[ Another Absence and Cyber Bullying – March 2nd, 2014 ]

March 2, 2014 § 4 Comments

Photo on 12-19-13 at 1.43 PM #2I was going to start blogging a lot again, I had 3 posts already written – I was prepared, I was going to be consistent, I was going to give my portfolio a boost, I was going to bring my online presence back. Then the Olympics happened and something… happened. I hate constantly apologizing for not blogging as much as I always say I will, but this time is different. The morning start off as normal as any but within a few hours I had someone stealing photos (some of them WELL over 2 years old from my blog and Twitter, meaning this person take significant time out to stalk me) and posting on their Twitter as if they were me – not just to be creepy, but they were actually mocking me. I’ve dealt with cyber bullying before (I’ve posted about it openly here, in a post where I was told I should go ahead and just start being anorexic) but I’ve never been hit so hard by it. This person went out of their way to contact my friends, went out of their way to stalk me, this wasn’t just some crappy thing someone said to me on the internet – this person put a full days worth of effort into their attack on my person.

Harassment 1I had to take a long hard thought about how this could effect me. Not just my online presence, not just my Tumblr, not just my Twitter, not just my Instragram, not just my blog, but me. This person was using MY name, they were using MY photos, their hate-filled and ignorant and just flat out mean statements could lead back to ME. What should I do? Should I remove myself entirely? Delete all of my accounts? But then how would I follow my chronic illness blogs, how would I follow my fellow PhD student blogs – things that make my life feel more normal. I went through a bunch of emotions – was I overreacting? Was it just ignorable that someone was literally pretending to be me, calling me an idiot, lying, claiming I was in inpatient psych services, even going so far as slandering other people under the claim of being me? I didn’t know if I was overreacting, and I honestly don’t know know if I’m overreacting by posting this blog entry.

Harassment 2Part of me was made to think I should step away from having an online presence entirely. But was that really going to benefit me? Should someone who was so pathetic, so asinine, so without thought for the condition of other humans beings worth having even that minute level of control over my life? I didn’t tweet for a few days and I certainly didn’t post any of my blog posts. The only thing I did online was  use Facebook – my one completely (or well as completely as it can be) outline. I might have Instragram’d here and there, I reblogged some stuff on Tumblr eventually… then I started tweeting again from the Olympics – but it took a few days. I was ready to give it all up honestly, but then I realized that I couldn’t let someone like that control me life. Was it painful to see these things? Did it hurt more than I’d like to admit? Did it upset me, also, probably longer than I’d like to admit? Yes. But was I going to let it shove me offline and effect me permanently or even long-term? No. That person, whoever they are, is a scum bag. That person isn’t worth allowing that level of control over my life. They become pathetic to me, it hurt still, but they were pathetic – not me.

Harassment 3I decide that I wasn’t going to step away, but not everyone has that option. This is the second time I’ve had a direct attack on my person just because I was online. Both times it was by anonymous people who were hiding behind the internet to be able to bully others, to be able to “get their rocks off” by trying to make others miserable. People who are pathetic. If you treat others like this, if you go this far out of your way – I’m not talking about making a blunt comment, or even calling someone on their bs online (we’ve all done that) –  but if you stalk people, if you go out of your way to harass them, you are pathetic. You may be calling the people you try and mock pathetic – but every mean word you say to them, its only a reflection upon yourself. You are no better than dirt. If you think that taking 9 hours out of your day to stalk someone, steal their identity, and mock their existence somehow makes you cool or even empowers you personally – then you are not worth the time of your friends, you are not worth any awards you have won, you are not worth admiration. You are worthless. It is not the people you mock who are worthless, but it is you – because you mock the indefensible, you slander those who have no way to run, you attack those who have no shield.

The last thing I have to say is to Twitter as an organization. I find it absolutely disgusting that you allow this type of behavior to go on on your website. I blocked this person, which he was able to circumvent easily. I reported his harassment for hours on end. I even e-mail you screen shots of proof – and what did you do? You first removed his suspension (which happened twice, both times lifted!) but you didn’t even bother to respond to me. I was harassed, stalked, impersonated, and had personal information stolen by someone to use for their own gains and you couldn’t even e-mail me back to tell me you’d deleted the account. Not only is that pitiful customer service but it shows absolutely no dedication on your companies part to protect your users from cyber bullying and identity theft. Shame on you Twitter, you are almost as at fault as the random user who tried to attack me – not for your actions, but for your inactions.

I’m not leaving the internet, and I’m not giving up my pathetic excuse of inconsistent blogging – but I will speak out when I need to, and this was one of those times. I hope anyone else who ever feels harassed, let down, or scared by someone online finds the support they need from their friends and family to get through it – and if you don’t, know you always have an ear in me.

