Years ago, when I was starting out in the (public) blogging world, I joined a group of mothers who wrote about all things related to parenting for Yahoo! While the group has disbanded now, I remember the experience fondly. It was a kick-butt team to work alongside and I deeply miss the connections we forged at that time. It was during my tenure with Yahoo! Motherboard that I learned how to laugh off internet trolls.
One of the pieces I wrote for Yahoo! Motherboard was a personal piece; lighthearted, but personal.
Mary Ellen Snider Finch was (and, truly, always will be) my grandmother. My mother remembers her as a strong, fair and patient woman. I remember her being all of that but then I also remember her smile, Thanksgivings and Christmases with both of my grandparents and that Grandma Mary would eat a bologna sandwich and drink a Coke at breakfast. She was an avid crocheter and she was a devoted grandma, too. At the time she passed away (the day before her 62nd birthday), she had 13 grandkids. I can’t recall a time that my family wasn’t at her house at least once or twice a week.
She was so beloved in our family, in fact, one of my cousins called her “Grandma Cookie” because she always had Keebler cookies in the freezer for all of her grandkids. She always had something special for us — in fact, one of my last memories of her before she passed away is the night my brothers and sister and I stayed at her house while my parents went out. Grandma made us chocolate brownies that were so gooey and rich, my mouth could barely open and shut. They were so delightful, I ate and ate and ate until my stomach couldn’t take any more. It’s quite possible that my face turned a bright shade of green, but I didn’t care at the time. It’s a shame I don’t know what her secret was!
Ah, well, even though I don’t have the inside scoop on how to make the brownies, here are two more reasons why my grandma will always be better than your grandma (straight from her recipe box!): Grandma Mary’s Famous Desserts.
Seems harmless, right? I suppose I should tell you what I titled this article because, ultimately, I think that’s what set some people over the edge. Are you ready?
>> Two reasons why my Grandma will always be better than your Grandma <<
I had been so proud to have an article published on Yahoo! I shared it with everyone I knew. I didn’t anticipate people would start hurling tomatoes at me. Here are some of the “mean” comments:
There was one woman who accused me of starting an “Internet pissing match” – I could have easily gone into a downward spiral feeling sorry for myself with all of the negativity.
After reading the comments, my mom came to me and said, “Are you OK??!!” I started laughing. “It’s hilarious!” I said. “You know what? My little laugh at myself (and homage to Grandma) netted me 59 comments! I can’t believe people are getting all up-in-arms about something as silly as this! The title was a joke!” I didn’t allow the mean comments to hurt my feelings for one second.
People have been publishing on the Internet for 25 years now, so we all know how complicated these situations can be behind the screen, right? Mo and Ashlee had different narratives for their lives.
My WORDS affected them. It had nothing to do with me, PERSONALLY.
By and large, I don’t believe bloggers/writers/authors are aiming to hurt us with their words. Certainly, I wasn’t trying to offend others with my goofy title and narrative about my grandma. That was the day I learned how to laugh off Internet trolls.