The story of train nemesis

Today is the second day without my train nemesis. She’s gone forever. I know this because I was listening to her conversation on Monday, as I tend to do in close quarters with strangers, and she told some new guy that she was donezo and then again when she told my favorite conductor. Of course, I had already noticed she was using a ten-ride instead of a monthly, so I was suspicious that she would no longer be a regular.

My relationship with Train Nemesis wasn’t long lived, but important enough that I feel the need to eulogize her existence in my life. 

Riding the metra in Chicago

The backstory: Brian and I take the train together. Since our first train line back in Downers Grove, we’ve always appreciated the double seats that face each other. We usually get a little extra space and we look at look at each other should we decide to converse.

Riding the metra

Occasionally, though, the train will become overcrowded, someone will try to sit down next to me and across from Brian, and I’ll walk away from the seat.

The first time this lady demanded to sit down, I got up and walked away, giving her my seat. Brian says I’ve done this with a smidge of an attitude,  but I am tired and grouchy in the morning. And okay fine, irritated that anyone thinks these four seaters are designed for more than two adults. Also, my mama didn’t teach me the words, “excuse me,” “please,” and “thank you” for nothin’. 

Now, this has happened with a few people prior to and after my first encounter with Train Nemesis. It’s rare, and I just deal with it. Each time, I get up and walk away. Sometimes,  I set in the train vestibule, which I used to do in the mornings back on the Downers Grove line. Sometimes, I sit on the stairs. Sometimes, I’ll just go find another seat. 

It was January 2017 when I realized this lady wasn’t playing. She was miserable, and she was going to enjoy judging the fuck out of me.

She was the ringleader of the ladies who gossip about the horrible girl who gets up and switches seats so she doesn’t have to be uncomfortable or, worse, hurts her back in the process.

The first time I heard her talking about me, Brian was sitting in the seat across from her. She was talking to some other women about me, but I couldn’t quite hear her. According to my intel, she was snottily talking about how I do it all the time and what in the world is wrong with me? How could I possibly expect to not share the seat?

There's no leg room on the metra

Can we talk about the leg room here? How can you possibly expect to share this with four people?

The second time it happened, I had moved two seats back on the train, and I watched her as she spoke about me with such vitriole. She laughed as she thought about me sitting on the stairs and not having a seat, because I was so stupid and didn’t like to share.

I wanted to cry, but I tweeted instead. She was so mean about it, loudly proclaiming what a horrible person I was, that I considered switching trains. But I decided that the next time it happened I would tell her how mean she was behaving. 

And instead of there being a next time, she’s gone. 

Of course, she did have the occasional redeeming qualities. Her sense of holiday style was not unlike the one I plan to exhibit in my sixties.

So here’s to you, Nemesis. You were a meanish lady, but you might sort of be missed on this train, if only for the fodder.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

“She Can’t be an Adult,” “She’s Disgusting,” and Other Words I Can’t Forget

“I have never met this person, and I already hate her on a deeply personal level.”

“We dont want to see how much her ugly face doesnt care in yet another blog post. Youll give me nightmares”

” She is an awful person.”

“the financial and aesthetic disadvantages she faces that don’t impede others.”

“Uggg she’s disgusting.”

“she is just a run of the mill average jane nobody dumbfuck”

“She is the very definition of delusional.”

“Is she an adult? She can’t be.”

“I don’t know that woman, but reading one single page of her blog makes me hate her.”

“holy fuck she looks like a mess”

It’s almost been a year since my 5 minutes of “infamy” on Reddit. Someone decided that my blog wasn’t worthy of a copyright notice, and decided to plaster my blog on Reddit Delusional Artists. And a few other places (those just didn’t get the traction he was looking for). I responded the best way I knew how, with a big fat fuck you. And they came back in droves to find new ways to hurt me. Regardless of what those people thought was fun and games, what they were doing was bullying.

CYBER BULLYING ON REDDIT

And yes, I tried to make light of it. Because that’s what I do. I had fun responding. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t cry for the better part of a week. That doesn’t mean their words aren’t still haunting me. That doesn’t mean Brian didn’t want to hunt them down and destroy them for making me cry. I was bullied when I was a little girl. It sucks. I escaped relatively unscathed, albeit completely socially awkward (probably one of the reasons I didn’t want to talk about my period, MOM). And as an adult, they say we’re supposed to be able to push through it, but that’s a dirty rotten lie people who’ve never been bullied tell you.

Because bullying hurts.

It stings. It burns to the core of your inner confidence, taking away everything you think and feel and replacing it with vitriol. Throwing gas into that inner flame of self-doubt.

And that sucks.

I’m lucky to have the real life and digital support that I do, as I was able to get through the bullying relatively unscathed. But that isn’t always the case.

Cyber bullies can destroy people. And they do it behind screen names and anonymous posts. Words hurt, people. Bruises heal. Words haunt you forever. I know those insults above are long forgotten by the people that wrote them, but they’re ingrained in my memory forever.

9 months after my Reddit bubble, I’m still getting the occasional hit ftom the Delusional Artists thread. A thread that exists to bully people (despite its context to only comment on people who are “delusional artists”). Each time I see a referral from Reddit, I’m reminded of the things they said. Just in case, for even a moment, I has forgotten.