*I have decided not to blur our twitter handles due to the fact that it is no secret what my twitter handle is, given that I openly have used it not only here but when I was still working as a journalist as well and my contacts are easily visible given that the account is public. On the end of the person harassing me, the account was deleted so it being included, sadly, does nothing.

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[ the sad truth about our generation – 2.11.11 ]

February 12, 2011 Comments Off on [ the sad truth about our generation – 2.11.11 ]

As many of you follow me on tumblr as well (I’m sure most of you actually know of my blog from my tumblr honestly) there was someone who felt the need to say some really unnecessary nasty things to me earlier today:

I used to get a lot of this stuff on a regular basis, but I’ve cut down on using tumblr because I’ve been so busy, and primarily updating my blog.  I deleted and didn’t respond to it. But when I got this first anonymous comment after posting this twitter update I decided I was just going to make a really simple, and true response. Of course, in normal fashion of the internet, the person escalated. I simply repeated myself (because, ultimately it is true, comments like that are why girls develop eating disorders, but I’ll get more into that lately). I never in my life thought I’d get the sort of response I did from that person:

Anonymous asked: you should try having an eating disorder, chubby! maybe then you wouldnt be in denial about your size.”

I don’t think, ever, in my life, no matter what I thought of a person, that I have ever been cruel enough to actually suggest someone try having an eating disorder because they’re chubby. But comments and negativity like this have become the norm of our generation. So may people think it is okay to make comments to people like this, without a second though; I’m sure without thinking at all in most cases.

Bulimia, Anorexia, and other eating disorders are absolutely no laughing matter. These are serious issues. I’ve been self-conscious about my weight before, I’m sure most people have at one point or another. I also have several friends who have suffered from eating disorders (thankfully only one has ever gotten so bad that they needed to be hospitalized for it and hooked up to an iv for caloric intake, which is where many girls end up with such diseases). A friend of mine who lives out in California (I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing this since she did write it for a public website) recently wrote a story about it for Her Campus: A Colliegette‘s Guide to Life.

The Most Difficult Thing I’ve Ever Written

This article is hard to write. I am forced to come to terms with the fact that I am sick, I am not in control, and if I continue my life may not ever go the way its supposed to.

But I’m scared. I feel trapped. What do you do when the only thing that makes you feel better makes you a public mockery? Every time I try to put those jeans on, regardless of the size, it’s always a shame. I stare at girls thinner than me, blatantly. I just want to feel like I belong in my skin and my skin belongs to me.”

This is what I’ve heard in various forms to most of the girls I’ve ever spoken to who are currently battling or in recovery for an eating disorder. The honest truth is, when my body image was at it’s worst around the end of my living in Orlando and the first few months I lived in Chicago, that was exactly how I felt. I felt like I was trapped in a body that wasn’t mine. These feelings certainly weren’t helped by the fact I spent the ages of 15-19 struggling with the fact that due to getting sick and being home schooled I went from being 92 lbs and naturally/athletically thin my whole life to being 137lbs at my heaviest and overweight by any standards for my small 5’0″ frame. I finally feel good again, staying in the 110-115lb range most of the time, but sometimes creeping back up towards 120lbs during the winter when I’m much more inactive and pron to ordering greasy take-out food that can be delivered right to my lazy ass’s doorstep.

The fact of the matter is the girl who wrote that article is gorgeous, she’s got hair I envy to no extent, and there’s not a thing wrong with her or me physically… yet she feels this way anyway. It may be self-induced, it could be from playful teasing, or it could be from someone crossing the line and making a comment like what was made to me today on tumblr, it could even just be simply from watching a TV show or reading a magazine and coming about the unrealistic expectations that every girl should have a body that looks like Miranda Kerr’s. Is this healthy? Is this what we want our daughters and granddaughters (and sons and grandson’s, boys can certainly suffer as well) to strive and starve for? If you’re answer is yes, I honestly hope you never have children.

Let’s get down to the barebones everyone. Right now, I’ll admit, I’ve got pudge and fluff in a few more areas than I’d like, but it’s winter! I’m mentally prepared to gain 3-5 pounds this time of year. I was not mentally prepared, honestly, to deal with someone saying this to me today. I freaked out for about an hour, talked to a few friends, calmed down and I decided to do something about it. I decided to break the fear and take my measurements for the first time in well over 2 years. Bust (29 inches); Waist (26 inches); Hips (33.5 inches). I then proceed to look up what that meant as far as sizing goes… It put me at an xs/1/2/4 in most clothing (ie – pretty much anything that wasn’t high waisted). Some how these measurements translate to ‘chubby’.

