Villagers with Pitchforks

So. Some shit went down recently. Big shit. Epic shit.

I know it’s not about me but it’s brought up a lot of shit for me, as I know it has for many other bloggers. I’ve experienced conflicting emotions about it. I’ve oscillated between feeling (and have sometimes simultaneously felt) regretful, empathetic, upset, betrayed, vilified, misrepresented, misunderstood, confused, angry, frustrated, flummoxed, flabbergasted, flattened. So many adjectives, and many, evidently, that start with “F”.

I have to admit, I have a lot that I want to say right now. A LOT. But I’m not going to say it. For the first time in my almost three year blogging career I’m not going to write what I want to write. For the first time I don’t feel free to use this space to figure out how I feel, to use my readership as a sounding board. I don’t feel I can work through this in my writing, at least not writing I would ever hope to publish and frankly, I know that if I’m going to get clarification I would need people to read it.

But for the first time I don’t feel like I can ask the questions I want to ask without being further vilified, without the villagers with pitchforks coming out to crucify me.

And that makes me incredibly sad. Because I feel like I have valid concerns and I’d love to be able to make sense of all that is going on but I don’t feel like I can say a damn thing.

I am indignant. And discouraged.

I’ve never felt like this before. I’ve never felt like I needed to censor myself, at least not on the important stuff. For better or worse I’ve put myself out there, I’ve worked through my shit, I’ve gotten support. But on this stuff, in the current climate, I don’t feel I can do that. At all.

I’ve been talking to Mi.Vida about this, trying to figure out how I feel and what I want to say. He’s helped me realize that in this instance I need to know exactly what I hope to accomplish and whether I’m prepared to accept the consequence of accomplishing it.

And I’m not sure on either count so I’m saying nothing. And I’m realizing that I’ve never had to say nothing because I’ve never had to be sure, of either my intent or accepting the consequences, because this community used to be about putting it out there and letting people help you figure it out, to help you find your way.

Not anymore. Not about certain things.

I’m glad I’m taking a break right now. I’m grateful I’m not posting my thoughts at the moment because honestly, this community doesn’t feel all that inviting. Some hurtful things have been said, I’m sure I’ve said some hurtful things myself, at least I’m sure others have taken what I said to be hurtful, though hurting was never my intent. And maybe it wasn’t the intent of others but it’s hard, in some cases, to trust that’s the case. Some of the comments on Mel’s blog right now are incredibly hurtful and I don’t see how anyone could argue that they weren’t meant to be just that.

I have to admit, I’ve never felt this way about this community. I’ve never felt like I might have to pick sides or worry about being black balled. I’ve never in my blogging “life” been afraid of “villagers with pitchforks” as someone put it on Mel’s blog. But that is how I feel now. And it’s a shame because I feel this could have been a real opportunity for open dialogue, for honest concerns to be heard, for true needs to be met. Instead everyone is cowering and afraid. At least most people are. And understandably. I am. And I commend those who are standing tall, saying what they need to say.

If you want to read a post where someone actually says something about all this–in an eloquent and purposeful way no less–you can do so here. It’s a must read. Truly.

I, on the other hand will go gently into that good night. Sorry Dylan Thomas, I know it’s not what you recommend but this time I feel I have no choice.

UPDATE: So it turns out I actually kind of kamikazeed into the night. I guess Dylan Thomas would be proud?

13 responses

  1. Whoa. This is an incredible post. About censorship. About openness. About freedom of speech. About where we are right now, today. With a lot of topics and issues.

    And I never thought that the ALI community would be here 😦

    I’m getting grandiose.

    Honestly, this really resonates with me. GREAT post.

  2. Your post on PAIL was the first I heard about it, and I marked the post unread in my reader to come back to later and then didn’t have the time or energy, and things moved on, and I thought the moment had passed, and then everything blew up. I’m not going to weigh in on anything, all I wanted to say is that I think you intuited that something was “off,” something didn’t sit right, something made you pause – and you were right. We should have listened more to the quivering of your antennae. To me this says that you have a finely tuned emotional intelligence – canary in a mineshaft – and we would do well to pay attention to it.

  3. I was really caught off guard with the controversy of PAIL- I thought Elphaba’s idea was great, and I joined with no hesitation- like I said before, to make more connections. It never even crossed my mind that Mel would be hurt. To be honest though, I’ve never used Mel’s blogroll as a resource- I have found all the ALI blogs I read through people’s personal blogrolls.

    Although I understand why Mel is hurt, I do think there has to be freedom in any community for new ideas. For example, Elphaba’s monthly topic ideas that she wrote about this week is great- another wonderful way to make connections. I do admire her for saying she isn’t going to have a commenting event out of respect for Mel.

    I hope this dies down soon- it’s unsettling to see women attacking each other (ugh- and we wonder why we are always accused of being so catty? hmm).

  4. I think Mi.Vida’s advice to know what you want to accomplish and to be prepared to accept the consequences is wise. That said, it is my own hope that you choose to work through this complicated issue here. Selfishly, because honest, complicated, sincere, raw writing is my most favorite to read. And supportively–which may not be a word–because I believe that if there is one place where we should be able to speak our minds most freely, it should be on our own damn blogs. Several times over the last few weeks I have read posts from people (one from you) who shared deeply personal concerns or feelings or thoughts or hurts and who were smacked down for not towing the party line. That’s not right. No one should be made to feel like they can’t share what’s going on inside them. Especially not in this community.

    Whatever your feelings on this matter, and whether you share them or not, you won’t be losing this reader. For the record.

