a personal style blog by Lauren Pfieffer

Monday, February 28, 2011

To Whom It May Concern:

This past week I conducted a social experiment on my personal facebook page. I decided to create a formspring. For some of you who do not know what a formspring is, it is a website where you can anonymously submit questions or comments to a person without them ever knowing who you are. At my school, formspring is a site where people are ruthlessly attacked and ridiculed. It's honestly so sad to see how truly cruel teenagers can be to each other when they are given the chance to hide behind anonymity. On a whim I decided to create a formspring for exactly one week as a social experiment. Here is my overview I wrote to my classmates in the form of a note after the whole experience.

When I created a formspring, so many people in my life didn't understand my reasons for doing it. They told me to delete it because they didn't want to see me get hurt or have people attack me. I didn't listen to all of those people though because creating a formspring was something I had to do for myself. No, to all you people out there who think I was out to "get compliments," that's not the reason I created a formspring. It was firstly, to see what people really thought of me. All throughout my life I feel like people have never really told me how they truly feel about me. They sugar coat everything to my face, and then go behind my back and say what they actually feel. I wanted the opportunity to give those people the chance to say how they really perceive me and what they truly think about me. Because when you give people the chance to hide behind anonymity, their true feelings about you come out. I wanted to use these true feelings not to develop myself based on what people think of me, but to use their comments to improve myself. To have my faults and weaknesses put out before me in an honest way so that I could finally see them and the the chance to maybe work on some of those weaknesses. Another reason I created this formspring was to test myself. To see how strong I truly am and have become. For years (and still to this day) I've been put down, made fun of, picked on because of the way I dress. Because maybe I'm different than you. At first, those comments tore me apart and made me miserable. They made me feel worthless and want to shrink back in fear so all of the taunting would stop. Its been years since I've felt like this though because over the years I have grown stronger the more I've found myself. I wanted a final test through the journey I've made and the improvements I've had. I wanted to see if I could handle it. Would I fall apart and wilt away like I used to? Or would I take the comments and embrace them to make me stronger? To all of those people out there who gave me mean, degrading comments: you failed. You failed to make me feel inferior and awful about myself and my life. You failed miserably.

I feel so empowered and inspired by this experience. I've found things out about myself that I think I was oblivious to. Not only have I found out surprising things about myself, I've found things out about the people who care about me. The people who truly care about me that is. I also got the chance for once to show people who I really am through my responses and reactions to your questions. So very often I feel like my classmates don't understand me or know who I am. I'm just a walking, talking mannequin and not a real person. People just look me up and down to see what I'm wearing, and never bother to actually talk to me or ask how I'm doing. I walk through the halls of my high school, looking at the hundreds of faces who have no idea who I am. Yes, they may recognize my face and think, "Oh, that's Lauren," but really they have no concept of the person I am inside. For once though I feel satisfied because I got to share with you all a few little pieces of me that maybe you didn't realize were there. Maybe you think differently of me now whether it be for better or worse. Some of you still probably think "I'm full of myself." Some of you still probably think "I'm fake". Some of you still probably think that " I think I'm too cool, or I'm obsessed with myself," and every other mean thing you said to me. But I truly don't care because at least I had the chance to show you I'm not all those things and maybe, just maybe I proved you wrong. Whether or not you want to believe me is up to you. I don't regret creating this formspring for a week. I want to truly thank all of you who submitted questions or comments whether they were good, bad, truthful, or just an attempt to hurt me. I appreciate everything.

With much love, Lauren.


Mila said...

Well said! It disgusts me how people think it's okay, once you're anonymous, to make comments and things like this. What do they think, it's not a real person who will be hurt by them? I'm so glad that you showed them how strong you are, and made them see the truth: they can't break you, because you're too strong!:)


CaptMO/ DJ ABO said...

Growth is always good, well, unless it's cancerous... But it's good to see people be able to overcome the past and to be able to harness all of the negative and use it as a tool to make everything positive instead! You are indeed a strong person and though I've only been following your blog for only a few months, I've found that there is really a LOT more about you than you seem to think you lead on, either that or I'm just more in tune to picking up people's personalities than I thought. I'm still at a loss at how anyone could think that you would be too full of yourself, or self-obsessed or think you're too cool or anything like that! Your blogs show the complete opposite and I'm wondering how many of those people actually READ your blog and actually find out who you are! :-)

Shady Del Knight said...

That was a very brave thing to do, Lauren, and I applaud you! It was a good test for you because, along with the blessings, you must be tough enough to take the blows that life inevitably dishes out. You are wise to be appreciative of all input, the positive and the negative, because it's all valuable information that can help you to adapt and grow. Please remember two things about haters. Haters are an excellent barometer of success. Haters are just people who never got enough love. Imagine the breakthrough potential in turning a hater into a friend! That's what life is all about for me.

Jenna said...

I love the bit at the end of the first paragraph, "you failed to make me feel inferior and awful about myself and my life." You go girl!!!! :D

Annebeth said...

on one hand people are more honest when they're anonymous, but on the other hand everything just becomes a game then and it doesn't feel "real" anymore, because if you don't feel engaged, why should the people who gets the negativity feel engaged? It's a very strange thing. I don't really have a problem with haters, I'm confident enough, but I feel for girls who are more vulnerable. You can't force self esteem, and it's so easy to break down.

Unknown said...

HighSchool is truely a CRUEL place i dread going there EVERY day!
But i've realized that it's only temporary and i've come to a better understanding "Those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't mater" It's better to come to that conclusion early in our lives because we will have critics our whole life. But they won't get us down as long as we know the honest truth! :)

Sara said...

seriously i love how strong you are, at first i was afraid of creating a formspring too because i thought people would want to put me down but you put it in a different way, i love the way you said "you failed miserably" it just shows that nobody can take you down, only make you stronger. way to go lauren!!! :)

OrigamiGirl said...

Firstly I don't understand why anyone would laugh at you for the way you dress -you look amazing every time. It was a very brave thing to do, to just let people take rip at you without consequences. Also you have probably heard this many times before, but when you go to university or college people who try and play by high school standards of 'cool' get laughed at.

Anonymous said...

I have to say, I agree with the above...it was a very brave thing to do. It's nice to see that you are stronger though :) I used to feel the same as you - always shrinking away from people who commented on what I wore...but now I know it's better to be yourself, especially when you dress as well as you do!

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