Dear Dickson.

I’d like to talk about how God works in my life.  How I believe God works in everyone’s life.  And then I’d like to use that to address, and hopefully combat,  cyberbullying; cyberstalking. 

How’s that? Hear me out.

I stand in a world where I am generally the smallest, and yet the loudest, one in it.  A realm where the weak becomes strong; the blind, able to see. A contradiction if ever there was one. An abyss where God’s smallest becomes the strongest at the slightest perception of inequity. That’s home to me.

A world in which there is no size. A  world where there is no height.  One where there  is no gender.  There is no ‘silly girl, the boys are talking’  inequality gap — not here.  There is no white people furthering racist sterotypes and prefacing with “I’m not racist or anything, but…”  Not where  I live.  I reside in a world where David slays Goliath with just a sling shot and a rock all darn day.  A world where Zacchaeus stands tall enough to see.  I live in a world where prostitues are as important as those converted on the road to Dasmascus; where the persecuted are loved as much as Jesus loved Lazarus when He told him to rise up.  I live in a world where I am instantaneously transfixed from unloved, undersized, and misjudged to powerful child of God the moment I pick up my pen.  I live in a world where my God doesn’t strike me to an afterlife composed of a non-consuming fire for simply having an affinity for four-letter words.  It’s okay if you believe that’s “hypocrisy” because I’m not sure I don’t  believe that as well, also.  It’s just that if the smash hit turned love of my life ‘Hamilton’  can become the “greatest art I’ve ever seen in any capacity” according to like, everyone and still drop the s-word off multiple times, I can embrace my inner Lin-Manuel.  This world I so enthuasiastically reside in is the world in which I exist when I write.

And that’s been challenged, stalked, and ridiculed.  And that’s where cyberbulling comes in.  In one day last week, I received 959 views on one blog with 355 vistors and 157 views the other.  Topped off with 57 stalks on Twitter.  That same day, I had a ‘Letter’ in the Tennessean.  And that was only after a day of 200-plus views within an hour of posting, again, about my cyberstalker — a Misty Mahan Dantico and her posse of intellectually dented, ‘grandparents must have been close cousins’ online version of the Get Along Gang.  These are not individuals that seem to appreciate humanity in any form.  These are mostly cyberbullies who came to prominence festering in the hemorrhoid on the backside of virtual Dickson County which called itself the ‘Concerned Citizens of Dickson County’ page.  The only thing that page was ever “concerned'” with was forming a place where supposedly grown adults ganged up on anyone with a difference of opinion (including a female high school student of color who sent me an inbox message of gratitude for defending her). It was a place where grown men who stood 6′ ganged up on girls.  People who weighed 350 lbs wrote callous remarks following the death of those who died from an overdose with “nobody feels sorry for them, they know that stuff is bad”. Like, they don’t know the drive thru at Wendy’s is bad when they hit it 3 times.  Nobody would ridicule their heartattack.  Smokers, who constantly posted about vapor shops, joined in on the trashing of individuals afflicted with alcoholism and addiction, yet nobody would say “well, you should have known that was bad for you” if they shared a lung cancer diagnosis. Still this miserable group of alleged animal lovers who despise and detest God’s most complicated animal, humans, knew compassion in no regard. 

On a page whose memebership reached 14,000, they trashed a mentally handicapped individual — all under the pretenses of “caring” — yet when I posted on my personal page, after taking them on on theirs, that if one really gave a flip about helping the underprivileged access medical and mental health care, they should use their time writing letters to their state representatives and not gossip posts shaming the elderly woman attempting to raise the mentally challenged man and  the suffering family who was just trying to do their best — that was the first time I know of Misty Dantico, very obviously, coypying my post from my personal page (she was still on my ‘friends’ list then) and inboxing it to others like the woman who whined when her kid didn’t get fed in the quiet room at shoool, yet cheerleads and defends the emptying police-issued clips into an unarmed black man simply because “he shouldn’t have ran, though.”  Even though honest, honorable officers don’t defend acts such as that. 

