on internet hatred: please inquire within.

Update 01.09.13: A followup blog has been posted and can be found HERE. Please only read once you’ve read the following.

i’m back from NYC. the purple rain new year’s show was fucking phenomenal. pictures & clips forthcoming.
i also got food poisoning on the 2nd, the night of mine & neil’s 2nd anniversary (yay us!).
he got food poisoning, too. it was the oysters.

we spent the night puking together.

it’s love.

i was on the internet tonight doing what i should never do (but i do sometimes do when i have time and “the nomi song” isn’t on netflix).

the google hole.

the confession:
i was ego-surfing. i was very saddened to see that the first google result that came at me for amanda palmer news was the scathing (and i mean SCATHING) new yorker blog that some very angry dude wrote about me, basically calling me a fake communist who was “scraping the last dollar off the hides of the desperate” during the musician kerfuffle. i’d go back to make sure that quote is 100% correct but i can’t re-visit the article, it’d just make me pissed. and i feel like i owe the dude no fact-checking favors, he called me a folk singer. anyway. i did something, and i don’t know exactly what possessed me to do it, but i did it. i typed “hate a…” into google. i was going to type “hate amanda palmer” into the rest of the field to see what came up, but google auto-filled for me. it auto-filled “amanda todd”.

“who is amanda todd?” i thought.
probably an actress. or a teen celebrity girlfriend of justin bieber.
these are the types people who people typically like hating.

i googled her name to find out what kind of celebrity she was.

she’s not a celebrity. well. she is now.
this is she.

she’s an ex-15-year-old girl who became specifically famous for leaving a sad, desperate youtube clip behind before taking her life a few months ago.

i was on tour, i missed the news. but maybe it’s easy to keep missing the news when kids are killing themselves left and right.

here’s what tore me apart, though.

this. the video, which is a story about how she was bullied to suicide:

what killed me was the fact that she would have made that video and scrawled her story on those cards right around the exact same time i was doing the exact same thing. only i wasn’t killing myself.

i was doing this:

the poetry of this is not lost on me.

i wish i’d found her.

here’s the thing that really does astonish me.

i’m 36, a weathered, war-torn musician, heavily schooled in zen and compassion and love for all beings.
i have FANS. i have an ARMY of people i can go to for love and support, on and off line.
and still…internet hatred pointed in my direction can TEAR ME APART.
it did its work on me this past fall, while you all watched.

what the FUCK must it be doing to teenagers who don’t have the support network?

the worst i got in high school was ignored. occasionally yelled at in the hall.

bitch. slut. druggie. lezzie. freak.

it hurt, it always hurt. but i wore it like a badge of honor and repeated my standard teenage “THEY ARE NORMAL AND THEREFORE INFERIOR IN EVERY WAY” mantra and kept walking down the hall.

but when i got home, it was over. i could mull, but i couldn’t go on facebook to continue to get battered. i couldn’t google my own name to see what my score was on the great love-hate report-card in the sky. i could make and listen to music, read books, watch TV, and call my few friends on the phone and talk about nothing in particular until we got too bored to keep talking (or until someone in one of our families yelled at us for hogging the phone).

i was, more or less, safe.

i have no discipline, nowadays, when it comes to devices and the internet, and it terrifies me.
neil and i actually talk about this sort of shit a lot and have become a little support group of two.
mostly the support group consists of sternly saying “DON’T READ THE TROLLS!!!” and “PUT DOWN THE COMPUTER AND COME TO BED!!” to one another….and so on.

it terrifies me more to imagine what i WOULD have been like if i’d grown up without ever knowing what it was like to be disconnected from everybody.
to have a reprieve. from the good, the bad….from the story. at least i was formed off the grid. maybe i wouldn’t have made it. who knowwwwws.

so, anyway….i tweeted.

lots of good conversation resulted, along with the standard outpouring of grief there was the teacher in texas who mourned the fact that she can only provide literal and figurative band-aids and no official solutions for the high-school girl who’s being bullied and cutting up her arms, the gay boy from the south who thanked me for being a freak to look up to, and a lot of “THANK FUCKING GOD HIGH SCHOOL IS OVER”.

i made a joke that i should quit my day job and start an online course called “how to be hated with grace on and off the internet”

“what would the first class focus on?” someone asked.

“how everyone is afraid, not just you” i answered.

so for my next blog, or as soon as i can gather it all up, i’d like to start off by saying:

“dear amanda todd (RIP), dear phoebe prince (RIP), dear amy pond who beats me in the google search for ‘i hate am…’ by just a few notches, and dear every other person, young or old, who is out there dealing with hatred, bullying, and other forms of evil coming at you.

dear everybody.

but especially dear teenagers being bullied, dear musicians being torn down by pitchfork/brooklyn vegan commenters, dear artists and content creators who have critics of any kind. dear all y’all…..

here are some tips for survival.”

and lord knows, i haz a few.

i might even do it in the form of a “top twenty things to bear in mind when dealing with hatred on the net”.

before i write this blog, i want some input.

and i actually do hope a blog like this will do some good, and even if one artist/teenager/sufferer out there sees it and it helps, my job is done…..so i don’t want to just poop it out tonight while i’m tired and weary and besides, the backstory of all this isn’t that important.

ask me some pointed questions or tell me your own strategies for dealing with internet hate.

i want to hear your stories, and more importantly: your coping mechanisms for dealing with everything from evil youtube commenters, facebook stalkers, bad reviewers, and if you’re lucky enough, new yorker journalists who slam you for being a fake communist.

i know…you can choose not to look, but i keep learning: the hate lives where the love lives.

oldest story in the book: same coin.

how do we run around on the vast field of the internet without being crippled and disfigured by the landmines of hatred that are waiting under every shrub, while still managing to sow the seeds of love, art and awesomeness that blossom ever-greenly?

please inquire within.

then hit me in the comments.

love in the new year,


p.s. if you’re reading this right now, i’ve since posted a follow-up blog…part 2. it’s HERE.

Back to Blog
  • http://twitter.com/indeciSEAN indeciSEAN

    “and even if one artist/teenager/sufferer out there sees it and it helps, my job is done”

    I believe I know 100% what you meant by that…and I can’t wait to read that blog…but we’re not ever done. Ever. We can’t be.

    • http://amandapalmer.net/ Amanda Palmer


  • http://twitter.com/ItinerantMonk Thomas

    Anonymity brings out the dark, dirty, vengeful, hateful little beast in people who feel powerless in the real world.

  • http://twitter.com/hcgray Han

    Remember that for every piece of hate-mail on the internet, for every troll who trash talks people, for everyone who has a grudge against the population, there are people who love you. People who care about you (possibly people who don’t even KNOW YOU) and people who would miss your existence, even if their world does not revolve around your sun.

    I tried, once, to put these feelings into more coherent words. The post is here:
    if you (particularly you, dear AFP fans) feel like reading it. Believe it. Even if you have to believe that I, one stranger who has never met you, never even uttered your name out loud, would miss you. Because I would. The world would. It would be one tiny piece of a huge puzzle that had gone missing.
    I would ask that people please have hope. And please be patient and wait for things to get better. Remember that no matter how low you are, or how bad things get, there’s only so far before you hit the bottom, and then the only way to go is back up.

  • http://twitter.com/KateDelaurier Kate DeLaurier

    Cry, breathe, move on.

  • Zakurosis

    My Little Pony

  • Skyla

    I can’t cope with negativity. It tears me apart. The only thing that helps is forgetting.

  • tonksftmemories

    I must admit that I have a similar strategy as high school you with the “fuck you I’m weird and it’s awesome” but it’s pretty problematic in terms of automatically dismissing people. I don’t really know… It’s an odd, disjointed kind of circle; being cruel to one another is dismissing them and being unable to recognize their pain in your release (or whatever hatred is), yet dismissing them and their comments is kind of the easiest way to deal with hatred for me. I guess I’m both glad and scared about how easy i can dismiss other people.

  • acacia

    when i was in 6th grade, i had a myspace (i know dude, i know). on myspace there was “truthbox” where people would write anonymous “truths” about you (horrendous, i know). i had one. one day a girl from my class left an “anonymous” (i knew it was her) note about how fat, ugly, hairy, and smelly i was. it honestly broke me down. then my angel of a best friend hacked the bully’s myspace and made it look really silly. like glittery text everywhere. it was pretty stupid in terms of a comeback, but it was the most brilliant thing to me. i felt so protected. now i’m 19 and i’ve been blogging for a long time, and i find that whenever internet hatred is pulling me into a downward spiral, i will write in my journal, as well as paste stuff from magazines, etc in. it’s something i should do more often, but whenever i can’t handle the angry and not-really-helpful feedback from the internet i sort of blog in my notebook. that way there is no feedback, negative or positive. it pulls my eyes from the screen. it works, usually. thank you for writing this blog.

  • another amanda

    amanda palmer, you’re an amazing person, and even though we’ve never met, i am sending so much love your way.

  • HeatherM

    I was bullied a lot in school. Having red hair and a name that easily rhymes with lots of other words made it hard. I still have trouble trusting people enough to be able to make friends easily because of it. If the facebook/twitter had been around when I was in school, I have no doubt that I would not have survived it. People from school still make jokes of some things that happened to me while I was there and I still find it hard to distance myself from them, but I just block/unfriend them. It doesn’t make me feel any better, but it is the only way I can distance myself from it and try to keep moving on.

    • http://twitter.com/larissarainey Lorissa ♡

      I suffered the same thing about the hair. <3 love.

  • http://twitter.com/Sangrebloom Sangrebloom

    For a long time I used the internet as a place to hide. I separated my name and who I was in life, with who I wanted to be. I tried being better than the people that treated me so poorly…I don’t cry about anymore, sometimes I think about it. I don’t try and forget it either, it feels too important to just push away and pretend I was never mistreated. I just try to do better and help when I can.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mynameisnotellie Ellie St Cyr

    I only ever had the chance to see you once. It was so far back, almost ten years ago, when you opened for Panic! at the Disco. But I tell you what… I remembered you down the line. and there is nothing better than finding out that the person you saw so long ago is still awesome.
    People will always hate each other and there isn’t any getting around that. The hate on Tumblr has driven many to suicide and there has been nothing worse to witness in my lifetime. Would you believe that people take pleasure in causing the death of others? I hope that if someone ever wishes for my demise, it will be because I have found something to fight about. After all, they say that if you have enemies, that only means that you have something for which you stand, and in which you strongly believe.
    For as much negativity as you saw tonight, there is ten times as much love. Do you want an army? You’ve got one. You’ve got an army of faces to combat the faceless force of fearmongering and hate.
    And… you have support. From more people than show up here. So, yes, keep your chin up, and remember that we are all together and none of us need be alone.

  • http://twitter.com/bugfamilylove Yvonne Hightshoe

    I don’t know. I had a really hard time coping with it in high school, and on the internet I am just shocked by the hate that comes from people. The only healthy way I know to cope is to write or draw, or otherwise do something to create.

  • Chris Dubie

    I think the only advice I could possibly offer to anyone being bullied is to listen to The Mountain Goat’s song ‘You Were Cool.’ Darnielle says it best, and he didn’t even need to try.

  • Jessi

    I was born and raised Appalachian–and fat–so I developed a thick skin when it came to letting people in or, worse, letting people’s negativity in. By the time the internet was a part of my life I was luckily pretty well prepared for the astounding amount of anonymous dickholes whom choose to breed there.

    I’ve realized that not everyone can “shrug it off” as easily as myself. It’s disheartening.

    I think this blog idea is wonderful, though. I’d read and share for sure. Also I’m thinking about printing out that picture of you with the sign to keep in my notebook because it made me feel all teary-eyed and warm just now.

    Love you AFP, thank you

  • http://twitter.com/davidyerle David Yerle

    Well, that may sound a bit callous but when I was a teenager I used to tell my self: “they are nothing but protons and electrons.” Depersonalizing the people hurting you made things seem like a meaningless computer simulation where nothing really mattered. Then I got older and the trick wasn’t needed anymore. But it helped for a while.

  • http://twitter.com/KeNBoiBarb KeNBoi BroLanski

    That poor lil girl. I just wish I could take every bullied teenager and hug them and tell them all the things that make them beautiful and unique and destined to survive.
    I would never have made it through my teenager years in a social media society. Even in the early 90s, kids could be so fucking cruel.
    I want to save them all. I want to teach all the girls with low self esteem the consequences of falling for those callous manipulations. This world is beyond cruel.

  • susieq777

    Oh, geez, I don’t think I can add anything worthwhile to this. I mean, I’m seven kinds of wet paper bag when it comes to criticism. I only know about this from the other end of the telescope.

    But I reckon being one of those irritating highly sensitive person is one of the reasons why I have developed such a rich inner life, and it’s been such a solace to me, so I totally get when you say that it terrifies you “more to imagine what i WOULD have been like if i’d grown
    up without ever knowing what it was like to be disconnected from
    everybody.” Oh, fuck, yes. The kingdom of heaven is within and all of that sort of stuff.

    I think the ultimate thing for me in the end is what you have already said here – of taking the “Emperors New Clothes” approach to things, by realising that even the emperor is scared, and the best space to learn to be (but which I fall out of 70 times a day) is in that open and vulnerable sort of space where the little kid lives, who voiced what he saw when the emperor’s willie was floating on the breeze right in front of his eyes.

    I reckon if I had any kind of overarching theme of what I would consider to be a “successful” life for myself, it would be learning to answer back those voices on the inside that try to cut me down to size. Those voices are scary. I guess it’s why I’ve run from them for so long. But it’s spun me out what happens when I actually speak to some of those voices. Man, they’re scary, and then *they* end up being like wet paper bags as well. Bullies and cowards really until engaged with compassion, and then they change. As within, so without, I tend to think. And so I would love to be able to be compassionate on the outside as well, respond with a bit of class to people who haven’t matured any further pyschologically than projecting their own unowned shit onto other people. But that’s a lifetime challenge, I guess :)

  • Cylithria

    Dear You, when the bullying and hatred and snark and crap make you feel like you are ‘less’ remember one thing – You can’t be less, until I (and others) see you as such, and I will never see you that way.

    I’m a wriiter. One who ignores all typos, grammar and such until I get into the editing process. I’m good. very good. Yet to look at my rapidly typed words, some might think “not”.

    My life has been – extraordinary. Not because of any reason then I never knew any better then to do it all, whenever it presented itself. As such, now as a 40+ woman, I am called the liar, the crazy one, the fraud. Does it hurt, sure. Do I let it go, Hell Yes. Because I learned a long time ago, those who diss you, do so to sink their hooks in, so you stay low like they are.

    Whatever it is that you think you are, you are so very more then that.

    When other’s tell you you can’t, don’t ask why – ask Why Not.

    When you are alone or afraid reach out. I’ll be on twitter. You are more then you ever thought or knew yourself to be.

    You are loved.

    I love you, just the way you are. Fuck anyone who says otherwise.

    Semper Anticus,

  • Ashleigh

    I got so much bullying in High School it actually gave me PTSD. These people tried to kill me in school and outside of school. But the one thing they never did was internet bullying, instead they posted my phone number around school and other places telling people to call me if they wanted to have sex with me. They also used to call my home phone and pretend to be my friend to my parents, before telling me to kill myself over the phone, or just laughing in my ear and saying I was a loner and hanging up.

    To all the kids out there who are being bullied or who have been bullied, please don’t give up. I will not lie to you and say that it instantly gets better, these scars are more then just physical, the suicidal thoughts don’t just go away magically, but you need to be strong. Because we are the ones that are going to survive and come out on top, we are the ones that are going to make something of ourselves because you know what, fuck the haters, who are they to say what we can and can’t do, who we can and can’t love?

    My biggest piece of advice is find a band and cling to their music, listen to that album so many times that you can sing every single line of it, even when you are asleep. Grab hold of that one song, the song that speaks so powerfully to you that you can’t let it go, I have two and one of them is Bad Habit by The Dresden Dolls. Because it speaks to me, it lets me know that someone else is feeling the same damn thing I am, that someone else knows how I feel when I hurt myself because it’s a bloody release.
    But it’s not the way to live your life, hurting yourself just to feel something, just to get some control of your life back. Believe me, I have no control of my life, I live in my room in complete terror unless my parents force me to leave it.
    Only one problem. I still live in the town where my bullies live, I see the people who hurt me when ever I go down the street.

    And babies you just have to be strong. Because at the end of the day, we are the stronger ones because we have lived through this and we are going to live through this. We will carry scars and they will harden us, but do not let them harden you so much that you can not love or be the person you once were.

    Anxiety, Depression, Suicidal, PTSD, Self Harmer… These are just labels, because the main thing that matters, no matter what you come under, is that we all hurt, and we hurt together. And we need to band together in order to make it.

    And maybe what I wrote doesn’t make sense, it’s rather hard to type with tears falling down my face. But I just want to let you know that there are people out here going through the same thing, feeling the same things and they are as lost and scared as you are. They want someone to stand up and help them find their voices, help them understand that you can come through this.

    And I hope Amanda Palmer does that, because sometimes we just need that one person to cling to in order to survive.

  • Digby

    A minor strategy that mighgt of help to some people: Technology makes the world one is exposed to much larger. Thus due to the way media biases toward information about disasters, murders, wars, problems of all kinds and the way we as humans also tend to gravitate toward those stories the world can appear distorted and worse than it is – especially if we already have the opinion that the world is a bad place and are consciously or unconsciously seeking to justify that opinion. So I’ve been trying to focus on what the people I actually meet are like, what the physical world I actually inhabit is like and have been paying much less attention to the news and follow less people on twitter. My general levels of stress and anxiety have fallen but more importantly my compassion reserves have increased as they aren’t depleted as much by information I can do nothing about. Those reserves are available for real people I really know or have actual contact with. In these situations any terrible news is actually actionable – I can actually help.

