Thursday, April 14, 2016


I had a post in mind for today.

I wanted to write about something a little lighter, it's not all grim after all. And besides, I felt a little vulnerable after writing yesterdays post and wanted to write something that didn't engage so many emotions.

And then ... that got knocked right out of my head.

This morning, on checking Facebook, I saw that someone had posted something to my page. There was a note saying that after yesterday's post, they thought that I should follow a particular link. Now, I do as much checking as I can when I get Facebook friend requests, because I don't actually know most people who are linked on that page. I look to see if they have a disability or have some other connection to the disability field. If not, I look to see what content I can from their pages and unless something sends up a red flag, I accept the friend request. So, this isn't someone totally random. This is someone willing to attach their name to the post they are tacking onto my page.

So, feeling safe, I clicked.

To a page extolling some weird diet product.

I wasn't expecting it.

I usually expect it, but I wasn't.

And it hit me so hard.

It doesn't matter if you turn the other cheek when the punch comes to the gut.

After all that I wrote yesterday, after trying to explain how certain responses are hurtful and mean and convey not support but prejudice.

This is what I got.

I don't usually do this, and maybe I shouldn't have, but I unFriended that person. I didn't even want to engage in a discussion.

It's hard to be heard.

Really heard.

When you are different.

When you are disabled.

People always talk about voice, when voice isn't ever the issue, it's never about me using my voice, it's your openness to hearing what my voice says.

Sometimes it's like screaming into a void.

I give up.


Anonymous said...

I get the same thing all the time. I wrote about someone turning my poverty and disability into inspiration porn and how awful it felt and a reader assured me that I really am an inspiration. I wrote that parents do not want their children to grow up to be like me because their children should grow up with better than I got and a reader insisted that it would be so wonderful if their child grew up to be like me (you want your child plagued with PTSD and dropping out of school? Really?) Anytime I write about filicide of Autistic children, someone shows up to remind me to think about how hard it is to parent children like I was. And when I write about identity-first language, someone comes along to tell me not to speak so poorly about myself because I'm more than just my autism.

It's a plague, that's for certain. The thing to remember is that for every irritating person who pushes a diet on us, tries to reshape us into inspiration porn, and blatantly disregards our clearly stated values, requests, and demands there are dozens who soak our words in, are changed, effect more change in a ripple effect, and never breathe a word to us of their existence.

The thoughtless annoyances will always open their mouths and unfold their fingers to give us words that make us feel itchy and prickly. That's okay. It sucks, but it's okay.

We're not writing for them. We're writing for those mysteriously silent, magically affected, quietly learning people out there. They are the groundswell of the coming revolution of love.

Take heart: you have those lovely, silent souls reading you in droves every day. Your words most definitely make a difference in the world.

Jenni said...

You wrote a while ago in your blog about the training you give about bullying. You helped the participants learn that the thing that makes the bullying happen is the bully, not the victim or anything about the victim.

I think about that a lot, particularly after I'm faced with some horrible bullying in my life. I'm sorry you had to deal with another bully yesterday Dave. I hope today the bullies go somewhere where you aren't. Preferably somewhere where no-one else is.

Unknown said...

I hear you. My heart is moved by your words. Wishing I had words of wisdom to ease the hurt. I am saddened by the mean actions that cause hurt, needlessly, with no awareness of consequences. I hear you. Clairesmum

Andrea Shettle, MSW said...

Ugh, sorry that person did that to you. The only reason I could think why someone would believe diet products to be relevant to yesterday's post would be if the person is putting all the blame for other people's bullying behaviors on you and therefore thinks you're the one who needs to be "fixed". And not the people who choose to throw ugliness at you. And that to me is disturbing.

szera said...

Thank you ... nothing to add or alter ... just
Thank you. Would you consider allowing me to post this with or without anonymity? (1szera@gmail)
or message me on fb.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Szera, of course!! thanks.

Defying Gravity said...

There is quite a lot of malware floating around on Facebook, I have seen apparent diet tips posted without the knowledge of the person whose name is attached, along with a comment like "you should check this out". Obviously I don't know what happened in this situation but in general if a Facebook post seems out of character, or the thing being advertised is really weird/dodgy, it's worth asking whether the person actually did post it. And also worth scanning your computer for malware. Apologies if this seems obvious.

Unknown said...

I disagree, Defying Gravity. I don't think the onus is on Dave to find out if maybe there is another explanation. People have been making excuses for bullies for as long as there have been people, and it doesn't help the victims at all. If this was malware that spammed for a product to sell, isn't it a coincidence that it was a product that would hurt Dave? Most of the spam I see is for (redated a few topics that would probably call all the spam bots in Canada). None of those would have been hurtful to Dave. That suggests this was a targeted attack.

