In mid-January 2005, shortly before my 48th birthday, I posted a new profile picture. It had been several years since I had any pictures taken, so figured it was time for an update. I fashioned my pose after one I had seen of Jane Asher, best known as Paul McCartney’s longtime girlfriend in the 60s. I had become a fan of hers upon rediscovering the Beatles in the mid-90s after their Anthology came out, and learned about their wives and girlfriends. Jane is still quite successful in England as an actress, author, and cake-decorator (her books on cake-decorating got me interested in that hobby). The picture I admired was of Jane as a teenager in the 60’s, sitting on the floor in a skirt and top, leaning back and looking up at the camera. I thought she looked cute and slightly glamorous, and I liked how it captured the sixties era. So I had my husband take a few pictures of me in a similar pose. I received all kinds of comments, mostly nice ones. Some said I looked “soooo innocent”, others said it was slightly provocative. And as expected, a few made fun of my hair, my clothes, the background furniture, etc. (One has to be secure to post a photo on the Yahoo headline boards!) One afternoon when the subject of my photo came up on one of the current stories, Internet Fake Tree popped up out of nowhere and said, “Looks like Cindy needs a new bra…” I was surprised to see her, because she usually only stayed with the gang on the older stories. “Gee, thanks,” I replied. I just thought that was a weird thing to say. I would never put down anyone’s picture.

Internet Fake Tree was not some young, immature teenager; she was a married woman, an accountant, I believe. She said she did not smoke pot, but I think her husband smoked it to relieve back pain. However, she once mentioned that her husband also had some “ecstasy” to use for recreational purposes, so he obviously was not just using drugs for medical reasons only.

Fuschiahedgehog was also married, with two little boys. She had some kind of office job but was studying to get her pharmacological degree. But she was one of the worst of that gang when it came to attacking my views on marijuana. I was surprised she did that, being a mother. What kind of example was that setting? I tried so hard to talk some sense into her, to help her realize that if she did not raise her boys to know the importance of always staying away from drugs, to raise them with some VALUES, there was a good chance they’d grow up the typical teen or college pot-smokers. She heartily disagreed with me, saying she did not try marijuana until she was 22. Even so, I said, that doesn’t make it right, and she was still breaking the law. For her to make fun of a woman like me, putting me down as if I’m some kind of lunatic, was sending a terrible message. As a mother, she should be supporting me, I said.

Besides putting me down for Somersize, she also chastised me about my religion. I usually did not bring up that subject, but she told me how LDS missionaries once came to her apartment and “looked down on her” because she was an unwed mother at the time. She believed Mormons think she is “going to hell for her heathen ways” and things like that. I was just stunned she felt that way, and tried very hard to dispel her misconceptions.

Drmweaver, Atkins Dead Flesh Guy and others continued to bash my way of eating. Some guy made up a profile name Cindybin_2001 (note the undercut) to impersonate me, composing parodies by twisting around everything I said about lowcarb, marijuana and the like. I admit they were funny and I laughed. I even commented on some of them and tried to show that I was a good sport.

But drmweaver just would not let up. I kept trying to explain about fat, and said I wasn’t telling him these things to hurt him or upset him or make him think I was “better” than him. I cited references which show that fat is good for us, and explained over and over that Atkins and Somersize does not advocate wolfing down a bowl of lard at every meal. He started getting personal and putting down my weight loss photos, calling me anorexic. I was anything but anorexic! I ate like a queen on Somersize! And even though I had lost 50 pounds on this program, I still looked nothing like I did in my 20’s, before I gained all the weight. I felt like a sack of potatoes much of the time. There is no way I could get my wedding dress zipped up. I had just had it with him. I had tried so hard to be nice, spending weeks calmly explaining the basic precepts of lowcarb, and he kept getting meaner and meaner. The anorexic comment was the last straw. I was shaking and on the verge of tears. Finally I uttered a word I had never come close to saying on the Internet. “You are a bastard,” I told him.

I could not believe I had said that; it was the first “bad word” I ever uttered on the Internet. Next thing I knew, someone had started a new subject line: “Real Nice Language!” Cindybin_2001 had a field day with the parodies, and the others were stunned as well. I tried to explain myself, why I had been so upset and how I never use that kind of language in real life. But my little slip gave the bullies all the ammunition they needed in order to prove me a “hypocrite”. “Little Miss Perfect”, as drmweaver called me, used a naughty word. Oh, that made me so mad!

