by Tamara Sawyer

I told one of my daughters during a recent visit that I was going to do a blog about “haters”. I have come to realize that in life there are “haters”. Boy there are haters. We all have them. I believe even Mother Teresa had haters. My daughter replied to me that she did not like the word at all, or the connotation, and what it brings. I happen to agree with her but it still does not negate the fact that the world is full of the behavior. She said, “Mom, maybe you could just not call them haters.” I tried to look up a synonym of the word hate…but the behavior I was speaking on always comes right back to the word “hate.” It’s a strong word for sure and in fact if one hates, which is the definition in Webster, they should leave well enough alone, but they don’t.

Let me back up. The topic stemmed from a conversation that my bunkies and I were having a few days ago about the difference of the woman I have met in prison who are “haters” vs. the people I have experienced in the outside world that are “haters’. I was telling them that I actually have grown to appreciate and respect the people in here who hate for one reason or another. Why? Because they do it to your face. There is no wondering what people actually think about you, about what your doing, about what race you are, about the way you cook, dress, talk, anything in fact. They will tell you. Straight up. AND they will still come and visit, hang out, ask your opinion about something…and many have actually become not so much of a hater anymore. In the outside world not so much. In reflecting back I find that we generally try to mind our manners, pretend that we like someone, pretend that they don’t annoy us, and then here’s the one that really get’s me…..behind their backs we are so willing to talk trash about them, hide behind our computers, phones, and hate, and hate, and hate. They spew lies; send blogs, letters, hate mail, all of their one-sided beliefs and opinions.

So the continuation of those discussions has been a new path for me. I am working hard and saying things bluntly, yet respectfully, in the moment, and not carrying things around with me. My roommate does this beautifully. At first I spent a lot of time with hurt feelings until I realized that it really is possible to call someone out on behaviors that bother me, or on things that I notice and it has nothing to do with how I feel about that person. It’s amazing how much freedom there is in just speaking up and telling someone to their face how you feel or what you’re thinking. Its also amazing how much you will learn about the person and the opportunities it affords in self-growth.

So, daughter, if I had to re-title this blog I would change the word haters, to cowards. Because I have learned that I have lived a lot of my life being a big coward and it’s actually been fun to learn a different way of doing it. AND the best part…I haven’t gotten beaten up yet and if I was going to get beaten up for this new found freedom of speech I am learning I am sure I would have gotten it here much faster than in the real world:)