My Inbox Is Usually A Place Of Love

hate email shani jay
Photo by Christine Adel

My inbox is usually a place of love.

Random, heartfelt emails from women who have somehow found their way to one of my books. Reminders of money flowing in. So many beautiful opportunities.

My inbox is usually a place of love, at least it was until last weekend.

Last weekend I sent out an email to my list like I usually do towards the end of the month. It was a short snapshot of an article I had recently published on my dating advice for women. I included a link to the article if anyone wanted to read more like I always do. Underneath that, there was a link and a message that doors to our Writer’s Coven journey would be closing soon.

That was it.

The women who sign up to my email list and our She Rose Revolution list are women who want more from us. At least, they usually do.

But last weekend, I received an unexpected reply to this email.

“Fuck off Alqueida whore.”

Nothing more, nothing less.

For a split second, I was trapped in shock. But then I remembered what temporarily slipped my mind.

I remembered that I live in a world where racism, sexism, and misogyny are very much alive and well. I remembered that this was certainly not the first time I’d experienced random acts of hate toward me, simply for the color of my skin.

The person’s identity was not masked in any way. Her name was written out for me to see on her email account. Her photo was there alongside it. But of course, she could have been anyone. That name could be fake. She could have been a he. Someone else could have been using her account that day. It’s difficult to say.

For the purposes of this article, we’ll call her she.

Why did she sign up to my email list in the first place if she doesn’t like brown people?

If the email she received offended her somehow, why did she not hit the unsubscribe button at the end of it and remove herself from my list?

Why did she think it acceptable to type something so openly racist and misogynistic and send that poison to another human being she has never even met?

I already know the answers to my own questions.

It was a cold, calculated act of hate. The words were conjured in mind, loosely strung together, typed out, read, and sent. Her message was littered with thought and intention.

Lucky for me, I’ve been immersed deep in my soul work over the years. Words like paki, and afghan used to cut deep, but now they sting for just a moment, then roll off me like a wave. Shame began to wash over me as my mind dug up similar incidents from my past, but then I remembered that emotion was not mine to own.

I am able to recognize that it is not myself I should feel sorry for; it is her, along with all the others like her, suffocated by their own pollution every minute of every day.

Part of me wanted to bury this email in my shadow, where it’s deep and dark and appears not to exist. But I know that what we repress does not disappear. It lingers, festers, and it grows. We cart that darkness around until we find the courage to face it and work through it.

So I’m here. I’m facing it. I’m shining a light on this darkness, exposing the hate that lurks in many parts of this world. And I encourage you to do the same.

Don’t allow another person’s vile words or actions to consume you. Don’t shove it in the closet and shut the door, pretending it did not happen. I know it’s hard, and sometimes this is all you want to do. But this is how hatred swells.

Speak up. Share your experiences, no matter how painful they may be to recall. Expose the hate to the light.

And I will remind myself that my inbox is usually a place of love.

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