Despite all the hoopla, I was still concerned about Fuschia, worrying about what she was thinking about the Church, and how she felt the missionaries looked down on her. I knew my missionary son would never do that. I wanted to help make her feel better, so I wrote a long post to her on January 17. Here it is, word for word:

“Fuschia, let me tell you one more thing and then I’ll drop this; I do not want to push the subject. But I was lying in bed last night and tears came to my eyes—it just breaks my heart that you feel the way you do, If you have come away with any misconceptions about the missionaries or church members in general. Nobody thinks you are “wrong” and going to ell for our “heathen ways”. Probably my closest friends are not members of the church, and I NEVER think that about them!  A couple of ladies, I have known them for 15-20 years and we rarely even talk about the church. They know I am LDS of course, and I may mention things in passing, and they’ll ask how my son is doing on his mission, things like that, but I never think of them as “heathens” or anything. We just talk about other things, go shopping, I have babysat their kids, etc. Most of my son’s friends are not members of the church; when he comes back from his mission he will go right back to hanging around with these guys. They respect his beliefs and he respects theirs. And as for those missionaries you felt were looking down upon you when you were pregnant, I sincerely hope that was just a misunderstanding. Please don’t take it as a reflection of the church, its members or other missionaries. It should not have happened if it truly did. I am not trying to “push” anything on you; I know as well as anybody that people don’t like that. I was not always a member of the church, you know, and I remember what it was like and I would not have wanted someone to push anything on me. And I certainly would have been offended if I thought that the missionaries or any church members were being nice to me only if I agreed with them, and I would have been offended if I had thought they thought of me as a “heathen”. I just want you to know that this is not the case. And as I said, I won’t press you any further, but if you ever do want to talk, please feel free to email me any time. I just wanted you to know this.”

I doubt this heartfelt post did any good, as Fuschia continued to put me down for my religion the entire time I knew her. Cindybin_2001 made up a wacky parody of the whole post, twisting around everything I said. (“I was lying to God in bed last night and tears came to my eyes—it just breaks his heart that I feel the way I do…”) I remember replying to this guy, telling him that his post was humorous but that I really did mean what I said and hoped both he and Fuschia realized that.

The marijuana debates went on as usual, with the Tough Chicks and bullies acting like I was from another planet, just for saying that most parents raise their kids to stay off drugs and out of trouble with the law. I just didn’t know how they could argue with that. One day toward the end of January, anglsis_jenn, or Angela, posted a new subject line referring to me as “Lucifer”. She was extremely upset at me, and I honestly didn’t know why. It must have been the next day or so that I received a long email from her, apologizing for “losing it”.

“I said some hurtful things and for that I am sorry,” she said. She went on to explain how she had lost her sister almost a year ago to a progressive connective tissue disorder, and was still having a very hard time. Her sister had been in a lot of pain for several years before her death, and even morphine did not help. Angela finally brought her some marijuana which helped alleviate that pain. “I didn’t care one bit that it was illegal,” she said. “There was no way that I wasn’t going to do this for her…I would do ANYTHING for her…Don’t you see that? You pretty much said that I was an immoral junkie and THAT is why I got so angry. You felt it was wrong that I helped her feel less pain.” She told me more about her sister, how she missed her and how close they were. “She touched a lot of lives, especially mine,” she said.

I was so touched by her letter that I printed it up and saved it. Of course, I replied as soon as I could in a very long email, explaining that I did NOT think she was an “immoral junkie” and that I sympathized greatly with her sister’s plight. I understood completely how she would want to do anything to take away her sister’s pain, even if it meant breaking the law. I was not against medical marijuana, I said, and wished it had been legal for her sister, if it really did help.

I reiterated my view on pot, and stressed that her sister’s situation was much different than that of young people who try marijuana out of peer pressure or curiosity and who could get into serious trouble if they were caught. It wouldn’t help these kids to tell a judge that so-and-so uses it for medical purposes. And even if pot were legal, most parents would still raise their kids to know better than to ever use drugs. THAT was what I had always tried to express on the boards, I said. I was talking about RECREATIONAL use only, which most parents caution their kids about. I worked very hard on that email, trying to be as nice and sincere as I could. I really wanted to help Angela feel better, because she sounded so sad and upset.

I sent off that letter right away, thinking it would patch up what happened between us. I also still had hope for the other women and men on those older stories. But I was not prepared for “Funnychick”. Just as Angela “lost it” with me, let’s see if I can get through the next chapters without losing it myself.

Chapter 8
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