Today’s main blog post isn’t going to be about my time in Armenia. That may be a relief to some of my regulars. I have one more blow by blow post for my travel blog, then my usual “ten things I learned” post. Then, Armenia is history… for the time being, anyway. 😉
I used to spend a lot of time on the Recovery from Mormonism messageboard. For years, I read it on a daily basis, even though it would often become contentious. There are a lot of angry, hurting people that hang out in that community, and sometimes they can be really argumentative toward each other. It’s not uncommon to see people insulting others there, name calling, arguing, and just plain being rude. On the other hand, sometimes people can be very supportive and kind. I have made several decent online friends from the RfM community… people I think are truly good people and I could be friends with offline. However, I’ve also run into people I don’t like, and wouldn’t want to meet in person.
I’ve written a couple of times in this blog about certain posters on that site who get on my nerves. They tend to be “all knowing” types, who feel quite comfortable in confronting people whenever they think they’ve somehow been “offensive”. For example, I distinctly remember, during Christmas of 2019, Bill and I were in France and some jackasses popped our tire when we were at a rest stop. We saw the people who damaged our tire. They were swarthy men, who appeared to be from a certain group of people well known in Europe for running scams. Now, I don’t know for absolute certain that those guys were Roma– but when Bill went to the police station to report the crime, he was told that they were most likely either Roma, or perhaps from northern Africa. It’s a fact that certain people from those groups perpetrate crimes in Europe. But neither I, nor the police, ever insinuated that EVERYONE from those areas does criminal things, nor did I indicate that I think they’re bad people overall.
So, when I was relating the story on RfM, a couple of people took me to task for “assuming” the perpetrators were Roma. They basically called me a racist. Naturally, that didn’t sit well with me, particularly since none of these people even know me personally. I will admit that, like most people, I probably do have some racist proclivities. However, even if that’s the case, no one wants to explicitly be called a racist when all they’re trying to do is share an experience. It’s offensive. It would be one thing if I’d made very bold blanket statements that indicated that I think all “swarthy” people are criminals. But I was simply describing the physical appearance of the people who had popped our tire, and relating what the police had told us. It seemed to me that taking me to task for that post was unnecessarily hostile and aggressive, and it made me think twice about whether or not I wanted to share anything there anymore.
When I pushed back against the chief offender, a person I’ll call “overly helpful diva”, got snotty with me. Because obviously, it’s fine for her to call me a racist, but it’s not fine for me to defend myself, or tell her she’s wrong to say that about someone she doesn’t even know. What the hell kind of reaction does she expect when she hurls offensive labels at people?
Then, several months later, Mary Kay LeTourneau died. Someone posted about it on RfM. I posted that I had empathy for Mary Kay’s loved ones. No, I don’t condone what she did. She committed rape against a child. It was right that she went to prison and had to register as a sex offender. However, her victim didn’t see himself as a victim. He later married Mary Kay. They had two children together. He was at her side on the day she died, even though they had divorced. And even though I think that case is strange, and I don’t understand it, I do understand that my personal feelings about that case matter a hell of a lot less than how the actual victim feels about it. He loved her, in spite of her crime against him. He’s also now well into adulthood, and is free to feel any way he wants to about what happened to him and the person who perpetrated the crime.
Well, that same person, along with another poster, took me to task for that, too. One of them went as far as to call me a “rape apologist”. That was extremely offensive to me. I certainly don’t condone rape, and labeling me in such a way simply because I acknowledged someone’s humanity is ridiculous. I think that most people are worth more than whatever bad things they’ve done. I also don’t like black and white thinking, hypocrisy, or people thinking they have the right to tell me what to think, how to feel, or what to say. So, that incident also went down in my long log of memories that told me that poster is someone with whom I’d rather not engage.
The last straw came last March, when my beloved dog, Arran, died. I posted about it on RfM, because I have some friends on there who knew about Arran. Some asshole decided to leave a really MEAN and uncalled for comment about Arran, which pissed me off. I confronted the mean poster, and the same all knowing overly helpful diva poster came along and tried to tell me what to do there, too.
I vented about the incident in my blog, then actively avoided RfM for months, because I could not bear to interact with that person again. I was very angry with her for inserting herself in an interaction that didn’t involve her, and offering me unwelcome and unsolicited advice when I was grieving a family member. She had basically told me to shut up, rather than allowing me to handle the situation in my own way. She wrote that responding to the mean troll was just “adding fuel to the fire”.
