cat eyes

Dedicated to my most devoted reader (apparently)

As I mentioned in a blog post over the weekend, I’ve been recently getting more regular missives from the president of the Liz Norell Haters Club (sometimes also known as Fakey McFakerston or “Bob Vila,” his chosen alias). I effectively shut down comments on my blog posts because I was tired of dude’s cowardly attempts to get me to approve nasty comments on my own web site.

So my hostile correspondent started emailing me, from an obviously anonymous email address. Below is the email volley to date.

What will 90210 say next?

Bob Vila writes:

Can you be more of a whiny BITCH?

You don’t seem able to address any of the things I bring up.
Your brother doesn’t want anything to do with you.
Do you really think your parents are proud of you? Failed marriage and now living in sin?
Trying to convince fat women that they are great despite the fact you’ve been trying desperately to lose weight for over a decade?
Get all those degrees just to teach at a no-name college?

And yes, I’m male. How many women have you known named Bob? Seriously.

You’re a blight. Give up and go home to Arkansas.

Liz responds

Yes, I probably could be more of a whiny bitch. I’m just trying to figure out what you get out of sending me these messages? What’s the gain for you? If you don’t like what I have to say, you don’t have to read it…?!

I also don’t believe, not for a second, that your name is Bob Vila.

Bob Vila engages further

Here, I’ll spell it out for you.

You were mean to me. You were dismissive. You mocked me to friends. You blamed me for your shortcomings. In short, you were a very shitty person towards me.

And here you are trying to sell yourself as some paragon of how to live despite what I know to be true and is reinforced by the wake of damaged and destroyed relationships in your past. It’s nauseating to watch you try and tell people how to live when I have personal experience that you’re a crappy person. You’re a fraud and a hypocrite. Instead of telling other people how to improve their lives you should first take some serious inventory of yourself.

Liz responds, again.

Well, okay then. You have levied some pretty substantial charges against my character, lashing out in what I imagine you intended to be the ways that will hurt me to maximum effect. Doing so without any context or identification, though, makes it hard for me to respond with anything other than more questions. I still don’t know who you are. You claim I’ve hurt you, dismissed you, mocked you, blamed you for my own flaws, and generally been a bitch, whiny and otherwise. Maybe that’s true…? I really don’t know. My mom does often remind me that I — like her — can be a real bitch sometimes. Perhaps it’s just in my DNA.

Regardless, since you complained yesterday that I “don’t seem able to address any of the things” you brought up, let me dispense with them in short order:

Claim: Your brother doesn’t want anything to do with you.
Unless you’re in touch with him, I don’t really see how you have any basis for making this judgment. It’s self-evident truth that he doesn’t want to be in touch with anyone in my family. I am tremendously sad and hurt over this, but there’s really nothing I can do about it.

Claim: Do you really think your parents are proud of you? Failed marriage and now living in sin?
I mean … they SAY they’re proud of me? I did get a divorce from a man who caused me great harm; maybe you need to believe that was all my fault, but he also divorced his second wife, who apparently had exactly the same flaws I did (if it was my fault), because she says she split with him for the same reasons I did so …. 🀷 You’re correct that I’m currently “living in sin,” as you say. We are on a very long-term engagement, mostly because if we got married, I would have a significantly more complex financial picture personally; he would get married to me tomorrow (and would’ve married me three years ago) if I had been willing to subject myself to that financial chaos. But to the crux of your point: My parents are very happy with my relationship as it is, and they seem to have put my poor choices in relationships in the past behind them, as have I.

Claim: Trying to convince fat women that they are great despite the fact you’ve been trying desperately to lose weight for over a decade?
I don’t think that the quality of your character can be measured by your weight. I haven’t tried — desperately or otherwise — to lose weight for many years, not since I started reading actual evidence about the efficacy of dieting to lose weight (spoiler alert: there is none). So, okay…? I mean, I DEFINITELY AM fully on board with convincing everyone I meet, regardless of size, that they have value beyond whatever the scale happens to say.

Claim: Get all those degrees just to teach at a no-name college?
If I were offered more money to teach anywhere else, I wouldn’t take it. I love teaching at a community college, and I don’t care what level of prestige anyone thinks that has. I happen to love my job, my students, my work, and my life. You can doubt that all you want, but I don’t need someone else’s approval to love my work.

Conclusion: You’re a blight. Give up and go home to Arkansas.
Maybe I am a blight, but how does living in Tennessee make that somehow worse? Why does being a blight mean I need to go to Arkansas?

Here’s what I have learned: Hurt people tend to hurt other people. Your most recent missive indicates that I’ve hurt you in a variety of ways, and I am genuinely sorry for that. Your lashing out at me makes a lot more sense given that you’ve been hurt by me.

I would still prefer to know whom I’m exchanging messages with, rather than using this nostalgic 90210 alias, but I get that you’ve gotta register your feelings in your own way, in your own time. I hope you find peace, whatever that means for you.

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