A few days ago I received an unkind comment on my blog. The comment was made by an anonymous user with a fake email address. I can handle criticism, even when it comes in the form of cowardice, but this particular comment crossed a line. It went beyond mere vitriol. This comment attacked not only me and my character, it also attacked my family.
I will be the first to admit that I am a deeply flawed person with a closet full of skeletons. I understand that by choosing to publish my personal thoughts — on the internet, no less — I open myself up to attack from people who may disagree with me or simply not like me. Fair enough.
I will not concede, however, that this blog affords anyone the right to attack my family.
My first reaction when I read the comment was anger. You are an alcoholic adulterer. You control people and when you can’t control someone you push them away. You bought your two kids so you could control them. You shouldn’t have kids. My anger quickly gave way to fear. Someone should stop you.
A million thoughts raced through my mind. Why would someone write this? Who would write this? I read the comment again, the whole comment, and there it was lost in the rambling — a detail only a handful of people could know. And suddenly I realized this anonymous coward hiding behind his/her computer screen was someone I knew. Six degrees of separation.
You shouldn’t have kids. Someone should stop you.
That threat kept me up all night. The next day I marked my blog private, effectively shutting it down.
I am always trying to teach my children lessons. Lately we have been struggling to teach Chris how best to stand up for himself. We want to nurture his confidence and encourage him to be proud of who he is — to own everything, the weird and wonderful. Of course the best way to teach is to lead by example.
If I want my son to stand up for himself, then the first thing I need to do is stand up for myself.
My blog is not going to be private. I’m not going to be bullied into submission by some lonely coward spewing hate from the comfort of his/her sad and empty life. You don’t get to win.
So this is what I’m going to do: I’m going to find out who you are. Somehow. And once I definitively find out who you are I am going to expose you on this blog and Facebook and any other relevant medium. I will publish your original message, as nasty and unflattering as it was to me, so everyone will know what a pathetic coward you are. I will take away your power. And here’s the thing — all those people you think I control — whatever the hell that even means — they like me and my family a helluva lot more than they like you.
Don’t fuck with me. Don’t fuck with my family. Unlike you, I rather enjoy face-to-face confrontation. Unlike you, I have a happy-if-not-always-perfect relationship. Unlike you, I have a son. Unlike you, I never settled. Unlike you, I am not a coward.