    • http://mkhajdin.jux.com/ M. K. Hajdin

      This is a good point.

    • watchmeboogie

      Yes, this is important.

    • http://twitter.com/LittleJanelleS Janelle Sheetz

      And in addition, some spaces–like everything I’ve read in this whole thread so far–are beautiful.

  • Camilma

    A girl who went to my highschool for a little while killed herself in May 2012. She was absolutely gorgeous, always smiling and friendly but she said some ‘weird’ things and I think people laughed at her more than with her. She posted a very similar video, but hers revealed years of mental illness (Which the news story on her did not report) as well as being bullied. It made me and a lots of my friends realise how much a beautiful, smiling person can keep inside and I think that was what eventually got to her. I think she truly believed that nobody understood or cared enough. I wish so hard that she could have lived to see this, and I hope others like her who are still fighting do.

    You have the power to save lives, and I wouldn’t trust anyone else with it more.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzjFf8ywk3c – Liv Penpraze’s story

  • http://www.facebook.com/lara.l.hixson Lara Lynn Hixson

    This is fucking brilliant. I watched your twitter conversation unfold “live” and was also touched by the teacher and the gay southern boy and every other soul out there who is or has been bullied, shamed, or persecuted for any reason. As the mom of 3 teens I worry about cyber bullies and body image issues and self esteem all the time. It’s a scary world out there in real life and on the interwebs. I’ve also recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and in the months since the diagnosis I’ve tried to become a bit of a champion for change, so to speak, in an effort to reduce and eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness. So I guess I dont really have any tips or pointers. Just thank you for trying to make a difference. It matters. YOU MATTER!

    • http://twitter.com/AndrewLangerman Andrew Langerman

      Make sure to champion yourself as well. Living with Bipolar is like living with an alien in the head who is CONSTANTLY lying to you.

  • Me

    I don’t think that picture is Amanda Todd. This is Amanda Todd. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/7/76/Amanda_Todd_-_01.jpg/250px-Amanda_Todd_-_01.jpg

  • Alyssa

    I deal with hate/bullying on and off the internet, and what keeps me going is people like you, who are so strong and successful, talking about their own experiences and seeing you stay strong. You’ve been an inspiration to me since the beginning of the Dresden Dolls, and your music and lyrics always hit so close to home. You make me feel like I belong and fit somewhere in this messed up planet, and that it is okay to be different and expressive. Just simply knowing that I am not the only one receiving all of this hate and negativity, and that others can relate to what I am going through is enough to get me through it. I think the way to face the negativity is to stick together, talk about it, and just keep spreading your positive message. This blog will definitely do these things if you decide to follow through with it. Thank you so much for the impact you’ve had on my life and for being the most inspirational person to me. Your music has truly saved me in a sense, so if you ever feel down or are getting a lot of negativity, just know that your music and hard work have had such a positive impact on someone’s life. You’re brilliant, beautiful, and I most definitely do not hate you. <3

  • ed rafalko

    For me, hatred is not as hard to handle as indifference or invisibility for no apparent reason. That always confuses me.

    • http://twitter.com/LittleJanelleS Janelle Sheetz

      Me, too. Hatred seems to have some sort of starting point or motive, but to completely disregard someone and not care?

    • http://twitter.com/usagizero Andrew Iverson

      I’ve had both, people who have hated me for whatever reason, and feeling invisible. Not sure which is worse. While hated hurts, you know you have made an impact on someone, and if there are those who hate you, then there are probably those who love you. Being invisible, that is just a worthless feeling that is hard to break from. Too easy to slide down the feelings of despair when that just keeps happening, at least for me.

    • http://twitter.com/Corvustristis Corvus

      I understand this, but don’t react the same way personally. If someone is indifferent or does not pay attention to me, I assume it’s because they’ve got their own shit going on in their own lives, and may just have a hard time seeing beyond that. Which is comforting to me, because I totally understand how it can be difficult to keep the whole world in mind when you’re just trying to keep your little world going. It doesn’t mean they dislike me, or that they wouldn’t care if they had the energy to spare (or if they knew- if they don’t know you’re hurting, it’s not entirely surprising that they’d be indifferent to your pain, because they don’t know it exists)- it just means we’ve all got our shit to deal with.

      It’s hard to look up sometimes.

  • Kaz

    I was bullied at school. The ways I chose to deal with that are not recommended, but I survived.
    My son is 8 years old. He has aspergers. He is constantly picked on for his quirkyness and I am damned if I’m leaving him to find his own ways of coping with that, it’s getting worse as he gets older.
    SO…I came up with ‘the magic bubble” I use it too. I told him only people with pure hearts can activate it. When someone is picking on you, when the words they use make it hurt inside, hold your hand on your heart and activate the bubble. Imagine that although you can hear the words, they are hitting the bubble and smashing in little pieces on the ground, concentrate on the pieces, they can’t reach you, they can’t hurt you. They are just words.
    I’m looking forward to reading your blog – I need to know what might help him when he’s older. Thank you for being such a beautiful soul.

  • https://twitter.com/themjane Mary Jane

    one way would be to practice Mettā meditation on the hater.

    I think of this kind of hate as present in more than just
    the internet, it’s baked into everything that mainstream society produces, don’t
    stand out, don’t be a freak. I’ve been trying to crack the riddle of how you do
    it since I became your fan, how you’re able to refrain from taking in the judgement
    coming from that cold and shitty world out there and my conclusion was that it’s
    the people you surround yourself with, and your courage, and the fact that you
    don’t own a tv. So I learned from you, and slowly started shifting my life
    towards being closer to people like me, and get away from mainstream media as
    much as I can (including harmful online content).

    I used to have this argument with a friend of mine in high
    school who was part of my we’re-artsy-weirdos-and-we-hate-you-all-because-we’re-better-than-you
    group: she said that life is better lived when sticking to just being around
    people who are like you, and I thought it was a form of escape, that if you’re
    strong enough you should be able to totally be yourself in the most judgemental
    of environments. We’re both 29 now and a few months ago I informed her that I
    officially think she was right. Just connect to other like-minded people and stay
    within that fucking world. It totally remind me of how you described what
    cabaret means to you (in your old blog).

    The pictures from your video and Amanda Todd’s video you put
    up here totally tore me apart – I think that’s where visibility comes in, and I
    wonder what would have happened if she knew about who you are, I wonder what
    would have happened if she had watched Lana Wachowski’s amazing speech when she
    received the HRC visibility award.

    I really wish you were older, so that you would have existed
    out there when I was a kid / teenager when I grew up, I had exactly 0 people to
    look up to, and forming an identity without reflection is literally impossible.
    So I had to do it years later, and you were of much help – thank you.

    • https://twitter.com/themjane Mary Jane

      ok I should have gone to bed but I have to dump this here – this is what you wrote about cabaret way back when and it feels so relevant to this. I had you write this on the holiday card that I ordered, and under it you wrote “beautiful”, which I thought was hilarious cause you didn’t realize these are your own words. it’s one of my favorite posts on dresdendollsdiary.com, so it’s sitting in a text file on my desktop. here’s one way to deal with hate:

      “i must be honest: i’m not trying to re-create the weimar berlin cabaret, i’m not trying to start a cult, i’m not trying to do anything excpet kick-start in other people the romantic fantasy which i’ve always had and i know many others share….to create a space, even just an hour or two, in which everybody and anybody can take part: a spot in a dull world which keeps getting more and more frightening where everybody bands together and makes alot of meaningful noise, where self-expression is demanded, where risk-taking is honored, where art is god and where the rules of everyday life
      and coduct are forgotten for a while.” (AFP)

      • http://twitter.com/astarynight Crystal Michelle

        A place that makes the real world disappear, so the imagination can take flight.

    • http://twitter.com/LittleJanelleS Janelle Sheetz

      Sometimes, being around people who are different from you can be just as beneficial–the trick, I’ve found, is finding people who are different but can still respect you and understand you. Unfortunately, this is hard.

      Not watching TV is probably a big part of my own experience. I feel like it’s benefitted me greatly. It forces me to seek out what I want and am interested in without being inundated with hate and trash.

  • http://perfectdenial.tumblr.com perfectdenial

    hello. my name is crystal, and i used to be very brave. i’m 28 now. 28, which is well past the age of being a fretful teenager who gets bullied on the internet, and yet…

    i have been bullied for decades. not just a few years, but multiples of 10. i had weird clothes, growing up. there was a girl in the 7th grade who, for no reason i can possibly explain to you, always made it her mission to make me feel like crying everyday. i never did, though. not in front of her, or any other person who teased me for being “weird”, or any of the other various things i’ve been called. when i was 15, a girl who was supposed to be my friend became jealous of the other friends i was making, so she told everyone we knew that i was a slut and sleeping with everyone around us. at the time, i was a virgin who was still going to church. my parents had low self-worth, and sometimes my mother took it out on me. a handful of years ago, i became associated with someone who has a very large fanbase. their fans told me things like “i am going to lock your child in a closet”, via twitter. a few months ago, someone decided they didn’t like me and posted all of my personal information on various social networks for other people to see.

    i never said anything. instead, i talked to all of the friends i’d made on the internet, but it was different back then. we were the lone few nerds who stuck together. it wasn’t what it is now, and those people really helped me through. i don’t know what i would have done without them to listen. i probably would not still be here.

    i now have such bad anxiety, depression and insomnia that i’ve got to take medication twice a day for it. i rarely make friends, because i can’t handle the constant fear and anxiousness that comes from it. but i get by.

    i have a daughter now who is seven years old. my retribution in life will be to make sure that she grows up so much stronger than i did, because the world has become so much scarier. in the last eight years of my life, that has been the only thing that keeps me going.

    a lot of the people i talk to these days are either much younger than me, or much older. the older have been where i am and are always supportive. the younger are going through so much worse than i went through. that’s a horrifying thought.

    the most important thing you can do is listen to people around you. everyone’s so caught up in their own lives these days that nobody stops to look around. don’t brush it off as “a teen thing” because inside, someone could literally be dying.

    i don’t know. i just felt compelled to share. nobody’s alone, as long as somebody’s there to listen.

    • http://www.facebook.com/paige.horst Paige Horst

      I hear you. You are incredibly courageous. I am proud of you

  • ignitedsoul

    My coping mechanism for the first two and a half years of my hell of a high school experience was…let’s face it, it wasn’t a coping mechanism at all. It was simply allowing others to tear me apart and tearing myself apart as well. For the last year and the upcoming last semester of high school hell, my coping mechanism is and will continue to be wit. Pure, utter, sarcastic wit. “Have fun never getting any!” “Sorry, but…I do believe I’m getting more pussy than you. Har har.” Same for online. I get a hateful comment on my YouTube, I bite back. I don’t bully, but I don’t play nice. Simply rip apart the comment for its flaws and feel awesome about myself for being a MUCH smarter person than they are. Unfortunately, there are people who can’t simply ignore it and throw some sarcasm back at ‘em.

    The world sucks. But you, AFP, and all of us do what we can to make it suck a little less. :)

    (A little unrelated, but I wanted to thank you because…I sort of went from being a casual listener to a bit of an obsessor this week over your music and I was inspired to write my first song in four years because of you after years of saying that my writing is shit. Thanks. <3)

  • Andre LaFosse

    How to cope with a bad review? First off, by remembering that every artist/entertainer worth a damn has been dissed, misunderstood, criticized, or outright demeaned by somebody at some point.

    And, if I’m up to it, 1) reminding myself that stirring up discussion and debate is part of the whole point of making “art” (for a lot of us, anyway), and

    2) actually trying to consider whether or not the criticism has any validity or relevance to what I’m trying to do.

    (Insults/personal attacks/trolling are a whole different thing…)

  • Alyssa P

    I tend to talk to a good friend that will let met vent. When there isn’t that around I play my ukulele(learned that lesson from you) or guitar or whatever. I sing whatever comes to mind. Or sometimes I simply scream into a pillow. Sometimes a good cry helps too, no matter how weak you think it is, ya just gotta suck it up a bawl.
    That’s what generally comes to my mind when this happens!

  • H

    Make art, watch Buffy, live in my own head. I remind myself that everyone is mean and everyone has been hurt by somebody. Luckily/unluckily there are much bigger hurts in my life to put things into perspective. I focus on what is good out there even if it’s nothing to do with me. Remember things are constantly changing. Step away and do little things just for me. I breathe. Breathing helps everything.

  • Boots_33

    I think a lot of internet hate, especially toward artists and creators, is latent envy. People often feel trapped in life. By a job, by a spouse, by inhibitions, by whatever… they just have something that keeps them from being who they truly are. People like you, Amanda, probably remind them of their stagnant life as they watch you pursue your desires, your dreams, and your inspirations… and I think it drives them nuts.

    So they hate. With all their might. Why should a “freak” be allowed to have success where they cannot? Why should you get to enjoy everything you go after when they have to suffer the hell of a boring, monotonous life? They just fail to realize that you’ve put in the effort while they tried to live without facing failure. Thing is, when you fear failure, success is difficult to find.

    The internet plays a role, too, in the sense that anonymity breeds the safety for them to lash out without consequence.

    But this is the trend in them all. A want to avoid consequence, to live “safely.”

    The thing to remember is what you’ve already said. No one is alone. We all suffer from anxieties, fears, and self-hatred. We just need to start building each other up to equal levels rather than trying to tear each other down.

  • http://mkhajdin.jux.com/ M. K. Hajdin

    First, we learn to master the shift key.

  • Rhiannon

    I totally agree, I was bullied A LOT at school, it has left me with low self esteem even at over age 40 and I haven’t achieved what I might have done. But I am SO glad that I went to school in the 80s when they didn’t have that technology, like you, I could leave it behind. My nephews are aged 14 and 12, they are right in the age group for this right now. I am so glad they have great support at home and that they seem to be popular boys. My heart goes out so much to those girls cos I at least know some of what they went through but I could leave it behind at home and they couldn’t.

  • http://www.ceciliaryan.com Cecilia Ryan

    I hate that I’m not ‘allowed’ to stand up for myself. I hate that if someone is being unfair to me-as-an-author, I am expected to lie down under it, not engage, pretend to be a totally emotionless robot who produces work that I have no feelings about and isn’t important enough to me that it *does* hurt when people hate on it. Or end up being finger-wagged at for being a poorly-behaved author, silly person, don’t you know that by showing your creations to the world, you open yourself up to abuse.

    Because, y’know, paying customers are actually paying for the right to say whatever they like and be applauded by their friends and would-be friends for tearing down creative work. Because they’re funny, it’s all in good humour, and besides, negative reviews/negative press/outright abusive screeds all boost sales! Silly author, it’s only about the business after all.

    And yet if someone said those things to a waitress, they’d be terrible people and everyone else would run to say what complete douchebags they were. But if you create something and – assorted gods forbid – *charge* for it, you’re fair game.

    My point here is that it’s worth realising that the deck is stacked against you and that there’s nothing you can do about that. It’s ingrained in every corner of our culture that artists exist to be criticised, and if they take it personally, well, they’re clearly just unbalanced artsy types. No doubt they’ll end up going mad and killing themselves, because artists are all crazy, don’t you know?
    No one wants to stand back and say ‘well maybe if we hadn’t torn them down every time they spoke up…’, because then they’d have to admit that they’re killing people.

    The way to deal with hate (and this is a lesson I could do with learning) isn’t to ignore it, nor to skim off the ‘constructive’ parts and pretend that the rest doesn’t exist. It’s to hit back, rage against it, and even if you’re only telling your cat what irredeemable arseholes the haters are, tell *someone*. Because it helps not to be alone in your anger. Surround yourself with people who love you (and everyone has or can find these people, except in the case of aforementioned irredeemable arseholes) and lean on them when you need. If they’re good people, they’ll always have your back. If they’re not, keep looking for good people. They’re out there, waiting to love you when the rest of the world is out to break you.

  • http://twitter.com/MrsInfanta ✖ M0H.-

    I just want to say that I love you Amanda ! You’re an inspiration for every person (not just teenagers) don’t you feel bad for what stupid people says/thinks about you.. you are yourself, and thats not a thing we see nowadays on must of the people
    I’m thankfull high school is over, we were talking about that with a friend last night… Here in Argentina well… kids can get a little bit physical about it, but thats just what it happens, we fight and people forget (afortunely)
    but still… theres always someone left behind… a shame.
    (sorry for the horrible english) XO -Maggie

  • http://twitter.com/saintburns Saint Burns

    Honestly the best way for me to cope was to dissolve myself into books. The heroes there were defeating their monsters with swords and loopholes and wonderful magical abilities. In the coming of age story that I got to read time and time again there was always the dark moment before the actual defeating of the monsters occurred. I consumed books and they helped me be strong.

    I listened to sad cold play songs in the dark while laying on the floor. Even still for me right now Cold Play in the right setting can probably give me intense feelings.

    And I think I distracted myself with writing. And not writing on my own. I joined writing communities where I had a support system of online friends who wanted to now how the character development was going and if I was going to update with another fanfiction.

    The thing that helped the most though was actually learning to cry. To understand that experiencing the entire spectrum of human emotions was ok. Not a weakness but a necessity. Even if it’s crying at night before I go to bed, it was acceptable behavior. There’s a quote from Doctor Who that I think about whenever I do want to cry about things. “Sad is happy for deep people.” It’s something I remember and carry with me to remind myself that it’s ok to be sad and I don’t have to feel guilty for what I’m feeling.

