I awoke this morning to a rather hostile text.
You see, three weeks ago, I began following a blogger (whom I won’t identify). I have no clue how our paths intersected, but I know that what caught my attention were the photographs she posted on her page. I tend to like moody or emotionally charged photos, especially those involving Nature – violent storms, angry seas, empty canyons, and the like – and she’d posted several interesting pieces from photographers to her page. Caught up in what I liked, I decided to follow her page, if only to see more.
Mixed in between these photographs, however, were pleas for help. Things like: “I’m lonely and I don’t want to live without you,” or “I am consumed with so much emotional pain right now.” Statements that suggested the author was in deep emotional trouble and possibly suicidal. The last such posting, in fact, made it clear that the author was leaning closer to that final act.
In response, I sent a short note of encouragement. “I hope you’re feeling better.”
After hearing nothing for a while, I get a note that rather snottily declared that people like me were fools for butting in where we weren’t wanted. She laughed at me for trying to get involved, and suggested that her prior comments were not her feelings, but rather thoughts she opted to put on her blog.
It concluded with, “Stay out of my f***ing life.”
Wow. Obviously, I unfollowed her at the drop of a hat. No response, no acknowledgement. Time to cut ties and to move on.
I read the note several times before I stepped away from the computer. Initially, I was livid, but that was more from that feeling of embarrassment and humiliation one feels after being called out. I was angry, in part because there was that little, nagging voice in the back of my head that scolded me for trying to help someone. It’s that little voice that tells you to keep walking when you see someone struggling with a heavy load because it’s easier to assume that “they really wouldn’t want your help, anyway,” rather than risk being told to buzz off. Or the voice that tells you to not look a that homeless guy on the corner because “if he sees you looking, he might come over and ask for money. Do you want that?” In short, it’s the voice that tells me to mind my own business, and when I fail in that one task, that same voice is quick to remind me that things would have ended differently, had I only listened.
At the same time, however, there’s another voice, and it argues that I am what I am, and that I would have been even more angry if I’d refused to help and learned later that a simple act of kindness could have improved (or saved) another’s life. It’s the voice that tells me not to give up entirely on humanity, and to realize that getting jerked around by nine people is worth it if the tenth person ends up in a better place.
I don’t know what was going on – if the woman was in a bad place, just posting moody nonsense, or trying to bait people for sympathy. I do know that her response was entirely unwarranted, but c’est la vie. I thought a kind word might help someone and I was wrong – it happens. Based on what I read over the course of those three weeks, I’d do the same again if given the chance.
I’m not changing who I am . . . even though I’m still slightly pissed.