You see it every day, stories about people who were picked on, bullied, trolled and abused. It knows no age restriction, gender, culture or socio-economic background. There is a trope that says, “Hurt people hurt people.” While that may be accurate, it doesn’t excuse the behavior. I often wonder what goes on in the minds of those who hurl invectives at people they know or even more bizarrely, that they have never met. The internet gives them an illusory sense of anonymity since they will eventually be found out. I figure that their minds must be such dark and scary places that the slime just oozes out.
Two recent events played out that had me initially angry and then elated. The first involved a woman who is on a Facebook writers’ group that we are both members of. Her name is Melissa Blake.
Melissa is one of the most prolific, go for the gold journalists I know. We have not met face to face, but I would love to. It seems that she is constantly writing or pitching stories. I wonder if she comes up for air, or like me, The Muse is speaking to her 24/7. I’m sure all kinds of mind-stretching conversations would take place about our shared passion for writing. She is also wonderfully supportive of others on the page. Another thing to know is that Melissa has a congenital bone and muscular condition called Freeman-Sheldon syndrome that gives her face a unique presentation that some (several vicious online nasties) found worthy of ridicule. It began when she wrote a piece for CNN (she has penned many for them) about her take on the current administration that apparently some thought gave them carte blanche to fire back.
In Melissa’s words and with her obviously resilient spirit, clever, quick-thinking mind:
“Anyway, first, here is the tweet that’s getting quite a bit of attention, in which I say this: “During the last round of trollgate, people said that I should be banned from posting photos of myself because I’m too ugly. So I’d just like to commemorate the occasion with these 3 selfies.”
It then went viral and Melissa expressed being amazed by the supportive feedback she has been receiving from readers worldwide. To date, she has been interviewed by various newspapers, news stations and has heard from the BBC and a book publisher. From what I have read on her own page, she seems to be taking it stride and using it as a platform to call attention to the way women are judged by society by appearance rather than accomplishment.
The second story is about a Florida 4th grader whose simple, hand-drawn design of the logo for the University of Tennessee made him the subject of ridicule by classmates. His teacher who was dismayed at his dilemma spoke up for her student and wrote about it online. It too went viral. Here’s how it played out…The college caught wind of it. They manufactured their own shirt with his design. It sold out within a short time after they said the proceeds would be donated to an anti-bullying campaign. They further sweetened the pot by giving him a four-year scholarship.
When I read stories like these, I shake my head in awe at the outcome and in a wee bit of glee that the bullies (if they even know about the turn of events) got theirs. Do they feel any remorse or regret?
Neither of these people struck back. Neither of them sought revenge. They handled the pain as gracefully as they could. And they were uplifted and are what I call resilient thrivers who are now helping others.
I think too about the biblical quote from the story of Joseph when his brothers set him up. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.”
What’s your take? Comment below or write a response and submit to us your own point of view or reaction here at the red box, below, which links to our submissions portal.
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Photo Credit: Pixabay