Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Woman's Blog is Her Castle

I was involved in a bit of a dust-up a few days ago on someone else's site. When I say "dust-up" what I mean is that it was an exchange that went a bit like this:

Other Person: People who [X] are a-holes! No exceptions. You just suck. I don't even want to hear about it. You are wrong!
Me: Hey, I take exception to you calling me names and judging a situation you know nothing about.
OP: I'm going to call you more names. How dare you try to censor me?! I don't care if I lose a reader! I'm a human! I'm a wonderful parent! Go [do something I'm not going to repeat here].
Me: Again, I take exception to you calling me names and judging my situation, but whatever. You're entitled.
OP: (maybe if I don't look at her, she's not really there. ignore, ignore, ignore)

I know. Classy, right?

Was I hurt? Tremendously. Should I have been? Probably not. But I'm a wuss. Yes, it made me cry. Pitiful, no? I really could use a thicker skin. But until that happens, I'll work through things by writing about them here on my site.

I think what made this episode so painful was that it came out of left field and completely caught me off guard. Of all the things to be judged on as a mother, I never would have expected this one. Breastfeeding? Vaccinations? Co-Sleeping? Spanking? I can listen to views opposite my own, no matter how venomously voiced, no matter how knock-down, drag-out ugly it gets (and if you're a mom, you know how ugly it can get!) all day long with nary a twinge or a cringe.

But this left me feeling as if someone had knocked me down in the dirt and then spit on my face.

Should I have seen it coming? Possibly. All over the site, they insist they are always right, warn that they are difficult to get along with, and most of the posts are about what a wonderful job they are doing as a parent, because they do [XYZ], and if you don't, well, then they simply don't want to know you. But up till now they've also allowed for a difference of opinion. I've never seen it get so ugly, even over the big issues.

I am as opinionated as the next person. Possibly even more so. But what I am not is confrontational. So I end up writing alot of what I'd like to say, but probably never really would, on this blog. The difference being that although I may not have the nerve to say it to your face, I at least would not be embarassed if you happened to find me here and read what I've said about you.

I also have to admit I am curious about the two small children whose parent this is. Will they read the exchange several years down the road? What will they think? Is this person going to teach these children that that's the way to resolve conflict? Is that the sort of compassion and tolerance these children will grow up and take into the world?

One thing I know is that there are fewer moral absolutes than people would like to believe. It would take an awful lot for me to start calling names and spewing filth (or it could merely take you spamming my comments while I'm in the midst of a particularly nasty bout with PMS).

I'm not trying to be holier-than-thou. I'm not trying to censor you if you happen to want your own blog or site to be a bit more in-your-face and crude. To each his own.

But this here site is MY own, and this is me having my say. And what I have to say is this:

At some point down the road, I'm sure my sons are going to see the things I've written on this site, and I'd like to think that any awkward explaining I have to do about what's here will be kept to a bare minimum. I hope I'll be able to hold my head high knowing that I've treated my readers and commenters fairly, even (and especially) when they disagree with me. I hope the example I've set here will be parallel to the example I set for them in the "real" world. I want them to see me sticking up for what I feel is right, and voicing my opinions and being strong, but I want them to also know that dissent can be done without dragging myself or others through the mud.


Jamie said...

I have to tell you...I have no use for sites like that. I joined a local FL group once and was AMAZED at how the members spoke to one another and the language they used. And it was a bunch of sahm's! Good for you for standing up for yourself. I for one, would much rather visit your blog than a place where ignorant people run rampant!

mommy said...

I've seen some ugly things, too. Par for the course, I think, though I will never understand it. This was the first time it's been directed at me personally, though. I'm still working through it a little, but then I'm known to be a little overly sensitive at times.

Thanks for supporting me. You're wonderful.