Bullies hide in plain site because they often look more like Mean Girls than the Simpsons characters...this makes them far more dangerous in my opinion. They don't attack with fists, but little jabs that are often not said to the victim, but instead about them in front of a group or in secret creating a buzz that comes back. Marcia posted awhile back about her youngest being the target of bullying and then she asked “have you ever been bullied?” I had an immediate gut reaction to her post that brought back all the trauma of my own middle school experiences. I let it go at that time not wanting to open that wound, but recent posts have really angered because I feel like blogger bullying is on the rise and not from people who don’t blog, but from those within this great community we have collectively developed.
This weekend the bullies who can hide comfortably behind their computer screens emerged in mass with their posts and I’m sure what they believed were witty comments or a show of solidarity. First were comments about attendees at HLS and second was a post whose commenters took it upon themselves to berate someone for their appearance. (I am linking to neither because I don’t want to promote them.)
I’m sure these people don’t look in the mirror and say “I’m a bully”, but they are. Perez Hilton believed for years he was in the right…until he had to face people in person and start to see the effects that words have. If you are reading this thinking it couldn’t possibly apply to you because you simply “speak your opinion” let me be clear having an opinion about a topic is not the same as tearing someone down for belonging to a group, looking a certain way or simply because you choose not to like them without fully knowing who they are.
Who is a blogger bully? A bully:
- Berates someone for being outside the box they have created
- Leaves snarky comments with an “anonymous” name because they’re too cowardly to face the fall out
- Leaves snarky comments with their real name for things they would never say in person
- Makes snarky comments in front of a group to embarrass someone - this also makes you an a**hole in case you are wondering.
Still confused or wonder if you might be passing on some bad habits then checkout thebullyproject.com.
Does this mean you can’t ever disagree with someone? NO. Disagreeing means that you are open to having a conversation about a topic, not degrading someone for who they are. Rachel Wilkerson holds great lively debates on her blog about many topics. Blogs allow us the freedom to share opinions with people around the world. But Bullies aren’t interested in the whole story or even in a discussion, they have a single agenda which is to put someone down…I think the most rampant expression of this I’ve seen repeatedly lately is that a healthy living blogger must look a certain way.
Again, I’ve never claimed perfection on this blog, just progress. I know I made some very nasty remarks to someone that is now a dear friend when we were younger because I didn’t really understand the impact of words. She is an amazing person to let my comments go, but I have become far more conscious of how I speak about others since then. Yet I remain an honest, blunt, straight forward person, which means people I dislike are generally pretty aware of my feelings; it’s one of my larger faults some would say.
Running is probably the saving grace that helped me to get past being the recipient of some middle school mean girls barbs. It allowed me to tap into an inner strength that I wasn’t aware I had. All from putting one foot in front of the other and doing something that so many others can’t or won’t. Allowing me to join a new group of people made up of all shapes, sizes, races, genders, ages, religions, and more. It’s an all encompassing sport if you are willing to just show up.
This weekend also made me realize how much I have grown into my own skin and how at the same time unkind words still suck. I love this community for the support it provides, but the mean girls club still exists in adulthood and I have to admit that shocks me.
"Be careful of the words you say,
Keep them short and sweet.
You never know, from day to day,
Which ones you'll have to eat."
I am grateful for each experience that has lead me to be a better person. Good and bad they have shaped me and will continue to mold me.