Yesterday, I read with some surprise and sadness that Anita Mac, the travel blogger behind Travel Destination Bucketlist, had ended her own life, at the age of 43. I’d never met Anita in person, but we exchanged messages from time to time, particularly last year when she was walking the Camino, in northern Spain.
Anita’s blog is filled with wonderful photographs of her travels and, not only was she inspired to continue to travel and experience more of the world, she inspired others to do the same. Yet, despite her confident and adventurous outer facade, Anita was struggling with her own pain, as evidenced in her final post on August 22nd, “What do you do with a broken heart?”
We’ve all seen reports on TV of teenagers who have taken their own lives after being taunted by anonymous online trolls. The anonymity of the internet sometimes makes people say things that they wouldn’t (or daren’t) say to your face.
I’m not suggesting that’s what happened with Anita, but many of us have some kind of ongoing battle in life that we may or may not choose to share with others – especially somewhere as public as on the internet.
And, who knows where the tipping point lies to push any one of us over the edge?
In the past few weeks, amongst the hundreds of ordinary, everyday comments this blog, East of Málaga …. and more has received, there have also been vile ones with no back-link, and filled with bad language.
What did I do to deserve these tirades?
One person not only left a vile comment, but also took to Twitter to tell the world about my bull**** blog, because they didn’t agree with the price of one item on my recent Cost of Living in Spain list.
Another has attacked me on their own blog because they “question the way my monthly CBBH Photo Challenge works“. It seems that WordPress didn’t send a pingback for a “featured blogger” link they made, meaning that they weren’t “thanked personally” by that blogger they featured! Somehow this is meant to be my fault. Go figure!
As a result of the actions of these trolls, I’ve now switched my options so that I moderate all comments before they appear on the blog – and for that I apologise to the 99.9% of you who leave perfectly normal comments.
I’m not saying I’m above criticism – hey, if there’s something you don’t agree with – let me know. I might even change my mind and agree with you. But there are ways of saying things without making a complete jerk of yourself.
Maybe the actions of such trolls display some form of petty jealousy, envy of a lifestyle or of some kind of perceived success. Who knows?
Like most people, my life is the way it is because I have planned it that way with lifestyle and monetary choices. Some might choose to be envious – others could well be bored, but it would do us all well to focus on what we have, rather than what we don’t have.
This post is my response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: FOCUS.
I’ll leave you with the following quotes:
“Always be a little kinder than necessary.” ~ J.M. Barrie
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” ~ Plato