A Response To Writing A Pathetic Piece of Drivel

On my last blog post themed around identity, I received this comment from someone named Robert:

What a pathetic piece of drivel from a clearly lost, challenged snowflake with little or nothing to do in, or say about life. Even the basics seem out of reach. Some mental health problems are exhibited in this writing and help is obviously needed. Get off your ass, get a job, be a contributing citizen, and give instead of taking. There – a hard take on this – wonder how long it will stay posted before being swept under the rug.

When I first read it, it threw me off. Pathetic. Drivel. Snowflake. There- a hard take on this. Uh, okay. If I’m being compared to a snowflake, the one on the left is how I was feeling:

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My last post was about finally gaining the ability to work, starting a business, and examining the ways we tend to define ourselves. This comment felt totally out of right field. Derrick got quite upset and said to delete it. Why give more air to a comment that seems to only want to start a fire? And that would be the easy route-  to sweep it under the rug as Robert tried to ignite me to do. So I decided to sit on it… for three weeks.

It didn’t feel right to delete it. Are you saying something, Robert, other than name calling and “I know better than you”? It’s riddled with assumptions about me. It’s also clear that you, Robert, are not feeling heard. So I decided to “approve” your comment with curiosity, and give you, Robert, space to have a dialogue. Words are open to interpretation, and often the intended message – from both points of view- can be lost.

First off, thank you Robert for finding my blog. I highly encourage you to read my blog, and specifically, the post that you chose to comment on. From your comment, it sounds like you missed most of what I was trying to say. I am assuming you had good intentions this time, yet I currently am missing most of what you are getting at. I’m also curious to know why it sparked such a comment from you. What’s going on in your space to lead with such words? I can take it, but that’s not the point. Today’s post isn’t about me: it’s about you.

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What a pathetic piece of drivel from a clearly lost, challenged snowflake with little or nothing to do in, or say about life. Even the basics seem out of reach.

Starting any comment with name calling – you can’t really expect people to read the rest of what you wrote. I am caught up on the terms, and the assumptions my friend… The term snowflake has been lost in the politic storm of today, so let’s look to wikipedia to get up to speed on what I think you are suggesting: Snowflake is a derogatory slang term for a person, implying that they have an inflated sense of uniqueness, an unwarranted sense of entitlement, or are over-emotional, easily offended, and unable to deal with opposing opinions.  

The term is all about perspective. I could infer that your comment suggest easily offended, unable to deal with opposing opinions. Yet I don’t know you. And let’s clear up that if you’re suggesting that expressing emotions, and trying to grow and change make you a snowflake are weaknesses, you’re wrong on that one. 

My post was about how un-unique I am. To share my lived experience, and to say you’re not alone in this, and neither am I.

Some mental health problems are exhibited in this writing and help is obviously needed.

Thank you for acknowledging mental health exists. I believe, as you are suggesting here, that people should get help. I have sought support for my mental health thankfully. Just like our physical health, we all need care for our mental health regularly. How is your mental health doing these days?

Get off your ass, get a job, be a contributing citizen, and give instead of taking.

Can you expand on what exactly I’m taking? If you’re suggesting I’m part of the 35% of Americans who are using and relying on social services, you’re incorrect. If you’re suggesting that I took the last bite of dessert, that may be true. Oh, and I’m hitting at least 11,000 steps a day, so I’m doing my best to stay off my ass.

As for contributing, I’ve been volunteering at numerous places over Philly for three years since we arrived. I’ve contributed more money to your economy than I probably should have (sorry Derrick), and I even sponsor a child and family in need. The cool thing about being a “contributing citizen” is that it comes in many different meaningful forms outside of a job.  That was a big part of what my post about- sorry if that message wasn’t clear. Hopefully that eases your worry that I’m taking from you.

As you read in my post, you know that I just received the ability to work in the US, and that I’ve started my own business. I’m not looking for a party, but I am looking for acknowledgement that I’m doing what you’re suggesting I’m not. It’s possible you skipped that part? I’m a Canadian who is now American Made if you will. Cross your fingers for us, Robert, that our Green Card interview goes well, because then we’ll be Permanent Residents.

There – a hard take on this – wonder how long it will stay posted before being swept under the rug.

This is the key finale. I could make a million assumptions about who you are, but I won’t. I’m guessing others have often swept your words under the rug in the past. From your comment, it sounds like there’s a fear, or an anger, coming from you about not being heard. I’m sorry you’ve had that experience. If I’m wrong, you need to be more clear. A hard take on your comments if you will.

Robert, and anyone who might see the world differently than I do, I’m open and ready for a dialogue. The more I learn, the more I don’t know. It’s kind of freeing really. Constructive perspective is incredibly valuable. Hard to hear possibly, but necessary. There is room for both of us. We need to have these conversations.

