Moira here welcoming you back to another #SensualSunday post. Before I get into the main topic today I want to wish everyone a safe, and wonderful Halloween. It’s my most favorite holiday of all – ghosts, and ghouls, goblins, and all manner of spookiness. Really, it’s my kindred holiday because I’ve always been a little weird, always a prankster, and it speaks to me. So have a good one folks!
Now, onto today’s topic. Which I will warn now may well degrade into a rant, may well get some panties in a twist, and may well have some people becoming all indignant. Suck it up buttercups. If you do get your panties in a twist, or start spluttering and becoming indignant – then maybe this hits too close to home and you should really take a look at yourself. Because this is an ongoing issue that only seems to get worse the more technology takes over, and society slides deeper into the gutter. I’ve touched on this topic before, as I believe some other Naughty Quiller’s have as well, but it quite obviously needs to be mentioned yet again.
I was bullied in my teen years, junior high to be more specific. A group of three slightly older, definitely bigger girls thought I would be a great target because I was quiet, and usually had my nose stuck in a book. What I knew even before that first day of them harassing me was to give them nothing. I wouldn’t give them a response, I wouldn’t give them a look, I wouldn’t give them a hint of anything I was feeling, and most of all I wouldn’t give them the fucking time of day. They were not worth wasting a single second on.
That was then, and this is now. I’ve grown up and realize that their lives were either in turmoil, or something was going on that they felt they themselves had no self-worth. To make themselves feel better they tried to take me down a peg, and ruin who I was so they could puff themselves up. Do I occasionally think about those days they would follow me home taunting, teasing, and occasionally throwing items at my back while I purposefully ignored them or chatted about fun things with the friend at my side? Sure! Who wouldn’t when it was such a pivotal time in my life. I was … 13? … at the time give or take, that’s a tough time in any kids life. Between the hormones, the body changes, and everything else – we’re pretty damn fucked up for a while there. Not that it gets any easier in the years that immediately follow, but eventually it does and life goes on.
The times I most think back to those girls who likely had shitty lives, and felt no self-worth is when I see bullying on the Internet. Mainly on FB, but it’s everywhere – don’t be fooled into thinking it’s not. The really “good” bullies on the Net are the ones who do it on the sly, the down low, and with little tricks. These are the sick shits you have to watch out for, because they are trying to rip you to shreds anonymously. After all, how many of us can say we know the true identity of all our “friends” on social media? I can’t, I know the real names of maybe a 1/3, tops. But even then, social media and the Net provide them with a certain shroud that allows them the power to think they can say, do and get away with anything.
Some examples of bullying, especially among authors, on social media I’ve seen most recently are, but no where near limited to:
- Post pulling – This is where a bully makes a comment on a thread and then when their target speaks up to commiserate, send condolences, etc they delete their comment leaving only the reply which now makes the other individual look completely off their rocker.
- PM asides – This is where a bully, usually with a group they’ve conned into thinking they are the “victim”, black balls a person in the privacy of Private Messaging (PM’ing) all while making seemingly odd, off the wall comments in a thread conversation. The real trash talk is taking place behind the scenes while they drop seemingly benign comments that only the true victim (the bullied individual) can read into.
- Passive-aggressive “help” – This is where a bully gives you “helpful” advise while still putting you down, or belittling you. To an outsider who doesn’t know the whole truth it reads as nothing more that what it says. To the bullied individual it’s yet another cut to their heart and soul. For example, if a group of people are getting together, chatting on social media about the when and where, and suddenly the bully in the group singles out someone with a “well-intentioned helpful tip”. This is where it reads like helpful advise, or even a way out while still keeping face, in reality it is a slight, a stab to the back, and it is filled with only hateful intent. They don’t want you there because they have plans to further ostracize you in the group and it’s easier if you don’t show.
These are only but a few examples of shit bullies pull on the Net. There are so many examples that it would take me literally days to write them all up. But there is a solution. If you or someone you know is being bullied on social media, report it and warn others. They may not listen, but eventually (next week or three years down the road) that “friend” they think is the bees knees will turn on them and make them the next victim. Do not stand idly by if you witness someone, even a stranger, being bullied. We need to stop this shit, in RL and on the Net, in it’s tracks. We need to be the ones to make the Internet and all it’s social media a safe place to be once more.
Bullying is particularly rampant in the author community. I’m not talking the one to two star zingers on GR, I’m talking about the authors who play the victim on the Net to lure in “friends” to “protect” them from the “big bad”. I’m talking about the authors who are pleasant to your face, and stabbing you in the back in their next breath. I’m talking about the authors who spread rumors, and vitriol in private, yet appear helpful in public. They are NOT the victim, they ARE the disease. And it’s a disease that will take ALL of us to eradicate. Bullies on the Net are essentially stalkers. It’s true. They stalk their targeted victim, get them to open up, save up the information they’ve gathered, and then they begin their campaign to ruin them. It always starts small with something like, “hey did you hear what so-and-so said, is it true?”, but it grows quickly and insidiously.
Do not stand idly by while someone is being repeatedly targeted. Be the better human being and speak out. Tell them it’s NOT okay for them to be speaking out of turn, because they may not know the true context in which someone said something. We can all agree that we have said something in the heat of the moment that we regret when we cool down. Do YOU want that to be the ONLY thing you are EVER remembered for?
I. Think. Not.
Be better, be stronger, be a role model for others. If you screw up, own it and apologize. While the other party may not accept at least you did your best, you were open and honest – that’s the best you can do. Let’s fight bullying in all it’s forms together with kindness, understanding, and unity. We are authors, a few thousand among the billions living on this world who are our reader base. There are more than enough out there for us all to have a piece of the pie. There is no reason why we can’t all play nice in the sandbox.
Now, before I let you go after this rather long and wild post – it kinda came in a mad gush of words – a couple last things to cover. You are amazing, you are strong, and you are beautiful just how you are. We were all put here to be unique, to be a piece to the bigger puzzle. Not everyone is out to screw with you, your life, or your career. But I hope that what I’ve shared will assist you in being aware, and help you to watch out for those out to harm rather than help. Let’s all stop trying to be someone we’re not, and be who we are meant to be instead.
XO Moira Callahan