On October 26, 2014, I thought I could die. Like, totally, literally, die. Exaggeration and melodrama for the excitement of the post, you all.
When the internet was first invented it was a place of excitement- OH, THE POSSIBILITIES. And by possibilities, I mean really, really, creepy chat rooms: a/s/l? My mom hovered over me like a hawk, what website are you on, are you on a chat room? And let me tell you, she had every right to be a helicopter. I recall entering a chat room about something completely age appropriate- my undying love of Lisa Frank. I entered into a generic conversation about something like, unicorns vs. tigers on our pencil cases. The norm. When out of no where things got real, real quick. The conversation ended by my exiting the chat, blocking the individual, and asking my mom what their screen name meant: orgy69, or something very close that any parent would want to crawl into a ball and avoid answering.
I got the point, chat rooms were not a safe place in the slightest, but the internet was an awesome source for other amusement: bullying kids in school.
Step 1: get an awesome screen name and if anyone else has a name that slightly resembles yours, it’s grounds for bullying.
Step 2: create a second screen name that is anonymous, so they don’t know it’s you.
Step 3: IM (that’s instant message, for any yunnins perusing these parts of this here inter-web) the person you intend on bullying.
Step 4: Bully away- the choice is yours, feel free to get as mean as possible, the internet is new and they are most definitely not going to catch you.
This was real life- the start of bullying on the internet. A place with so much potential for both good and evil. And things got evil very quickly- To say I have cried at the hands of mean girls on the internet would be the wholehearted truth and I am sure I’m far from alone. Shame on you anonymous internet. And today, the internet is worse- tumblr, twitter, facebook, instragram, yikyak, and the list goes on. So many forums for so much potential- and to think we only had to deal with a possible mean IM.
So I write this because when my blog was discovered by one of my students it was as though my deepest fear became a reality. #1 reason, my brothers torture me over the fact that I even have one. #2 reason, this is a huge part of who I am. Lupus. 27 years old (yes, I am now 27 and I didn’t even get to write about the big change). Living a normal life, despite also having a career. Yeah, surprise, surprise, I don’t live on a cot in my classroom. And I created this blog on one hand as an escape from my disease and on the other hand to promote awareness for a disease that is largely unrecognized. I wanted to create a safe haven for other people that feel misunderstood, because that’s exactly how I felt prior to, and following my diagnosis at the age of 16.
But didn’t you think that when you decided to blog about your life in a public forum that it could be found? You idiot.
I mean, technically I did. But ultimately, this little slice of internet heaven became another world for me. As soon as I realized my alter-ego was discovered I went into lock down. Delete. Private. Shut it all down.
But…I can’t do it- despite the unwarranted harassment I will continue to receive from tweedle-dee and tweedle-dumb (sorry brothers, you will have to figure out which one you are). Despite the possibility that the truth may be discovered: I have a dog, and that I go to the beach, and that I love (terrible) music, and have a personality, and I suffer from road rage, and that I adore my job, and I run. Despite sucking at it. You found me, I am a human. And if anything, you may find that I’m so regular that I’m not that interesting to read about at all!
I want to believe the best in all individuals, especially in my career where I work with young people each and every day. If we could be cognoscente of our words, our actions, and even our non-actions, we could create a community where people could feel secure and proud to be who they truly are rather than seek to impress those that in the end, simply do not matter.
With that, I open this bad boy back up.
Also, stay tuned- I never got to write about that time I ran a 5K that was supposed to be a costume race. I was the only person at the whole race in a costume. Fabulous. And also humiliating.
So glad to see you back! Hope you’re well – what happened when your student discovered your blog?
I was continuously getting notifications “your stats are booming!” Only it was not because I wanted them to be 😉 nothing came out of it, I shut the blog down and let time take its course. Maybe they’ve forgotten about it, maybe they haven’t!
I think you should just fail all your students and tell them that they can thank their esteemed peer for the grade 🙂 it’s amazing the type of courage a bully can have as they are safely hidden behind a glowing screen. I encourage you to keep on writing and running and doing all that you love while ignoring the jerks. Oh and congrats on your first hater! Welcome to the club!