Why are we so willing to trade our integrity and originality for an easy copy of someone else? Just recently, the internet was a flutter with tales of bloggers calling out other bloggers and their publishers over plagiarism. In a recent ShePosts article, the plagiarist was named front and center. Two women’s lives will never be the same. I can’t understand needing to push content to such an extent that the integrity of each word is lowered or blatantly dismissed. These words and the power behind them are a hard-earned legacy. Women once wrote under men’s names, afraid that because they were female, their writing wouldn’t have the credibility of their male counterparts. To disgrace the originality of your own voice is possibly the worst decision you can ever make.

“I learned of  the most valuable secrets of life a few years back. I am not great on my own and therefore my business, or anyway I portray myself is not a one-woman machine rather, I am surmised of those who have inspired and influenced me. I learned that simply bringing my whole self to the pot-luck of online, (my signature dish,) that I was 100% more credible, trustworthy and REAL.It’s why so often when I see the muddy waters of other’s choices online where I wonder why they haven’t discovered that their power isn’t in taking over someone else, but rather bringing that person with them.This is why I am so passionate about doing RIGHT and CREDIBLE, online.”

What happens when the lack of integrity by one harms the reputation of another?  In September, I published a piece called, {Blur} The Lines Between Stealing an Idea and Stealing Content. I tried to balance my frustration of having been blatantly copied and being true to myself. After emailing the other writer and making it clear that going forward, I wasn’t going to take any lifting as “harmless,” anymore. I told myself, “Karma will win.” All three times she’s lifted my work in style, ideas and quotes I told myself, it was a compliment. This is how we are taught to take copycatism- almost as if it’s a gift to be duplicated. We should be grateful someone found beauty or worth in our words.

I wrote last September almost as a plea to the person taking my words, ideas and emotions. I never uttered her name or her blog. Even when my ideas became her profit. She had ads on her blog, and was literally paid for my stories while I struggled to write for free because I  had a belief in the medium and the importance of not monetizing my child. Weeds of resentment grew as people often pointed out her similar posts and mine. It wasn’t until I received an email tonight about this same writer copying a post within 2 hours of it being up that I knew I had to take my threats as seriously as my original words. But how on earth could I keep my grace and integrity intact in such a relatively small world of writers? I couldn’t shame one person without shaming part of myself. That was the truth I knew, deep down and the truth I wanted to shove away because being RIGHT seemed to matter more in a single moment of anger.

I had the entire blog planned. I’d table her post and then mine. As dozens of people have pointed out, it’s obvious. I’d splash color on the truth and then, surely she’d be shamed. Only, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Not because I wanted to be the bigger person, but because suddenly the need to be right just didn’t seem that important as I looked over at John smiling kindly and telling me he loved me. Anger always seems to dissipate with a single touch or a look of pure understanding. It also seems to dilute itself when there is so much other good in the world around me.

The truth is, I still look at the photos of her children and wonder if my words in calling her out with harm their mouths or stomachs or if in 10 years they’d know the truth that sometimes, their mother was human and hurt others. The truth is… I didn’t want to care anymore. Originality matters in a world where everyone strives to be what they see in someone else. She could be a far better writer if she’d give herself the credit. We all would.