Thursday, December 18, 2008

The cruelty of strangers

Until today I have held to a mistaken impression that people in this world are generally good. We all make mistakes, but I believed that after leaving behind the brutality of junior high, we all figured out that our own self-worth shouldn't be predicated upon the destruction of others'.

I am more emotionally fragile than I usually care to admit. This trait is occasionally disadvantageous as a business owner, boss, wife, mother, and member of society. I have learned to employ certain tactics to help me function in the world, but that doesn't disqualify me from being a sensitive soul.

For reasons that probably have roots in suppressed early trauma, I am particularly sensitive about my looks. I seldom feel attractive, and sometimes find myself needlessly worrying about what others might think of my appearance. Especially recently, since I have acquired the infamous "mom" body and am uncomfortable in my ill-fitting wardrobe. It's ironic, however, that I rarely take the time to put on makeup.

So it was with genuine reservations that I posted the two recent discussions of my celebrity resemblances. I hated the idea of posting a close-up image of my face, especially in such proximity to the likeness of the beautiful Mrs. Tom Cruise. I feared that people would be thinking precisely what one individual had the nerve to actually write in a comment [expletive edited, grammar left in context]:

"your actually f****** hideous to be honest and I can't see u looking like anybody on any celebrity list. maybe rosie. maybe miss piggy"

Harsh.

This person is a complete stranger to me and was obviously deliberately being an asshole. But his or her vile remarks were enough to completely ruin my day, and unfortunately I won't soon forget the scathing words. Thankfully I can be sure, because of my website monitoring software, that this person is not anyone I know attempting to say anonymously what he or she has long wanted to say to my ugly face. "Anonymous" actually lives in one of three cities in which I have no known contacts. Plus, I'm sure I don't associate with anyone who would write "your" instead of "you're" in the context of the insult.

This experience brought me the opportunity to learn a new internet term--troll: "someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community...with the intention of provoking other users into an emotional response..." I read on to learn that the most effective way to discourage trolls is to ignore them, "hence the often-seen warning: 'Please do not feed the trolls.'" Well, eat up, despicable troll. I realize that your fateful click to my website was the one-time result of a search for a particular celebrity's photo (who I'll refrain from mentioning in an attempt to reduce the amount of Google traffic directed here), so hopefully my troll cuisine won't induce further insults.

As personally offensive as this comment was to me, it brings up a larger issue of how real people out there find the audacity to be so heartlessly malicious to other real people. Anonymous might be a parent. He might have participated in a Secret Santa gift exchange at work. She might be singing along to the radio stuck in traffic right now. He might play fetch with his dog. She might cheerily answer phones at work. Anonymous is likely a regular person, with friends and co-workers and maybe even a family. I'd like to believe that the most callous stranger would not say those words to my face, even if the thoughts arose. But this facade we call The Internet, for all its glorious purposes, provides a delicate mask which apparently permits sadistic inhumanity.

4 comments:

Annie said...

Good Lord, what a jerk! The problem with cyber space (as you pointed out) is that it allows people a certain amount of anonymity. I say don't give this moron another moments thought. He has already taken up more space on your blog than he's worth.

:P

Oh, and I happen to think you are rather nice looking.

Mikael said...

I am SOOO sorry that person was so rude. I had a couple terrible comments on my blog, and I always wonder why people decide to be so rude at someone that is so put together, so nice, and brings the world so much good. It is because they have no self esteem and just like in middle school, they have to put others down to feel better about themselves.
Just laugh at how TOTALLY lame they are!!! Such idiots. And be proud that you are so interesting that they read your blog and feel the need to comment, that is a compliment! The comment must have taken at least 2 minutes out of their LAME lives!

And WHAT? Mom body?? Ya right! You are so in shape, skinny, and amazing. I have learned to really embrace my saggy nast tummy. I just put a girdle on and smile at how perfect I look to everyone else, but deep inside I know I am so much less than that.
But what is perfect? I am 100% perfect to my kids and that is what matters :)

guentherfamilynews said...

First of all I was a little upset by the first part of your blog, and you are no longer my boss so you can't think I am just a suck up! :)
You look amazing, I would never see you in a store and think, that girls a mom. You have nothing of a mom body, perhaps with no clothes on YOU can see hints of motherhood, but to us who are not creeping around your room late at night we see nothing of a mom body. I see a loving mom personality, but I would love to be able to look as good as you do, I suppose if I was as dedicated to working out as you are I might have a better shot. I can't wait for Kori to be done nursing so that I can start working out again.
The second part of your post upset me even more though, it sounds to me like someone who has a sad life and is trying to put others down as a way to make him or her self feel better. They have my sympathy, how do you get to be so pathetic that you would hurt a stranger with pointless lies!
You are beautiful inside and out! I am glad to be your friend.

barb said...

hmmm... I recently chose a pic of miss z's cute little bum instead of my own face for my profile pic. sorry for my delayed comments, Kristin. I set aside my "vacation novel" and started catching up on your amazing blog instead! all I have to say about this jaw-dropping post is...
YOU, my friend, are a HOTTIE. and I've seen you at preschool swim.

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