder, more possible.

This kind of sharing, in the full meaning of the word, is a gift beyond price. Thank you.

Tamara said...

Like others have commented, I will never understand why some people feel the need to tell you what you should or shouldn't write. I also don't understand people who tell you that you shouldn't let your past bully you.

I thought it was a very powerful blog. My day started fast and furious yesterday so I didn't take the time to comment. I'm glad you found community. I hope "the emailer" reads today's comments.

And - I just went back and read the comments from yesterday - and I can't imagine how you must have felt when you hit the bump and hit the delete button instead of the approve ...

Jan Goldfield said...

Dave, when you write your feelings, the hurt ones, it resonates with us. One would hope that not just the people who hurt, but also the ones who do the hurting with their words will see themselves and either find community or wish to join it. And then, maybe, just maybe the hurters will see themselves and stop acting as they do. Maybe someday this could happen. If just one person changes, writing your words will be the most important thing you did that day.

Kris S. said...

As others have pointed out: It's. Your. Blog. No doubt the person who offered his/her take on your post yesterday was well-intentioned, but here's the thing: you can change your future behavior based on someone else's feedback OR NOT. I can only hope the person who emailed you understands that.

Happy Saturday, Dave!

Deb said...

Dave, what you do takes incredible courage. I still struggle with revealing my wounded self. I walled it off for so many years, the bullying and abuse, the name-calling, the shame of being disabled, different, a disappointment to your family. Being "tolerated" but never accepted.

And there are times it all comes flooding back, and it's overwhelming. Maybe I will be able to talk about my own experiences at some point. Maybe not, but at least I can draw courage from you. Thank you for having a brave heart.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

I think a lot of us who have been bullied and abused have days like the one you described in your last post. I know I do, and so do the other abuse/bullying survivors I know well enough to talk to about things like this. It seems to be a normal part of the process of surviving chronic abuse.

When I have days like that, it helps me to remember that this happens, it's normal, other people go through it too, and it will pass. It helps me to stop beating up on myself for not being able to stem the flood of bad memories.

I read your post and I wanted to reach out and give you a hug and tell you that the voices are lying. You're a wonderful, loving, caring human being who is making a real difference in the world.

The voices are wrong.

Thank you for having the courage to share your experience in that post, because it helps others who go through this to know that we're not alone. And apparently it made a difference to you to be able to share what you had experienced, which is also important. You write what you need or want to write, and we'll read it and love you for sharing your journey with us, warts and sunshine and icicles and all.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave, thank you for yesterday's blog and all the other insights you provide through your personal blog. A blog by its very definition is yours to share with others as you see fit. In the time I have been reading your blog or interacted with you personally I've never known you to be anything other than consistently professional and kind.
As a fellow person with a disability, I'm terribly sorry for what you experienced yesterday regardless of the content of the attack. It is completely human to be affected for quite some time after this type of bullying attack particularly if it is a lifelong pattern as it is for many of us regardless of our difference. Those that argue that we should not be affected by this type of emotional violence are either clueless or often the perpetrators themselves trying to justify their behavior.

Kristine said...

The "me too" moments are what keep me hooked on this blog. I'm so relieved to know that when I spiral into a dark place, triggered by my own brain reliving words spoken long ago, I'm not the only one. I'm not the only one attacked by ghosts in my head, which I know I should get rid of, but how? I'm not the only one who often puts on a strong face and feels like I'm faking it.

Thank you for helping me and so many others to feel less alone!

Keni said...

those memory gremlins are vicious little critters aren't they?
I cope by hitting them with the mallet of age ( like whack-a mole).
I envision the bullies as they would be today. As they come towards me in the mental rerun I see them pathetic, aging and alone.
Hurtful nasty people rarely prosper or have lasting relationships past youth, yet we keep them preserved and botoxed in our minds.
Another trick I use to banish bad thoughts - scent is powerful at shifting memory and mood.
Try a hanky with a bit of your partner's aftershave. It sort of catapults your mind to the good times.

With love from the small girl who grew old, and still fights the gremlins sometimes.
Because some days you need a battle plan for them.