What I Learned From Getting Personal Hate Mail About An Article I Wrote

What I Learned From Getting Personal Hate Mail About An Article I Wrote

It's true, the pen is mightier than the sword.


After I wrote about Tim Tebow chastizing the University of Alabama students for leaving football games before the end, I experienced my first encounter with hate mail. But it didn't seem all that personal, because I didn't know Tim Tebow or the people who responded. And, my life wasn't negatively impacted by Tim Tebow.

Fast forward to the present. I received my first personal hate mail. But this time, it was personal. Someone I know who had a very different experience with the teacher I previously wrote about, sent me a message calling my article "shallow and unnecessary." The message went on to say that I should, "move on with my life. [The teacher] may not have done much for you but she most definitely did so much for me personally and school wise."

The messenger went on to say that she had lost all respect for me and thinks what I wrote was horrible and immature. The message ended with, "You're disgusting. I am all for freedom of speech but she didn't deserve any of that. Grow up."

Wow, this completely caught me off guard for so many reasons.

First, I know my articles are out there on the world wide web, but I don't know who is reading them or even if ANYONE is reading them. Second, I haven't heard from or seen this person in two years. We were never friends, but we were cordial with each other. We were "friends" on social media, but I can't remember that last time I saw a post or picture of this person, so to receive a strongly worded message so early on a Sunday morning caught me off guard. Third, I've never been "attacked" like this. Seriously. I guess I've lived a pretty charmed life because, from what I am told, these types of confrontational messages start as early as elementary school.

So, as I sit plunking away at the keys on my laptop, a hurricane of thoughts and emotions are swirling around my head. I only hope I can get them down clearly and thoroughly. The first thought that jumped into my head was the old adage, "The pen is mightier than the sword." I have always been careful of what I put down on paper, and to be perfectly honest, I am equally as careful about what I say. I was raised by parents who instilled in me responsibility for my words and actions. If I am going to say it or do it, I better be prepared to own it. If I am going to say something behind someone's back, I better be prepared to say it to her face. And I am proud to say that I've lived up to this standard with only a few minor slips.

I stand by the article I wrote about a teacher who hurt me.

By no means do I think she planned on hurting me, but nonetheless, she did. I survived. And if she read the article, it wasn't meant to hurt her, or anyone else. I'm sorry if feelings were hurt, but I stand by what I wrote. That was my experience, and my perception is my reality, just like your perception is your reality. Everyone has their fans and their critics. It's just a fact of life.

Now, I'd like to address people's need to say what's on their minds. I know it may appear hypocritical because I am writing about what's on my mind, but it's actually different because of the form and the forum. I've got to come up with a new article each week, so my life is going to be my inspiration more often than not. So many people go to Rate My Teacher or Rate My Professor and anonymously berate an instructor they don't like or with whom they've had a disagreement. I didn't do that. People will go onto social media and call people out by name. I didn't do that either. People will send harsh messages and even threaten others (yep, as things escalated, I got one of those too from the former schoolmate who didn't appreciate the article. It said, "You deserve everything you are going to get.")

What purpose does this serve? I really want to understand.

Hey, I totally understand wanting to stand up for a teacher who changed your life for the better. To point out that other people have had a different experience, but maybe you should wait until the anger subsides to put pen to paper. Trust me. If I had written that same article a year ago, it would have read much differently. I wouldn't have tried to understand the teacher's actions or even acknowledge that she was once a "champion of students and an impeccable role model." But that's another lesson my parents taught me, and it's a tough one to follow. As a society, have we succumb to our knee jerk reactions or do we just believe that we have a right and a duty to say and do whatever we feel regardless of how reckless or thoughtless it is?

Life is made up of lessons, and this experience is proving to be an interesting one.

My most recent critic wants to be a social worker. In the heat of our messages, I Googled the description of a social worker and Wikipedia's popped up: "Social work is a profession concerned with helping individuals, families, groups, and communities to enhance their individual and collective well-being. It aims to help people develop their skills and their ability to use their own resources and those of the community to resolve problems." Clearly, my critic has the passion necessary for this profession. It is a noble career choice and compassion is listed as an important characteristic necessary to be a social worker.

Clearly, my critic is compassionate. To be compelled to reach out to me and express the anger toward me and my article is a testament to this individual's compassion for a teacher that made a lasting impact on a student. A student who felt this teacher needed someone to defend her and point out that she is still a champion and role model to some, if not to me. I am happy to publicly state this fact, and I hope it somehow reaches the teacher to let her know how positively she impacted your life.

I applaud your devotion, your compassion, and your drive, but may I offer a bit of advice. Keep in mind how mighty a weapon a pen is, and before you take up your weapon, take a moment. Take a breath. Take a day before you write and send a message filled with fury. Your thoughts and feelings would have been more meaningful if they were written with less anger and more compassion. You know, compassion: sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others — all others. Not just the ones you like. Not just the ones who don't make you mad or disagree with you... all others. Now, try reading my article a second time with fresh eyes. Read it from my perspective this time, and not from your perspective or the teachers. Pretend you didn't know me or the teacher. Can you see things from my perspective now?

Life is about learning. My parents always say it's not a mistake if you learn from it. I learned from this. I hope you did too. I sincerely wish you great success in your life and future endeavors, however, I won't be following you on social media anytime soon.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

13 Father's Day Shirts Under $30 To Gift The Dad Wearing The Same Two Every Day In Quarantine

You've been begging him to change it up, and now he won't have a choice.

