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:
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.
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.
Song of the Day: Bad Habit (Ben Platt)