A Writer's Journey

August 19, 2011

A Cautionary Tale

Filed under: journey — mackenziew @ 6:14 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

In my May 17th blog, I mentioned the recent resignation of Celtic Thunder member Ryan Kelly. I used it as part of my own personal debate to use a pen name or not. I am addressing it again for an entirely different reason.

I would like to repeat something I said in that earlier blog: I do not know the entire story. I may never know the entire story.

Earlier this month, I got my first inkling something was up with Ryan. Fellow former Celtic Thunder member Paul Byrom tweeted that people shouldn’t believe everything out there about Ryan. Shortly after, producer Sharon Browne wrote that she had news about Ryan she would share shortly. A number of fans grew excited, hoping it was an announcement that Ryan would be returning. I doubted this. I had gone to the internet to see what it knew. The only thing I could get really was that Ryan had broken up with his girlfriend and inferred that it had been bad. I dismissed some of the claims as too fanciful to be true.

I should’ve remembered the old adage about truth being stranger than fiction. When Sharon had a moment free in her hectic schedule, she updated us fans about Ryan. There still aren’t many details but that’s because there’s a police investigation and Sharon didn’t want to compromise it. Yes, it is that serious. It seems the Ryan Kelly we experienced on the internet was not Ryan. He was living under a cloud of fear during this.

This is a cautionary tale and not about fame.This scenario could happen to anyone. I am a moderator for my parish youth group. Last year (Sept. 2010-June 2011), we did exercises about different types of bullying. One scenario saw two friends plot against a former friend. One of these bullies had the former friend’s password and they used it to ruin the girl’s reputation. While I was in college, I heard stories of people having to shut their Facebook accounts down because exes or former friends either had their passwords or hacked them.

Be careful who you trust both in real life and online. Never give out your password. If you must, change it immediately. Make sure that your password isn’t something that can be easily guessed. If you feel compromised, tell someone. Most reputable sites have resources for you to protect yourself. Tell family and friends—there is strength in numbers. Laws are slowly starting to catch up to technology. Check to see if there is a legal recourse you can pursue.

For those tempted to get revenge in this fashion, stop and think. Every action has a consequence. Your moment of fun is a world of hurt for someone else. You may feel better posting about a supposed fling with, say, a boss or an subordinate. Yet your victim may face inquiries at work, disciplinary actions and possible termination over your “silly little prank.” No break up, no fight is worth that. So be mad, yell at something, unload to someone, cry, eat chocolate and/or ice cream or write it out somewhere then either lock it away or delete it.

Yet this just doesn’t happen in cases of revenge. Everybody gets crushes—on celebrities, on people they know, on that guy who sits across from you everyday on the bus ride home. Everybody also has fantasies. These usually stay in someone’s head or in a notebook crammed toward the back of the bookcase. Or in a document file that you would die if it ever saw the light of day. The anonymity of the internet means some people post it there—no one will know it’s you. As someone who has read her share of “wish fulfillment” fan fictions, I can tell you some things should not be posted on the internet.

If you can no longer see the difference between your fantasies and reality, pull out! Talk to someone and get help. Do no create webpages dedicated to your non-existent fairy tale or take over your obsession’s social media. It is no way to endear yourself to that person. It is the best way to find yourself on the wrong end of a restraining order. Or worse- a police investigation.

To conclude, I wish to apologize to Ryan Kelly’s other fans. Back in May, I blamed his departure on hostile fans who couldn’t tell where “public” Ryan ended and “private” Ryan began. I fear I bought “Ryan’s” reasons hook, line and sinker. I ignored my questions and misgivings arising from the disconnect between what “Ryan” said and what “Ryan” did. I wrote off those who were angry and their clues that something was off—noticing the same disconnect I did, noticing their questions were ignored during Q & A sessions, etc. In the end, it was not your fault. In the end, you knew Ryan better.

I know not everyone believes in a deity or a higher power. If you do, please send a prayer Ryan’s way. I know I will. If you don’t, send warm wishes and/or positive thoughts instead. And then do the same for the people who aren’t in the public eye yet have faced similar situations—for everyone who ever had an account hacked. For anyone whoever Googled themselves on a whim and got the shock of their lives. For anyone who lived in fear and no longer had control of their own lives.

Until next time, stay safe out there.


1 Comment »

  1. Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular article!
    It is the little changes that make the greatest changes. Thanks a lot
    for sharing!

    Comment by Tressa — July 27, 2013 @ 6:50 pm | Reply

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