An Open Letter to "Anonymous" -- You Can't Break Me

A couple of years after I started blogging, you’d pop up every so often -- always under the ever-so-clever Anonymous moniker, of course -- with a comment about how I looked or a dig at my disability.
Publish date:
December 14, 2012
disability, commenters, hate, anonymity

Dear Anonymous,

By now, I'm sure you know who you are. In fact, I'm pretty sure the entire world knows who you are. Let’s just be honest here: You’ve never really hidden how you feel about me. You’ve always made your opinion perfectly clear. The only thing that’s never been clear, though?

Your identity.

Since starting my blog, So About What I Said, four years ago, I’ve come to love sharing my story about life and love with a physical disability. As a journalist and writer, the written word has always been such a powerful tool for me, and I’ve met so many wonderful people in the blogosphere, people whose words have touched me, made me laugh, humbled me and above all, made me even more excited about the work I was doing.

Well, everyone except you.

"You really shouldn't concern yourself with dating, engagements, or getting married. No guy will ever be interested in you. You look like Jabba-The-Hut with a small mouth and oversized glasses. You ought to write a column about how no guy has ever flirted with you (a pre-dating ritual) and how you will die alone. Don't you ever wonder what it's like to kiss someone or to feel his arm around your shoulder?"

It's sad, but true. You're sad and pathetic and a whole bunch of other colorful adjectives, but because I'm a lady, we'll just stick with those two for right now.

A couple of years after I started blogging, you’d pop up every so often –- always under the ever-so-clever Anonymous moniker, of course -– with a comment about how I looked or a dig at my disability. Such low blows, but not as low as those comments would go, I eventually learned.

"Guys don't think you as "the one who got away." No guy regrets not having you in his life. Why? I don't want to state the obvious because I'm not a mean person and this post isn't meant to be mean. Very few men will fall in love with a disabled woman whom they will have to support and care for."

I always have this inner war with myself about even acknowledging your existence. It usually goes something like this: The rational side of my brain says, "They're just trying to get a rise out of you. Don't even give him/her the satisfaction." The other half of my brain, the half that wants to stand up for injustices everywhere, says, "Their behavior is most definitely not OK, and you have to call them out on their behavior."

I'd say I've done a pretty good job of listening to my rational side. I've learned to keep my cool. I haven't flown off the handle in a crazy rage when you poked fun at my deformities. I laughed off the idiocy when you likened me to a certain Mr. Magoo. I even turned a blind eye to your sheer ignorance when you used cringe-worthy words like cripple and said that all men would forever be repulsed by me.

But the last cyber straw came last week with this comment –- oh, you were really on your game here, Anonymous. (Please note: I did not correct the obvious grammatical errors.)

"Your crippled, deformed, and a midget. Your like a disability trifecta!"

Now, that's a lot to take in, isn't it? Such emotionally charged language for someone who isn't even comfortable signing his/her name. Your words stung. They stayed with me. At first, at least. I'd be going about my day, and your comments would randomly pop into my head like those thought bubbles above cartoon characters. The comments piled up sometimes. And I always let them get to me.

I even started to wonder who you were. I pictured your life, who you were and where you lived. I imagined you sitting alone in a sad basement somewhere, typing away furiously on your computer, a sick smile creasing your face -– that same face you’re (please note: that’s the correct “you’re” in case you were wondering) so quick to hide behind that computer of yours.

It's true that I could have simply turned the other cheek to that last hateful comment you left, just like I'd done with all the other crude, rude and just downright mean insults you've thrown my way. But this time? Something just felt, well, different.

It wasn't just that I wanted to call you out on your lameness, but I felt like I had to -- like I had some sort of responsibility to address you, my face to your cowardly facelessness. Because this letter is for people everywhere, really. For those who want to stand up to Anonymous cowards the world over.

Because sometimes, not saying anything is the silent equivalent of saying that sort of behavior is acceptable. And it's most definitely not acceptable. Standing up for myself and others who have fallen victim to Anonymous doesn't mean I'm stooping to your sad, lowly level, nor does it mean that I'm as immature as you are. It's all about standing up for myself and being strong enough to say, "I will not let you treat me this way. Enough is enough."

I've always been honest about who I am. I make no apologies. I can only guess that you are afraid to be yourself.

In my last four years of blogging, I've learned one very powerful thing: I don't care what you think of me. More importantly, I don't care what anyone thinks. Ironically, I suppose, I have you to thank for this extra dose of self-esteem. Thank you for all the insults you slung my way.

Now, I know there are people out there who think I just shouldn't allow anonymous comments. My mom's one of them. But I refuse to do that. I won't let you win. Know that I will be deleting every single filthy, vile, repulsive, ignorant comment you leave on my blog –- whether they’re directed at me or others. And guess what? I’m not the least bit afraid to attach my name to these words.

Follow my love and life journey with a physical disability on my blog So About What I Said. You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.