Friday, March 8, 2013

Rising Above the Hate

I meant to write a follow-up to the Arnold Part I post, but before I do that, I need to write about a different topic. (The Arnold post is coming - I promise!)

Despite the fact that I've been involved in the fitness industry for the past 7 years, I realized the other day that I am still naive about some things. I'm still "Minnesota Nice" and give people the benefit of the doubt when I first meet or talk to them. I take most things at surface value and think that if someone is nice to my face, they're also nice behind my back. I thought that even though I may disagree with some people, we still had a mutual respect. This week, I discovered that's not the case at all.

Earlier in the week, while mindlessly surfing the web, I decided to catch up on fitness industry news. I logged onto Siouxcountry, a self-described "popular" message board (hint: if you have to tell people you're "popular," you really aren't). I was shocked to see a hate thread that included J's name in it!

Group Think
J had joined the board a few years ago to stick up for me when an incredibly rude and disrespectful "coach" named Erik Ledin publicly insulted me. After several ensuing disagreements and opinions contrary to the Group Think, J was subsequently banned from the board. Very few people are banned from that board, so he wears that honor with pride.

I was encouraged to stay on the board. But honestly - why in the world would I want to associate with people who bashed, insulted, and made fun of my boyfriend?! He's the most important person in the world to me and I support and stand behind him in everything he does. He and I are a team. A united front. I'm proud of him and proud to be his girlfriend.

John Cena has the right idea
Hate Thread
The thread was started by the owner of the board, who was butthurt about some comments J had posted on the guy's Facebook page. The owner likes it when everyone gets along (think lots of group hugs) and disagreements are always padded with compliments and brown-nosing.

If you know J, you know that he has no qualms about saying exactly what he thinks. He doesn't bullshit, lie, beat around the bush, or try to play nicey-nice. I respect and admire that about him. Not everyone likes his style, but who says everyone has to like everyone anyway?

J's comments on a few Facebook threads incited a brief discussion until the owner removed them and banned J from his page. Apparently, in a country of free speech, some people still don't like to hear another point of view. We didn't think much of it at the time.

But apparently, the owner thought a lot about it. Enough that he felt the need to start a thread on his message board telling his minions exactly what happened. I'm sure his intent was to start drama - after all, drama is what keeps message boards interesting - and let others bash J even though he couldn't even be there to defend himself. To me, that speaks volumes about the guy's character - in a VERY bad way.

Comments in the thread run the gamut from "ignorant troll" to "this guy is just an asshole" to "he seems like a raving lunatic idiot" to "what a tool" to "what a complete moron" and on and on.

Then there are comments about me. Apparently, my head is "very, very, very far up" my ass and I am "blind to the fact that she's wasted a lot of years on a total d-bag." Also, I sound "brainwashed."

The Group Think mentality really took off and Erik, who feels he's king pin on the board, decided to distort a story to make himself look good and J look bad. He got the facts all wrong, of course. But that's a different story for another day.

Shock and Naivity
My immediate reaction from reading the thread was shock and disbelief. Even though I left the board, I still kept in touch with a few of the people on it, and thought there was a mutual respect. I was wrong. And that's when I realized just how naive I really am.

I will honestly admit that I get hurt easily. I cry easily. That doesn't mean I'm a pushover or a baby; those reactions are just part of my personality: involuntary reactions to pain. I'm hurt by the thread, by the comments, and by the fact that some people feel it's perfectly acceptable to ridicule and insult others who aren't available to defend themselves. The more I consider this incident, the more disgusted I am by the whole thing. Did they really think I wouldn't see the thread? Did anyone even care if I saw it?

Lifting Higher
I've made a conscious effort over the past few years to surround myself with people who have a positive impact on my life. I follow the mantra of Oprah Winfrey.

By simply visiting that message board, I was reminded again of why I left the board and how blessed I am to have such wonderful people around me now. For those of you who stood up for J and me (you know who you are), thank you from the bottom of my heart. For those of you who are always there for us, we appreciate you more than you know.

I pity the small-minded and attention-seeking owner of the message board, who feels he needs to start drama at the expense of others. He blames others, is unable to accept responsibility for his actions, and then makes comments he knows will incite drama from the board's members. It's sad and pathetic, really.

