I've tried. I might be shooting myself in the foot or the ass or some other vital body part, but I do it knowingly.
I can't let it go.
One of the most uncomfortable things I've ever witnessed is going down on Twitter today.
I love the Twitter community. I love the support, the laughs, the tweets that have turned into emails that have turned into phone calls, cupcake dates and friendships. I love the way writers rush to console and celebrate with one another. Love it.
What hurts me personally is when one person, a person with power and influence and an audience, decides that the public humiliation of one individual is what's on the schedule for today.
I'm not naming names or posting links or pointing fingers. I won't do it, don't ask me. All I'm doing is asking this question:
What defines bullying?
The Young Adult author community came together recently over the death of Phoebe Prince. Carrie Jones and Megan Kelley Hall formed a Facebook group and are working hard with other writers to grow awareness and support.
Phoebe was harassed and targeted at her high school, and one day she walked home from school and straight into a noose.
Because things were bad. Because people made fun of her. Because she didn't feel like there was another option.
Say you interview for a job at the Sardine Factory and you don't get it. Instead of a polite "Thank You For Your Time" note you send the interviewer a "You're a Stupid Douchebag" note.
This isn't wise, is it?
But obviously, you're not in a completely "right" state of mind or you wouldn't have sent that note in the first place, would you? Maybe you're anti-social, or maybe your mama didn't raise you right. Maybe you were just sad and you made a poor choice. I've done that.
But is it a better choice for the Sardine Factory president to post the "You're a Stupid Douche Bag" note on the company web site's homepage? Or to encourage employees to write ugly limericks about you on the bathroom walls?
Is it a better choice for that interviewer to tell everyone else in the sardine business that you aren't fit for marketing and sales or packing and shipping?
Sardine business people are pretty smart. They can figure these things out for themselves. And if not, maybe the company prez can mention it to them in an anecdotal type way at the yearly Sardine Convention.
Over Pina Coladas.
Because maybe working at a the Sardine Factory is your lifelong dream. Maybe you've sacrificed everything - free time, relationships, sanity - to make it come true. And now, because of one bonehead move, you've been publicly crucified.
How do you feel? Are you shamed? Yes. Have you learned your lesson? Maybe.
Is your heart in a better state than it was when you sent the original Stupid Douche Bag letter?
I grieve for the person that is taking a beating on Twitter today. I've made NUMEROUS bonehead moves in my life (and y'all, this post might be one of them). I've had people who've shown me grace and people who haven't. I've been forgiven and screwed up again. I'll screw up several more times before it's all over with, probably at least three more times today.
I learned the most from the people who forgave me. Receiving grace from others teaches me how to give grace to myself. When you can give yourself room - to grow or change or get out of a situation - when you have others around you to gently point you in the right direction - a noose ceases to be an option.
Just think about what bullying means.
And don't do it.