I just wasn’t prepared, just wasn’t ready to handle another attack, nor controversy, nor any hiccups in our plans.
This last month was a brutal one. First the hurricane, which drug on for about a week, and a week without being able to sell is disastrous for us. Then this whole incident involving one our previous foreign correspondents on our show. She confided to me that she was tired of doing things for other people and that she wanted to do a spin off show.
“Sounds good. Wish you wouldn’t go, but if you feel that will make you happy and whole, then I support you completely and will be here if you need anything,” I said.
Then just after that I started receiving screen shots of her totally trash talking Phillip and I in other groups, and what is worse, she had enlisted SO many of our previous supporters to do the same. She pulled them from us with deceitful stories and lies. That hurt. That hurt so much, because I had considered her a friend. I had considered all of them friends. So, when I found out, I cut her out of my life completely, blocked her. That is the sensible thing to do, I tell myself. Don’t fight back, don’t lash out, just cut ties and be done with them. We allowed these people into our lives on personal levels, and they used those attachments to hurt us. And I never saw it coming.
Apparently, that insulted her. She would not tolerate being ignored. So she and a friend of hers pulled together people who have no idea what was really happening to flood my Mad Man Knitting facebook page with nasty comments. Again, I had never heard of any of these people, but saw them all coming from one particular person’s facebook post where they asked people, that again had never heard of me before, to go and leave hateful messages for all the world to see.
I was up at 4am, saw dozens of them, and spent the better part of that morning deleting them, blocking them, and basically refreshing every 30 seconds or so to see another bomb dropped. Then they went to Ravelry. As if this situation had anything to do with Ravelry. But, needed another forum to let other knitters know that I was a monster. In one thread that was praising my hurricane posts, they showed up again, bitterly swinging the topic around to fit their narrative. Thankfully, one of the moderators stepped in and used the “Don’t be a jerk,” community policy to delete their comments.
We weren’t so luck with Ebay. Yes, they had taken one of Phillip’s Strange Friends that they had purchased and decided to list it for sale. Nothing wrong with that. However, the description of the item said nothing NOTHING about the actual Strange Friend itself, but instead was a defamatory paragraph of insults that went well beyond libel. I immediately reported it. Nothing. I asked others to do the same. Multitudes of people reported the listing, alas to no avail.
I tweeted ebay and told them that this was unacceptable. You should not be allowed to make money off a product simply by trash talking the creators of the product and use your listing NOT to describe the product, but to again find another way to spread more vitriol through the internet.
We saw our sales plummet, we saw our numbers increase to this blog, only through search engines, and again, more nasty comments were left here that I deleted. She found a way to flock people into an attack simply by what she said, with none of it being true. That listing stayed up for 5 days, with no help from Ebay who told us that their reports are done in the order they are received. I’m sorry, but if you have multiple red flags against a listing, I imagine there is an algorithm out there that says, “You should look at this one asap.” It finally sold for twice what Phillip sold it for, as she used her defamatory listing to find some sense of compensation. We didn’t promote her enough, she said. She wasn’t making enough money off being involved on our show. I never offered anyone money, but promotion in return for their videos.
I should have been more prepared, should have been less trusting, but that isn’t what I do. I genuinely love people and help whenever I can anyone who needs a hand up. I don’t have much myself, but what I have I’ll happily share with you. And I never mentioned this whole incident publicly because I didn’t want to give her the war that she wanted. To me, it would only fuel her publicity, it would feed a rage that would linger, when both parties should have just walked away and said, “Have a nice day.” Rather than fighting back, I coiled in and watched so much of what I have to rebuild OVER AND OVER AND OVER being stripped again.
And all of this stress got me really sick. A bad episode of bronchitis that has robbed me of my appetite, my sleep, and my constant burning desire to excel. It has made me worthless, tired, unable to function as I usually do. And a week on, it is still fighting with me.
We weren’t selling anything. Book sales dropped, teddy bears dropped, Strange Friends dropped. And we saw ourselves skidding towards disaster. And throughout this year we have been relying on all of those teddy bears and book sales and Strange Friends to keep us afloat while Phillip looked for work. He finally found a wonderfully paying job, but he’s not going to see a paycheck for few weeks. So we weren’t able to pay the electric, until at the last minute someone stepped in and said they would take care of it for us. It wasn’t a loan, it was payment for dinner and a couch to crash on when they come around this way next year (They’ve come twice already, it’s not like its a total stranger).
We still haven’t paid rent. And I don’t know what I’m going to do about that either. I don’t have much to sell. And I don’t know what to tell the landlord. I really don’t. I am so beat down right now that I…..I fear this is all completely finished.
Even the most resilient people get beat down sometimes. Even the strongest have to walk back and admit they’ve been hit too many times to wonder why they keep going in the ring.
I don’t belong to the knitting community, I don’t think I ever did. But, I don’t think about them very often. I think about THIS community that I helped build and nurture, of knitters and non knitters alike, who just wanted to find something bright in an increasingly shadowed world, who looked for softness when the world turns hard on you, who sought the warmth of a virtual hug, snug only in written word against a cold society that betrays you quickly. I wanted to be that voice. I really did. But, it gets harder and harder to make proclamations of optimism when all people want to do is destroy you for their personal empowerment.
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