Thursday, June 28, 2018

Help is on the way...

Last night, Bill and I were talking and I started feeling kind of low.  I guess I'm always going to have a problem with depression, and reading the news and hanging around on social media doesn't help much.  I read about people like Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade taking their lives... and to be honest, I can't really blame them too much.  Why stick around?

Bill doesn't share my pessimism.  He has plenty to live for.  He has a job and is well-respected and well-liked.  He's rebuilding his relationship with one of his daughters and there's hope that he'll be able to get back in touch with his other daughter and former stepson.  And he has a grandson, too.  Me?  Well, I have Bill and two dogs and my writing and music, neither of which seems to amount to a lot.  I also have a real problem with depression.

I'm still really upset about that whole Permit Patty thing.  I can't resist reading the comments people are posting about her.  They're gleeful that she lost her job and is getting death threats.  So many people completely lack any empathy whatsoever for her.  I've read so many comments about how she should have worn earbuds or turned on music to drown out the sounds of the yelling outside of her window.  I read about how Alison Ettel (aka Permit Patty) tried to apologize to Erin Austin and her daughter and Austin refused to accept Ettel's apology and immediately accused Ettel of racism and bullying again. There is no graciousness or kindness in the situation, just lots of blaming and people wishing bad things on a woman who, to me, simply sounded like she was having a bad day.

This has little to do with my post... I just like Hee Haw.

I know a lot of people think this kind of mob justice is perfectly fine.  I will admit, there are times when I find myself agreeing with "karma", too.  However, I'd like to hope I never get to the point of seriously wishing death or violence on another person simply because I disagree with something they said, wrote, or did.  When I think of a person like Alison Ettel getting this kind of hatred from the world at large, I realize it could easily happen to me.  Honestly, if it ever did, I think it would send me into a deep depression.  I might get so down that I'll decide it's just not worth hanging around here anymore.

A week ago, Alison Ettel was gainfully employed as CEO and had deadlines to meet.  Now, simply because she lost her temper and confronted a couple of people who happened to be of a different racial background, she's no longer CEO and perfect strangers are wishing death and violence to her.  And they think it's perfectly fine to do this...  They don't even know her and they're sending hatred to her.  99.9% of the people who are wishing death to Alison Ettel weren't at the scene when she made her phone call to the police.  The vast majority don't know her personally and have no way of knowing what made her finally decide to act against the mother and daughter who were yelling outside of her window.

I'm writing about this and I know it's risky, because people may decide I'm a racist because I empathize with Alison Ettel.  Noise pollution is stressful.  I think Ettel had the right to speak up about it.  I understand how risky calling the police is in a situation like this, but I also don't believe people should have to suffer in silence when someone is disrupting their peace.  It takes courage to speak up, because whatever you say can be used against you.  Even sometimes in this blog, I get nasty comments from people who make assumptions about my character because I don't think they way they do.  Although it hasn't happened often, I have had people send me emails and private messages inviting me to die.  Ha ha... what they don't know is that I often wish it were that easy.  I think the world, by and large, sucks and is getting worse by the day.  I'd love to "go die"... as someone recently wished for me because he was offended by my pro-choice beliefs.

I know it's childish, but there are times when my brain gets so screwy that I'd like to actually take the haters' advice and out them as the horrible people they are for sending hate mail.  I'd like to turn a little mob justice on them, take their advice, and publicize their hateful messages and identities so they might get a taste of their own vile mob justice medicine.  But that's not productive, of course, and I'm not so fucked in the head that I'd do it.  For one thing, I could only do it once.  For another, that's the kind of action that can really backfire if you don't do it the right way.  I may fantasize about checking out, but I don't want to end up a vegetable.  I also don't like pain, and I realize that taking that kind of impulsive action is manipulative and cruel to the few people who want me to stick around.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tempted, though.

Anyway... I was talking about this with Bill last night and I started to get really teary.  Because I also realized in the back of my head that I have no "right" to feel like this.  I have a pretty easy life and am blessed in so many ways.  And yet, I still think it sucks here.  I think people who send hate mail, even to unpopular folks like Permit Patty or BBQ Becky, are awful.  I wish they'd think longer about it before they hit "send".  That kind of thoughtless bullshit can lead to real consequences.

Allow me to go on record to say that I wish Alison Ettel well.  I hope that despite the negative publicity her business is getting, she can keep supporting herself.  I hope there are people out there who care about her and don't want to see her dead or raped.  I hope there are loving, gracious, decent people in her life who aren't calling her a racist or a bully and have some understanding for her, even if they don't agree with her actions last Friday.  I hope she has people in her life who have empathy and will help her through what is no doubt a very difficult period in her life.  No, I don't think she's a racist... and even if she were a racist, I don't think she'd deserve to suffer death or rape because of it.

