You guys know me by now. You know I’m loud and opinionated, and tend to tell people how it is without glossing things over. I don’t suffer fools well, and I don’t play nice with people who insult me. Something happened this weekend that I didn’t see, but was told about. And boy, did it ever push all of my buttons. It took me back to multiple episodes of bullying and various forms of abuse that I’ve suffered in my life. It reminded me once again that people can really suck sometimes. It hurt, and it made me angry. And now, I feel compelled to respond.
There’s context here, so let me get that out of the way first. Over the weekend, my husband took this picture:
This is my daughter. She’s two. She’s whip-smart and very well-behaved. And that is her spot. When I’m in the kitchen, she’s on that counter, usually pulling my spoons down, trying to open the rice jar, and generally getting into everything in the cabinet above her now that she has figured out how to open it. She doesn’t touch the stove top or the elements. She understands “hot” and it’s meaning. Trust me, this kid has been impatient enough for food that she has put things in her mouth that have burned her. Not bad, mind you, but enough that she understands that “hot” is bad. So when I say “be careful, that’s hot”, she listens.
“Okay, Mama. Hot.”
But she wants to help. She wants to cook. The idea of making something edible out of a pile of ingredients fascinates her. Saturday evening, I wasn’t up to cooking a big meal, so I took a bag of soup out of the freezer. I made taco soup last weekend, and rather than throw it away, I froze the leftovers for just such an occasion. So I’d put the bag in the microwave to begin defrosting it, then transferred the slushy contents to the pot in the picture. The majority of the soup was still frozen when I put it in the pot. And the toddler, well, she wanted up. So I put her up there. What she was actually doing for most of this was poking at a frozen lump of taco soup.
The heat was on low, mind you, so not to scorch the soup and the pot. The massive amount of steam coming out of the pot is a direct result of rapid melting. You know how when you put a cup of ice on the counter and leave it, that mist will start to crawl out of it? Same principle. Basic physics here – we’re talking about matter changing state from solid to liquid. IT HAPPENS. So it looks much hotter than it actually is.
Coming with me? Good.
So my husband posts this picture to Facebook, and he tags me in it with the phrase “Cooking with Mommy”. The accompanying video is a hoot and a half, because she keeps looking at him and smiling really big and saying “cheese”. She thinks he’s taking her picture. She’s a total ham. As he posted this stuff, we even had this joking discussion about being called bad parents because we’re letting her cook. Regardless of the fact that I was just on the other side of the towel on the stove and he was within three feet of her. We were close enough that if she’d started to reach, we could have stopped her. If I didn’t trust her to behave herself appropriately, I wouldn’t have let her sit there.
Well, lo and behold, some troll crawls out of the woodwork and makes a comment about allowing a small child to play on the stove making us bad parents. Lucky for this schmuck, my husband deleted the comment and blocked him. If I’d gotten my hands on the asshat, I’d have made him cry because, might I remind you all, I’m not a very nice person. And when you make stupid comments about my ability to raise my child, the claws come out. The Mother Hen types have nothing on me.
So for two days now I’ve been stewing about this. I didn’t get to read the comment. I didn’t get to respond properly. I know I’ve opened my mouth and inserted my foot more than once, but I’ve never intentionally meant to hurt someone. And when it happens, I do try to apologize and fix the situation, because I don’t want to hurt anyone. I’ve been hurt enough in my life to know that it sucks. But this really got me thinking about all the people out there who troll for sport, who would rather rip apart the single mother for being a whore when they don’t know that her husband was killed overseas, who would belittle a child with special needs for not being “normal.” These people… they spread their blight of negativity and they think it’s fun. And I can’t stand it.
Because this is my blog and I’m allowed to say pretty much whatever I want here, I’m going to respond now, to more than just this one jerk that started it. You guys might want to take a step back, because this is going to get messy.
Dear Internet Trolls,
Do you remember kindergarten? Remember all of those lessons you were taught by your teachers? Let’s all refresh our memories right now, because it seems the internet needs a bit of manners these days.
1. Practice the Golden Rule: Treat others as you wish to be treated.
2. Think before you speak.
3. If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
4. Your actions have consequences.
That having been said, let me also remind you that just because you think you can be “anonymous” on the internet doesn’t mean you actually are. Everything you post can be traced back to an IP Address, and that is your digital zip code. It will tell a tech-savvy person exactly who and where you are. Oh, and no matter how or when it gets deleted, once you put your words on the internet, they’re there for good. There’s always a cached version somewhere. Your sense of self preservation should be kicking in right now, and if it’s not, then you’re more damaged than you think.
Let’s talk about damage for a moment. I get that you may have been bullied when you were a child and so feel compelled to pass on your years of untreated psychological damage to others. I understand that you may have been that bully in school that never progressed beyond the age of fifteen and still need to validate yourself by putting others down. I’m sorry your childhood sucked. I’m sorry your adulthood is so unfulfilling that you have to hurt others to get your kicks. But you probably need to redirect your internet budget toward medical expenses. You need a psychiatrist to help you work through all of your issues, because by doing what you’re doing, you are only perpetuating abuse. You are showing others by example that it’s okay to be a complete asshole. You’re hurting people, and you’re doing it on purpose. You think it’s fun to upset people, and guess what? That makes you a bad person. You’re belittling both yourself and others. THAT is not okay.
Unless you know the situation and the full story, keep your nose out of other people’s business. It is not your job to tell people what they are and are not capable of doing or being. A “bad writer”, “bad parent”, “bad dancer” or “bad” anything is subjective. Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean your opinion is the only one that counts. If you don’t like something, it’s okay to make that known, but do it in a constructive way. You are not vindicated when someone tells you you’re an asshole. You’re just an asshole.
Karma is a bitch, and she’s going to come for you. So when it finally happens, don’t come crying to me about how the world is unfair and you’ve gotten the short end of the stick. You drew that stick when you decided to “help” someone by being a jerk. You have nobody to blame but yourself and I don’t pity you in the slightest. You’ll get what you deserve, and when you do, I’ll be off enjoying my life.
Thanks for reminding me how not to behave. I appreciate it.