When I started Grade Nine, all knees and elbows and lady parts I didn’t know what to do with, when I was 13 or maybe 14, I don’t remember, I walked into the yard of that new school, I screwed up my courage getting off that bus, walked towards the door and heard those words.
“You look like a boy. You dyke.”
Hardly anything to be terrified by. I was big, I was different, I was obviously uncomfortable in my skin. She jumped all over that. Her words were made scary by the look in her eyes. Feral. A 19 year old bullying a 14 year old-she’d have to be like a rabid dog.
She went away. And I learned not to give a shit.
I haven’t been bullied in a very long time. I’m not much for other people, and generally, if I don’t respect you, you can’t hurt me.
That is, until I done did a stupid, and suddenly it was ok the smear me against the wall over and over and over again.
Ever cringed when you open a link? Ever sat stupefied, reading about how you’ve sent “a band of vengeful followers” to do…something-my bidding I guess? Ever sat back and thought, well now, all I did was write something dumb-I didn’t make signs and write songs so every one would see-why am I the bad guy? Why do I keep reading things saying that my ability to be a parent should be questioned, that since I’m bipolar, everyone knows I’m going to abuse my children, it’s proven by studies!
I’ve had to stomach the internet’s version of the big, blind, mulleted, closeted lesbian bully. And it sucks ASS.
I haven’t said much. I’ve kept it, mostly, here, conversations with friends online, my head. I’ve thought about how no one seems to understand that a visit from CAS isn’t something to trifle with in the best of times, how they don’t get that fear, the fear the comes with knowing that 90% of the people you talk to think that because you’re mentally ill, you’re hazardous, and should perhaps be labelled as such. I’ve thought about context, and how no one seems to have any, cherry picking posts to illustrate their points, and refusing to look at the obvious joy I hold for my children.
I’ve thought about how I’ve been quiet through most of this, and taken it. How I’ve strived to be the better person, strived to silent the mob because no one believes all of a story anyway.
It didn’t matter.
I’ve read that I “got what was coming to me”
I’m sure I would have appreciated that if I had to spend the next month fighting to get my children back.
I’ve been called a “princess”
Because no one could be bothered to directly contact me before notifying hundreds of people.
I’ve read that I need counselling, that I’m destroying my daughter’s self worth.
Because my parenting can be judged based on what I write here, the place I let loose the dogs of my head.
I’ve read I did it all for traffic.
On a site without ad revenue, with an author who has turned down numerous chances to increase traffic.
Because I’m bipolar. Because I’m bipolar. Because I’m bipolar.
You get it yet? I can’t be trusted, because I’m bipolar. This only happened, because I’m bipolar. I must be questioned, my children protected, because I’m bipolar.
Someone got excited, and i could have lost my children. But I had it coming, right? I should pay for having the nerve to open my mouth without a smiley face or something just as inane attached to it.
The past week or so has felt like being attacked by invisible ghosts-opening my email could become this perilous foray into what people thought was wrong with me. Following a link to make sure nothing even worse was said left me unable to eat for the majority of 3 or 4 days. I’ve had the specter of that Grade Nine bully hanging over me, again because I’ve put something out there. I’ve opened myself up-I’ve hung the grand flag of weird.
I’ve admitted a mistake. I’ve admitted I am not perfect. I have not lied, backpaddled, or whined that the world isn’t fair. I’ve taken my lumps, and am now dealing with the fact that my name is slandered across the internet as some sort of cautionary tale for the mom-set, if I’m not being condescended to as a “mommy blog”. I’m being pointed to as a “what if”-remember the pregnant girl in the neighbourhood and one of your parents would wag a finger and tell you NO! Yeah, I’m that giant fricken belly.
I’m not a monster. I’m not a frivolous “mom” bouncing around making muffins and watching Oprah. I’m not out to eat my children, in fact I know I’m a DAMN good mother, and no amount of someone calling the police will change that certainty. I am a frail, tired human being somedays, just like you are. Difference being, I’m willing to admit it, and sometimes, my honesty gets the better of me. I spent years never saying anything meaningful to anyone, and I never want to live that way again.
And the judgement. Sigh….why can’t we all be the types of mother’s we are-be it happy bouncy muffin moms or moms like me, who despite roadblocks, love and parent their children fiercely, even if it’s a little differently. Why do we fight against each other, assume one side knows better? Why do I judge you sometimes, because you maybe don’t have the same problems, or any it seems.
Seems is apparently the word that got a LOT of us in trouble, and will continue to do so. It seemed like I was dangerous. It seemed like someone just wanted attention. It seems like I have minions. It seems like I don’t appreciate that someone cared.
Seems we all have something to learn.