I have always been a private person. Like most introverts, I have always stayed out of other people’s business and expected the same in return. I used to have a really hard time with being gossiped about – especially since gossip is 99% exaggerated lies. I mean, it would enrage me to be lied about or to learn someone was talking about me behind my back.
There was this woman who helped run our local Little League and she was one of the most vile offenders of gossip I have ever come across. More than once my husband and I were her targets. When we first moved to our little town, she was our first encounter with bigotry and hate. My husband was a coach and this woman had the wives of other coaches afraid to keep the score book when playing his team – they had been told that my husband hated women. Of course, this was the biggest lie of all time – my husband is a kind and gentle soul and is the guy that gals are always going to for advice. But, this gossip marked us from the start and in the 11 years we have lived here it is something we haven’t been able to completely erase – no matter how much we volunteered, no matter how we acted in public, no matter what others came to say about my husband’s kindness – her words are still in the minds of people we come across every day.
Gossip is a disease – especially in a small town – especially if you are an outsider. Lies can have lasting affects on a reputation. It is hard not to become angry and resentful when you have been the target.
This year I decided to come up with a new game plan to counter the hate-mongering gossips in my world: Give them something to talk about. Live my life more open so that when they talk about me they will be talking about what I’ve really done and really said.
It’s hard to get over being the target of hate and gossip – especially when you can’t defend yourself or change people’s minds. We eventually had to give up trying and give up on this little town and the hope of ever being accepted for who we are. We accept ourselves – and that is what is most important. Let them gossip and hate. Those who listen and believe them are not worth our time anyway.