Thursday, October 25, 2012

What did you just say to me?

You all know I have a lot of friends on Facebook that I talk to on a daily basis. And for the most part most of you do as well. And you know those times when you are looking through your news feed and you see a quote or a post that seems to be just what you needed to hear that day? That makes you smile. Or makes you think. Or someone posts something on your wall at just the time you needed it most. I have a good friend who is a master at this. She seems to know just when I need a little encouragement or shot of good will and will post just a quick note to let me know she is thinking of me and she loves me. I try to return the favor but as you all know I am pretty lousy at that sort of thing. I think about it, but I don't always remember to follow through (excuse me for a minute while I dash off to post something to her while I am thinking about it).

You all also know those conversations that happen on Facebook where a friend posts something, a link, their status, and everyone comments. And sometimes you end up talking with friends of friends that you wouldn't normally ever meet. Sort of like a party at their house. All of their friends are there but you might only know them or a few other people. But you still all talk. And then there is that line where you aren't sure if you should comment or not. Like when someone posts something on your friend's wall. It's a message from them personally and you wonder, it like eavesdropping if I pop in here and say something? I usually look at it as the same party atmosphere. If I was at a party and saw two friends talking I would go up and join the conversation. If I saw my friend talking to someone I didn't know and it looked like a serious conversation I wouldn't. 

Now you are all wondering where this is headed right? Well that's because I am stalling. You all know I write about pretty much every momentous thing in my life. It's kind of a joke. If it happened and I didn't blog about it did it really happen? I write about good stuff and bad. I write about happy days and sad days. I sort of feel compelled to write it down to sort it all out and then move on. This is something I've been debating about writing about since it happened and I kept pushing it off. I didn't feel like I had fully worked through all of the ramifications, and I'm still not positive that I have. But it's time. So here we go...

A year ago I was having an online conversation with a friend of mine and a friend of theirs said the vilest thing to me. I'm not going to repeat it, because I've given it too much head space already, but just know that it was bad enough I had a physical reaction when I read it. I actually recoiled. I was reading Facebook on my phone and shut off my phone and put it down away from me. It was a strong enough reaction that Brent asked what was wrong. And when I told him what was said I could feel myself going pale. It was just shocking to me. I logged back on and deleted the entire wall post from my friend's wall because I didn't want anyone else to see it. It was that ugly.

Not because someone said something mean. People say mean things all the time. Especially online. But because this person didn't know me but didn't hesitate for a second in posting something that was beyond mean and well in to vile. They are a friend of my friend. They came in on a conversation we were having and felt the need to be deeply nasty to me out of the blue. I sent my friend a private message that basically said, "Did she say what I think she just said?" and yes, that's what she said. Now here's the thing, I can give you every excuse for why she said what she did. She was drunk. She was trying to be tough. She wasn't looking me in the eye so it was easy to spit venom at me. But all of those are excuses for bad behavior. And that's what it was. Bad online behavior. Because being slightly anonymous makes people brave. I say slightly in this case because I could see her name, I know she is a friend of my friend, so she wasn't totally in the clear, like most internet trolls are. But she didn't know me. She had never met me, so I wasn't real to her.

And the other thing is that I am sure that if you were to talk to her today about it she wouldn't even remember it. It wouldn't have made that big of a difference in her life. And for me it actually changed my view on part of my world. Like I told you earlier it happened a year ago. I don't mean last Fall, or around this time. I mean a year ago today. I know the day it happened. I know the time of night it happened. I know what was said, I know how I reacted, I know how my friend reacted and I know what else it set in motion and what the aftermath of it was. It was that profound to me. It was that big of a deal. To me. Not to everyone. To me.

And over the past year it's popped in to my head at random times. At first every time it did I was shocked all over again. Then I was mad. Then madder still. Since this person actually lives in my area of the country there was a stretch a few months after she said what she she did that I thought about driving over and visiting with her. Just to look her in the face and ask her to say it again. To see if she could. Once I was real. As you know Bad Denise was well in favor of this plan, Good Denise talked her down from the ledge. Because once the mad started to wear off the sad hit. Sad that she would feel the need to say something horrible to a stranger. And sad that I might have been guilty of the same sort of thing.

You all know I look for the lessons in life. There were a few with this one. Like I said, it changed the way I viewed the world in a few ways. One of those ways was to wonder if I had ever done something like that. Obviously not on the scale she did. But have I ever popped off something snarky to someone that then left my head as not important but stuck with them? That caused them pain or doubt or changed them in some way? I know when I was younger I did. Have I done it as a grown ass woman? Have I ever let my tongue get ahead of my heart? Probably.

So a year later I look back and I realize she did me a favor. She reminded me that everyone, no matter how well they think they have it together, no matter how set they are in their ways, no matter how comfortable in their skin they are, no matter how awesome their theme music is, everyone can be hurt by the right combination of words. And that I need to make sure I am doing my best to watch mine.

And I need to hide the car keys when Bad Denise wants to go for a drive....

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