Diary of a Wimp

wimp-clipart-wimp-post-pic
wimp
noun
  1. 1.
    a weak and cowardly or unadventurous person.
    synonyms: cowardnamby-pambypantywaistmilksopweaklingmilquetoastMore

verb
  1. 1.
    fail to do or complete something as a result of fear or lack of confidence.
    “anyone who wimped out because of the weather missed the experience of a lifetime”

I’m a wimp.

I prefer it to namby-pamby, pantywaist or milksop, though they all mean the same thing: I have no backbone or guts.

I wrote a blog post about how difficult it must be for Melania Trump to deal with cheating allegations against her husband in such a public way, and I am afraid to post it because I don’t want to be verbally attacked.

The piece has nothing to do with politics. It’s about couples and the body language between them that tells the world how things are actually going in their marriage. But the mere mention of Trump is enough to stir emotions and make some people very irrational and mean. I don’t need that kind of controversy. I’ve got enough trouble dealing with snide remarks from my 17-year-old daughter.

This is the only time in 18 months of blogging that I’ve had to think about whether something I wrote should be posted. It’s the reason I haven’t posted for awhile – I’ve been thinking things over. Voicing my opinion on marriage body language may not be worth the fallout.

I don’t know when I became so wimpy, but others are feeling the pressure to avoid and close off avenues to rude comments before they begin too. Some non-profit organizations don’t allow comments on their blogs. Many bloggers, including yours truly, require that comments be reviewed before they’re publicly posted. The exception is Facebook, where comments are immediately posted.

Blogging Central is designed to minimize hateful or hurtful responses, and I’m happy to report I’ve never been the target of any trolls or mean comments (and please, don’t start now). The rules of the road are pretty clear: read a blog, comment if you like but try to keep your remarks positive and constructive,

It’s a little like a massive writing group designed to promote good feelings and positive vibes. If you don’t like a blog, don’t say anything, but don’t be negative. Just move on.

Of course, it’s maddening when you see that a piece has been viewed 40 times, and only gotten two likes. I’m sure I’m not the only blogger who’s thought people are stingy with likes, but those are the rules. By and large, people are very good at following them, though I know a few bloggers who have been trolled and had a hard time recovering from it.

Just to be clear, it’s never OK to be mean or spiteful, but people seem to love doing it on the Internet. Hiding behind computer screens, they say things that they’d never have the courage to say to a person’s face. It’s like drivers who hide behind their vehicles and act like idiots, taking out their anger and rage on innocent people. It reminds me of a baby who thinks we can’t see him because he’s hiding under a blanket.

I stopped following our town’s Facebook page because I couldn’t believe how rude some people are. My friend was doing a kitchen remodel and asked for suggestions on the FB community page for an architect for an adjacent mudroom/pantry. What she got were a bunch of snide remarks from people telling her that any home improvement contractor could do the work, and why was she asking about an architect. She eventually pulled down her request.

I resisted the urge to comment on many posts on the same page because people can be brutal with their remarks. I can’t tell you how many times I went to comment and thought better of it. I don’t need to be raked over the coals for my views by people I don’t even know. Some people can be so smug and rude just because you disagree with them. When did we all become so intolerant?

One of my friends was a vocal Hillary Clinton supporter, and was skewered on Facebook by people who disagreed with her. Now running for public office herself, I asked how she deals with such rude remarks.

“I have an incredibly thick skin,” she said. And she does. It’s one of the things I’ve always admired most about her.

The role of wimp is new to me because I’ve always enjoyed stirring the pot, even as a child. I’d ask questions at family gatherings about why certain relatives weren’t speaking to each other, making my mother cringe. At one point, my mother referred to me as “TM” – troublemaker. Given my penchant for being nosy and stirring up trouble, reporting seemed the ideal career choice for me.

As a newspaper reporter, I most enjoyed coming up with story ideas and reporting – digging up facts and interviewing people for a story. What I most dreaded were night meetings of various boards and commissions. The worst were public hearings where people droned on for 20 minutes about various subjects. I began to dread the words, “Does anyone else want to make a comment?” because someone always did. I embraced board chairmen who instituted the three-minute rule, cutting people off after their time ran out.

As much as I loved reporting, I dreaded writing. With only a limited amount of time to write, you were under the gun to write quickly, and often wondered how you would do it under deadline. The good news was you were surrounded by other people under the same pressure, feeding off their energy. After writing the first few paragraphs, things flowed and stories were filed.

