All Said And Dine: Trolling For Love In All The Wrong Places
By Genevieve Pardoe
Writing this blog has been a big, fat nightmare. There, I said it.
I set out three weeks ago to write an article about fat-shaming and hopefully find some useful, maybe even humorous, antidotes to the venomous online bullying we see everyday. I am just so tired of the bullies (aren’t we all!?) there’s got to be a solution!
Seems simple enough…
Not even close.
My goal: write something that stops those fat-shaming meanies in their tracks. I wanted to make them think, “whoa, this isn’t right what I’m doing. I’m hurting someone.”
I wanted to put the spotlight on those nameless, faceless trolls who hide in the dark behind their keyboards and have no accountability for their actions.
Whether you are someone who writes back and calls them out or says nothing and just gets so sad (we all do) at the things some meanies say, I know that you’re with me when I exclaim, “Gawd these people piss me off with what they get away with!”
Don’t even try to “Namaste” me on this one. The light in me does not honor the soulless black hole in these vitriol-spewing bullies.
Wow, was my mind about to be blown.
I got to work and started my research. Side note: you can only imagine how much of a bummer it is to actively seek out fat-shaming bullies online and read their comments over and over and over again trying to make sense of what motivates them. Talk about getting fired up.
So, here I am three weeks later and I’ve totally failed. I’ve failed this blog. I’ve failed myself. I’ve failed at writing a witty blog that stop bullies in their tracks and makes them completely change their ways. I failed at making the world a better place.
Must set lower expectations of self…
What a waste of three weeks, I thought. I spent all that time and energy talking to all those people about fat-shaming (victims, activists, concerned moms, you name it) and it was all for nothing.
Maybe it’s not about the bullies.
Maybe it’s about the people who stand up to them with grace, strength, and indefatigable, unwavering words of… love?
Yep, like Jennifer Hudson said, “Love is the thing… and I’m bringing it to me… all day long.”
Say it again and say it out loud: love is the thing.
I’ll explain. I remembered all of the amazing exchanges I’ve had over the past three weeks and suddenly it wasn’t a waste. I’ve learned so much from complete strangers on Instagram and Facebook. People I reached out to because they had an interesting view point or a particularly compassionate and empathetic response to fat-shamers.
I was blown away at how kind some people could be in the face of cruelty. I texted back and forth with old and young people, people of different ethnicities, races and backgrounds, varying gender identities, it was amazing. And they were all strangers. I learned so much, and the overwhelming theme was empathy and love.
People kept telling me, “we don’t know these people, we have no idea what they are going through.”
They were giving these bullies the benefit of the doubt. Is there any higher form of grace? No one justified online bullying. They were simply choosing to see the good, the human, the flawed in everyone even if they didn’t deserve it. Moreover, they forgave them. They let them know that they are worthy of love. We all are. We. All. Are.
So whether you call them trolls, fat-shamers, or just plain bullies, let them know this: “We see you. You’re not invisible. You are somebody. And you are worthy.”
Or maybe shorten it to one sweet-ass hashtag: #LoveIsTheThing
I’m still not sure if this blog post is a fail. Maybe it’s not my best. But it’s definitely the one that changed me the most. I was always looking at trolls and thinking, “I wish I could shut them down. Make them stop being so cruel to others.”
The last three weeks have taught me that I can do something (other than getting riled up like only a ginger can). That I’m not helpless. That there is a growing community of people “out there” in the online world throwing kindness and compassion around like it’s some some of universal right and everyone deserves it.
Huh, what a cool concept.
We all have the capacity to be kind or cruel, empathetic or judgmental, (and my biggest takeaway) reactive or revolutionary.
Let’s do the craziest thing of all: let’s choose love. And let’s choose that love even when it seems (and it sure as hell feels) like the recipient doesn’t deserve it.
I’ve officially joined this completely revolutionary group of misfits who are just crazy enough to believe that we can change the world with love, kindness, and all that other gooey smushy, gushy stuff, won’t you join us?
Stay tuned for next post when I get back into my comfort zone and rip the shit out of Aurosa, the beer… for her.