Monday, 2 March 2015

The Dark Side Of Blogging.

                                                        photo credit - me!

A few years ago I received an email from a chick who worked nightshift at a rehab - I think it was part of a hospital. Anyway, she contacted me out of the blue, told me every week she'd sit down with the patients and read out my blog posts to them. I was amazed, gobsmacked. Obviously the posts I've written on this blog about being an addict/alcoholic would have struck a chord with them, but she read all my other ones out too - random ones I write, ones I can't remember now. I don't often go back and read old posts because I sound like a fucking idiot.

It just meant so much to me. I was so touched, that she was sharing my words with people who were in a bit of a pickle (nobody ever ends up in rehab getting dropped off in a limo) ... I felt really, really honoured.

Her name was Cherie and I eventually met her. She's beautiful inside and out. I thanked her, for doing what she did. She has her own blog - well, she HAD her own blog. Another blogger hounded off the internet. Because why? Sharing her life and taking photos of her kids and just writing stuff about what she thinks and feels? She has a beautiful husband and two children. She had a really hard start to life and man do I admire her so much for the way she turned out. But she was gossiped about, told her kid was ugly and snotty, some crap about her husband, accused of having a party JUST to blog about it. She started getting called a c*nt in her comments section. She had a whole thread dedicated to her on a website where people talk shit about other bloggers. When you have your own thread you have hit the big-time of hatedom. Every single little thing you say, write, instagram, tweet - gets mulled over and pulled to pieces and twisted apart.

I've seen this happen to many bloggers. It gets too much so they stop blogging.

There are bloggers out there who I cannot stand. Especially the materialistic, vain, self-obsessed ones. Not all people who blog are lovely people. They can be manipulative, mean, show-offs, complete arseholes. And if you're a blogger who starts to get a little bit of traction, a bit of attention and comments and people who connect with you? It's .... odd. It can play with your head. I went through it. I can't BELIEVE how my blog got "big." Thing about me is, I don't give a shit how many readers I have or my stats or what my next topic should be. I write when I feel like it - and jesus do I write some stuff here. I can't help it, I just write things that I should probably keep to myself like everybody else. I don't write for fame or glory and FUCK KNOWS I do not write for money. I tried that - total disaster. Greedy, greedy people. You can't monetise writing about a life like mine, it doesn't work. I haven't blogged half the stuff I've done in my life anyway. No way.

So there's this whole bunch of people out there who write shit either in bloggers comments sections or on very public, very well-known websites. Who claim to just want bloggers to be "accountable." And you know what? A lot of what is said by these people is TRUE. Some bloggers have their head stuck so far up their arse they need a goddamn wrench to get it out.

But a lot of this running commentary, this vicious hate spewed towards certain bloggers is UNDESERVED AND WRONG. Mean, spiteful, awful, vicious attacks on peoples children, families, lifestyles, weight, looks. It's getting worse. And it's hurting a lot of people. Long ago I stopped reading stuff people were writing about me because there was no point. I had no right of reply because if I did go in and defend myself - against blatant LIES about me and my family - I would just be annihilated further.

So bloggers get told to have a thick skin, toughen up, "don't put it all out there if you don't want to be criticised." But if I had a thick skin, I wouldn't be able to reach my heart so easily.

Why do I blog? Why on EARTH would I write the things I've written here? For you. No - not you, arseholes. For the silent people who will never comment. For the people who had shit go on in their lives and they see me still going so maybe they can too. I blog for fun, for stupidity, for having a laugh because god knows this life is hard to live. I have had emails from people who say that I've saved their lives, just for that one day. I've had emails from people who have seen the worst of humanity but want to thank me for being so honest. I've had gorgeous emails from people who have had near-perfect lives who read me and it makes them understand a bunch of stuff they never would have.

Nothing is black and white. I like to think deeply and I like it when others think deeply too.

I keep blogging for all of the people who could never blog, never say out loud what they're feeling inside. That makes me sound like a wanker - I am! I am a fucking idiot wanker but I'm going to keep writing anyway.

Writing on this website has been one of the biggest gifts in my life because I found me. How stupid that sounds but it's true - I found myself. I wrote myself into existence over a period of eight years and here I am, doing a whole lot of things I never, ever would have done. I filmed a TV piece for World Vision last week and when I was saying goodbye to them I cried. Told them that they save millions of peoples lives all over the world ... and I'm pretty sure they have saved my life too. I got to see people and places and countries I NEVER would have seen. They trusted me enough to tell my stories about the work they do in my own words. ME - somebody who used to be a useless fuckup who NOBODY BELIEVED IN. At least until I got my shit together and started making something of myself. THEN I was worthy and accepted.

