Lately, I have been inundated with private message requests to copy, paste or forward on Facebook (FB). When I receive these requests I often flashback to my teenage years.
When I was 13 or 14 I received a letter in the mail. It went something like this; by receiving this letter you have been granted one wish, but in order for your wish to come true you must copy and mail this same letter to ten friends within twenty-four hours.
The instructions were clear, if I did not follow them exactly my wish would not come true but, most importantly, it stressed that a horrible catastrophe would fall upon me exactly one minute past the twenty-four-hour mark.
I don’t remember the exact wording or the person who sent it. What I do remember is the fear and shame the letter placed upon me. I felt completely stripped of my power of choice, and I felt powerless to say NO.
As an impressionable hormonal teenage girl, my visions of doom and gloom were devastating; either my boyfriend would leave me for my best friend, no one would sit with me during school lunch, or the worst fate of all, my face would be covered with acne for the rest of my life.
It was just too much to bear! I became frantic! I don’t even remember my wish. What I do remember is my growing fear of some unknown impending misfortune if I did not complete this unwanted, task.
I was torn; either complete the task or go find my best friend (BFF) to play softball. Sadly, the fear of the impending doom and gloom won.
There was no copy, paste or forward, I literally had to hand write ten letters copying word for word, the original letter that was handwritten and sent to me. Carefully I stuffed each letter into its envelope. With my best cursive, I wrote the required to and from address and attached a stamp. This unwanted task took approximately three hours to complete.
I ran to the corner mailbox, threw the ten letters into its belly, then bolted from the box as if it were on fire. Running while exhaling a huge sigh of relief, I was now free of any impending disaster and could join my BFF and play until Mom called us for dinner.
Twenty-four hours passed, I had forgotten about the doom and gloom, and I can’t remember if my wish came true or not. I am guessing that would be a NO.
A few weeks later, frantically my mother asked if I knew where her envelopes and stamps were. The rent payment needed to be mailed the next day. I started weeping as she kept saying how we might end up homeless if the rent was late again.
Mom barely had enough money to pay the bills, or feed us, let alone to buy more envelopes and stamps. I went to my BFF and asked for help. She found and retrieved an envelope and stamp from her mother’s stash. I never did tell Mom the truth of the missing envelopes and stamps, but I silently vowed to never allow another chain letter take my choice, my power or my time from family and friends.
I haven’t received a chain letter in the mail for many years, but when I did I tore them to pieces and threw them in the trash. These days FB unwittingly has taken on the role of the chain letter. I have been asked on FB to copy and paste or forward a message, and if I didn’t I would face some impending catastrophe.
The past month I received the same private message from five friends and it goes something like this:
“This is no joke, I love you and God has seen you struggling with something. God says it’s over and a blessing is coming your way. If you believe in God don’t ignore this, you are being tested”……… It goes on to say that I should drop everything and send this to 30 friends within the next 20 minutes or…..……..well you probably have received the same message so I’ll stop here.
Dear Friends, I know you mean well and, YES, God is seeing me struggle with something lately and that is how I will gently and politely tell you NO: “NO I will not drop everything and send this to 30 friends within 20 minutes.”
If you do lovingly send me a message like this please don’t be offended when I don’t return it but, rather, I will say a quick prayer for you, send you an emoji, or paste the link to this blog ;-}
As an impressionable teenager, I unwittingly handed over my power to just say NO. Perhaps at the time I did that out of superstition and believing something bad would happen. But as an adult, I now know that I have a choice and the power to say YES or NO!
So NO I won’t copy, paste or forward. If I see something that I WANT TO SHARE or FORWARD I will, and if I don’t well rest assured I have no fear of any impending doom or gloom if I don’t copy, paste or forward.
I’m not worried that my husband will leave me for my best friend. LOL on that one and that’s no offense to either of them. Also, I don’t mind eating alone these days as I often do when traveling. It’s a great time to get caught up on my reading. And lastly, at my age, I’m not worried about acne but if copying, pasting or forwarding will make this Freaking Rosacea go away, I’M ALL IN!
If you would like to share this with 30 of your friends within the next 20 minutes please do so, and remember if you do or you don’t, it is ALWAYS YOUR choice. ,
Peace, Love, and Ciao for Now!
Rena Romano – Speaker | Author | Coach