Thursday, February 23, 2012

Criticism and Bullying

As you know, I post about topics that are important to me in between all of the pretty pictures of decorating and fashion on here. From breastfeeding to Christmas card etiquette to nutrition and wellness, I enjoy sharing knowledge with others, and I enjoy learning. Enjoy. As Sir Francis Bacon said, "Knowledge is power." Or Benjamin Franklin, An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."

One important topic that I have wanted to post about - or more ASK about - for quite some time is criticism and bullying. This is a huge problem in our society today, as I am sure any of you with children in school know. I bet mothers in the carpool line feel it. Now, I know that there are many out there that view my posts on touchy subjects as judgmental, and I am sure there are some sentences that step on some toes, however I do my best to base the core reasoning behind my discussions on facts - not emotion. Not opinion. Facts gained through research. Once I present the information, truthfully I do not care even 1% if you listen to me or not. That is YOUR choice. I am an advocate for breastfeeding, but I don't care if you give formula to your kid until he's 14 years old. It's your child. I like following Miss Manner's etiquette rules, but if you want to list your names upside down and backwards on your Christmas cards and then smear poop on them - go for it. It's your card. If you are morally against eating meat, don't. If you want to eat sugar cubes and Doritos for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for the rest of your life, more power to you. It's your body. I present a topic based on facts, follow with a logical discussion, and exit stage left. 

That said, let's get back to bullying. When I put any of that information out here in the blogosphere with good intent - to simply educate and bring awareness to a subject - it is puzzling when I receive a comment like the one below. One that is not based on ANY facts, but rather emotionally fueled. Unfortunately {for her} an emotionally-fueled position is one that will never hold any water....

Arya Elizabeth Delevigne has left a new comment on your post "Nutrition in 100 Words":
you won't eat a bean but you'll devour cattle that has been slaughtered in the most unholiest and inhumane of ways? how christian and republican of you.

you went on an african safari to hunt wild animals and then turn their skins into rugs for your non-grain eating babies to crawl on. you don't see that as twisted at all? you have the chance to travel to a beautiful country on a severely impoverished continent and watch animals in their natural habitat and you kill them?*

look, i'm all for eating healthy and providing the best for myself, my family, friends, all loved ones, but you are OFF YOUR ROCKER. and it is just getting worse.
if you treat food this way, your children are going to suffer, you're basically paving the path for eating disorders. And Paleo guru diet program BS. you bought the book, right?

your blog is becoming this neurotic hypocritical regurgitation of southern digest and whatever you google that is on the runways of Paris. There are other housewives and mothers who believe what you say and just want you to pat them on the back through the internet.

i don't come at you with anger, it is frustration. you advertise yourself as something you're not.
you are southern, as much of my family is. river oaks houston to be exact. so i suppose what is "eclectic" about your blog is that you try to be anything but a stuck in the middle of texas woman through liking neon and gaudy things your husband buys. the icing on your cake being your belief in eating Paleo is the one thing that makes you feel separate from the fatties driving in the SUV next to yours, kids in the backseat eating sesame rice crackers. keep preaching.

i don't expect you to publish this comment. i don't mind either way. when you create a blog you are communicating with the rest of the world and people you do not know and who do not know you. i'm just telling you that this is how you appear to people who are not in your demographic (housewife, middle american, white, republican, anglo saxon protestant). your blog was much more accessible and palatable when it was you and your take on fashion and decorating. but if you want to preach then preach. i won't bother you with a negative comment again.
sincerely, arya

*through simply googling your name the photos of you and your husband show he supported those horrible OBAMA socialist as the joker images, is an avid proponent of world violence through support for continued Army presence and for a war in Iran. no wonder you're so focused on your diet. that and the fact that you used to be overweight. there's photos of you at St. Andrew's, you were barely recognizable.

Sweet thing.

