Okay so I was this braced faced dorky kid from a not-so-affluent area of town on the North side of Racine. North beach area to be more specific. Anyway, (location has nothing to do with it) I went to Gilmore Middle School. One day, in seventh grade I was “summoned” to my counselor’s office. He told me that it was the story in the TEACHERS’ BREAK ROOM that I was pregnant. Yes…you heard me…pregnant. I was laughing and very confused. How on earth did this get around about ME? And why one earth were the teachers discussing it?? The most confusing part was – I was a straight up virgin! And I remained so for long after that day. I am not even sure if I had French kissed a boy by that time. I seem to think not. I told this all to the counselor. Not sure if he believed me or not. I went home and told my mom what had happened – almost thinking it was funny. She didn’t see any humor in it, needless to say.
That is one example within my own realm of experience of how people just “talking” can potentially hurt a person. This was a pretty minor example, believe it or not, in contrast to other situations which have happened in my life.
The hardest was a few years ago. I have spoken of it only briefly within the larger story…but I haven’t really expressed publicly how this particular instance really effected me. I think I feel like sharing about it today.
For those of you who may not know about the life changing events which occurred in our lives a couple years ago – the story can be found here.
When I was charged with child abuse, there was a story/blog about it on The Journal Times weblog. I tried to find the link today and could not. But here is the paper version of the story which said the same thing but without the blog comments. As I have stated before, many of the statements made in their story were 100% false. But apparently people tend to believe anything they read. This was evident by the comments that were made on that blog. The blog that I was regularly a part of. A blog that was directly in front of me that very day. I watched as the horrifying comments were being posted about me – one after another. Anything from wishing I was in prison to beaten. Many of the comments were made by familiar fellow bloggers. One thing I was thankful for was the fact that no names were mentioned in the story. That was another thing that enraged the readers. They SO wanted to know who I was. I shutter to think about what would have happened had they known. There were even comments on there about my biological daughter and other personal facts which were not stated in the article – making it clear that at least one of the anonymous bloggers knew me personally. I was more beside myself than ever in my life. I cried harder than I thought was possible. I was so angry and confused. I sincerely wanted to die. I called The Journal Times and spoke to the editor. I explained to him the REAL story but he said he can only go by the police report. And of course, that was entirely one sided since I was never investigated, interviewed, arrested, represented or read my rights. But this did not matter and the story & blog were going to remain up and running.
I felt so defeated, betrayed and heartbroken. I couldn’t help but read these words that people were saying about me. I wanted to shout out and let everyone know the truth, but I couldn’t…or didn’t know how…or scared…who knows. I never thought I would get over it. And like I said, at the time…I wanted to die. If it wasn’t for Cassidy – I can almost assure you that at least an attempt would have been made. And yes, I know how that sounds. And no, it wasn’t just what people were saying about me that made me so deeply depressed. But it was enough to almost push me over the edge. Having already been accused of something so vile as child abuse, our lives being turned upside down without warning, our bank accounts being drained due to lawyer fees, worries of losing my daughter, going to jail or having this on my record…and then reading lynch mob-type comments from people in my own town…there is just no way to know how that feels unless you have been through it.
I am no angel. I talk my share of shit. Most people do…I think it is natural. But I just want to plant the seed that what you hear, read or think may be very far from the truth. And always remember that words really can hurt a person. But I think we all know that…don’t we? Talking at home in your own living room is one thing…but in the “virtual living room” consequences can grow rapidly. Anonymity has created a world of hurtful and verbally violent geeks out there just waiting to cause emotional harm to someone. Just be careful not to be one.
I am kinda jumping from one thing to another…focus is not 100% today. My apologies.
Anywho…have a good day J