Friday, April 11, 2014

TToT21: Light and Dark

What!A!Week!

To start on the lighter side of things, the weather has been Capital-G-Gorgeous. Perfect spring weather. And, as always, when that first extended period of spring weather appears, I go out and get dirty.

Exhibit A:
Pure brawn, folks.
That garden bed was overgrown in hostas and daisies and some sort of volunteer tree. I have nothing against hostas or daisies, and I have respect for nearly all trees, but what I want there is vegetables. So out all that went. And I even got help.

Can you honestly say she's not the cutest thing you've ever seen?
And then I worked my way around the side of the house, digging up weeds and the monkey grass that I do not appreciate, and moving hostas into the shade. (Former owners were real hosta lovers.)

Not done yet, but my kids have been great. I've managed to convince my son of the stay within my sight or we have to go back in the house rule after just two follow-throughs, and our outdoor toys, garden tools, and the "slimy, yet satisfying" worms (anyone else watch a lot of Lion King clips?) keep them entertained.

Theeeeeeen, I wrote a Really Important Post. Actually, I wrote two. There's a post here at this blog and one at Lefty Pop. They go together. I knew I would write some version of these posts since I started this blog 13 months ago. And after I did, I was nervous. I exposed a lot more of my private life than I am used to doing. But I felt some lightness, some relief, and I thought, "This is a good thing."

And then I got some really positive feedback from people I knew two years ago and people I know now through blogging. And people like good friends and family who support me no matter what. And I felt really good. I felt vindicated. I thought, "Finally! I got to tell the truth and people are hearing me and believing me! Finally I got to set the record straight!" Even when I got negative feedback in one comment, I responded thoughtfully and professionally (I think) and reinforced my own feeling that I had done the Right Thing by posting my story.

And then, last night, another comment showed up. It seems to have been written in anger: it's incoherent at times and unedited, and for me, it is 2011-2012 all over again. I deleted it. Most of what she wrote is untrue, and I don't think it's a productive sort of comment, and perhaps most importantly, if it is written by the person I think wrote it, it could be in violation of a legal agreement. And I just don't want to go there.

Then I found it at Lefty Pop (read it if you like). And, all of a sudden, I was back at the dining room table once again. Back with my laptop and the notebooks and the fear and the anger. Oh, how my fingers itched to pull out the notebooks! I wanted to write a scathing rebuttal (and, let me tell you, I can scathe). I wanted to disprove every one of her accusations. (Except the one about me confronting people with my baby in an Ergo (he was napping). I mean, her description of my behavior is exaggerated, but yes, I confronted people. I don't regret or deny it; I was just saving that story for another post.) And the part about the email I sent a year ago? That just has me squirming inside. Did she make that up? Did someone hack my email address? Did someone write an email and sign my name? Any of those three options is horrifying.

And then the comment showed up on my blog again. Twice (in response to two posts). I deleted them again. And they showed up again. I deleted. Again. The author and I did this back and forth for two or three hours before I finally remembered I could disable Anonymous comments (duh).

I'm fairly sure I know who wrote it. It's posted under the assumed name of 'Ericka Kane' on Lefty Pop, but if I had to place money, I'd say it was written by the woman who once yelled at my husband that she hoped he'd have a nervous breakdown. (Interestingly, I was told this morning that Erica Kane is a famous soap opera character played by Susan Lucci. I know who Susan Lucci is, but I've never watched All My Children. Wikipedia reports that TV Guide named Erica Kane One of the Nastiest Villains of All Time. Interesting pseudonym choice.)

I went to bed feeling dirty. I felt violated by her accusations of me and harrassed by her insistent intrusion on my blog, but the critic in my head said, "Well, you write a public blog, don't you? You can't stop people from commenting! You brought this on yourself by writing that story." And so I started to question whether I should have written it. I started to think about all the page views and so few comments, and I started to think, "People have read this post and not commented because they don't believe me. They think my husband did something egregious that I am covering up. They think, like Ericka Kane, that it's hard to fire a teacher.'"

Fortunately, I slept really well.

And today, I thought on it some more. I thought through speech therapy and my garden work and meal preparation. And, all of sudden, it hit me: I can't convince everyone that my husband is innocent. If Oprah had been there, she would have said Aha! I think there might have been a veritable lightbulb. That is the hump I needed to get over. People will believe what they want to believe. But I know the truth. And 99% of the people he knows know the truth. Shoot, even Ericka Kane must actually know it somewhere deep down inside.

Don't think I've entered some kind of enlightened state, though. I want everyone who reads that nasty comment to say, "Ah, Sarah, but I believe you." But it's an unmistakable breakthrough. Which occurred because I wrote that story. Even because of that hateful comment. (Well, maybe that's going too far.) Hey, I wasn't blowing smoke when I wrote to the other commenter that speaking truthfully and openly is healing. It is!

So, again this week, I end without a true tally of ten. But that last one counts as more than one, doesn't it?


