Monday, June 21, 2004

If the truth be told -- or, not? (Back by unpopular demand.)

When I first came on the J-Land scene, an incident occurred where a journalist faked her own death. Her journal was one of the first journals I found in J-Land. It was called "Where is Mr. Right?" and she went by the name of Raven. Essentially, she told stories about her dating mishaps and then lo-and-behold she found the perfect guy. It seemed like she had finally found "Mr. Right."  Then one day someone came on under her screen name and said that her and Mr. Right had died in a tragic car accident. J-Land was in dispair. However, due to the sleuthing of another journaler, it wasn't long before everyone was in an uproar.

There have been other things happen around J-Land where people have presented themselves in an untrue light. Gordy, for one, can attest to it. And, there are others. Once again, it seems another journaler (I'd link to his journal, but he has already deleted it.) has been trying to play a mind game with our fellow journalers. I don't know how many read his journal. I did and he commented from time to time here. But, I've learned my lesson years ago to take things at face value and well since I can't see any faces here, I take things pretty lightly around J-Land. It may sound cold but I must be true to myself first and protect my emotional well-being before anyone else. I never assume everything I read is all true. Who really knows what motivates someone to write. Sure, it would be nice if those who are "pretending" would put a disclaimer on their site saying that they are doing so. Unfortunately, I think part of their motivation is in duping people to believe their crock of lies.

Because of what happened, I've decided to repost the entry I wrote when the "Raven Incident" occurred. It's from my November archives and I would direct you there but that was back when it was a five part entry due to the word constraints. In addition, due to the AOL glitches of recent, the formatting is all out of whack.

Please people be careful as you travel through cyberland and the real world too for that matter. So here goes:

I've seen so many horrible things in my life.  My trust has been broken by every type of relationship that exists.  First by my parents, I found out at the age of seven or eight that I was adopted by the man I knew as my Daddy.  I've had friends and lovers betray me.  I dated a man for over a year before I found out he was not only still married to whom I thought was his ex-wife but was also seeing another woman who was an acquaintance to me.  I met his children and even his brother-in-law.  Yes, his "ex-wife's" brother.  It was actually this man who finally told me the truth.  It was the first time that I had been so overwhelmingly duped.  I thought for a while I was literally losing my mind when all the truth about this man came out.  Even after the full truth came out, this man continued to ask me to marry him.  I may have been losing my mind at the time but I wasn't crazy. I got the hell out of that situation.  It took a while to regain my grasp on believing even the simplest things people would tell me.

I've been stalked and even came close to being raped by a guy that I had been out on several dates with.  I eventually joined a fundamental Christian "church" that I later learned is considered by many educated theologians to be a "cult."  It took four years for me to begin to question the religious institution that I had been involved with and eventually left. At that point in my life, I no longer even trusted myself.  All I thought about was death, wishing and begging for it to come.  Those who knew me probably wouldn't have even realized the depth of my despair.  I learned at a young age to keep things deep inside.  It's very painful for me to even write this, much too personal for me to share.  But I am because the Raven hoax compels me to. 

After the church situation, which by the way if you've been reading my journal, this is the "dark time" that I refer to, which to those who have a Christian/Judeo background will probably see the irony in this label.  Because, Jesus is suppose to be the "light."  Since death wasn't going to happen and suicide was out of the question,  I decided to seek medical help through psycho-therapy and anti-depressants.  I spent three or four years in therapy learning to forgive not only all those that had hurt me but to also forgive myself.  In addition, I learned how to trust in a way that isn't destructive to my being.  And, that's why I feel compelled by the Raven incident to share here.  I hope in some way, some how, I can help even one person out there put this all in perspective.  And who knows, maybe someone out there will have wisdom to share with me.

