To the woman who sent me an anonymous letter in the mail yesterday:
I am, first and foremost, a believer in the first amendment. It is a privilege to live in a country where our freedoms and rights allow us to have personal choice and opinions. I have, over the past few months, chosen to voice some of my own opinions on my personal social media outlets – always keeping an open mind to other’s voices that may not look or sound or have any resemblance to my own. I was raised to always welcome discussion, remaining honest and respectful, and to converse but never yell. It is not my job to change opinions. As it is not yours to tell me what my opinions should be.
By sharing a piece of myself online, I am also very aware that I then open up the door to feedback (both positive and negative) and choose to do so, even while being a business owner. I understand the risk this presents.
While I actively try to separate business from personal, I also have tried to remain transparent in my social media – sharing the mess, the ugly, the imperfect. Making sure each post is done with the intention of spreading empowerment and encouragement. Never intending to make anyone feel less than or wrong. Never intending to hurt anyone.
So when I opened your hand addressed letter yesterday, it took me by surprise to find an entire page of content that attacked me, my business and my voice. It was even more surprising to realize that you took the time to type the letter and send it to my home – but excluded a return address or your name. You felt so strongly about my words that you had to go out of your way to let me know how upset you were – but not brave enough to reveal who you were. You questioned my voice, while not revealing your own.
You left clues, of course – an apparent “customer and acquaintance”, a mother of three young children and a small business owner. I read your words, at first becoming angry and upset. Crying and feeling so discouraged – racking my brain for how I could have negatively affected someone this much. What words had I shared that were so horrible, so negative, that someone was compelled to bring their anger to my doorstep?
You assumed a lot about me in this letter. You bashed my views on reproductive rights and gave me a lesson about pro-life and the dignity of every life (not realizing of course, that I am Catholic. That I believe that life is sacred. That I ache to be a mom, but face my own struggles along that path. That while I am pro-life in my own home, I am a fierce fighter for all woman to have the privilege of making that choice.) I believe that my God still loves me, even if you don’t.
You assumed that I want our President to fail. You assumed I hadn’t given him a fair chance.
Believe me, I would love nothing more than to see our President succeed. To see a nation divided come together. I do not question whether he is our elected leader, I question the integrity behind decisions being made that are harmful to the betterment of our neighbors, our friends, our family – our country.
You claimed I spread negativity, you expressed your disappointment in my “increasingly political slant” and reminded me that simply – my voice is wrong. “Amanda, I encourage you to weigh carefully the opinions of those who differ with you for right may lie in the other scale”
You signed the typed letter in pen as “an average college-educated, caring, hard working woman”. Now, I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you meant no harm – that you weren’t trying to hurt me or taunt me or make me feel inferior. But, you did. You went out of your way to make me feel completely inadequate. You negated my beliefs – or at least, the assumptions you made about my beliefs. You questioned my integrity and attacked my business. You mocked my mission behind the Making Waves Project and told me that I do not practice what I preach. I would have liked nothing better than to have an open conversation with you about how my social media was causing you such anguish – but you didn’t give me that opportunity. You didn’t give me the chance to learn from you, from your opinions and your words. To discuss why we feel so differently and how we can work towards betterment. You anonymously threw your hateful words in my face and sat in the comfort of your home, while I cried on my kitchen floor.
You did harm. You hurt me. You caused pain.
All because you felt that my social media presence was too political and that I was too vocal, too opinionated, too loud.
So dear anonymous woman: While you attempted to silence me and make me feel inferior for having an opinion that differed from yours, know this – I will continue to be a voice for the voiceless. I will continue to be an ally, an encourager, a fighter and a supporter of all human rights.
You did not succeed. Your bullying did not break me. In fact, it has only made me stronger.
An average, college-educated, caring, hard working woman
// Photo by the ever so talented Bailey Aro Photography //