As a kid, it was the fact that I loved sweets so much.
Ugh, Ice cream is my Nemesis.
As a teenager in high school, I was called “the fat girl” in my class, even though I was a pretty healthy 130-135 lbs at 5’7″.
I’ve never been svelte, like some of my Scandinavian extended family members; instead being closer to the stockier build of my Germanic/Austrian family.
Looking back, I don’t see a fat girl when I look at myself, but I was sure made to feel that way by others.
After having my third child, my weight ballooned. Part of it was getting older, having kids, & not fighting super hard after the third one to get back to my pre-baby weight.
Part of it was emotional abuse I suffered during my marriage.
And, the weight was a “convenient” way to subtly protect myself, and fight back.
The weight prevented anyone from getting “too close”.
It prevented anyone from seeking to get to know me, because there’s that invisible dividing line that stands around fat people…
Fat people are lazy
Fat people are not attractive
Fat people aren’t worth the time, because if they don’t care about themselves, why should anyone else?
And so on…
I lost a bunch of weight after my divorce, too. I went on a program of supplements, worked out really hard, & lost almost 70 lbs, at one point. I felt better physically, sometimes, & mentally, a little.
And then, shit started to go downhill.
I had a bunch of things happen that affected me both physically and mentally, that just…stopped… any progress I’d made.
And, I started to go backwards as far as my weight was concerned.
Physical limitations due to my Rheumatoid Arthritis didn’t help.
Well, the weight was yet another wall between me & the outside world.
People couldn’t, wouldn’t get close enough to hurt me if my weight was keeping them away, right?
I’m sarcastic. This is a given fact, and if you’ve ever met me in real life, it’s fairly obvious after about 5 minute’s worth of talking.
When I’m at work, in front of customers or certain coworkers, I mask.
Masking – a process in which an individual changes or “masks” their natural personality to conform to social pressures, abuse or harassment.
If I’m in an unknown social situation where I’m expected to “conform” to social norms, I mask.
But catch me in a known, comfortable, or laid-back social setting (ex., with friends, or my kids)? And you’ll get the Sarcastic Sister.
And… I use it to deflect criticism, as well.
In fact, I will use sarcastic self-deprecation to head off criticism from others.
I mean, if I’m cutting myself down… what good is it for someone else to attempt microaggressions & insults?
After all, I got there first, and with far better sarcastic insults about myself than anyone else can come up with. Who knows me better than me? Who knows right where to stick the knife so as to thwart further injury by outsiders?
I emotionally cut myself to prevent others from doing so.
That’s priceless logic, ain’t it?
So, to show what I mean, a friend of mine upon moving away, gave me a box of affirmations. In the “advent calendar” style, you can pop one open & read something nice, that’s supposed to boost your mood about yourself.
So, of course, I’ve started opening them, & immediately twisting them.
Cause of how I do.
One day, I decided the shit was deep enough around me, so I’d take it easy on myself…
One of my coworkers asked me yesterday
“How the hell.do you think these things up? Do they just pop into your brain as soon as you read the cards?”
It’s called Maladaptive Cognition.
There’s always that small “voice” in my brain that pipes up to knock me “back into my lane”.
Another coworker told me I should write “sarcastic self-affirmations”, cause they’d sell like crazy. Meh. I know they might, but why risk yet another form of rejection among so many others?
I usually just shrug it off in front of others, & lay it off to “Well, I’m just twisted.”
They agree, & we go on about our business. They’ve been entertained with my antics, & I’ve prevented someone else from hurting my feelings by beating them down a little myself.
I can’t decide whether I love or hate social media.
Yeah, it helps me keep in touch with friends & family I don’t get to see much, if ever. And I get it, if I don’t like something about it, maybe I should just get off that platform, right?
Well, it really doesn’t matter which platform you use anymore, there are trolls everywhere.
Shit, Twitter is one of the worst, IMO. It was trolls that put me so far off that platform, I simply abandoned my Twitter account, & walked away without deleting it. *cue dusty wind blowing & tumbleweed rolling across screen*
Instagram is the pressed-plastic, Barbie Dream House version of people’s “lives”. It can be amusing, & I find some great memes there, but I’ve never taken anything there as real. It’s all window dressing, never mind the pins & tape behind the curtain.
TikTok has changed something for me, though. Some days it’s good, & it makes me feel great about myself & the world, and some days, I have to put my phone face down on silent & walk away.
Goddess, don’t even get me started on Facebook. 🤐
My point is, I used to be one of those so-called “keyboard warriors”, out there till the wee hours of the morning defending the downtrodden, and burying the bullies.
Or, so I thought.
But, I finally came to realize, that – Even if you feed trolls garbage…
You’re still feeding them.
I get it, it’s REALLY difficult to walk away when you see this bottom-feeding behavior on a subject, site, or person’s post that you care about. And it’s SOOOO easy to let your itchy trigger fingers wander over the keyboard & give them a good smack-down. Or what you THINK is a smack-down, anyway, because honestly? They’re probably sitting with their phone in their hand, or in front of their keyboard, giggling to themselves over ALLLL the ATTENTION and validation they’re receiving.
Because it IS validating, in their minds anyway. It proves their existence, & their “nobody gets me, the world’s against me, so I have the right to stand here & yell louder than everyone else”.
They enjoy being polarizing, & watching as people around them start spinning in circles, popping off at them, while they’re safely munching popcorn behind their screen.
