Tag Archive | friends

Goodbye Experience Project

EP

I have been neglecting my logs of late, partly because real life has been unbearably awful for a number of reasons that I won’t go into here, but also because I had got very distracted by a fantastic social media website I stumbled upon called Experience Project.

I had only been on Experience Project for about a month, but it was the best (online) fun I had ever had, and it was, and still is for now, my absolute favourite place on the internet.

I originally joined EP to find friends (preferable female, as I’m married so not looking for a partner) to chat about marriage, and there were literally hundreds of groups on EP, and it was a really nice, friendly place where you could be open and anonymous.

Unfortunately, Experience Project announced this week that it is pulling the plug and its virtual doors will close on 21st April. I can’t tell you how sad and disappointed I feel about this; since, although I have Twitter and Facebook I haven’t enjoyed them for a while (and I hate facebook’s tyranny, what a bunch of bleepers), and there doesn’t seem to be anywhere comparable to EP to go to.

RelateToThat seemed like the best of a bad bunch. I hope that, if they have a huge influx of new members migrating over from EP, the owners will make some investment and improve the site, as it’s not a patch on EP currently.

I don’t believe the given reasons for EP’s demise, ie trolls and government demands and interference. Anonymity, until facebook came along and ruined everything, was a cornerstone of internet safety, and there is no way that ever site that allows anonymity will have to change. Every single forum that I know of or have ever been part of allows anonymity.

No, I think it’s just a cowardly smokescreen for the fact that EP hasn’t attracted enough advertising revenue or supporter funding, and most importantly, the founder and owner has lost interest. I won’t say how disgusted I am that he did nothing to address the issues or ask supporters and members what we wanted or allow us to suggest solutions.

But there it is. The announcement claims the website and data will continue to be there even though we won’t be able to post anymore. For as long as that’s true, my profile is MrsChakotay.

I had originally planned to post a story in ever single group I joined (over 1000 at the last count) but that doesn’t look possible now, although I might have a good try while I still can. I am toying with the idea of using my EP group titles as potential topics for this blog. We’ll see. I won’t get bored or lost for ideas anyway.

I’d like to thank all my lovely EP fans and friends for making my EP experience a good one (as an aside, I only really had one bad experience, and that was being judged and unfriended by a fellow Christian who wasn’t comfortable with ME being comfortable with MY sexuality, but I’m just going to laugh about that and let it be. Each to their own.). And so I’d like to invite you to join me on Twitter, Facebook, RelateToThat or here on WordPress. I hope we will keep in contact one way or the other.

Yours, Kathryn.

LLAP

janeway-pretty

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Open Letter to My Former Friends

For over ten years I lived and worked as a home educator in my former town. I worked tirelessly to run the Christian group, organising events and activities (mostly for free) in friendly co-operation with the secular groups. It is a deep regret that the group I set up did not continue after I left.

For a few years, it was absolutely great. Additionally, I started and briefly ran a home education learning co-op, and I ran several websites supporting, helping and encouraging people who wanted to start home educating.

I am told that ‘nice people’, and voluntary organisations in particular, are prone to infiltration and harassment from Dangerous People: twisted, troubled, manipulative individuals who may even have mental illnesses such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Fair enough. I’m sensitive, I hope, but I was also a fairly tough cookie, a good judge of character, and really not about to be troubled by That Sort of Thing because I’m basically pretty strong, I have a solid foundation, and I have a great circle of friends.

So far so good. Crazy person attacks, I fight back (with love to begin with, as much as possible, but make it clear that I won’t be walked over), problem solved.

What I wasn’t prepared for was how dastardly, cunningly clever the crazy people were (and we’re talking multiple crazies). Neither was I prepared for how easily my solid circle of friends could be swayed, poisoned against me and end up making the lies their own.

Character assassination is alarmingly easy to achieve. Social isolation, mental breakdown, even physical breakdown, easy-peasy. (It was at this point that my ME became much more serious, and I’m sure that stress is a major part of my health puzzle).

