After being all but ostracized by a large portion of the book blogging community due to something I deem very personal, I feel the intense urge to write this post. I’m not only writing this for me, but for all the other bookish bloggers whom I know have experienced the same issues, but for various reasons.
Being bullied is never okay – let me just say that right now. It took me a long time to realize that I was, indeed, bullied. I thought I was wrong for having the audacity to speak my opinion. Notice I’m not stating that opinion here – if you’re one of the people who already knows what happened, well, then you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. To those of you who have zero clue about which I’m referring, feel free to contact me. I’m not hiding anymore.
I’m not writing this to call anyone out; I can’t remember the hundreds of Twitter handles who either unfollowed me, blocked me, called me out and harassed me, or even a combination of the three, to list them even if I wanted to, but I don’t.
I don’t feel welcome or heard anymore in bookish group chats, which I used to adore, but have given up on. I’m scared to death to follow someone whom I know has unfollowed me. I feel the need to hover above people’s profile pictures before liking their tweets, or entering their contests, just in case they did unfollow me. It makes me angry that I can’t see who has blocked me, but they can still see my tweets, if they have the weird urge to stalk me.
I don’t know if anyone remembers my original book blog, The Novel Orange, hence my Twitter handle, but I felt absolutely compelled to delete that site after what I experienced. I even deleted my @thenovelorange account for a bit and opened a new one, only adding the handful of people I knew hadn’t judged my opinion. Even when I announced on Twitter that I was shutting down The Novel Orange, the tweet got TONS of likes – which told me people were ecstatic to have run me out of the community, all because I disagreed with them.
I am by no means perfect, but I just can’t wrap my head around why I was so viciously attacked – all because of my personal values and beliefs. I’m even too afraid to mention exactly what I did to apparently offend SO many people, out of fear of experiencing even more backlash. But, I’ve decided, especially after receiving support from others to continue with this post, that if I do lose followers/get blocked/harassed again, then I’m better off without those people in my life and business.
I decided to open this blog, The Caramel Files, after rashly deleting my beloved The Novel Orange because I truly missed blogging, writing, and connecting with bookish people in general. I’m still angry with myself for succumbing to what the ‘mean people’ obviously wanted – to chase me away – especially since I deleted The Novel Orange without even backing it up. I lost a bunch of posts of which I was really proud in addition to a ton of book reviews. I even deleted my Goodreads account, which I’d had seemingly forever because I didn’t know which of my GR ‘friends’ had dumped me from Twitter.
I’m the first to admit that I did not handle being ‘verbally’ or more accurately, Twitter-attacked, very well at all. I lashed out with a few responses to bullies, some of whom I didn’t even follow nor followed me in the first place. I recall telling a particular person to basically fuck off and they were all ‘how far do you want to take this?’. I just had to stop tweeting at that point.
I am embarrassed about some of the tweets I posted out of anger in response to tweets aimed at me, but I’m not ashamed of my PERSONAL beliefs and values. None of the people who attacked me know me in real life; they don’t know what I’m about; they don’t have a clue where I’m from or what I stand for. I don’t care about others’ PERSONAL mores or about who they voted for in the Presidential election – there – I worked up the courage to admit that I was tortured because I admitted my feelings of victory after the Republican nominee won.
If you choose to hate me because of my vote like so many others do, then fine, good riddance; I’m sick of hiding behind the wall and putting on a nice, happy facade. I don’t get why so many people who claim to be so ‘accepting’ and ‘progressive’ don’t respect those with different opinions than theirs, just because they are considered to be conservative.
I didn’t vote Republican because I hate minorities or don’t want people to have health coverage; I voted with my heart – for the record, I’m not a believer in abortion; but I DON’T JUDGE women who choose abortion as the best choice for them. Someone very close to me had an abortion as a teenager – I still love her more than words. Her choice was her OWN DECISION; I didn’t have a say so in what she did, nor did I feel it was my place to disagree. I don’t know what I would have done had I been in her situation – everything is subjective.
Going back to the assumption that I’m against immigrants and minorities, I even had a particular follower state that they felt ‘sorry for’ my minority friends. What the hell?! Honestly, why would someone even assume I have minority friends if they’re ASSUMING I’M A RACIST?! Again, for the record, I’M NOT A RACIST. I personally know plenty of minorities who fall on the same end of the political spectrum as I do, so shove it.