    Hopefully most of this rambling was on topic. Cheers love.

  • http://twitter.com/sylviavbruggen Sylvia van Bruggen

    Moved to tears, my reply may be incoherent but I have to write down what I feel.

    Every year I choose a word to focus on. A word that guides me through a year of adventures.

    This year the word is love. The moment I focused on it, all I felt was the many ways I have hated myself in the past. One of the ways I hated myself was using comments others made about me throughout my life.

    I also realized that I used this hatred as a shield against my creativity and vulnerability. Many days where I could have created I let myself be stuck in fear and doubt. 

    And now there is love. I realize that the hate will still be there and it will still lurk around the corner as I create. It will be there to throw a wrench in the wheel of creativity me if I choose. 

    I believe however that I can change the world by believing in love, by being art, by opening my arms and embracing those who feel unloved. That is why my heart aches for Amanda Todd. I wish I could have shown her that love is there for her in abundance. 

    I can show it to those in pain now. I can reach out and say I love you to all. Including you. 

    Amanda, please google “I love Amanda Palmer”. Don’t let the hate drown out the outpouring of love coming your way, including mine. 

  • Yan

    I was always bullied when I was younger, for a lot of things. From being bisexual, to my hobbies (video games and dressing up, mostly!) to my way of thinking about things. As I grew up the bullying reached a peak which was at around 15 years old. I got beat up pretty badly by a group of people because of a petty argument. But after that, it started to simmer down. There were a few more arguments and sometimes little jabs at me, but it became less and less often, until it was barely anything. And I think that’s the thing – it’ll reach a peak, and it will be very hard to deal with it, but then it’ll get better. Increasingly better. You’ll find someone to talk to, or someone will find you.

    I firmly believe that there is someone out there for everyone, and I don’t necessarily mean romantically, but friends! You aren’t alone. There’s someone out there with the same traits as you, and that person understands you. The internet is a blessing and a curse. It opens up more opportunity to find these similar people but it also opens up all these channels for hatred, especially because you can become anonymous on the internet. Anyone who says that internet bullying isn’t as bad as offline bullying is wrong. It can be worse, it can be so much more intense and personal. And when it comes to that, it’s important to remember that the person bullying you is a person too. Their lives have gotten them to the point where they feel the need to pick on people anonymously, people who may seem like an easy target. Don’t hate them back, but pity them, because they feel like they have nothing better to do with their time. You are better than them! You are better than these bullies!

    That’s how I think about it, anyway.

  • http://twitter.com/whatsamatta_u Paul W

    How can there be good without evil, or light without darkness (or the gentle embrace of the night and the glaring heat of the day). Ignore the whispers, they’re just the wind rustling the trees and what the trees know they keep to themselves. Even those who know love know loneliness too, even a glorious fall day with vivid colors tells a tale of melancholy and death and emptiness. I saw a dead bird on the ground, another bird hopping around it, agitated and know birds mate for life. This is life, and even in the winter’s gray, bare trees stark against the snow there is beauty there too, and the fertile earth lie beneath in a slumber. Grapes live in desperation and squeezed into the wine we drink together before going off into our own slumber.

    Life is not about being happy. Life is a series of experiences, momentary, sometimes disconnected, sometimes connected, sometimes a gentle surprise, or intensity, or desperation. There is no special purpose for us, we’re just motes in a vast universe, but we belong in that universe and we give it life.

    That does not absolve us from rescuing those who are bullied, or bullies for being bullies, or the adults who numb themselves while wrapped in their own mounting misery. Love is a good thing, passion, faith, belief, curiosity. Bullying kills those, and betrayal real or imagined push us over the threshold.

    I believe people choose to die when they recognize a pattern of unworkability in their lives, that when doors open for others magically, they close for you, and when others are loved, and cherished, and people save them when they’re in peril, but that a cold, cold presence decided that you will be ignored, unseen, unheard, unloved, and everything and everybody will fail you, but not so for the others. It is my most accurate description of what cruel world or the universe is working against me means.

    It’s never one thing that causes it, it’s an unbroken string of things. When you’re bullied time and again and you cry for help but nothing happens and nobody intervenes, and it continues, you lose faith. When you lose faith, you stop crying for help. Sometimes it’s one betrayal, sometimes it takes 3, or 4, or 5. That’s the danger time, and the last chance to save someone.

    Sometimes, that happens, but once lost, faith is difficult to regain, and often becomes a hole that like an abscess festers unseen over the years. I don’t know if there is a cure for bullying. Young people we believe foolish enough to commit suicide are also foolish enough to drive others to suicide. Maybe the best thing we can do is as adults make a commitment to justice for the bullied and avoid bestowing cruelty on the bully, instead, guide these kindling to grow their bark and mind their bites.


  • http://twitter.com/olpmcg om

    Learning to enjoy pissing people off is my defense mechanism. If I’m not making someone uncomfortable I’m not doing something right in my mind. When people call you names and try to rip you down. Take pride in the fact that who you are has such an impact that these people take the time out of their day to dwell on you, think about what to say to you and say it. That and you can alway convince yourself that they are secretly in love with you :B That’s always a pick-me-up!

  • http://twitter.com/ohheyitsethannn Ethan Bradley

    I don’t know quite where to begin, but I will start by saying that you have kept me alive over the years. I was bullied severely throughout middle school. I was kicked out of the closet by friends I thought I had and it was a constant struggle. Some girls thought it would be funny to spray paint dyke on my locker. I was an easy target. And it didn’t just end at school, I was part of the myspace generation. Hate found its way to me constantly. I was told over and over to kill myself. Eventually I tried. I am thankful that I failed. I got through all of it by listening to your music. You were such a friend to me when no one else was there, a voice of reason and compassion. I am here today because of you. I don’t know what to say other than thank-you for all you’ve done and continue to do in keeping me on this earth. <3

    • http://twitter.com/astarynight Crystal Michelle

      hey friend from tumblr! if you ever would like to talk, i am here for you. you can e-mail me anytime. csymons@g.clemson.edu. i would like to have a penpal.

  • http://twitter.com/FleurdeB Belinda Y. Hughes

    I watched Amanda Todd’s video and read everything you’ve written about it. Whatever you do with this, let me know. I want to support you in this, even if all I can do is write this post and share your efforts with my readers. I’ve been bullied offline all my life, most often by people close to me that I mistakenly trust, but the not-so-close do their own parts, as well. The last time was only two months ago. An adult friend of mine was recently cyber-bullied by an unknown while grieving the loss of her mom. Please keep me posted and let me know how I can help.

  • thelifedevoured

    A lot of bullying arises from people taking an interest in
    other people’s lives, in places that they have no right to snoop in. It’s my
    business who I sleep with, who I spend time with, what I do to cope with stress
    or depression, what I do for fun, etc., just as much as it’s my business where
    I sit in class, if I wear boxers or briefs, and which side of the bed I sleep
    on. The people we choose to be friends with, the people we share mutual trust
    with, are the only individuals who have a right to be concerned about our
    decisions and our lives. And even those people are limited to being concerned.
    They can take an active role in voicing that concern, if they do so with
    respect, but they are not, in any circumstance, allowed to judge. It is when we
    pass judgment on others that situations like this arise.

    From what I’ve seen, there are two basic responses to bullying–the targeted
    individual can strike back in some way, or they can let the tormenting continue
    and “suffer in silence”. I can’t advocate for either approach over
    the other, because I think it depends on the specific situation and the
    individuals involved. However, I will say that both tend to get stuck in a
    cycle that often feeds itself. If someone’s response is to bully back or defend
    themselves, the bully is likely to respond with more material. If someone tries
    to ignore what’s being said about them or done to them, the bully might see
    them as an easy target or think that they can continue their actions because
    they don’t directly see it harming anyone.

    I think the strongest solution to bullying is providing a network of positivity
    like the communities found on different social media platforms. Sometimes all
    it takes is one voice saying something good to drown out the chorus of bad.
    I’ve seen the statements of celebrities instantly brighten someone’s day just
    as much as a compliment from a friend. I’ve seen tumblr reblogs proclaiming the
    beauty of everyone that have lifted rainclouds for at least one day. I’ve seen
    actions as simple as liking a Facebook status remind someone that they aren’t
    alone in the world. Sometimes, it is the little things that are powerful,
    especially when these little things combine to form one large presence.

    Nobody can stop bullying completely. There will always be insecure people, hurt
    people, scared people who react poorly to their emotions and lash out at
    others, who make themselves feel better by making others feel worse. Just as it
    is not their place to judge others, it is not our place to judge them. Those
    people need to feel loved, understood, and accepted just as much as anybody
    else does. We’ve all heard it before–those who bully have been bullied
    themselves. There’s a lot of truth in that statement, though, and I think
    working from there can help build a bridge to understanding.

  • http://twitter.com/carlycarbonate Carly

    Oh yes and coping mechanisms:

    It helps me a lot to write because it gets thoughts out of my head. I have a private place where I type journal entries where I can be as brutally honest as I want and even though no one may be listening, at least it’s not bottled up in my head anywhere.

    I also try to distract myself instead of wallowing in negativity. Sleeping often helps me or drawing, watching a movie, forcing myself to go out and be around other people instead of alone with my thoughts.

    • http://twitter.com/carlycarbonate Carly

      man oh man i posted the longest essay of a comment and it seems to have disappeared. :(

      • http://www.facebook.com/mariarouzzo Maria Rouzzo

        Me too :( shame..

  • Derek_anny

    Some background. In High School, I was sheltered by my tendency to be a hermit. I went to school, work, then home. Hung around with the outsiders at school. Vaguely a part of them, but not really. I was teased, but never bullied. School was big enough that I never saw bullying. Big enough to have cliques, small enough there was overlap, no real enmity between.

    I’ve worked with a few kids who were probably bullied. One of the few things that awake my sympathy, paternal instincts. I always wish for some magic ability to protect, like the Sleeping Beauty Godmothers. Alas, no luck.

    I once was contemplating what blessing I would bestow on a person. Most of the things I could think of, “happiness” “the ability to hide when needed” were unsuitable. Many involved shielding from experience. “Careful the spell you cast. Wishes come true. Not free.” I finally settled on a blessing that would allow life to happen, but still provide some protection.

    Blessings be upon you. May your scars be supple. May your trials only make you stronger.

  • http://twitter.com/especiallie Allie

    I doubt this is pertinent to what you’ll write since it’s not what you asked for, but I really wanted to say it. But it’s really important to me.

    Don’t ignore it when other people are being attacked. You don’t have to address the attacker. It’s probably better that you don’t. But it is so important to let someone feeling the burden of all the hate that goes around that they are loved. That they are important and that they’re more than what awful people paint them as. That they’re supported and valued regardless of what some asshole says to hurt them. And I really think that telling people they’re valued and supported shouldn’t be reserved for these situations so when someone does face hate they’re more likely to remember that they have a network of love standing with them.

    I guess I didn’t say much but I have no idea where i’d be without the people who supported me and whether they knew they were doing it or not, let me know I was loved and cared about when I was in a toxic, hateful environment that was part of the reason i believed that there was nothing good about me.

    Love more and love louder.

    • http://twitter.com/LittleJanelleS Janelle Sheetz

      One of the things I have to give my dad credit for–and I generally don’t get along with him & think he can be a terrible, rude, bigoted person–is the fact that in high school, he used to stand up to the bullies picking on other kids.

    • http://twitter.com/revsean revsean

      “Love more and love louder.” YES! Sometimes saying, “I saw what happened to you…” is enough to keep someone alive. Even better, “I saw that and you don’t deserve to be treated that way.”

    • http://twitter.com/rhiarti Rhiarti

      Beautifully put! It’s the people who show you love when you’re having a shitty time that make it possible to get through it. The human spirit is amazingly resilient – sometimes all it takes is a single drop of kindness to help you find the reason to keep going. Hope AFP sees your post – “love more and love louder” at the very least needs to become a t-shirt!

    • Triana

      “Love more and love louder.” may be my favorite quote of the week. You’re absolutely right.

    • P_the_wanderer

      I totally agree with that. Bullied people need support and while it’s often hard to be the first one to help you might pull others after you :) Responding with love always beats responding with hate :)

    • Megan

      A-fucking-men, sister. Love LOUD and with everything you’ve got. No Day But Today.

    • http://www.facebook.com/carissa.viera Carissa Viera

      I love this. I’m going to start using “Love more and love louder” as a motto! And I agree SO MUCH with not ignoring the people being attacked, support is the only thing that ever worked for me and my friends, especially back in high school!

  • Amanda’s2013Anon

    I used to be very close to being that girl. I used to be very close to being that boy who shot up his school. Maybe it’s luck that I didn’t do either of those things, but I sure understood it. That’s forty years ago now and I still remember it. I’m luckier than you can possibly understand, because I learned what I needed to learn to see things differently.

    But what hits me is that everyone tries to guess what the motives are, like they think these people want to get on the news. Maybe the rarest few do, but mostly that’s not it. Mostly it’s like depression—you can’t reason someone out of it. Mostly it’s a desire to express one’s feelings about their circumstances and frustrations with a hope that someone will understand. But trying to explain these people as though they have a rational mental process going on is absurd. People who get that far are beyond rational.

    There is maybe one word that covers all of them, whether they’re filled with rage, or sorrow, or pain. it’s “hopelessness.” People go this far and act on it, they believe there’s no alternative future for them. And that’s where all of us are failing. We’re creating worlds and communities and schools where some part of these kids are so far beyond seeing a future for themselves they’re only hoping to make their death meaningful, either in what it says or what it changes for the people who come after.

    Our indifference and our blindness are just as devastating as our hate, but none of these things compare with our arrogance that we’re so good at counseling and mental health treatments that we just have to connect the right patients to the right opportunities.

    Whenever you see that girl or boy going critical and strange, it’s a danger sign. And when you see it, you have to do more than be scared and think, “Whose responsibility is this?”

    To make this better, we have to change the way we see despair in others. We have to recognize hopelessness and know we have to step up when we see it. We should have everyone in schools trained to recognize signs of pain and hopelessness the same as we’d teach CPR.

    This isn’t about drugs. It isn’t about guns. It’s not about anything except kids believing themselves to be so far down in a hole there is NO OTHER WAY. We gotta stop making kids believe that. Hell…we should do our damnedest to make sure nobody believes that.

  • http://twitter.com/danvestite Danni

    I have something to add.

    I was not quite 14 when Myspace really hit in the UK. It was the first big internet community where EVERYONE was involved and not just the freaks and nerds. I loved it. I felt like I could get to know people that I would just not have been ballsy enough to speak to at school, so I reached out. I made friends. I got a boyfriend — my first boyfriend, in fact. He and I were really different — I was really bookish and he wasn’t, I was uptight and nervous and he wasn’t, I wanted to change the world and he wanted to be still and let it unfold around him. In hindsight we were kind of horribly matched, for more reasons than those listed here, but at the time I thought it was really exciting that I could connect with someone who was really different to me and who I would not have ordinarily hung with.

    On my fourteenth birthday, my first boyfriend raped me. I don’t think he would use that word for it, because he forced me to say yes using coercion and threat. Because I said yes, no matter the circumstances, I must have wanted it (I believed this myself for a long time).

    That was a pain all of its own, but it was private. I felt strangely able to deal with it, in a kind of cool-headed and quiet way. It certainly didn’t confuse me. The backlash confused me. I suddenly started getting a lot of really aggressive messages from girls and a lot of uncomfortably sexual messages from guys who never would have been ballsy enough to speak to me at school but decided to reach out. Word had gotten out that I was a slut and there could be no bigger crime in that kind of environment. It was relentless and public and it hurt. Nobody would say anything to me at school, except for my friends who thought it was a tremendous joke, but online they had nothing to say at all when I was forced to take down abusive and violent comment after pornographic and frightening comment. The word reached my mother and when I tried to tell her the truth I couldn’t, and she was ashamed and worried for me.

    I had nothing to deal with it.
    So I deleted my Myspace,
    I left school at seventeen,
    and I reinvented myself completely at university.

    New nicknames, new friends, new boyfriend, new hair, new rules. It was the only thing that helped. I still live in the city where all this happened, and like any city, it’s not as big as I ever imagine it is, so I always run into people I went to school with, and occasionally the guy in question. Everyone always tells me how much I’ve changed since then and I just smile, because I’m who I want to be now.

    Coping mechanisms? Just be the person you need to be to make yourself happy I guess, and know that the world needs that person. You can’t feel responsible for how other people are.

    The year I went to university Who Killed Amanda Palmer was released.
    I’ve listened to Oasis almost every day since then.


  • k

    Perhaps i’ve simply been lucky(or the right combination of luck and anonymity), but the internet has been kinder to me on the whole than the real world ever was growing up. I was dwarfishly short as a child, scrawny to the point of emaciation(in appearance), wearing whatever shoes my parents could afford(which, to be certain, were not Nikes). Kind of funny looking, and a bit of a weird kid, in most people’s eyes. All of these things made me a prime target of ridicule in a small town of upper middle class families and perfect blonde haired, blue eyed children. When my tormentors discovered that i wouldn’t stand up to physical bullying(my parents told me never to hit anyone, under any circumstances), it was like throwing raw meat into a lion’s cage. Lunches taken. Clothes torn. Visits to the nurse’s office to put salve on skinned palms and knees, calls to Mom and Dad that i needed clean clothes because i’d been thrown into a puddle during recess. At age nine, i refused to use a urinal in school, because i was terrified someone would observe and comment on the size of my penis(at NINE) and/or push me into the urinal and flush it, soaking me in the process(this was something even my parents have never heard; how do you tell something like that to your dad?). One time, i got beaten up by two kids at once; one held me while the other punched me repeatedly. This was immediately following a CCD(after school bible study) class; my attackers were my fellow young Christians. The worst part was the shame; my father arrived to pick me up, and i had to meet him with red eyes and snot running down my face. Eventually, after exhausting all other possibilities(no adult was ever present to verify that any of these offenses had ever actually occurred, and thus they hadn’t, officially), my parents told me it was okay to stand up for myself. The next day in school, someone grabbed my shoulder from behind in recess and yanked, and i spun with it and planted a fist in his gut. Once. Think “Coward of the County”. That was the end of the physical torment, at least. One punch earned me that reputation of the slightly unhinged, potentially dangerous quiet kid, and presumably no one wanted to be the one to send me over the edge. Or just the next one to get punched back, maybe. (that’s probably more likely) The other stuff went on awhile longer, of course, and i guess i just developed a thick skin. Told myself i didn’t care about it, eventually actually stopped caring about it, and my peers effectively lost interest and stopped bothering me. By junior high, i was more or less ignored, and that was just fine by me.

