Charlotte Brontë is my hero. I admire her mind, her talent, her courage, and her determination. When challenging circumstances arise in my own life I often find myself wondering what Charlotte would do in the same situation. The main piece of advice that has helped me may at first seem like a standard/expected/stereotypical reaction, but it isn’t and I stand by it. It’s a line that has seen me through some happy times, some tough times, and some perplexing ones. The line? “I’m just going to write because I cannot help it” which is taken from her Roe Head Journal (c.October 1836). In 2018 this line inspired me not to give up on my own writing dreams when I was unable to secure PhD funding to research Charlotte’s juvenilia. Although I never got the funding, I presented a paper at an academic conference, and last year I published a paper about Charlotte’s worlds of Glass Town and Angria. Like Charlotte, I will continue to write because I really can’t help it. Writing helped me to heal when I lost family members and my beloved Bob the bichon, writing helped me to celebrate the works of those whose books I have read, writing also helped me to overcome a particularly nasty troll a while back. Now in 2020 writing is going to help me to overcome a new, rather unexpected troll who thankfully won’t be bothering me anymore.
Yes, despite another one crawling out of the woodworks and taking offence at the fact I did not include their name in a list of book people (not specific bloggers) that I sent to someone on social media and then being incredibly rude to me about it, I am going to continue to write and celebrate the works of others as and when I see fit. With all the rubbish that went on in my life last year, 2020 was supposed to be a new start, and a year where I had accepted that certain people would continue to be awkward and try to make life difficult. Well, guess what? 2020 is still on track to be just that, and not only that, it’s one in which I’ve already learned how to genuinely forget about trivial things that are out of my control. If people want to take offence, then they will always find an opportunity to do so. I’m wondering whether there was a bit of insecurity going on when I was accused of not including the troll on my list of favourite bloggers. Like my previous troll, this one also doesn’t read posts correctly before they comment as I never mentioned the word “blogger”. If it all sounds so silly, it’s because it is. I’m a grown woman who will continue to write and be thankful for all of the lovely people I have interacted with while accepting that occasionally somebody will choose to be difficult. That’s not social media or the blogging world, it’s just life in general.
So whenever you encounter difficult or unpleasant people, just remember another line from Charlotte’s pen which has helped me a great deal over the past few months, “Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs”. This is of course spoken by Helen Burns in Jane Eyre, a character able to look beyond and forgive those who wrong her. I’m nowhere nearly as saintly as Helen, but I don’t wish my second troll anything ill; I just hope they can get on with their life and that they too continue to write if it’s what makes them happy. I’ve let off a bit of steam here because I can’t pretend that personal attacks don’t affect me; I’m only human after all. Now though I can move forward and the gap left by one blogger will be filled by another. Live and let live, move on and move forward. Life is just too short.
Have you ever had any experiences with trolls? How did you handle the situation?
In Loving Memory of Bob the Bichon (2007-2019)
A lover of life, the Brontës, and Haworth who knows that I’m just going to write because I can’t help it.
By Nicola F. a.k.a. The Brontë Babe.
Thanks for reading. I’d love it if you stopped by The Journal of Juvenilia Studies where you can read my essay, “Autobiography, Wish-Fulfilment, and Juvenilia. The ‘Fractured Self’ in Charlotte Brontë’s Paracosmic Counterworld”.
Please do not copy, share, or use the images from this post without seeking permission first.
Roe Head Journal quote is taken from Tales of Glass Town, Angria, and Gondal (Oxford University Press, 2010), edited by Christine Alexander.
Jane Eyre quote is take from Jane Eyre (Wordsworth Classics, 1992).