The first time I got a blog troll on my personal blog, I ate a celebratory cupcake and washed it down with a tall Diet Coke on the rocks. It was probably, in hindsight, a spammer (just like my first comments , which I think I framed somewhere were) but I didn’t care. I’d made it! Someone, somewhere hated me!
Then, I got someone who copied bits out of my blog posts. Actual bits of my posts removed and pasted onto hers, like it was no big deal. Someone else, a watchdog, alerted me. My daughter had just been born ill and I wasn’t about to deal with it right then. Talk about bigger fish to fry. I like to think I would have fist-pumped, though, and perhaps celebrated with a tasty bowl of edamame or a wee Uncrustables.
Later yet came the loon who created several blogs composed of entirely stolen posts filched neatly from other bloggers, myself included, who I did fight. Google claims they shut her down, but I don’t care to check because I don’t want to drive her traffic up. I still have, somewhere on my desktop, screenshots of all of your comments on her blog, just because they were so full of the awesome, by the way.
You don’t fuck with the Pranksters or The Band.
Since that first Internet Mole Person (troll), I’ve gotten a handful of others.
Generally, they make me laugh.
There are weeks when they do not.
Like anyone, I’m a person, and I have bad days, and bad weeks, and sometimes I say and do the wrong things. In fact, if I had to describe my blog, I’d say something like, “THIS is where I bow to the alter of my wrongness.” I don’t have a publicist or an adviser to tell me not to do something because, uh, why?
This week, I’ve gotten a couple of nasty-grams that hurt my feelers. I know bloggers are “supposed” to pretend like it doesn’t matter; like we don’t care, like it doesn’t hurt our feelers when people call us names or insult us, but it does. Of course it does.
Like it or not, this is my life.
Certainly, it’s my steaming pile of guts spilled here, my wrongness on display, and my inconsistencies on the table to be judged and if I don’t like it, I can absolutely pack up shop and go somewhere else. That’s the answer, right? To delete my blog in a stompy flourish? Go back to being Becky, In Real Life? That’s how to handle hurt feelers?
Not so much. At least, not for me.
Blogging, writing out your pain, and sharing it with the world, is an act of bravery. When you put yourself out there, especially waaay out there, you stand a very real chance to be very hurt or very disgusted by human nature. The farther you stick your neck out, the worse the inevitable hurt* may be.
What I think is worse than any troll are the people who get you entirely wrong. Because you’re left standing there stuttering, “but, but, BUT, that’s not what I meant AT ALL.”
These are the sort that make me sort of question myself in a way that I seldom do (perhaps I should): Did I say it wrong? WAS I wrong?
And most importantly: why the hell do I do this at all? I see that typed out here, on my screen and it looks like I’m being all 15-years old and dramatical feet-stamp *woe is me, OH NOES* and I’m (for once) not.
I mean that genuinely: why do I do this? Why do ANY of us bother?
It’s certainly not for the billions of dollars in my bank account that still haven’t been deposited, nor is it for the notoriety and free swag, or to be able to tell someone that “I blog, and it’s really, really cool.” Because I swear, if I told someone that, they’d be all, “um, huh? Did you just insult me?”
No. It’s not for that.
It’s because it all matters. Every word I write matters. To me. To (maybe) you. These words are what define me, what make up my life, and what bring me joy. Whether or not someone else finds them and finds joy in them too is inconsequential because it brings me joy. I write because I love to. I write because that is what I do. I write because it matters. Every comment I make, every life I touch, it matters.
That is why The Band exists.
It’s why we pay for servers to handle our traffic and keep your stories edited and fresh. It’s why we’re always looking for new volunteers. It’s why we use our social media accounts to share your stories. It’s why we cry with you, we laugh with you, and we dust you off, and get you to your feet to fight another day. It’s what we do. For you and for every life you touch by the words you write. Why our volunteers help keep the lights on and guide you to us. We all know the truth of what it is that we do here: it all matters.Everything we, what you, do. We know, above all else, this to be true:
It all matters.Everything you do. Every single thing. It all matters.
*I’d like to tell you guys a secret. We do moderate comments because you never do know if/when an Internet Mole Person may scurry up to shit on things. It’s our way of protecting you and every other person who uses the site from the ugly bits. We moderate so that you can share your ugly bits without fear.
With the exception of a Jehovah’s Witness trying to convert The Band into their, uh, program? Church? Erms, I don’t know much about it. But with that exception, I have seen maybe 4 comments deleted and those were people trying to raise money or promote their own blog. You just don’t get any hate. Way to be awesome, The Band.