Let's be honest: most of our dads are wearing the same shirts today that they probably wore while changing our diapers and holding our hands as we learned to walk. Sure, we love them for it. But whether you're quarantined with him wearing the same two shirts on rotation every week, or every time you FaceTime him, you know what he'll be wearing before he answers the phone, he needs to add some new items to his wardrobe rotation.

And you know dads — they'll feel guilted into using practically anything you were to give them. But these shirts are sure-fire ways to get him to switch up his wardrobe, and he'll be more than excited to wear each and every one of them. Plus, most of them are under twenty dollars, so no harm in dropping more than a couple in to your cart and letting Dad have his pick of his favorites.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Sat Down (Virtually) With Hollis Tuttle To Talk About Coronavirus's Impact On The Wellness Industry

Just because coronavirus has greatly impacted the wellness industry doesn't mean wellness stops.

If you're anything like me, your weekly fitness classes are a huge part of your routine. They keep me fit, healthy, and sane. Honestly, these classes help my mental health stay in tip-top shape just as much as they help my physical health.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, gyms and fitness studios are facing temporary closure. Yes, this means my personal routine is thrown a curveball, but this also means the wellness industry is one of many that is looking at unemployment and hardship. Do I miss my Monday spin class? Of course. But do the wellness professionals whose worlds were flipped upside down have a lot more to overcome than a slight change of routine? Absolutely. Thankfully, if anyone can prove the ultimate flexibility, it's the wellness industry.

Keep Reading... Show less

My Boyfriend Has Changed Since Quarantine Began, And I Don't Know What To Do

"All he says is 'I love you,' which is great and all but OMG I can't get anything else out of him."

Each week Swoonie B will give her advice on anonymous topics submitted by readers. Want to Ask Swoonie B something related to dating and relationships? Fill out this form here — it's anonymous.

Dear Swoonie B,

My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost a year, which has been the best year of my life (as far as i know). Well we go to different schools and are both very involved in sports and school activities which makes it hard to see each other. During this quarantine it is especially hard. Since we haven't seen each other in over a week things are kind of tense. He won't really talk to me much and I always check in on him to make sure he is doing well and to just see how he is, ya know being a girlfriend. Well apparently that is driving him crazy and I don't understand how. I'm not being controling or clingy, i'm just checking in on him. While this is happening, I also have noticed how he just doesn't really care anymore. I'll leave him paragraphs of sweet love letters to wake up to and I encourage him throughout his day but I just don't get it in return. I love him with all of me and I obviously care about him a lot. Also, I've compared how he talked to me before all of this has happened. He was so sweet and caring, texting me a lot and telling me he loves me and just making sure everything is OK but he doesn't do that anymore. All he says is "I love you," which is great and all but OMG I can't get anything else out of him. He is a little stressed at home with trying to find another job to pay for his car, constantly having to do things for his mom, being responsible for his siblings, and managing school. I know thats a lot but im doing a lot too right now and going through a lot of the same stuff he is but It seems to me he just does not care and i don't know what to do. Please help me or give me some advice on what to say, what not to say, what to do, what not to do. Anything at this point will help. Thank you!

If I had a dollar for every time I heard "these are unprecedented times," I'd be rich. But that's because it's true!

Keep Reading... Show less
Tower 28

On paper, Amy Liu appears to be one of the most intimidating women in the beauty business. Not only was she the person to build Smashbox Cosmetics into what it is today, she went on to lead luxury, high-end brands like Kate Somerville and Josie Maran — just to name a few.

But sitting down to meet Liu for the first time in an underground New York bar over a year ago felt like meeting a friend I'd known since childhood. As she walked into the bar in a chic red dress, it was impossible not to feel her immediate warm presence. When she talks about her history as an entrepreneur (and truly, at heart, she always was one), you don't get the sense that she's selling you anything, though with her impeccable taste, I'd use anything that had her glowing review attached to it.

Keep Reading... Show less

Sixth grade was the year that you were allowed to participate in a school sport. This was what my friends and I had all been waiting for since we started middle school. I had already made the cheer team with my friends, but I had to wait to start that in the winter since we cheered for basketball. I really wanted to have some sort of activity in the fall, but I did not know what to do. Somehow, I decided to run cross country. Not really sure how I decided on a sport where it was quite literally just running. A few of my friends were doing it as well, so I knew it was going to be fun.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Working Out Every Day During Quarantine Helps Me Feel A Sense Of Control

Physical activity helps my mental health in a world that feels uncertain.

Before the pandemic, I exercised a handful of times a week at best. In quarantine, I've been exercising every single day. I don't want this article to be another spiel about how exercise "changed my life," and all the other cliches that health gurus use to convince others to work out more. Rather, I want to reveal that exercise is a tool that works for me because it boosts my mental health when I feel like the world is spiraling out of control.

Keep Reading... Show less

To say that 2020 has been a bit of a roller coaster is an extreme understatement. Who knew that this decade was going to start off like THIS!? Not me, not you, and not that sweet old lady who lives down the street. One thing is certain though — while the world may be a mess right now, you can still fuel your body with food that keeps you happy and healthy. Thankfully, as we are all spending more time inside, you can get healthy snacks delivered straight to your front door! Amazon has never been more convenient (and tasty).

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments