How the Rumor Mill Churns...

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Did you ever play Chinese Telephone as a child? It's kind of like that. 7/20/16

It usually starts with good intentions. A friend tells you a horrible story about how one of your friends is only using the other friend for sex. It wasn't even true. What the boy actually said was that the sex was the best he'd ever had in his life. If you can't see the difference, you're the problem. Repeating things that aren't true ends up being hurtful and can even ruin a great relationship. Circles of trust get broken, and there's no way to stop it once it's started. You might even find yourself standing in a crowd, screaming for someone to believe the truth as they spit fire at you. This is all because one person decided to tell another person something they overheard in part.

When it's something more serious, weapons get drawn. Not only do feelings get hurt, but a person's entire reputation could be at stake. It's human nature to want to know what's going on, but sometimes that curiosity gets the better of some people. Sometimes people are just malicious and meant to do it.

If someone dies because they drove drunk, it does not mean they killed themselves. Period. Maybe they did kill themselves, but we'll never know. The rumor that the suicide was performed only makes loved ones grieve harder, differently. It's not productive, at all.

Rumors can destroy relationships with thoughts of infidelity spread by those that knew nothing of the situation. They can tear us down and break us apart when we're the target. Right when we're at our best, a rumor can come up and smack us right in the face. It churns like ice cream, getting colder and thicker as the lies spread. With each and every person it travels through, the rumor mill distorts the truth even further until the truth doesn't even matter anymore.

An earlier from my own life? When I met my husband, I had a friend who was VERY concerned for my well-being and happiness. I still have the friend, and he only meant to do well but he has since learned to stay out of my relationships. He wanted to get to know my then-boyfriend better and struck up random conversation with him. Somehow, he got it in his head that my husband would rather be with an ex-crush he never had acted upon than me. It wasn't true, and I know that for sure because I was my husband's first girlfriend. My husband was on the football team, though, and my friends judged him for a long time for that. Something so stupid like a "jock" reputation he never earned almost cost us our relationship. By trickle effect, I would have never met some of the wonderful people in my life now or ever known what it was like to be a mother.

At the same time, rumors flew around about me and the apparent "crack den" I grew up in. I thought maybe it was a metaphor for our "wonderful" housekeeping skills until even the principal began advising certain students and teachers about me. At that point, I had never done drugs in my life. The rumor clung to me for another year or two, and eventually I did try some drugs... but never crack. NEVER, and my mother certainly never condoned any that I tried. (Nor was she aware of it.) So I'll never understand why people had to open their mouth in the first place, before I sort of did what everyone thought I was doing anyways. The same went for sex with me. Once I had lost my virginity, several family members and class mates just assumed that I had slept with everyone prior to him. It didn't matter that I'd only been with him, truly, it only mattered what they "knew" to be true.

It's not their fault, it's the rumor mill. It's society's view on a 15-year-old losing her virginity. It's the idea that a drug addict wanted to die. It's what people think about someone who grew up on the "wrong side of town" or a "shady" neighborhood. It needs to stop. Instead of tearing each other down for what we think we are, it's time to really get to know them. It's time to put some trust into that person and find out what's really going on. It could save someone's life one day.

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