About a year and a half ago, I deleted about 40 people from Facebook. I saved or added most of them to my Instagram where I try to keep it to the beach and Fergus because I didn’t want to lose those connections altogether. 39 of those people did nothing wrong but because of other connections they had, I was being accessed through them and also 1 person was talking at work about my posts….insisting they were work related when they never were. I was only able to connect with a few of those people ahead of time. For everyone else, I apologize if you took it personally or had hurt feelings. I was made aware some people were upset because they didn’t understand. This is my apology for that. Sorry for confusion. I care about 39 of those people still very much and want to keep access to them.

I have a Masters in Health Communication, much of which is centered around understanding how to use social media to educate, influence and know your niche. While my career is not currently in that field, my activism touches it daily. All the issues I am passionate about actually do have health consequences whether it’s physically or mentally.

I was harassed at work for about 7 years. During that time, my posts pertained to dating, weight loss, travel, fun back and forth with my High School friends which is multiple times a day and some of my unraveling related to my father’s cancer and my PTSD. In more recent years, the harassment became about my support of women, closing the gender pay gap in the US ( by the way, I believe I actually work for the company who would address this before any other place so don’t assume my support is related to issues with my job,) support for the ACLU, LGBTQ community, sexual assault services and mental health awareness.

This situation impacted my pay, career mobility, reputation and health. Rumors were spread falsely. I was not in a situation where I could defend myself without retaliation as I was already being retaliated against. I did not call HR. A few times I consulted people I know who handle employment law or corporate HR for other companies. I was fully aware of my rights but needed to keep my income so I just managed through it. Were this to happen today, I would handle it very differently and call HR right away.

I made a commitment to myself last year to remove myself from gossip/rumor/bully situations and to defend myself. I am guilty of these poor behaviors too. I just never did it in front of people who were in charge of pay and promotional decisions unlike the people who were doing it to me. Mine was happening amongst the team in charge of those things. In fact, one time they got negative feedback in an employee survey and because it was well written and spelled correctly, they spread the rumor it was me which impacted my bonus and salary at that time. Behind closed doors they decided to rule me out for any job considerations going forward.

I know what it’s like to be the only person in the room not being “friended” by everyone else in the room. Despite my age and knowing better, it still hurts my feelings. If people’s feelings were hurt when I unfriended them, I apologize. It wasn’t my intention. I was just looking for a very quick way to remove all channels this person had access to. Gossip seems fun and like a harmless way to blow off steam. Sometimes people may even oddly think they are doing some type of good duty. But all of it is wrong and can have serious consequences for people. I’m really glad I have placed myself against a much higher standard and have really stuck by it this past year. It’s much easier than you might think.

I have some reason to believe this situation might start up again in the near future. Rest assured, everyone is protected via Instagram where I keep my thoughts pretty basic and general…mostly travel and dog with a little bit of #metoo but really no activism for the most part. I use other channels for that and I have the right to do that. I also have the right for it to remain separate from my work as my “causes” aren’t really things I bring to work unless my “support” is something which makes an employee feel safer talking to me about their issues than anyone else. It’s not beliefs I share either, just an open minded perspective and ability to pull from a broad range of experiences to help relate to who I am talking to. If only everyone had my broad range.