It started as a normal day. The usual rigmarole of getting yourself and a child out the door – you know like herding cats.
Then I got a phone call.
Then a nasty comment on a Facebook post.
Then a couple “defriendings” (from Facebook friends, not “real” friends…my real life friends are more mature than that, which is why they are real, and I wouldn’t trade them for all the Botox in Boca).
Oy to the Vey.
Nope folks, this isn’t a flashback in time to high school. Although I could see how one might think that based on the behavior that ensued.
Let me backup. A couple of months ago I wrote a blog post that created drama I still can’t wrap my head around. Against every fiber of my being, I took it down. I regret it immensely.
Some thought the school made me do it, but they didn’t and couldn’t. Some thought I was bullied by obnoxious Boca moms to do it, but they don’t have that much influence in my life.
So why now? Why am I even blogging about it months later? Because apparently, it’s still a source of conversation and “they” are still bringing it up (can you effing believe?!?!). So amidst the questions that have come my way, I decided to share the experience, clear up the mystery and put it to bed.
Here’s the abridged version – I penned a parody about my daughter’s PreK graduation. From the reaction that ensued, I’m surprised there wasn’t a guillotine set up in the parking lot waiting for a public beheading.
A few facts to put things in perspective – I did NOT name the school nor did I name names, as a matter of fact I spoke highly about the school and how much I loved it. I did ABSOLUTELY poke fun (fun being the operative word) at some of the ridiculous antics of the parent population. It was not an eff you to the school, as a matter of fact it had nothing to do with the school. The school is awesome. It was a joke. Plain and simple.
I make no apologies and I stand by everything that I wrote because it was all true. There WAS a nanny holding spots, there WAS a spat over seats and there WERE board members who saved seats. But guess what…NOBODY CARES! Nobody who didn’t get one of the “saved seats” has an axe to grind. The seat savers however, got their panties in a twist and went on the attack and I truly don’t know why. Here’s the deal – everyone knows what goes on at this school, or ANY school for that matter, when it comes to a board, PTA, PTO, whatever you want to call it. There are some “perks”. But you know what? It’s because they work their asses off in unpaid positions all year. So us “regular” parents get it. We really do. They deserve to be thrown a bone for their effort and we do not harbor negative feelings because of it. So try this tactic next time – instead of getting offended, or embarrassed, just own it. Nobody is losing sleep over it, I promise you…unless you are.
As shocked as I was about the attention this non-malicious post caused, I was more shocked by the aftermath. The same women who were up in arms about my post were the same ones on Facebook hours later, making digs and talking behind my back in little sewing circles. (Stay classy ladies) And almost two weeks after BlogGate, there were still rumblings.
I still won’t name names, but just so you understand the chain of events and can follow the story, “Sally Shit Starter”, saw my post, took major offense, as if I wrote a tell-all expose, and tattled on me to the school. Then it began, the few haters started kibitzing with other non-named entities until there was the most ridiculous storm of epic proportions. Within minutes I had 3 less friends on Facebook any of which, for the record, at any time could have approached me directly saying, “Rachel, I have a problem with this, can we discuss?” instead acted like a bunch of middle-aged mean girls. Now don’t get me wrong. It wouldn’t have made me take it down, but I would have heard them out and had a lot more respect for them. Mole Hill turned into Mountain.
I didn’t lose sleep over it, I didn’t cry about it, I was STUNNED. I actually laughed. A lot. It was almost like that scene from The Help, where the rich white women are reading the book by the housekeepers, and even though they’re not named, they are choking on their crumpets because they know it’s them and are scared what people will think. What exactly was the problem? I didn’t open a curtain to any major secrets that went on behind the scenes. I wrote a HILARIOUS account of what a small percentage of the parent population did during a school event. I had more than 400 views within an hour of posting and more than 100 likes on Facebook before I removed it – most of them from moms of the school and dare I say it…even some board members…until they got in “trouble”. I grew up in South Florida and have never seen grown women act like this. I’m entertained, I’ll admit it. It’s like a really bad reality show where bored housewives flip their shit, Teresa Guidice style.
I received so many phone calls and texts and emails over that initial 24 hours where the post was up and then it wasn’t. “Rachel where is it? I wanna show my friend, my mom, my husband. It was amazing. Hysterical. I peed my pants.” They got it, saw it for what it was. A minuscule percentage hated it. And that’s ok. Not everyone has to share my views or sense of humor (although you should because I’m told I’m effing hilarious).
So what happened? Did they have something personal against me? Were they just bored and looking for drama? Were they just starving?
I sought advice from a friend, a mom and a professional (incredible) writer, and she said some of the smartest things I’ve ever heard. She told me I never should have taken it down because it set a precedent. And she is right. That is my biggest regret in this whole thing and it was against my better judgement. So, never again. She also told me I should absorb the situation and figure out what I learned from it, because let’s be honest, writers all benefit from introspection.
I realize, as a writer, I am going to have critics. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. What they are not entitled to however, is to concoct a good old-fashioned smear campaign because of their own insecurities and mean girl tactics. That’s just bad form.
Someone from work posted a quote the other day that made me think of this whole situation and it really resonated with me. It read, “It’s easy to be a critic. There’s no backlash, there’s no risk. But creating? That takes guts.” While this blog may seem like fun and games, I am making myself vulnerable. My friends and family read it, but so do a lot of other people (so I’ve learned from my stats). It’s not an easy thing to put yourself, your feelings, your musings out there, even if they are veiled in humor. It is however, easy to be a hater. To talk behind someone’s back. To be a Sally Shit Starter. There are no real repercussions for the Sally’s. And the funniest part is that when confronted, the Sally’s turn into another character from this story whom I like to call, “Betty Back Peddler.”
So…here’s what I learned from all of this ridiculousness:
I learned that if I write something, and really believe it, no matter how much it pisses anyone off, I have to stay true to myself and not waver for any reason.
I learned that there are mean girls far beyond the high school years.
I learned that I have more fans than I do foes and for that I am grateful.
I learned how easily someone can take your words and twist them to turn a situation into something it’s not.
I learned that some people are just assholes.
And I learned that at the end of the day…none of this shit matters. The people who decided to make a federal case of it are not important, nor are their agendas. Despite their whining, I get to live my life and do what I love, which is to write about it. If they don’t like it, don’t agree with it, they don’t have to read it.
I do hope that the children (especially the girls) of these Sally’s and Betty’s treat people with more compassion and understanding. That they aren’t so quick to judge or start trouble. It’s a beautiful thing when women can be supportive of one another instead of acting like jerks.
And in closing, I actually want to give “Sally/Betty” and all the minions a thank you. Because of your attention, my blog TRIPLED in readership in one day and blew up in a way I can’t believe. I’m not reposting the original on Facebook again, however, I am happy to share it privately if you missed it and want to see it. Plus, the book agent who contacted me told me to keep it out of the public eye and save it for the proposal. Always think twice before screwing with a writer.