I never could have made it as a hippie. I'm just too cynical, and was even in my most idealistic days in my youth.
So while I very much respect the two women who went to great effort to create this international blogging effort (which you can read about here, here and/or here), I couldn't bring myself to sign up with the two dozen or so participants.
Because, when it comes down to it, I don't believe that love beats hate for the people who are sensitive enough to be hurt by the haters, whether we are talking about the homophobic bullying that has led too many youths to kill themselves or we're talking about the kind of people who insist fibromyalgia is a "made-up disease" claimed by malingerers and people with chronic pain are all a bunch of drug addicts playing on doctors' sympathies to get their fix.
For some of us, and I include myself among the (at times) overly sensitive, it just takes that one hater, that one meanie, to wound us to the core. And for some reason, the cruel words or taunts are what we hear and remember most; those whispers can drown out an ocean of supportive, kind comments.
It's sad, but true. I wish it were not, and I hope that I'm wrong, because truly I would much prefer my daughter to grow up in a world where she, unlike me as a child, can shrug off the occasional kid who inevitably will say she is ugly or fat or stupid because she knows that the people who count are the ones who think she is beautiful inside and out and love her brain as much as I do.
(Fwiw, I never had trouble shrugging off the kids who insulted my intelligence. :-)
I have people on the outskirts of my life who roll their eyes when the issue if my health comes up, people who think I'm lazy or it's all in my head. Or that the intense chronic, clinical fatigue I have is similar to what they feel when they stay up for a night or two with a normally healthy kid who has a bad cold or the flu.
It hurts sometimes, like when my fellow MOMS Club board members voted, at a meeting I was too sick to attend, to move the board meetings to a time they knew was too early in the day for me to attend. It wasn't on the agenda, and they just took advantage of my absence. It was my last remaining social activity, and when I complained the only response I got was that the decision was unanimous. And these were allegedly my friends, whom I'd done a favor when I agreed to do a second term in a job no one else wanted.
Does "love" make a difference? Sure. I've written before about how grateful I am to have found the incredibly supportive chronic illness community through the blogosphere and other social media. It's a huge help with the sense of isolation that I felt in the early months of my illness, and I try to be supportive to others, too.
But I'm not convinced that the "love" will ever beat the "hate" until and unless we all stop letting the haters get to us. Although it doesn't always feel that way, it's our choice when we let the things people say or do (or don't do) to us upset us.
I'm not suggesting that people ignore bullying or hate speech. Of course, we should all object to it when we see/hear it, wherever that may be. But taking it personally? From a stranger on the Internet? That's just crazy talk.
And I can say that because I've been the one talking crazy, getting my feelings hurt when someone I don't even know directs their meanness to me via email or the comments section on my blog. It wasn't that long ago that I sobbed to Scott that a meanie, who doesn't even read my blog regularly enough to know my health issues, called me a bad mom for taking meds exactly as prescribed by my doctor. She told me about a former colleague who said she had chronic fatigue syndrome but turned out to be juggling a full-time job, full-time college and being a mom. Yeah, I wish that were the reason I'm beyond exhausted all the time; if nothing else, it would be better for the budget! :-)
So that's my 2 cents. What do y'all think?