I’ve been known to laugh out loud about stupid, random things long after they have occurred. Like the time Rich and I were out to dinner with our friend the brain surgeon who, out of the corner of my eye, I could see was struggling to close the oversized tri-fold menu from which we were ordering. We were sitting next to one another so my view was purely peripheral and it was not until he became exasperated and mumbled, “I can’t close this fucking menu” that I cracked up. That happened months ago, yet I have, on many more than one occasion, been reminded of it (like, oh, I don’t know, when I see a menu?) and proceeded to crack up all over again. And there was the incident during which my coffee date, who had just shared the bizarre oddities he has noticed about himself as he has gotten older (he just turned 50) began frantically darting his head around the room as though there was something chiming or chirping or buzzing or ringing only to be told (by me) that it was utterly silent. Granted, that just happened two days ago, but I am still laughing about it. Similarly, I believe I will be laughing for a while over the time I received the first negative comments to my blog.
In my admission that I was struggling to come up with anything truly blog worthy, I had the audacity to post (on my blog) a silly rant about my curls and a (likely temporary) decision to embrace them. The entry was fluffy, did not touch on the specifics of any real issue surrounding my child who has identified as transgender, or my frighteningly close to eighteen year old’s travails, or my marriage or my sanity yet it was, apparently, the most offensive of all the posts I have ever written.
Here is the first comment, which, I must admit, initially (like for a nanosecond) saddened me and made me second guess my egregious decision to post what was on my mind:
I found your blog when I learned that a friend’s child was dealing with transgender issues. I was hoping that your blog would give me more insight into what the family faces in order to provide support where it is appropriate. In general you are not sharing much information and your blog posts are vague and uninformative…should I keep reading or are you now reconsidering your original intentions?
Here is the first response I wrote:
Really? Go fuck yourself.
And here is the one I posted:
I am sorry to disappoint. If you go back in the blogs you will see the adventure that is all part of living with a child who identifies as transgender and if you think a bit about each post you will see that they all do, in fact, shed light on what a family goes through during this process. Admittedly, some posts are more “vague” and “uninformative” than others, but so, too, is life with a child of any kind – transgender or not.
It is entirely up to you whether you want to continue reading or not. I would love to have you, but certainly don’t want to waste your time.
Not gonna lie: I kinda wish I had stuck with the first one. But, alas, the day was young and I would have another opportunity soon enough. Among the many positive and supportive comments yet another one popped up:
Hair care products? Really?
My first and final response:
Yeah, really. Sometimes life feels like a train wreck and something as ridiculous as a good hair product can make an otherwise shitty day just a little bit better. You are seriously offended? Wow…I file that under: your problem, not mine. That said, my hair looks spankin’ and my day was better as a result. That is all part of this whole parenting game: doing whatever it takes to make it just that much easier.
Which, in my mind, was as close to “Yeah, really. Go fuck yourself” as I, being a classy lady, was willing to go.
Now to the part that makes me laugh. I have written sixty posts, of varying levels of depth and intense honesty which have had well over 100,000 views and over 1,500 comments (and this number does not include the comment thread on HuffPo or The Boston Phoenix!) none of which were as offended (and offensive) as these two. In fact, over dinner last night I was telling Rich about them and we literally started to laugh.
Really? I have written of my “daughter with a penis” and my hysteria over finding an appropriate bathing suit (for her, not for me, although that could be a whole blog unto itself…), of my fears and concerns for her, and frankly our family’s, future and not one, but two readers took offense at my discussion of curly hair???? It was funny.
This is a kinda big deal, actually. A few months ago, I would not have seen the humor in this. (Oh, who am I kidding, I might not have seen the humor yesterday or, frankly, tomorrow, but whatevs.) The fact that I was able to this time, however, signaled to me a newfound strength that I have apparently built within my psyche. At no point did I say to myself, “Bad Julie…you goof” rather I realized that it is actually these commenters who are the goofs and not I. I think I may need to thank my therapist for that. (Note: I have not identified either one, though I do have that power should I choose to exercise it. Further, I had the choice to not approve the comments, yet I did. One more point for me?)
So, thank you off-centered readers for providing another tidbit that made me laugh which I am sure to revisit in my head (probably while sitting at a red light admiring my curls in the rearview mirror) and find funny. I hope y’all deem this entry acceptable.