One of the bright spots of the whole mess was reading responses from the few people who stood up for me. Maybe not the ones who laced it with an insult, but the ones who genuinely said, “hey, this is wrong.”

Nice people on reddit 2

Nice people on Reddit

So the next time you see someone talking shit online about someone else? Leave a comment or send them a message offering your support. You’d be surprised how much you can help.

Have you ever been cyber bullied? Bullied in real life? Have you ever been a bully? Or stopped one?

1000Voices

I’m writing today for #1000Speak with the mission to build from bullying. This is my story. What’s yours?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Life-Gaming: Trolly Want a Cracker?

I’ve finally arrived.

This past weekend was my birthday weekend, as well as my two-year blogiversary, and the blog was overloaded with visitors. Particularly visits skyrocketed to my copyright notice page. When I say overloaded, I mean it was a serious birthday gift of JOY to discover thousands of page views on my little ole blog.

Someone on Reddit came across pictures of me playing around in a cardboard box like a kid. Because it was fun. Apparently, that person thought that my blog was SO BAD that it wasn’t worthy of a copyright notice. I made it into the “delusional artists” subreddit. For those of you who don’t know what Reddit is, it’s kind of like…a message board version of Pinterest.

I chatted with some of my friends immediately upon noticing my recently-discovered infamy, and I realized quickly that being targeted as a “delusional artist,” put me in an excellent position to meta game the fuck out of Reddit and the trolls who think it’s worth their time to talk about how crappy they think I am. Oh, feel free to read about why I’m a delusional artist. If you agree, go ahead and join them. I won’t mind.

As you can imagine, with comments like, “You are not good enough” and I have never met this person and I already hate her on a deeply personal level,” I began my journey through Reddit in a state of confusion. 

I'm sorry, what?

I’m sorry, what?

Trolls are kind of like bullies, but they don’t have the balls to say shit to your face, using their real names. Wait, so you’re saying that strangers who are so proud of their work they hide behind screen names like “nilleftw,” “stormchaser” and (my favorite) “bangwhimper?”

Then I thought to myself, REALLY? Really? 

Are you kidding me?

Are you kidding me?

They couldn’t even find anything valuable to criticize. I could have done a better job of talking shit about my blog. Bangwhimper went to the trouble of creating an Imgur picture with a screen shot of my goal to read 16 books this year, commenting on my “gargantuan cultural appetite.” I, of course, had it removed from Imgur shortly thereafter for…wait for it…copyright violation.

At this point, I started to laugh.

Laughing at trolls

And laugh.

More laughing at trolls

And laugh some more.

Laughter is the best medicine

I was getting well over my norm for blog traffic, and 15 of the several THOUSAND people who came to my site could think of something negative to say…and even those comments made little to no sense.

Screenshot 2014-06-01 20.47.37

I especially liked the comments that talked about how weird I am…or that I’m chubby. I don’t think there has been a post on this blog in which I make any claims that I’m not weird or chubby. In fact, I’m pretty sure I own the fuck out of weird and chubby. That’s a part of who I am. I’m not offended, but I’m certainly baffled.

Oh, and then there was that one guy (or gal) who thought that commenting on my blog would be fun. He must not have realized that I had the power to edit anything he said and turn it into a lovely message.

I’m pretty sure that in the world of trolls and internets, I won this round. But you know, in case you ever want to feed the trolls, here are a few pointers to really get them going.

I was the victim of Reddit bullying. This is how I combatted them. Sort of. Really, it was just a way to poke them with a stick and get more views. They were mean and I cried...but poke poke poke.

How Trolls Win on the Internet

  1. Trolls make you sad. They want to feel better about themselves, so they aim to tear you down and make you cry the ugly cry.  And who’s crying the ugly cry? You. Who’s laughing? Trolls. They’ve won.
Cry the ugly cry

You don’t want them to see you like this, do you?

  1. Trolls make you angry. They want to start something. If you get angry and fight back, they think to themselves, “oooh, this is fun. Look at you squirm!” And then they have more to play with. They’ve won.
Angry Face

This might make you look bad ass, but does it really work?

  1. Trolls trick you into trying to please them. They want you to want them to love you, but they’ll keep moving the goal posts. Fix what they’re criticizing and try to chase their approval? Boom! They’ve won.
Trolls trick you into trying to please them

Please love me… (no, really…don’t love me. I don’t need your trolly love.)

How You Win on the Internet

Keep on keepin’ on. Ignore what some pimply kid or 40-year-old virgin on Reddit thinks. You’re the only you that will ever be. Whether you’ve got 2 followers or 20,000, there is someone out there who gets it. And gets you. Make friends and have fun. Forget about people who aren’t or don’t like you. They’re never going to be your target audience, and you don’t want them anyways. Continue doing what you’re doing and own it. You win.

Of course, if you ever have problems with trolls, feel free to repeat the following:

“So, this is what I say to fucking trolls. Fuck you. Douchebags.”

Then smile. Because you're fucking awesome.

Then smile. Because you’re fucking awesome. Even when you want to fuck around with a cardboard box.

Have you ever had problems with bullies? Cyber or real life? How did you handle it?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!