What I had done all my life was to give my trust without question and when something occurred that broke those trusts I was devastated, time and time again.  What I learned through therapy is that trust isn't something you give freely to someone; it is something that he or she must earn, and to earn the trust of someone takes time.  There are some things you can just give a person the benefit of the doubt for but never be afraid to use your skeptical mind.  I had the same wonderings as Shelli and even thought about going to seek the truth regarding Raven but have very limited time.  I figured I would give Raven's friend, Leslie, the benefit of the doubt.  After all if I was wrong, how awful it would be to subject her to my doubt in a time of need.  Ultimately, if it was a lie the truth would come out and the only person that "Raven" is really hurting is herself

But let this be a lesson to all.  Don't be afraid to question and don't be afraid to listen to your intuition.  Speak your mind, trying to do so with tact, something I'm still trying to learn.  I tend to end up sounding abrasive.  Building trust starts with you even in small ways.  How often have you been late and spent the entire time going to your destination thinking of plausible "excuses" to give for being late.  Speak the truth clearly and without the fear of retribution.  You'll be amazed at how liberating it can be.  Lies require so much more energy to maintain.  While interacting with people, whether online or in the real world, be judicious.  Have boundaries and protect your privacy until you've gotten to know someone.  Ask questions; observe if someone is evasive or inconsistent in what they say.  Don't assume everything is what it seems.  Each person has a different perception and motivation. But, do all that you can not to allow this to jade you from opening up to anyone at all.  There are still many many people in this world who are good, just, and true.

42 comments:

lucylouladybug said...

Oh, the flashbacks, I'm having them too.  I remember this all so well.  Robbie, you and I know from our personal emails, that this is so true.  I don't understand their motivation, I guess because it's not my nature to hurt or decieve.  Even when you're not the intended victim of a hoax, it can still leave one jaded.  
Love, Penny

mlraminiak said...

I have stated before that, not being one who lies easily or well, I don't expect lies from other people.  Luckily, I KNOW that about myself now.  I guess you could say I've become a little jaded...a little skeptical.  But I think these are traits one needs to acquire if one is to maintain one's sanity.  After awhile, you tend to look at any situation from both a positive and negative point of view.  Then you make a conscious choice to embrace the positve...and if it turns out to be a mistake, you have the knowledge that you KNEW it could be either, and you chose what to believe...  It gives you some victory over the situation...in the end, you don't feel like you fell for anything hook, line, and sinker.  Does that make any sense?  I guess what I'm trying to say is that you have to choose what to believe, knowing you could be wrong, but just taking that leap of faith somewhere along the line...  Lisa  :-]  

ondinemonet said...

Hello Robbie

                My goodness I hadn't thought about the whole Raven situation in months. I guess out of sight, out of mind! I remember Frank, and Shelli and I believe Andrea all saying at the time to give the situation as little attention as possible because it was about "Raven" needing to be noticed any way she could find. How true it was! the best thing we can do is to look out for one another and keep watch. We are a family here after all...and I protect my family! Thanks for touching on this subject for us once again! Love, Carly :)

goldenchildnc said...

ACK! Robbie when I clicked on the link to Conzo's journal to get the full skinny I immediately became EXHAUSTED!!! I'm so sick of this shit! Raven is still around in J-Land under various screen names btw. But since she isn't part of our group anymore (that I KNOW fo anyway) I've let her be. I really don't understand. Why the hell would someone go through so much trouble?

Anyway, looking at this person's profile and knowing they went by the name Tricky would've been MORE than enough to steer me clear of him because I think people go by nicknames for a reason. And "Tricky" isn't a name anyone in this day and age GIVES to someone. That person DECIDED they'd go by that name themselves. So what does that tell you? And what is or ISN'T in a profile says as much about a person as anything else.

But again, WTF?!?!? I just don't get it an I hope I never do.

alphawoman1 said...

When I first heard of this I felt bad for this person.  Then a little skeptical voice whispered in my ear....and I felt bad about that!! And now I see that it was a hoax.  I know that this is really going to hurt a few people and I think that is inexcusable.  

khay6809 said...

Since I'm new to J-land, I don't know anything about the past Raven incident or the current one you speak of. But writing about trust always makes for a great entry. I have a BIG problem with such...not that I trust too little, but that I trust too much. Trust is something that needs to be earned: this I know somewhere in the back of my mind, but my heart always seems to take over and I tend to trust everyone ... until they give me a reason not to. *Sigh* You'd think I would have learned that life lesson by now...but my name is still on the roster for that class!

judithheartsong said...

Very good entry... this whole thing puzzles me still, taking all the time to lie. I really liked what you had to say. judi

deabvt said...

Robbie, you sure nailed it!
Thanks,
V

kathlyna22 said...