I want everyone to reflect upon how stupid that is, how absolutely ridiculous it is that at 5’0″ with perfectly ‘average’ measurements and a weight that falls well with the healthy range by both pounds and BMI (I know these can be tricky subjects and are far from accurate on everyone but I’m trying to make a point here), actually falling almost dead in the center of said range on both, that some how I am chubby and in a deserving position of such comments. I can only provide facts and measurements about my own body and wardrobe of course, but this isn’t just about me of course. This is true for thousands of girls all over the world, in every country, from every culture. It could be true for your mother, your grandmother, your little sister, your best friend, that gorgeous thin teacher you envy every day in class, that model on the cover of your favourite magazine or staring in your new favourite line that just debuted this week in New York for fashion week.

What does this say about our generation? It says a lot. It says a lot about how we are willing to treat out peers, especially those who we have never met, and maybe not even spoken to. I will never understand how people could be so cruel to someone just for the sake of it, especially about something so serious as an eating disorder. If you don’t think they’re serious, I suggest you take a look over here at South Carolina’s Department of Mental Health’s page on eating disorder statistics.

“A study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reported that 5 – 10% of anorexics die within 10 years after contracting the disease; 18-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years and only 30 – 40% ever fully recover”

“20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems.”

Those are some absolutely hilarious statistics aren’t they? The truth is that eating disorders take over your life. They effect you, your family, your friends, and most importantly your health. You can die from them. You can do serious and permanent damage to your body if you aren’t treated for them, and even if you are the chances of recovery aren’t that great. You can destroy your teeth and esophagus beyond repair. Is this still funny to everyone?

If you don’t like me and think I’m on such a ‘high horse’ and should ‘try an eating disorder’ from a simple twitpic complaining about never finding anything floor length that fits my short 5 foot frame right… then I highly suggest you take a look in the mirror, a long and hard one. Think about what it means about you that you feel the need to go around talking people down like that and being so rude. Think about what it means that you still follow my tumblr/twitter just so you can make these nasty comments about 150% harmless things I say. Oh come on, it’s a bitch to be short! If you haven’t wrestled with trying to find something that fits you length wise and you’re my height, send me another message with where you shop so I too can partake in this wonderful world of maxi dress and skirts! (PS. on the real though, suggestions ladies.)

At the end of the day, I’m one of the lucky one’s, my own bad body image has never actually turned into an eating disorder, a fact of which I am very thankful of. I owe a lot of credit for this to a book I read right before I started college at DePaul, back in August of 2009 (a point when I was at one of my most content and happy places in life). It’s called Thin Is The New Happy. It is not the story of a recovering anorexic or bulimic. It is the story of a woman, a mother, a strong female with a good career. It is her story about being berated by her mother as a child and going through the diet dictionary and having been on almost any one imaginable. It is about her struggle to realize how to be healthy, accept that not everyone is a size 0, and make sure that she broke the bad body image cycle and didn’t pass it down to her own daughters. I suggest absolutely anyone read it; male, female, fat, skinny, eating disorder, no eating disorder. I also suggest the documentary ‘Thin’ which is a film done at a Florida treatment center following 4 women ages 15-30 as they go through the pain of treatment for eating disorders.

“Coming to terms with my diet demons seemed more doable than losing twenty pounds, actually. And more worthwhile, too, given what was at stake.
Even more than love, I wished for my daughters a life of comfort in their skin. I had to break our family tradition, ensure that Maggie and Lucy felt super strong and bullet proof, no matter what shape they took. I had to show they how, but first, I would have to figure it out. For me, the struggle started with my mother. For my daughters, the struggle would end with me.” – From “Thin Is The New Happy” by Valerie Frankel

At the end of the day, I hope just one person reads this and gets something from it. Whether it makes them think twice about what they say to people or whether someone who is struggling with their own body image comes across this blog entry and realizes that you don’t have to subjugate yourself to comments like this and the pressure they create within your mind. I also offer a friendly ear if anyone who reads this ever needs one, I’m always glad to listen, especially if you feel like you have no one to talk to.

I’m not perfect (probably about as far from it as you can get), there are always things about me that I will need to take a step back and look at and work on. I’m not saying by this article that I’ve never said a mean thing about someone; whether out of spite or not. However, the older I get, the more and more I realize just how awful it is to be mean to someone simply because you can or because you’re having a bad day or whatever the hell reason you tell yourself to sleep at night. Why? Because you never know what that one sentence could do to someone.

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