I feel like the world is going crazy and we're quickly falling into a dystopian nightmare.  Yes, it really depresses me.  Yes, it makes me think about beaming myself out of this existence.  No, I'm not planning to do it...  not at this point in time.

Which brings me to the reason I titled this post "Help is on the way..."

Last night, Bill told me about an email he got from his younger daughter.  For a long time, I was convinced she was the spawn of Satan.  She sent Bill hateful emails, as did her brother and sister.  She slapped him across the face when she was nine and acted like he wasn't "good enough" to be in her life.  I was appalled by her comments and her behavior.

I now realize that she's not who she seemed to be for so long.  I'm glad I've stuck around long enough to see this side of her.  I have some hope that she and Bill can reconnect.  In fact, Bill told her that he'd be willing to help older daughter move out of her mother's house.  Apparently, she is thriving in Arizona with Bill's ex stepson.  But she hesitates to move because she is apparently the primary caregiver for Ex's youngest child, an eleven year old boy.  Even though older daughter has her own life to live and will soon turn 27 years old, she's raising Ex's child.

In the course of this exchange, Bill also told his younger daughter that he would be willing to speak to his ex stepson again.  For many years, he considered ex stepson his son.  Ex stepson, thanks to his mother's toxic bullshit, tossed away the one true father figure he had.  Luckily, Bill is kind and empathetic and understands that his ex wife is crazy and toxic.  There may come a day when they all reunite.  Apparently, ex stepson is up for it, too.

Will I be a part of this?  I don't know.  I have no relationship with them.  I don't really trust them, although I'd like to.  I do have empathy for their situation, but I can't deny that their actions really hurt me.  I've been hurt by a lot of people and it makes me reluctant to trust others.  I don't even try to make local friends anymore because too many of them have turned out to be fake.  I've been left heartbroken too many times.  But at this point, I do wish Bill's kids well and I hope they can reconnect with their dad.  Maybe next year, if the kids are still speaking to Bill, he'll fly out and visit them.  He has a reason to stick around, if only because he has a grandson now... and because he can help them.  I don't feel that helpful or hopeful, most of the time.



  1. I'm far from an expert on depression, but no one should ever have to feel guilty for being depressed.

    1. It’s one of the side effects...

      My mood is somewhat better now.

  2. I understand, and once advocated, "when they go low, we go high". Unfortunately, taking the highroad, trying to discuss facts, being empathetic seem to be on the losing end. In the USA, I'm afraid that the ascendant Fascists will send me and my empathy to a gas chamber. We already have concentration camps, run by for profit businesses owned by the likes of the DeVos family, where children are "mislaid". We have a system that prevents the reunification of families and then uses that as an excuse to put the children up for adoption. A large percentage of the thinks it would be ok to shoot journalists, liberals, and "baby killers". We have a large percentage of people who think that it's ok to call the police on members of minority groups for meeting at Starbucks, barbecuing in a park, falling asleep in a common area of a dormitory, gardening, not making eye-contact, and other totally normal behaviors. Death threats are never ok. Shunning and ridicule seem far less harmful than killing people because you feel entitled to "have" a woman, or lost a libel case, or "felt threatened" when a Black person knocks at your door because he's had car trouble, or a Japanese student comes to your door on Hallowe'en. I read once that non-violent action only works if the oppressor has acted out of ignorance and habit, but at core ascribes to a morality that includes all human beings.. Narcissists and Fascists don't care if you're nice; they consider it a weakness. Power is the only thing they crave or understand.

    1. I think the atmosphere in the United States has become truly toxic. I've never seen people as "wound up" on either side of the political fence as I do right now. I probably should withdraw from social media because I see "rabid" reactions from people of all stripes. It's like people have lost the ability to act reasonably.

      Of course, I may have to re-enter the US soon, since I read that Trump is now threatening to remove American troops from Germany. If he does that, I suppose there will be less reason for guys like my husband to be working here. On the other hand, I think it would take a long time before the separation would be complete... probably longer than Trump has left in his lifetime.

      His presidency is going to go down as extremely damaging and I'm afraid it will take years to recover. That makes me very sad and scared for the future.

    2. Knotty, I've also been considering withdrawing from SM. But I don't bc I've been a news junkie my entire life and because I belong to groups that are truly fun and inspiring. The daily feed is bad for my blood pressure. Really bad.

      Every so often I try to write this in my journal: "Despite everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart." ~ Anne Frank

      I don't know if it's true but I hope it is.

    3. My downfall is reading comments...

      I find a lot of inspiration on social media, but it also really depresses me to read how hateful some people are.


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