    That thick skin, coupled with what i’d gleaned of human nature from my schoolmates, probably went far to protect me on the internet. I was online by the time i’d graduated high school, and frequenting chat rooms soon thereafter. Often i just did what i did in real life: observed from the sidelines. I contributed sometimes, sure, and could maybe even say i made a friend or two, but i never really felt vulnerable. The things about myself for which i’d always been made to feel shamed weren’t present online, and if someone called me a fag for something or other i’d written, well, yeah, it might have stung a little, but it didn’t bother me any more than it did hearing those things to my face, and it was easy enough to walk away from.

    Now that i think about it, if i was lucky, it was more because the internet didn’t exist when i was a child, and that my torment couldn’t follow me home at the end of the day. I’d go home, and my blisters would have time to turn to calluses, literally and figuratively. So what would i have done if i couldn’t have separated the two? I don’t know.

    Suppose that doesn’t really help anyone. Just a late night, not sleeping rant. That’s what we’re doing here, right?

  • mads

    i’m 26. grew up on a farm, in the Namaqwaland, South Africa. me and my brother were home-schooled from the start, because my mother believed everything they thought at the schools were “from the devil”. she was depressed, paranoid and a few other things, including suicidal at one point (she wanted to kill all of us one night). my father didnt invest much in us. i grew up in nature (for which i’m so thankful right now), i was sort of a feral child. then they got divorced, and we (my brother and i) went with my mother to town, still being home-schooled. at that time we were teen-agers, and didnt understand why we could not be part of the rest of the world. she censored almost everything we came in contact with. but, somehow we got books, and she didnt bother too much because we are reading. i was reading more and more and became hungry for knowledge. 16 i ran away to my father, begging him to put me into a propper school. he did that. and because he then worked on a farm in the Karoo, he had to put me in hostel too. that year was the worst and the best. i had the biggst culture shock of my life. i had no friends before, now suddenly was trying to make friends. everybody hated me, found me offensive, weird and strange. i was teased and laughed at and made fun of. i went back to the hostel, and the hate continued. i then turned to art and writing. and studying. i proved to myself that i was worth somthing by standing 3rd in class. i was kind to everybody, despite their hate. then one day the school-slut told me that she would be friends with me if i let her copy my homework. we became friends. and somehow, all the school mischifs and outcasts became my friends. i became their representative, so much so that when the school-beauty contest came up, they got me in, took care of me, got me dresses, (the one famous school-slut did my hair, the other did my makeup) and i got 3rd (second princess). i was still hated. but i proved myself academically and “beauty-wise”.

    my advice would be: dont try to be friends with the so called cool kids. they are so insecure about themselves they take it out on everybody else. be friends with the less popular kids. kids from all ages, sizes, ethnic races, gay or straight. be kind to everybody. perseverance. be strong. have will power. and if you are bullied, rather delete you internet-accounts. listen to music and do art, even if you suck. learn to be with yourself, learn to be your own best friend.

    most importantly have a goal. i would not have made it if i didnt had a goal.

  • http://www.facebook.com/adam.braley Adam Braley

    I’ve honestly found that the worst things that have happened to me have directly or indirectly caused the best. Since they don’t come back-to-back very often, it’s hard to see how something so dark could possibly be a good thing, so I’ve made it a kind of montra: Somehow this is a blessing in disguise. It’s not a worry-free cure, but it has gotten me through some pretty intense shit where I honestly felt like I didn’t want to or could not breathe at all. And my faith in the universe has yet to disappoint in the long run. Optimism is a habit that can be learned – It sure doesn’t come naturally to me! – and it’s probably the best defense I know.

  • DaemonXar

    For me, I remind myself that if I left them get to me, really get to me, they win. If I let myself be upset by it, I’ve ceded power over my own sense of self to not-very-nice people. For me, remembering that triggers righteous self-preservation, and that’s usually enough to kick me out of the cycle.

    When it isn’t, I turn to my friends and family. I’m lucky enough to have basically won the parental lottery. No matter what I do and what people say about me, I am certain my parents will continue to love and support me. I have a couple of good friends who I know will continue to be my friends, no matter what happens. That means the world to me, and I feel truly lucky. I wish everyone could have the benefit of the kind of support I have. :-/

  • Laces

    So, when I was a teenager, we had the internet. But it was dial-up. There was no facebook. I don’t even think there was Myspace – well, maybe only just. I wasn’t on it, anyway. I wasn’t teased or bullied; the people at my school were pretty cool, even the “cool kids” who can sometimes be bullies and jerks. It was a good bunch and I’m really lucky that for such a big school, there were such great people in it.

    Anyway. I wasn’t teased or bullied, but I was socially anxious and morbidly depressed. The internet, back then, didn’t feel like it had bullies. Maybe everyone was ban-hammered from chatrooms so quickly back then, I just never noticed them. But there was MSN chat, and MSN groups, and in these places I found and built a self-harm support group for teenagers. All the adult places were focussed on “trigger warnings” and what not to say and you shouldn’t encourage this or that by posting pictures or ruminations. But we were teens, and like many teens, we had angst in buckets and we really needed to vent it. So we built a place. We vented. We shared. We did so in ways that the adult self-harm groups would have booted us for. And the ability to do that really saved me. I don’t know where I’d be if it wasn’t for places like MSN chat. Oh, and Vampire Freaks. Vampire Freaks was a special little haven.

    The internet seems angrier nowadays. Maybe back then, it was more my temperament not to notice it; I didn’t have the energy to bother with angry people, or hateful people. Maybe it’s just that more people are online now, and people reflect the hate back at one another until it’s normalised. And different subcultures online bleed into one another now. A place like Encyclopaedia Dramatica where hate is… sort of the great leveller (all groups are in the firing line) and the great test of free speech, but you know when you go there what you’re going to get. Sometimes it makes you mad, sometimes it’s so ridiculous it makes you laugh. But the awful thing is when one mindset or humour or whatever leaks into a different place and the tone changes, the atmosphere changes, and the hate becomes real and normal and people can’t help but take it to heart because even when it wasn’t calculated to hurt, it’s thrown out there without empathy. I myself have written a book review on a book I found absolutely awful and gone back and changed it in places more than once because every so often I’d think of the author and what she’d feel if she came across it. My critiques were levelled at her poor fact checking, sexism and occasional outright lies, and these things I feel are things that should be criticised, but I still let my frustration get the better of me when I wrote it, and when I regained my cool there were definitely things that I wanted to alter. So I did.

    Remembering that people are people, and can feel, can be tiring emotionally. It’s easier to cut ourselves off and pretend those people aren’t feeling beings, and that way we hurt less too.

    As an aside, it’s interesting the way people reach out to others as they dash off the mortal coil. Leaving their last marks on the world? The news rarely covers suicides with any detail because of the “Werther Effect” and fears of copy-cats brought on by “normalising” suicide. But suicide is not uncommon. If people are ever going to be able to speak about their feelings and ideations and fears without shame, we have to stop this silence and discuss suicide like feeling adults. No more of this “how could she do this to her family”, no more of this “it’s so selfish”. God, many people who attempt suicide feel so much embarrassment and shame just when the subject comes up, let alone admitting they’d tried it themselves? If we don’t “normalise” suicide a little more how can we expect people to summon the strength to ask for help? Especially when one is mentally ill. Your perception of the world is so warped when you’re ill, you think if you admit to being depressed someone will cart you off to the nut house and no one there will take you seriously and you’ll be stuck in there forever. There’s such a fear about “romanticising” suicide that people go too far in the other direction and make big, angry frowny faces about it. “DON’T DO THIS, THIS IS BAD, and if you think about doing it you are bad also” seems to be the (unintentional?) message, and surely that’s the wrong impression entirely to give to a person already at the end of their rope.

    But I was talking about Youtube, and the way people are making these astounding public suicide notes and emotional connections now. Like my little group back in The Day, I think young people especially have this ability to join together and connect through media like this, to spread the love and understanding amongst themselves. As far as I know the “Werther Effect” is real, but still I wonder if those messages, those videos, helped any young people who were contemplating suicide just by showing them they weren’t alone. I think even in tough situations, the internet helps as much as it hurts when it comes to the teen years. There are so many other people out there who will welcome you as one of their own.

    Facebook’s a pretty shitty place, though. I am not on it but everyone I know seems to hate the thing, yet visits it at least once a week. It’s bizarre. I heard once that Facebook is where you hate everyone you love, and Twitter is where you love strangers. There’s something about it that seems to breed frustration, impatience, and dislike.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kirra.omalley Kirra O’Malley

    Let love in. There are people who love you desperately and you don’t even know their names.

  • MechaMecha

    I admit I didn’t read all of this. I stopped at you not knowing about Amanda Todd. So what I have to say is, not everybody will like you or agree with you, but would you want them to? wouldn’t want some sour asshole to identifying with me.

    Also, maybe spend less time retweeting all the people who kiss your ass (myself included) and follow/check up on some news sources. Amanda Todd was a prettttty big story for a person who is always on Twitter to miss.

  • http://twitter.com/TheReddestRose So Red the Rose

    Man, this hits close to home for so many reasons. I was bullied a lot growing up, both at home by an evil step-brother who tortured me in every conceivable way (yes, that way too) & at school after moving from East coast to West where I suddenly stuck out like a sore thumb. California is not kind to little girls in kilts & pennyloafers, at least not in 1983. They taunted me, I reacted badly, they loved it. It went on & on until I grew big enough to fight back. I found out that being aggressive & angry got them all to leave me alone. What a wonderful strategy, I felt powerful for the first time in my life & finally free.

    One problem with that, now I don’t know how to feel empowered & free without being (as my mother very aptly put it) the baddest bitch in the room. This was very clearly illustrated to me last week actually. I was out with friends, pleasantly drunk & stoned. We were all in a great mood, loving life, enjoying our warm little circle. Out of nowhere a literal crackhead comes up & starts aggressively panhandling us. We are all uncomfortable & move to walk away & enter the restaurant we were headed to. Suddenly she’s 3 feet from my face cursing *me* (not any of the 3 men I was with) “Fuck YOU you fat bitch! Just walk away then, posh fucking twat.” My reaction was instantaneous, without thought I screamed in return; “What the fuck did you just say to me, cunt? I’ll slit your fucking throat.” My friend had to hold me back from attacking. No thought, just red rage. I was in full defense mode & I most certainly would have done her harm. It took me a long time to come down from the adrenaline. My hands shook. And when that wore off, I cried. How awful to be reduced to nothing by a stranger & also how frightening that I have rage on automatic pilot.

    I thought about that incident for days afterwards. And I wondered, what would have happened if I had come from love instead? If I could have looked on her with compassion & said “I’m so sorry you’re in so much pain.” Or any number of kind, thoughtful or peaceful things. If I could have let her remark roll off me & simply enjoyed my night. But I have scars. I have pain & memories that tell me that you must never let anyone get away with hurting you. You must be bulletproof & able to defend yourself at any moment. You must be the baddest bitch in the room so the monsters can’t get you anymore. That’s what bullying & cruelty does to you.

    I suppose there are worse things. My rage helped me survive. I didn’t kill myself (though I thought about it a lot) & I let it empower me. I can stand up for myself now & I am dead fucking certain no one will be able to hurt me like that again. But I really have to ask myself if this is who I want to be now? Do I really want to lug this anger around for the rest of my life? Because it’s really fucking heavy. And do I really need all this armor to be safe? A part of me is afraid of what I will be without it…weak? helpless? Vulnerable. I don’t know. But I really want to find out.

    If I have anything to add to your “how to survive” curriculum it would be to stay strong, stand up for yourself & be your own advocate. But also, stay loving, stay kind & compassionate. It’s so easy to lose yourself in that righteous anger & so hard to come back from once you do. Much love to you & all the tender hearts out there.

  • rachel

    I’m not entirely sure this is the most relevant, but I feel like it needs to be heard.
    I don’t have a coping mechanism, but I do have a story.

    I live and attend high school in a small town in the Midwest.
    Oddly enough, there’s two high schools in my small town (the result of two towns becoming one, but two school districts staying two) and I go to the “good” school. Bad things, ugly things like ‘real’ bullying and racism, they “don’t happen on this side of the town.”

    So when a girl in my class was being bullied terribly on facebook, it was ignored by administration. She and her mother ended up fighting them so long do something, anything, by the time they went to the police (since, evidently, cyberbullying is a crime in my state), they were told it was too late.

    So when a boy who’d been making racist comments toward me for nearly my entire freshman year threatened to bring a gun to school a “shoot me first,” the principal told me it wasn’t his fault.

    He didn’t understand what he was saying.

    He had asperberger’s (but so unserverly that i hadn’t even known this until this point.)
    If he did understand it, it was my fault. he had told friends of mine he also thought i was ‘hot’, and i hadn’t exactly made my uninterest a secret.

    It kept going on.

    It went on the point that one day in the hallway he was harassing someone (because while he was also bullied, he lashed out by being a bully himself) and I told him he needed to stop it.
    He yelled at me, came at me, and told me to shut the fuck up. I told him he needed to back off, and he screamed at me to ‘go back to korea’.
    He tried to punch me, but a friend of mind pulled him away. He scratched the guy’s arm, and while he was walking away, he pushed me.
    He didn’t do any real physical damage, and when he tried to punch me, he didn’t make contact, so it was ‘okay’ in the eyes of the principal.

    Again, we were told he didn’t understand, but nothing really to my knowledge was done to make sure he did understand later. I was talked to more by administration, and he walked off with a one-day in-school suspension, though fighting is normally a minimum 3-day out-of-school suspension and checking the student handbook revealed that ‘pushing’ counted as ‘fighting’ (Or, at least, it was supposed to)
    We weren’t told it would be better because his meds had been adjusted or because he was being talked to by a counselor about why his behavior was wrong.

    I felt so ignored, so insignificant.

    And, until that point, I had been able to also ignore the threat he’d previously made. After all, he didn’t have any real problem with me, right? he was just another stupid racist prick.

    But when he attacked me, I couldn’t get the threat out of my head.

    I was so scared I thought of killing myself just so he couldn’t control my life by ending it. So I could make that happen, not him.
    I remember in play practice, talking to the teacher who directed the play about how scared i was, especially about the timing concision with the Trayvon Martin debacle, and her telling me it was going to be okay, and that he would not be a single one of my classes the next year, but I wasn’t really listening. I was staring at her fish tank, thinking, “It’s big enough for me to drown in.”

    The worst part? This isn’t the first time something like this has happened to me.

    I attended the same school district’s elementary school (where both the building and administration are linked) and I was bullied so bad I had to switch schools. Twice, from this school, and once each from two other schools.

    I cannot remember a time where i was not being bullied. (I think I’ve repressed much of my childhood as a result. My mother will tell me stories about how sad I was, and telling her at six years old that I “just wanted to die,” but i can’t remember any of it, and surely this kind of lack of memory isn’t just forgetting)

    I’ve had occasional anxiety attacks for years, but since that incident, they’ve been much worse. I’ve been able to stop them fairly quickly in the past, but since the incident it’s like they take over my body, leaving me with no control, and no air.

    But remember that bit about the boy not being in any of my classes this year?
    He’s in almost all of them.

    Including algebra, a class very easy for him to stereotype me in, and a class (that’s not even required!) about the Vietnam War, a class where Asian people are ‘the enemy’.

    I’m still terrified, but there’s no where i can turn. My mother’s sympathetic, but fit in okay at school, and was never the victim of racism like this. The school doesn’t care, and I have friends, but none of them close enough to me to tell them things like this.

    So, please, tell me your coping mechanisms, because I really don’t want to kill myself, but sometimes it feels like I’ll never get out another way, and the two years to graduation feel like a lifetime away.

    • Laces

      I think you should tell your friends. You might be surprised who is willing to stand with you in this. If he scares you, he may scare other people. If a group of you feel threatened, the school may be more likely to take notice of your complaints. If things don’t get better, you may be able to take legal action against the school. There are websites about bullying and what you can do about it – they may be able to give you some advice on who in your area you can speak to regarding what can be done either legally or within the school to help you feel safer. They may be able to call the school and talk to the administration on your behalf.

      My go-to advice with anxiety and depression is “exercise”, just because it helps me so much, but in your situation where you feel physically threatened, maybe going to self defence classes or taking up a martial art would help you feel confident and stronger. You have no reason to share with people at school that you’re taking lessons, and if he attacks you physically you’ll be in a better place to defend yourself. Plus, you could find other people at a self defence class who are in a similar position to yourself and make some new friends. :) Exercise is good, because it really does help you feel like you’re in control of something.

