“She’s a hater.”
Three simple words hitting the head of the nail with precision. Driving the thought I had been avoiding bringing into articulation into the stark light of truth. “She’s a hater.” Even though she touts herself as an influencer of positive change.
I had been following her for longer than was comfortable. To be honest, I lost comfort from the first post I saw, but since I was trying to open up more of my awareness to BIPOC issues, I kept following. And, to make it worse, I kept liking her posts. I even responded to one. That’s when the hammer finally hit the head of the nail. Bang. Reality check.
Although my post was not hostile by any means, it was immediately returned with a hostile response based upon unfounded assumptions about the white writer who had written it. That would be me. I went further with one more response, again devoid of hostility, but with a slight bent towards defense. Another flurry of hostility came my way.
I liked the response anyway, but declined comment while I made the decision to wait for one more of her posts on Instagram before I decided whether to unfollow her. Three swipes through a barrage of hate memes, ending with a literal “f-you” to all the folks who did not see life the exact same way the influencer thought they should (aka just like her, I sealed my decision. Goodbye.
I am sharing this experience not for pity or defensive purposes, but to hopefully bring some awareness to the damage that can be caused by people who place themselves (or are elevated by others) into a position of influential power. In this particular case, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between the former POTOUS, who managed to amass a huge (cult) following of sheep-like followers drunk on his power. Drunk on his hate.
Hate=Hate. It’s simple math. Even when you are trying to be an influential voice of positive change. I can’t help but thinking about Amanda Gorman in comparison. A bold, strong, beautiful voice of truth spoken with poise, compassion, and grace. A voice of light.
There is a huge difference between an individual who is working to bring the light of enlightment to the world, and one who becomes drunk on his/her own power while thinking that being angry and judgemental is a path towards the better good. One is living from the place of the heart, while the other is trying to thrive through the self-righteous ego. The divide could not be wider, even though the mind might think the goal is the same.
I find it deeply disturbing that these types of people rise to positions of power by others blindly lifting them up. Liking their posts. Sharing. Applauding. While not taking the time to pause and say, “Is this really such a good thing?” “Am I really contributing to a cause that feels authentic and true?” More disturbing, of course, is the lack of self-examination by the person who is in that position of such incredible influence…
Anger is okay for short time. It spurs action. It is a yang force to drive the latent yin into doing rather than just thinking. Yet, anger becoming the constant driving force is never a force of good. Anger begets more anger. Hostility begets more hostility. To be a true influencer of positive change, one most inspire through a voice of truth and love. One most model the change one hopes to see, but from the place of empathy and compassion, and the knowing that there are as many experiences and viewpoints in the world as there are people.
When we close our ears to all voices but those who echo our own words, we only hear ourselves. That, in essence, is living in a vacuum. It is not opening our hearts to light. So, while I am now following the beautiful voice of Amanda Gorman, whom I had regretfully not heard before the inauguration, I am no longer following the influencer pumped up on her own myopic power. And, I feel good about that. I’ve given myself permission to leave the room of the bully. I’ve given myself permission to find further enlightenment not in the voice of hatred, but in the voice of beautiful, powerful, compassionate truth.