I do want you to speak up, especially considering that October is Anti-Bullying month — speak up about bullying in general, about your own experiences and friend’s experiences, about the appropriate venues to go to for help with bullying and harassment, and if you are getting hateful messages, don’t feel ashamed: go ahead and publicize them, say “This is what people are saying to me.” But don’t engage with harrassers: they see that as legitimization of their behavior. Be better than them. It’s not a high bar. :-)
I think this was a really brave post for Cassie to make and I am so glad she did. I’ve known Cassie since 2003 and the person those hate blogs describe is nothing like the person I know and care about. She’s been someone who I can call up and whine about my problems, who I can cry in front of, and who I can count on. She’s made me see myself differently and taught me how to laugh at stuff I never thought I could. She’s a good, generous, kind, and funny person. AND YES, SHE’S MY ACTUAL REAL FRIEND IN REALLY REAL LIFE.
But all that aside, I hope that it helps readers to hear her story and understand that if you’ve felt the way she feels, you’re not alone.
If I could, I would like to add these two personal details.
Firstly; In 2001— despite her own negative experiences and my off-putting behavior, Cassie reached out to me. For whatever reason she trusted me, not only with her precious self but with her loved ones, a number of which I’ve come to love and be loved by. This says a lot about her quality of character. Sometimes, I think I’m a hard friend to keep and yet I know if I asked, she’d lend me her couch in a heartbeat, again. I could go on about the intimates but it just seems superfluous. What I can say is— in my life, the number if people I can spend any amount of time with and walk away feeling understood, not judged but well and truly heard, its not a very big number. Not even in the double-digits. Even still, she’s pretty high up there on that list.
(Also, she isn’t kidding about encouraging people to hate on her work. I revel in it and I think she revels in my reveling in it. I hate with love, its a thing.)
Secondarily — Bullies. Ah, bullies, Bullies, Bullies! To My Bullies, I give you my un-ironic Thanks! Is it weren’t for you I wouldn’t be so bad-assingly thick-skinned (my wardrobe thanks you), I wouldn’t be nearly as spry (Dodgeball! my mad-ninja skills thanks you) and I wouldn’t have discovered that I could draw (Oh, fuck yeah! Thanks.to.fuckin’.you).
This enlightenment didn’t come from a place of bravery. It came from indifference born of a resignment. That I would never be liked and that I would always be loathsome. Life before the Internet, left me only my greater imaginings with which to escape. After tho, brought me a broader world where I could not only find comfort but somehow, magically, I had become a comfort to others.
D’you know the thing about the ”Fearless” Glyph/Rune, something I don’t think I’ve ever said out loud. I guess cuz I couldn’t. Still can’t. There will never be enough words in existence to express my feelings— for the overwhelming trust & responsibility, the honor granted me to design a single image that would touch & inspire millions of desperate souls….
…Yeah, Bullies, thank you for that.
My life’s been made better because I survived you. My loyalty is made fiercer because I’ve endured you. My devotion is far rarer because I’m better than you.
Obviously, I’ve made my own peace with this. Generally, like a pendulum, my feelings swing back and forth, from sincere gratitude to righteous spite. From the benevolent, “Living Well Is the Best Revenge” to the petty “Hah! You Sad-Sacks, Have No One To Blame But Yourself!”.
But that— that ‘dehumanizing’ horde mentality of blind and causeless hatred— I’ll never come to terms with that. Luckily, I’ll never have to because I have good friends. It’s to them that I look to so I will never have to endure the ugliness of looking at you.