Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Warren! Where do you get all this hostility from?

I have another post in que, that I was writing earlier. A nice post. A peaceful post. But I'm not really feeling nice or peaceful. I'm feeling tired. My heart is heavy.

I participate in several online communities and forums. I work long hours, and it's often slow. It helps pass the time and I've made some really wonderful online friends. I enjoy debating. I love passionate topics. I do get exhilarated over a passionate debate.

But lately, it's been wearing me down. Haiti has been a huge topic. I can understand not being able to donate, not everyone can. But I was hearing responses like "I don't care, it's not my problem". And that was common response. People don't care. They blame Haitians for "spending 200 years doing voodoo instead of building stable structures". I get angry, I get sad. I can not comprehend such a dismissive attitude towards human pain and suffering.

But it's not just Haiti, it's the less fortunate in general. People on food stamps and welfare are "lazy", they are "thieves", they are "scum".

I've been in these online communities for almost 6 years now. I've had the same debates over and over. And I'm starting to wonder why.

It never changes, no one ever changes their mind. And it just creates ugliness and hate and hurt. It's so negative, and it makes me feel negative. Sometimes I get angry, sometimes I get sad, but mostly I just start feeling helpless.

When did we stop caring about our neighbors? Were we always so unconcerned about the plight of those less fortunate than us? When did we stop building front porches and start putting up fences?

I think to a certain point, it's human to judge other people. We all do it. I do it, though I try not to. But where does it stop?

I've been considering leaving most of my online groups. They used to be a source of fun and inspiration and some good natured debating. Now it just seems like it's sucking up my time and energy. It's become mean and spiteful and I'm in the middle of it.

I've been leaning more and more towards blogs in the last few weeks. I know it's only snippets of life, but the ones I've been coming across are still peaceful and soothing even if they aren't always upbeat and perfect. They aren't cruel just to be cruel. It reminds me that there are like minded people out there. That we can share thoughts and inspire each other and be nice.

Edit: I was thinking about deleting this post this morning. It was written last night quickly, without proof reading and when I was very tired. But I think I'm going to keep it. It is what it is. I have seen some wonderful, wonderful things in online communities. I've seen women banding together to send gifts, money, support to other members who have lost children, have cancer, given birth. I've seen amazing moments of love and support. It's not all bad. It just seems in some of these groups, there's more negativity than not. And I really think I need to start separating myself from it. I found myself being pretty harsh on someone the other night (the one actually who made the comment about Haiti not being her problem). I was condescending, sarcastic and rude. And I don't know why. That's not me. I am not by nature a mean person. But I've found after several years in some of these groups I have become a little bitter and quick to drop a sarcastic half insult. Because that's normal behavior for these groups. And I am not that person. I don't know. I've thought about taking a break from some of these communities for a while and I think maybe it's time. So, I'm going to leave this post. If nothing more as a reminder to myself.


Cari, Abe, and Paige said...

I feel the exact same way. I just can't handle the attitude and lack of empathy that it seems most people have. It makes me sad. I'm really starting to love the blogging community.

Anonymous said...

Crystal, I'm sorry you're in the middle. It does sound like perhaps you deserve a much-needed break. I wanted to thank you for taking the time to visit yesterday and for introducing yourself. It's so nice to meet you.

Sara said...

I find blogs so much more peaceful. You are a wonderful person. I just had a similar experience and just had to walk away. 5 days away from the craziness and I'm still iffy on if I want to continue in that community. I love your blog, love the person you are and hope we can continue to connect. Don't disappear, k?