Friday, August 14, 2015

anonymity, online stalking & bullying, authenticity & more

Recently I had my first experience with the joy of internet troll-dom in the form of an anonymous blog commenter. I've been blogging for ten years now off and on and it wasn't until about two weeks ago that I have ever set my blog comments to not allow anonymous comments. It's never been a problem for me. I process carefully what I want to say and how I want to say it. And its worked very well for me and will continue to do so.

It probably comes as little surprise to know that the comments were left on my post where I shared my heart and my story about the ending of a friendship. In the comments left, I was called to task about my statement of wanting to live beautifully and authentically. The person felt that their perusal (which honestly feels a bit eerily more like online stalking) of my Pinterest justified this. And it wasn't even my pins/repins, but my likes, as the ones that were quoted were never in fact things that I had pinned.  And trust me, I feel silly even typing these words, as the thought of being literally spied on online by such silly means is completely ridiculous.

I was questioned as to if the pins (sarcastic and snarky in nature) I'd liked were my idea of living authentically and beautifully.

My answer is two-fold:
AUTHENTIC: not false or copied; genuine; real. 
  1. Yes. Striving for authenticity in my life means that I be genuine and real in how I feel. If I'm angry, I am perfectly allowed to be angry. If I am hurt, I am allowed to be hurt. If I have been in unhealthy situation, I can talk about my experience. I can express how I feel. So without a doubt, allowing myself to feel and express myself honestly is authentic. 
  2. There is a difference between re-pinning something and liking it. One that I feel is silly to have to point out and explain. When I re-pin something, I'm saying that I personally want to share it actively with all of the people who follow me. When I like something, it can be for any one of many reasons... because it made me smile. Because it made me chuckle. Because it's a friends post, etc. I have a sarcastic and snarky sense of humor and sometimes things that others may find objectionable are funny to me. I don't have to apologize for or try to change that in myself.  It is who I authentically am.
Had these comments not been left anonymously with the intent to discredit or hurt me without personal repercussion, I would have posted them and responded to them there. And my one, heartfelt and carefully composed post would have been my only mention at all of the whole thing on my little piece of the web, left to quietly fade off of the first page and generally be forgotten.

I did respond on Pinterest. I pinned (not liked) an e-card that said something along the lines of "Your anonymous comments on my blog really put me in my place" and within minutes there was a new anonymous comment on my blog, snarkily saying something along the line of "but they got my attention *wink*" Yes. Leaving a comment on a blog is what you do when you want the authors attention. To which I responded with a note that I screen capped and pinned.

I've also since removed all my liked pins as I will not have a simple click of a heart be held against me and as a tool to perpetuate drama, abuse, harassment and hurt. I will no longer allow myself to be bullied or harassed by this situation and anyone in it or who has placed themselves within it, in person or online. The madness has got to stop... and this is only the latest in several months of different bullying and harassing tactics done by grown adults within this situation. No more.

It's an odd thing to know that a person, maybe more than one person, is watching your online activity to this degree. Trying to decode, and apply everything said to themselves or the other person in the failed relationship. BUT, it's an invasion of privacy and honestly it's creepy. And as of tonight's posting of this blog, I have received emails that I had requested a Facebook password reset, which I did not request, most likely meaning that the person or persons doing this are trying to gain access to login in to my Facebook account. It's stalking and ultimately, it's a weapon of control, harassment and bullying. And trying to break into my accounts is probably not legal. Especially considering the fact that the person or persons doing this are doing it for the person that in this whole scenario, pulled the online plug on me first by blocking me on facebook and severing the tool that we used for communication the most.

I understand the curiosity of it all when a relationship ends. Are they saying things about you? Are they better without you? Are they worse? I have no mistaken assumption of privacy online. It doesn't exist. I just hope that adults would make better and healthier choices. Trust me, I fight the urge everyday to check up on things and answer those questions. But I don't. Because it is toxic and unhealthy behavior. And I don't surround myself with people who will do it for me and report back either. Because my tribe consists of those who won't participate the drama, the pain and the disfunction of it all. A friend is not someone who goes looking for bad news to deliver to your door.

I will say this... 
I don't think my former friend is the one who is doing this.
I hope and pray that I am right. Because when I agreed that the friendship had run it's course and said that I was done trying as well, I wished her well and I meant it. I still mean it. 

I am still healing my hurt, I still have anger at what was done to me and the grief of a loss of a friend and a promise of forever. Authenticity and beauty in life is not always sunshine and roses and only nice things... often times it is raw anger, ugly cries to no one and snarky thoughts that we go through to get to the other side of pain. 

Authenticity and beauty in life is not stalking, harassing or bullying anyone intentionally. Ever.

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