      • rachel

        I am one of two asian people at my school, and his only target. know my friends will stand with me, but the problem isn’t so much physical as mental, and I’ve been told time and time again that i need to just ‘let it go’ because they can’t seem to understand how terrified I am all the time. I know it’s irrational. It’s so, so irrational, he hasn’t done anything in a long time, but he’d said things, and I’m mostly scared he’ll snap again.

        • Laces

          I understand. Fear isn’t rational, and when it comes to this sort of thing, that’s OK. I didn’t recommend self defence classes because I thought you’d actually need them, but because mentally, it will help you feel more secure.

          Do you have school counsellors you can talk to? Just to discuss how you’re feeling if nothing else.

          • rachel

            We have one, but I’ve talked with her before, a long while before anything was this bad, and she mostly told me what i already know, eventually, the odds are everything will be alright. I’m smart, so I can get the hell out when I’m done with school, and go on to better things, and, in the grand scheme of things, this shit will end, and I’ll be stronger for it.
            Like i said, though, I already knew that, and it doesn’t change the now.

          • Carol Hollow

            You may want to look into getting the administration to provide you with some kind of restorative justice service, where you and he sit down in a supervised setting and talk it out, about what hes done to you. You may want to have the administration ensure you aren’t in the same classes. You should definitely look into a restraining order if his acting out starts again.

            I’m just still trying to figure out how a school principle shrugs off a threat of gun violence.

            If he does anything else, I would go back to the principle, and and tell him you are there to verify that the kids’ threat to bring a gun to school is on administrative record. Ask him to confirm for you that the administrations’ response (nothing) is also on record. Ask him to confirm for you that any other incidents you have brought to the attention of administration ARE ON THE RECORD. And so is the administrations’ response. Because if he did bring a gun? Or even a knife? Or lets say he goes off his meds again and attacks you in the hallway.

            You shouldn’t have to deal with this dude in your classroom, but you definitely shouldn’t have to deal with any sort of violence. Let the administration know that you will be holding them legally responsible for the harassment, violence and racism you have endured, should they continue to fail in providing you with support. The fact that they have a track record of not advocating for their students, means that if everything is on record, you should be able to sue.

            From the sound of things, I would advocate something along the lines of class action- of all the students experiencing racism, bullying and violence, who have gone to the administration and been met with literally no aid. I wouldn’t sue for money, but I would sue for a change in policy, and the administrator’s position within the school, as they have clearly been ineffective at their primary job- (PROTECTING THEIR FUCKING STUDENTS, btw.) This is intolerable, it makes me sick, and I really wish I could pick up the phone and call them. :) We would have a nice long chat.

          • http://twitter.com/LittleJanelleS Janelle Sheetz

            This! Fight as hard as you can. They can’t ignore it forever.

            And if you ever need someone to talk to, just come find me.

          • Sarah V.

            Yeah, it is really nuts that they would ignore that kind of thread. Maybe write a letter to the editor about bullying to the local paper and tell them that a fellow student threatened you and attacked you like that and the administration ignored it? If that got printed people would sit up and take notice, I bet.

          • http://twitter.com/revsean revsean

            “Odds are everything will be all right.” Fuck that. You shouldn’t have to rely on the odds. You have a right to be safe. And in this world, the odds are changing too fast. Keep telling people. If you want me to write the letter to the editor, I will. Maybe even Amanda Fucking Palmer and/or Neil Gaiman will sign on. Your life is worth it!

          • k

            I’d second the self defense. I took martial arts throughout high school; it was quite possibly the first proactive decision i’d ever made in my life, and it did wonders for my confidence and self esteem. And i never had to use it to physically defend myself.

          • http://twitter.com/redcanvasmonkey Chris Hall

            I wasn’t bullied in high school, but as a military brat I always felt an outsider and was always deep in my own head. The thing I found to cling to was karate also. In a weird may it made me more non-violent though.

            In a confrontational situation it was calming to run through all the response options with various degrees of violence. When you absolutely KNOW the outcome of a physical confrontation will be in your favor you have no real desire to pursue it. Sometimes the greatest act of courage is to turn and walk away.

            It may sound like a broken record, but it gets better and you are not alone.

        • http://twitter.com/revsean revsean

          Rachel, my friend Kate Bornstein says you are allowed to do WHATEVER you need to survive. I agree. Her only rule is “don’t be mean.” That means if you need to throw a temper tantrum (or several) until someone listens, do it. That means if you need to go talk to a lawyer or call the Human Rights Commission in your town or call the NAACP and tell them you need help, do it. That means if you need to quit school to stay safe, do it. Do NOT let this person stamp out the beauty in this world that is YOU. Tell every minister/rabbi/imam/teacher/principal/politician/counselor in your town. Write a letter to the editor. Whatever you do be PROUD of yourself for doing it. Because you are saving your own life. And that rocks.

        • Dyan

          No, it doesn’t change the now. You’re scared, and you shouldn’t be. Try and get some classes changed. Argue with administration. Put up a fight. Asperbergers doesn’t give anyone the right to make YOU feel unsafe. You’ve done nothing wrong, so why are you the one being punished and ignored? FIGHT BACK. You’re worth it.

          I love you. Don’t take yourself out of the world. People can say “it gets better” until they’re blue in the face, but YOU need to feel safe NOW.

          Don’t let the administration, the teachers, the counselors, or anyone else tell you there’s nothing they can do. They’re meant to protect you. THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT.

          Remember. I love you. Stay.

        • http://twitter.com/Aibhleoga Catherine Margaret

          You know that you’re smart and strong and when you leave school you can get out and move on to better things. Hold on to that thought, because that was my coping mechanism when I was in school.

          In a few years, you’ll be able to look back and say that you’re proud of how far you’ve come. I know it’s easier said than done but don’t allow someone as low as this guy to control your life or how you feel. He is small, and he will always be small. Your life is worth more than that. If we gave in, people like him would win and go on to hurt others and cause more damage. If we struggle and try, get ourselves our and better ourselves, we win. And how. x

    • mads

      i know this is hard. i was there. please hang on. please hang on. i got anxiety, doctor told me to do following: go see a counsler or a psychologist, do yoga, do a martial art (teaches you focus, self defense, whilst teaching you anger management. it takes a while. but when you get into it, you let everything build up and you cant wait to get to that class, so you can let everything go, screaming and kicking) take up art or story writing. set a goal.

    • http://twitter.com/carlycarbonate Carly

      First, I want you to know that I think you’re an amazingly brave person. No one deserves this treatment. You know you deserve respect so please take care of yourself.

      Find someone or something to talk to. For me, I often type in a private livejournal account because it’s an easy place to remove thoughts from my head while being as brutally honest as I want. Sleeping it off helps me as well. Find something to distract yourself with and channel your energy into something positive. I know you can do it.

      For as many people out there that seem cruel, there is at least one person who loves you, cares about you and is willing to listen to you. Those are the people who are deserving of your attention and respect.

      Again please take care of yourself. We are all with you on this. xxx

      • rachel

        Thank you.

    • http://twitter.com/leabdollen Ashley

      You are an amazing person to have managed to face so much, and it is terrible that you even had to. I wish there was a way to just remove such toxic people from your life.

      I don’t know how good any advice from me is, but maybe finding some method of releasing your energy could do you some good. Maybe starting yoga/meditation or something else physical like working out at a gym with a friend. I think it’d be a good way to get your mind off of the negativity in the world without having to consciously and constantly remind yourself to stop thinking about such things.

      Hang in there. Fight the administration as much as you comfortably can. Keep your head up. We’ve got your back.

    • http://twitter.com/sussexgamer Sussex Gamer

      Thank you for writing this. The best thing I can say, in short, is the oft-repeated and yet true statement:

      “It gets better.”

      I know at the moment you look around and all you see is hate and bullying, but you must know that there are other people in the world that don’t think like this guy or the administration at your school. It won’t be too long (although I know it feels like it’ll be forever) before you’re in a position to go find those people and make friends with them. It took me a long time to realise that it was OK to just hang out with the people that weren’t high social status. That they were the people I actually liked and got on with. I hope that you can find the strength to go through this and emerge on the other side.

      The other thing I would say is to keep asking for help in as direct a way as possible. There’s a world of difference between saying to someone “I had a crappy day at school today” and hoping they’ll ask you questions and get the truth out of you, and saying “I’m terrified at school that I’m going to be attacked and I need help”. People, IME, don’t like to pry or ask questions.

      To everyone else at school having a bad time that reads this, and to everyone lower in the thread that I haven’t had time to read yet because I’ve got to go out – please hang in there. Please. You are the people that I wanted to know at school, the interesting people, the thinkers, the ones with crazy ideas and wonderful humour. I didn’t know this at school, but I can tell you I know it now.


    • subgirl

      I would not have left a comment on this thread but your story is breaking my heart. I don’t know you and I don’t know how I can help, but please please don’t leave us. School administration is so incompetent it’s insane. There has got to be an elected education director or another higher up than this guy (someone is hos boss, find that person. Then find their boss, etc.) who will take the threats, racism and bullying seriously. It is serious. My family was taken to court by a crap administrator when I was in school because I missed too much but was still making good grades (though I was a “weirdo” and “should have been a delinquent but it didn’t make sense” according to idiot admin) because I had mono and then got carbon monoxide poisoning. I nearly died and they took us to court. Anyway not about me. My point is there is someone this guy answers to and that person has a boss and so on. Tell your story until it gets heard.

      If nothing else, there are alternatives. I was tormented so badly (shoved down stairs. Locked into closets for days, etc.) and never recovered fully from the illness/poisoning that I said fuck it to HS, quit, got my GED and went to community college at 16 where it was all people who were struggling and poor and I finally found a place I could be me. Without the bullshit of HS.

      Please, don’t leave us. It does get better. It really really does.

    • Heidi

      I don’t know if this will help you but it has helped me:
      Hank Green (one half of the vlogbrothers on youtube) said not that long ago about bullying, “it is not your job to deal with it, it is your job to survive it. [The bullying] WILL end”.
      The best advice I can give you is to focus on improving the things in your control (getting help in controlling your anxiety attacks(i get them too, they suck), exercise more to improve your mood, eat well, do more of the things you like doing when you’re not at school) and just survive the rest. Look forward to the future. Because after you leave high school and after you never have to see this guy again, life will get so so much better! Please stick around to see it.

      • rachel

        Do you know what video that quote is from? I’m slowly working my way through the archives, but I’m still very near the beginning.

    • TashaOrlovsky

      I just want to say that I care. I hope you will be okay. I don’t know what I would do if I was in your situation. I guess I would keep talking to people. There has to be a sympathetic ear somewhere. Please be careful and please take care of yourself. You sound like an incredibly intelligent and kind young person and I’ve been in your shoes (attempted OD when I was 15). I counted down the days to turning 18, but by that time, I realized it didn’t matter. I went to college and started to feel like I was growing up. It got better.

    • Avi


      I’m going to say something that might be seen as controversial by many other people here, but I believe you need to know there’s a plan B. At the end of the day, take care of yourself. If you try everything and find there’s no way to make high school work, leave high school. Don’t leave your life. There are so many other parts to the world than one little high school, and they’re available to you. Drop out and get a GED like somebody else in this thread did. Go to a community college for a while, or take a break and let yourself recover. Travel. Sit on the couch. Find a good therapist. Whatever helps. Your life isn’t going to end without a high school diploma contrary to what much of this country likes to perpetuate. Do whatever you need to do.

      If it’s your life at stake then, like you said, it’s time to worry about where you are now. If you can take care of where you are now, that will allow you to figure out 2 years or 5 years from now. If you can’t then you feel like you want to end it all now. So despite the fact that I’ll probably earn the ire of at least a few by actually recommending dropping out of high school as a VERY viable option, it’s one you need to know is there. End the circumstances before you end your life. One of those you can recover from. The other you can’t.

      I wish you all the best. Let me know if you have more questions.

      • http://sarahwynde.blogspot.com/ Sarah Wynde

        I’m the parent of a 17-year old and I absolutely agree. The idea that there is no option other than the specific high school you’re in or death is horrifying. Do you have relatives you could go live with? Family friends? How about travel abroad programs? Home school via online classes such as Florida Virtual? You don’t have to stay in the box you’ve been put in. There’s a big wide world out there. And you know, saying, “I’m not going to school anymore because I’m scared and you people are not helping me feel safer” is probably not a bad way to get a little more serious help. I know that’s easier said than done–it’s hard to admit weakness, especially if you feel like you’re not living up to other people’s expectations of you. But when their expectations are that you’ll be good and you’ll be quiet and you’ll be understanding about someone else’s problems when you feel threatened–then THEY are being unreasonable and you have every right to be a little unreasonable yourself in response. A good starting place, though, would be to tell your mom that you need to see a therapist to work on your anxiety attacks. Coping mechanism #1: Ask for help when you need it. And when asking nicely doesn’t work, ask loudly.

      • http://twitter.com/qup Heather Bentley

        Yes! Such good advice! Thank you for saying this, Avi. Schools can be such foolish places.

      • Madrigorne


      • http://twitter.com/Chymberleigh Chymberleigh King

        I’ve been out of school for twenty years, come May, and one thing my parents started telling me before I even started school remains clear in my memory: “You were not put on this planet to be a doormat or a punching bag.” Don’t let them win, don’t hurt yourself when others are already hurting you. Write it down, scream it out loud, let the world know that you have value as a human being. You do, you have value. You CAN fight back, be loud, be so loud that they can’t ignore you! Someone will hear you, and even if they can’t help you, you might accidentally help them. There are so many unexpected things to live for, that every bit of pain is worth it. Live, hold on, cry, but live. And love. The world needs you.

    • Guest

      First, I second everything the person below already said. And do anything and everything you can to try and make people understand how serious this is, because it is serious. I think sometimes it’s easy for adults around teenagers to downplay things, especially if they’ve never had the same experiences. Fight the good fight.

      Second, if you EVER need ANYTHING, especially if you just need to talk, tweet at me.

    • Sarah V.

      As a kid in a very white/Catholic suburb, I was often the only Jew in the class and my best friend was the only Chinese girl in the class. It can really suck feeling so alone and being picked on by bigots. And it’s not just the kids, the adults can be racist too. It’s awful and it can really feel hopeless. I was suicidal in high school and never told a soul. I had anxiety attacks and never told a soul. In retrospect I wish more than anything that I had told my mother.

      If your mother is sympathetic, TELL HER EVERYTHING, if you can. Most of all, tell her you think about suicide. Tell her you don’t think you can deal with it by yourself. Tell her you’re at the end of your rope. Write it down in a letter if you can’t do it to her face. Show her this post, print it out and give it to her. Just because she doesn’t fully understand your problem right now, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t care. If I had told my parents I wanted to kill myself rather than go to high school they would have taken immediate action. I know this now. I didn’t know it then. Seriously, all you have to do is print this post out and leave it for your mother to find. She needs to know you feel this way.

      If she still doesn’t help you after you tell her this… there are other places that will take you seriously if you tell them you are thinking about suicide. Your doctor would be a good place to start. They are concerned as much with your mental health as your physical health, even if they don’t talk about it as much. A doctor will be able to help you with coping mechanisms or a referral to a therapist or psychologist who will help. If it gets to the point where you feel like you are seriously at the end with no other choice, you can even just call 911 and tell them you want to kill yourself and someone will come help you.

      It may not feel like it right now, but most adults would do just about anything to help a teenager who was suicidal. They care. We all care. I promise. But they won’t know unless you tell them.

    • http://coinoperatedbear.deviantart.com/ CoinOperatedBear

      I’m sorry that you have to go through this. Tell as many people the problem and if they are ineffective, go over their heads. Find the principal’s superintendent, find the school board representatives, and if that doesn’t work then yes, look into alternate education methods. See if your community offers online courses for free. See if you can apply for night school instead.

    • Cora

      I was never bullied – or rather it never took though people did try – I have no idea why though I’d love to be able to tell people. .

      But what I am facing is a fight with depression and I know what it feels like to be terrified of yourself because you don’t trust yourself anymore to not do something horribly stupid. I’ve got no idea if this is gonna be any help to you but I’m gonna tell you anyway.

      1) I think about all the things I’m looking forward too. Like last summer I was reminding myself that there was no way that I was going to miss The Hobbit movie or the 8th season of Supernatural. Sometimes little things help as well “If I get through x I’m going to do something nice for myself (like buy a book/go to the cinema etc.)” If you have things you’re excited about cling to them. It might sound silly to stay alive for a book or a concert but sometimes it’s all their is and that’s okay. And you’ve got to the date you’ve been excited for find a new one!

      2) Find things that make you happy on a normal day and use them when you’re having a bad one. I have some TV Shows/Movies/Books/Songs that make me happy on my good days, I’m sure you do too. On my bad days they don’t make me happy but they make me less depressed and more importantly they stop me from thinking all the horrible things that come with my depression worsening.

      3) It’s okay to be sad. I’m not sure if this is part of your problem but I’m gonna put it here anyway in case it is: I tend to put up a brave front and ignore my feelings to get through the day. While that might work for a period of time in the end it all comes crashing down. Allow yourself the time to feel bad and terrified and cry all you want. If you don’t let it out you just let it fester.

      4) Talk to people! You wrote you don’t have friends that you feel you can talk too, maybe you could find yourself some place on the internet where you can share your problems with people. I find in easier to talk to somewhat strangers than to my friends and sometimes they have great insights because the have faced terrible things too.

      There are also different Lifeline Services my local one helped me a great deal.
      Talk to someone in your family that you trust. I think often subtler calls for help are ignored because parents a) think that it’s just a teenager being a bit overdramatic and b) no one wants to believe that their child is in so much pain.