Of couse nobody outright said they were receiving inbox messages of my post — but it was obvious with their sudden responses. While I have no proof or knowledge of this, with regards to the mentally ill individual, their fabrications of “fear” and “being afraid for their safety” when they saw this man in town were such overreaches I could never shake the feeling that this man was black. And because I wanted to see how long Ms.  Dantico would go before she , proverbially speaking, hung herself, I allowed her to continue.  Which she did for quite some time because I both had neither the time nor the crayons to explain the way in which I see the world to her and her group in a manner in which they could successfully comprehend it  — and, also, because there are too many good looking ballplayers for me to spend my spare time monitoring her every online world.  

When the spin-off and even sicker site, The Dickson Scene, came into being — knowing I wasn’t on that page — the sharing got worse.  In screen shots of my post.  When I called attention to it on my personal page, addressed her cowardly, juvenile, and shameful behavior and told her I would be adult enough to address her, give her time to read my acknowledgement, and then block her, the reporting begin.  Three months later, following repeated Facebook bans where my stalker took advantage of Facebook’s automated report system; after going back to write on the page about me; adding family members where they could read the gossip fest; calling my aunt names like the sickest one possible for a female; blocking any family from the page as soon as they defended me — I was able to get back on. 
After three months, the first time I posted — wham! Passed around.  Of course, I penned it on my blog post for that exact purpose — to see if these same people I’ve been able to mind-control for the
last five years by just typing a handful of words on a few select subjects; sitting back and waiting would come running everytime.  They did.
That is my point.  To remind anyone — particularly youth– that may have experienced something similar, cyberbullying, of this:  you win.  Every time. 

Every Saturday night that a group of local people that I don’t even know spend their entire night talking about me, is another in which you demonstrate just how good I am at what I do.  Every Saturday you spend worried about my words is a day in which I dominate.  Every time over the last few years I’d get a cup of coffee, tell my babies, “Oh, Can’s about to make someone mad!” and then drop off the words I LOOOOVE Black people, Confederate flag, Obama IS my president — I just sat back and, like a dog with a bone, here they come.

They prove exactly why the book I’m working on called, ‘Jesus was not a white man, and stop telling me you have black friends’ is going to be a New York Tmes bestseller.

Of course if I listened to one of my cyberstalkers, “The New York Times is not a reputable source, Candi.”  (Cue links to ‘The Blaze’ that followed.)

A book which is nothing more than a Southern’s girl’s guide to saying what nobody else will — that white people can still be racist as heck — has taken me from a former Miss Congeniality (and 2nd runner-up, thank you very much) to someone who has seen the extent to which “I’m not racist!” racists will go when a white person starts exposing their lies.  Turn me into the only thrice-elected (when DCHS held three grades) class officer out of a class of 500, student body elected middle school cheerleader, class superlative recipent of Most Dependable and Best All Around whose family would have to hire pall bearers if she died and they buried her in that same town. 
My cyberbullies would have us believe that we all just woke up one day and, suddenly, this well loved little girl was a b-word.  No, we woke up one day and our president was black. 

I’ve been called a midget (thank you, Carla Tummins Howell) for simply expressing my truth. Yet I never remember one of these Confederate flag-lovers asking me if I was a cast member of the Seven Dwarfs when we were in school — and if they did, they were just kidding.

I’ve written many times over the last few years about how I came into this world with six toes on one foot, six fingers on each hand, and I waddle when I walk. I would have cowered in the corner in kindergarten if I spent a day of my life caring what someone wrote, said, or thought about me. 60% of babies born with my same affliction die via a heart defect. So everyday that I live is a gift — full stop. I couldn’t care less about the world’s superficial expectations or about the words of her most miserable creatures.

But I do care about our youth. So, victims of cyberbullying, let this eternal aunt tell you something:  You be you everyday of your life!  You may very well experience that the world will hate you for it, but we are all innately equipped with a gift that we can use to rise above it. Find it and never let go! Now, the question for my haters is, will you like the view from underneath when my pen gives me wings to fly.

Ask yours the same, kids — then, soar!

I thank them for not only their fuel, but their hate. Which has always been my launch pad. Now, let’s fly!

Candice Mathis

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