Hey, so, has this ever happened to you whilst accompanying your wee child into a public bathroom stall? “Wow! That person next to us is farting like crazy!”
And, of course, your immediate responseâ€”other than pure mortification and the ability to morph your face into an extra-special shade of redâ€”is to wonder how it’s possible that children just have absolutely no filter at all.
No filter at all. They comment on farts. And hairstyles. And tattoos. And weight. They just do. Because they are little children. We laugh, we are embarrassed, we tell our wee ones that we mustn’t comment on the flatulance habits of our stall neighbors because it isn’t polite.Â
A filter is something that develops with time, with maturity, with lots of guidance.
TheÂ interestingÂ thing, though, is how many people out there just never ever come to possess that filter.
Is it because they were never taught?
Or is it something else entirely?
Obviously, as a person who lives on the internetÂ I have to develop a little bit of a thicker skin than the average person who doesn’t, say, talk about putting her ass through a wicker chair at someone’s dining room table, or who doesn’t, say, share stories about having to pee in a McDonald’s coffee cup at the United States border, or who doesn’t participate in a national swimsuit confidence campaign and put pictures of herself in a bikini online for all of the world to see. Obviously, as a person who has a COMMENT SECTION on her website needs a thick skinâ€”comment sections are, by their very nature, platforms for people to give opinions. All you have to do is take one look at the comment section on any online newspaper article or any youtube clip to see opinions in action.
So you might say that because I put myself in that position purposefully, I should be ready and unsurprised by the insults.
And I really am ready.
Typically, I keep my content pretty OMG! LATEST INTERNET DEBATE-free. So, you won’t really find me writing about being photographed breastfeeding in a uniform. And I probably won’t really write too much about finance, sex, religion, weight. I don’t discuss spanking and breastfeeding and crying-it-out and circumcision and helicopter parenting and family beds and crash dieting because I do what I do and it works for me and I expect that you do what works for you.
My debatable topics tend to say on the lighter sideâ€”things like books I loved and hated and being anti-white pants and leggings and shorts that are too short and indie folk music.
Go on, let’s debate! You love white pants? Tell me about it. You hated The Dovekeepers? Let’s discuss! You hate my music? That’s coolâ€”we can totally still be friends. You love to wear short shorts? I want to hear what you do when you sit on a subway because I’m afraid that you could get herpes.
Healthy debate is just that…healthy.
But you know what’s not healthy?
When I see comments from “anonymous” sources (who aren’t really anonymous, they just have no idea how IP addresses work and basically how the internet works and they think it’s really easy to hide behind their computer screens and behind the word ANONYMOUS) telling people I know that their children are overweight or that they are terrible parents or that their children are spoiled or that they are terrible writers or that their blogs are overrated or that they need to get off their asses and exercise or that they needs to get their roots done
or that I have no business being part of a site called Curvy Girl Guide because I had visible ribs in my bikini photo.Â
I have a thick skin, I guess, but it gets a little thinner due to all those protruding ribs.
Fun fact for the commenter: I don’t wear bikinis.
I got into a bikini for this campaign with Lands’ End and Self Magazine and The Curvy Girl Guide because I really, truly, honestly have never felt comfortable in a bathing suit EVER. Swimsuit confidence is such a hard thing for women and here was an entire group of women saying, YES! I am pledging to love my body no matter what it looks like and I will effing OWN that bathing suit no matter how many stretch marks I have or how much cellulite on I have on my thighs or how little my boobs are. I am so proud to be a part of this campaign. And I write for a site called The Curvy Girl Guide even though I don’t have any curves because it’s a site that celebrates all shapes and sizes.
And here’s the thing.
I felt awesome about it. I feel awesome about it. About myself.
Until I read that comment.Â Because this kind of stuff stings.Â We can be fat, skinny, tall, short, funny, serious, happy, sad, parents, non-parents, WAHM, Stay-at-home moms, dads, grandparents, childless,Â part of a big family, southern, northern, Canadian, black, blue, purple.Â And it doesn’t matter. It hurts when people say this kind of shit to you about you, about your family, about your thoughts, about your feelings.
I actually don’t have any answers to this one. It has just been on my mind a whole lot lately, this whole filter thing. And that I just truly wish I could gift people with filters. I wish I could hand them out on street corners; just give them away for free. Because I think the world, and the internet, would be a much better place if we could save the red faces and the totalÂ mortificationÂ for when we visit public bathrooms with our wee ones.