Sometimes you got a call from an angry reader – “How dare you embarrass me by putting in that I haven’t paid my taxes in 10 years?” one woman shrieked at me. But direct reader feedback was rare and irate calls could be passed off to my editor, or in some cases, the publisher. As reporters, we had the freedom to go about our business without fearing hateful comments and personal attacks. It was a kinder, gentler era, the days of a million points of light and just say no. Best of all, there were no Internet trolls or fear of being personally attacked for reporting a story.

I wonder how many other people feel as I do, wanting to say something, but opting to stay silent for fear of being rebuked. It’s sad, but it’s the way things are today.

Back in high school, I was in an English class that required us to write a letter to the editor of an area newspaper. I wrote a letter expressing outrage over a cross burning on the front lawn of a black family in a predominantly white section of New Haven, CT. My letter was published along with a file photo of the cross burning.

I remember being thrilled that my letter was published, and then really scared that my family would be targeted because I expressed my opinion. My fears were unfounded, but you get my point: sometimes, you wonder if it’s worth speaking up or keeping your mouth shut.

I’m still weighing the Melania piece. With nearly 35 years of marriage under my belt, I think I’m qualified to write about marriage and body language if I feel like it. But as I said, I’m not as brave as I used to be. I wonder if anyone is.

 

16 thoughts on “Diary of a Wimp

  1. I think you should post it. It’s how you feel. I think I’m braver now than ever being in menopause. I write what is in my heart. Some people may like it. Some people may not. Who knows. More people may like your post than you realize.

    Like

  2. You are being cautious, not wimpy. Nothing wrong with that. I am currently reading all that I can of the late Christopher Hitchens, an essayist, polemicist, and journalist, whose pieces are provocative, to say the least. He is a brilliant writer, very controversial. I love him. I say post your piece and let the chips fall where they may. You’re too good a writer to keep your views to yourself. I look forward to your posts, and based on the comments I’ve read from your fan base, so does everyone else.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You have to have a really thick skin to blog, because no matter what you say, someone is going to have an issue with it. I’ve most often gotten grief when I’ve been truthful and honest about things, and people are disrespectful of my choices and opinions. It’s hard when you expose yourself to the world….I don’t think you’re a wimp for deciding to not write about something. It’s just a matter of wondering if giving your opinion is worth the possible grief….do you believe in something enough to take the punches? Some issues are just not worth the fight. But yoire not a wimp.

    Like

  4. I completely understand your dilemma. I hold back constantly about Trump and the current divide in the country mainly because I know, unlike your friend running for office, that I’m rather thinned-skinned. I know if I’m trolled or otherwise harassed on my blog (I hate that word, troll, btw) that it would invade my thoughts too much. Still, I find ways to make my thoughts known in non-provocative ways. I hope you reconsider your Melania post even if it means editing it more than you’d currently like to do. – Marty

    Like

  5. we’re all “wimps” in some area or another. But by definition you have to be afraid before you can be brave. The simple fact that you allow comments shows some bravery. After all even if you don’t allow a comment to show publicly, you still have to read it before you decide. I recently wrote a post expressing my own fear of social situations, so I greatly appreciate the honesty of this post.

    Like

    • Thank you. I appreciate your input. Expressing any kind of fear is a form of bravery, so I commend you for writing about your fears of social situations. I look forward to reading it. I think we can all relate to it in some way too.

      Like

  6. Come on, Carolyn, there’s not a single wimpy bone in your body. I know. I worked in the Derby bureau with you long enough to know you are the last person to back down from something. You have that tough reporter’s skin. You can handle anything. I say publish that blog. I’m looking forward to reading it!!

    Like

  7. I’ve been blogging for nearly 4 years and, like you, I never received any rude or unkind comments–until last week. Just a few days ago, someone used the “contact me” feature on my blog to send me a brief–and anonymous–comment, saying: “What a load of crap!” I’ll admit it stung, but then I started laughing and I’m almost grateful to him. I can take it . . . and so can you. I hope you decide to post your Melania blog–it sounds interesting. But, yes, there is always a risk of a troll, so take care of yourself first and foremost. Nothin’ wrong with wimpy.

    Like

  8. I agree, there have been times I wanted to comment or write about something and stopped myself because I was afraid of the backlash. I don’t have many followers, so I don’t think I would lose them but it has made me second guess everything. I have never been known to keep quiet about things but I am now more circumspect because people go on the attack so easily. Melania must be feeling alone, bad enough to know your husband cheats on you but to have to deal with it in the public eye must be excruciating.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.