Today was kind of a weird day. It was neither good nor bad, but something happened that’s been bugging me for hours and skewing the day towards bad.

Let me preface this by saying that I fully understand that my problem lies within my head – I’m the one that’s turning this into a “thing,” but I don’t quite know how to stop it. And for the record, I’ve written and re-written this post about 4 times so far today, so yeah, it’s really bothering me.

The incident in question happened (naturally) on Facebook. I know what you’re thinking – don’t take things that people say on Facebook at face-value; you can’t tell their tone. But I don’t think that’s the case here.

Without going into deep specifics, someone that I’ve been getting closer to and looking up to as a mentor of sorts said something terrible within a conversation we were having. It was the type of awful thing that can’t really be misconstrued. This thing made me stop dead in my tracks (because of course I was walking while reading) and stare at the phone in disbelief. When I finally regained composure and came up with a response, I pretended as though this person had never even said this horrible thing. But they did. And it was bad. And now I’m second-guessing everything.

It would probably be useful to admit that this person is a fellow volunteer, and while the comment doesn’t affect me nor the organization we work with, it was disheartening to see this person post such a hateful thing. Admittedly, I have some misconceptions about my fellow volunteers, and I know that’s my fault and not theirs. Also, here’s a confession for those of you who don’t know me in person: I’m a bit of a perfectionist. Not in all ways, but in terms of work and a lot of things in my personal life, and included within that is my moral compass and how I think people should generally behave. This is [partly] why I don’t swear (unless you consider “fudgenuggets,” “frick,” and “balls” to be swear words), and it’s also why you’ll never see me acting a fool on the internet – I have a strong sense of what is appropriate to say and what I can say to specific people. So it’s driving me nuts to see someone who I so strongly identify with making such awful, hateful comments on the internet.

It’s been bothering me so much all day that I had to start writing things down to clear my head. Once I started to write down my list of things to remember about my fellow volunteers, I started to feel better. I have no idea why I’m putting them on pedestals, but I am, and that’s not fair to them. I still love every single one of them with whom I’ve come in contact, but I can’t help but feel like I’m pulling back from this particular person now. And maybe that’s okay – maybe we got too close, too fast. I’m usually very quiet and cautious with people I’ve just met, but not in this case. I’m willing to accept the responsibility, and I’m fully in-tune with accepting that this is my problem and not theirs. The other person might not even know that what was said was offensive, even to someone it doesn’t directly affect. But even if they do know and just don’t care, it’s not really my place to say what’s right and what’s wrong; I’m not the morality police.

So it may have started out as a tree, became pulp and then was pressed into a piece of paper, but the note pictured above is the one thing that has calmed me down today. I guess you could say I’m having a bit of a crisis of conscience, and I’m trying so hard to not let it ruin my volunteer relationship with this person. But when someone you’ve come to look up to turns out to be something other than what they’d seemed, it’s hard. And I’m going to need to keep making little reminders like this one to remember that the problem really lies with me and not with them.


About Lindsay

I'm a Burgher who loves trying new foods and activities. I also seem to love getting myself into trouble. Basically, I'm a trainwreck waiting to happen. :)
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7 Responses to Disillusioned

  1. Nothing Personal says:

    I totally get this. It’s not exactly the same thing (not as personal)), but a few year ago, I was down in the dumps. Totally unrelated to this, a friend of mine gave me a bunch of her Billy Blanks Tae Bo workout DVDs. After doing these workouts, I was inspired by Blanks’ inspirational message. He seemed like a really good guy with a family, and, like me, he was dyslexic. In so many ways, it’s what I needed at that point in my life. But then I just happened to read reviews of his products, and this is when I saw comments about how he would cheat on his wife with his students–and this went on for years. Sure enough, after doing some research, I found out he and his wife divorced for those exact reasons. Even though it shouldn’t have, it put a dent in the experience. Anyway, I pushed through it and was eventually able to enjoy those workouts again.

    It’s easy to be letdown by people you look up to and relate to.

    Regardless of what this person may have said to you, it can’t take away from that feeling you had two weeks ago, when you stepped up and helped all those people who were affected by that fire. Your true character came out, and that’s something to hold onto for inspiration for why you decided to volunteer.


    • Lindsay says:

      Dude, you get it. It’s completely nonsensical – why should what Billy Blanks do affect you/why should what this person says online affect me – but our reactions were the same, just completely turned off. Granted, I know this person and have to work closely with this person (and otherwise, really like this person), but the premise is the same.
      Regardless, it’s not going to stop me from volunteering as much as I possibly can. But I am looking forward to volunteering with more/different people and maybe not as much with this one…


  2. maryaquino says:

    Your note to yourself is very accurate. We are all just human and that makes each of us a little good and a little bad. So.even rip more in one direction than the other.

    People say stupid things…I am very much continually guilty of this. Stuff comes out of my mouth that I don’t mean and you really can’t “unsay” something. And, even tho there is a social media delete button….you can’t unseen something. It’s possible this person is doing what I do….spending hours trying tout convince himself (or herself) that what was said didn’t come across as badly as it did come across. I’m still beating myself up over a comment I made about 6 weeks ago, in addition to some stupid stuff I said last week and today. I’m pretty battered….all by myself.

    ……..and, cut yourself some slack too. You seem to have a decent grip on your reality…there are lots of people out there who don’t!


    • Lindsay says:

      I think a big part of my problem with this person is that they seem to have no filter. Personally, I filter most things that come out of my mouth and out of my fingertips (does that make sense? It sounds dirty somehow).
      This person, within an hour or two of meeting me for the first time, told me some very personal and kind of disturbing details when it was just the two of us, but I took it with a grain of salt, thinking they were probably nervous and had diarrhea of the mouth. And now this comment, in full view of the entire world (and looking back on it and re-reading, it does seem like this person understood exactly what they were typing and continued on… hard to explain without showing the example, though).
      Anyway… you’re not the first person to tell me to cut myself a break (heck, you’re about the fifth person this week and it’s only Tuesday)… someday maybe I’ll listen to that advice. 😉


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