In the last couple of days, a stress symptom has shown up in me that I have never before in 35 years experienced - stuttering. It, along with a recurrent eye twitch (also completely new to me) cropped up since "the incident" (click here if you don't know what I'm talking about and for all the ways you can still keep in touch) and it's so bizarre. I imagine once ZP is completely removed from FB it'll taper off and go away, but until then it's kind of unnerving, proving to me that I'm making the right decision, and providing me with further evidence of how deeply this has affected me.
This stress is as a result of not just the incident in the link above, but the unbelievable lack of support I've gotten from a small, but very self-righteous and vocal crowd in my own Zen Parenting community. It's jaw-dropping really. Zen Parent Emma said it really well, "I am absolutely horrified at the continued criticism, attempted emotional blackmail and judgemental comments of people. I am sorry to see this page go and will miss it. I have learnt so much from posts here and have loved being part of the community. I admire and respect Zen. I realise that her comments may be too direct and even viewed as aggressive by some but that is because she is passionate about what she believes in. I am the same. Everyone has a limit on how much abuse they will take and I, for one, would have been homicidal if such awful comments were directed at my daughter. Zen has been a model of restraint compared to that. If people feel any negativity towards her now the answer is simple - unlike the page and never read any of her work again. Why you would choose to go out of your way to continue being unpleasant is beyond me - don't you have better things to do?!! Good luck Zen and thank you. See you on your blog" Ya, Emma, I have been pretty horrified and taken aback myself. I had no idea I'd be facing that on top of everything else. (Queue the stuttering and eye twitching again.) Zen Parent Jamie also did a great job of summing it all up for those who have continued to hit me while I've been down when she said, "Toddlers might not 'use' fb, but they will... They will be able to track and trace everything about them, their family, their everything that has been shared. I agree with removing yourself for the protection of you, your child and your sanity. It's just not worth it. There are LOTS of people out there that jump on board the bully train because its easy to bully behind a screen. It's easy to pick on someone you don't know. It's easy to find anything to push buttons. It's hard to be that target. It's hard to keep taking it over and over. It's impossible to ignore all comments, all the time. I understand wanting this page to continue. It's proven to provoke thought and encourage stronger beliefs in 'taboo' subjects and most importantly to educate. Page owners don't control who their audience is. They don't control who shares what. They put their heart and soul in these posts and try to personalize it to make it real. When that reality is crushed into evil and hatred its time to change direction. That is what she is doing. She's not giving up. Just changing the venue in which she continues her education. Way to stand up for yourself. I'm so sorry you have had to endure this. All of this happened for a reason. You were meant to do more and I can't wait to see what you accomplish. Thank you for what you have taught me." These amazing comments have been the reason I've been able to wade through all the muck - the foul, disgusting muck.
Luckily, those comments have not been the norm. Thankfully and unexpectedly, I've received an outpouring of emotional, heartfelt, loyal, and fiercely supportive comments and messages, the likes of which are overwhelming (literally...I can't answer them all). I keep saying "thank you" to people, but it seems insufficient. I don't just feel thanks for your words, that are so much more than words, but love. I feel love for each and every one of you. I'm not just talking the fake love that gets thrown about online all the time when we think a comment is cool, someone is funny, or one of us has a cute story. I mean love. The real stuff. And I am not one to either blow smoke up anyone's butt or say what I do not mean.
I have gotten message after comment after email after after after from both those whose names I recognize as being very active on the page and those whose names I've never before seen, because they have been silently watching all this time. They're filled with nothing but messages of support. "I'm selfishly sad, but would absolutely do the same thing." "I wish things didn't have to be this way, but am impressed that you're doing the right thing by your family." "I would expect nothing less from you and doing this is what makes you Zen Mama." "I'm disappointed that you'll be gone, but completely understand and support your decision." And every variation that made my heart swell and my eyes fill every time. Knowing that you all get it, knowing that you all understand that my son comes before all and any else, knowing that so many are behind me just chokes me up.
Leaving you all behind isn't easy. I have no real life friends who are like me. I am a donkey amongst elephants, a gentle lover of my child and all amongst childists, a black sheep amongst the flock of lily-white. You all have become friends and family to me. You helped me every bit as much as the slew of supporters have said I've helped them. I've learned every bit as much from you as you say you have from me.
We have been outraged together, hurt together, grown together, challenged each other, and cracked up with one another. I'm not sure what I'll miss most. We have shared of ourselves and from that sharing both taught and learned.
While I am not leaving the blogosphere or even social media altogether, I am not naive enough to believe I will meet you all (or even most) again. I know most of you will stay on FB and not follow me elsewhere and I understand why. So, it is here that we part ways and here that I again say my inadequate "thank you." It's not much, it's not enough, but it's all I have. Thank you. I love you all.
Special thanks and eternal gratitude go to:
my son, who has always been and will always be my inspiration for all things good and right I do in the world
my husband, who has been a rock during all of this in a way I've seen him be only during labor (and he was amazing though that so...)
my admins, Barbara, Lorna, and Raphael who you never really got to know personally, but who I have been blessed to know and grown to love and adore like family
Our Muddy Boots and On the Fence for always being there for me even before Zen Parenting was born
I Am Not the Babysitter, Love Parenting, Naturally Down to Earth, Evolutionary Parenting, and Barrel of Oranges for supporting me behind the scenes (and, in the case of my favorite, offering to do bad things to Zen Son's attackers for and with me)
you, wonderful you, who will be missed (unless, of course, you follow me elsewhere, which I hope you do!)