Lost a bunch of people I had thought were friends. I tell myself it’s better to know if people are really good friends or not, but that doesn’t stop the hurt. Heard many words of support, including my personal favorite: “Dumbledore said it takes more bravery to stand up to your friends than it does to stand up to your enemies. Dumbledore would have been on your side.”
From what I’ve heard, Jason preemptively unfollowed and/or blocked everyone who has shown me any kind of support on Twitter, whether or not they followed him in the first place, and whether or not they were party to the actual conversation.
I purely loathe that there are sides in this matter. That what was a(n admittedly heated) discussion turned into a huge fucking deal, with battle lines drawn up.
This is supposed to be my fault, incidentally, because “it’s wrong to slander Jason on the Internet.”
1. It’s not slander to say what a particular person actually did. It’s not slander to post screen shots of a person’s actual words.
2. I don’t feel any more obligation to protect the identity of a guy who defended a sexist position beyond the point of rationality than I would to protect the identity of a guy who groped me in an elevator at a convention or drugged my drink. You can think this is hyperbole if you like. But it’s a position I’ve tried to remain true to ever since I reported being raped fifteen minutes after a guy held a knife to my throat and told me he’d come back and kill me if I told anyone what happened. (They never caught the guy, whose face I never saw, but as you can see, I’m still here.)
Apparently Jason wrote his own blog post. I’m not going to link to it, but I encourage you to seek it out and go read it for a different perspective than mine. I say “apparently” because I did not read it for myself. I asked my husband to read it and summarize it for me. I trust him to have done this to the best of his ability and without inserting his own agenda or letting the fact that we’re married unduly influence him. But I want to be absolutely clear that I did not read it for myself and so the next portion of this post is based on my husband’s summary.
Accordingly, from Jason’s perspective, he’s been having a rough time and dealing with some triggering issues. When he made a statement about it on Twitter, “an incident” ensued wherein he got bullied, his points were dismissed, and he was judged. The upshot of the post seems to be that “you don’t really know me, and if you really knew me you wouldn’t be so mean to me.” Again, I encourage you to seek out the post and read it for yourself, and make your own decision about whether this interpretation is accurate.
1. Making sweeping generalizations about anything on Twitter isn’t a great way either to deal with your issues or invite measured conversation. Making sweeping generalizations about sexism from a place of unrecognized privilege and shouting “INCORRECT” whenever someone with an opposing view raises a point isn’t engaging in a dialogue.
2. At no time did Jason own his behaviour. He did not say, “I’m dealing with some issues that are really difficult.” He did not say, “Someone accused me of mansplaining and I feel shitty because I don’t think I’m that guy.” He did, at one point, tell my husband that someone had asked him to stop mansplaining (as I mentioned in my previous post). My husband’s response was, “If a woman asks you to stop mansplaining, maybe a good thing to do would be check your behaviour instead of denouncing the whole concept as sexist.” Jason’s reply: “I have. Many Times.” When I consider this answer, what I hear is, “I checked my behaviour and I didn’t see anything wrong with it, so THEY SHOULD STOP SAYING IT.” Moreover, he several times complained that it was unfair for people who are allies (or see themselves as such) to be lumped together with “real” sexist guys. Well, dude, A) That’s not women’s problem, and if you want it to stop why don’t you try being an ally by working to educate men instead of complaining about semantics, and B) You’re a white guy (though I’ve recently been informed he’s gender fluid, rather than cis as I thought). You rolled the dice and got handed the lowest difficulty setting for the game of life. If you want to be a true ally, this means checking your goddam privilege multiple times every day. Claiming ally status doesn’t exempt you. In fact, it makes your work harder. Step up to the plate and deal or leave the game.
3. You’re right; I don’t know you. I know a little about you. I know you have issues and you struggle with depression. In point of fact, I have asked if I could do anything for you or if you wanted to talk multiple times, and you’ve always declined. You gave me no opportunity to know you better. Therefore, I can only judge you by your behaviour, which was abrasive, defensive, and bordered on the irrational. And by the way, you don’t know me, either.
4. I am sick to death of being blamed for other people’s hurt feelings and altogether through with cosseting people, putting their emotional state above my own, and being required to use psychic powers to divine what the fuck is going on with them when they don’t tell me. You don’t get to play the “you don’t really know me” card.