I agree, this whole incident shocked me, but then I let it slide.
I remeber the feelings of betrayal at first, we all cared so much for her, but my bet is that she(or even he) is out here still, just with another journal. Some people bathe in the attention they get from being someone else, and in her journal, after she found Mr. Right, there was no where else to develop her character. I've heard about "Tricky" who duped one of our friends here in AOL-J land, and that is taking it to a whole other level. It's ok to be different, as long as its your own fantasy, just don't involve us here in AOL-J, we fight back
Kathleen

smartypantzjessi said...

Hi Robbie,  I'm Jessie I was link here by my 'online' Dad Gordy. I thank you for this entry, although I never got to read 'Raven's Journal' I can relate to this topic because it happen to me through the famous "Angel." I also fell in her games. I thought she was a true friend to me and in every entry she made about her pass brought tears to my eyes. I would actually be crying my eyes out for her until I realize her games and how she hurt someone I cared a great deal about. I grew angry and withdrew myself even more from people. I just didnt know who to believe anymore, but thanks to Gordy and a few online Moms I have that gave me so much love and support and may me see that not everyone is the same. Thank you for sharing that with us. By the way could that Raven person be Angel? Sorry just my mind thinking on its own. I like to always give the benefit of the doubt to people and I always believed all I read but slowly I learn not everything is the color of roses and we have to be careful who we believe in... Jessie~~>  

screaminremo303 said...

Wonderfully written. But all the hand-wringing over Tricky's antics draw the inevitable parallel to another, more famous liar. I guess it would be different if Tricky got himself elected President.

hunybea4him said...

the sadist thing about the Raven thing was it happen Just before a real death in J~Land and that made accepting this person's death all the more harder.  I think some still wonder if he really died or if that too was a lie.(Frank we miss you still)

People are not perfect and we all have a nature that is fallen from where the human race was orginaly suposed to be.  So ofcourse you can't trust everyone, on everything.  I think there are levels of trust you can give.  It seems to take me awhile to form real friendships, to let ppl in to my inner places, for fear of being hurt.  We do have to use disernment but living a life with walls can get very lonely too. To find a healthy balance is needed.
Just so you know, my journal is honest as I can possibly make it (even though my husband thinks I embelish here and there) and I would never conciously decive anyone.
Much Love,
Mary

karensull12 said...

Wow...I had no idea any of this had happened until just reading this.  It is good to be reminded (over and over again) how vulnerable we all really are here on the internet.  I am VERY hesitant about sharing pictures of my family, and when I do, I delete them within a day because I just do not know who is accessing my journal at any given time.  In my personal life, I am very private, and feel I am the same way here.  I share, but not everything, and I do not become involved with anyone for chatting and IM'ing.  I simply do not trust other people without first really getting to know them.  When you stop to think about it, all we know of each other is what we have written, and as sad as it may be, things people write can be nothing but lies.  It's too risky not to keep your guard up...

babyshark28 said...

I guess I am at a loss who this guy is, but, that's fine by me.  and I am with you. I am not trusting either.  I tread lightly and believe lightly until otherwise my faith in them is secured. but, even then...
great entry...thanks for reposting it. :)

sistercdr said...

I've read about the incident but still don't have the details because I'm still catching up on journals.  I hate that there are emotional predators in the world and in this community.  You have shared a lot of wisdom about trust, and I only wish that you hadn't had to gain your wisdom by so much pain.  Your journal shows a remarkable woman.

pure3407princess said...

Robbie!  I just wanted to say that you are an amazing woman. You are my inspiration to move on with my life.I am 24 yrs. old and just had my 2nd. child out of wedlock.I have never been married but he is.I found out he was married the day before i discovered thatI was carrying his daughter.Thank you for letting the world see your pain because you have given me hope............THANK YOU                                                                                                                    Rebecca

freeepeace said...

Robbie - great entry and great re-post.  Well said.  Trust starts with yourself.

onestrangecat said...

I truely believe that some people will lie in their journals.  I think the really sad part is when they tug at your heart by "killing off" someone that is dear to them (or themselves).  
I am a very trusting person but know that while on the internet I can only take things with a grain of salt.  It is sad but that is the way it is.
I have never read this latest person's "fake journal".  But killing off his wife to get sympany was really a lousy thing to do.

