I'm almost 23 years old and I have been the victim of internet bullying.
I thought we left this behind in the middle school days of Myspace, and though Facebook came around shortly after and was another platform in which young people could attack their peers, I thought it would start getting better and better as I got older. I thought that once I reached college, I wouldn't have to worry about this stuff quite so much. I thought that the act of bullying someone via internet was juvenile, immature, and petty. Little did I know that young adults were still capable of being infantile towards others - on social media or in real life.
Before I go into my recent account, I'll take you back. Way, way, way before the incident effecting me in the digital world occurred, I had only been made fun of brutally in the sixth grade. I was twelve years old and an seventh grade girl who I had never spoke to in my life decided to make my world a living hell for the next couple of weeks. I was already dealing with my parent's recent divorce, my depression and anxiety was starting to become really evident, I was awkward, brace faced, incredibly shy, and I dreaded going to school. Not to mention I was twelve; one of the most weird and uncomfortable years of a prepubescent child's life. And to top it all off, junior high kids are vicious. I begged my mom to home school me and I pretended to be sick multiple times. Of course, that didn't fly. I was outside one day, shooting some hoops by myself, when these two girls came strolling by out of nowhere. The "alpha" of the the pair glared at me in disgust, as she told me how stupid I was. She basically told me I was worthless, that I was ugly, that everyone hated me, and that I was pathetic. She spit on me, continued to curse at me, while I died inside. The "beta" girl watched in amusement. After they left, I ran into the house, collapsed on the floor and sobbed. I remember punching the floor with my fists, going ballistic. I was so unhappy. My self esteem plummeted to new places. All I knew was that my life was already seemingly falling apart - at twelve years old - and now this had happened. Once I found out that this girl went to my school, I dreaded going to school way more than I did before. If I saw her in the hallway, I had to make a mad dash and go the other way. Sometimes I hid in the bathroom, and I always was on the look out, always alert. If I did run into her in the hallways, she would follow me, torment me, and remind me why I was worthless. This honestly couldn't have been happening at a worse time. Between her, I was also bullied by the older neighbor kids, who were about sixteen years old. I was always afraid to ride my bike to the park because that's where they would congregate to smoke weed and talk trash. If I popped around, they would harass me, yell at me, curse at me, and even throw things at me. That didn't last long, though.
That was my only bullying experience until recently; and yes, what just happened was one hundred percent unfair, hurtful, and puerile. I felt like I had stepped into a time machine and arrived back to the year 2010, where I was fifteen again and witnessing mean girls spitting cruel remarks to other girls that were too weak to defend themselves.
It was literally a normal night for my grandma-self. I was re-watching one of my favorite Netflix shows, painting my nails, and feeling good. My depression flared up a few days before from medication withdrawal, but I was back on track. Then, my phone buzzed repeatedly. I looked down and saw a series of screenshots involving the conversations of girls - making fun of me, mocking me, and going through my Instagram account and screenshot photos of my art and writing, and saying that it was "awful", and "not art". They called me "basic" (which I know sounds hilarious in this context), making fun of my Instagram name.
"Omg her drawing is so bad"
"She sells it on Etsy tho"
"Tfw u want to stop throwing shade but u see jules ig name is WANDERLUSTPIXIE"
"LOL WOW. Not even surprised. #basic"
"Jules is *insert swear word here*"
"Pls. Also. Lmao those drawings... I'm so embarrassed for her"
"She screams rich kid to me. I'm sick of her sh*t"
I felt my blood pressure rising, my heart pounding like a drum in my chest, and I began shaking really badly. I was angry. I was hurt. I was confused. Tons of people had my back and I noticed as the comments grew and grew, with people who stood up for me and said I didn't deserve any of this. I felt so upset that I could feel my vision begin to blur - that's when I knew I was going to have an anxiety attack. On the internet, things seem to happen really quickly. You get all of these responses at one time and it's hard to process it all, and it becomes this overwhelming sensory overload thing. That's when I started tearing up, and then tears turned into cries, and the cries turned into sobbing. I hid myself in my closet because I didn't want to wake up my roommates, and it was 2 in the morning, mind you. I was fortunate to have a lovely girl call me and talk to me on the phone so I didn't feel so alone. (Thank you again, if you're reading this). This went on for hours into the morning, and I barely got any sleep. I told myself I would just block these girls and never deal with them again. And I did. I blocked them on Instagram and Facebook, and decided that messaging them about the incident was a waste of time and energy; I wanted to pick my battles wisely. This was not one of them. I had way more going for me than jealous, mean girls. The reason this effected me as much as it did, was not only because these girls said hateful things, but because I don't deal with this stuff. All my life, I've avoided drama as much as possible, I try to get along with people, to see the good in them, to be laid back, and I'm naturally empathetic and fairly forgiving. And I'm sensitive. So dealing with this online bully thing that happened to be leaked onto social media was foreign to me - and it vanquished me. Besides those awful moments in sixth grade, I've never been bullied. People always say how genuine and kind I am, so to have a group of people attack me out of nowhere made it even worse. You don't see this stuff coming.
I'm already moving on. I wrote this article because I thought it would be very cathartic, and writing has always been one of my main outlets. I didn't write all of this to make people feel bad for me or for some sort of pity response; that wasn't my intention. Having three people bash your passions just out of anger and jealously baffles and angers me. Art and writing are my life, and to have someone trash all over it, is devastating in it's own way.
So this is it, and I wish it didn't have to happen. But it did - and I guess in a way I am glad; just another situation that ended up making me a tad bit stronger.