I’ve recently helped write two articles about trolling and thought you would like to hear what I said.
As a child I was surrounded by trolls. Thankfully not trolling. Anyway, going back to my childhood, I could not get enough of trolls. I loved their hair, their colours, their fashion. I also used to collect smelly soaps but let’s perhaps pick this up at a later date. Cut to twenty odd years later, I am still surrounded by trolls, just trolls of a different kind. These trolls aren’t harmless.
Every single time I write a post I know what I am going to receive some kind of correspondence, if you can call it that, from people who plain and simple find the need to tell me that they do not like my face, or my writing, or my body, or sometimes they just kindly tell me they don’t like me in general.
Some days I may strike lucky and only get one email telling me I am ugly from the trolls. Sometimes I may get up to 20. 20 trolling emails. They range in length, severity, grammatical ability ( it’s “you’re fucking ugly, not your fucking ugly FYI) but the type of person who sends these emails to me remain unfortunately the same.
They tell me I’m single because I’m ugly. That I can’t expect to meet anyone as I am hideous, or I look like a man, or look like a slut, or I look boring. Sometimes they tell me I am single because I’m a feminist. Or I’m single because I’m fat. Sometimes they criticise my humour. Anything is fair game.
I get that sometimes I say things that might cause a few raised eyebrows, or at times may seem overly critical, but I have never opened myself up with this blog and made out I was hot. Jesus I know I am no great shakes. I’m a 6 tops on a good day at that!
For me, writing over the last 6 months the trolling did seem never-ending. I can’t say some comments haven’t stung. Yes there have been tears! I have talked about it with my nearest and dearest and their reaction has ranged from shock, to you must stop writing this blog, to upset. A few months ago, as my blog got bigger, I began to not be able to switch off from it. I stopped loving and even focussing on the nice things and instead got a bubble of fear every time I saw a new email on my blog. My heart would sink. How ugly was I going to be today? What would they say about my face now?
Talking about it now the most common question I get asked is – Has the trolling changed you as a person? Yes. I think anyone who gets up to 20 emails saying they are cray cray crazy ugly would get a wobble of self loathing. I’m now trying to fix the ugly things people have said about me. I spend a crazy amount on makeup. I am more aware of how I look, how to take an ok picture, how my face looks. I do worry when I meet new men they will see the uglyness in me, like the trolls have said.
But I also, in time, gained some perspective about the whole thing. I’m not all bad. I’m not a supermodel- but I’m not pretending to be. I may not cause instant “come in your pants hotness” for the vast majority of men but because of this I’ve had to work hard on my personality, and that generally gets guys wanting to see me again. Dating wise, second dates do happen for me. So do third dates. And occasionally, so do fourth. Sometimes men tell me I am beautiful not only to sleep with me. The trolls would be shocked at this.
Advice if you are being trolled
-Do not engage in conversation with them
-Recognise that they are probably not happy in themselves and feel the need to criticise others
-Tell someone in the real life. Don’t bottle it in. A problem or troll shared is a problem halved!
-Have times when you switch off from your blog, twitter, facebook etc and focus on real life
-Block them. You simply do not need to read it.
-Carry on doing what you love and focus on the readers who love you, love when they get a notification saying you have a new post out, and leave pleasant comments. Write down, and favourite the nice things. And remember- tomorrow is another day.