Escaping to the country the past week or so hasn’t just been good fun, it’s been good for my soul.
As the news announced with an almost medieval glee that another woman was killed (I think that makes it about 20-odd this year so far in violent deaths), the anti-vaxxers and paleo tribe continue their madness and children with Autism are stuck in cages; switching off for a few days provided a much needed break.
There are periods of complete silence, broken only with the sound of birds in the trees. Or even better music bubbling away with kids playing in the background. Conversation ebbs and flows, as cards are dealt, games are played and landscape admired.
As a result, my mind is cleared. Slowed. Or maybe that’s just the red wine.
It’s not to say we don’t still have the news on. We do. The family we’re staying with aren’t ones to shy away from a good political, cultural or philosophical debate.
But the difference is that they are informed and educated, and capable of discussing the issues without making it a personal attack.
This is something that I’ve lamented before; we need debate. We need discussion. We need to disagree. We learn from differences, we learn from those take the time to educate and inform those who hold an opposing view. We may not agree with everything that everyone else says (how boring would it be if we did) but we should be able to respect their position.
Yet, I’m not sure if it’s the ability to hide behind keyboards or a self-righteousness, or just a case of plain bad manners and ignorance; it seems to be something that’s on the decline.
I know shouldn’t read the comments online (well, on other sites!). I know shouldn’t waste my time or headspace trying to understand. I know shouldn’t invest my heart into trying to share my perspective with those that fill those websites with hatred and bile.
However, I still find myself doing it. I still find myself, on occasion, wading into the depths of the comments section, expanding out the Facebook post to read through the nonsensical rubbish that flows in comment after comment.
I was warned not to read the comments on the numerous articles relating to the school who put a student on the Spectrum in a cage; yet found myself drawn to them. I should have listened. I should never have clicked. Words full of ignorance and fear, hatred and misinformation filled comment after comment.
I can’t help it, it’s natural to see Poss in every comment, every throw away slur. To hold onto them, touching them again and again to see if they still hurt, and wonder why people are so awful to my child. To take them into the world with me, tucked away inside myself, always wondering which one of you waiting for your coffee would write such awful things.
Knowing that one day, I’ll have to send my Poss out into that world. Away from the protective embrace of our family and friends, into a community that still thinks it’s ok to write those things. To say those things. To think those things.
And there’s the irony. I’m all about playing the ball and not the person. I’ll fight to my death your right to hold your opinion, even if I don’t agree with it.
But when it’s my person, my daughter, I can’t help but take it personally.
Note to self: never read the comments.