Writing things out on this site has told me who I am and what I am doing in my life. I know its weird - I know! I have been WAY TOO OPEN - jesus I get embarrassed buying milk from the shop these days. I had a lineup of school mums wanted to talk to me about my Peaches overdose post when I picked Rocco up from school one day and though I have severe anxiety issues and actually do find it hard to talk to people - and I was MORTIFIED that the school mums knew "who I really was" ... they were lovely. Most of them found my piece through facebook and just wanted to chat.

My friends get torn to shreds on some forums. By people who have no idea who they're actually tearing apart because mostly what you see on a blog is a persons sanitised view of themselves, right? Well, sometimes not. Sometimes people dare to be honest and open and heaven forbid even complain that life is a bit hard and BAM. HOW DARE THEY.

I'm not perfect. I'm not always right. I can be an arrogant dickhead. But I'm allowed to write a website on the internet. I'm allowed to have a voice - and it's grown into a big one. Sorry. Sorry I write stuff that resonates. Sorry I got popular. Sorry I'm bold and brash and swear and speak my mind. SORRY!

So here's the thing, the crux of this whole post that I never, ever wanted to write because I've never wanted to acknowledge the hate.

I always know when I've been horribly written about somewhere because I either get texts saying "Are you ok? Don't worry what they're saying!" From well-meaning people. Or I get google alerts. Or people actually TELL me what's being said and I just don't want to know.

I'm tough. I'm also very sensitive. I dare to be bold in a world where bold women are shut up very quickly. I can handle mean stuff being written about me - whatever.

But a few weeks ago, something was written about me that absolutely shattered me. You people, who write your flippant words off the cuff, judging somebodies whole life in a sentence. You people have the power to really fuck a person up. And it fucked me up. Still has. Always will. Always. I will never forget what that person wrote about me on a stupid fucking forum. Thing is, I don't care what you write about me but I care that a whole bunch of other people are reading this shit thinking it's true. It's not. It's like being at school and there's this big billboard where people get written about daily and everybody in the school reads it but you can't because you know it's about you and you know it will probably hurt. And bloggers put themselves out there, it's our own fault, right?

But to you - and I know you will read this post, whoever the fuck you are. When you wrote on a very widely-read internet forum that "Eden can't have been that close to her brother because she didn't even know where he lived when he died."

Yeah. That was a beauty. You got me GOOD. I was fucking devastated. I cried for days. Crying about it right now.

There's a black notebook in my bookcase that my brother bought when he was house-hunting in September 2013 to find a flat to kill himself in. There's a lot of addresses in there - it took him a while to find a place! So he moved in. And did not tell ANYBODY where he lived - as if he would. He moved around a lot - he was only living in that place for a matter of weeks before he was gone forever so you're right, internet forum person. It's the truth, and that's what hurts the most - I didn't know where my brother was living when he killed himself.

I begged him to tell me his address. I rang his friends, knowing he would be SO pissed off that I rang his friends. I told my therapist and case worker and shrink at the time - I think my brother is going to kill himself and he won't tell me where he lives. They were giving me so much advice. If I knew where he lived I would have gotten him committed because somebody told me he HAD something in his flat to do it. I told his friends that too but Cam - man he was a smooth talker.

I would have gotten him committed and he would have got out and he would have killed himself anyway. But at least I would have known that I did EVERYTHING I could to try stop it. I have to live with this for the rest of my life. His death has almost completely destroyed me and it was only until last week when my friend Megan said:

"Eden, you're going to hate me for saying this but it's time you stop pulling the scab off your grief for Cam." Wow. She was right. And she was allowed to say that to me because her brother killed himself too so she knows her shit.

So I'm trying. It feels like there's a lot of people waiting with popcorn for me to implode or fuck up or really mess up.

Fuck you. Fuck you for writing shit about me that isn't true but the people who read it might think it is. Fuck you for fucking with my head. Fuck you for making me feel the lowest I have felt in a very, very long time. I asked my therapist - why would people write such things? And he said that some of you probably will never experience the extreme, unconditional depth of love I have for my brother. So you don't understand, can't even comprehend my words. You just pass judgement.

I used to hold that tiny baby so tight, many many moons ago. And he grew up bigger and taller and more beautiful than I can imagine and he couldn't deal with his issues because he didn't even know what they were. Generations of bullshit, all twisted inside his heart that he couldn't articulate. He thought there was something wrong with HIM. There wasn't. There's something wrong with the world.

Congratulations, internet forum person. You hurt me very, very deeply. I would have done anything to save my brother. Sometimes I feel like I murdered him but I didn't turn the gas on, he did. His decision. He's gone. And every day is a day further from seeing his face and remembering all the potential he had. The fucking arsehole.

So. This was longer than I thought I would write. I just wanted to address it - this goes beyond online bullying. I don't want or need to know what is being said about me anymore so please don't tell me. I can't handle it. It almost brought me undone and if you people keep going the way you are? You WILL bring somebody undone.

And their blood will be on your hands. Because sometimes words are so powerful, they can kill a person.

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Write to be understood, speak to be heard. - Lawrence Powell

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