Sometimes, I forget that actual, real life persons read my blog. Sometimes, I forget that of those readers, some are of the variety who know me, who were involved in my adoption story, or otherwise. Sometimes, because mostly, I’ve had a pleasant experience sharing my thoughts, I forget that there are some people who were involved who would like to see me fail. They would like it if I stopped talking about the uncomfortable aspects of this adoption gone wrong. They’d like it if I didn’t bluntly state my opinions on events, or even about other people.
Back in December, I began to receive an onslaught of anonymous comments here. They were pointed, they were exceptionally personal, and they were most definitely from someone who knew me outside of the blogging world. I shrugged them off, because, I know that when I found my voice, there was a double edged sword that came into play. By being as bold as I am about my adoption experience, especially when it’s mostly been negative, I invite naysayers. However, I’ve learned over the course of my blogging career, that you can’t let every single comment, even the really innately personal ones, impact you.
This time, I did. Between losing the hosting on this site because of a billing error (not updating a credit card, and not finding out until it was too late, and too costly to repair), and the fact that it was the anniversary of my semi-open adoption closing, the persistence of these bullies got to me.
It was the small reminders that they were always watching, ready to pounce at any opportunity. It was the notifications that they were following my blogs suddenly, and the way I found some of them following me on Twitter. I kept telling myself that I had to accept this because I’m very visible in the social media realm. However, there is this fine line between being interested in someone, and keeping actual tabs on them to feed a certain obsessive hatred. There is and was no innocence behind their incessant need to remind me that they are always there, always waiting.
So I crumbled. I was devastated at the loss of all my work and wondered if all of it had just been in vain. I felt violated. Most importantly, I felt unsafe. If these people were going to these lengths to cyber stalk me, was there a line for them? Would it stop at the internet? Or could it go further, and potentially have devastating consequences to myself and my family? I had no answers, so I pulled away from the community that has become a sort of village for me over the years.
Frustration mounted to the point, that my husband and I had several lengthy discussions about whether I would continue to write about my adoption experience, or even in general. Anxiety propelled itself to the forefront of my mind, and I just couldn’t figure out how to cope with this new found issue. For me, I wasn’t sure that I would ever be content knowing that these people existed in the periphery. Their abuse online had rendered me speechless, and left me staring at the screen in fear. What if I wrote something that aggravated them just so? Was I, by speaking my piece, adding fuel to their fires, and inspiring them to find other ways to belittle me?
The lack of control really stumped me, and wisely, my husband encouraged me to find a way to fight through the doubts. I didn’t have to understand the behavior, I didn’t have to like it, and while it was apparent that I wouldn’t be able to tell these people where to go, I didn’t have to allow their actions to control me.
These “fans” are not likely to stop visiting my blogs, my Twitter, or even my Facebook. Maybe the anonymous comments will stop now that I’ve said something publicly, or maybe they won’t. However, I’m not going to allow their negativity to dictate how I tell my story. Furthermore, it only serves to prove a lack of maturity, and common decency on their part. This is my work, my life- when I write on this site, I occasionally leave a part of myself out there for the world. I would never badger these individuals at their work, or their home. In fact, save the communication I see from this angle, I have no interest in engaging with them at all. What they do with their lives is of no importance to me. I wish, that I could convince them that they can have the same approach with myself.
I’ve spent so many years of my life biting my tongue because I was concerned about the proverbial and literal fallout. I hid my feelings, thoughts, and opinions in dark places, and condemned myself to isolation just so I could play a role that would please specific people. I won’t do that, because, that’s not who I am.
I’m loud, and sometimes, abrasive. I have a story that needs to be told, that is still being written, and my voice is, humbly, necessary and important to this vast adoption conversation. These bullies have already stolen a lot of things from me in my life, and this is one thing I refuse to hand to them willingly. It’s my story to dictate, not theirs.