Posted on May 30, 2017
Here I go
Because I’ve been harassed all day for comment about taking down my FB page I will tell you why I’m having a break in the hopes that it’ll I don’t know…make it understandable. So because we like lists:
1) Imagine every third interaction you have all day being abuse. There’s scales of course – it’s not all “fat cunt”. It’s also “feel so bad for your kids to have you as their mum”. All day, and all night. Doesn’t matter what you say – you get it on all platforms. In between are micro-aggressions, wilful misunderstandings, mansplaining, condescending unsolicited advice, genuine accidental miscommunication and lots and lots of tired people who can’t help but be assholes sometimes (I’m one). There are of course wonderful and hilarious and kind and beautiful comments, they’re the majority, but for some reason during the night you don’t have those running through your head, even though you should.
2) Now imagine it’s your job to moderate these comments because if you don’t, vulnerable new mums are at risk, and people will fight with each other, and you are trying to create a safe place online. If you leave them, this beautiful community becomes the Stuff comments section. Nobody can share for fear of judgement. After a period of heavy moderation you have very few horrid comments. Until something flares up. So you can’t ever take a break from it. You have to play whack-a-mole all day, getting rid of comments that attack you and everyone else. Every time you wake up, heart beating during the night, there are more comments. If you leave them, you get blamed for not creating a safe place. If you remove them you get screamed at for not respecting free speech.
3) Imagine every single thing you ever say being misrepresented. So a post where you talked about how hard vaccination debates are when you have an immune compromised or high health needs child turns into “Emily Writes said all parents who don’t vaccinate should have their skin ripped from their flesh and their bodies flung into the sea by giant catapault”. You can’t set the record straight because they delete your comments and abuse you further.
4) Then imagine every time you express any kind of distress around this, a group of the same people who hate everything about you because of some innocuous interaction you had with them on twitter or Facebook a year ago or even ten years ago, group together to tell everyone that YOU are the bully. That you deserve everything you get because you attacked them and broke their arm and pissed on their dog. Never mind that you have no idea who they are and have never had anything but a passing interaction with them (if that). They literally started a group based on the fact that they all feel personally victimised by you not adequately respecting them on some social media platform.
5) Are you tired yet? Now imagine this spilling into your personal and day-to-day life. People give your phone number to reporters and you have to try to figure out which one of the few people you trust did that. Then you have unstable people hissing at you when you won’t allow a selfie or you say: “sorry I’m with my kids”. Because even though they don’t like you, you’re still expected to give them your time, your respect, your energy, your everything – because apparently you’re a public figure. Work is fun when you have to open emails where you’re not sure if they’re abuse or not. And you’re trying to parent through all of this, and be a good wife, and be a good sister and friend. (EDIT: I love it when you come and talk to me in public if it’s at a moment when I’m not yelling at my kids. I truly do. Please don’t apologise. I just find it hard when people want to debate things I didn’t even say while I’m trying to wrangle a two year-old and a four-year-old. If I’m sweating, it might not be a good time.)
6) If this makes you angry or upset or really fucking anxious – too bad. You are NEVER allowed to get upset or angry at anyone. You are never allowed to do anything but smile and spout platitudes. If you have one moment where you snap back at someone it will forever be turned into “yeah that blogger Emily Writes came to my house with all her followers and she fucked my husband right in front of me and then all her people just burnt my house down while chanting EM IL Y EM IL Y all because I said I love John Key and my dream in life is to be his full time ball stroker”.
Finally like 7) or whatever if we are still doing numbers:
This is all your fault.
You wrote something and accidentally everyone read it so you kept writing and now you’re here and you have no idea because you’re an imbicile who literally became a blogger through dumb luck.
So every bit of abuse you get, every threat, every attack is deserved. You deserve everything you get because this is your life now. It’s how you support your family (or try to) and you love it even though it hurts. Because now you’re part of a beautiful community. And you’ve worked really, really hard. And it seems unfair. Really unfair. But you can’t ever show pain. Ever.
Because if you do, they’re waiting – to call you thin-skinned or bully or attention seeker or pro vaxx whore or shit mum or dumb ugly cunt or dyke bitch or narcissistic trash. They’re waiting to tell some fantastical story about how you bullied or attacked them and you can’t do anything about it. Because till they are blue in the face they will insist it happened, without any evidence (I mean we know evidence isn’t a strong point so…)
That’s why sometimes I feel like saying fuck it. I never wanted this.
I just hoped I could share and hear the stories of others. To not feel so isolated in this parenting business. To have a laugh. And to build a village with others. We have done that and it’s special. I want to hold on to it – but you don’t need me to keep it going.
I hope I can come back and soon, because I already miss you, and I’ve cried a lot reading your emails and messages through The Spinoff Parents. And it seems unfair that we miss out on laughing and crying together and sharing photos of our kids destroying property – but I don’t know anymore.
So thank you, your words mean more to me than you could ever know. But I have to work out if this is what I want my life to be like. Can I take this relentless shit forever? Do I want to? The awesome good stuff outweighs the shit but it’s all a lot when you’re not getting much sleep and you’re trying to be a good mum and you’re an anxious root vegetable.
Last week, when I had friends moderating for me, I saw the impact on them and I realised I’d become used to the horribleness of it. I LOVED having a day off. But couldn’t ask people to moderate longer because it’s so shit. It doesn’t feel strange to me anymore to be abused every day. I don’t think that’s good for me.
So yeah. That’s all I have to say really, if you’re media, I don’t have anything more I can say because I feel like hashing out the specifics about this will mean my body will be found in the Mt Vic Tunnel with “encouraged excessive beeping” carved into my forehead. It doesn’t feel safe to say anything about anti-vaxxer tactics. I guess I could say: Rants in the Dark is available at all good book stores. So print that. (Edit: Yes, thank you for your email – I accept that I misquoted The Pope).
To everyone who has shown support – thank you so much. I am grateful beyond words. I’m sorry if it means you too have had abuse if you publicly supported me. Again, thank you for all of the emails – I will reply once I have some time. It means the world to me. Nothing is broken, we just need to be careful putting it all back together.
I’ll see you at The Spinoff Parents where I will still be editing and writing. X
EDIT: Thank you for the overwhelming amount of support. Also an enormous thank you to Paradox Books in Devonport who are donating $5 from every one of my books that they sell over the next fortnight to Kidsline. You can order online here.