I need to make a stand, but I don't know how. I have allowed one of my followers on Ello troll a woman, an amazing artist, whose post I have reposted to support her—a picture of her standing astride a motorcycle with a sign that read: IF YOU GRAB MY PUSSY, I WILL RIP OFF YOUR DICK. I have reposted it because I often told men face to face I will do exactly that if they tried putting their hands on me. I told it half-jokingly and half-seriously, that exact line, and they got it and backed off. So when I saw it, I was ecstatic. Here was a woman bold enough to say it. I felt we were sisters. And then I did everything wrong. I was sleeping in Moscow while that shitface of a troll started weaving his game. And when I woke up and checked the thread of comments, it exploded. So I thought, "I'll reason with him. I will be kind and give love. Trolls are the ones that need most love." What I didn't see was what my inaction was doing to the woman whose post I reposted. Not only did she have to suffer through his harassment because I didn't immediately block him, she ultimately had to delete it, and she felt used by me and demoralized, and she's right. I was helplessly watching the harassment evolve while doing nothing, afraid of somehow hurting the troll while he was hurting her and other people, and when I did finally block him, after many of you have asked me to do so, it was too late.
By then I wanted to drive my head into a wall. "What is wrong with me?" I thought. I could easily unleash what I'm carrying inside me—a woman who could kill if her children were in danger, a woman who could scare men with just a look (men told me this before), a woman who could use her words to rip that troll a new asshole. But I didn't do shit. I was afraid to.
My issue is, I'm afraid of hurting people.
I've been hurt so many times in my life, and I grew up being hurt daily by the very people who were supposed to love and protect me—my parents—that I get paralyzed when I need to act. And I end up hurting more people by my inaction. And after it's over, I want to either die (back to suicidal thoughts), or to run away (delete all my online accounts, move to some woods where no one will ever be able to reach me), or to curl up and cry (which I ultimately do, wallowing in pathetic self-pity), or to quit writing (which scares me enough to get me to do some kind of action).
My other battle is being groomed to be nice.
As a little girl I was told I had to shut up and never contradict anyone and be nice. I see women online battle against this niceness we all have been brainwashed into. The problem is, niceness is not kindness. By being nice I was unkind, and I have hurt the very artist I wanted to support, and I have hurt myself. Which is also a built-in behavior I have. "Here is my body. Do with it what you want. I'll just tune out." It's this passivity that has allowed me to survive, but it's also this very passivity that's not letting me to take a stand for what's right.
And on top of it all, I'm an immigrant.
Although I've been in America for eighteen years now, I still have trouble getting cultural references and having enough vocabulary to deflect verbal attacks. I read articles and books and everything I can get my hands on, and still it's not enough. I get very frustrated because when shit happens (like right now on Twitter some ass likened my tweet about being afraid of my own power to something that's out of Trump's playbook, and I'm paralyzed again. Should I respond to him? And if I do, should I appeal to his humanity? Or should I bash him? Should I ignore him? Should I block him?), I end up doing something wrong. How much longer do I have to learn to get it? Why the fuck can't I learn faster? So I drive myself harder and stop sleeping and research how to do better, and then drive myself sick with it. This night I couldn't sleep because the thought of having hurt another human being because of my fear was infuriating me. I was so mad at myself, I felt like vomiting. And in the morning I nearly did, because since coming to Moscow I barely slept 4 hours a night, and soon I will fall sick if I don't stop this cycle.
So how do I battle this? How do I get rid of this fear?
I don't know. I only know that I won't give up and will keep writing about it, hopefully finding a key to unlocking myself one day. I do get driven to it when I'm really mad, and those of you who have been following me for a long time have seen it. Some of you told me I was very scary, because after I bashed some assholes it was very quiet for a while. I was terrified of what I'd done, because I went too far. You see, once I do get really mad, I'm having a hard time stopping. And since I'm afraid I might hurt someone in the process, I don't allow myself to get mad. The ultimate dead end, isn't it?
If you've been through this before and have some tips, please do let me know what worked for you. I'm inexperienced when it comes to dealing with trolls, and I must learn how to do it. It's my responsibility to you, my family. Because you are. If I could kill for my children, I could kill for you, couldn't I? I could. Thankfully I know I'll never go that far in real life, so I kill people in my books instead. But I could kill with words, I could squash the little shits who dare to try hurting you and harassing you and using me as a platform for their hate. So how do I do it? Where do you want me to start? Tell me.