“Good Lord…no they…yep…they did” was my reaction to the action on Social Media several times this week. Some truly awful stuff has been said in this fandom. I really wish I could figure out an effective way to call people on their shite that didn’t involve then becoming the target of every angry frustrated person anonymously sitting behind a keyboard spewing hate or then finding yourself caught up in a fight you never wanted in the first place!
If you have ever been the target of this mean-spirited “stuff” you know the struggle. Do you strike back or stay silent? If you strike back how do you stop yourself from sliding down that slippery slope of bad behavior? You’ve all seen it happen. One comment leads to two and then three and then the name-calling begins and the next thing you know you’re crawling around in the mud with the others. Staying silent. Not sure that solves anything either. It seems wrong somehow to let some of this outrageousness go unchallenged. Is silence the same as encouragement? I’m not sure I know the answer, but I’m trying very hard to follow my own advice. I’ve always told my children to pick their battles carefully. So, I ask myself how important is this person’s opinion really? If I can recognize the ludicrous, I’m sure others can too. Words can hurt, but I try to let it go because holding a grudge or withholding forgiveness always hurts me more.
There is an old saying that “It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good” and despite the petty intentions of the name-calling, shaming, and judging ill wind in this fandom something good happened as a result. This morning I learned that a a fellow fan, a mother who lost her baby to a drunk driver, was moved by listening to other fans talk about forgiveness. The same anonymity that allows others to say vile things they would never say to someone’s face allowed her to ask questions and discuss something she has struggled with for 30 years…forgiveness. I can just hear someone minimizing and questioning how talking about the trolling and attacking in this fandom could possibly have made a difference. I don’t know why and quite frankly, I don’t care because this woman was able to share her grief and celebrate her child’s life this morning.
This morning, I’m grateful because the good has out weighed the bad and encouragement, friendship and kindness has won the day. I learned again that our words do have power and the act of simply allowing folks a safe forum to explore ideas is more valuable than we know. I was reminded once again that we are all connected by the human experiences we’ve navigated; grief, loneliness, joy, perseverance, and…forgiveness.
God bless Mary and all the women who mourn a child. God bless those folks who are open enough to listen without judging and discuss without condemnation.