So I want to clear some things up.
I’m actually really sick of tip-toeing around all this shit. So there’s no better time than now.
And I’m going to do it publicly.
Not because I want to open myself up to more unwelcome scrutiny from strangers, but because unfortunately my life has become some kind of public circus as instigated by sensationalist media, so I might as well just accept it and speak up for myself in the same way.
After dealing with this predicament for the last 8 or so years, I’ve had to accept that it’s only a matter of time before a trashy tabloid decides it has no story to report so they will again recycle old exaggerated bullying articles about me and ridicule whatever it is I’m doing with my life, whether relevant to anything or not.
The media always needs someone to hate. Public shaming has become the new “news” nowadays.
So I guess in the end, since I’ll be judged or hated regardless, I’d rather it be for things I’ve said myself than for what others have to say about me.
I mean, what more have I got to lose now, right?
So I know that people have distanced themselves from me, particularly over the last few months. And to be honest, I don’t really blame them.
Yeah it’s hard to be around me.
Hell, it’s hard to BE me.
I also know that partly, this has come from me isolating myself, because to be honest I feel like very few people (if anyone) really can possibly understand how I feel. I mean, what can anyone really say? What can anyone really do? How can people even relate to someone like me?
I did recently start writing as a form of release, to let out some bottled up emotions and instead turn them into art at the same time. Sometimes inspiration actually comes from pretty dark places.
I love art, I love photography and I love language.
But following that, I have also become aware that sometimes my words make people uncomfortable and in turn create even more distance.
In a perfect world, we could all be real and true to ourselves without so much judgment and we would all be equally supported in both our highs and our lows.
But sadly this isn’t so.
Being honest means speaking about your reality, whatever it may be; but it’s evident that people don’t want to see all realities. Society is obsessed with the idea of success, happiness, achievement.
This subsequently creates deep feelings of depression, anxiety and inadequacy in those of us who feel like we can’t exactly fit that mold.
Just the same way that someone might share a photo of their engagement, their newborn child, their purchased home, their holiday away…a person experiencing difficulties in life may share something related to that experience. It’s not a way of complaining or attention seeking- it’s just an equally valid emotion or a side of life, like all others.
However the difference in response and support is monumental. I know that because I’ve been there myself.
I’ve been the person sharing happy pictures and captions.I know that this was a “safe” thing to do. I know that people liked that – after all, it is socially acceptable to be well. I felt like I fit in.
Although I might add – it’s good to be well, but not TOO well; if you cross that threshold and come off as too successful or too happy – be prepared to be shunned just the same. Be prepared for people to be envious and glad when/if you fall. Gee, aren’t we humans a screwed up bunch!
In order to be liked, it seems that the perfect formula is to either generally blend in as much as possible or to be on the good side of the media if you don’t, so that the masses are influenced and manipulated to form a good opinion of you.
Because I’ve always been a genuinely empathetic person and accepting of all types of human interaction, I always thought that speaking up and promoting the message that it’s also okay not to be okay would be a good thing- because the truth is that a lot of us do struggle behind closed doors, though no one really wants to admit that they do. But like everyone who openly spreads that message, I have also found roadblocks, isolation and a lack of connection.
It takes a lot of courage and strength to be public with grief and mental health issues of any kind. But it does open your eyes to how society sees people like us. We are still considered misfits in this happiness addicted internet culture.
The online world endlessly glorifies the pursuit of happiness, which ends up being a competition of who can display the most fake happiness to receive the most pointless admiration and validation from their peers or complete strangers.
Hey, who hasn’t done that. Most of us have, it’s hard not to buy into it all. I’m guilty too, and the last one to fucking judge.
Really- social media IS just that highlight reel.
So would the solution be not to use it then?
I think it’s pretty simplistic to say to someone to just ‘get off the internet’, since it’s very much how most of us communicate nowadays (whether personally or even commercially). And wouldn’t having to get off social media just mean more isolation and basically a confirmation that if you’re not fitting into the norm, you have no place in it?
I know that to some people I might come off as just that annoying “attention seeker” who appears to be wanting a pity party or validation for my dramas. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I hate my “dramas”.
I’m actually sick of them myself.
But like all human beings – I do want to feel connected.
I’m simply honest about my reality at the moment, and whether people love me or hate me for expressing it, it doesn’t fucking change a thing. Whether I post a happy picture to make people feel comfortable or whether I don’t, life for me is still the same.
My reality is that I’ve been publicly shamed,humiliated and bullied, both personally and all over the internet, not just once, but numerous times. I now have to endure the repercussions of that again and again – forever. I’ll never be free. This is a life sentence.
My voice was never really heard and the presented one-sided negative view of my character has promoted strangers to hate me and friends to disassociate from me.
Sure, I do take responsibility for my own actions. But do I really deserve all this when they mainly just impacted on myself and I didn’t deliberately set out to hurt others? When I didn’t actually commit any crimes? Not one single nice thing I’ve done in this world was ever publicly brought to light and yet I’ve always tried so hard to be a good, kind and loyal person. But now I’m literally just known for being a disgrace.
There’s not one single day in my life that I don’t feel the pain associated with regret, shame and self-hate. That’s the truth, plain and simple. If I could go back in time and do things differently, I don’t even know how far back I’d go anymore.
Sadly it didn’t work out with the one person who I thought loved me the most, in spite of how hard I tried, which made me extremely embarrassed for being so naive to risk everything for a false promise of true love and also shattered my confidence, self-worth and overall trust in people.
