I feel ashamed. I sat and listened to Chrissie Swan’s tearful apology on radio. I sat and cried along with her while she said statements like: “deeply shameful secret”, “secrets which are the most shameful are the hardest to ask for help for”, ” addiction…it can make the unthinkable somehow ok” and “I am devoted to my children”. I felt like I was invading her privacy. She should not have been forced to reveal what is obviously a deeply personal struggle of hers.
She’s been smoking while pregnant. She recognises that it is the wrong thing to do. She has no excuses. She was scared of the judgement that she kept it a secret, not asking for help or confiding in anyone. She begged the paparazzi not to release the photographs of her. She begged them. And now she finds herself at the centre of a media controversy. She finds herself at the centre of putrid, vile judgement.
At her most vulnerable, she sits in the studio surrounded by work colleagues and tearfully confesses to a nation of people who largely do not know her. They know the public Chrissie – the loveable, openly flawed, gregarious, fun Chrissie. They do not know the Chrissie who sits wracked with guilt and inner turmoil smoking her five cigarettes a week in her car while pregnant. The one who has most probably already said the most awful things to herself that no mindless onlooker will ever be ale to beat. Yet now, her own insecurities and her own anger towards herself will be somehow “confirmed” by strangers. She will now be able to say to herself “see you’re right, you are an awful person”.
Chrissie, who is an inspiration to many women because of her open and kind nature, her quick wit and smart mind, her love for her children, her honesty about her weight struggles, her inclusive and accepting nature – is now being forced to protect her integrity at her most vulnerable.
At a time when we need more women like her in the media spotlight, standing up for, and representing, diversity in the community, I fear we will see her retreat away from the spotlight. Who would want to be in her position in this age of instant, public reaction? Everyone has the ability to pass judgement the second they see something that offends them. I remember a time when you would write a letter of disgust and then instead of putting a stamp on the envelope and sending it the person who annoyed you, you’d rip it up and put it in the bin. Now, you can get online and let rip without processing your thoughts. People don’t care about the impact their vitriol will have on their target’s heart, self esteem or psyche.
There is this sense of entitlement among the community that if someone puts any of their life out there publicly that they should reveal every single moment of it. That, if you hold something back for yourself, that you are a lier or a bore or a hypocrite. No, you are a person, who still has a right to privacy. A person who has to protect themselves, sometimes from their own inner dialogue. Sometimes you know you are too fragile to cope with the onslaught of judgement, that for your own protection, you keep things private.
Recently, a bunch of bloggers were subjected to, and still are, a hateful forum. I have been forever changed by it and now struggle to write publicly anymore. I no longer want to share things which are personal, my inner feelings, my life. I don’t want to give up parts of myself to assholes. I am currently reassessing my desire to blog. A few people have done that to me. I am unsure how people in the public eye continue to put themselves out there time and time again when subjected to thousands of negative comments?
How does Chrissie – someone so gorgeous, strong and also vulnerable (like any human) – deal with a barrage of hate, particularly at a time she is so down on herself? How does anyone in the public eye deal with it?
The reality is Chrissie is surrounded by people who love her deeply. There are more people in the community who still admire and care for her than she’ll ever know. At this time, she needs support, love and encouragement. We need people with her spirit in the public eye. She is so much to so many people. While she works through this with her closest friends and family by her side, I hope she realises what a wonderful person she is and how truly loved she is.
Beautifully said B. I hate leaving ‘great post’ type comments … but honestly, you’ve said it all so very nicely.
This is what I hate about new media: something that would have been a quiet chastising in the past will now be spread far and wide with armchair experts giving their commentary. I really feel for Chrissie. Smoking is a disgusting and vile habit that I hate, and struggle to give up over and over. I’m sure that no one is being as hard on her than Chrissie herself.
I hope the assholes don’t damp down your amazing writing B, they will win if you stop writing xx
I hope you do keep on writing, as I really enjoy what you have to say, and it’s coffee-out-the-nose funny at times but also very heartfelt ALL of the time. Can totally understand why you’d maybe rather not share, I feel like we are turning into a (collectively) very uncaring society. Or maybe the internet world just allows those who were already nasty, a bigger audience.
The excuse that someone willingly puts themselves in the public eye for open judgment by all and fucking sundry makes me physically ill to my stomach. It’s just that, it’s an excuse. It is an excuse for vile hateful behavior, for casting judgment, for making someone feel awful for their own smug gain.
The excuse that Chrissy is a role model and should behave accordingly also makes me gag up my rice cake. I don’t EVER want my child to aspire to be something no one is, no one is perfect, everybody will make mistakes and bad decisions. I want my children to make role models of people who are kind, generous and have beautiful souls, who do make bad decisions and have very human flaws, yet continue to be kind, generous and beautiful people.
