Random Musings

Anonymity and Social Media: The Creative’s Bane

Hey there, lovelies.

Last weekend, I posted on my social media accounts about how I feel in regards to the new abortions laws my country is attempting to pass; how I consider them abysmal, inhumane, absurd and as a blatant and obvious example of the government’s desire and need to control women. The responses I received were mostly supportive, in line with my own disgust and fear.

Except one.

One gentleman decided to open up the conversation by calling me a murderer and ended the conversation by calling me a monster. In-between was a lot of nonsense, including how, if I don’t want to get pregnant and face these potential consequences, I shouldn’t be having sex, as well as how “horrible” it was to suggest that a vasectomy was also a possibility.

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I ended up blocking him, not because his beliefs were different than mine, but because he couldn’t have a civil conversation about those differences and instead, just wanted to verbally attack and abuse me online. This happened late Thursday night, right as I was getting off of work. Even after arguing with this potential internet troll for only thirty minutes, my stomach was in knots. I was shaky and sweaty. I couldn’t wind down, even after trying to play some video games before I ended up going to bed. I woke up my boyfriend as I crawled in and he could tell something was wrong, but I didn’t want to keep him up and take away his sleep, it being almost two in the morning.

So, I curled up on the other side and cried myself to sleep.

The next morning, I woke up and was doing a little better. It was the start of my weekend and it was a three-day-weekend, in fact, so I was amped for that. Yet I couldn’t stop thinking about this interaction that I had, how cruel this random person on the internet was; how I was scared to get back on social media, come Monday morning (as I don’t use it during the weekends), because I was nervous that more of these attacks were waiting for me in my notifications.

How I felt–wrongly, I must point out–like I deserved his verbal abuse, for posting about such controversial opinions online.

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Yet, I needed to get those emotions out and I’m a writer, so I wrote out how I felt. I wanted to post them because I wanted those who are similarly effected to know they have an ally in me, to add my voice to theirs. For me, speaking about this publicly and letting anyone who cares to know where I stand is one of the first steps towards activism–something I’m not the best at, granted, but I’m working on it. I needed this and I knew, going in, that there might be some potential backlash. I expected it, rather.

That didn’t make it any easier to handle.

More so, knowing that I expected it–realizing at one point, I even thought I deserved it–sits with me in a majorly wrong way.

And that’s what I want to talk about real quick.

Because here’s the thing. I’m the middle of editing an epic fantasy novel that I hope will become my debut. It’s a novel that centers around periods–yes, those periods. The opening scene starts out with a woman cramping in a basin while she bleeds and it holds nothing back. I wrote it because I am frustrated how little this aspect of womanhood is talked about in fantasy fiction–and how, if it is, it’s skirted around or still treated as a taboo and shameful topic.

I know this book, if it’s ever going to get published, is going to make readers uncomfortable. Perhaps even angry.

And I’m already terrified of the backlash. The hatemail. The death threats. The name calling. All things I’ve heard of other authors dealing with, because someone disagrees with their opinion. Especially women, people of color and those in the LGBTQIA+ community. All because I wanted to write a book that made a woman feel both comfortable and validated, instead of shamed, tainted, unworthy or powerless.

A lot of feelings that I’ve been feeling recently, actually.

Probably since November of 2016.

sad the little mermaid GIF

Thinking about this past weekend and what happened with a thread that didn’t go viral, from someone who has barely over 1,000 Twitter followers and less than 200 friends on Facebook; yet one random man with a different opinion from me just happened to stumble across it and decided to attack me for it. It shook me, but it’s one encounter. I’m fine. But what if my book became a NY Times Bestseller? What if I’m being barraged with hate on a daily basis, through my social media? Or being attacked at cons? What if that 30 minute encounter from Thursday night becomes not a rarity, but the norm? The true expectation, because of my work? Which, yes, is a reflection in many ways of my beliefs, but it’s also my novel. My passion. My baby.

I’m just…I dunno. It’s a lot to take in, that this is a consequence of my desired career, as an author. What bothers me most, though, is that it seems to be an expectation, thanks to the anonymity of the internet and the multitude of ways we can tear one another down. That, if I want to publish this book, I should find ways to get used to having people hate me and tell me so? That I’ll have to constantly block people, run the risk of making my social media accounts strictly business instead of personal (which I’ve seen more and more authors need to do, thanks to interactions with “fans”), that I’ll have to get used to daily onslaughts of hate?

There has to be a better way than this.

Right?

captain marvel GIF by Marvel Studios

Sure, I don’t know anything for certain and all of this is just speculation from a gut feeling, a guess, of how some will receive this book–and thus, receive me–if this book ever comes to light. I guess I’m just trying to process how on Earth creatives are meant to function when our culture is normalizing abuse towards them, whether it be emotional, verbal or physical. Because most of the abuse I imagine I might receive will come from social media–the very platform I cannot get off of if I ever want to be able to form a community and promote my work.

Is it going to stop me from writing these stories and voicing my opinions?

Fuck no.

But, I’d like to believe in a word where an opinion can be expressed–even a controversial one like women have fucking rights *bangs head in sarcasm*–without expecting and being forced to accept verbal abuse and attacks as a response.

Cheers.

21 thoughts on “Anonymity and Social Media: The Creative’s Bane”

  1. That sucks, I’m sorry you had that experience. Unfortunately that’s the world we live in. There will always be people who don’t agree with you and don’t know how to be polite about, ESPECIALLY on Twitter. I think most authors have to develop tough skins or decide to stay off social media☹

    1. That’s basically what my boyfriend said, too. Which I totally understand. And I do recognize that I will definitely need to work on getting some tougher skin. But at the same time, I also don’t think it’d hurt for some people to learn how to express opinions in a kinder way.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Tammy!