It obviously helps if your audience is slightly naïeve and a bit gullible, and perhaps prone to preconceptions and prejudice. (Not quite middle class? Not quite respectable? Must be suspect!)

But You – my friends – listened to the lies, believed them, maybe agreed with them (she is an insomniac, she is up all hours of the night on the internet, she’s can’t be looking after her children properly, easy couple of mental steps to “her children must be being abused”! She had post-natal depression, she must be mentally ill!)

You held a secret meeting to discuss me.

You lied to my face.

I hoped and prayed that the Truth would out, but it took years to do so; and finally, when the crazy people were revealed for what they were – manipulative, trouble-making liars (on a scale that would make you weep with laughter if this were fiction), you turned around and unapologetically laid all the blame for everything you had done at the feet of the crazy, disturbed, probably mentally ill person who actually, on reflection, had an excuse.

You had no excuse.

Three years ago, when I lost identical twins in miscarriage, my friends (and a couple in particular) – instead of supporting me emotionally or making any effort to understand how devastating it was (at my age, after so many years of hoping and longing and praying) – said the most appalling things to me. Amongst other things, they accused me of being selfish, self-indulgent, oh and a whole host of other things that I choose not to remember. “It’s not all about you!”

Wow.

I guess not.

I am told that the gossip ran along the lines that “she was never pregnant at all, she made it up.”

WHAT THE.

At this point we decided as a family to turn our backs on the whole toxic, bitchy, gossipy scene. This kind of constant battle really isn’t conducive to raising kids, or to home education, or to family. We left the city and moved away. Way away.

It has taken me three years to even begin to feel as though I am recovered.

Not once have I had a single apology.

Not a single one.

I tried my hand at reconciliation before we moved, but it really doesn’t work when a relationship is unbalanced with one side refusing to acknowledge their faults.

I am not twisted, and I’m not bitter, however easy that would be. I choose to walk in forgiveness whether or not you can acknowledge what you did.

But I sure do hope that you learned from the last few years – not only how twisted and dangerous the crazies are (that’s a given), but how vulnerable and easily persuaded and fooled you were. Because you were had. Not only did you contribute to emotionally damaging a friend and potentially destroying a happy family unit (remember how close you came to allowing the Crazy Woman to report us to Social Services?), you allowed lies to destroy a happy, supportive, stimulating social circle and home education group.

I presume the group itself recovered, moved on, has new people now. But what we had for those few years, that beautiful supportive, happy group of parents and children – is gone forever.

I mourn what I have lost.

I miss you.

I loved you.

I don’t do gossip, and I have always made it a rule to not say anything about anybody that I wouldn’t want that person to hear. I am still a nice person, I still volunteer and organise, and I always try to look for the good in people. (But I’m a little wiser now)

I know I’m not faultless in this, I know I said unkind things. I know I made bad decisions. I lost my temper. I hurt people. I apologised. I hope I have come out of this a little bit more mature, a little bit of a better person.

If you are willing to put your hand up and say, “Mea culpa”, I would be more than happy to reconcile.

There it is, an open door.

But if you want to argue, if you want to gossip and prevaricate a little bit more (I didn’t mention any names, you know who you are and which portion of this applies to you), I really don’t want to hear it.

I’m done.

Post-script

The night after I wrote this, I took it down after receiving some strange phone calls. It may have been an excessively paranoid reaction. I have re-read the post and decided to put it up again (minus the identifying locations). At the risk of possibly making me sound a little bit pathetic, and also possibly of upsetting and offending people, it is a chapter of my life that deserves not to be swept under the carpet. Lessons need to be learned, ultimately, and I feel that the best way for me to put this all behind me and move on is to make it public.

And so these three things remain: Faith, Hope and Charity (love) and the greatest of these is Charity. Love and forgiveness are paramount. I won’t waste my time bearing grudges.