Letting a bully be

Welcome to my latest masterclass in cowardice. This one’s called: going public without actually going public. Unfortunately I speak from no authority whatsoever other than personal experience, so there won’t be any graduation or award ceremony to look forward to at the end of this piece.

Life is unfair and sometimes a bully wins. Sort of. I hate admitting that, but I love life and this is just an unpleasant speck on my rose-tinted glasses that I am having to wipe off. (It will be yours to guess whether I’m wiping it with a fancy wet wipe or a mere tissue and a bit of my spit.)

I would be lying if I told you that I never took even the slightest hint of enjoyment out of exposing online BS’ers and other charlatans. I don’t regret pointing out BS as and when I’ve seen it, and I will probably do it again. But on this particular occasion, I’ll leave the exposing to others, because I cannot afford to take the risk on this particular BS’er blighting my life recently.

Like most of you, I have to work harder and harder every day to make ends meet, and I can’t afford anything or anyone jeopardising my livelihood, even if it is with seemingly hollow threats and baseless accusations. A bully may renege on his claims that he’s a lawyer, police and interest groups may throw out his complaints, but that doesn’t stop his ability to bully. I still have bills to pay and therefore no time spare to spend on said bully’s dented ego nor can I afford any attempts of his to influence my life, work and reputation.

My big mouth tries to mask the coward that I really am. I’ve never claimed otherwise. Thankfully others are braver than me, and they will undoubtedly take this BS’er down; I just don’t fancy ending up as collateral damage in that process. I am keeping hold of all the manipulative and insinuating messages sent to me away from public view and, for now at least, I won’t make them public until or unless I have no other choice but to or if I have nothing to lose anymore.

Feel free to disagree with me, or to call me a daft cow or whatever for this, I can handle that, and rest assured that merely disagreeing with me or even calling me names won’t result me in labelling you a sexist or misogynist or even crying ‘hate crime!’ just because you said it to or about me and I happen to be a woman.

Thick skin. Water off a duck’s back. Now those are claims to make about yourself that don’t require paper credentials. (As for everything else, people whose credentials are public and checkable may appear more credible than people who anxiously hide theirs and/or have been proven to have misrepresented themselves… just an observation.)

My final thought: try honesty. It may not make heaps of money but it is generally speaking a more sustainable way of life, albeit a tough one where you work all hours to make ends meet. The vast majority of people live it and it works for them. Please respect that, always.

Please stop defecating on people’s names just because you don’t like what they say or do. Please don’t lunge attacks at people for pointing out your own misrepresentations.

Just because some (myself included) can’t afford to hit back at you, doesn’t make it alright to hit out at them in the first place, especially when you are the one acting with deliberate dishonesty and disingenuousness to begin with.

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Lesson learnt the not-so-hard way

“Caught in the act – texting while driving. Police gave me a massive fine. Now I’m broke and it’s my own stupid fault.”

The above is an adapted quote from one of the most powerful social media updates I have read in ages. The original post was shared among friends only so I won’t actually link you to the source. Even so, I think the person who had the cojones to share this about themselves online is awesome for using social media in this way.

Why? Because it reminded me of something that happened to me around eleven or twelve years ago, which I’d hereby like to share publicly. I was on the telephone with someone who was driving, on their way to me. Then, as I looked out the window and saw them pull up the driveway, he very nearly hit a lady with a pram. He hit the breaks just in time. Just.

While I may not have been the person behind the wheel that day, I felt and still feel very guilty about what happened. As the person distracting the driver, I was equally guilty. Whether or not they were holding the phone or speaking to me hands-free is irrelevant. Nothing, really nothing was that important that we should have put ourselves and others at risk the way we did. Whatever it was we were talking about on the telephone, I don’t remember, but I am absolutely certain it could have waited. We could have waited and then we would have had all the time in the world to discuss whatever it was we wanted to discuss without putting anyone at risk. So very nearly we hurt someone and they would have been very badly hurt and that would have been our fault.

The memory still haunts me, and the person putting up the status update from which I quoted above brought it all right back to me. And I am so grateful they did, because without them I wouldn’t have posted this.

They got a massive fine, I got a massive shock. No one got hurt. But the point is: worse things could have happened, due to our behaviour. We each had a choice and each made the wrong one. We were and are blessed that that’s the worst that happened, considering the horrors we could have caused.