  2. Have faith in yourself and the courage of your convictions. Any author (but especially female authors, I’m afraid) who addresses controversial topics in their work, or posts about controversial topics on social media, faces the possibility of backlash. Some readers will misunderstand or deliberately misread what you are trying to say, and some will try to brand you as “bad,” but if you’re done your job as a writer well, those individuals will be in the minority. We need more books that normalize women’s experiences in fantasy and contemporary literature. Kudos to you for writing one.

    1. Geez, that first line you started off with: “Have faith in yourself and the courage of your convictions.” I need to tattoo that somewhere and make that mantra.

      That is so true. And I totally understand that impact might be different than intent and I always want to be mindful of that. But I also hope we can learn to have a more positive dialogue when it comes to criticisms and differences.

      Thanks for reading and offering your thoughts! ❤ It means a lot.

  3. You’re right, you should be able to have civil conversations… but sadly, trolls will be trolls, and other than blocking them, I’m not sure they’ll ever go away. Someone who behaves that way is not interested in open discussion, so I think blocking them (and trying not to read their comments once you realize where they’re headed) is the only defense.

    Meanwhile, don’t let anyone stop you from sharing your truth! And good luck with the novel. I’d read it!

    1. Yeah, I think you’re right. I always want to give someone the benefit of the doubt and hope they are open to being more amicable and less attacking just for the sake of attacking, but I think some people are just out there to be cruel.

      Thank you so much, Lisa! The fact that you’d read it honestly is more inspiring than you know. ❤

  4. I don’t have advice for you and I don’t think that’s what you were after here. Just know you’ve got friends who have your back. I’m looking forward to being shook up a bit…the best books do that. Stay strong friend!

  5. Hugs. That sucks beyond. I think over time it does get easier to deal with these kind of interactions. These days it amuses me more while years ago I would respond the same way as you did. One thing I’ve learned is that you can’t fill in what will happen. But it is so hard not to. Its like our brain is wired that way.

    1. I think that’s totally fair. It’s all relatively new, for me, those kinds of reactions, so I hope I am able to develop a bit a tougher skin for it. We’ll see how it goes, though. Thanks for your support, as always! ❤

  6. So sorry you had to go through this! Putting yourself out there and knowing you are literally putting yourself in line of sight for potential haters is a real fear, and I hope it doesn’t hold you back. It was intimidating just trying to start promoting my tiny blog on Twitter, it has to take so much more nerve to put something truly creative out there!

    I’m so intrigued by the angle your epic fantasy is taking! Talking about periods with less fear and more normalcy is something I can get behind. I read Tamora Pierce’s books right when I was hitting puberty. Her characters were my same age and also having their first periods. It was so reassuring to see those characters freak out and have other women tell them everything was fine and explain how to handle it and then go right on living their lives.

    1. It IS a real fear! And I totally understand that with the blog aspect, as well (especially after reading about how horrible all of those people on Reddit were to that blogger for just writing her opinion about a BOOK).

      Thank you so much! YES, Tamora Pierce is such an inspiration for me!!! I had a very similar experience and I was just floored that she included that in her novels and I’ve wanted to write something like that ever since. ❤

  7. I’m so so sorry this happened to you, Nicole!! Ugh. People are so shitty. I heard of how Patrick Tomlinson’s become the target of mass 1-star reviews on Amazon because he pissed off a bunch of extremists on twitter, and it’s absolutely crazy the lengths people will go to act like a bunch of fuckweasels.

    And know that WHEN your book gets published, I’ll be pressing the pre-order button so. hard. it’ll fly off into orbit. And I ain’t even joking–I LOVE LOVE LOVE fantasy books that push boundaries of what is and isn’t considered “proper” and a story revolving around periods sounds amazing.<3 ❤

    1. Thank you so much, Kathy. Really? I hadn’t heard of that before, but goodness me, it is a little mind-blowing what people feel they can do behind the anonymity of a keyboard.

      KATHY. Goodness me, my heart just soared when I read that. Like, teared-up a little bit levels of soared. I would be so honored and flattered if you read my book. Hopefully, I’ll get this book published sooner rather than later. ❤ ❤ ❤

      1. You’re the best. ❤ ❤ ❤

        Oh gosh, I seriously hope not! Not that I have a ton of connections within the book blogging community, but the friends I have who I'd think liked it would be some of the first I'd reach out to, if I ever had ARCs or whatnot, so I really hope that's not a conflict of interest. I'll definitely have to do more research on that!

  8. Sorry you had such a terrible experience 😦 I wish we lived in a world where we could express our opinions without fear of abuse. Sadly, some people will always be inconsiderate jerks.

    From my perspective it takes so much bravery to post anything controversial online, but I’m an introvert trying to recover from anxiety, and the only way I can deal with social media is to keep it fantasy/writing focused. I know I’ll need to develop thicker skin, because I’m writing about a beloved topic (Arthurian Legend) and someone is bound to take issue with some of my themes.

    1. I wish we could, as well!

      Oh, absolutely, I agree. But I also think it’s so important to take care of yourself, too, mentally and otherwise. I definitely need to develop a tougher skin, as well, absolutely, but it’s about finding that balance, too. Which is not easy to do!

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