“Not everyone can leave their job and fuck rock stars until they get things for free, you get what you want and get to be a stupid hippy because you write and suck dick. not everyone can do that and we need doctors and people doing real work not just being groupies. some people need to return to save the world unlike you, what do you REALLY contribute?”
Those words were delivered to me with very poor grammar in the form of an email responding to an interview I did with Mihali from the band Twiddle in the Huffington Post. It was my first true piece of hate mail. I’ve been ripped apart and made fun of many times on message boards, social media and in the comments section of my blogs, articles and videos in very hurtful ways, but never a direct email. I’ve been told things such as:
I would be much more attractive if I placed a bag over my head to cover the ugly part. My face resembled a horse’s. With my cheesy writing style, I shouldn’t be writing for anyone but Teen Beat. Certainly not the Huffington Post. I’ve got no talent and I’m just another ugly hippie trying to change the world and failing. There was even an entire thread on a message board entitled, “Taraleigh Weathers is Freakin’ Annoying” where people who didn’t know me bashed me hard.
It’s easy to forget that there is an actual, real life person with feelings who is going to read the words written about them. Our country was built on the premise of free speech and everyone’s right to their own opinion which is awesome, but in this day and age it feels like there’s no consequences given when a person says whatever they want about someone, even if it’s extremely hurtful.
I may be a sparkling unicorn of love and light, but I’m not immune to taking things personally. I used to feel every word like a knife to the back. I would allow myself to suffer from that pain for weeks on end.
Once, I put myself out into cyber land for a video contest to win a writing position and free tickets to a very prestigious music festival. We were to create videos explaining why we deserved to win. The top submissions were then brought to the public for a vote.
A couple of weeks into the competition, I found out I had made it to the top five. Yay! Shortly after, a friend alerted me that there was a thread on a message board where most of the other competitors had typed horrendously ugly words mostly directed at me. At first I was livid and wanted to go in and figuratively rip each and everyone of them new buttholes. The next tidal wave of emotion came crashing down on me and it was sadness. How could people be so mean? I sobbed uncontrollably. The last tear I had left in me cascaded down my flushed cheek when I was slapped upside the head with compassion for these people. There had to be a reason that they felt the need to collectively bring me down.
Instead of my original plan of ‘letting them have it,’ I let them know I was the woman on the receiving end of their bullying and that I too, was a human being with feelings just like them. Their words hurt me and I wondered if they would say those things to me in real life when we meet in the flesh at the festival in a couple of months.
One of the men, who ended up deservingly winning the contest, reached out to me right away. He let me know he got swept up in the competition and was threatened by me because he thought I had the best chance of beating him. His reaction was to talk smack to try to turn voters against me while at the same time attempting to lift himself up. He was so far down the competitive rabbit hole, he got carried away and forgot there was a real person in those videos that deserved to win just as much as him. He professed a sincere apology which I accepted. He has never written another word rooted in hate toward another human ever again and we are now friends.
Do you have people in your life you’re having trouble forgiving because of what they said to you online?
Here are five ways to forgive someone who hurt you real bad:
Before I received the vulgar email I shared with you at the beginning of this chapter and found the thread on the message board bashing me after I entered that contest, I was really proud of the interview I published and video I made. After the messages, I started questioning everything before remembering that no matter what feedback I got, positive or negative, it didn’t really matter. Anything anyone says or writes is a projection of whatever is going on for them. Nothing is personal.
The words I read had so much hate behind them that I became aware of the suffering that the people who wrote them must be feeling, and I started to feel compassion for them. Even though I would never ever write messages like that to anyone, I’m a little like them. I’ve reacted in not the best ways before when I felt threatened or was stricken with fear and sadness in my own life.
I realized something. The person who wrote me the hate mail took time out of his busy day to read the interview I wrote, click on my bio, find the link to my website, went to my website, found my contact form and wrote me that lovely message. It takes a lot of effort to hate on someone that much. If you think about it, it’s kind of flattering.
- My haters were totally acting like jerks, but I truly believe that deep, deep, DEEP down in their souls, they’re probably not jerks. What they did wasn’t acceptable or OK, but I started to get where it came from.
Being on the receiving end of the hate, for a moment it felt like the easiest thing for me to do was to retreat and hide. “Screw that,” I thought. “Even if it feels hard, I’m going to shine my love light all up in the face of hate.” Take that haters!When you’re online and feel the urge to write a mean comment, tear someone down or virtually bully them, remember there is a real life person with real feelings who’s going to read your words. Instead of using your words to spread fear and hate, use them to spread love and light. You have the superpower to raise the vibration of this planet!!!
If you are on the receiving end of the hate, remember it’s not about you. You’re amazing and sometimes your awesome is just too much for people.
Let’s start a conversation about this. Has someone hated on you because you have different views? Leave a comment below sharing what was said to you (leave their name out of it please) and how you responded. If you’re not sure how to respond, I’ll help you.
The magic in me sees the magic in you,