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Stealing our sunshine

You know how sometimes you find yourself in your “happy place” – this amazing zone where everything feels perfect, where life moves along seamlessly for just a little while, and you don’t dare question or think about it too much for fear of bringing it to an untimely end?

I was in just such a zone while working this afternoon. I’d turned up the music and was bopping energetically at my desk, singing along loudly and enthusiastically (if rather tunelessly), sailing through my day’s tasks with unbridled productivity and unexplainable joy.

I felt happy, buoyant, and full of love for my life.

Then, while waiting for a file to load on my work computer, I made the mistake of turning to my own PC and glancing at the latest message posted in one of the groups I follow.


That moment… that perfect, euphoric moment… was over just as abruptly and harshly as if someone had bumped the stereo and sent the needle skidding screechingly across the record.

Yes, I realize that I am loudly declaring my age by using such a dated metaphor, but if you’ve ever heard that discordant sound you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

And that’s how it felt.

The message, a follow-up to something I’d posted earlier in the day, was rude, insulting, and would have been extremely hurtful if I’d actually known the person in question (but I refuse on principle to allow random internet strangers to hurt me). It was obvious that what the originator of the post had said, as well as my own comment, had touched a nerve… or perhaps it was a question of this person getting up on the wrong side of the bed… but the response was harsh and jarring and completely mood-killing, and also particularly unexpected as it was posted in what I think of as a very non-threatening, innocuous environment.

To give myself credit, I did remain calm (though I was feeling rather defensive) and said nothing that I would later regret (though I was sorely tempted). I did my level best to ignore the ignorance and jump back into the wonderfulness of my real life happy place – but, though I didn’t let what this person said actually get me down, the magic of those joyful moments was gone.

Why, why do people have to steal our sunshine?

More importantly, I suppose, is why do we let them?

Laurel Storey, CZT – Certified Zentangle Teacher. Writer, reader, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Kathy March 12, 2012

    Some people only are happy if they are making others miserable. I am so sorry that some random person stole your sunshine!

    Kathy recently posted… The Truth or Ignorant Bliss?My Profile

  • Suzanne March 12, 2012

    Sorry that happened. I think you are right to refuse to let random internet people hurt you, but they can still deflate things a little sometimes.
    I honestly don’t understand how people find the time to go out of their way to be rude – especially online to strangers.
    Suzanne recently posted… How Do You Do That Thing We Do?My Profile

  • Kat March 12, 2012

    Dawn, I don’t understand why some people feel that it is their lot in life to make the rest of us miserable. I am so sorry that something like that ruined your day because those days in the “zone” are so hard to get. I’m glad you are able to see it for what it is…some random stranger who doesn’t have a clue who you are or what you’re all about.
    Kat recently posted… It’s MARCH MADNESS, BABY!My Profile

  • ElaineLK March 12, 2012

    I’m sorry that your day was ruined. Some people are just ignorant of how they come across…maybe he or she was just trying to be a smart-a** or make him- or herself feel big. But no one succeeds that way. Good for you for being bigger than that person and not sinking to the same level. I hope you can recover that special feeling again soon. It is precious.
    ElaineLK recently posted… Versatile Blogger!My Profile

  • Elise March 13, 2012

    The first time I saw my spam messages, I was really taken aback and had to process through it, but that is SPAM which is supposed to be obnoxious. This sounds totally different and very unpleasant and you’re right – why is it that we let those things bother us? I like to think it’s because I have the same criticism of myself and need to do some reflection, but sometimes I don’t – sometimes it’s just plain cussedness on the side of the other person.
    Elise recently posted… My Children Are TwoMy Profile

    • Dawn
      March 13, 2012

      I know what you mean – sometimes they bother us because they hit a nerve. In this case, though, it was definitely someone else having a bad day and getting a rant off their chest! Pity they had to be so mean about it – again, people forget that words are powerful and there are other ways to get their meaning across without being nasty.
      Dawn recently posted… Stealing our sunshineMy Profile

  • Jenn March 13, 2012

    I think if any of us has been blogging for any length of time–we’ve encountered this. I personally– just smile and move on. I refuse to let someone steal my sunshine like that–I have to many other real thieves that do my sunshine stealing for real. Sigh–still. GRRRR!! So sorry it has happened to you!!
    Jenn recently posted… Words From the HeartMy Profile

    • Dawn
      March 13, 2012

      I think you’re right – and I definitely need to develop a thicker skin! I’m just glad it didn’t totally ruin my whole day, just that particular moment.
      Dawn recently posted… How I Do That Thing I DoMy Profile

  • Leslie March 13, 2012

    Yeow! I have not yet had that experience, but I am tentatively becoming more and more open with putting out my opinions on online forums — and some of them are pretty far outside the mainstream. I suppose it is only a matter of time before I get slammed. I suppose we could look at it as a character building exercise?
    Leslie recently posted… What Makes a Blogging Community a Real Community? (Hint — It’s Nothing to do With Tuna Casseroles)My Profile

  • The Shiny Butter Blog March 14, 2012

    I got into an ugly round with someone online recently. She really insulted me- and a friend, too. She seemed just heartless.

    So at first I tried to talk with her, but then I went the rounds with her- and finally, realizing that she was impossible to have a discussion with, I let her know that I was through with her and that she was as good as “washed out to sea” for me.

    Then, just the other day, a similar comment was made by another person and I almost took the bate. But I (sort of) took the high road, and silently said to her- without typing a thing- that she could also float far out to sea, that I didn’t want a thing to do with her and her venom.

    It sure took a load off, not catching that conversational hand grenade like I did the last one.

    People can be cruel online. They’ll say things that they wouldn’t dare say face to face.

    I hope that girl who was ugly to you had an itchy rash that she had to scratch for the rest of the day till her skin turned raw. That’ll teach her ;/

    You’re a good person to let her comment fall flat! And you probably did her a favor by not feeding her crummy attitude any further. Bless her heart.
    The Shiny Butter Blog recently posted… I Hated Dodge Ball Then. I Still Hate Dodge Ball.My Profile

    • Dawn
      March 14, 2012

      “Conversational hand grenade” – I love that! That’s exactly the sort of thing it’s best to avoid at all costs on the internet. Glad I didn’t take the bait in this case – and interestingly enough, hers was the only comment of that nature on the whole thread, so there was only that one bit of negativity to deal with!

  • Masked Mom March 18, 2012

    I’m sorry this happened, but I really love the way you wrote about it–brought us right along for the ride. I am truly baffled by how often things can turn nasty online. I have been very lucky (or just too much of a wallflower to get dragged into it) in having been involved with very few situations like that. (Now real life is a whole other issue and I let way too many people have way too much control over my mood on a daily basis.)
    Masked Mom recently posted… I Know You Are But What Am I?My Profile


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