No One Starts A War Without Suffering – Wendy White
I guess I was naïve.
I couldn’t understand the brutality of the attack and such vitriol.
It was 2018, and I was busily promoting my newly produced emotional resource that helps parents and carers support their children in managing their behaviour.
I had only just joined Twitter, having yet to understand the platform, preferring the safety of Facebook.
The resource mentioned above is a tool that I was very nervous about promoting (for several reasons) that was advertised as a means of support for children on the autism spectrum.
The hashtags relating to autism were endless, and I noted as many as possible to get the word out.
It went well, to begin with, and the hashtags attracted a lot of people who then retweeted my tweets.
My initial nerves subsided, and I became more confident in promoting my product.
Then, one morning, I looked through the responses to one of my recent tweets, and my heart stopped.
The shock of reading the comment made the colour run from my face. I felt sick.
I was called “irresponsible,” a “witch”, “uncaring” and a lot worse by a person who took offence by my “Light it up Blue” autism appreciation brigade hashtag rather than a “Light it up Red” autism appreciation brigade hashtag!
I didn’t know that there was a difference! There could have been a purple-with-yellow-spots autism appreciation brigade, as far as I knew!
I was devastated.
My friends told me to ignore the tweet and to block the person immediately.
But I was genuinely concerned for this person’s mental welfare. How could they be filled with so much hatred for a stranger?
It played on my mind.
Instead of blocking them, I messaged them.
I told of the hurt that their comments had caused. I asked if, rather than attack me; they may educate me so that I could learn from them.
I asked about them, their background and their circumstances.
They got back to me, somewhat shocked that I had contacted them.
A mid-forties autistic with extreme views of how fellow autistics were seen and understood, theirs was a story of abuse from an early age from close family members.
A story of a childhood of being mercilessly bullied through school due to being different and misunderstood.
A failed relationship and an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and drugs.
I listened, and I empathised with this wretched person who was filled with anger and bitterness.
I offered them my shoulder and heart and gave them hope for the future without judgement or patronising.
After a week or so, we became friends, and they became one of my most ardent supporters, retweeting my tweets to their followers.
Someone once wrote, “No one starts a war without suffering.”
It’s a remarkable statement to learn.
My Mood Stars
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