I’m An Abusive Bully
The most delightful part of my evening yesterday was receiving an email from a woman I had considered a close friend–BFF-level, in fact–in which she informed me that my behaviour was atrocious, mentioned other incidences of what she considered my atrocious behaviour, told me she’d been “walking on eggshells” out entire relationship, and that I am abusive and bully other people when I don’t get my own way. She then said she expected I’d write about her next because “that’s how you punish people who disagree with you.” And she told me not to bother emailing her back because she didn’t want to hear anything I had to say.
Well, look: I AM writing about you! Good, you can feel justified now. Climb right on up there on your moral high ground.
Oh, speaking of moral high ground, she also said she wasn’t going to tweet about me or write about me on her blog. It took me a while to figure out why this was even relevant, but then I realized she meant it as a condemnation of my using my blog and Twitter to talk about my lived experience. Evidently I need to remain silent when people are assholes to me. Evidently, when I tell someone I’m having a bad day and something they said hurt my feelings, and they block me because “they can’t stand the idea that they’re causing people pain and they can’t change,” I should shut up about this already instead of using my blog to process. Or maybe I can use my blog to process, but I shouldn’t actually publish it. (If you want to read the post about this other incident, it’s here.)
Honestly, I can’t even with this email. It’s sitting in my stomach like a lump of undigested oatmeal. “Walking on eggshells,” REALLY? Am I so threatening that everyone automatically assumes a defensive stance in my presence? And if that’s so, why the FUCK did you stay friends with me? Two days ago we were sharing jokes and writing stories, and now you’ve NEVER trusted me? What about that time you were suicidal and I spent a considerable amount of time and energy listening to you, even when you attacked me and told me everything I said was rubbish because you’ve dealt with all your issues?
This really fucking hurt me. For the information of everyone, I spent the remainder of the evening crying and wishing I had a gun to put a bullet through my head because I obviously don’t deserve to live on this planet. Because maybe I AM abusive. Maybe I DO write about my life on my blog to punish people. I don’t think I do; I think I write here because I have experiences that other people might also have had, and I have the ability to write about them and the willingness to put myself out into the world. But, you know, maybe that’s a lie I tell myself to keep from acknowledging my behaviour. My husband says this is not the case, but I don’t have any way of knowing. I mean, this keeps happening to me. What am I doing to bring it on myself? My therapist says I make bad choices about the people I get into friendships with because crazy, dangerous, toxic people feel “normal” to me. But maybe it’s just that I’m the terrible person they all say I am when I decide I’ve had enough.
Where I Am Now
I don’t think I’m suicidal, but I don’t know. I don’t think I’m mentioning the fact that I might be suicidal as a blackmail tactic or an attempt to get sympathy, but I don’t know. That’s something abusive people do, and I don’t think I am one, but I don’t know. I keep replaying old tapes, like my mother saying I’m a liar, and I’m manipulative, and I pretend to be depressed to punish her. Old, old tapes that I can’t erase.
I don’t know if I can continue writing. Book six let off at a decent point to end that venture, and thinking about going on with it, continuing to make myself vulnerable through my work, hurts a lot. Part of me thinks that giving up the thing I love above all else because some assholes hurt me is letting the assholes win. That it would be just as much self-abuse as the cutting I used to do in high school, or the anorexia. Then I think releasing any more books and opening myself to possible repercussions like, “She’s an evil cunt; don’t buy her books” isn’t something I want to do. And then I wonder if my books don’t sell because everyone already thinks I’m an evil cunt. And I question everything I have ever said, every word I have ever written, because if I’m the abusive bully certain people claim, then my entire perspective is flawed. I don’t know what’s real.
I’m considering pulling out of all social media, even though that’s historically where I’ve found support. But according to some, when I get support it’s just propping up a flawed self-concept. The people who don’t think I’m evil are wrong. I shouldn’t listen to them anyway.
I’ve been through a lot of shit in my life and I’ve survived. I don’t know if I can get through this one.
I think it’s really interesting that even though a couple people chimed in on yesterday’s conversation, I’m the one that got taken to task for it, called abusive, and labeled a bully. The other people who chimed in on the conversation were MEN. Coincidence? Unlikely.