  5. I concur that there is wisdom, for the time being, in holding your tongue. I’m in that boat with you right now.

    In my comment on Mel’s post today I supported her use of the word “damage” in describing what’s come of this epic shit. And your post is entirely reflective of that damage. No one–NO ONE–should ever be made to feel that they cannot express their feelings and thoughts here out of fear that they’ll get a pitchfork up the asshole. Isn’t this community supoosed to be about GIVING people a voice? 😦

  6. This is a great post and I agree that Jjiraffe’s post is such a wonderful summary of the situation (and it points so well to some of the things we might do next).

    I LOVE your comment today–your kamikaze comment?–on Mel’s post about creating the world. I think you did a beautiful job of being both respectful and loving toward Mel AND challenging about the rifts that have opened up over the last few days because of PAIL. Thank you. I’ll be weighing in on it all at some point in a post of my own, but it seems to be taking me longer to process it all than I would have hoped.

    (BTW, Trinity: your comment over at Mel’s today was great, too!)

  7. I have read this post over and over this morning. There is clearly a disturbance in the force, so to speak, that needs to be discussed. Your thoughts have struck a real chord with me, particularly concerning feeling so many difficult and conflicting emotions. The last 48 hours have shaken me to the very core. It’s as though I have experienced every emotion I have ever felt during IF/loss all at once, in a massive avalanche. I thought I was in a place in my healing that I could begin to reach out and discuss my journey with others and (hopefully) gather the courage to blog openly myself. In addition to what you have articulated above (and thank you, for helping me make some sense of this) I feel flattened, deflated, devastated, abused, marginalized, terrified.

    I didn’t find the ALI community until my 3rd, and only successful pregnancy. The way that I was treated IRL during my IF, 2nd miscarriage and 3rd pregnancy was horrific. It destroyed me. It burned my house down and cracked my very foundations. There are rooms I cannot rebuild. I came online looking for some new bricks I suppose. I found what I was looking for in a few blogs that I would come and go from – you included. You have given me a lot of food for thought and I truly believe every crumb is nourishment. I didn’t think it was appropriate for me to start my own blog and rarely commented. I took a good long break after having my son, and only actively followed one woman. Mo. Mo has been my rock. She has helped stitch up wounds I never thought would close. When she lost Nadav…there is no way to describe it. I thought maybe now was the time to start reaching out and do 1% of what she has done for me.

    And then all this happened, and on top of everything else, I feel stupid for inviting it back into my life. Yesterday, when all this snowballed, I was in an exam room at the RE’s office, with nothing to occupy me but my phone and the internet. I’d recently seen a few posts by women I’ve found through PAIL about feelings of ambivalence regarding TTC#2. I thought seeing some of this reflected in their posts might ease some of the anxiety I was feeling. Perhaps I am a masochist, but I plowed through the comments at SQ and…well, I’ve laid it all about above.

    My first reaction was to hope the ground would swallow me up so I could disappear and make like I was never here. I’m not going to do that. It’s going to be hard, for all of us, while this shakes out. But I think there are valuable lessons to be learned. I sincerely thank you for writing this.

  8. I’ve been really proud of you throughout this whole thing. I know I’ve remained silent and haven’t been commenting or posting, but I’ve felt really blown away by how you have handled this. Your responses and comments have been strong and have so eloquently explained your thoughts, I’ve been incredibly impressed. I think the problem for me is that I can see both sides to everything, so when it comes down to it, I have a hard time putting myself out there in comments because there’s no way I could explain my stance….because my stance bends so easily. But I have read every word and thought about every angle.

    I know this has been hard for you, and has shaken you. And I know it wasn’t directly about you, but the lines are blurred in this community. We take things personally if something happens to one of us. It’s just how it is. But from my end, you have handled it with grace, and for that, I respect you tremendously.

  9. I know what you mean about feeling like you have to pick sides or fear being kicked out. This is not the community I’ve come to love and it is pretty upsetting how hostile everyone is at the moment.

  10. Thank you for your comment today on SQ. I commented my thoughts before reading any of the other comments, because I had something to say and I didn’t want to chicken out. When I got done with my comment, I went back and read them all and felt better knowing that other people were having the same struggles with the situation as I was having. You stated your thoughts much more eloquently than I did (I tend to not have much of a filter) and covered so many wonderful points. Thank you for your courage.

  11. Actually, I find myself biting my cybertongue fairly often, even before all this blew up. ; ) I hate controversy and confrontation, and I am always mortified if something I say or write gets taken the wrong way. (This comment has taken a lot longer to write than I thought it would…!)

    Like Bodega Bliss, I am both blessed and cursed by the ability to put myself into just about any pair of shoes I find. ; ) I can see both sides here — the feelings of isolation and being misunderstood, the desire to reach out to people in like situations, vs the desire to be inclusive and to protect something you’ve worked so hard to create and sustain. I think co-existence is quite possible, although the “how” is something I’m still pondering.

    I was struck by Elizabeth’s comment above, about your initial concerns and how they turned out to be so prophetic. A good lesson for all of us (myself included) to trust our inituition, look beyond the surface and ask questions.

    A couple of people, on SQ & in various posts & comments (Jjiraffe’s for one) got me thinking that there are parallels that could be drawn between PAIL & the CF community. The CF community is certainly not as big as the parenting after infertility/loss group — but we do have a few “hubs,” like Pamela’s Silent Sorority & Lisa’s Life Without Baby. The difference being that everyone aspires to become a member of PAIL (metaphorically speaking, if not literally). I don’t think the same can be said about OUR “club.” ; )

    I’ve been involved in cyberquarrels before, including ones in this community. It’s never fun to be in them (& this one seems to have been particularly hurtful to a large number of people) 😦 — but they do eventually blow over. This one will too — I just hope it’s sooner rather than later.

  12. I just popped over from SQ, and wanted to say that your comment very clearly and eloquently captured my thoughts on the issue. Thank you for sharing your thoughts there.

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