Perhaps the most powerful use of social media is exactly this, holding your hands up in the virtual world and admitting you’re a real human being. Nothing photoshopped or polished.

“Hey everyone, I screwed up. Big time. But I learned my lesson. And I’m sharing it with you in the hope that you will take notice and like me will learn from this, thus preventing this – and worse! – from ever happening to you, me, or anyone else for that matter.”

To the person who inspired this post: You rock. Big time.

[NL] Oude doos

Hyves. Het was ooit zo groot. De laatste paar jaren deed ik er al niks meer mee, maar zin om mijn profiel dan ook maar te wissen had ik ook niet, dus ik liet het maar voor wat het was.

Nu de sluitings-/overgangsdatum voor Hyves van 2 december 2013 dichterbij komt, besloot ik toch nog maar even te gaan kijken, als was het alleen maar om te controleren dat ik niet het contact zou kunnen verliezen met mensen daar; volgens mij heb ik inmiddels iedereen kunnen vinden op Facebook, Twitter en/of elders.

Mijn lunchpauze vandaag heb ik wél even gebruikt om drie oude blogs van daar naar hier over te zetten (vorig jaar raakte ik namelijk veel online werk kwijt omdat ik niet alles van MySpace en MOG had overgezet voordat die mijn blogs sloten):

De jaren sindsdien zijn voorbijgevlogen, en bovengenoemde stukken laten die datering ook zeker zien, maar ik wilde ze (nog) niet voorgoed laten verdwijnen.

Alistair Campbell’s course in attention seeking, lesson 41

Oh, the irony of posting this, to promote my other blog (and as such myself)… or perhaps I’m just a good learner?

Hashed! Alistair Campbell's course in attention seeking

Rejoice! – Oh no, better not…

Once the news of the birth of the royal baby broke last night, it didn’t take long for the miserable folks to come out of the woodwork. Because people are dying or fleeing in Syria. Because thousands of babies are born in the United Kingdom each day, many of whom may grow up in poverty. Which is all true, but does that mean no one should be allowed to rejoice the birth of a baby who may grow up to become king one day?

If the monarchy is the problem, let’s have a referendum tomorrow, and if a majority of the people prefers the republic we’ll go ahead with that and this newborn baby will indeed be no more special than any other. There will still be babies born to grow up in poverty, though. Just like Carl Froome won the Tour de France the other day, yet there are still homeless people sleeping in shop doorways, so I hope you didn’t celebrate. And Andy Murray won Wimbledon, but there are still people having to escape wars into far-away refugee camps, so let’s not rejoice. When the British & Irish Lions won the 2013 Tour the other day, while millions of people were (and are) out of work, don’t tell me you had a party after that victory. Let’s not even begin to plan festivities if (or should I say when) England’s cricketers win the Ashes shortly, because there are still people relying on foodbanks, don’t you know.

So let’s not ever be joyous, ever, shall we, over something that doesn’t matter, something that doesn’t profoundly changes people’s life, okay? Apparently, that’s what some people think, judging by their comments online. And while my previous paragraph here may sound ridiculous, nothing was quite as ridiculous as the responses I got from those people when I confronted the unpleasantness of them lashing out at the birth of a baby: I’ve been called a stupid wench (mirror here), shallow, dim (mirror here)… but no one’s come up with a solid reason about what’s so wrong about people being happy about something, even while bad things happen elsewhere.

I am not even asking people to become royalist or patriotist, hell, I’m not even British. All I’m saying is, that in the perspective of all that’s bad, wrong and horrible on this planet… there may still be things worth celebrating, and people damn well should be happy about those if they feel like it! If that’s not allowed, let’s take the few old TVs attached to generators away from the slums, so people there wallow in their misery a bit more and harder, rather than watch sports on the blower. Let’s not treat ourselves to dinners restaurants while there are people starving. Let’s not buy each other presents when that money is better spent on foodbank donations. Is that the way we want things to go? Really?

For all the misery in this world, good things still happen, and however menial or unimportant those events might seem to others, what’s so bad about people rejoicing for a moment, if only to take their minds off everything that doesn’t look like or smell of roses, be it in their own lives or those of the world population at large?