I am a liar.
I am a loser.
I am pathetic, smug and dumb.
I am a seriously delusional individual who should kill himself.
I am an (expletive).
I am a pig who probably thinks he’s smarter than everyone else.
I am the problem plaguing America.
I am fake news.
I should stick to fluff, as my pathetic attempts at political satire are not funny and continue to prove that I am a liberal moron.
It is sad that I am allowed to have a public platform to blather my crap.
I am: a snowflake; a left-wing shill; a left-wing loser; a “so-called journalist”; a disgraceful and biased journalist; a stupid journalist; a (expletive) hypocrite; an overpaid scumbag; and a (expletive) (expletive).
I should throw a tantrum.
I should put my pen where it belongs, up my you-know-what.
I should grow up and put my daddy pants on.
I should come out of my safe space and face reality.
I should go back to wherever the (expletive) I came from.
I am brainwashed.
I spew nonsense.
I think my (expletive) doesn’t stink.
I am a (expletive) moron and a marketer of evil.
I might want to try another line of work, because I pretty much suck at writing.
I am an idiot. No one has ever heard of me.
My columns are particularly useless.
I should grow a pair.
I should jump off a cliff.
I should have sex with my mother.
My malicious rantings and ravings are so bad I should find a job pushing a broom.
I should be ashamed.
I better watch my back.
I should die.
I am: a simp; a wimp; a weirdo; a puke; a socialist; an egotist; a homo; a one-sided columnist; and a disgrace.
According to emails and Facebook posts and tweets and voicemails I received over the course of this year, I am all these things — to other people.
But not to myself. Not to my family or to those who know and care about me.
There are bullies everywhere, and this kind of name-calling and hatred comes with a job I feel lucky to do. So I learned how to handle it, not on my own, but with some help. There’s no shame in that, and I’d encourage anyone enduring repetitive abuse to consult an expert. We humans aren’t designed to put up with the hurtful noise that can come our way in this world.
Does it still get to me sometimes? Sure. But I’m more inclined now to own it and say, “Yeah, sure. I’m a moron. If that makes you feel better about yourself. Go with God.”
And, frankly, it’s not me I worry about.
It’s the people out there who aren’t prepared to handle hatred, particularly younger people who deal day in and out with loud voices trying to bring them down.
I wish I could make all of it stop. I wish I could absorb that hate for them, take the hits and steal any power weak-souled bullies think they wield.
But the best I can do is say this to anyone, young or old, who deals with monsters: You are the things people call you only in the minds of those whose lives are small enough to spend their time hurling hate.
Are you a moron? Are you worthless? To them, perhaps. But not to yourself. Never to yourself.
Tell them this: “Sure, I’m a moron. I’m worthless. To you. But that’s where it stops. Beyond that, you are powerless.”
Know who you are. Know your value.
Don’t value the opinions of those who don’t give a whip about you. Those opinions are worthless — wasted pixels and squandered words.
To people who don’t matter, I am a loser and a wimp and a snowflake and an idiot and a pig and a puke and an (expletive).
If those opinions bring them peace, I say, “Go in peace.” I’ll keep on keeping on just fine.
If you’ve been bullied online or in real life, this mindset won’t fix everything. It won’t make life easy. But it might make things better.
So here’s to a better new year. And to everyone recognizing their own goodness and value in a world where each of us, in our own wonderfully unique ways, has a place.
Rex Huppke is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune.
(c) 2017 Chicago Tribune