5 min read

So it's been a year since you kicked me when I was down... here's what I've learned.

At the desk, 8:44 a.m.

How do I know it's been a year since you rounded up our "friends" and led the charge to kick me where it hurts? That's easy.

You posted your bullshit Amazon reviews a year ago today. Remember? You know the reviews that said how I wasn't a very good author, but the story was all right; maybe another, better author should pick up the story and tell it. Remember how much fun you had creating fake accounts so you could post more reviews? I bet the joy of kicking me so hard is a lingering memory of triumph.

The funny thing is that I have your original review of that book. You know, the one you wrote on a note card saying how much you liked the book, how proud of me you were, and how grateful we were friends? I taped it into my journal when you sent it. Let me tell you, it was cold comfort when I choked on your Amazon review(s). I wondered at the time whether I should scan your original note and post it in the discussion. Instead, I decided to let your public words stand as they were unattended, undefended.

What I really appreciated was the round of blog posts. Oh come on, you remember saying how I was impossible, dark, and difficult. Remember how you said you had to "defend me" to your "friends"? Yeah, that was funny too. I must say, what impressed me was how you were able to get all of our "friends" to write comments on how they agreed with you. They had done so much for me; I was so hard to be around, so difficult, untalented, and cruel.

You found me so easily rejectable, so easy to betray, by people I thought were friends.

I'll tell you it hurt at the time. It hurt a lot.

The husband found me under my desk crying my eyes out. He dragged me to an artistic glass store, of all things, where we looked at various antique and new glass for hours. Now, a year later, I remember that feeling of betrayal and loss. I remember the horror of seeing everyone we mutually knew, people I'd shared meals with, gone out of my way to spend in person time with, laughed with, and thought of as friends, light their own torch and throw in on my public pyre. Laid bare by your words, I could only watch you goad each other on as you danced in the light of the fire.

In the midst of all that pain, I remember the absurdity of antique colored and decorated glass. I remember the clerk waxing on and on about this press, that style, this hundred year old mechanized process, and what not. I remember wondering how many people had invested their lives in something as mundane as glass.

I guess what I'm saying is that I remember what you did, how you did it, all of the individuals who joined in on Twitter, Facebook, their blogs, and Plurk, the forum where I felt most comfortable and safe.

Since I've already written about why people kick you when you're down, I thought I'd tell you what I've learned in the last year.

  • It happens. People will kick you when you're down.  Although the words and accusations seemed so personal, they were not. People betray each other for two reasons: a) the way they deal with their own commitments and b) their own feelings of inadequacy. I couldn't have been a better friend, written a better book, or even worked this situation out. This train was moving under the locomotion of your antipathy for yourself. I just happened to stand on the tracks long enough to get hit.
  • When people tell you who they are, believe them. This is something Oprah said in her life course. Oddly, I'd never thought of it. I knew you'd said you were into voodoo and you liked act your rage out on other people. That should have been a warning sign to run the other way, but I thought you were quirky and interesting. I remember you have trouble with one job place, then the next, then the next and the one after that. I remember your bosses having the names like dragon lady and you creating voodoo dolls for them. I should have seen that this is who you were. Well, you can't know what you don't know. You really taught me something here.
  • I'm responsible for my own mental zone. The bone fire you lit went on for so long that I had to finally take the reins of my own mental zone. Gosh, when you started friending my friends so you could bully me on their timelines? It was a wonderful lesson in realizing that I can step back, claim the air around my own head, and move on. I have too much to do to waste my time on this kind of bizarre behavior.
  • I will survive bullying. As you know, I was bullied a lot as a kid. I think those experiences left me with a sense that I couldn't protect myself. What I've learned in the last year is that the block button works; and moreover, it's all right to block people without trying to work out every detail of what's going on with them. Life's too short.
  • Never dim my own light. You and our "friends" were like gnats battering away at me. I had the choice of either putting out my light or simply waiting for you to burn yourselves out. I think the later worked, although there's always a risk that this post will incite you to launch yet another round of bullying.
  • I don't have to cling so tightly to hurtful people because good, kind, interesting people are waiting to fill their spots in my life. When I was finally able to get my wits about me again, I found that there are really good people in the world waiting to stand by my side. Maybe they've been burned in someone else's pyre. Sometimes, they just want to hang out in the light together.  It's only the transition - the tearing off of the band aid - that's painful. There are really good people out there. It's up to me to find them.
  • And probably the last and most important thing is this: I'm not going to stop writing. I'll tell you that I thought about it for a long time. Sitting under my desk crying and standing in the art glass warehouse, I was ready to give it up. Forever.

But here's the thing: I was placed on this plant to write great stories about good people caught in difficult situations. Get over it. Go find why you were here and stop trying to convince me I shouldn't be doing this. I know how I'm using my precious time on this planet. Do you?

I guess the last thing I'd like to say is thank you. You taught me a lesson I might not have learned otherwise. Yes, it hurt like hell. Yes, I will bare the scars of your betrayal for the rest of my life. But in the end, I'm grateful for the chance you gave me to learn this lesson so completely and well. Bless you.