I’m glad I decided to keep my original @thenovelorange Twitter account – I hope some haters see this post – instead of completely running away from doing and participating in something I absolutely love. I was just flabbergasted and INCREDIBLY DISAPPOINTED in the book blogging community when I experienced so much backlash due to MY VOTE. Oh, I want to clear something up – I DIDN’T SINGLEHANDEDLY GET DONALD TRUMP VOTED INTO OFFICE – the majority spoke and everyone hating on every move Trump makes needs to get a life. There – another piece of honesty I’ve been AFRAID to share.
Regardless of who the conservative nominee had been, I would’ve voted for him or her. I disagreed with a lot of things President Obama did, but I didn’t waste eight years of my life griping about him – I accepted reality and went on with my life. I still respected him as our President, as the person whom holds office deserves; after all, he was the candidate people voted for; it was just too bad for me that I was in the political minority at the time.
Here’s a fact that may surprise many: I HAVE VOTED DEMOCRAT IN A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION BEFORE. I vote based on who I feel is best for our country at a given time, regardless of their political party identification. Here’s another, perhaps shocking, fact: I’M A SOCIAL WORKER. I feel that a lot of people automatically assume that those in my profession are inherently liberal – not so – look at me. Like I said, I’ve voted on both sides of the aisle – I think I’m older than a lot of blog readers/Twitter followers realize. I don’t say that to patronize anyone; it’s a fact. I’ve been 18+ a lot longer than I think some people know.
Luckily, I had a few supporters at the time of my bullying experience. What’s so unfortunate is that even people who AGREED with me were also too afraid to post their support on the timeline; they felt scared enough to feel the need to express that they were with me behind the wall. I really appreciate all the kind people who did offer sympathy and support – y’all made me feel validated at the time and I know you’re still with me.
I know I’m going on a bit of a tangent with this post, but I’ve been thinking about writing this – and what exactly to write – since November, when all of this ridiculous drama first happened. I used to regret that I admitted to standing with our now President – I don’t any more. I find it reprehensible that there are people out there in this day and age who judge and ATTACK people they don’t even REALLY KNOW. Very few online people know of my background; I’m not going to write an autobiography here, but understand that I DON’T CARE WHO YOU VOTED FOR. I DON’T KNOW YOUR REASONS FOR HOWEVER YOU DID VOTE AND IT’S NOT MY BUSINESS TO DELVE INTO YOUR PERSONAL LIFE AND DEMAND AN EXPLANATION FOR WHY YOU BELIEVE WHAT YOU BELIEVE.
Being bullied for my vote hasn’t only happened online, unfortunately. I have a few now former friends who called me out on Facebook due to my vote and pretty much seemed to need a bullet point list or PowerPoint presentation on why I voted the way in which I did. Sadly, they are no longer my friends either.
I think it’s really sad that some people who claim to be ‘non-judgmental’ in fact are just that. I feel that it’s time to get all of this off my chest – like I mentioned, it’s been on my mind since November – that’s SEVEN MONTHS. This has all bothered me that much and has tried to rule my life and made me SCARED to stand up for what I believe in, which is America. I understand that people who voted for Hillary or even a lesser known party’s candidate are for America too, in their own, personal, ways. We all voted for who we felt would be best to hold presidential rank. I’m just sick of hiding, as I’ve probably already stated numerous times.
In conclusion, I appreciate anyone who has taken the time to read this post in its entirety – whether or not you agree with me. I just hope someone out there reads this and feels less alone in the sea of people who hide behind their devices and bully people they don’t even know. You, the bullies, are cowards. I’m not letting myself be classified as a coward along with you anymore. There. That’s how I feel; that’s what I believe; I feel better, like a ton of bricks has been lifted off my shoulders.
If this post upset you, feel free to unfollow/block me or whatever, but DO NOT HARASS ME. I reiterate – you don’t know anything about me except for whom I voted; I don’t owe you an explanation for my vote and I don’t feel the need to explain my vote to you anymore. All I can say is good luck in 2020; maybe you’ll be happy then.