But This Is My Song

I don’t think I’m a very nice person. Really, I don’t. If you’re reading this thinking, “Oh, but I know you and you did/said this one nice thing this one time!” or “But I’ve been reading your blog and you seem like a nice girl!” I thank you for that, but I would like to think that I know myself better than you do and, really, I don’t think I’m very nice.

Here’s the thing that a lot of people don’t realize until they get to know me better: I am constantly angry. It goes hand-in-hand with my anxiety, which is actually about a million times better than it used to be. But although my angry thoughts are generally not as intense as they used to be, anger is one thing I can’t seem to shake. If I’m mad at someone, I don’t just think, “I’m mad at you.” Instead, I jump to all kinds of hateful thoughts that I don’t really mean, but feel like I mean as I’m in my anger.

I have written here before about how a Brandi Carlile song applies to my life. Well, here goes a post about another one, “My Song.” Specifically, the last lines:

Here I am
I’m so young
I know I’ve been bitter, I’ve been jaded, I’m alone
Every day
I bite my tongue
Don’t you know my mind is full of razors
I’m not sure I can take it
I’ve nothing strong to hold to
I’m way too old to hate you
My mind is full of razors
To cut you like a word if only sung
But this is my song

I love this song because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt those words. I do feel like my mind is full of razors. Good example– remember this post? I stand by that post completely because I was actually pretty calm when I wrote it–I purposely waited until I had calmed down to write it because the actual thought I have when someone’s cigarette smoke blows into my face is a lot worse than wanting to push a button to wipe smokers off the face of the earth.

I don’t like being this way, and I am constantly struggling against it, trying to be nice when being nice does not come naturally to me. Despite this, I do believe that most people really are nice. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books, and I love what Atticus tells Scout at the end of it: “Most people are [nice], Scout, when you finally see them.”

The problem is, though, that being nice isn’t “cool” in our culture. People always tout their sarcasm as if it’s a positive trait when a lot of times they use it to make fun of people. So much of the humor we see on TV is mean-spirited and at other people’s expense. Women will label themselves “bitches” as a reclaiming thing, but rather than use the word to mean “strong, opinionated, outspoken woman,” they embrace the worst connotations of the word “bitch”–the unapologetically catty, mean parts.

We condemn bullying in schools and cyberbullying among teenagers when we perpetuate it ourselves online. Jill wrote an excellent post recently about how the fashion blogging community can seem like high school. Nicole recently saw firsthand how uncharitably people react to news stories they really know nothing about. In college, I interned for a parenting author who, among other things, ran a message board for moms, and I saw how even women who should be setting good examples for their children could turn on each other and be petty and mean-spirited.

And this week, I saw it at 20sb–a very cliquey group of people ganging up on others who have done nothing to hurt them. Specifically, one blogger I admire a lot was very hurt by what went down.

And this really saddens me. I’ve written a lot about how in the past year I’ve connected with many great, talented bloggers, and the behavior I just described is not what I want that community to be. I’ve discovered a lot of kind, positive things that have come out of the 20sb community, like More Love Letters and Let’s Drop a Love Bomb, not to mention the friendships and connections that have developed.

Yes, we all need to vent sometimes. Yes, a little snark can be fun sometimes as long as it isn’t hurting anyone (Childhood Trauma and Television Without Pity are two good examples of this). Yes, you are allowed to rant about how you hate [insert overexposed celebrity here]. But saying mean things about people who haven’t done anything to you and who you know may very well be reading what you write…no. Just no.

 

It can be hard to resist cultural norms that say it’s okay to insult people and, in my case, to resist cutting with the razors in your mind. Not to be cheesy with a life-is-a-song metaphor or anything but to bring this post full circle, this is YOUR song. You decide how it goes, and it’s always better to do your own thing and go on singing no matter who it is who bothers you. Although I struggle with this, I try not to let those who bother me get the best of me. It’s my song, and my life.

9 thoughts on “But This Is My Song

  1. Ginny

    I wish you would have spoken directly to people on 20sb rather then posting this on your blog. I'm assuming you consider me part of the “clique group” since I commented in that thread. I find that offensive when I try very hard to be welcoming and inclusive to all 20sb members. Like I said on 20sb, if someone was offended they should speak directly to the person who wrote the comment as maybe it was not directed at them and maybe the person did not mean to offend someone and they could talk it over.

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  2. Tina

    I really appreciate you for writing this post. Rather than trying to reciprocate in any petty drama over the internet (particularly 20SB, and I'm really glad I haven't witnessed what you were talking about), you took it upon yourself to reflect and analyze your own character. This is how cyber bullying or any kind of bullying can be stopped. People need to realize within themselves that it's extremely petty and hurtful to belittle and demean others, and only when everyone realizes that would there really be a significant change. Children will be children, but I appreciate you for being an adult and taking that situation as an opportunity to reflect for the better. :)

    Reply
  3. Recently Roached

    So this is a post I've had in my head the past few weeks. Thanks SO much for writing it. I feel the same way. I can be so mean and hurtful, especially to the people I love the most. My family is SO sarcastic, but we think “Im just kidding” erases any of the hurt we may inflict on someone. And that's not true! It's hard to be nice, especially for sarcastic people. This is one of my NY's resolutions!

    And I love that song. Def my favorite on her album!

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  4. With Love

    This post was a great read. I recently joined 20sb (literally started yesterday) and the post you mentioned immediately turned me off. I looked at my husband and told him I was considering leaving the site all together.

    If there's one thing I dislike the most it's when people take it upon themselves to hurt others. Well, as you can guess, I didn't leave but am glad I found your post. I was honestly worried that joining had been a huge mistake, I didn't want to read about drama filled highschool cliques, I wanted to find blogs and bloggers my age.

    Ps: I can be a mean person sometimes too, and I went through some drama a few years back that made me reflect on some of the things I've done. I eventually wrote every girl I felt I had ever hurt a letter apologizing, once I was on the receiving end I realized that it does hurt and effect you in a huge way.

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  5. L-Kat

    This must have been a tough post to write. It's never easy to reflect on our own behavior, especially when we might see something negative. I'm sorry you (or some of your friends) encountered a mean experience via 20SB. Maybe I'm not active enough on that site to pick up on any negative drama. I really enjoyed the song you posted – great lyrics that I can apply to myself at times. Thanks for the meaningful post!

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  6. Christina

    Kid,

    I know you better than most, and yes, your angry thoughts can be over-the-top sometimes, but the key is that you don't act on them. You can have mean thoughts and not be a mean person. You don't go out of your way to pick on people or hurt people. Some people do. This is, I assume, what bothered you at 20sb with whatever thread you're talking about. So, because you don't behave in a bullying way (except for to your poor computers some days), I would still classify you as a nice person, regardless of temper. It's great that you feel like both taking a stand and reflecting on yourself at the same time. I remember the days where you wouldn't stand up as a result of your anxiety. Congratulations on reaching the point where you can and do. Love you dearly, Kidlet, and SUPER proud of you.

    Hugoo.

    Reply
  7. B

    I read this one post, and now I need more. One of the best reads I've…read in a long time. I can fully relate to this post in so many ways.

    *followed*

    I look forward to reading more of you. Thank you for your absolute honesty.

    Reply

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