      5) Get professional help. If you have a school counselor consider going to see them. I’m not sure how the mental health system works where you live but if it’s possible get the help you need!
      While a shrink won’t help with the bullying they can help you with your suicidal thoughts and they often know ressources to further help you.
      If it’s an option, if you think you really can’t handle it anymore and if you have good (very, very important!) psychiatric hospitals where you live do not hesitate to institutionalize yourself. In general terms: Do everything you have to do to get better, no matter if you hurt other people’s feelings or disappoint ther expectations. This is about you, not anyone else.

      6) Okay this is more an idea but maybe self-defence classes would help you? Knowing that you can defend yourself if you have to might help you feel better.

      7) Find music or poems that inspire you and remind you why you are holding on and that you’re going to get through this as well. My personal favorite for that is Invictus by William Ernest Henley but really it can be anything.

      As I said at the beginning, I have never been bullied and all I know about bullying is what I’ve seen it do to friends so I don’t think I have the faintest clue about how you feel. This is just my way of dealing with my depression and my own suicidal thoughts and I hope you can find something in there to help you.

      You matter. There are people who love you and who will miss you and who you can count on for help. Don’t give up because there is still so much waiting for you. And don’t hesitate to make an unpopular choice if it’s going to save your life.

      Now I can only leave you with a few things that have helped me through the day. When push comes to shove I always remember two things: “This too shall pass” and “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.” And you are indeed a very tough person.

    • Pelle Kuipers

      Rachel, if you want to you can email me and talk all about this. I’ve been where you have been. And I’m 23 now, and I feel not great or awesome, but I do feel a thousand times better than I did before :-)

      My email is soundstorm.music@gmail.com.

      • bookie

        You are a wonderful person

    • Wynter Ravenheart

      First of all: Breath, imagine your breath going through your body and pulling all that anxiety, all those thoughts… then exhale and think of all those things leaving your body and mind.

      Second of all: Find something else to occupy your mind. If you’re constantly thinking about that one person [who’s frankly not worth your time] then all you’ll do is worry.

    • pnuw


      I am a 44yo father of 14yo twins, a boy and a girl. Please, please go speak with your parents this very moment. It is okay to start with, “I don’t know where to start.” It is okay to start with, “I have something to tell you but please hold me first.” It is okay to say, “I have something important to tell you and I’m terrified to tell you.” Even if your parents are not the affectionate sort, I believe they would respond in a positive and nurturing way to something as direct as that. Do not ask them if they have time. This is important; you are important. You are worthy of love no matter what this bully does, no matter what picture the admin or other adults at school paint for you in defining what is “okay.” Ultimately, that is for YOU to decide, and you have already stated implicitly in this public forum that what is happening is NOT OKAY.

      Your parents are human beings, too, and you may have to tell them what’s going on two or three times. They might interrupt you; they may not want to know that their child is in trouble. No matter how afraid you are, just keep telling them. Be persistent with them until they see what needs to be seen.

      It has to start with you.

      It really does get better.

      I wish you strength.


    • Your Future Self

      dear rachel

      I am your adult self.

      Well not really, but I could be.

      You see, I’m a black woman whose parents wanted her to have all of the opportunities they didn’t. This meant that I basically spent my entire childhood as a living example of that song that goes, ‘one of these things is not like the other…’ In just about every single school, camp, extracurricular class or activity from kindergarten through college, I was the only black kid around for MILES.

      Even when, every once in a blue moon, I’d find myself in a large group of black people that WASN’T my extended family, I still didn’t fit in. Mostly because I was a giant nerd who didn’t walk, talk or act anything like the other black kids in the group.

      I meant the “giant” part literally by the way. I’ve been about six feet tall since the sixth grade. Add ‘zero social skills’ and ‘no fashion sense’ and you pretty much have a walking ‘kick me’ sign. Which I was. I won’t make an already long post longer by detailing the various insults and injuries; just know that I saw, heard and felt just about all of them.

      Enough backstory. Time for the takeaway.

      Coping Part One:
      If you remember NOTHING else, you MUST remember this, so it’s getting it’s own line. Ready?

      Suicide is a PERMANENT solution to a TEMPORARY problem. Which means it’s NOT a solution. Period.

      Coping Part Two:
      Get tough.

      Hear me out. You already are tough because you posted here (and you told that guy to back off! bravo!). What I’m saying is: get tougher. That fear you feel? Do something with it. Make it into an action. Small or big, it doesn’t matter. Take self-defense. Or write an angry rant in all caps. So long as you’re not endangering yourself or others, the sky’s the limit.

      Coping Part Three:
      Use your mind. It is the biggest weapon in your arsenal…and I say that as someone who’s mind is missing a few key neurotransmitters. Visualize how you’ll be out of there in two years. If you like algebra, focus on the joy of it instead of what he will or won’t be thinking. Read further about your school’s policies so if something happens again, you’re armed and ready. And the like.

      Coping Part Four, and Finally:
      Remember, it’s okay to fall down at any of this. You only fail when you don’t get back up.

      Your Future Self

      P.S. Trust me. You make it and you get to tell a boatload of people to stick it.

    • Fiona


      I’m a senior in high school right now. I’ve been lucky enough in high school to have enough good friends to tell me to ignore all of the jerks out there, but I remember being bullied in elementary school because of my love of reading and how I would always contribute in class. It was completely miserable, but I’m lucky to have found people who supported me.

      Regarding the racist tormenting you, there are a few things you can do. You can ignore him and refuse to give him a reaction, although I know that strategy is frustrating. You could choose to own your stereotypes, and for every racist comment he throws at you, say “Yes” as calmly as you can to deprive him of ammunition. If you can bring yourself to do it, talk to his parents about his behavior and how it has made you feel threatened, or ask your parents to get in touch with his. This might not work, especially if he’s picking up his racism at home, but parents are frequently unaware of their children’s behavior and if informed they might address the problem with him.

      You can find other groups and activities to involve yourself in, where you can get away from school and the environment there. If you can’t find your clan in your school, find it somewhere else. Spend time with people you like being around, as often as you can.

      But please, please don’t kill yourself. Two years feel like eternity right now, I remember, but when they’re over they’ll feel much shorter. There is so much to look forward to outside of school. Plan out what you want to do when you graduate, and use that for motivation. Get yourself on track to graduate early, if you can’t stand staying in school any longer. Stay strong, and best wishes.


    • http://twitter.com/_jenneryy Jennifer Wilkerson

      It’s horrible that the administration is refusing to help you, I can only hope you can get out of this situation. Can you finish high school via distance education? Go to college early? You sound like such an incredible person, brave and well spoken and smart, don’t let them dim your light. *hug*

    • Carolyn M.

      Here are the two things that my therapist told me that i think might help you.
      1. hold on to the truth. let the rest go.
      this is way easier said than done, but sometimes thinking about it can help me. think about what is TRUE. you clearly have a mother who cares and wants to help you. your family loves you. your friends aren’t “close”, but you have them. they’re there. think about all the positive things about you personally that are TRUE, regardless of whatever negative spins this jerk kid may be putting on them. you’re smart. you’ve got a bright future ahead of you. you just gotta get there, which brings me to point two.
      2. the only person you can control is yourself.
      if you think you can change how this kid acts or who this kid is, then go outside and change the weather first. that’s about how easy it is to get people to change. that sounds discouraging at first, but it’s not. you can change how YOU react to the problems this kid creates for you. like some other comments i’ve seen, go to the highest authority you can and tell your story. you have the law on your side. get your mom to help you drop out and get your GED. surround yourself with so much positivity that the negativity he brings is drowned out. depression and anxiety are both things i deal with too, and this is something i have to remind myself of. i can’t necessarily change my mental health, but i can change how i deal with it and react to both myself and to others.

      write in a journal. watch a good movie or a few episodes of a good tv show every single night. read a new book every week. make plans with someone every weekend. give yourself things to live for, things to look forward to, that take you away from the things that bring you down. high school and middle school were hell for me too, and i made it out alive. you can do it to, i know you can. hang in there, rachel.

    • A

      I know everyone says that it gets better and it does. But as someone who has been there, it usually takes leaving your small town and going away to college. I know things may seem hopeless now but please, please, please try to hang in there. If your mom is sympathetic, tell her everything. Find a counselor or therapist outside of school you can talk to. And I agree with what others have said, if you feel unsafe at school and the administration is totally useless, could you look into homeschooling instead? Anything just to get you through the next two years until you can get out into the world, where I promise things are better- not perfect and sometimes harsh but much better than life in a small town.

      I grew up as the only Asian kid in school in a small, very country town. I am adopted so my family is caucasian. I started out at a very tiny, rural school, where surprisingly I was always accepted by my peers and never experienced teasing. My parents’ marriage fell apart when I was in 2nd grade though and I had to move to a bigger town with my mom. We lived in a trailer. I started a new school, where I was again the only Asian kid but here I was tormented. I used to get physically ill every Sunday night because I dreaded going back to school on Monday morning. I’m pretty sure I told my mom that I’d rather die than go back. I was 7. My mom talked to my teachers, she talked to the principal and they all said gave her the usual thing of “everyone gets teased, she needs to grow thicker skin”. My mom always wanted to help and was always sympathetic but I think she never knew quite how to handle things because she had never experienced racism or bullying herself.

      Eventually things did get better. I made some friends. But then came middle school and my school blended with another school. The bullying and harrassment started all over again. So did the physical illness every Sunday night. One boy singled me out and would slam me into lockers, spit in my hair, threatened me, and chased me down the hallways when no one was around. It was elementary school all over again but worse. My saving grace was an uncle who worked at the school who let me cry in his office at lunch and who stormed the principal’s office with my mom to put a stop to the bullying.

      High school was not terrible for me. There was still teasing but no more threats of physical violence. There was a lot of talking behind my back but I was able to ignore it because it was in the pre-social networking era. The worst was the racism that came from teachers. I have a very “white” name because I’m adopted. Every time I started a new class, at least one teacher would comment on it. One older, well-respected teacher insisted on calling me “Suzy Kwon” and everyone in my class, my friends even, would laugh every time. I let it happen for an entire year because I was too afraid to stir things up. Finally graduation came. I gave a speech that was basically one big “FUCK YOU” to everyone in my school, including the staff. I got out of my small town and went to a huge university. For the first time in my life, I was truly accepted and felt like I could really be myself. It stuck.

      I won’t lie to you and say that I haven’t encountered racism or even some teasing since then but it did get better. It honestly did. I didn’t want to make this about me but I just wanted to let you know that on some level, I know what you’re going through and I understand. I am thankful that I took the brunt of things as a younger child so I’ve been able to block out most of it now but it has definitely left its mark on me forever. I am now in my late 20s. I have a doctoral degree and a good job. I have a wonderful husband. I have good friends who love and support me. I beg you to hang in there, find help, and hold on because you will get here someday.

    • nomad

      I don’t know you. I can’t imagine your pain.

      But I want you to know this: your words have touched me and I love you for it.

      It will get better. You will survive. Do whatever it takes to keep breathing. That’s how you win.

    • Gem

      Dear Rachel,

      I don’t remember most of school, but I remember the sheer sense of despair and helplessness that swamped me through my teenage years. I will tell you how I survived, although I am not going to pretend that this was healthy or smart, but it was the only way I could figure at the time. I hope other people here can give you better advice that will help you grow as a person as well as just getting through each day, but I am afraid I can only give you the latter, as I didn’t improve as a person until I got out that situation. Like you, I found school authorities to be useless at best, and compliant in the abuse at worst. I hated life and wanted to die, but I survived and I got through it as best I could. Over time I healed and thrived. I am proud of my life, and I am looking forward to the rest of it.


      1) The armor of contempt

      I did not feel love or compassion for the people intent on destroying me. Maybe I would have been a better person if I had, but I guess I wasn’t made that way. I hated them. They saw me as different, so I embraced that as much as I could. I did not hide my disgust – the way I saw it, they were going to be shits either way, so I refused to let them see the fear, even though it consumed me. It gave me a sick sense of satisfaction to know that they had failed to see anything but my disinterest in them as human beings.

      2) Always know your escape routes

      I had a plan of what I was going to do when I got out. I had a long discussion with my parents about alternatives – high school isn’t everything; there ARE alternatives. As it turned out I chose not to use them, but just knowing there was another option gave me the strength to endure.

      Also, find a safe place. It might be curled up on your bed with your headphones on, it might be walking the dog in a nice park, it might be pounding a treadmill in the gym, it might be the library. It could be anywhere that you are away from the abuse for a time. This place is essential for your sanity and mental health. Find it and spend as much time there as you can.

      3) Treat it like a social experiment

      I chose to shut down and view it from the outside. I chose to think, “huh, that was an interesting scenario. What caused that? What would happen if I did X?” Over time people realised that I really didn’t give a shit anymore. Bullying isn’t as much fun if the victim basically seems bored.It did not make it go away, but it lessened.

      4) Cry and scream and punch – in private

      The above worked for short periods. The downside to this approach is that the emotions had to come out eventually. When I was alone I would just let them go. I would also write long, angry letters to the people bullying me. The letters were filled with all the anger, venom and hurt that I was too afraid to show because I scared even myself. I would tear them up and burn them afterwards. Sometimes I punched the pillow, sometimes the wall. Sometimes the self harm was worse than that. But getting the aggression out was key.

      5) Find a way to express what you cannot

      Ah, music. There were certain songs that I would play over and over and over, just to get through the night. These songs proved that I was not the only one who had ever felt this way. It made me realize I was not alone, and also that others had survived. There are a number of musicians and rock bands out there who I owe a lot of beer as a thank you for keeping me sane.

      6) Human shield

      I know what it is like when your friends say things like “just ignore it”. That doesn’t mean that they don’t or can’t understand, it means that they don’t know what to do. Hell I remember one girl telling me that my bully was actually quite nice – sure, when she wasn’t trying to break me.

      I was just as different from my friends as I was from the bullies, but at least we could laugh together. Bullies tend not to pick on people when they have a gang of friends surrounding them. Sure it doesn’t work all the time, but safety can be found in numbers and at least can give you a respite.

      7) Give it 24 hours

      When I was 14 I was about as low as I could possibly get, and could not see a way out. A lady whose name I don’t even remember now seemed to sense something was wrong – we were both in a writing group and she was older than my mum. I guess there had been a tone to what I had written for that class that resonated with her. She pulled me aside and said:

      “Just in case you ever need this, it might help. Kill yourself tomorrow, not today. Always tomorrow. Always get through 24 hours, sleep first, go outside in the sunshine, be alone, be with people, watch a funny TV show, but you have to get through 24 hours. Then, when you wake up, tell yourself well done, and set yourself another 24 hours.”

      She probably saved my life.

      8) The 4 am friend

      Find someone, anyone, who you can call no matter what. They may be family or just a distant friend. This is the person who you can call no matter what, no matter when, and ask for help. I have called this in once in my life, and I have also been called as the 4am friend for another person. This was a lifeline, but it doesn’t even have to be a person who knows you well. The girl who phoned me was just an acquaintance who I knew was in trouble, so I gave her my number and told her to phone me before she did anything stupid. The guy I called was a close friend, but he lived on the other side of the country from me. It didn’t matter; just the fact that he answered and was willing to talk to me meant that someone, somewhere cared about me. Even if you only mean something to one person on the planet, then you have a reason to go on.

      9) Get physical

      Someone else suggested martial arts, and I would back this up. Not for protection from the outside world, but protection from within. I did not do this but I wish I had. Other people I know who had shit in high school followed this and say it helped. If martial arts isn’t for you, try running. Stick on headphones and run until you can’t think anymore. If nothing else you will sleep better, and be too tired to dwell on the shit that happened at school. I still use the running tactic now when life gets a bit much to deal with, although my weapon of choice is a cross trainer.

      10) Escapism is good

      I read. Constantly. That started as a kid, because when I was reading about dragons or vampires (the suck you dry kind, not the marrying kind) then I didn’t think about my own life. Computer games, specifically RPGs, gave me the same level of escapism, and over time they brought me friends, too.

      Seriously you should read, game and watch TV shows that are not based in real life. You have enough real life going on right now. Escape somewhere that is a bit more interesting and hang out for a while.

      11) Know that it gets better

      I know that you need help to get through the “now”, but sometimes thinking about the future is the best way to get through the now. Make a list of short and long terms goals. Daydream about them. Bullies only get into your head if you let them, and I always found that fantasizing about living in the Canadian Rockies was far much rewarding. More than that, I moved there just over a decade later and found the place I belong. I don’t even know what happened to the bullies. I don’t really care, either.

      12) Find your tribe

      The one where the internet is actually helpful. Find your tribe. Find the people who you connect with and laugh with. Find the people you would never have otherwise found. My tribe are from all over the world and all different ages, many I have never even met, but they are there if I need them. I know this for a fact – they have helped me on some awesome projects, and I support theirs whenever I can. You might connect through books, through TV, through political activism or through a shared love of sports. It doesn’t matter how, or really who, but knowing there is someone to talk to about awesome stuff so you can forget your day will help you through.

      The internet was in its infancy when I was being bullied, and there were assholes even then. There are a few sanctuaries – hell you are on one of them right now. Look how many people care for you, Rachel. Regardless of age, gender, race and location, people are coming out to say that they love you and they want to help you through. Start here for your tribe.

      13) Do not go gently into that good night

      Last of all, don’t lie down and take it. Never Quit. Never surrender. Learn to think “Fuck you, whatever you try you will not break me.” Take every breath as a victory.

