July 9th is now kind of a day of infamy for me. Today is the anniversary of my father’s death, eight years ago. Since that day in 2014, the world has changed in so many ways. I’ve also lost a lot more relatives and turned 50 myself. I’m getting old… and cranky, like the proverbial old bat screaming about people on her lawn.
I’ve watched things change so much, ever since I was a young person. Nowadays, there’s so much confusion about things that used to be so simple. There was a time when I wouldn’t think twice about referring to someone as a man or a woman. Nowadays, it’s not so clear. If you say or write the “wrong” thing, you can quickly find yourself at odds with someone you don’t even know, and they might be labeling you as an “ist”.
Take, for instance a crazy Twitter feed happening on Mark Hamill’s page right now. Last week, people were sharing the “We Will Adopt Your Baby” photos. I wrote about that myself, a lengthy essay about how adoption isn’t a panacea against the need for safe and legal abortions. Pretty soon, celebrities began tweeting joke “we will adopt your baby” photos. Mark Hamill was among them. I only know this because of Ex, who is a Mark Hamill fan, and I enjoy watching her antics. I have never even seen Star Wars in its entirety, but you can’t really be an American child of the 70s and not have heard of Star Wars.
Anyway, some people are pointing out to Mark Hamill that his son, Nathan, supposedly pressured an ex girlfriend to have an abortion. The girlfriend, name of Maegen Chen, refused to have an abortion and had the baby in 2016, a girl she named Autumn. That information spawned all sorts of emotional responses from strangers who seemingly had only one thing in common– interest in Mark Hamill. And before too long, people were being called “racist”, “sexist”, “classist”, and “ableist”, just to name a few.
Someone brought up that adoptive couples just want white, healthy babies. Someone else responded by asking what the first commenter thought of white couples adopting babies from Asia, and whether or not they’d call them racist. The person responded that that was more of an “ableist” move, than a racist one. And here I sit, bewildered at the preponderance of strangers judging each other and their life choices– hurling pejoratives with “ist” at each other. There’s just so much negativity and hatred. Half of them think more babies being born are the answer to making the world a better place. Half of them have completely lost their senses of humor. And just about all of them are guilty of harshly passing judgment on people they don’t know, simply because their opinions differ. Everybody has a story that colors their worldviews and informs their decisions. One person’s life choices might not be the right choices for the next person.
I wasn’t surprised to see Ex had weighed in on this controversy. She’s not one to shy away from drama, which makes her strangely entertaining to watch. Once again, I shake my head as I see her posting things that are perfectly reasonable to anyone who doesn’t know about her. Like– if I were to only meet her online, I’d probably have a pretty good impression of her. On the surface, she and I seem to agree on a lot of things. But I know what is beneath the surface, and I’ve watched people I love be badly hurt because of her. While I like to try to give strangers the benefit of the doubt, unless they give me reason not to, in her case, I know better. It’s a reminder that people are rarely exactly who they seem to be. See below.
I did kind of chuckle when someone referred to her as a “heartless dipshit”. He doesn’t know how accurate that name is. It’s true, you know. She writes about what it takes to raise a child, and seems to be very compassionate and loving. Yet this is the same person who forced her three eldest kids to disown their fathers when her marriages to her two ex husbands failed. This is the same woman who made her older daughters drop out of high school, take out student loans, and give her the “change” from whatever wasn’t used on tuition. The daughters then had to pay back the loans themselves. Or, at least younger daughter did. This is the same woman who hangs out on Twitter and other social media outlets while my husband’s 31 year old daughter looks after her mother’s “severely autistic” son. Ex definitely talks a good game, but the reality is, she’s full of crap.
Yep… Ex really does talk a good game. She’s very good at it. That’s probably how so many people have been charmed into her sphere, only to get burned. I wrote yesterday about how I find Twitter to be a cesspool of nasty people hurling insults at each other. I find such an environment to be frustrating, because being mean to other people is not the way to change anything. At best, all it does is temporarily relieve some angst. Maybe there’s a brief surge of satisfaction when someone lobs a verbal barb that stings. But in the end, the person who is insulting is still the same miserable person with the same selfish, mean-spirited personality that eventually comes out and turns off the best people.
I see her tweeting all of these social consciousness memes and comments that make her look progressive, kind, and thoughtful. But then I remember the way she treated my husband, his family, and her own children. And I realize that if Ex can be like that, so can a lot of people. She’s not particularly special… although I would say that the fact that she gets away with the things she does is pretty extraordinary. But that doesn’t make her special, per se. It just makes her very lucky. I look forward to the day when her luck finally ends.
Anyway, Bill just called me to breakfast. We’re having cheese souffles. So I’d better end this post and get on with the day… with the valuable reminder that no matter what people say or write, good or bad, chances are that they’re just “talking a good game.” And underneath, it’s entirely likely that they are completely different people from what shows on that exterior facade. That works both ways, too. That person who called me a “fucking idiot” for being”too liberal” might actually be a pretty decent person once you get to know them. And a supposed mensch like Ex, tweeting positive platitudes and kindly thoughts about the plight of special needs children and adoptees, can be a complete monster. So keep that in mind, fellow life warriors.