The Quest for a Perfect Reputation
Four years ago, in 2010, I was in the tenth grade. I was selling cigarettes that I stole from my dying mother and my stepfather. It wasn't a cool thing to do, and I believe what I was doing was illegal, but it wasa popular move. People respected me because I provided them with tobacco. Usually I'd give them all out for a dime, when everyone else was charging fifty cents. "What a rip-off!" I hissed to the smokers at my school. I ended up giving a few of them free cigs. Why? Because those few people were always good to me. Most of those people now have turned their backs on me, over a couple of stupid little Facebook posts, but one day I'm sure that they'll remember that I was good to them, and they'll see the tremendous error in judgement they've made.
I've since stopped breaking the law. Since my mother's death, I was a squeaky clean person. Yes, I had some grudges, but I never acted on them, even though I knew I could crush those who stood in my way of happiness without lifting a finger. I was never a violent person, and though sometimes it was tempting to pay someone big and muscly to beat someone to within an inch of his life, I could never do such a thing. I'm a good person. So, a couple years later I graduated high school, thinking that never again would I walk into White Pines.
So wrong I was. That summer I met a pretty young lady, a couple years younger, but not too noticeable. She was great. I still think she's great. But her and I got close, and she forced me to walk back into that building, despite my many objections. "There are still people I know in there!" By that time, the panic attacks had started (I wrote an article about panic attacks in March, look it up in the archives!) and I was scared to be seen by anybody I knew.
The pains that were taking over my body were severely impairing my mental stability. I admit, that for a while I felt like I was going to fall off some mental cliff and have to never be seen in public again because the panic attacks would addle my brains. Of course, the panic attacks faded and I became more confident in walking around places that only months earlier, I was scared to death of being in those areas.
While I was having the panic attacks, my entire network of Facebook friends collapsed. I started counting how many people were deleting me. And by December of 2012, over 500 people deleted me off of Facebook, about half of them people I went to school with, a few who knew me when a was still in diapers. It was a slap in the face, a stab in the back, every time someone deleted me. I didn't feel I deserved it. "I GAVE THESE PEOPLE FREE CIGARETTES AND FREE MONEY, FOR GOD'S SAKE!" I shrieked at my computer screen, before throwing my laptop against the wall. Over a couple of somewhat controversial statuses. Later that night, when I let out all of my anger, I said to myself, while siting on my neatly made bed, "why do people hate me?" Then, "how can these people be such judgemental PRICKS?" And finally, "What has this world come to?"
I admit it, I have OCD. I get obsessed over stupid little things. Words. People. My biggest obsession is to be respected and admired. And I'd do absolutely anything to maintain a positive reputation. I sold cigarettes. I spread a couple of rumours. Not really damaging ones, but still. I was determined to gain the respect of every single person I ever met. In a way, I still am. But now, I'm less likely to be totally overwhelmed with anger and hurt every time someone betrays me. People move on. People judge. It's something that I've come to accept. It took me over a year to accept that not everyone likes me. It was hard, it was excruciating. I could find VERY few reasons for people to hate me.
But alas, the world is becoming addicted to judging, and there's not a damn thing I can do about it. I can preach to people, "Don't judge, don't hate," but it goes in one ear and out the other. If I seen these people face-to-face, I'm sure I could convince them to let go of their hate, I'm a very emotional person, I can give heartfelt speeches and people will listen. But when you live online, and Facebook is the only way to talk to those people, it annoys them to see me preach. Sadly. I want them all to understand, I'm a good person. There's no need to be so mean. There's no need to hate me.
About The Author
Matthew Frank Kot was born and raised here in Sault Ste Marie. He first starting writing articles for Soonews.ca in early 2008, becoming the city's youngest columnist and journalist. He then went on to write for Local2, and for a short time had his "MATTer of Opinion" column on SaultOnline.com. Matthew was very involved in the 2010 and 2014 Municipal Elections and wrote several opinion pieces about important issues. In 2011, Matthew started Sault Transit Reform and has continued advocating for a better transit system since then.