Saturday, February 2, 2013

To open comments...or not.

I was seriously considering re-opening comments on this blog.  I initially closed them because I was receiving some ugly comments from someone who claimed to know me, but who would not identify themselves.  It was unnerving and left me creeped out.

The thing is, I was never very comfortable with closing the comments, even though I invited readers to email me, or respond on Facebook or Twitter if they were followers.  It even bothered me that I had to screen the comments.  I post a lot on bullying and abuse, and was also posting quite a bit about mourning in the months after my mum's death.  I felt like I was inviting people to be vulnerable, even if they weren't responding, and I didn't want anyone to be hurt or confused by some of the disturbing comments that I have received.  I was especially concerned that many of the offending comments placed blame for violence and abuse on the victims.  It was the whole "Yeah, but you made him mad" thing, and it definitely needed to be shut down.

And, to be honest, I was too fragile to hear that kind of stuff without crumbling inside.  It haunted me.  I didn't believe it for a moment, but to think that someone who knew me thought this way about me was painful. I was hurting, and needed a break from the ugly.

Anyway, after a bit of thought, and some honesty with  myself, I realized that I am not yet ready for the weirdness that is anonymous, creepy commenting.  Negative comments are never easy, but they tend to be more respectful and thought out if there is a measure of accountability. Anonymity removes that accountability.  I don't mind if people disagree with me.  In fact, some of the people who are my biggest supporters as a blogger also probably don't agree with much of what I write.  They just honor my right to write it.  And when I encourage other bloggers to be true to their voices, that doesn't mean I'll agree with everything that they write.  It means encouraging honesty and openness.

There are always consequences to being honest about our thoughts and feelings.  Some people will disagree.  If we are being vengeful, dishonest or hurtful, we are accountable.  A license to write is not a license to mess with people.  At the same time, nobody should expect to spread malicious rumors about a blogger and not end up reading about it.  If someone wants to traumatize me and scare my child with deliberately planted lies, they should plan on my addressing it here.  It saddens me that my daughter has to lock the doors when I am not here.  Or that my heart leaps in anxiety when the phone rings.  This is the place that I write about my sorrows and fears, though.  And that's not going to change.

The bottom line is that, for now, comments stay closed. Please feel free to email comments to me, though, @ . Or comment on Twitter and Facebook. I love hearing from you.  I know that I've been writing a lot about the actual act of writing here lately.  It's just that it has been an issue, and on my mind, and in brilliant discussions with young people who are just beginning to develop their voices. I think most readers would be surprised how fervent the pressure is to be silent.  What joy, to know that freedom is ours, in God, in our country, and in our own skin.  Freedom to love with abandon. Freedom to make mistakes, and be forgiven.  Freedom to forgive and love again.  Freedom to just BE.  And, freedom to open comments....someday.

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