      Find something bigger than school to care about, even if it just a group of people that make you think “I love you guys.” Even if it is a computer game. Even if it is an argument about whether Serenity is a better smuggling ship that the millenium falcon. DO NOT let being bullied take away your identity. Your spirit will be battered and bruised, Rachel. I know it is already. But do not let it break. Keep your dreams, fight, scream FUCK YOU at the world if you are angry at it, then get up and prove it the hell wrong. Don’t just survive; you must live. Even if for now the only place you can live is in your head. Plan a future so wonderful that you cannot possibly have an excuse to miss out on it.

      It WILL get better. It DOES get better. There will come a time when all you remember of high school is that it was shit and you wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy. I hope this, and other people on here, help you find a way through.

      Live through this, Rachel. You are stronger than you believe and you will make it through. I look forward to seeing the wondrous things you will achieve with your life, and I will be proud of you every single day that you get through on your way there. You are not insignificant. You are awesome. So many people love you. Never forget that.

      • tsargin

        Your quote about the Serenity vs Millenium falcon might be what saved my life today. Thank you.

        • Gem

          tsargin – I am glad to be of help.. If you ever need someone to start pointless debates with just for the hell of it, I am your girl If you just need someone to talk to, I can do that too, my dear.

    • http://twitter.com/xbonjourlulu Luana Marina

      Hi Rachel,

      First of all I am so sorry to hear you have to go through all this, and I want to tell you that high school is a part of life and there is so much beyond it waiting for you; to learn, to experience, to live. It literally breaks my heart that you have considered ending your life out of fear and what you are going through. But there are other ways out. Maybe you can do an exchange program for your last year, or finish classes online, or maybe you have some relatives in different areas you may be able to stay with, or definitely look into a GED and community college. It’s not worth staying in any situation that makes you afraid, anxious, depressed or trapped, so if worse comes to worst get out of that high school.

      Talk to your parents, sit them down and seriously ask them for help. Let them know how terrifying going to school is. If their reaction to dropping out worries you, tell them of other alternatives you may have given thought to so that they see you are also trying to be proactive. In the end it’s about changing your situation, hopefully with their help and support (which I’m sure you will have).
      Like I said before, right now it may not seem like it but high school is only a small portion of life, and by no means the most important.

      Please look into other ways out, and look forward to the rest of your life because seriously there is a whole world out there, of people who are tolerant, who may have had similar experiences to you, who will teach you things through their friendship; so many people worth meeting. Places to see, cultures to explore. Don’t let one person make you feel that your only way out is suicide, because you deserve the life you have been given, and you deserve to live it fully. This has already shown you that you are brave enough to stand up to something that terrifies you and that is incredibly difficult.

      Good luck, and keep going.

    • timelordteapot

      I want to be able to give you a list of things to do to make things better. (If I’m being totally honest, I want to skip that part and just magic the bad things away, but unfortunately I do not have those powers yet)
      I live in the UK and so have little knowledge of how things work as far as schools and colleges go in America, but what other people are saying is true – high school is not the only way. It’s not the most important thing. Sure, education is important, but there are other ways of learning. Other places to learn.
      You know what IS the most important thing? Your life. Not just living it, not just surviving it, but actually enjoying it. Waking up each morning and not being scared.
      You need people to sit up and pay attention. You’re being treated so badly you’ve decided killing yourself may be the only option available to you, and that is NOT right. Nobody deserves that. Tell someone. Spell it out. Tell them EXACTLY how all of this is making you feel, and make them understand.

      I hope you get the help and advice you need, and I hope you’re okay, always. x

    • Artemis

      If the school (principle, counselor) doesn’t care, take it to the school board. If they don’t care, take it to the cops and tell them you want to press charges the next time the guy touches you without your permission. Incidentally, if he touches you again without your permission, especially if it’s aggressive and you have reason to believe he’s going to hurt you, you can beat the shit out of him in self-defense. I’d highly advise getting a friend with a smartphone to be ready to video any and all interactions you have with this kid. Even you should get a smartphone if you can, and video him any time you encounter him. Having a camera in his face will either provoke him or make him back off; either is something you want to accomplish: either his behavior gets so bad as to be noticed and dealt with by the people who should’ve been dealing with this from day 1, or he leaves you alone.

      Something else you can do is create a video montage of all the shit he says to you, post it on youtube, and spread the URL around school so everyone gets the chance to see how awful this guy is. Social pressure might work.

      If you don’t fee safe at school, stop going. That will get your mom’s and administrator’s attention very quickly. Tell your teachers in advance your’e not going to show up, and why, and ask for a way (phone or email) that they can send homework assignments to you, and for a way that you can get the completed assignments to them. And refuse to take no for an answer. Get the assignments from a classmate if you have to.

      I realize these are more courses of action than they are coping mechanisms. It took me 3 decades to build up enough of that adult chutzpa that crap like this does not affect me any more. Basically, if I were encountering something like this at the office, I’d take steps to record every bit of it I possibly could, file charges against the guy if he touched me (or start with a restraining order), and then start presenting the video evidence to management. If a manager expresses indifference, I go up the chain of command until I find someone who gives a rat’s ass (hence my idea to take it to the school board).

      There are such things as verbal self-defense, but that’s really hard to teach (rather, I’m not good at teaching it, yet). Here’s one thing you might be able to practice – it’s called ‘apply to self’. If the guy says, “you’re disgusting!” then respond with, “that’s a disgusting thing to say.” Go over the mean things he’s said to you and come up with responses like that to all of them. Be ready for retorts. It may take 2 or 3 times in any given encounter for him to give up and leave you alone.

    • http://twitter.com/zabortakataka zabor takataka

      Hi Rachel (and others currently in this situation),
      [some strong language, forgive me ;-) ]

      Read my blog posts on many topics that might help. http://zabortakataka.wordpress.com

      I have been bullied from age 4 to age 18, had both suicidal and murderous intents.

      The statement: “It gets better” to me is similar to: “just sit it out”. And honestly: it angers me to hear that kind of “advice” in whatever type of form. (I will avoid strong wordings here).

      Bullies are everywhere and you will not always be able to avoid them. They will not magically disappear when you grow up.

      Please consider the following three mantra’s. I will get back to them below:

      A: “I REFUSE to become a victim”.

      B: “No means no, stop means stop”
      C: “Why” is a waste of time

      Victimhood is your biggest enemy. Whatever happens and wherever and how: REFUSE to become a victim.

      I will be repeating things others said, but hey…

      1: Consider ways out. A “plan B”.

      Either leaving that place, other classes, whatever.

      2: Do NOT remain silent/Speak up.

      Address the situation. Make sure whatever is done to you is visible. Start with your parents/mother/someone who sympathises with you/loves you and you can trust (VERY important!)

      3: NEVER assume “it is your fault”. (See also point 7: “No means no”)

      Any violence done against you is done by a person who picked you for “whatever”. You did not actively provoke it. Your mere existence is NO EXCUSE FOR VIOLENCE against you. There is no reason and no justification for ANY violence against you unless that violence was out of self-defence.

      4: Do NOT be the first one to use violence yourself.

      Attacking/hurting a person when you are not violent also leaves (additional) scars if it is not your “style”.

      5: Do not be afraid to use excessive violence in self-defense.

      PUSH, kick, hit. Be sure there are witnesses who are on your side if/when possible. And take one thing into account: this will not be about “winning” but about saying “No” and “stop” in the clearest way possible and win/find your self-respect.

      6: Know when to quit/walk out. There is a moment where your “responsibility to find solutions” ends. Know when/where that moment is.

      7: No means no means no means NO.
      Stop means stop, means stop, means STOP.

      When you say “no” or “stop”, a normal person will do so out of respect and step back. When you are told that it is _your_ fault because “you did not say it loud enough” or whatever bullshit reason, the person on the other side is completely full of shit. Just remember that: “full of shit”. Not your ally. Not a friend. Not someone who will help find or create a solution. Full.of.shit.

      “No means no/stop means stop”

      When YOU are clear in this: “No. Stop.” and the other does not respect you (over and over and over and over again), the OTHER is wrong. Regardless of what people might try to tell you afterwards. “No means no, stop means stop”. Repeat this to anyone who tries to apologize for the bully: “yes but… [fill in terrible reason why bully bullies and will not be stopped/corrected]” or who condemns your actions afterward if and when you fight back.

      “No means no, stop means stop. I did what I did because he/she did not stop”

      8: Avoid “why” questions. They are completely useless

      Like: “Why does this (always) happen to me?”

      As long as you continue to ask yourself “Why”, you are not fixing things and things remain broken.

      Here is an example, using a comparison: When you drop something out of your hands and it breaks, the most important NEXT step is to clean the shards and fix what is broken.

      “Why” is for later. Shit happens.

      9: Learn to become indifferent
      As one poster said in this thread, bullies find less satisfaction in bullying when you stop giving a shit about them. Learn to not care about them. (See “avoid why questions) Fix yourself.


      Some closing words.

      Sadly your society and mine (Europe) is one that usually is on the side of the violator. If you get bullied or beaten up “you must have asked for it”. The idea that people bully for the sheer fun of inflicting pain on others seems to be a huge gap in the awareness of many people. “Violence always has a reason” usually assumes “you asked for it”.

      You can not “win”. There is no Hollywood movie ending to this. Your life continues and where you leave one bully somewhere, you will find another elsewhere. What IS there is your own path of self-healing. Avoid and refuse situations that can harm you. Avoid and refuse people who are assholes. The more clear you become in your refusal (also to yourself), the stronger your position will become. Refusal? “No. Stop. I do not like this. I do not cooperate. I refuse. I am out.”

      Allow your sadness, your grief, your anger to come out. They are justified. Very justified. You are not weak when you feel these emotions. They are a very normal response to what people have done to you.

      What is done to you is really wrong and very terrible. The fact that you have survived this until now only shows that you are very, very strong. Please see that as a beginning.
      Suicide is murder in almost any case. It is a slow murder of your soul, done by others. Please resist. Please also let go of things.
      Holding on to your bullies is the worst thing you can do to yourself. Learn the power of forgiveness. Which is: “I let go of you”. Keeping your bullies inside of you is like having them in your house. Hate them, despise them, try to understand their position and then let go. They are irrelevant to your future in any other way. (This is what saved me from suicide AND from becoming a very bitter person.)

      Bullies are usually (as mentioned in some of the many responses) themselves victims of (domestic) violence ranging from emotional neglect to physical harm and psychological warfare. Only in some cases they are sociopaths. Your solution to this and their problem is to keep them out of your life and make/find (new) friends who are really lovely and awesome people with you and to you.
      Peace and love.

    • http://twitter.com/serke serke

      I completely agree with the other comments. Do what you need to do to take control of the situation (non-violently of course). But don’t let them win by taking yourself off the board.

      My first year in college I came home to hear that a girl I’d had gym classes with, 2 years younger, had hanged herself. We hadn’t been very close, but I’d gone to her birthday party the last year. I’ll always remember her, and wish she’d reached out. To me or anyone.
      I’m glad we have the internet for the voiceless to be heard.

      So please, speak loud, be heard. Make a stand. Go to the school board. The local media.
      Or move to that other high school in town. It was a lot easier to blend in at my mixed bag of a inner city school, and I like to think, less bullying because it was more diverse. And the admins less likely to turn a blind eye when they were always on the lookout for shit to start.

    • Madrigorne

      Metriculate out early and start college now. You don’t deserve his harassment, and they’re not protecting you. I believe in you.

    • Enna

      The school is not the only institution who can help you. (And while quitting school is superior to suicide – far superior – I hate to see you limit your options. For me, part of “it gets better” was higher education, which is easier to obtain with a high school diploma than a GED. It isn’t the only way to make things better, but it is a way.)

      Hitting someone, pushing someone, and threatening to kill them are all torts (things you can sue for) and crimes (things you can call the police for – even right there at school, no matter what the administrators say). The school and the police are separate entities. They operate independently, or should. If that kid scares or hurts you, call the police and file a report. (You should call now and report his death and school shooting threats and explain you are scared. They may not charge him, but they will probably talk to him and his parents – which may send the message, as the school is failing to do, that this is serious.)

      W/r/t Aspergers, all crimes have a “mens rea” (pronounced mens RAY-uh) element – that means the mental part of the crime. In our legal system, right or wrong, people with 65 IQs can meet any of those mens rea requirements and be convicted of crimes – an intelligent, verbal kid with Aspergers meets them.

      Plus, any lawyer, your school administrators, and the cops should be sensitive to the fact – or will be if someone points it out – that the shooter at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown had Aspergers. (It did not cause or, as far as I know, contribute in any way to his crime. The point is, Aspergers is not an intellectual disability that makes someone incapable of committing a crime or that excuses them from responsibility for it, the way other mental disorders sometimes do.)

      I think one very useful thing for you to do is to have your mother write a letter (or just sign the letter you type) describing everything this kid has done and said to you – with dates, locations, and any witnesses – and the school administrators’ responses. Send it and make it clear that you are retaining a copy for your records, and – if you feel like it – carbon copy the local newspaper, the police, and your tormentor’s family. Make it as factual as you can and don’t make accusations or call anyone names – just state what he did and what he said, that this behavior upsets you, that you are scared for your life, and that you have a right to be safe from physical harm and racist taunting at school, and the school has a responsibility to make it stop regardless of this kid’s mental status. Say that you are disappointed that they have stated that they will not do any more than (whatever it is they have done – one day in school suspension for the physical attack and no other actions whatsoever) and you hope they will reconsider and meet their responsibilities. Ask for specific things that you want – to be in different classes from him, for him to be counseled to leave you alone, for the school to take responsibility for stopping racial harassment and physical violence against you. (If you can afford it, having a lawyer write and send this letter would be even better, especially combined with the threat of litigation.)

      What is happening to you is not fair, but you have more options than you think.

      (Personally, one of my coping mechanisms is to think about all the things I can do to help myself and decide which to do – counseling, doing things I love, asking for help from friends or even friends’ parents. Often, fighting with stupid and indifferent school administrators does feel like banging your head against a brick wall of stupidity, but it does eventually make a difference. Better yet, it makes you feel much less afraid.)

    • Miriam

      Hi Rachel,
      I’m a little late the party, but I hope you read this.
      I know you’re scared. It’s OK. Two years does seem like a long time to live in the face of this bully, but there are things you can do in the here and now to make things better.

      1) Talk to your mom. Show her this blog. Type it up and email it to her. Tell her everything. If she doesn’t understand, MAKE her understand. Talk to her about everyday, every hour until she understands how serious this is. She wants to protect you and she will support you.

      2) Strength in numbers. In school, try to always keep your friends close by. Every time you have a class, every time you walk down the hall, every time you go to the bathroom take a friend. Your bully is less likely to attack you if you an armada of friends by your side. And if he does, you won’t be alone.

      3) Defend yourself. Take a martial arts class. Learn some basic self defense moves. So if your bully ever does try something, you won’t be totally defenseless.

      4) Be loud! Tell your friends. Tell your relatives. Post about this on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, this blog. Contact human rights groups, the NAACP, and anti-bullying organizations. Make sure everyone knows that you are a victim of racism and bullying and it is NOT OK.

      6) Find a safe place and vent. Go to any place that you feel totally safe. Stay there as long you need and just vent. Don’t keep your emotions bottled up. Write angry letters, punch your pillow, scream as loudly as you can, cry, keep a blog/journal, listen to really loud music. Vent just before school and after. Keep yourself sane.

      5) Keep a record of everything. Write down everything your bully has
      ever said or done to you. Add dates, times and locations as well as you
      can remember them. If there were witnesses, have them sign your record.
      Anything he has ever done to you that has ever made you feel scared, attacked, uncomfortable, threatened, etc.

      6) Change your class schedule. Show your administrators your record of his threats. Explain to them that you fear for your life. Have your mom meet with your principal every day. Find som teachers to support you. If your principal doesn’t listen, talk to his boss. Threaten to sue. Do anything you can to keep away from him.

      7) Finally, drop out. If it get so bad that suicide still looks a better option than school, drop out. That bully isn’t worth your life and neither is that school. You can get an GED easily and take courses at your local community college.

      There are so many people supporting you. Stay strong!

  • http://www.facebook.com/shianne.coss Shianne Coss

    My way of coping wasn’t the best way because it led me to do some really stupid shit. Throughout elementary school all the way to high school, I was bullied and harassed. Bullied by people I thought were cool up until the point they opened their mouth and started spewing insults at me. Harassed by people I thought were friends, but all they wanted was someone to take advantage of easily.

    My way of coping was to just shut down, ignore it, and cry about it later. But I never told anyone. I never figured I was important enough to warrant any action against the enemy. After years of just “ignoring it”, everything just built up inside of me and I snapped one day. Tried to end my own life twice, but always backed out because I always thought that there was something still worth living for.

    After those days were long gone, I started to poke out of my shell. I fought back against the boy who told me we were friends as he proceeded to try and cop a feel. I fought back against the bullies by saying nothing at all, just smiling and telling them to have a nice day. I never believed my mom when she said to kill them all with kindness, but it turned out to be great advice. Once they all realized that they weren’t going to get a rise out of me, they backed off.

    For coping with something floating through cyber space though is different. You can’t give them that, “Fuck you too, asshole.”, smile that you could face to face with another human being. You could laugh it off, learn that the gray faces are nothing more than a bunch of pussies with keyboards. We all know they would never stand up and say it to another person’s face, but the internet gives us the option of anonymity, allowing the hatred to run rampant.