Yet, I don’t have the time nor energy for name calling, or for comments that don’t read the details. Please note that if you choose to put out comments that appear only to attack and piss people off like this one, I will delete your comment. There is space for different opinions, but there is no space for attacks. I decided to give your comment more attention than most because I believe that you having a space to voice your thoughts, and hear from others, is important.

Your comments, although they have snowflake qualities (being cheeky!), are not unique. Just because of the increased (shameful) tolerance for bullying, doesn’t make it useful, nor right. It’s hurtful, and adds no value. But I believe you know that already. I’m exhausted by them. How do you speak to those you love who experience something differently than you? To those who don’t know you? How do you want people to talk to you? How can you find a common connection?  Did you read your comment back to yourself? How does it serve you?

Robert, I invite you to comment on this, and every other one of my past and present posts. I really encourage you to find a sense of openness to your words. As I’ve learned, there’s magic in other people’s experiences that maybe I don’t connect with. I hope we can find our commonalities as human beings, and both learn can from each other. Hey, maybe we could even become friends. Help me understand your perspective without the noise.

Be well Robert.

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Song of the Day: Bad Habit (Ben Platt)

12 comments on “A Response To Writing A Pathetic Piece of Drivel

  1. Well, I must say I certainly think of you as a snowflake Mike – a beautiful, glistening and very unique piece of art. You often make me smile and yet we’ve never met. That’s an incredibly unique talent. I feel in my heart for Robert – I worry about the anger that lives inside people…waiting for reasons to lash out. Even to complete strangers. In my experience, anger like that can only come from being hurt. So bravo to you dear man for reaching out to Robert like a human xo I hope it’s helpful for him in some way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww- Dani, you melted my little snowflake heart with your words :). Really, thank you for reading and your comment. Exactly all of what you said- It’s a curious wonder about what makes us humans do what we do. I hope it connects with him in some fashion.

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  2. As a lifelong “American” myself (and you are, so far as I know, Canada is on the American Continent), first I’d like to apologize for your critic’s critique, and secondly for all of those United States citizens who insist on calling our country “America”. Hell, Brazil is as American as we are. Lastly, your Blogs are as wonderful as you are. I consider myself lucky to have met you, and fortunate enough to you and yours sharing my Fiftieth Birthday with my wife and I. Keep being you! S Scott Williams

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    • This post defines you my friend.. somebody who is so authentic .. someone who wants to learn from others.. help others and even see the best in others.
      I hope our Benjamin MICHAEL (& both our boys) learn from their Uncle Mike because this post is such a beautiful lesson in love .. acceptance … seeing big picture.. teaching.. understanding and empathy. Without assuming too much …you are everything Robert is not.
      Love u my friend.

      Like

  3. Thanks for writing a beautiful response, Mike. I think you are amazing…as do l the people who really know you! I have had nasty and rude negative responses to opinions I have written (usually criticism of US government). I am fine with differences of opinion but the name calling disturbs me. In some cases it is just internet trolls who spend their life making annoying comments to get a reaction. I admire people like you who take the time to write a thoughtful response. Anyway hope you and Derrick are well. Take care and keep writing! Kathy xoxo

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  4. Amazing response Mike! It’s very easy to succumb to others negative levels, however you showed pure strength and honesty by taking the high road with your response. You turned what was an awful moment, into a learning moment – not just for you, but by sharing you’ve educated us all on keeping our heads high when people try to know us down. Kudos to you Mike!
    As for Robert, like Mike said, we don’t know what is happening in ur space to make you send comments like that. For a future suggestion, if you need to express yourself in such a negative matter, get a journal. Because Mikes space shouldn’t be your negative outlet. 😉
    #Niagara #CanadiansStickTogether

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  5. Oh Mike, you are like one of the first warm sunny days after a frosty winter. You know that day when the sun hits your face and you feel a warm breeze instead of a cold one and you smell the earth thawing? So welcome and needed.

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  6. Mike, as soon as I finished reading your last blog, I looked at my comments and saw you liked my post of that home in the mountains. While I didn’t take the time to comment on your blog after reading it in your site, I will now.
    It was truly amazing, inspiring and challenging. You’re not only a gifted writer, but a beautiful soul. I learn so much from you. Thanks for being uniquely you!!!

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  7. Mike-

    Not only do I get the pleasure of reading your blog, I also have the pleasure of callling you a friend- in person and in my head!
    Your ability to always see the light in darkness is simply amazing!

    Cheers my friend!

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  8. I wonder what grandma would say to Robert? Maybe he needs a homemade chocolate chip cookie to soften his heart.

    You know, when a decent person receives that kind of name calling and harsh treatment for no reason, it really hurts me. I don’t get it!

    Love you Mike

    Like

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