Ten Things of Thankful


 Your hosts

46 comments :

  1. First, it totally takes a lot of courage to share ourselves through blogging, so my hat is totally off to you for doing just that by being more then open and honest, secondly, I watched All My Children by the way, as a kid with my mom and know exactly who Erica Kane is and yes she was definitely a very, strong and opinionated woman, some might even say a bit of bitch, so, your description on that I can tell you from my prior knowledge of the character was spot on. That said, hoping that you are doing ok and again definitely give you tons of credit for holding to your convictions on this.

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    1. Frist, as usual, Janine! Thanks for the info on Erica Kane. Yes, I find it's not too hard to stick to your convictions when you feel right is on your side. Even when someone else thinks that right is wrong.

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  2. Ahhhh this really IS GOOD! You've unhooked, and that's HUGE, my dear. HUUUUUUUU-UUUUUUUGE! :D

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  3. That whole process counts as a kabillion! one of the things that it has been the hardest for me to accept is that it's not my job in life to be a detective of what other people may or may not believe. I have to accept that there is going to be a certain amount of stuff that I'm never going to agree with even though it is someone else's personal truth. No matter how malicious that other person may be...stick to what is your own personal truth with confidence inyourslf and the People that care about you....peace...z

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    1. From a therapist, too! Thank you for such important advice.

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  4. I just read the post, but not the comments. I totally feel your pain and anger. I am in the middle of an unjustified suspension from my job as we speak. I too stuck to my convictions and brought to light something that was wrong that happened at the agency I work for, along with 3 of my co-workers. We are all part of a union who is working on appealing our case, but they did not have the power to stop a two month long suspension without pay or health insurance. Bless your husband for being able to keep quiet - he is better than me! I hope your nightmare will be over in time. Have a wonderful week. Just remember haters gonna hate. They don't mean anything.

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    1. I have not yet had a comment from someone who could truly understand, so THANK YOU for speaking up. I think I have made some gains through writing this out, but here it is TWO years later! You sound much cooler than I.
      I don't know about haters gonna hate and it doesn't mean anything. Hate causes some terrible things, and one of the the parts of this that I have a hard time moving beyond is how haters could have been a part of what happened to us. I'm gonna write one more post about this (I think), and I want to write about that confusion but also about the truly wonderful people we had who supported us.

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  5. Nasty comments are really scary, Sarah. Glad that she's out of the way.

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    1. Thank your for understanding and responding to that part, Michelle. It was my first experience with that kind of comment, and it was indeed scary.

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  6. Mean comment threaten to steal everything away. Good for you for not letting them!

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  7. Ugh. My heart aches that you had to endure such nastiness!!! I am SO glad you are able to find peace in this entire experience of sharing your story and you had your AHA moment. Good for YOU!!!

    Totally counts for MORE than ten. :)

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    1. Sometimes you just need someone to recognize that you had a really tough time of it and say it. Thank you so much, Chris, for your sympathy.

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  8. I'm so sorry to hear about the nasty comments. I read both posts and I salute you. It takes courage to stand up for what you believe is right. Stay strong and plod on. I hope you enjoy the weekend!

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    1. Yes, it took courage to write out our experience. Thank you for recognizing that.

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  9. I read all the posts and comments. It's clear that what happened has been deeply felt by you and others, from the supportive comments you had. Baring ourselves on the internet is so hard, especially when people you know IRL know about your blog too. Well done for getting it out there.

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    1. "Deeply felt by you and others" may be the understatement of the year. I actually didn't want any of a certain group of people to see it, but...someone forwarded it on. In the end, I think it was OK.

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  10. You know what? I had to let go of a whole lot of stuff too a while back. I never stopped doing any of the things I do, but I was all PSTD as I did everything, Then I said," I cannot spend my life under a burden which is meaningless to what is really important to me and to what is real".
    I am proud to know you. I also understand a bit, without even reading at your other site, which I will go to, of what you have had to go through.
    It is very hard to let it go, but the door you just opened here is a positive one is every way! It has a lot of fresh air and sunshine on the other side--just perfect for growing the vegetables which you and that most adorablest kid in the world are going to be growing! love, jean xox

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    1. Jean, this is a heartfelt and moving comment. I realize, through this writing experience, how much I still crave sympathy and understanding of this experience. Seems childish, but thank you so much, anyway.
      Great connection to my gardening! I will think on that.

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  11. It's a hard lesson to learn, that we can't help what others think. But it's a good lesson to remember.

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    1. It's a hard lesson to learn and a hard lesson to remember.

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  12. I'm not sure if this means much but aside from the fact that you spoke up and spoke out (which was incredibly brave), I feel like you are working through how you feel about it in a pretty positive way. I have come to think of this particular community of bloggers as great sounding boards. We come here to write our thankfuls but sometimes we have something more to say, something that NEEDS to be said. It is a manner of therapy to let it out and get to the process of letting it go...in this case, you are taking steps, weeding through and gaining perspective about what is important and worth the worry and what is not. You will not find a better audience for that than here because you will receive encouragement and honesty.
    You'll get where you need to be but it won't be overnight. Not after an ordeal like this one. But you will get there.
    In the meantime, say what you need to say. There's plenty of thanks in this post and I, for one, am proud of you.

