I know that sometimes the internet can give us a false sense of knowing other people; people can reinvent themselves with no one the wiser. Even before I started writing this blog, I read blogs by other people, including some with which I have very little in common with. (I suspect the grammar of that last sentence is very wrong *sigh*) I find it fascinating to get a little peek into another person's life, seeing what they are experiencing, how they handle it, etc. I wish I had had something similar when I was in my late teens and early twenties. Perhaps I wouldn't have felt so strange and alone at times.
But that isn't what I'm meaning to talk about. One of the blogs I read frequently was written by a young man 19 years old who is just finding his way in his adult life, dealing with his first (and hopefully long-lasting) love, living on his own, exploring what he wants to do with his life. Recently he had evidently been having problems dealing with members on another online community which is SUPPOSED to be dedicated to people interested in books and reading. He didn't go into any details, but by reading between the lines I got the impression that these people were not being kind to him. He had started counseling and while this may not have been completely related to this other group of people, it appeared to be at least pertially related. Today I went to his blog and found that he posted his "last post", again referring to the people from this other site. No further details were given, but I can't help feeling sad and also a bit worried about him.
What has our society come to that we feel free to be mean to, or even blatently attack people whom we don't know? I don't know about you, but I was raised according to the "If you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all" school of thought. (Thanks Mom and Dad) Maybe I take this to the extreme; DH frequently says I should speak up for myself more often. Has the anonymity of the internet given us permission to say and do all the nasty, rude things we are too afraid to say in our real life? Has the freedom of reinventing ourselves allowed us to forget decent politeness and kindness? I certainly don't have any answers, but I wish I knew who some of the people are who have been so unkind to thus young man such that he feels that he can no longer be himself, or share his life safely with others. It's strange to me, because all of the comments on his blog were overwhelmingly positive. The people who read his blog seemed to genuinely like him and found his blog funny, thoughtful, heart-warming, and loving.
I think we have to go back and look at our values and morals. Maybe I don't stand up for myself as much as I should, but at least I don't feel I have the right to tear someone else down to make myself feel better.
Thorny, you may never see this, but we'll miss you. I hope someday you'll come back and try again.