But lets say that it was malware, or that their terrible cousin did it, or that it was the cat walking across the keyboard. Even so, it is still the responsibility of the Facebook user to make a heartfelt (if not grovelling) apology for what was done with their account. It's not Dave's job to play detective on their behalf.

I think un-Friending was appropriate. It's exactly what I would have done.

Unknown said...

I read your post yesterday and recognised the 'giving excuses for peoples behaviour' as something I've done at times on your comments page here. I'm sorry for unmeaningly being part of the problem.

I am also a multiple-minoritied person whos experienced lifelong discrimination, weirdness and inhumanity and it matters to me to try to understand the whys behind the wtf's. It matters that conversations about not-ok behaviour arent reduced to 'what a terrible person' because that othering stops people looking at their own behaviour and thinking and lets people stay comfortably in la la land where everyones good and kind and decent except for the odd bad apple, and that means nothing changes in the world I have to live in. I am impatient for change.

BUT those nuances and explanations matter in conversations at a distance from the event, they're totally inappropriate in conversations with the victim whos expressing their pain at being on the receiving end and if you were describing an experience to me face to face I'd be very clear on that distinction in my mind. On your public blog thats read and commented on by other people its not always so clear and I've sometimes lost sight of the flesh n blood person behind the written words. You are right to call me and others out on that, I have heard and will be more thoughtful in future

Anonymous said...

I don't think you need to feel bad about unfriending that person. You don't even know them, and what they did was not friendly. Why should they have access to your personal profile, even if you have different privacy settings for different groups?

I have not unfriended many people. But when I have, it's because that person takes from me instead of giving. And it's not that I don't give, and friends don't take--but there's always a balance point. If I see someone's name come up and it gives me a sinking feeling, well, we're not really friends. It doesn't mean I wish them ill. But it does mean that they are draining in a way that I can't afford.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Just to clarify about the comment, it was not send by malware, it was sent by someone on my friend list, who has read this and apologized by saying that it was meant to be helpful not insensitive. The original comment and the apology were posted to my page and I deleted them immediately upon reading them. I didn't delete out of anger, I did so out of consideration. I don't use this blog to identify specific people and I didn't want to centre out the writer of those comments even though I found the comment, because I went in trusting, quite hurtful.

Dave Hingsburger said...

h smith,

I value your comments and I'm ok with people coming up with alternate versions for the behaviour I encounter. I wasn't writing this to stifle conversation. I was just trying to say that justifying the behaviour of a bully by suggesting that I'm, just because I am, responsible for it. That happens here on this blog rarely.

wheeliecrone said...

It is really horrible to have your trust betrayed.

When you choose to befriend someone, it is a vote of trust. And you don't expect people you trust to kick you in the guts.

UnFriending that person was entirely appropriate.

You are a valuable person, Dave. There are many, many people in the Blogosphere who recognise your expertise as a person with a disability who has worked in the "disability sector" for many years. We want to read what you write. We want to see what you have to say. There is much wisdom in what you write.

Please, Dave, don't let the turkeys get you down.

Yours is an important voice.

Unknown said...

It isnt stifling conversation to point out that as well as a teacher, writer and advocate you are also a human being who gets wounded by thoughtlessness and who sometimes needs to just vent and be heard, like every other person on the planet. As happyturtle said, sometimes it doesnt matter if it was 'the cat walking across the keyboard wot did it', it just matters that it happened and hurt and only supportive responses are needed. Other times its fine to wade in with alternative perspectives and advice etc but recognising the difference matters.

Its 'never' ok to justify a bullys behaviour by blaming/putting the responsibility on something about, or the existence of, the bullied, and its horrific how frequently and blatantly thats done to you. But its also really tiring and wound-scraping when recountings of bad treatment are met with well meaning but diminishing responses 'all the flabbergasting time', I know this from my own life and I related to everything you wrote.

But I also realised that although you werent thinking of an occasional blog commentor stranger when you wrote it, some of my comments have made me one of the many unthinking drips in the overflowing sink that youre sick of getting splashed by. And I know that its a miniscule drip and my recognition and vow to be more aware in future has absolutely no practical effect on your life or wellbeing at all, which is why I didnt comment on your original post. But when the world you encounter is so full of strangers who dont hear you and wont stop being drips or bullys I wanted you to hear that some strangers do hear and (try to) learn from your voice.