Free Speech and Anonymous Caller
If you are going to cite my blog to try and get me fired from my job, please quote me correctly. I don’t appreciate when someone tries to use my words against me, and does so incorrectly.
This is all about my need to vent. So if you have other things to do, you should probably do them, because this is all about me. Well, me and the person who thinks they know me well enough to try and make me lose me my job. No, I didn’t sext anything, or fire automatic weapons at vaguely disguised images of people I oppose and make a video and post it on youtube. I didn’t kill puppies or kittens. I didn’t make disparaging comments about anyone in particular, didn’t “friend” my clients or join a white supremacist group/republican party. I made a post on facebook invoking self awareness about something that troubled me, and how I became aware of it. This was the post:
you know what’s sad? when I am out on the road during the day and I see a young couple with a baby stroller or carrier walking around or getting in a car, my sad cynical mind says “awesome! jobless breeders providing job security!” instead of “what a cute young couple taking the day off to spend with their baby or take the child to the doctor!”
That was it. It wasn’t a mean ecard. It said nothing about where I worked or that I felt this about the people I work with. Yet it was enough to provoke someone to call my job and question my commitment to the work I do. Wow. And try they did. If you are the person who felt the need to do this, who took the time from your day to try to attempt to deprive me of my livelihood, to cause me emotional and financial pain, to disrupt the continuity of the lives of the people I work hard to help, you might not have accomplished all of your goals, but here’s what you did accomplish. You made me cry. And you also caused other people to have to address it with me. Which I will guess did not make them feel good either. So if that was your goal, mission accomplished.
Yet, you don’t know anything about about me, otherwise you would have known that that post was about self awareness. It was about how I have to check myself when I think those things; some people don’t. They think that and that’s how they approach life. If you knew me, you would know I go above and beyond for the families I help. I work hours without pay because there’s work to be done. I do things on my own time, I work beyond 8:30a to 4:30p without being told I have to because I accommodate people. I’ve worked 23 hours straight. I’ve carried kids who’ve had no shoes so they didn’t have to walk in the rain through puddles. I’ve held the hands of people crying. I’ve been awoken in the middle of the night to listen to someone having an anxiety attack. I’ve taken money out of my own pocket to buy food, diapers, clothes for people who needed them. I’ve laid awake at night crying because I’ve seen horrible things, and I’ve had to hold children for hours to keep them from crying when their parents had appointments. I’ve organized food drives, raised money for shelters, organized awareness events and sat and consoled a child who could not find one good thing to say about herself. I’ve had to contract with people on the edge of suicide and talk them down from it. I’ve been exposed to lice, bedbugs, roaches, mersa, hepatitis, AIDS, blood, snot, spit. I’ve had my life threatened, my car damaged, been pushed and hit. Not all in my present job, but in my career choices over the years, And yet I continue to do the work I do. I’ve collected school supplies, turned my house into an easter basket assembly line, and have taken my young son to shelters to deliver supplies and feed the homeless. AND I have had stage 3b cancer, went to radiation daily at 4fuckingAM and still got my ass to work to meet with families who needed ME. So, when you judge me, AT LEAST HAVE THE FACTS. I run a god-damn gratitude list. I try to find the positive in nearly every situation, I try to make the people I live and work with have better lives. I agonize over the days when I let my humanness make me less than a positive factor for others. And I am sorry that something about me made you so upset that you had to take that kind of step. I am sorry that my honesty about what I think is less important that your outrage that I take ownership of my thoughts and share them with others. I am sorry that my comment touched something in you that made you so angry that you had to try and hurt me. I hope that making that phone call made you feel better, because not only did you mess up my work day, but it’s two days later and I am still hurt by the fact that my interaction with you left you with such a negative impression of me that you took the time out of your day to try to destroy mine. I wish you knew me for who I really am, and not for the few sentences that inspired your outrage. I wish you would have taken the same amount of time it took to make that phone call to engage me in conversation. Maybe you would know me better, and maybe I could have said something to turn your negative impression into a positive one. I hope whatever it was that prompted your actions, was made better by making that call. I hope you are having a better day, week, life.
In the end, it taught me a lesson. Most people might think it taught me to be more careful about what I post. Oh that I will – but I also learned that I’m not afraid of taking ownership of my words. I also learned that I’m a fucking survivor, and if my words were to ever get me fired from a job, I would do what I do best, survive. I’ve got the courage of my convictions, and I’m willing to accept ownership of what I have to say, not hide behind the mask of anonymity. I’ve been through far worse in my life than having someone not like me and lash out at me. I always try to find common ground with the people who cross my path, and I can even find common ground with you – there have been moments when I have disliked someone’s words that I felt they were in the wrong field. So thank you for helping me see that flaw in myself. I’ll be more careful about judging others based on what little I know about them. That’s what I am going to be thankful for today…seeing myself in the small snatches that others see me in. I’ll get over the impact your action had on me, but hopefully I will keep the lesson. I know you will probably never read this, but this entry wasn’t for you really, it was for me. It allows me to get rid of the anger and hurt you brought out in me. It allows me to remind myself that in the grand scheme of things, I’ve done some shit that I shouldn’t have done, and that I will beat myself up for until my dying day, but I’ve also done great things, great kindnesses, made differences in some lives and planted the seeds of change in hundreds more. And when I put my head on my pillow at night, I know my actions made someone’s life a little better in some way, not worse. Even if I cry myself to sleep because of the things I’ve seen that day.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Martin Luther King, Jr.