And, it’s absolutely infuriating to others, when the trolls refuse to back down, or inflame situations higher.
But – in cases where it’s just trolling? And not actual internet terrorism? And, by terrorism, I’m talking bullying, harassing, doxxing, stalking, etc… ( and yes, all genders are guilty of this)
If it’s just some Incel wanting to start a virtual fisticuffs for funsies?
Blocking works. I’ve blocked so many strangers on social media, because I’ve seen them being trolls to other people. I’m just glad that so far, there’s no numerical limit to how many people I can block, or I’d have hit that wall on Facebook years ago.
Blocking these people doesn’t just keep me from responding to their infantilism, it means I don’t have to see it, & they can’t see my stuff, either, at least on FB and TikTok.
Hmm, (hot take) this is just another method of using the INFJ door slam…
Humorous rebuttals can sometimes work, too, if you can figure out a way to totally confuse the troll, & get them off balance.
I had one make a not-nice comment on one of my tiktoks, once, smarting off about something that was totally irrelevant to the video, was supposed to be personally hurtful, & posted in such a way as to make them look like the victim of bullying if I responded defensively.
Instead, I snarked back with an overly-sweet, totally sarcastic, comment, that was impossible to twist without watching me rolling my eyes while typing.
I got an apology *shrug*, & an “I’m sorry, I had a bad day”. Not a valid excuse to be an asshole to a stranger minding their own business, so I responded again with
“Yup, I was amused, honestly.”
Nothing pisses trolls off like having others being mildly amused at their antics, instead of being offended.
Anywho, I try my best, these days. When I see someone being a jackhole for no apparent reason, I practice aggressive passivity.
I clench my fists (and usually my teeth too), I take deep, slow breaths, & I do one of 3 things.
1. Scroll on, because it’s not worth the hassle to engage.
2. Block/Shun, because the person is a jackhole, sexist, racist, homophobe, tinfoil fanatic, whatever, & I don’t need that kind of stress in my already stressful life.
3. Snipe back with so much sugar and tart they lose their teeth. (I got really good at using words to insult people without them realizing it when I was young)
I’m not out here, trying to change people’s minds about how they handle trollish behavior, I’m telling you my way.
But, if I could add one request?
Please don’t feed the trolls, because they end up making everyone else feel sick when they grow from it.
In order to work on myself, I’ve been doing some hardcore soul-searching, and past-life regression.
As in, taking a long, hard, look at who I really was when I was younger…warts and all.
I’m not going to sugar-coat any-damn-thing, or try to rationalize bad behaviors for myself.
If I’m truly going to make any progress with figuring out how I ended up where I am today, & how I can move forward in a healthier way…
I need to get out of my own fucking way.
Because what I’ve been doing up until now?
I know this.
I just don’t know, yet, how to fucking change it.
I know what results I want to see…
I just don’t think I’ll ever get there.
And that makes me even more depressed.
I – grew up fairly sheltered, as a kid. I was a nerd, didn’t play sports – was horribly bad at them, in fact, unless they happened from the back of a horse.
I was shy, and teased and bullied throughout my school years until I graduated high school.
Except when I was around my best friend, who I trusted. Then, I was outgoing, funny, sarcastic & able to open up. She saw a whole different side of me than everyone else, including my creative side, & encouraged me to express it.
In college, which only lasted about a year and a half (I shouldn’t have gone, I really wasn’t ready & wasted so much time & money there), I truly changed.
I had, by this time, lost my virginity, after throwing it away on my one and only high school boyfriend. (Who lasted about 2 months, until after his prom…no joke. But then, I had decided my virginity was mostly a hindrance, anyway, & used him to “get rid” of it… Not because I was in love. *snort*)
At this point, I wasn’t thinking about what had happened to me when I was 16. I wasn’t flashing back to being molested… Although, I’ve never slept on my stomach since that night.
Not once. Not ever.
But, I was using sex as a weapon. Of sorts, anyway.
I used it to feel good about myself.
Because if a guy wanted to have sex with me, that meant I was desirable, right?
That meant I had worth, right?
I meant something, even if it was only for a little while…
It made me feel powerful…in the moment.
Until I felt cheap.
When I was just ignored the next day, if I was even remembered.
But hey, I was a badass, right?
I stomped through the parties with my smartass, snarky mouth, my nickname “Dragon Lady” more because my words could burn people down than because I smoked. I gave no shits…
At least where they could see.
God, did I care.
I burned through a handful of “boyfriends” in college, short-timers, because I would inevitably be a bitch at some point to them, & they’d wander off in search of calmer waters.
I never cheated, don’t get me wrong.
But, I’d drive them off, usually finding that one pet peeve, guaranteed to piss them right the hell off, and pick at that until they’d had just ENOUGH.
Done and dusted, I would be vindicated once again, knowing that I wasn’t worth the trouble. No one was really willing to chase me down & stick with me.
I just wasn’t worth it.
Not for anyone.
After all…when I was molested, even my parents didn’t believe me. They couldn’t even be concerned enough to come get me, instead having family members bounce me from one house to another for almost 2 weeks, before I finally reached home, after the “incident”. And then, it was never mentioned again.
Not until the summer after I quit college.
The summer of my complete abandon, my downward spiral, and their accusations of drug abuse & attempt at throwing me into therapy.