Two nights ago, whilst partaking in my usual night time activity of sharing my every waking thought with my Twitter followers (eg. “Also, can @kanyewest stop shouting at me? My Twitter feed is full of his capital letters.”) I came across something far more disturbing that Kanye.
A Tweet from the lovely Sam Frost.
Alarms bells went off in my head almost immediately.
You see, Sam’s Tweet was scarily similar to Charlotte Dawson’s Tweets in the time leading up to her death back in 2014. Charlotte was always very vocal about her struggles with mental health however it was no secret that she was also a long-time sufferer of cyber bullying…eventually finding it all too much to bare.
I was more than a little concerned. I felt sick.
After reaching out to Sam, both publicly and privately, I went to bed with a heavy heart.
When will this bullshit end?
I replayed Sam’s Tweet in my head. “Broken”. I know the feeling.
In fact I myself was upset only the night before after stumbling across some particularly cruel comments written about me on the Daily Mail.
For those who believe I might be crying wolf, allow me to give you just a small insight to the kinds of comments and messages I receive on a daily basis:
On an article about me being clucky, featuring a photo of me cuddling one of my friend’s new born babies: “Thank God no one is desperate enough to have a baby with her. And I’m thinking solely of the welfare of the child.”
On an article about me spending time with a male friend, who also happened to be on a reality TV show: “She is a cum-guzzling attention seeking degenerate.”
Sent to my blog message inbox: “You should probably go top yourself now. You’re going to die alone anyway. You do my fucking head in, I can’t stand you. Please shut up.”
And finally, one of my favourites, left on an Instagram photo of me and my ex-boyfriend enjoying a road trip: “I hope you both crash the car and die.”
Now I’m almost used to this kind of dribble. 3 years on from Big Brother and I’d like to think that I’d grown thicker skin…or developed some kind of invisible protective barrier.
I’d like to think that…
But what really hurts, what really makes these kinds of comments penetrate through that barrier and infiltrate your brain, poisoning your self-confidence are those comments that play on your self-doubt. The ones that touch on something you already think or worry about, deep down inside. Those insecurities that you have because fuck, you’re only human.
They are the ones that are stick, the ones that make your heart hurt. The ones that put a lump in your throat that just won’t budge. The ones that make you feel like you just want to stay home, under the covers where it’s safe and you can’t accidentally “offend” anyone.
“Maybe I WILL end up alone? Maybe I don’t deserve to be loved?”
“Maybe I SHOULD just give up? Go back to a desk job, stop chasing my dreams, stop being a fucking idiot.”
And then you stop yourself and try to remember that these are faceless trolls, these are people who don’t know you personally (although they may think they do).
These comments come from cowards….bitter little people sitting behind their computer screens. Sometimes they don’t realise the power their words can have, other times they know full went and want to hurt you anyway.
So you try to remember this… but unfortunately the damage has been done.
You’ve read the words, you’ve felt the hurt. Those irrational insecurities and the crippling self-doubt have already started to bubble and fester away in your brain- replaying on a loop, keeping you awake at night.
I guarantee there will be people reading this now and thinking “Oh come on! You’re not even a celebrity? Why are you still talking?” or the classic: “You knew what you were signing up for! What did you expect?”
My answer to those people is that I wish this were only a problem for “celebrities” or people in the public eye.
Unfortunately however I’m talking about the universal issue of online trolling…. the “bullying” of 2016.
Nobody is exempt and this shit has GOT to stop.
Whether you’re Tweeting Taylor Swift or Jess from school…your words matter.
They might not mean anything to you, you might think you’re “just joking” or that the person you’re sending all this online hate to won’t even notice but I’m telling you- they will and your words are damaging. The people you are directing these awful comments at are human beings.
It is not okay.
Now, this might seem like a really simple concept but clearly it’s not getting through to the masses:
If you wouldn’t say it to your parents…if you wouldn’t say it to your sibling or your partner…what on earth makes you think it’s okay to say it to a complete stranger? To somebody who goes to your school or who works in the next cubicle?
How would you feel if your little sister was the one crying herself to sleep?
How would you cope with losing a loved one due to online tormenting?
Enough is enough.
This world is already such a troubling and scary place.
Let’s not add to the darkness.
(If you or anybody you know has felt the effects of cyber bullying or just wants somebody to talk to, call or hit up Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636)