Kathy

lamove04 said...

Robbie: was sad to hear of how you earned your healthy skepticism. Obviously, your self-healing, therapy & meds worked!  I've been thru a few situations that have led to some street smarts, which hopefully translate to internet smarts... have had to look out for myself to survive. I hope there are very few Ravens & Tricky's in J-land but you never know... --Albert

somenuttychic said...

Oh wow. The Raven incident. What a debacle that was. Back by unpopular demand. Funny, but true. I have no idea who you are speaking of (the male journaler who is no longer in existence) but why am I not surprised?

Gosh, you've been through a lot. Thanks for sharing this entry with us again. I missed it the first time around.

ckays1967 said...

Robbie!!
  I makes me so angry that people lie but what can you do?  Please know that I am a very real person and not a liar.  Everything I write about is real.  Heck, I live in a small town it would be a cinch to find me.  LOL

Dont' give up on all of humanity please, just the losers.

txsguinan said...

It seems that the wisdom conveyed in your writing has been hard-earned, and the deeper for it.  

A healthy skepticism is required to survive in this world; however, this need not lead us all down the path to outright cynicism.  As you say, there are many "...who are good, just, and true..."  There just need to be more.  ((sigh))

danielled1 said...

After reading this post, and reading a fellow journaler who is making her blog private because of excess spam and random IMs, it brings up the issue of just how public a journal really is.  And how people can use this public platform for their own agendas, some not so honorable.
Thank you for sharing your very personal story.  I wholeheartedly agree with you about the truth, and trust.  I was brought up learning that telling a lie is much worst than whatever the truth might be, even if that truth isn't easy to tell.  
I have many experiences in my own life, as I'm sure we all do, that causes us to doubt the honor of people at large, but you are right, there are still a good lot of people out there with honorable intentions and true hearts.

http://journals.aol.com/danielled1/Everybodyknows/

Danielle

marigolds2 said...

i don't know what the current mindgames are that are going on, i'll check your links and see.  i remember the Raven incident, tho i was not a reader of her journal.  i was reading journals then that referred to her, and to what happened.  it was pretty mindblowing.  so it's interesting to read this entry you wrote at that time.  i wasn't reading your journal back then.  i've just tripped through recent entries here, to try to catch up.  you don't mess with the small stuff, do you girl?  every entry has serious thought-provoking issues.  i loved your weekend assignment about what to do with a financial windfall.  i didn't have time to do the assignment myself, but i gave it some thought.  i especially loved your saying you'd take in some foster kids, maybe adopt a kid.  you know you don't need a million bucks to do this, don't you?  i wish you would just proceed with this thought, you'd provide such a loving, caring, wonderful home for kids who need it.  the state helps out with expenses - but i know how hard this is to do as a single parent, i really do.  you're right about my sister being too tired to get in touch with her inner teenager.  she is an architect, works hard and long, takes work home, and is trying to bring up this wild boy also.  thank you for staying in touch, reading my journal and commenting.  your comments are also always thought-provoking.  i'm glad you're in my karass.  and re journal scams and mindgames:  rest assured i am exactly who i seem to be, although due to the South Beach diet there is less of me every day!  come to DC in august for the JournalCom (in Scalzi's journal) and let's meet!   your food in San Antone comments made me weep.  how can i eat that stuff?  carbs, all of it, carbs!

dmt66frd said...

Dear Robbie,

Sorry to hear about this latest experience. I know it's difficult to trust anything online that you can't see or interact with day to day. It's like real life though ... if you stay on long enough, you'll discover "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly". You have the right attitude in taking everything you see with a grain of salt (or maybe even a pound) Don't give up though,  because they're are a lot of decent folks out here too; from your advice, I don't think you will.    ~~~~ David

belfastcowboy75 said...

What you have said here is pure wisdom. Like most wisdom, it was painfully acquired. May you continue to be wise, but may your trials be over.

rbushu said...

Sadly, some of life's hardest lessons must be learned just that way, hard.

derossetfamily said...

This is a great entry! Thanks for putting it back up for thse of us who had'nt read it yet. I'm sure we could all use that advice. Sometimes I feel myself getting a little too comfortable around the web, but mostly on aol-j and thats when I have to take a step back. I see people as mostly good, but you do have to be careful about what you take in and what you give out, no matter how much you trust anyone.
~Mary

plieck30 said...