It is difficult for me to even know how to respond, primarily for the reason I gave above: emotionally based arguments won't get you anywhere, and really don't allow room for intelligent and logical responses. The quote that first came to mind when I read her words was this:

"The highest form of ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about." - Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

She seems fairly certain she knows everything about me to say the silly things she did {and is definitely very confused about Paleo}, but nonetheless took it upon herself to spend the time writing a letter with this nature, with the intent of...?? What is achieved by attempting to bully, criticize and belittle another? To try to cause hurt? To make herself feel better about her lifestyle choices by attempting to meanly knock holes in mine? I honestly don't know the point, which is the purpose of this post - enlighten me if you have an answer as to why people behave like this!

Which brings me back to the problem of criticism and bullying in our world today. This is a serious issue, and the saddest thing is that it is happening at such a young age. Our children are dealing with this - often daily. Criticism of body types, the wrong shoes, a unique outfit, a hair color someone might deem unacceptable, or perhaps {and as I believe is most usually the case} it is just based on their own insecurities. Thankfully, my skin is pretty much as thick as it gets. I can let stuff like this roll off me. Not everyone can though, and no one should have to be faced with hateful remarks. It breaks my heart - sickens me. angers me. - to read of young children taking their own lives because they simply did not know how to handle being bullied. So I have to ask: WHY ARE PEOPLE SO MEAN?!

I could tell Arya that Squish and Munch had donuts this weekend at a birthday party, and, gasp!, so did I. I could tell her that the majority of the meat we eat at our house has been killed by Biz - in the most humane way possible. I could tell Arya that we eat every animal we kill, and that it confuses me she would not advocate using the entire part of the animal, but throwing away the hide rather than having it in our home. I could tell Arya that she needs to research preservation versus conservation, and educate herself on the differences, successes, failures and benefits of each. I could tell her that allowing hunting licenses for endangered animals in Africa has moved species from endangered to thriving, once money is there from hunters and conservationists. I could tell Arya that the people I have met that care most about the land and have the most respect for and appreciation of animals are, in fact, hunters. I could tell Arya that I am certain my children will not suffer as a result of my husband shooting a deer. I could tell her that she should consider reading a Paleo book, as then she would not mention anything about feed lots in an argument against the lifestyle. I could tell her that it might be beneficial for her to talk to someone about her anger and frustration, but I don't know of any good therapists in River Oaks. {Anyone??} I could tell her that I am proud of myself from going to very unhealthy in college to very healthy now - weight loss was a happy side effect. I could suggest to her that she might find it more beneficial to spend time Googling anger management, rather than searching through old photos of me and my husband. I could tell Arya that I don't eat Paleo because it "is the one thing that makes me feel separate from the fatties in the SUV next to mine," but rather I focus on my diet because I want to be around for a long, long time to see my great-great grand babies. I could ask Arya if she means my blog was more accessible and palatable only when she wasn't aware we had different views on certain subject areas. I could tell her that I don't really consider myself a Republican - they're not politically conservative enough for me - but that might make her mad. Ok ok, I'll say it ;) I could tell her that the way I present myself is nothing but 110% authentic, neon shoes, gaudy jewelry and all {thanks Miuccia Prada! Those rhinestone Miu Miu earrings are still my favorites!} and even when faced with ugly criticism like hers, I will never stay silent on a topic I feel strongly about. I could tell her that the most wonderful, special, touching and appreciative comments I receive are on these so-called preachy posts, and that I get more requests for these than anything I ever post about. Why would I say any of that though? It seems she already knows everything about me.

Enough of the I could. I WILL tell Arya that if she doesn't like who she thinks I am, or what this blog is about, then she is more than welcome to unsubscribe. There are plenty of other blogs that focus solely on pretty pictures. 

to be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best night and day to make you
everybody else means to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight
and never stop fighting.
-e.e. cummings

I had to memorize that in 7th grade. Fifteen years later - it still applies. I once heard this: to avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. Think about that! Don't be afraid of criticism. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, "Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you'll be criticized anyway." Think of criticism and you as oil and water - just tell yourself the two don't mix, and let it roll off your back. Stay true to yourself. Act with integrity so that you may always hold your head high. You are good because you're YOU. There are 7 billion people in this world - don't let one get you down!