I think Chrissy fits this perfectly.
Of course Chrissy knows that smoking while pregnant is not ideal, if it were as simple as quitting smoking for the love and health of the child then no one would smoke. I think it’s laughable that the people screaming in defense of her child’s health should take a look at what kind of damage stress from continuous unjust public assault has on her baby.
I too throw up my hand in support of Chrissy through this ridiculously unjust crucification.
And too all of those miserable lynch mobbers that hide their social inadequacy behind their keyboards, and feel morally superior to pass judgment on someone they have never met, you can go Eat a dick, yes, I said it, and I have been dying to, to the many of you who contribute to vile forums, who take amusement from the suffering of others. With public shaming and anonymous comments. Shame on you, you vile pieces of crap, get a life, read a book, educate yourselves and you might find yourself content enough to not have to gain superiority and amusement for making someone else as miserable as you are, because anyone who feels the need to damage another person in such a way sick, download a self help book and get off MY fucking Internet.
Big up you Chrissy Swan, big hugs and support during this unnecessarily difficult time, you are an amazing inspiration. Xx
I love Chrissie Swan… because she’s real, flawed and makes mistakes. Clearly, she is human and unafraid to be herself and give herself up for public ridicule. What a champion! Stay strong Chrissie… and take no prisioners! 😀 xx
All humans are flawed. I’m deeply suspicious of those who present themselves as perfect. We all have our vices. We all have our secrets. Only the brave and courageous reveal them. And as for that blogging forum, it had the same impact on me. But don’t give in to them. We all know what that forum is really about – people spotlighting other people’s ‘flaws’ in an attempt to make themselves feel better about their own. Please keep up the bravery that you depict so beautifully through your words. xo
Well said – thanks Bianca. And, to Chrissie, don’t let the bastards get you down!
Also, I really do empathise with your concerns to discontinue blogging, but I strongly believe in the honest voices of the so many writers and bloggers who openly bare and share their lives, fears, wishes and loves… making us all feel human and not so alone. The sad few who are so cruel are, quite simply, ego-driven and, most likely, scared shitless to admit to any of the weaknesses, scars, wrinkles and mistakes that make us all more alike than we realise. No-one is more special or important than anyone else. We’re all flawed. Thank Christ for that!
I hope you keep writing Big Words, Bianca.
Well said Bianca. I especially agree with your comments about disclosing personal details and the fear of attack that goes along with that. I am new to writing and blogging and whilst part of me enjoys opening myself, it is also a very raw and exposing thing to do. My first article that appeared in Daily Life (you can imagine how excited I was to be published) was met with the most negative first comment. I was horrified. I couldn’t believe how quickly some people rush ahead with judgement. Anyway, i’ve decided to get a tougher skin, but i really admire people who continually give of themselves in the public eye. I sincerely hope you keep writing, and Chrissy keeps strong.
I love Chrissie Swan……that is all ;O)
Very well said Bianca. I had just the tiniest bit of trolling on my blog last year and it really got me down! I honestly don’t know how anyone in the public eye copes with the constant negativity. I was horrified by what went on with that blogging forum too. If you don’t like something – don’t read it! Simple as that. So frustrating. I certainly hope all this nonsense doesn’t stop you from blogging 🙁
Totally agree with your post. Sure, smoking’s not great with what we now know. But we’re all human, even Chrissie. Her challenge now is to rise above the public commendation freely flowing in internet forums and do what she said she has to: quit. I wish her well. From what I understand, quitting the smokes is a tough, tough gig.
I cant stand how nasty and vile people can be, especially on the internet..theres so much judgement in the world it just makes me sick.
So well said. Good on you.
this is the first time I have read your blog , I cried , about time people put aside judgement , I have loved Chrissie Swan for nearly 7 years as I sat Breastfeeding my newborn she struck a chord with me as I watched The Circle !! and I continue to read her contributions in the Sunday Paper , shame on those who are belittling her …..
No -one ever deserves this kind of judgement – well said Bianca. I hope Chrissy can be embraced and helped to deal with this backlash.
BTW – THAT forum is hateful and very judgemental – no regard for feelings at all .
What kind of sick society and media causes such a beautiful and loving person to feel they must “confess” and “apologize” for something that is private? People confess to crimes, they do not need to confess to anything about their life that doesn’t concern the world at large.
I know how she felt. I too struggled to quit smoking while pregnant and it was agonizing. But it was my struggle, no one else’s, and at no point was it discussed by anyone besides myself and my doctor.
