For a while there, my own reflection on my Instagram page was what gave me hope. A selfie to celebrate waking up and a moment to bask in the glory of my gender fuckery when the mascara darkening my cursed moustache was perfectly applied. Of course, this testament to my own hope was open because well, I believe in honesty & transparency. I believe no one can help you if you’re not open about what you’re going through.
So when I got harassed online, if anyone said it was a cry for help, they wouldn’t have been wrong. Frankly, I got so many insults I don’t even know what most of them were anymore, beyond that I had a reverse hilter stash, which I am pretty sure is an antithesis to celebrated, not condemned. My panic attacks went from barely manageable to out of control. I had to take a day or two off work just to process it. People were taking my dating profile and distributing it and sending me death threats and no one could get over the fact that I had several odd thousand posts on my Instagram. This was…. the ultimate crime. So I took more selfies. Videos. Rants. Bought a pocket book called the Art of Peace which encouraged me to keep any and all battles to my own realm, to allow nothing to draw me out and steal my power. I did my most potent and powerful poetry on the waves of emotion this brought me. I also reached out for help. I proposed to my partner of several years as he had quietly rode with me through an abusive relationship and the following year of suicidal idealation (I was grateful the harassment came when I was through the worst of that). I got fired from a degrading work place and restarted on a career path. I found not one, but two new partners. My body has started healing.
So what now,? I take these deep breaths. The habit of a thousand selfies is hard to break. I had to have some hard conversations with my partners about how open I could be about them on social media. Everything feels a little bit better but also unsettled, unsettling. Settling. There is no settle with these elements, but I can integrate & flow between them now. My online presence has shifted from documentation of survival and struggle to something else, whatever else. A putty I can now form. It was absolutely always all about me and thats ok. It was my social media presence and I had a right to do that, to be self absorbed in my own healing. I wasn’t going out of my way, asking people to follow me, begging them to like my posts, I was just existing. And this was in some eyes, a crime. My queer appearance was a scapegoat for unsolicited rage at others expressions of pain, which may have manifested as hatred. It was a cycle of abuse that demanded I should hate cis people and the like, oppressors, whatever. But I realized most of this harassment was coming from children. A few scary gun lovers yes, military types too, but the bulk of it was children, 14 years old, 15, whatever. Soon I realized it was more important to defend those kids from backlash, to set a better example. People commented on my stuff to “grow up”, because expressions of personal joy or sorrow aren’t welcome in the adult world? What kind of B.S. is that? I was labelled an LOLcow, the purpose of which is to distort ones reality to “milk” more humorous content out of. I was not immune to the messages of others, their influence and distortion as it could bend my reality to make me feel unloved. Love stepped up though, wrapped itself around me. Every post into the void is a question “will they come for me?”, much like my clothing was at a time a question of “will I be harrassed in this?”
I have more resources now, emotional and otherwise, so I am not so dependant on that stream of selfies to remind myself I am ok, real & alive. I am struggling with the questions of “so now that I am here, how much do I want to share, how much is ok to share” …. before, I was so on the verge of my own existences that I gave little fucks to my own privacy, dignity or decency (whatever those words mean), it was all meaningless after my assault, and during the struggle for my life sharing my journey was the one constant I could reflect on. It was, an outsourcing of my love for myself. I have an executive functioning deficit, which for me, means I can hold and sort less information in my immediacy at once, it’s why I put my soul online as a mirror I could see, I cover my walls and floor in my thoughts. My bedroom is not just a place I sleep but an extension of my brain. My world online? Also, an extension of my thoughts. It is a place more reliable than backed up broken laptops I can‘t afford this technology anyways– it’s adaptive. Perhaps that is what was so scary about me …. I was using the online world to help me think, like we all do it, to some extent, everything we touch is an extension of our thoughts. Maybe it’s uncomfortable to acknowledge. Maybe it’s scary because it’s different.
So I got used to using the internet in this way but there are two things saying this is no longer ok: safety & privacy. (Even though it should be ok, imo).
Safety, I can rebel against, demand that I have a right to use how I like.
Privacy is more complicated, my sense of which is somewhat broken and perhaps still needs to heal. In sharing my most raw & vulnerable selfies I leave room for others to assign their own meanings to my life, which requires me to have a sort of energtic strength and internal crisis about shame. Shame has been a long battlefield for me, and the LOLcow distortion effect means you have to (energeticly) fight to defend yourself, which holds you stagnant, as opposed to accepting your state, which is the first step to being able to transform it, but it is distorted with unacceptance, and hatred. So I feel this, sort of genderless lumpness. I also feel like I have passed through most of my trials, that I can regroup and seek new strategies to integrate the love I have in my life. I do not need a reflection back to tell myself I am loved, this knowledge is sinking deep inside me. But do I still outsource my thinking? Or do I find better ways to do this, with tools that I am scared to use, that aren’t as reliable, that I feel at risk of losing. I have binders and binders, do I fill them with my thoughts. My bodies pain and memory has me floating on top of the brain that is my bedroom, finally able to interact with it. I am still seeking, the best ways for me to think and the best ways for me to be.