I almost wonder if she read my post here, because ever since then, she’s left me alone. I’m fine with that. I can’t stand people who are “overly helpful” toward me and think I need their special help. I really don’t need their help in communicating. Their insistence on advising me in such matters is insulting and offensive. I don’t post much on RfM anymore, anyway. I no longer have a need to post there… although I do sometimes read there when I’m bored.
A few days ago, someone on RfM posted a tribute to the overly helpful diva. And in the course of that post, a person who wasn’t a fan of hers, nor some of the other more active posters, chimed in on the thread. The non-fan of the overly helpful diva identifies as transgender, and apparently had an argument with the overly helpful advice giver, and a few others, about transgender athletes.
I didn’t see the original offending RfM post, nor was I actively involved in the post I’m referencing in this post. However, I did take note of how the overly helpful person responded when she was called out for being transphobic and bigoted. She was insulted and offended, just as I was when she implied that I was a racist, and when she’d agreed with the person who called me a “rape apologist”.
However, instead of having a rational conversation with the person who was calling her out and, I think, making some valid points about her responses, she became condescending, discounting, and argumentative. I noticed that she couldn’t simply practice her own counsel toward me and “stop adding fuel to the fire”. She had to address the person who called her out, and was, in the end, quite dismissive. It struck me as a very superior and arrogant response to someone who probably knows a hell of a lot more about the experience of being transgender than she does.
I didn’t add anything to the discussion myself. I didn’t want to add “fuel” to the fire, after all. 😉 Once again, I found overly helpful RfM diva’s responses insufferable and infuriating, and I had empathy for the person who had taken her on– even though the initial post had been complimentary toward the overly helpful diva. I noticed that she felt fine in repeatedly defending herself… but when I tried to do the same thing in a similar interaction with her, she got snotty, dismissive, and rude.
While I have no desire to wade into the topic on which they are arguing, I will say that I felt empathy for the poster who says they’re leaving RfM because of her, and people who act like her. I don’t know how I feel about the topic at hand. I don’t know enough about it, as it’s neither something that interests me, nor anything that affects me personally. But I do know how it feels to be dismissed, discounted, and name called on that messageboard by overly helpful diva and her ilk. And I did notice that when that happened to the overly helpful diva, she didn’t seem to like it any more than I had.
I think I’m at a point in which I’ve realized that most messageboards and groups on social media are often unworthy of the effort of joining. A lot of them eventually become toxic, as people clash and turn on each other. I did enjoy RfM a lot, back in the day. It was often helpful and entertaining, especially once I got to a point at which people quit calling me a liar about Bill’s situation… or assuming I was an evil stepmother (how could I be? I have only met my stepdaughters in person once, over twenty years ago!). But lately, it seems overtaken by this person and her overbearing, overwhelming personality, and her need to argue, belittle, and “prove wrong” anyone who has a different perspective than she has.
And when I read that stuff, and notice her reaction to it when people take her to task, I just want to tell her… “Sometimes we teach best what we most need to learn.” Then, I would follow up by advising her– if I were the kind to offer unsolicited advice— that instead of pointing out other people’s issues and faults and labeling them as “racists” or “rape apologists”, or telling them how to respond to other people, she might want to take a deep breath and check her own responses. She doesn’t know everything. Sometimes, her logic is flawed. And sometimes, she should simply shut the fuck up and listen. Maybe she might learn something new.
I literally cheered when the transgender told her she was “full of shit”. There’s some real truth in those words. But then, I think most of us are full of shit sometimes, myself included. The difference is, I’m willing to admit that. I don’t think the overly helpful diva ever has been willing to admit that sometimes, she’s totally full of shit.
I may not agree with everything the transgender poster wrote, but I did offer a hearty virtual high five when they declared to overly helpful diva, “I’m done compromising for people like you.” Bravo! I couldn’t have put it better myself. Life is short. Compromise for no one, unless they really deserve it. Most of the time, overly helpful divas don’t deserve the time of day, let alone an apology so that we can simply “go along to get along.” That’s how people end up with depression, anxiety, and in the worst cases, feeling uninterested in living anymore. So, by all means, feel free to tell the overly helpful diva to fuck off, and live your best life. 😀