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    1. Sandy, I am fortunate in this audience and among these bloggers, I am especially thankful for your input and positive reinforcement. Thank you for taking the time to write a meaningful comment.

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  13. It is crazy that people choose to air their anger as comments on blogs. I don't get it. It's great that you are out taking advantage of the nice weather by gardening

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    1. Some people are angry. And at times, I am one of those people. Though I do not think I have ever left a nasty comment. I certainly hope not.

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  14. You are a very brave wife and mother! I applaud you. Silence can be so very dangerous...especially to the soul. I'm reminded of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s quote "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Glad you were able to get dirty...in words and in your garden :).

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    1. Love that you made a connection between my two threads! Thank you for calling me brave. Some would call overemotional. Some worse.

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  15. Well it's nice to see some green thumbs out there in the garden. I'm sorry to hear about the nasty comments! I cam sympathize. I got what felt like was an entire town hating on me because I gave a restaurant an unfavorable review. Judging by the remarks, you'd think I was the health department saying the place needs to shut down. I don't know why some people are filled with so much hate. It looks like your handling it well though.

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    1. Well, I don't want to be too judgemental on feeling hate, since I am feeling some myself. But I did find that particular comment unproductive as well as hateful, and I think that kept it from being worthwhile. I'm sorry you had that experience. I now understand how that feels.

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  16. I commented on Lefty Pop, but I'll just say that some people are mean doo doo heads, and you and a lot of others know the truth and that is most important.

    Also, I hate gardening. HAAATE it. I hate the feel of dirt on my hands and under my nails, hate finding bugs and worms and other crawly things, hate digging holes that are never the right size for the plant, hate it all. But I'm glad YOU like it :)

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    1. As I wrote one of the Kristis last week, that name doesn't quite cut it. But I appreciate you jumping on the bandwagon. :)
      You know what I hate? Getting sweaty. I hate feeling hot, and I hate feeling sweaty. That's why this is such an ideal time. I can work hard and not feel gross. I don't mind the dirt.

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  17. I read both posts, but didn't read the comments. I'm sorry that your family had to go through all of that. You guys know the truth, and that's really all that matters.

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    1. I am coming to that conclusion, but it has not been easy to get there.

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  18. Good for you. You make great points. As long as YOU know, that is all that counts. The deeper and better you write, the more vulnerable you make yourself, but it's this true writing that is real. And yes, therapeutic. The name she chose says a lot. It's good you're not letting one person get to you.

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    1. I'm actually feeling significantly better after reading the comments to this post! :) Thanks for supporting my need to write all this out.

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  19. Gosh, Sarah, that’s tough to go through. I guess this is what you were referring to in your comment on my post, and hope that it does become something you can look back and see it’s made you stronger. It certainly seems to be doing that. It’s good that writing brought some relief.

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    1. Whew! So glad you came by to comment because I had completely blanked on whose blog is was with the quote I liked so much! Yay!

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  20. I can tell you that when I read mean comments on any blog, I automatically give the burden of proof to the angry commenter. In other words, I need to see reason and logic in order to give any credence to their point of view. Try not to let negative comments get to you. What an experience you've had! Writing and gardening are great therapies.

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    1. You know, I feel the same way, especially when they seem to be written from an extremely emotional place. But it's very easy to doubt oneself. Or easy for me to do so.

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  21. Wow Sarah! Not only do I applaud you for your courageous posts, but I'm so sorry you had to deal with a buffoon commenter who doesn't know how to articulate feelings in a productive manner. You are amazing and talented. That experience is yours to share. If they don't like it, they can get their own blog and tell their side (or opinion) all day long. Until then, they should shut up. Some people are just born asshats, amirite? Carry on, warrior. :)

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  22. Hi, keep up the good work and keep your head up for standing up teachers. I advocate for teachers because they are responsible for the development of our children. I enjoyed reading you post and hope all goes well. Praying for you.

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  23. Sarah, what you have done is so courageous and so inspirational. they say that bad things continue to happen when good people do nothing, but you are a good person who has done all that you can, and that's all that you can ask of yourself. I'm not surprised that you received hateful, anonymous comments because of the nature of what you were writing about. Just remember that commenting anonymously is the epitomy of gutlessness. That commenter probably is who you think she is. If she's so convinced that her behaviour is right and yours is wrong, why does she feel the need to hide behind a pseudonym?? I have also witnessed first hand abuse of power by someone who works as a public servant. It makes me sick knowing that people who work in sectors where their job is supposedly to help other people abuse their power. The person you have described sounds like a complete and utter narcissist. You, on the other hand, are a writing warrior; courage personified. xxxxxx

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