So….one of the things I have discovered is when you have a talent for P.R. placement and good relationships with the media people often want you to help them with their projects. Depending on who it is and what it is for, yes I will pay it forward – the theory being it’s good Karma.
However, that being said there are people I believe take advantage of the good nature of others. They go back to the well time and again, and never once do they ever offer in return, say to pay you for a placement or offer you a subsequent freelance photo gig where you might earn a couple bucks, or to do something really nice for a non-profit you help out with. (or whatever- they just don’t do the pay it forward thing unless it absolutely benefits them and their needs)
I know a few of these flora and freebie fauna. Yesterday someone whom I had not quite placed in this category although who can be exceedingly pushy (and that is being polite) really crawled up my nerves. I would name him by name except it would embarass his lovely wife who was my neighbor before he appeared on the scene and that would not be fair. So I slept on it and decided to write about it, because when I said no to him in a polite private Facebook message, he dragged my cancer into it on a public Facebook wall which is totally UN-cool.
I might be public about my cancer, but it is my story to tell and even when you live in the public moment by being open about breast cancer, it is still something very private to deal with and disclose which is why it is my story to tell. Not his to announce. For this guy to have the “ooopsy ” moment and say “oh I thought the whole conversation was private” when he posted what he posted on a community Facebook wall I find a little too cute and convenient for words.
So here’s how it went down – I get this message:
can you pls post/forward to families in the area – THX, D-
Jr. & Adult Indoor Tennis Season is here – starts next weekend – at [blank] – Saturdays at [blank], Sundays at [blank]. Classes for ages 4 and up, including teen/adult group. For youngest players, QuickStart Jr. Tennis – smaller nets, smaller racquets, special balls. We make tennis fun, and our kids learn! For flyer/regist. form – Contact D- …
Mind you this is a business for him – one of several he has going on since he retired from a municipal government on a full pension.
Truthfully, until my diagnosis I would always (at a minimum) forward to my lists (which include media) things like this. Then after dealing with time constraints due to multiple medical appointments, surgery, recovery, radiation treatment, working full-time, having a life, having side effects and pain and fatigue from surgery and treatment, and the fatigue that is just sometimes emotional at moments because dealing with a cancer (even with a good prognosis) is hard I decided I could no longer just do the bulk of this stuff for….well…FREE. (Holy run on sentence, Batgirl…sorry..)
Anyway, most people understood because you could never say I wasn’t generous with my time. But back when this whole breast cancer journey started this guy contacted me and asked me to basically cross-promote to all my contacts for free his summer concert series. At that time I did not disclose my breast cancer but merely said I could no longer do these things for free, that I would be happy to do it for a small fee. What I got back was a message full of umbrage that I basically had some nerve that this was easy to do.
Well of course, it’s easy, but here he is making money off his retirement businesses and has a retirement pension from a municipality. For the first few years he did the series I gave him benefit of free publicity and took photos gratis. So here I am facing mountains of health related bills and realizing that I can’t sap all my energy and talent doing things for free any longer at this point and that I really need to be compensated for some of this that used to be done for free and not just sap my energy and time, and I got a lil’ attitude. And I let it go.
But when he came back to the well this time, I said no, and said why. In a private message. Even my 10-year-old niece and a few retired friends who are older than he is know what a private message is on Facebook. Here is the message I sent back:
No I can’t. I am undergoing treatment for breast cancer and that is where my focus is. I am sorry
One would assume that was the end of it and that even someone self-focused could understand I could no longer be Bessie the Freebie Cow, right?
Ahhhh…. not so simple. Later in the day, I stopped by a community Facebook page a friend does and commented on a post this guy made about community resources (he left a couple out. ) We go back and forth a couple of times on the topic on this public wall and all of a sudden he says (in part):
first, I’m sorry to hear of your illness, and – I hope you’re getting good medical care
Really???? WTF? Good thing I am being open about the big C – so I respond:
….and secondly — good thing I am being open about my breast cancer since I sent that to you in a private message off the wall of [XYZ]. (Just FYI in case you were unaware of Facebook etiquette) I am fortunate as I have amazing doctors. Basically among the best at what they do. Thanks.
One would think that was the end of it, right?
Then he posts on my wall . Hello??? What was that I said about Facebook etiquette which would have been to send a private message, or better yet send me an e-mail since he knows it and say “gosh I am so sorry – be well” (or whatever). He says on my wall:
lucky indeed – I didn’t know it went to everyone – I thought you it was a private message, both ways – d.
So I responded:
a private message is distinctly different from posting on a wall. In the future you might want to check before you post as someday you will really piss someone off if you are not careful. Some of my friends are a bit annoyed with you right now just reading this exchange. Women are very protective of other women going thru treatment.
Now that does seem to be the end of it, but I decided this was worth mentioning because I feel quite strongly this is something you do not do to a woman going through breast cancer treatment….or anyone dealing with a disease that can be difficult. After all what if I wasn’t being open about my cancer? What then? Oh yes, loads of people would have found out in a way I did not choose, and face it when you have breast cancer, it is YOUR damn story to tell in your own way and in your own time.
This move was purely horse’s ass and I hope this old dog learns some new tricks from it.
And remember, Bessie The Freebie Cow doesn’t live here any more. Don’t mess with breast cancer survivors, either. We go through a lot and have a much lower tolerance for bullshit as a result. So avoid the mouth – don’t be an ass to a breast cancer gal. We’ve had enough to deal with.
In other news this morning, Andrea Mitchell the reporter announce yesterday she has breast cancer . I am sure mega charities like Susan G. Komen will try to snatch her up. I hope she picks more education based charities like www.Breastcancer.org to support.
Peace out people. See y’all after rads. After today 3 left….