I am disgusted and angry at this country where every couch is a judges chair, and all and sundry feel free to throw stones from the steps of their glass porches.
Beautifully written Bianca. Chrissie Swan is a wonderful woman and a strong role model for young people. I really hope that she doesn’t disappear from the public eye, I’d definitely miss her and I know many others would too. Everyone does things they’re not proud of, but everyone doesn’t have paparazzi following them around and waiting for them to fail.
It’s nonsense isn’t it? A few fags will not hurt that baby. It’s the poor souls smoking a pack a day and living in smoky environments who need help… not condemnation.
Like too many things associated with motherhood, there’s too much judgment here and it’s just silly. She doesn’t need to feel so bad, it’s NOT the end of the world. I haven’t seen or heard this but would have loved to see her say – OK I’m wrong, butt out! It’s NOT a hanging offence.
So well said Bianca!! I’ve been so saddened to see any negativity towards Chrissie, whom I adore! We all do things we shouldn’t. People need to get over themselves.
I hope she puts it down to ‘just a bad day’
Let me start with- please don’t stop blogging! Those people on that forum have issues. I had never heard of “hate reading” until I read that forum & for the life of me still can’t understand why anyone would do it. You are awesome FULL.STOP!
As for the Chrissie smoking thing I’m confused about my own feelings. On one hand I really like her, her work & what she choices she makes are her own. I feel bad that she felt the need to come clean to the nation, nobody should have to do that & I hope she realizes that she owes the public NOTHING. On the other hand I wonder if everyone would be as supportive if it was a celeb/know media identity that wasn’t as loved- say Lara Bingle? Would we all back a pregnant, smoking Lara Bingle? I’m not sure we would…..Maybe I’m too close such a subject. I’m pregnant now & it’s been a hard slog to get pregnant, stay pregnant & have a good pregnancy. I have done everything in my power to ensure I grow a healthy baby & when I see pregnant mums smoking it really upsets me. But that’s me & we are all different. People might look at some of the decisions I make as a mum & a pregnant lady & not agree too but at least I can make mistakes in private, thank goodness!
I loved this post Bianca. And I read that thread for a moment….. and then realised, it is none of my business what other people think of me. Xx
Well said biaNca. I think we take Being judgemental of others as a right these days when actually we should work towards building community. And looking at our own inadequacies and problems before pointing the finger. Whilst I don’t condone smoking whilst pregnant I can see how it happens and the need to gain support to address said issue.
Great post Bianca! I totally agree with you.
What a hard time for Chrissie Swan. Clearly she knew it was wrong because she did it in secret and kept it from those closest to her. Smoking is an addiction!
She needs support and help to quit now, not criticism from people who are probably far from perfect themselves.
Everyone has hard times and it is the hard times when you require support and love to get through them.
well said! just watching this all play out is devastating as a mum to watch. I really worry how she is coping with this pressure and just the hate coming from people. Who are we to judge her. Why don’t these people take a mirror to themselves and their own lives. This is the thing about the internet and socety and the judgement. I don’t drink or smoke while pregnant but I couldn’t watch her on tv without crying myself and feeling so sorry and worried for her. None of us are perfect.
and on the hate site, I had to stop reading after almost 2 days. the lies and hate written about me and my children was disgusting. I’ve never been back and will never go back because I lead a good life and don’t get my thrills from anonymous hate behind a computer!
Oh what a shame she didn’t say, “I’m struggling with ‘butting out’ smoking for good, but it seems there are a heck of a lot more people struggling with ‘butting out’ of other people’s lives and business!”
By the way, Bianca, this is the first time I’ve ever read your writing and from what I can see from this piece, I reckon it’s pretty bloody awesome!
YES! Good ppl are busy with a life and get on the net in between! Nasty ones have nothing but the net!
I strongly agree with you Reannon. I think Chrissie is a very likeable person, hence the support for her from the public but if someone that was much less likeable was caught smoking I am sure the support would not be so strong.
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I can’t condone smoking while pregnant but Chrissie is obviously very remorseful and has vowed to quit. Its time to give her a break.
Sad to hear you are thinking of not blogging! I love your blog and I love Chrissie. Throughout the whole thing I just kept thinking : SHE IS PREGNANT AND PEOPLE ARE BEING MEAN TO HER. Can someone please just make her a cup of tea give her a foot spa and a slice of cake an some love! Being pregnant is hard!! It’s emotional and full on. The problem her isNOTthat Chrissie had a cigarette the problem Is with the people who buy the magazines who print those horrific invasive paparazzi pictures!
Addictions are nasty. This is really about addictions and what they can do to us. Poor, poor girl to have to deal with it so publicly. Praise God, I am nobody. x