I’ve been overwhelmed with everyone’s support regarding cyber-bullying after Monday’s episode of the Men Tell All.
This is something I feel really passionate about, especially after my experience these last few months. I wanted to take the time to put my feelings and thoughts into words in the hopes that we can make this cyber space a friendlier one.
If anyone knows me, they know that I like to poke fun & “chirp”– all in good fun. I want everyone to know that I can personally handle people’s opinions, I can take some heat, and I might even give some back, because I’m all about a good banter and I knew this was part of it when I signed up to be the next Bachelorette. I tell myself that maybe people forget there is someone on the other end. Maybe they forget that people can read what they write, and they hide behind their computers. Maybe that’s why cyber bullying has become so prevalent.
Right now, I’m a busy bee– but when I have some down time, I like to be able to log into social media and interact with people; unfortunately, my Twitter and Instagram have become a dark place. It breaks my heart because I believe I’m a good person, and have stayed true to myself throughout this whole process.
I believe bullying stems from insecurities– and sure, we all have them, but it’s the way we behave and treat others that speaks to our character. As humans we are dependent on each other for our physical and emotional survival, and the way of the world these days is interactions on social media. It’s a tool we use to make everyone think our lives are nothing but perfect. Do you ever see anyone post pictures of them looking terrible and having a bad day? Possibly miserable people see other people happy and feel the need to attack, to bring others down to where they are, to make themselves feel better. But we need to take a step back and think about what we say to people before hitting that send button.
We need to remind ourselves that spreading hate, or telling someone they should die when we don’t know them is TOO FAR. It’s unacceptable and just downright nasty.
Everyone is different.
For example, my mom is a VERY emotionally sensitive human being. I, on the other hand, am not (although I may not be convincing with all of those tears on the show, but that’s a different story). I’m not insensitive by any means, I’ve just got thick skin and don’t let a lot of what people say affect me (THANK GOD). So when I “chirp” my mom, she takes it personally. I have to take a step back and remember what I am saying, and who I am saying it to. Although I don’t mean it, I could possibly crush her feelings and potentially ruin her day, when really in my mind, it’s a form of flattery if I think I can banter with you.
So when I get Tweets or Instagram comments saying, “you make out with a lot of dudes” or “Ew Kaitlyn’s hair looks terrible.” I can laugh. It’s tough. But fair. And I will probably comment back about how many cats you own, and how your self-esteem needs some work.
That’s my sense of humor.
But when people tell me I should crawl in a hole and die? Or tell me to shut my “diseased whore mouth.” That is NOT ok. Tough, and definitely NOT fair!
Hate is one of the ugliest things in the world, and I really want to use what’s happened to me to make a change.
I have a beautiful niece and nephew, and I want kids; I refuse to have them live in a world where people can hide behind their computers or phones and try to bring them down. They are young and fragile, and if social media existed the way it does now when I was young, I’m not sure I would have been able to handle it. Do we forget that there have been cases of suicide due to online bullying? I am lucky enough to love who I am, have some sort of voice right now, and I want to use this to make a change.
Instead of trying to go out of your way to ruin someone’s day, why not make someone’s day? Trust me, it’s a satisfying feeling, and I promise you it will feel better than hating on someone.
My good friend Elan Gale, an executive producer of the show, wrote an open letter to trolls and haters on Twitter. I suggest you find it and read it because it’s very interesting. He makes a lot of good points, and the one that resonated with me the most; “The best part of your day shouldn’t be the worst part of someone else’s.”
If you watched Monday’s episode of Men Tell All, you probably heard Chris Harrison reading cruel hate tweets that I have received. Some from mothers, some from Christians, some from people who claim to be happy. I encourage anyone with children to be more aware of their social media activity, and of the way that they treat others. Are they aware that they are spreading hate, and suggesting I am a bad role model, while they are preaching tasteless behavior to their little ones at such an impressionable age?
When it comes to being some sort of an overnight role model, I am not out there preaching for girls to have sex in relationships just because I do. I am preaching to love and own who you are, admit to your mistakes, learn from them, and be happy. If saving yourself for marriage makes you happy and that’s what YOU believe in, then that is wonderful. I would never go on your Twitter or Instagram and start bringing you down for being yourself. I would probably want to high-five you and say “DO YOU BRO!”.
Kurt Cobain said he would rather be hated for who he is than liked for who he is not.
And that my friends might be my favorite quote of all time. I want anyone and everyone to take that into consideration. I want people to love who they are and not be afraid to show it. Maybe you have vulgar humor, no humor, you’re shy, you’re loud, but whatever you are and whoever you are– you OWN IT. If people are going to hate, which sadly someone always will, you don’t have to understand it, but be ok knowing that they don’t like you for who you are, because really, who wants to live a lie and be liked for it?
Again, Everyone is different. Once in a while, I will jab back at the people who jab me. I will stand up for the people who need me. I will never hate anyone for being themselves. That’s ME.
At the end of the day, you don’t have to take my advice, you don’t have to like me, and you don’t have to watch me on television. BUT for those of you who are interested, I want to take advantage of this opportunity to try and shed some light on the danger that words can cause. When it comes to cyber-bullying, words ARE weapons, there’s no doubt about that. Please, for the sake of all of those youngins who are growing up in a social media fuelled world, think before you post.