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Thursday, January 21, 2010

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find Out What It Means to Me.

I never know quite how to react when the vulnerability I willingly accept along with the many wonderful and life-blessing privileges of blogging crosses that line from friendly and engendering to confrontational. When you write about your life and your loves and your worries and trials and laughter and joy for all the world (or any small part of it that so chooses) to share, you know you're opening yourself up to both the beauty of connection and empathy and friendship but also to, well, that OTHER STUFF. Thankfully there's been so very little of that OTHER STUFF as I've opened up my heart and soul here that when a bit of it comes along it always takes me by surprise and disappoints me.

The blogging community I've happily stumbled into here brings me so much joy every day (well, every day I have time to join in, anyway!) - so many laughs, so many tears, sad and happy, so much support in the rough times and so many virtual hugs and high-fives and happy dances in the times we all celebrate. Wow, when you stop to ponder, it's just plain phenomenal, isn't it? I know y'all who blog (and even some who don't blog but have developed strong, real relationships and a firm place within the community anyway) know what I mean. We are all so alike in many respects, and yet each such unique individuals. And in our similarities and differences, we share and support and build up and love one another and one anothers' families. We don't agree on everything, but we respect and support each other as people and friends.

And we do it willingly and we do it SO WELL. I LOVE THAT. Don't you?

I JUST LOVE IT. I crave it. It's something I can't imagine giving up, now that I've got it, you know? I'm fully-invested in this -- whether I can find time to read and write daily or just weekly, it's so rewarding -- I'd even say it's crucial or vital to who I am. Makes me a better mother, wife, friend and person.

So last night, when my email alerted me to a new comment on this post, which really isn't a post at all, just a link to my regular Monday feature over at 5 Minutes for Parenting, and I opened it and read the harsh and completely unwarranted comment, I felt betrayed. Hey, I understand a difference of opinion, oh yes ma'am I do. I don't bring up controversial subjects here (or at least I don't do it willingly!) but in real life, I'm not afraid of a debate and I do hold strong opinions about some things. We all do. But I am a woman who believes what she believes AND respects the right of other people to believe what they believe. I might not agree with you, but you won't catch me insulting you or dismissing you because of that. And if I'm ever led to engage you about our differences (which is rare, let me assure you), I try do it gently and in the spirit of two mutually-respectful adults trying to find common ground. (I've slipped up and fired a bullet of my own here and there, but I'm human, too.)

I expect others to show me that same respect. That's the conduct appropriate for our community (and society in general, I'd argue) and I don't think, despite the fact that we're all FREE to say what we want on-line or elsewhere, (which I suppose is a wonderful freedom, but also always seems to be the leading justification for people who write and say hateful and offensive things), it's too much to ask. If you're thinking of shooting off a comment that because of its nature or content you aren't comfortable owning it or attaching to your true identity, just don't do it. If it must be said, then email me, or if you know me, call me. Whatever. Just don't try to turn my little corner of the blogosphere into a place of conflict and disrespect.

This is not that kind of place, and these, my family, friends and I, are not that kind of people.

And that's the end of that little episode.

Have a great day, y'all!



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15 comments:

  1. :o) You're the best.
    I think the only thing I disagree with you on is whether or not pimento-cheese is any good or not. :o)

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  2. Ah but you haven't tried *my* pimiento and cheese!

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  3. I can't believe someone would randomly attack you like that, let alone do it anonymously! Did they just need to vent? What could that possibly accomplish?

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  4. some behavior in the blogosphere reminds me of driving. encased in cars, we feel anonymous. we'd never cut in front of someone or be mean and not let them merge when they need to like that if we were walking or something! but somehow in our cars, we feel like its okay. blogging makes people feel like they can say whatever - things they would never say to someone's face!

    don't let the haters get you down, sweetie!!

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  5. Unfortunately there be trolls living in the blogosphere. Big ugly anonymous trolls that only wish to spread hate, controversy and ugliness. I don't think it is anything personal. Just their agenda.

    Kudos to Al for his even-handed response. And Kudos to you for not allowing the troll's ugliness to beget more ugliness!

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  6. I am boggled that anyone would say that with any degree of seriousness! I suppose there will always be hateful people that are jealous of your beautiful babies and happy marriage. Keep up the wonderful work! I love your blog!

    ~Meghan

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  7. I just can't see the point of leaving stupid obnoxious anonymous comments like that! They obviously do not read your blog, because if they did, and they knew how lovely and sweet you are, they couldn't possibly have left such a rude comment!

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  8. Arrrgghh! First my comment didn't get posted, and then I stupidly hit the post button before I finished typing my name! I am 'l' above. :)

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  9. First, I feel like I should apologize, Megan, because I'm pretty sure I'm in love with Al. That man of yours is awesome. I just admire him with everything in me.

    Second, if someone has something to say that's disagreeable AND they leave it anonymously, it should be deleted and/or ignored. I know it's impossible to not let it bother you, but obviously, they have NO IDEA what they are talking about and they are just trying to cause trouble. Don't reward them.

    Also, I know people, in case you should like some of my people to track down those people and, well, let's just say make their acquaintance. ;-)

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  10. Hateful people need to go take a pill and quit making anonymous accusations. This has me steamed!

    Your husband is a gracious and mature person to respond in the way that he did. Kudos.

    Nate's Mom

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  11. Very classy response by both you and Al to a very unclassy comment. It saddens me that so many years later people still see in black and white.

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  13. Dude. Turn off anonymous commenting. If someone really wants to leave a comment, they can still choose the name/URL option and not fill in the URL. People who don't have the courage to put their name to a comment don't deserve to be dignified with a response.

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  14. I hate it you had to go through that. I've pretty much decided if I don't agree with something, I just don't comment. And I often find myself wishing other people did the same! : )

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  15. "If you're thinking of shooting off a comment that because of its nature or content you aren't comfortable owning it or attaching to your true identity, just don't do it."

    Preach on sista! Preach on.

    Nell

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Thoughts?