“Mom, why does it say ‘bite me’ on that typewriter?”
We were sitting on the couch the day after New Year’s, admiring our art projects from the night before—vision boards.
“I can’t believe it’s two thousand and fifteen!” I tried to ignore her question, but she was relentless:
“Mom! Why does it say ‘bite me’ on that typewriter?!”
Towards the lower right quadrant of my board was a cut out of a blue typewriter with the words ‘bite me’ rising from the ribbons.
“I’m not sure,” I replied. It was the truth. I didn’t know why I put it there; I just did.
Over the past year, most of the images on my board have unglued themselves and sauntered into my life, but ‘bite me’ has remained adhered.
I’ve lay in bed many a night staring at it, wondering why I placed it there.
Now, I know why…
I had just locked the door when I realized I hadn’t checked the mail in a while. I let myself back in. The room was warm and still; it felt happy in there.
I led a grounded, nurturing class that morning. My students appreciated it and they kept telling me so, even through the screen door as they put their shoes on.
The girls were a delight that morning, too. We laughed and had a mini dance party. I love days like that. I’ve had a lot of them lately.
Life’s been calm and quiet. I still weather bouts of anxiety, loneliness and sadness, but that’s to be expected.
I grabbed the mail key from the bowl and opened the mailbox: junk, junk, junk, letter, letter–I knew it when I saw it. It didn’t look right. This letter stood out. It felt hot and it looked forced and angry. The handwriting on the envelope was contrived.
No return address is always the sign–this is not fan mail, it’s hate mail.
This isn’t the first time, either. I’m as used to it as someone who does anything in a public forum can be; it comes with the territory.
When you write out loud, people are going to write back. I expect it and accept it. I welcome it.
There are many readers who have not agreed with my perspective and have issue with my words. They tell me so and honorably put their name to their thoughts.
I respect that, completely.
What I don’t respect or accept is the cowardly act of intentionally trying to hurt me under the guise of anonymity.
There’s something sick about it, evil, even. It has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with the person who sealed the envelope.
I opened it.
“Pathetic…You are not a single parent…Your daughters will be made fun of and they will cry…You left your husband because he wasn’t an ATM…Get a grip, please…” On and on it went.
It’s jolting to receive a message like that. This person thought they’d really stick it to me, tell me how it really is, put me in my place, take some control, instill some fear, make me feel lesser than, and dissuade me from doing what I do.
It’s old news. It’s nothing I haven’t heard before.
Everything this person said, my inner anonymous coward has said to me over and over again.
You don’t think I worry about how my girls are going to feel when they grow up and read my work?
“My story is pathetic.” You don’t think I’ve had that same thought?
Please! I am my own worst critic!
My inner coward is the terrorist to my spirit. He tries to ignite panic.
He sends me anonymous conniving thoughts every day, and I continue to ignore him, because, it is the voice in my heart that ultimately has the control and the power to determine what I do and don’t do–she defeats him every time.
He will never win.
Because, he’s just a low life loser who has no focus or purpose and way too much time on his hands, and is bored out of his mind.
He feels so shitty about himself and his own life and has nothing better to do than attack the target of his choosing—the doer, the creator, the mover, the shaker, the “nothing’s gonna stop me” spirit that won’t quit, no matter what he says.
He’s jealous, angry and lost, and instead of creating something himself, he tries to bring me down, to satiate his misery.
He’s failed, again.
Yes, I dress in lingerie, write “titillating” articles, and raise two children “on my own” while I’m learning to raise myself. I am proud of who I am and what I’ve built, and I am courageous enough to put my name to my words despite the criticism and judgment.
I am no coward.
Maybe writing this piece is giving this coward what he wants—15 seconds of fame in my consciousness.
I’m ok with that because this is a lesson for all of us—Not to allow the inner and outer cowards in our lives get the best of us.
You get the last word, always.
You choose what is right for you, always.
You don’t let anyone including your own coward tell you what to do, ever.
It is important to remember, people who have purpose in their own lives, don’t have time to meddle in the lives of others.
That letter I received only solidified and strengthened my convictions—No one has the ability to stop me from doing what I love.
I’m sitting on my bed writing this piece.
Across from me is my vision board. I’m looking at that typewriter and those two words, and now I know exactly why I placed them there, for this moment, right now:
Dear Anonymous Coward: