On success, trolls, anxiety and me
A lot of the time I live under a rock, but sometimes, I venture online and find myself witness to some of the not so pleasant interactions which happen in the online world. There have been a few twitter ‘misunderstandings’, some out-and-out nastiness on facebook groups over differing opinions and then there are the comments which people receive. On their blogs. Their own space. Being ridiculed, called names, pulled to pieces. Not because the person commenting disagrees; I honestly do not think there is really many bloggers out there who can’t handle hearing somebody else’s opinion, as long as it’s shared respectfully, but because someone out there is bored and nasty.
Life would be completely dull if we were all the same, if we all thought the same thoughts, held the same views on absolutely everything and felt passionate about what every other person on the planet got fired up about.
I rarely wade into the word flinging I see between people through social media – mostly, I come to the ‘party’ too late and am playing catch ups, trying to figure out why there are hurt feelings and unkind words filling my feeds and personally, I have only ever had one hate-filled comment here. Which happened to be on a guest post, written by my mum about my birth. Through looking into it, we were able to discern it was in relation to my dad being mentioned in the post, due to my parents no longer being together by a mislead individual.
The posts about the negativity being flung at bloggers, whether it be in the comments of their posts, on an article written about them, on twitter or through facebook always seem to come just as I decide to work on growing the blog. And, seeing these amazing women being torn down for having a voice, for sharing a story, for making a stand or sharing an opinion makes me sick to my stomach.
While things are not directed at me, I start to feel a heavy anxiety which leads to me having to pull back from the blog and take a break from social media. I start to get weighed down with the disappointment of seeing people, who are obviously talented and well loved, being treated so badly – and most likely because of that proficiency and popularity.
And then I decide not to put any more energy into creating a bigger community here.
I don’t have that thick skin, the ability to let hurtful comments roll off my back. Hell, I can’t even let hurtful comments about others go easily.
With the recent spate of nastiness, I have had an epiphany thanks to being more in touch with myself than I have been in forever and realised why it is that I take what happens to others in this cyber world to heart and why it is that it makes me fearful of going after success in this blogging world. Other than the obvious. Obviously.
You see, I have been here. A long time ago.
As a teenager, in high school, having returned to a school I once left and needing to make new friends, I found myself surrounded by ‘friends’ who weren’t exactly who they seemed. I was only just online, back in the day when email was amaze and you could dot people on dot.com. Or something.
Things got bad as those I had aligned myself with started to prey on me. Prank calls, following me and then telling me everything I had been doing, nasty emails followed by detailed death threats. Very vivid, detailed threats. Involving hot pokers, coal and my insides.
Back then, there was ‘nothing to be done’ about the messages, as they were not directly addressed to me ie; my name and address did not appear on them as they would on an envelope which was mailed. It didn’t matter that they were sent to my email address, that was not proof of anything.
People I turned to thought it was no big deal, what was happening to me. There was little to no prerequisite. No past cases of online trolling, stalking or bullying in our community. There was yet to be heartbreaking tales of teens committing suicide after being ridiculed, taunted, teased and cyber bullied.
Those years of torment scarred me. Those years are why I suffer crippling anxiety when faced with crowds. Or people. Those years are why I can’t make friends. Trusting people is hard. Those years are why you probably think I am aloof, uninterested or rude. I locked myself away long enough to have no idea how to interact with people. Whether I like them or not. Or especially if I like them.
So, now, the thought of dealing with negativity directed at me via the internet shuts me down. I know I wouldn’t cope, just the thought leaves me feeling raw and vulnerable.
Again, I will probably step back and hide in the shadows, hoping to not be noticed while these strong women stand up and speak out, even as they are treated in such a horrible way. I feel weak amongst them.Weak and unworthy.
What I can say, is thank goodness there are posts. Thank goodness this is being spoken about. Thank goodness bloggers have the heart to group together, support and stand up for each other. I know that bullying is not only directed at bloggers and that it happens daily in all kinds of areas, being in the blogging business means we are in a position to speak up, because that’s what we do.
Also, these days – thank fully – there is something that can be done. Nothing is really anonymous. Every time you post, you leave information about yourself, even if you think you’re being as careful as possible.
There is no longer ‘nothing that can be done’.
Linking up with Jess for IBOT
P.S. It’s my 29th birthday today!! So old right now, hehe.