My emotional balance has been precarious recently. I’m mostly okay, if only a resigned kind of okay, but then there are the moments where I’ll feel a sudden tightness in my chest, a shallowness of breath, angry warm tears welling up.
It happened again today when I came across this reflection from a female sports journalist on Twitter, who’d received a nasty and obscene anonymous email attacking her, her work, and even her parents. She wrote, “Emails, tweets, comments like this, they take a toll on my psyche and significantly impact my ability and motivation to do my job. I don’t think it’s ‘tough’ or admirable to pretend that someone calling me a ‘disgusting and miserable bitch’ doesn’t make me upset for a couple days.”
It hit me hard. The reason I’ve been teetering on an emotional edge for the last week is likewise a cruel, baseless, anonymous takedown on the Internet, one that impugns my character and my motivation for doing the work I do for diversity in tech. It’s bullshit, but it still hurts. It makes me wonder what I’m doing and why I even bother. Maybe I should just quit. Stop talking about diversity, just shut up about it. Go back to coding. I like building products better than being a broken record about diversity anyways.
But then they win. And the horrible anonymous bigots and bullies can’t win.