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.

Wendy White

My Mood Stars

Twitter @mymoodstars

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