Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dear Anonymous,

I like being famous when it's convenient for me and completely anonymous when it's not.
~Catherine Deneuve

I am always surprised, but grateful, that there are individuals other than my specific audience who stop by for a visit. Thank you. I often tell students that it is a good sign to receive a returned essay with my writing all over it. My scribbled comments are evidence that the student has written something worthy of a response, something that has made me think. This is good. Comments are good.

My post from yesterday is vague on purpose to preserve reputations and ensure confidentiality. Sometimes being vague is a requirement of living in a small town mentality such as we do. The words I posted were but a few words out the million in my head. I have received the following response.

"It's not about you. It's not about a cute little pink phone. This is not a 'pat on the back, oh the how tough my job is.' It's a child's life. Not a blog post. I realize that comments are moderated and this will likely never be seen by anyone but you. But I hope it makes you think." ~Anonymous

I would like to address these accusations and comments.
It is about me. It is about the dozens of people unfortunately incarcerated in this situation of wrong doing. It is about a failing system, failing system, failing system, and unspoken policies which hurt children, educators, and communities. It is about acting without evidence. It is about parents not taking a stand and taking care of business so systems are not solely responsible for raising children. I went to work one day. It is about me and I should be ashamed of how I have allowed this to happen. If it is not about me and you, then who will care? We are all responsible. I take responsibility; therefore, it is about me.
The pink phone is an image that means little to my audience. I don't consider it cute. Pink is a color of comfort for me. It was the color of my room as a girl. It always reminds me of my grandmother. She liked pink. Her casket was pink. She was a mother of ten. She raised these children nearly all on her own. There was no agency, few laws, no phone calls, just mouths to feed, diapers to change, minds to encourage. Families struggle. The phone is pink in honor of her perseverance.

Comment moderation is a tool to keep spam from invading my blogging space. I resent any assumption that I am a proponent of censorship. What could you possibly base this assumption on? I once nearly lost my job in defense of such censorship. It drew national attention. Did you see it?

My readers, like my students, often make me think. The blog is evidence of that as it is a thinking out loud space. You have written something worth responding to. I only wish you had taken credit for your own thinking, your own writing. Writing fearlessly evokes change, understanding, and respect. Writing fearlessly allows a writer a voice in community, a way in social construction, and a shared identity.

Anonymous has no identity, and often evokes little care from those who meet him. Anonymous is Jane Doe and John Doe. Do we visit them in the cemetery? Do we seek to know them? Or, do we merely assume they, the members of the Doe family, seek not to be known? Anonymous allows writers to write with intended purpose, but without evident purpose. Anonymous allows safety for the writer, but at the same time allows his audience to assume he is fearful and afraid to be honest, put himself out there, and stand behind what he writes. I use he, because you leave me no other choice. You have chosen anonymity, I have granted you identity by publishing your comments here. Readers will now be able to construct your identity for themselves.

On the other hand, if you had stood behind your attack on my character, I would be able to think deeply about my words and myself. Your words would have promoted self reflection, something I am quite fond of as evidenced in my writing space. Your words would have carried enough weight to allow me to respond to you personally. Not committing to what you, anonymous, write affords me a good opportunity to share with my audience a better piece of myself. I thank you.

This is my signature. I stand behind what I write here every time I write here. My last name is not Doe.


  1. Well done, Kelly.

    As you surely have learned from having such a public forum, small-minded and petty people delight in accusing and judging others, especially those of whom they are jealous.

    By considering the probable source, you can let it go from you like water off a duck's back, and continue being your positive, happy self.

    Cathy M.

  2. Your response was well spoken. It gives me pause for thought. This is your blog..what else would you speak about? We all blog about us..and triumphs, and sadness. Sharing your day with us is something you do, I do we all do. This is why we read, and comment, we connect. The pink cute and what a nice tribute to your childhood, and your grandmother. I hope that your day was better today. And Thank you for what you do for the children. I am a parent with school age children, Good teachers DO MAKE A DIFFERENE...Thank you for being that difference.

  3. You expressed yourself so well. No other words are necessary from me but thank you for caring about our youth.

  4. Parents can only hope that the children they raise are good, kind, decent adults and and citizens. I am fortunate that my children are interested in the well being of those around them, both at home and in the world. I have just one more reason to be proud.
    Writing under the umbrella of anonymity is sometimes a cowardly way to say unkind things. This seems to be one of those times.
    We should all be fighting mad and outspoken about the way children or for that matter anyone who has or is being abused in our world are treated. I wonder what would happen if we all stood up and shouted " We are not going to let this happen even one more day, live with it!!"
    You are standing up every day. You are brave.

  5. It is not always easy to do the right thing. I'm proud that you have the morals and the courage to do the right thing where others may turn away.

    I also loved every word of your response to "anonymous" and others out there.

    Stand tall.

  6. Well said Kelly!! Hope you're having a better day today!

  7. Great post.