When I started my blog almost two years ago (holy shit), I did it at the suggestion of a friend, who said there was an audience out there for my style of writing/humor/whatever you want to call it. I didn't take it too seriously, but enough to build out a super basic website on a basic site builder one night, after many a' glass of wine. It will be anonymous I declared, because everyone loves a mystery! At that time, the level of insanity that was soon to be, was not a thought in my mind.
For many of you fine folk who've hung around on my page, you witnessed it in all its glory. The victories, the mistakes, the uncertainness. I've certainly grown a lot with my page, and I have to admit it's always been a selfish endeavor. When is writing not selfish or self-serving in one way or another? Not that I think there's anything wrong with it. It's a creative outlet.
Some people do yoga. Some people paint. Some people exercise. I write.
And while I think we have a pretty good thing going here... not only do we joke about an occasional mom post that's 400+ comments in, we talk about legitimate stuff... you know, da world. My page has evolved, and for some of you, that's been hard.
To be flat out honest, I never really appreciated the sheer infatuation that some people have with me as me, with me as AM, and with AM in general. The first time I really experienced that understanding was the shared vaccine article heard 'round the Conejo. One day, I was lazy. I was drinking my coffee. I shared an article about a vaccine "injury" -- one I didn't even really read, from a source I didn't check. I was just sheer lazy. Like, there's not fancy explanation for it even when I tried to save face after the insane level of chaos it created.
Anywho, I came out of my morning interview to my phone LIT with a slew of messages telling me the "vax community" was angry with me. I had betrayed them. My head was to be had. Rage. Rage. Rage. People were losing their damn minds on my page.
Betrayed "them"? I was confused...how does me, sharing an article I didn't write, with the preface that I believe in vaccines, equate to a betrayal? I wasn't aware I was spokesperson for a cause. But that was the first lesson I learned. Readers of my blog who don't know me personally have painted a picture of me in their heads. They have an idea of what they want me to be, and when I do that thing well, or write that thing well, I'm "one of their own." I get a cookie, so to speak. But, to stray, to have a variation of thoughts, or questions.... is to betray because that's not what they wanted Anonymous Mommy to be. And that's when I realized I didn't have the heart to be the character that people really needed AM to be. Because, sure, I can be sarcastic, I can exaggerate a mom group post for humor, and so on... but the blog is me. It's more me, than a "character," which is also tricky when people don't know you on a personal level to understand tone. I think back to when a previous co-worker, who had followed my blog, found out it was me. The level of shock -- "But, you're so nice!" I have lots of thoughts in my head. I just happen to write them and share them on a public page while others keep theirs in their head...or on their personal Facebook page to 500 friends and family, or in a secret group, or in a closed group of 11,000+ women.
As though Anonymous Mommy would ever live up to 3500+ individuals' standards of perfection...
That post spawned what many would witness throughout the next year of a sometimes silent, sometimes loud battle with a group of women (once AM's largest advocates and fans) that had literally lost their damn minds with rage over this post. Accusations flew heavy-handedly from women I had never met in real life, and perhaps had a simple exchange with online, if that. Others that were heavily invested in my blog, and had the early luxury of knowing my name when I was "anonymous" took it further. Anonymous Mommy had been "theirs." It was like their baby. They had loved it with a love almost unrivaled. But when the the blog disappointed them, their hearts shattered into a million angry pieces of wrath that still amazes me to this day.
From that point on, I was accused of sending hate mail to people. I was accused of starting conspiracies. I was accused of performing emotional abuse via my blog. I was nicknamed pig nose. One woman I've never met or spoken to, approached random moms in the community at gyms and parks and asked them if they had heard of me and professed her hatred. The same woman wrote that she hoped to never see me in person because she wouldn't look good in an orange jumpsuit. Then she came on my page and accused me of bullying her. Multiple fake profiles were created to troll my page. At every opportunity, the once AM-worshippers declared that I was mentally unstable, and not funny. (NOT FUNNY? Pssssh, I think that's where the line was crossed!) The tipping point had to be the hate thread that was started in a mom group that went on for 48 hours, during the weekend of my daughter's birthday. It was weird, I was accused of driving around and stalking women I've never met... I think after that, that group really did some legit self-evaluating. Or maybe it was when they posted a picture of a baby pig getting a shot, the same day I shared that AB was sick and we were at the hospital. I can't really been sure.
And then things have been quiet.
And then it was election season. I'm pretty sure we all lost our damn minds. Some maybe more than others... and thus a new breed of AM-haterade was developed and she is something fierce to behold. I'm fascinated by the rage from those who have posted far worse on their own pages, yet can't live with another gal posting her own opinions on her own blog page. Sure, it's a public page. I enjoy the community and I enjoy challenging myself and my opinions. I mean, I don't enjoy hate speech or racist comments, and even the trolls get old after a while, but that's where we're at. I think I make it pretty easy for you to decide if you want to hang out on my page. I'm transparent, if you will. And yet, the angriest people are the ones that hate my page and KEEP COMING BACK.
I get accused of bullying a lot, from people who messaged me only months previously, asking to be my friend and writing paragraph after paragraph about how funny I am and how much they love my blog, and so on. And then you throw in the Trump factor, literally, and people cannot move past the fact that their beloved AM is a bleeding heart lib. So then more weirdness ensues. Individuals who disagree with my political posts on my page have taken it upon themselves to find out where I work and contact my work, with the hopes of having me fired. And then they make posts on their personal pages and in mom groups about how I'm a bully. And then they wonder why I don't display my name... even though we all know I'm not really "anonymous."
Something about another woman who has her own set of opinions has set off an unparalleled rage and infatuation of which I could have never imagined. I had to delete my response post to a post that a woman made about me on her personal page yesterday, with my name and blog name attached to it... after I learned that others were receiving threats. These are the sort of things that come with having a public blog I suppose, even though I'm a fierce protector of anonymity and don't allow peoples names to be posted - a courtesy not offered toward me. Many times I'll catch wind of what these individuals are posting about me in multiple places, but I measure my response. I'll admit I can be petty. And sometime I think it's hilarious. But, it's a tricky line. If you respond to what people are saying about you elsewhere, where they have you blocked, you're accused of bullying. So only sometimes do I take the bait.
But I only take the bait when I know the truth is on my side.
If you do not appreciate the facts of a situation, I cannot shoulder that shame for you. I can only hope that you learn and grow. It is not for me to change the facts, it's for you to evaluate why these facts affect you so.
And if you read my Facebook page daily, and have multiple people messaging you screenshots of all of my posts as well, (as you might have stated). I appreciate you. It means so much to me that my writing and my opinions are so relevant. It's honestly the biggest compliment. So, even if you hate me. And even if you think I'm a bully for having never reached out to you before, and for being passionate about equality and human rights' issues, that's ok. I understand that my passion makes others self reflect in a way that I was not aware of. And sometimes, that self reflection is a bitter pill to swallow.
And for those of you who "get" me, who can interact on an adult level, and who write me messages of support. Thanks! Those are nice to get as well. :)