I write this post from within my soul. Someone very near and dear to me has been dealing with an onslaught of gossip and tampered friendships, and this hits very close to home.
The internet continues to blow up over 13 Reasons Why. Before I continue, please know this is not another post about suicide, and how the book and the TV show both sent out some questionable messages in regards to the attempt to take ones life. 13 Reasons Why leaves some believing that if you make a plan to end your life due to bullying and abuse, as long as you leave tapes, or letters, or some sort of documentation, people will mourn you. You will have left a mark and taught everyone a lesson. This is very rarely the case. But, that’s not what this post is about. This post is about what happens before someone decides to take their life, or contemplates it, or physically harms themselves to deal with pain. This post is also about those who don’t take such extreme measures. Those of us who, when we get hurt, we remain calm on the outside, but on the inside? We’re screaming. All we can do is distract ourselves, ignore the pain, and let time pass. After all, time heals all wounds.
Life feels so long as we live it. It gets mundane, and at times we forget the effect our actions have on others. We wake up everyday, attend school or work, or take care of our families. We interact with people, both online, and in the outside world. In person relationships are very important, but this doesn’t mean online relationships aren’t. Most people I consider to be best friends, and even family I’ve met online. Take Jon for example. He is absolutely the love of my life and he understands me better than just about anyone, including myself. Jon and I met online. As we talked and got to know one another more, we did realize we attended the same high school. But high schools are big. At least mine was, and there’s just no way to meet everyone.
There’s something about pouring your heart out behind a screen that is comforting. You say things you’d be too anxious to say in person. This can absolutely be a great thing. The nerves aren’t really there when you have a conversation with someone new. You have a protective shield. It’s called the block button. Anytime something gets out of hand or uncomfortable, you can end it, just like that. But, with all things, there are negatives too. As we all know, especially as writers, people grow some serious balls when they’re not talking to you in person. Insults don’t seem to be a problem. It’s a lot easier to disrespect someone when you don’t have to look them in the face.
I’d love to say this is specific to strangers on the internet, but it’s not. The unfortunate thing with online relationships is you can think you know everything there is to know about a person, but until you spend time, day in and day out with a person, they could be anyone. You don’t really know someone until you learn their habits. What do they do when they wake up in the morning? What do they do with their dishes once they’ve eaten? Do they wash their hands every time they use the restroom? Do their dirty clothes go in the hamper, or do they end up covering the floor? There are so many different behaviors and mannerisms you can’t possibly know about a person unless you’ve spent time with them, face-to-face.
Not everyone makes up a fake persona for the internet. It’s not that simple. Sometimes, we spend years investing time and even money into friendships, writing letters, sending care packages, and other things of the like. You’d think these bonds were unbreakable, but that’s not always true either.
Without getting into too many specifics of a story that isn’t mine to tell, people apparently need to be reminded that words hurt. Everything you say affects someone life in some way. You never know what someone is going through. The words you speak can turn someones day around in a positive way, or a negative. This is why it is so important be mindful of the things you say. Be the voice that people want to hear. Be the person who makes peoples days better, no matter who it is.
Some things are out of our control, and always will be. Be cognizant of the words you speak. Kindness goes a long way.
Until next time,