So I was reading a post that Wil Wheaton put on his blog within the last day or so and it reminded me of how, even back in 2004, the internet had pockets of horrible, no good, very bad people.
Let me tell MY story.
After I gave birth to my son, I wanted to breastfeed. Badly. I felt it was the ONLY thing I could do, because I was heavily pressured into believing that “Breast is best” and formula was evil poisonous devil’s milk. Which, let me state this straight up before I go any further–breast IS best, but there is no shame in giving your child formula.
I wanted to breastfeed SO bad, but the first couple of weeks, I found it incredibly difficult. Because it was difficult, my son wasn’t gaining weight and they told us we had to put him on formula. I cried. I was deep in the throes of a serious post-partum depression and it was one of the darkest places I’ve ever been. I can look back and laugh NOW at some things that happened during that period, but at the time it was sheer hell.
In my desperation to find my ‘mommy tribe’, I turned to the internet because at the time I was working 40 hrs a week and just didn’t have the desire, time or energy to socialize. I found an “alternative” mommy community on LiveJournal (I had one back then, just like everyone else) and while I was welcomed at first, that quickly went sour. Why? Because I wasn’t alternative enough for them, I guess. I didn’t breastfeed and they were upset about that. They threatened to use my ISP # (which I have no idea how they would know that. I’m not good with technical stuff, never have been) to track me down so they could go to my place of work and hold a “nurse in” to protest the fact that I didn’t breastfeed. A journal was created solely to mock me and my husband (who never knew about it and if I have my way, never will) with supposedly satirical entries but honestly? They were just straight up mean. The journal, with the entire 4 entries that were put into it, is still on LiveJournal and sometimes I do go back and look at it. Sometimes I laugh. Sometimes I am sad a little that somebody put so much effort (or maybe not that much) into trying to hurt somebody they didn’t even really know.
A few months ago, something similar (but without the mocking fake blog) happened on Reddit, because I was part of a community of moms there as well. I didn’t know who to trust, so I left for awhile and decided to go back. I did, after all, enjoy hanging out (well, virtually. Sort of.) with those moms because they are mostly more bad ass than I’ll ever be and they’re cool. But when I started getting attacked a second time, I left again and I don’t know if I’ll even be able to go back. I still lurk on Reddit and post occasionally but not nearly as much as I used to because I’m afraid of being attacked all the time.
I have to wonder..is it me? The ‘me’ I present online is much braver than my actual self. The online ‘me’ is much less afraid to say what’s on my mind than I am in real life. The online ‘me’ is the me I WISH I could be in real life all the damn time but I’m usually too tired, too stressed out and too drained from work and life and depression and anxiety to be that person.
It’s probably me, y’all. Sucks as it does to admit that, I’m doing it. It’s probably me.
Which leads me to wonder if I should withdraw from everything–Facebook, Twitter (which I barely use anyway), Reddit, my blog, everything.
I’ll get back to y’all on that.