The other day, a piece of mine was taken from my Facebook and messaged to someone I have no contact with because of their simpleminded meanness toward me. This person referred to me as “young dumb pussy” to my husband when we were dating. This person used to like to get drunk and spam my Twitter feed with malice. This person has actual mental health issues (most likely bipolar 1, but I’m guessing) and a long history of unbalanced behavior, but still — there’s no reason for us to speak.
The person who sent him my blog post was a woman who once referred to me as her adopted daughter. That was long ago, and we’re not that close anymore — in fact, we never met. But we had a constant Facebook relationship for a while, that simmered down into amiable acquaintanceship.
So I thought until I read the message she had mistakenly copied me in on:
“I thought of you guys when I saw the title and read the first lines–dear god. . .in case you can’t see her link, here’s the url.”
This was immediately followed by a yellow-bellied apology so transparent it could have been window glass:
“I owe you an apology. I just realized that I included you on a message I sent to —-*. A message in which my near-50 year-old self was being embarrassingly catty about your pre-30 ramblings. My face is flushed and I feel queasy from the near instantaneous karmic-bitch slap…. I am sincerely sorry.”
*Name blocked to protect the low-minded.
This kerfuffle of sorts is why I haven’t posted anything new in days — but let’s be clear. It’s not because I’m upset. I don’t do “upset” over grown adults acting like teenagers passing notes. It’s not because I’m hurt, because that would require any sort of genuine feeling attached to these people, and I’ve come up short. It’s certainly not because I’m afraid that they’ll be reading this. If they are: hello! Get a hobby!
It’s because I wanted to write about exactly this, and didn’t know what to say.
What do you say about people who search you out just to be mean-spirited? About people who, when apologizing, do so while calling your writing “pre-30 ramblings”?
Speaking of which, what does that mean? Of course the ‘ramblings’ bit is derisive, but am I to believe that once you hit 30, you cease to ramble and your writing is then validated? That in three-ish years I can be a writer with a capital W and all?
You can’t see me, but I’m rolling my eyes.
In the wake of things like Gamergate, which I do not follow or participate in, but am nevertheless aware of, there has been much talk of the right to be heard, the right to a voice. I’ve never had that right questioned until now, but it’s not irksome, or saddening, or any such thing. I simply do not give a fuck.
A trio of maladjusted idiots can’t do anything to my voice. They can pass it around and laugh at it amongst themselves, if they wish. I would choose something more constructive and age-appropriate, but to each their own. They can’t silence me, edit me, or even mean more to me than blog fodder.
As writers, as women, as people — we all suffer criticism. But words, pretty or ugly, only penetrate as far as we allow, and I simply won’t allow it. Even Ariel gave up her voice willingly, and I’m not that kind of mermaid.
I won’t ever give my voice away.