EDITED TO ADD: I didnt intend to post this post till tomorrow. Instead, BECAUSE i count so many of you as friends, and have ACTUAL care for you, it felt too yucky to keep up with the last post, tho it certainly was showing what i hoped to show - that we DO know each other, and thats the ONLY reason anyone would care if i had been deceptive.
As of last night many of you suddenly realized that I’m not who I’ve claimed to be. Instead of the struggling single mom you’ve come to know and love and/or hate, I suddenly appeared on your computer screen as a sociology PhD candidate who’s been having a three-year piss on Open Salon, all in the name of fun and dubious research.
Some of you took it in stride and good old-fashioned Internet zaniness. Others were upset and dismayed to discover that the Jane you had invested in was just some privileged a-hole with lots of free time and a complete lack of ethics.
Why were some of you upset? I think it is because you thought you knew me.
Why am I upset? Because I thought you knew me too. Until recently, when various OS ‘friends’ of mine, faced with the opportunity to side with me against a certain psychotic troll, simply declared that they couldn’t judge the situation. Essentially they said they couldn’t tell the difference between me, a consistent blogger on OS, who has been posting and commenting sincerely and substantially for over three years, and some
douche-bag with no posts to their credit and a penis for an avatar. Several of my friends on OS openly declared moral indifference to the situation, because they "didn’t have all the facts" or some such.
Well guess what? You NEVER know ALL the facts, here on OS, or even in real life. All you ever have is evidence to support what you choose to believe. If you choose to believe that your friends and family are all good moral people, your judgment is based on some evidence, your experience of them. But every once in a while, someone you know, perhaps a normal-seeming neighbor, perhaps a husband, will be revealed as a criminal or wrongdoer, and you will be caught flat-footed, saying, “Gee, I thought I knew that guy.” The problem is NOT your lack of judgment about your neighbor. It is the fact that we can never know EVerything.
And yet, we generally run with our understanding, don't we? Incomplete though a scenario might be, we side with our friends and family against their enemies, even when we don’t have absolute complete knowledge of the whole situation. To function in real life as a friend, we need
to be willing to go out on a limb, to some extent, and support our acquaintances of demonstrated good character. This is true even when it is conceivable that they are in the wrong in any given situation. After all, we can always imagine somebody being wrong once in a while, even our own wonderful selves, whom we always know best.
Is it possible that everything I’ve written is contrived nonsense? Maybe. Is it possible that I have exaggerated or edited my life to create a clear narrative of it, with me as the hero or victim? Sure, I suppose it could be done. But even though these things are HUMANLY POSSIBLE, thinking of my long-time readers and OS friends, I would expect them to invest a modicum of faith in me, especially against a douchebag who writes NOTHING, and who has a limited but VERY clear record of being a dick, keeps assailing me.
If we know one another well enough to be upset when we are told of a fraud on OS, then...
we should know each other well enough to step up and defend our OS friends, as fellow members of this online community, instead of hiding in the weeds or hiding behind the universal and banal idea that we are not omniscient.
The fact that we are friends and do feel we know each other is what I wanted to establish with my last post and the reactions to it.
Now I only want to say that I wish people would stand up and be counted, for ALL their OS friends, when trouble starts. You know, because we DO know one another, after all.
As JL said so wonderfully on the other post - the cynicism of trusting no one is EXHAUSTING, and as another said, she just hopes people present as who they are.
It's been my experience that indeed, we OSers are who we say we are. So let's stop saying we have no idea of anything. Cause we do, as much as we ever can.
I am Jane Smithie, hot-headed overwrought single mom, struggling with keith for 8 years, and trying desperately to help my son find his way.
The silence as I was being chased off OS was deafening to me, and incredibly hurtful. I did not leave because of the stalker. I left because no one would defend me from him.
I think that sums it up.