I did not break the internet. It tried its best, though, to break me these past few weeks. Yes, the internet, and social media in particular, provided a swift and clear reminder as to just how cruel it could be. Or, to be accurate, how horrid and thoughtless small-minded humans can be under cover of a computer screen.
Unless you live in a blissful wifi-free bubble then you are likely to have read at least some news of current events in the US. I have stood fast in my resolve to not enter into any public discussions concerning my thoughts on any of these events. Generally, I am able to ignore the ensuing internet feeding frenzy that results when controversial news surfaces. This time, however, I could not turn away. I found myself submerged in the dirty, murky water wherein the internet trolls forage for prey. I was unable to pull myself away from the comments sections of Facebook posts and media sites. I was both stunned and saddened by the viciousness and hatefulness I encountered, and it was being hurled about with voracity by people on all sides of the equation. It took every bit of willpower I possess not to jump into the fray and get down into the ugliness. After a few days of wallowing in the decay I made the wise decision to unfollow almost all of the public figures I was following, not because they did not have a right to voice their opinions, but because of those dreadful comments sections. I forced myself to stay off of social media for a period to allow the worst of the storm to pass.
What I found at these sites tore at my heart, and it shook my soul to the core. I was on the brink of tears, and my stomach was in knots. It drove me to a place where I seldom go, and that place is a depressive state. I took to the couch, pajamaed and prepared to settle in for the foreseeable future. I have learned that when the rare bout of depression hits it is best for me to sink down in it, as this allows me to emerge from it faster than if I try to fight it off. So it was that I spent a few days prone in front of the TV watching anything other than the news, sipping tea, napping, and allowing my thoughts to roam where they would. As my soul began to heal it allowed my thoughts to go where they needed to in order to find the light again.
Those thoughts honed in on a quote from a favorite book, Gwen Cooper’s Homer’s Odyssey. (If you are not familiar, it is the story of how an eyeless, abandoned kitten entered the author’s life and changed it in ways she never could have imagined.) The quote is as follows:
“What happened was that I caught a glimpse of something I desperately needed to believe in at that point in my life. I wanted to believe there could be something within you that was so essential and so courageous that nothing- no boyfriend, no employer, no trauma- could tarnish or rob you of it. And if you had that kind of unbreakable core, not only would it always be yours, but even in your darkest moments others would see it in you, and help you out before the worse came to the absolute worst.”
If you had that kind of unbreakable core… Boom! Is that powerful or what? These words have come back to me time and again over the years since I first read them. I once sent a copy of the book to a friend because, quite frankly, she had been through more than any one person should have to go through in this life, and I was left doubtless that she in fact had an unbreakable core.
Well guess what internet? So do I! I have that kind of unbreakable core. Yes, you may have made me forget that for a brief time. You may have sucker punched me and sent me reeling to the couch. You may have even scratched the surface of my core. But break it? With the likes of some sorry internet trolls so absorbed in their own self-loathing that they spew it outward trying to infect others? I think not! I am up off of the sofa and back on my feet. I know that the smart, caring, and open-minded people of the world far outnumber the rotten, belligerent ones. Oh, and for the record, I also know that I have the power to turn you off and tune you out! You could come at me with something far more substantial than that, and you still would not stand a chance at breaking me.
I have that kind of unbreakable core, and if you are reading this I am willing to bet that you have it, too. We all get pushed to our limits at times, but we survive to tell the tales. We are, always, inevitably stronger than we know. We are capable of rising above the smallness, the meanness, that gets thrown in our paths. We conquer fears, heartaches, illnesses, and all manner of adversity. We endure, we persevere, and we thrive because there is something planted firmly in our core that chooses to win. We are the unbreakable ones.