What happened? Someone mentioned that people were chattering about my piece on being Heathered.
They didn't like it (apparently). It wasn't "fair."
The words "slander" "moral" and "bitter" were thrown around rather liberally (or so I heard).
The issue is that I used full names. I used the first and last names of select individuals to describe exactly what happened to me.
I'd like to share just a few of the comments made by those who were brave enough to share their opinions in a public forum. I won't share their names, however. In this case, I don't see the point. (That's the key, kiddies. The point.)
Opinions regarding first and last names in "Heathered: a high school horror story."
I just went back and read this posting after missing it the first time around. I honestly have chills as it took me back to Grade 11 and the "heathering" in my life that year. I think it is fair to post names in the story. I also hope that these now women have drastically changed for the better but a big part of me has my doubts. I will now pass you the "talking stone" Jen, just try not to trip. :) - JL
Name them all! -CH
I would expect that you're right in speculating that they are worried about facing their own high school stuff. And I think that that is exactly why you were right in using their actual names - the only way to stop the hate is to take the difficult step of facing the ways in which we all have been less than kind. The power in a piece like that is recognizing times in our own lives when we have been on either side. -JR
They hardly sound like the type of people who spent a lot of time on their emotional growth. Truth hurts. I say if you do it then own it. I know a few people in high-school I wronged. If I read a post they wrote on it that named me I'd come right out and apologize. If I felt they weren't representing my truth I'd comment directly. If they don't have the guts to do either then they should just shut their mouths which is ultimately their downfall in the first place. It seems that they haven't changed and therefore you're well rid. Passing the talking stone back to you Jen! Oh maybe they figure they can't talk because they're not holding the stone! - HC
Don't let it get you down. that they're angry shows they see nothing wrong with what happened in the past. Which is more disturbing. - KV
It's fair game. What you have proved is that some people never really grow up or have the maturity to accept that they may have wronged someone. Instead of gossiping, the mature (or brave) thing to do would be to apologize for making you feel the way you did... - RM
Someone needs to be at least a little bit contrary, I think: even as a person who was generally on the receiving end of nightmarish behavior in high school, I should say that I was uncomfortable with the whole full name thing. (If the last ...names were absent, I would be totally comfortable with it.) It was more than a decade ago, too, which is plenty of time for people to change, and is a long enough time that it probably isn't fair to write something that might come up as a Google result *now*. (And so can be read by their employer, significant other, family... kids?) The internet has a way of collapsing the distance of time in a way that makes every story sound and feel immediate, too, and so even explaining that this story is from the previous century can't quite bridge that affective element to it. Anyway, I can see why they might not be happy about it - and why their anger over being outed for something they did as teenagers might outweigh their feelings of stupidity or guilt. - NS
Sigh. Even so, because I'm sensitive, their secondhand criticism DID hurt my feelings. I wish I could say it didn't. I'd like to be the sort of person who doesn't care.
But I do. I DO care. I think this kind of thing matters.
That's why I wrote about it in the first place.
I'm not worried about slander/libel or anything like that. (And for the record, those words have specific legal meanings which the gossipers obviously don't understand.)
Confessional writing isn't about bitterness, or being angry, or getting even. It's about insight and growth. And if the piece concerned you, simply because it was honest and because it included names, that's probably because you missed the point.
And you're not alone. So rest easy. I'm not alone either.