I need to apologise to someone. To someone who probably doesn’t even know that I needed to apologise to them. This person doesn’t know who I am, nor that I was their, well…”enemy” is too strong a word. Adversary is probably the better term. I suppose it stems from my adversarial views in comparison to their own. Jealously is most likely the cause, but more on that later. I’m talking about Constance Hall. That’s right, the mummy warrior that has endeared herself into the hearts and minds of so many people, including every mother I’ve ever known. They all love her. And you know what, good for them. But me. Well, let’s just say that Constance is not my favourite person. In fact, whenever I’ve seen her posts in the past, they tend to annoy the shit out of me. From airing her dirty laundry on line, to the constant derogatory comments about her husband, to her over use of the F and C word (especially the C word. For me it’s not empowering, it’s offensive). The incredibly judgemental bitch inside me will read her posts about her unruly kids and thinks she brings it on herself. And the writer in me will read her posts and scream out loud “Have you heard of spell check! Can you please read over your posts before you share them! How are you writing a book?!” I’ve wanted to share these thoughts so many times, but have held back purely because I don’t like to share hateful thoughts (most of the time). I grew up believing in “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything all”. So I’ve avoided making rude and derogatory comments even if they are on my own Facebook wall. And I would certainly never post them directly to someone, because that’s just terrible. I know how words can eat someone up inside. I know how it’s felt myself. And frankly posting horrible comments online is just cowardly. And lastly I didn’t post anything because I know if Constance ever got wind of my thoughts she’d probably just brush it off with a response like “Don’t you worry you Queen, you can hate me all you want, I don’t give a f**k, and it’s your right to hate whoever you want. You’re still a Queen, keep being a Queen”. Or something like that. And she’d win! She’d still come out on top looking great, while I’m the idiot embarrassing myself over here in the corner stamping my feet for no reason.
Now before anyone starts to jump down my throat, please hold off on your abusive mail, because let’s not forget the very start of this post. Remember, regarding that apology? Here’s the thing about being an open minded person. You have to allow yourself to look at the other side first before you can form an opinion. If you want your opinion to hold any kind of weight that is. You have to agree to be calm and research everything before you make an informed choice. And sometimes, just sometimes, you can be persuaded to change your opinion, to do a 180, to agree that maybe you were wrong. You have the right to change your mind. So Constance, if you ever come across this, I apologise. Please accept my humblest of apologies for being a judgemental bitch face. A lot of my angst was in fact born out of jealousy. I kept thinking to myself “Why does Constance get to go viral with her posts, and I’m lucky if three people read mine?” I realised after I did a bit of research, that firstly you have a proper website and not some shitty free thing being piggy-backed off WordPress. Secondly you have a Facebook page, so you get far more traction that I ever would at the moment. And thirdly, you’ve been doing this WAY longer that I have. 10 years compared to my barely 1. And not withstanding all this, but you started off with a somewhat known personality, thanks to appearing in Big Brother (and bug bear I have, considering how much I loath that show, but again my opinion seems to be in the minority). And as much as I would like for my work to get a bit more recognition, I’ve avoided taking that extra step of opening a page on Facebook because, let’s face it, I’m a woman, I have an opinion, and I’m on the internet. And we all know what that equals.
And that leads me to what caused my turn around on Constance in the first place. I came across this post by Constance in my feed a few days ago. https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fpermalink.php%3Fstory_fbid%3D1224023820975774%26id%3D1019711431407015%26substory_index%3D0&width=500
At first my reaction was a sarcastic and unsympathetic “What’s happened THIS time?”. Dully clicking on the link I read through. The post mostly confused me, because I hadn’t heard the back story regarding the book-week child and Nic Naitanui ( here for reference, http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/blackface-outrage-mother-paints-sons-skin-for-book-week-parade-20160825-gr1fo8.html.) Firstly I’ll say this: black face is never ok. I don’t care if the man was your kids’ hero. No. Don’t do it. End of story. Secondly, Constance’s response to the post on her page was brilliant. It was non-judgemental. It was kind and gentle and graceful. Nothing about her response suggested anger, or condescension, or vilification. And what did she receive in return? Death threats. Seriously people? Can you not have been a bit more dignified about this? Constance was trying to help and all she received was unnecessary shit slung at her. No one deserves that. Not the mother at the centre of the controversy. Not Constance. Not anyone. And yet, when I first saw her crying face in my feed, a dark little voice at the back of my brain whispered “Oh how the mighty have fallen”. But when I read her post, read her anguish, felt her anguish then read the back story behind it, I just simply couldn’t do this anymore. I can’t keep holding onto such dark and hateful thoughts. Over nothing. Over a difference of opinion. So setting aside my feelings I delved a little more into the world of Constance and read some posts. And you know what? They’re good. They’re really good. Yes, sometimes the spelling errors shit me, and the obscene amount of swearing offends me (and you know what, that’s so hypercritical because sometimes I swear like a sailor. I just don’t like to post like a sailor). And then I realised we have so much more in common than I thought we did. And then I saw this: https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FRafikiMwemaNakuru%2Fposts%2F683859338434121&width=500 For the longest time I’ve agonised about wanting to do more for the world. I’ve felt so useless lately, just another cog in the government wheel, unable to help people in any real manner. The only thing I feel like I can do is share certain posts, “like” when someone participates in a protest, and fling money at certain charities. But Constance! Constance has actually done something in terms of making a difference, being a wonderful supporter of such a worthwhile organisation. Suddenly my inability to get myself out of bed and make myself lunch before I have to go to work becomes a little pathetic looking compared to this Super Mum especially when I realised we’re the exact same age. Suddenly I realised, “Holy crap, she really IS a Queen!”
So Constance, we may not see eye to eye, we may have WAY differing ideas on parenting, I may not follow you on Facebook, or buy your book, and you may never read any of my stuff, or if you do maybe even think it’s the crappiest thing written since the God of Small Things (seriously, that is a soul destroying book. Never ever ever read it!). But one thing is certain, even if I don’t agree with your opinions, I will damn well respect them from now on. I will say “That is Constance, we may never be friends, and I may not agree with some of the things she’s says, but she is a strong woman, who knows how to write, and knows what she’s talking about, and knows how to tell it to you like it is”. Perhaps I will take some inspiration from you. Perhaps I will go my own path. But perhaps, maybe I’ll be able to let go of a little negativity, because that always leaves the world looking a little brighter.