And yes I know I’m not the only person to ever experience heartbreak, but again, having the pressure of a public relationship makes it all so much worse if you fail. And having his mistakes be scrutinized by the public as well just led to a general perception by everyone that I somehow deserved everything I got, and should have known better of course, because it’s oh so easy for onlookers.
Well…okay. But that’s not really all that nice when you’re already falling apart. So not only do I have to deal with the relationship breakdown but also the smug happiness of those people who wanted to see me fail. They were just so outraged that I dared to love a less than perfect human being who wasn’t deemed worthy of it by society’s tall poppies.
So yeah after having failed at something which was so public and apparently so damn controversial, I just feel like a sitting duck, an easy target for the next wave of media ridicule, whenever they are ready.
And yes- I’m profoundly aware that I’m not the only person bad shit has happened to. I’m not saying that I am. But then again most people have the right to suffer privately, whereas anything I do might at any moment become public for the sake of a headline. So no, I’m not saying that my situation in itself or my own depression is worse than everyone else’s; but what I am saying, is that this aspect does magnify the struggle. Having your mistakes, your full name and stolen photos of your face and body made internationally public then exaggerated, criticised, judged, and rehashed many times (and the fear that at any moment it could happen again) does make it fucking worse. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
Not that I haven’t been contacted for “my side of the story” or anything – in fact I have actually received a fair bit of interest – but how can I trust the media to tell my side when they’ve ultimately been the ones who set out to destroy me and my reputation in the first place? What would they gain?
And of course they wouldn’t do anything for no gain.
Sounds like a trap to me.
The only reason I would tell my story or whatever would be to raise awareness about the impact of bullying and public shaming; I would love to help others and speak out against this issue.
But the irony is that to speak publicly and be heard about any issue, you actually need public support and a large following in the first place, and I basically have neither.
Maybe one day I’ll write a book and tell it myself. But I can’t exactly deliver a happy ending to it; I’m still lacking that positive twist at the end where it all fucking worked out. At least at this point in time.
Part of me wants to take a break from posting or being on social media because of its fake culture…the fear of what others think…fear of being judged even more…fear of making other people uncomfortable.
Sometimes I think maybe I should just go fix myself so that I can become “normal” again then come back.
But the other part of me feels like that would make me a sell out, like if I stop being true to myself and being genuine I’m just conforming and contributing to this endless stigma that one has to be happy, pretty and mentally okay to be generally accepted.
And either way, whether I’m on the internet or off it, it doesn’t change the fact that a simple click from anyone anywhere brings me up regardless, whether I like it or not. Me turning off my computer doesn’t erase what’s already out there perpetuating a shitty version of me. Forever.
And if anyone is even thinking of offering that typical advice that I always get, which is – “don’t worry about what other people think/say” – just save it. Keep it. I’ve heard it enough times, and quite frankly, even if you’re trying to be nice – it’s bullshit.
Anyone who says this cannot possibly have experienced the impact of shaming and bullying and cannot understand how deeply and profoundly it affects an individual. People literally kill themselves because of it.
And you know what? I can understand why they would. The media doesn’t give a shit, it will continue to bully until they do – because suicide makes an even better headline…and then cue the keyboard warrior comments about “natural selection” to ensure the bullying continues even after their death.
The truth is that humans are social beings, and more than anything, since very early in life, we have a need to be wanted, to be accepted, to belong. So in essence, everyone does care about what other people think, even if they are too proud or self righteous to admit that they do. It’s human nature to seek social acceptance and a lot of mental illnesses and addictions are caused by loneliness and lack of connection.
Everyone seems really shocked when celebrities commit suicide, because they think money and fame solve everything.
What they don’t see is that lack of connection, the massive weight of public scrutiny, the constant judgement from strangers. All that happens behind the scenes.
I don’t consider myself a “celebrity” by any means but I have certainly been made somewhat infamous as an example of disgrace, bad decisions and embarrassment. I can tell you now that this is not easy to live with on a daily basis, regardless of how much money in the bank I might have, how skinny or even how pretty I might be, what job I might have or wherever in the world I might live.
Bullying and shaming eats you alive from the inside out and it doesn’t give a shit who you are or where you come from.
So to wrap this up I kindly ask-
If you have at any point felt uncomfortable about my posts, photos, words or anything about me in general, if you have ever blindly believed anything that was said about me without questioning agendas and motives or without asking me first, if you didn’t know about this crap and have recently felt compelled to ‘research me’ to get in on the gossip and now have a different opinion of me, or even if you are a bully yourself (not just to me but to anyone) – just delete me, block me, forget about me – it doesn’t matter anymore. So many people have left my life, I’m pretty numb to it all now.
Or if you have nothing nice to say, just say nothing at all. Sit on the fence. I don’t care. Just don’t give me condescending advice like I told you so, what did you expect, or worse yet, don’t proceed to tell me how you would have done it all differently if you had supposedly been in my position or how it’s ‘not that bad’ from your standpoint.
Conversely, if you have been one of the few kind and supportive people still left – thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am aware that there are a lot of things out there in the world to be grateful for; I have experienced contentment and joy before.
And I won’t stop looking for it.
I’m just having a little trouble seeing those things at this present moment.
But I am working on it. I’ve never been one not to put up a fight. I’ve always been at least strong enough to stand by my own convictions and personal integrity, even if at times it has meant standing alone. I remain consciously responsible for myself.
Anyway. Thanks for reading my essay.
Over and out.✌🏽