Moving On
I realize that by posting things online, J and I open ourselves up to criticism and opposition; however, unprovoked attacks and rude comments are, quite simply, just plain mean and unnecessary. I wish more people would follow my mom's advice: "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

I've wasted enough emotion and energy on this incident and I'm moving on. I have shows to focus on and better things to do with my time other than to think about negative people who have no part in my life.

Have you ever dealt with a "Mean Girls" situation, either in person or online? How did you handle it?


  1. I saw that, thought it was ridiculous. Team J all the way.

  2. Onwards! Haters are going to hate.

    I always like the analogy of 'the best place for a ship to be is out a sea'. If you sit at the dock you bog down with seaweed and slime. When you're in motion it is hard to pick up crap.

    Keep moving forward. You're awesome.

    1. Love that analogy! Onward and upward!

  3. I saw it too...didn't like it at all....

    I remember when i first started blogging Erik had took one of my posts and bashed it on his site...pissed me off to no end.

    Dont let it get to know you are a good person and that is all that matters :) and April saw you walk by at the Arnold when we were in the forever line for were too far away to yell ;)

    Sorry i missed you :(

    1. Sorry you had such a bad experience too. I don't know why people feel the need to be so mean. It just baffles me.

      I'm bummed I didn't see you at the Arnold. It would've been so nice to meet you in person. Hope you had a fun weekend!

  4. I saw that thread and was sick after reading it all. I was going to mention it to you but figured you already saw it and moved past it. I did not want to stir up more trouble. I've seen many posts from others on the board that would trash everything I've done over the last year...guess what?! I lost a lot of weight with Jerry's help and made it on stage. I feel better about myself and his advice was not bad for me and I did not gain weight after my competition. I'm actually under the weight I was on stage and feel fantastic.

    Keep your head up and know that you do have true friends out there that support you and Jerry. I also love how you stand up for him and he stands up for you. That's what a relationship is all about.


    1. Thank you so much for your support! I'm so happy for you and proud of you for completely transforming over the past year! You worked hard and are still healthy. Looks like Jerry really does know what he's talking about, huh? ;)

  5. Most "mean girl" behavior seeds from jealous or feelings of fear and inferiority. Otherwise, why would they even care who you are?

    Take it as a compliment and move on. All successful people have haters!! :)

  6. This all makes sense to me now. Haters will hate. We just pick up and move on. Personally, I don't pay any attention to the bashing and solely seek out information. Apparently, I should be looking for other resources.

    I have a lot of respect for both you and J, and have learned a lot from both of you. Keep doing what you're doing. that analogy.

    1. There are a lot of really good, solid sources of information out there. And that board seems to be focused on just one issue lately and is beating it to the ground.

      Thanks for reading!

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  8. Please do not stop posting. I have been devouring your blog like a novel this past week and you are my hero. Yes, people are going to disagree with you and J from time to time. Think og it like being at a huge gym, now how mach stupid crap have 'well-meaning' people said to you there? Fuck them. What you and Jerry are doing works, and when it doesn't you adjust, as any snae person would. I love your blog!

    1. Thanks! I won't stop blogging; writing is my passion and my creative outlet. I have not, however, gone back to the board to read any more comments. I feel much happier staying removed from the negativity. :)

  9. Hi Kari,

    Just a quick note to express my support for you and J. I know exactly what you mean about the board.

    Yours truly,

    1. Thank you! You were one of the few I saw who didn't immediately jump on the "agree with whatever Sioux" said bandwagon. We really appreciate your comments!

    2. I just finally requested to have my profile permanently removed from that site.

      I could, honestly, write a 100 page treatise on why he is such a complete asshat.

      Glad to have that part of my life over and to be moving on!

  10. What the F?!
    I just peeped that thread and it is quite ugly. I just remember J was the only person who so generously reached out and helped me when I first joined SC. He sent me over a basic lil routine and an email that took him 2 seconds and probably zero effort, but helped me out SOSSOSOSO much. I will never forget that.
    Anyway, that thread really took this "rivalry" to a weird place. Too ugly and soo unnecessary. People CAN have differing opinions. And how they dragged YOU into the thread was just....weird and lowblowish.
    Left a bad taste in my mouth.

    (I'm a lil late catching up on ur blog. sorry)