People never cease to amaze me. Guess that person thought that was a fun thing to do. It wouldn't have crossed my mind to do that. Paula

miarenee24 said...

Robbie, I do remember the Raven incident, but I don't recall reading your entry during that time. Thanks so much for posting this again.
..and for me, you posted this at a good time. I've been thinking seriously of changing the name of my journal or going private bc some people "think" they know who I am. It all started during the last editor top five thing. I am and always have been, too open. I also want to add...  to everyone, especially the women readers, never ever mention the name of your town or give too many details.  There are some real sickos out there. Sad, but true.  :(

thanks again. This was a great entry!

snkwarren said...

Not long after I read this entry, I got an email from someone I attended high school with- we are all communicating and catching up as our 20th class reunion approaches- she told me how she got her degree and had worked with spaceflight.  I'm not saying she lied, but after your entry, I am not taking it at face value either.  I'll wait and see her face to face in a few months.  

jcgeorgiapeach said...

Robbie, I'm so glad you reposted this entry.  I remember the Raven incident clearly and for that matter, I have been very selective as to who I talk to here in J-Land.  So far, everyone I've talked to (except Remo, hee hee) seems to be on the up and up.   Reading this again just reminds me of how humans are capable of inflicting so much pain without ever raising a hand.  ~Peachy

uberdude333 said...

is it me or just the nature o being in Jland...or is ieverybody  touchy feely...

dymphna103 said...

Robbie I agree with you.  I was also stunned by the Raven incident.  Well anyhow we have to watch it. I am one who trust what you say till I see otherwise.   john

sepintx said...

I guess this will happen every six months or so as that seems to be the cycle. {sigh}

metski715 said...

Hey Robbie!
Glad to see that you are still around. Im trying to start up my joke journal thing again. I hope to see you there again.
:)
chris

jayveesonata said...

I.m sure we've all had bitter lessons in trust & believability - in "real" life as well as in Blogland. I'm happy to say that the vast majority of bloggers whom I've encountered have been honest and sincere. With a little intuition & common sense, it's not too difficult to spot the fakes.....Jon

sweetwindoftime said...

This is the first time I have been to your journal. Your words are true wisdom.

quroboros said...

I decided very early on to set boundary limits on what I would & would not discuss in my journal.  And I'm constantly amazed at the information others reveal.. but of course, you never know if it's true or not!- therein lies the rub, as Shakespeare would say.

I believe it's this new medium itself (electronic communication) that evokes deception.  You wouldn't pick up a discarded, anonymous letter and unquestioningly believe whatever was written in it, would you?  Yet this is what people seem to be doing every day when reading Jrnls.  Why that is, I can't say.  But this format is obviously bringing some truly warped individuals out from under their rocks.  Like dealing with roaches, when exposed to bright light and they'll go scurrying back into those dark crevices where they belong.  That bright light is your intuition, caution & common sense.. USE it well!  ¤Holly

ckays1967 said...

Robbie.....where are you?   Just checking in.

musenla said...

Yes, I remember the Raven incident.  Unfortunately, I doubt that it will be the last.  

I can't say I was surprised that there was another hoax in J land.  It's just so easy to make up stories here, for whatever reason.  It's not really important to know why, except that people who like manipulating others exist.  

What's important is for all of us to remember that in the end, we are answerable to our own conscience and that caring for someone, even if they turned out to be a fabrication, is not something to be ashamed of.  It doesn't make one gullible, just a believer in people's sense of decency and honesty.

slowmotionlife said...

For once, I think I'm happy I was "out of the loop" on this one.  ::sigh::  I think as AOL-J grows, we're going to have more and more incidents like this.  When you consider the statistics, at least one out of every 200 people - maybe less - are unstable in some way.  Give them a journal and they're going to cause havoc if they can.  I think people lie for different reasons. I think certain people create amazing lives for themselves because they feel their own lives aren't very interesting.  They're looking for acceptance, or attention, or pity, or whatever.  It's sad, when you consider the possible motive.  But like you, I've learned to trust my instincts.  If something sounds fishy, it probably is.  Dunno... sad.  

Great entry, though.  Thanks for reposting.