I’ve learned more and more recently that there is a serious strength in numbers, and I find myself spending a majority of my time online chatting in one Facebook group or another.
One group that I am extremely proud and honored to be a part of is Road Widows. We are the wives (fiances, long-time girlfriends, etc.) of men who play music or work as crew guys on the road. My husband being a touring musician is what spurred the name of THIS blog, and Road Widows just expounds on it. We use the name much like there are “golf widows” and “hunting widows.” (A legitimate use of the word “widow” from the dictionary!!) We are happily married, but we’ve also learned how to manage everything on our own.
The women who participate and draw strength from our group inspire me, and they keep me wanting to keep the group going. The women who come to us in the dark days — the days they aren’t sure they can stand by their man any more as he travels the country (or the world!) for work — and suddenly no longer feel lonely and find the way to push through the darkness.
Now, there is a little irony in the timing of what happened this week, as we (the writers for the Road Widows blog) had just decided to migrate from a Facebook page (public) to a private group where all the women could talk freely and openly without fear of judgement or attack. Where they can talk fans, fears and loneliness. We’ve all grown so busy that getting together in person has become a juggle, so perhaps instead of dishing over margaritas and tacos, we can dish in our down time online.
The very day we announced the creation of the private group, we dealt with what I can only describe as an Internet Bully. A troll, perhaps. But for me, it was a classic bully.
…this is the most ignorant thing i’ve ever seen/ heard of in my life… they wrote
…please, do your doomed selves a HUGE favor, and quit considering yourselves as being the victim. You are your own worst enemy.
My head was spinning.
This page is an insult to touring musicians…
Okay now I was angry.
The post was quickly followed by a barrage of comments from what I assume are friends of the original poster supporting their point of view and further hammering nails into my heart.
I was angry. I wanted to sob my heart out. I wanted to scream at these people and call them names. (Okay, I totally did just that to my poor husband who became my sounding board.) This group I am so passionate about and love deeply was being insulted and attacked viciously. Why? Because they saw the word “widow” and took it very, very literally.
They didn’t bother to read any of our posts. They didn’t bother to read the many words of thanks from women all across the country who felt relief to find other women living the same lifestyle they were. And in a round about way, they were telling us to shut up.
Instead, I took a deep breath and tried to take the high road. My fellow contributors did the same. We responded as tactfully as possible, but we also didn’t lie down and just take it. Nor did we ignore it. Eventually, our followers started to chime in and the tide began to turn. The love and support began to drown out the negative words.
This page brought me help when I struggled hardest…
Yes! This! I swear if I wrote a mission statement for our group it would be to do just that.
I think it’s great to have a safe place to look and see that we are not the only crazy ones that have chosen this lifestyle.
And of course there is that, too.
I find great support and understanding in this page. I genuine thank you for creating it and being proud of it enough to share it.
We aren’t sure when or why the original post was deleted. I only have the text from having saved it prior to it being deleted. I like to think the positive completely drowned out the negative. I like to think that the fact that we didn’t shut up but instead stood up for ourselves was an unexpected reaction.
Together we are stronger when we lift each other up. And this amazing, amazing group of women did just that this week and continue to do so every day. We are strong. We are confident. We are incredible.
How have you handled people in the past that decided to judge and critique you without bothering to know you? Did you have a support system to “have your back” in such a case?
#WomensLives is a media partnership between Public Radio International (PRI) and SheKnows Media, BlogHer‘s parent company, aiming to change the portrayal and coverage of women in media. I felt our standing up for ourselves fell right in line with this initiative.