So it’s happening again. An almost 2-year-old meme of me is making its rounds on the internet. It all started with an internet fight when I was fundraising for my name change. This guy got really upset about it, about how my gender couldn’t be a thing so when he came across my tinder profile he screen capped it and sent it to a page with over 400k followers, from there it went viral.
I address the concerns/comments about this on my youtube channel.
I was harassed for several months but the breaking point is when this meme was made.
This meme signified a huge turning point for me, because well, I laughed at it. Suddenly the online harassment didn’t hold power over me anymore. To me, the meme captured perfectly what I was and didn’t really lie about anything, it just was.
I made it better though and made a consensual version of the meme, (because to me, Oppression and Chill sounds sexy)
When I made this meme I posted it to the pages which harassed me and it got one powerful response:
“I was simply looking for more things to amuse myself with when I saw your post to that page, and shame suddenly hit me for having been part of those people who dismissed your cause.
The people behind it were no longer as far away as I had once thought”
This was just one, of many conversations and conversions of energy that went on as I continued to react to the meme and process it in my own way.
Things were pretty intense the year I went viral, every bro-dude seemed to be planning to dress as Caitlyn Jenner, and so I thought, why not dress as myself.
I went to work like that, at a coffee shop, serving lattes and had powerful conversations with customers about online bullying. It reassured me that the hatred I was facing online was not indicative of what society really thought, and the people I talked to all seemed to have my back.
I later found out that a 15-year-old girl actually did glue some hair to her face and a bead to represent my piercing and dressed as me for Halloween. I literally was a costume. Some of my friends had some not nice things to say about her, so I posted a public apology on my Instagram because even a kid does not deserve that kind of hate.
I later went on to present a workshop I entitled “Feed the Fucking Trolls” (which I recently went over on my youtube) in which I went over the lessons I had learned in conversion and growth. I eventually tracked down the guy who started the whole campaign and told his boss what happened, the result was a free meal, an apology, and a hug.
Yes, I hugged the guy who caused me all this pain because he was just a starting point to one of the most intense journeys of my life. The online harassment pushed my panic attacks over the edge and I ended up seeking help through my works employee assistance program. I accessed somatic therapy to treat my PTSD and have since gone back on medication while I seek gender affirming treatment.
It has been one of the most startling and transformative experiences of my life, I studied a small book called “the Art of Peace” and it emphasized staying within my own power and not trying to control others.
There was a time it really mattered and I really needed the affirmation “they”, now I am healed more and less disturbed by other peoples confusion. So many of the “hateful” comments said “get help” and well, I did and continue to do so. I am not better yet. My PTSD still haunts my writing, but “every day in every way I am getting better, better and better”.