    I’d just ignore it. Realize there are better things you could be doing than giving them your time and energy. At the end of the day, it’s nothing more than a bunch of bullshit floating around with nothing to back it up. Sorry for the text wall, by the way. :C

  • http://twitter.com/_TeDiouS_ Tom Steiger

    Here’s why I fundamentally do not understand the whole troll phenomenon: One thing you have taught me is to support creativity. That even if the end result isn’t “my thing” the act of creating something and putting it out there is brave and fragile and important and needs to be nurtured. Even if I don’t like what was created I love the fact that it WAS created. You fostered this attitude in me, and then you put me in direct contact with a universe of flamboyantly creative people so that I could put it into practice. So I don’t, and will probably never, understand cyberbullying. As for coping with it, I think you are fundamentally correct that a 15yo cannot be expected to be equipped to deal with the full bile and vitriol of the Internet, so I have to raise the question: Why should they even be exposed to it? Isn’t a parent’s (and by extension, society’s) job to protect children from situations with which they cannot be expected to cope? Making the analogy between gun violence and cyber violence, I’m guessing that you’re not spending a lot of time trying to come up with ways for teens to cope with guns in schools. Rather, you’re more likely screaming GET RID OF THE GUNS! Similarly, instead of trying to teach teens how to cope with trolls, why not just advocate keeping them away from the trolls? I have a 15yo nephew and he’s not on Facebook and he’s not on Twitter. Why? BECAUSE HE’S FIFTEEN!!! The internet is not a playpen.

  • http://twitter.com/lyingrain nobody’s listening

    Hi Amanda !

    I don’t know i have good advices or strategies to share, but i can share my story and the way i fought all this shit.

    i was a bullied kid. From elementary school (even before, in france we have something before) to almost end of high school. i’m a one-eyed girl, that means way more inconvenience than people with two valid eyes can imagine. When you’re a kid, integration can exist through sports… through ball sports. Do you see where i’m coming ? When you have only ONE fucking eye to watch everything, you miss things. You can’t avoid it. So i reacted too slow and missed the ball a lot of time. Children start calling me “no tension”. And when they understood my right eye was a dead angle, they simply start shooting. When you finally understand you took too much balls in the head for it to be an accident, it breaks your heart. i was like “but, what did i do wrong ????”

    things got worst and worst. When i enter junior high school, there were stairs. You have no idea how many time people throw me in it. Lucky i never broke a bone !

    i hide in books. i love books so much ! since i could read i read everything i found. i read everything i can about greeck mythes whe i was 8, i read harry potter so many times ! books were my place of heaven, no one could beat me, i was safe, i was living great adventures.

    and high school came…. i was very bad. i got (big) boobs sooner than all the other girls. So i was a slut to them, a bitch. I start hiding my body in male clothes, i was hiding. internet just starting to come to us. i opened a blog where i put my writings and stuffs i love. People of my class found it and so they ask me when would i commit suicide so i’ll leave them in peace.

    My mind breaks. I decided it was too much. I did nothing to them, but if they wanted war, they would have it. This day, i learned that i could scream, that i could be strong, that even if one eye, i could see way more than this people, i could see their weakness, i could hear what was in their silences, that my hands were slow but my mind fast… and that i could shoot where it hurts. So, i break the reputation of the two most popular girls of the school. I remember coming home crying to my mom because i thought that after this, everybody would like to kill me. But this is not what happened. i won respect.

    One day in the bus, i saw a bullied child. i remember i thought “i was in her place, and i used to hate all those people watching my pain and not acting…. well… I AM NOT ACTING” and so i took her defense. i know it didn’t free her from her bullier but at least it was 15 minutes of peace for her. if only she understood this day that there IS good people on this planet.

    Maybe you should write this in your article ? Tell people to remember there ARE good people.
    i think that’s what i needed to hear our to find those day. Just a good person offering a nice word or a bit of peace without waiting for a return.

    I don’t tell you all my story, this a too long and too sad story. Today i’m 23, trying to fix myself as i can, still hating me a lot, but fighting to live my life. Just publish my first book you know, i try to tell me i can be proud of me. i have the most kindest man as a boyfriend… i try to tell myself i’m not a bunch of jerk, i deserve to live.

    Just wanted to tell you for your dark days : thanks for you music once again. You’re one on the good person i found. Your music always help me find my smile back in the dark dark days.

  • puertoricoindie

    Hateful people feel the need for love and inclusion just as much as their targets. So what is a target to do? Move: Force a shift in the conversation; engage through kindness; direct the attention to your aggressor. Moving targets are harder to hit.

    Maybe he/she (Stephen King’s It) leaves a hateful message on your blog. You thank the clown for it’s comments and invite others to chime in. Less extreme cases tone down their attacks and sometimes engage in more pleasant exchanges (and can even become your fans afterwards). More extreme ones usually move along once they are bored – and a great way to bore them is by treating them like humans.

  • Stan Felczer

    I know you probably won’t get to this, considering you’re Amanda Fucking Palmer and there are hundreds of other sad little humanoids who want to hug the shit out of you right now, but hey, why not try?
    First of all, thank you for this. For everything you do, have done. For being you, and being real. Even though people are shitty to each other and to me and to you all the time. You make me feel like maybe my little confused queer person stuff isn’t dumb, like my teenage angst isn’t just something for sitcoms to use as a plot device (although I must admit I sound pretty angsty here).
    So I really want to hug you right now. And the great thing is that, being you, you might actually hug back.

    WHICH BRINGS ME TO THE ORIGINAL POINT OF THIS POST, my main coping mechanism: remembering people like you exist (which again makes me sound very angsty indeed, but let me finish). I go through every day wanting nothing more than to crawl into a pit and die, after all the whispers and weird looks, but mostly the bullying I do to myself. I can’t shake the feeling I’m nothing, that I’m overdramatic, I’m no better than all the rest of the sheeplike primates that surround me at every waking moment. I lose faith that the world has any good in it.
    But then I remember people that DON’T suck. Like you, who proves every day that fuck yeah, life’s worth living, so let’s do it already. Like Kepi Ghoulie, around whom no one can ever be sad or anxious. Like all the musicians and artists and poets and THINKERS that turn out to exist after all, no matter how well they hide from us.
    And I think that maybe things will be okay after all.

    • paige

      “mostly the bullying I do to myself” I understand this deeply, to the most intricate mechanisms of my being. Sometimes the most courageous act is to simply wake up and get on with the day.

      Keep getting up. Thank you for writing this.

      • justme

        Holy crap that is an amazing amount of awareness. The ego LOVES to beat itself up and be your cruelest judge.

    • Galatea

      Dear Stan,

      You are NOT nothing. You are very much something, because you are a person, and you think and you feel and you read and you write. I very firmly believe that things will always get better. And until then: *hugs*

    • petponygirl

      See, I can go about my miserable day being my miserable self and then I read little gems like “…there are hundreds of other sad little humanoids who want to hug the shit out of you right now” and I let a laugh escape at the pure delight of your wit and forget for one small moment why I was so miserable. Thank you, Stan. They say it gets better. I hope we both stick around to find out. <3

    • Madrigorne

      Fuck ‘em. Love you. You’re one of the ‘don’t suck’, check your mirror again, you’ll see I’m right. You are better, because you’re aware. Love you, seriously.

  • http://twitter.com/dollycunt Dolly

    I’ve never dealt with the internet hatred, I’m 22 years old and graduated high school before Facebook was the “hip thing” it was MySpace then, and thank god nobody knew how to use it. I’ve always been the freak, you have, a lot of us have. It’s sucks. It’s terrible. For some strange reason, none of the girls ever had a problem with me, it was always the boys. And I’m a woman, mind you. I always had the usual ridicule, i still remember the first time i truly hurt though….my mom bought me a pair of fishnets for Christmas, i was always wearing red and black striped stalkings…even though i was only 13, i think she wanted to give me something more “grown up” i don’t think she expected me to fall in love with the things. But Christmas vacation ended and for the rest of the school year, every time passing classes, in the lunch line, whenever……every single guy would take turns calling me a name. Whore. Slut. Hooker. The usual. It was repetitive. It drove me to start cutting myself. When i got into high school, we had to run laps at the beginning of our physical education class and it was optional to walk. Walk i did. One boy decided to run up behind me and punch me in the back of the head. He did it three times. It fucking hurt. After the laps were done i was bitching about it and some guy pushed me down. I walked out of the class and cried by myself. It really hurt me most when nobody came to see if i was okay. Nobody cared. Nobody. The next class was about to begin and i decided to be strong and continue my day but with a vengeance. I knew the boy that punched me had the same next class with me so i made sure i got there early before class started. When i got there i still had a couple minutes before everyone would arrive and class would start and the boy that hit me was sitting at a far end of the room on a computer. He couldn’t see that i entered the room, and he didn’t see me as i walked up from behind him where he was sitting and punched him in the head. The school security came and got us and i told them about him punching me three times before hand. They looked at me and said, “What is wrong with you? You are supposed to act like a lady.” As you could imagine, i was pretty pissed about that one. They didn’t care to hear my argument. Shit was settled. I didn’t encounter anymore physical attacks in high school after that, i had home schooled not long afterwards and i came back for my senior year of high school, and just the usual mean comments and names. Right after i graduated though, i got stuck with a boyfriend that physically abused me for almost a year, I escaped the first chance i got. That guy took everything from me. Things i never get back. ever. When i left him i was 18, and i was officially homeless. I started traveling immediately, hitch-hiking then not too long after hopping freight trains all over the country. I still do. It’s grand. I love it. I love my life. But whole reason I’m writing any of this at all, is just a few days ago, i had something very awful happen to me. I’m visiting my hometown, i have only one friends here that I still have contact with. Me and her have been friends since kindergarten and every year since i started traveling i come back to my hometown around Christmas and visit. She invited me to hang out at a party for New Years, and i thought it was a great idea. it’s just me and my boyfriend, we’ve been doing nothing, we’re bored and theirs been nothing going on. We went to the party and it was everything we expected, a few people, some drinks, socializing. Fun. I noticed my friends been acting really weird. Since i came up she hardly wants to hang out, she never talks to me….shits just unusual. Usually she wants to hang out everyday that I’m around. Out of nowhere about fifty people poor though the doors, they had even invited a live dj. The people that live at the house are very displeased and upset…..I begin to become very upset when i find out 99% of every person that just flooded through that door is under 18 and now asking me to buy them booze at the store. It was terrible and i knew i was either going to have to leave or suck it up and hang out in another room separate from the party. I stayed wanting to reconnect with my friends so badly but nothing worked out the way we hoped it to. Me and my boyfriend got jumped by half the party. My friend joined them. She helped them push me on the ground and kick me until i was unconscious. When I came to, she let beat me up. She helped. And she let two guys punch me up, and my boyfriend unable to do anything. He was swarmed by guys beating him up. The next i took a look in the mirror saw the big huge swollen black eye i have. I couldn’t even see out of it, and my whole head was throbbing, swollen, and in major pain. I rested for a couple days, and i had the surprise to see on Facebook (i deleted my facebook a week before hand so i could avoid facebook, it’s evil and bad for the soul) the mean things she had to say about how she assisted in it and how one of her friends practically killed me. It hurt. She was my friend. I cried. And it hurt. And it fucking hurt so fucking bad. The next day, which is today actually….I’m coping. I’m trying. It’s hard. I can see out my eye. It looks awful, still. I’m worried that theirs actually something wrong with my eye, but I think it’s going to be fine. I’m stubbornly refusing to see the doctor. I feel brave enough and tough enough to feel that karma will be dealt. And with all that said. My story. My part. The point is, i want you all to know that I’m going to survive. I’m going to pull through it. I’m strong. I just hope that everyone else is. Shit is fucking tough. People are mean. People are fucking hateful. It’s terrible. I hope one day it ends. I hope one day everyone stops being so fucking mean. That’s all i can do is hope. While I’m surviving, i hope everyone else is too.

    lovelovelove, d.

    New years night eye…


  • Katie

    I don’t know what to say, this breaks my heart on too many levels. My 16 year old daughter has aspergers, she has spent every lunch period sitting by her self in the library. She couldn’t connect to anyone. I let her leave school, because I couldn’t take the heartbreak of her being there…alone…sad…crying. She finally made a friend, a wonderful, beautiful person she met on tumblr, where they share their love of broadway, and have connected on a level I never thought she could. She is on antidepressants and has anxiety, and every day is scary for me….scared I’ll lose her, knowing there is nothing if I can’t save her, protect her. I am sad that teenagers are so vicious, so full of hatred, they can’t see past next week, never mind next year. I’m rambling, this subject hurts and scares me on such a deep level, I can’t be rational about it. I hope you save someone….I know you will. Just one sad, lonely kid who needs a hug. Who needs a kiss on their head, and to be told they are loved, and needed and so very very precious. All of them

    • http://twitter.com/carlycarbonate Carly

      I hope your daughter makes many more friends who can support her and help her find happiness. I’m sure she’s a beautiful person and your love and support mean the world to her.

    • http://www.facebook.com/shaylinjs Shaylin Elizabeth Jones-Silva

      Your post relates to my cousin in sooo many ways, and had me bawling…

      Asperger’s children are gifts; talent and intelligence that can help shape our futures. Blessings.

    • Lola

      Hi Katie,

      Like your daughter, I’m a female Aspie, but unlike her I had to endure the full 13 years of the school system, and was undiagnosed (and later repeatedly misdiagnosed) till my late 20s. It was hellish – the bullying, the inability to navigate social situations, and the exhaustion of having to wear the ‘mask’ of well-adjustedness that is a defining trait of most Aspergirls. I used to sit (read: hide) in the library, too, from about Grade 5 onwards. My parents, thinking I was just shy and not knowing that I was on the spectrum, kept trying to push me into activities to make me more outgoing (the WORST thing you can do to an autistic kid). Your daughter is lucky to have a mother who understands and supports her!

      I think it was Rudy Simone who said that although Aspergirls want to BE alone, we don’t want to FEEL alone. So just being there for your daughter, especially through the tough adolescent period, is so, so important. Let her know – from the experience of an Aspie woman who’s just hit the big three-oh, that although it’ll never be anywhere near perfect, it will get better with time.

      Encourage her to cultivate the friendship(s) she has insofar as she can manage – my (neurotypical) best friend is one of the best things that ever happened to me. Joining groups for young Aspies – either online or face-to-face – can be really helpful, too. Asperger’s is a really isolating condition (living in a world built for NTs makes us feel a bit demented or defective a lot of the time), so knowing other people in the same situation and interacting with them will help her feel less cut off from the world. And (you might be doing this already, but it’s worth mentioning) read female-specific Aspie books – Rudy Simone, Liane Holliday Willey and Tony Attwood are authors to look out for. We present differently from male Aspies and require different care and assistance a lot of the time.

      Wishing you and your daughter all the best – stay strong! ♥

      • subgirl

        This! I too was diagnosed as an adult. I shared my story – luckily I found a way around HS – in another comment. To the original commenter: t does mean so much to have your parents support and not be pushed into things (but don’t ignore her either, I got that half of it mostly and it was just as difficult.)

        I’m so sorry you had to suffer all of HS. I am glad you made it though. It couldn’t have been easy.

  • Angie K.

    I saw the video Amanda Todd put on youtube only a week or so after her death. I cried. A lot. It reminded me of being 15 at the time, no internet crazies bullied me, it was simply my own dark thoughts of the world, my father, and only a handful of bullies at school. Though thinking back on the times when I would come running home crying and slamming my door to my room shut…Depeche Mode, Trent, Kurt, Morrisey, Electric Hellfire Club, Alien Sex Fiend, MLWTTKK … They all helped me.
    Music was my answer. And art. I painted until my hands cramped up and I couldn’t stand up any longer. I read, and read, and read. So many books. Sartre, Nietzsche, Plato, Euripedes… I would walk in circles and read the old greek plays aloud. It helped. Blasting “Rape Me” and reading Homer… it really helped. It sounds so dark, and it was, a very dark time.
    Maybe Kierkegaard and Kurt weren’t the happiest place to be, but I thrived there. It made me feel less alone. I may have been abused and tormented, but I didn’t feel alone. Not ever. I knew there were others, I didn’t live in the dark alone.

  • http://twitter.com/carlycarbonate Carly

    Since my original comment seems to have vanished and I can’t quite gather enough energy to retype the thing… here is a more compact summary.

    While the internet can be a tool used for perpetuating negativity, it can also counteract that. I think that a major problem is that, for whatever reason, people don’t want to believe in this kind of suffering. I see many people, like Amanda Todd, sharing their stories in hopes that someone will understand and tell them they have been there before and that everything will be okay. Unfortunately, these issues are often dismissed for being dramatic overreactions. All these people want is for someone to listen to them.

    A girl I don’t think I have ever exchanged a word with posted concerning Facebook status updates and text on Tumblr and I went out of my way to contact her university health center with concerns and they asked her to leave and get help. I feel for her because I have been living with major depression, initially triggered by bullying, for about 9 years now. When I first told someone, my middle school guidance counselor, that I was suicidal at the age of 13, he did nothing for me. I was afraid to hurt myself but I was just as afraid to live with this illness. All I wanted was for someone to get me the help that I didn’t know how to ask for. It’s difficult to even be honest with another person about these issues when time and time again you aren’t taken seriously.

    This year I experienced a major depressive episode, worse than any I had endured before. I made desperate calls to the crisis center and my doctors and even drove myself to a hospital alone. No one noticed despite my less than subtle hints to friends in person or through blog posts. Maybe they didn’t know how to react but no reaction comes off to me as no one caring. The internet makes it easy to communicate with people who are in these situations. It takes no more than a few seconds to type “I’m listening.”, “It gets better.” or “You are not alone.” Any of those gestures can make a world of difference.

    And Amanda, thank you so much for continuing to be an inspiration to me. You have gotten me through more than you will ever know and I am positive I am not the only one who feels this way. You’re an amazing person is every sense and please don’t stop doing what you do.

    We need to learn to respect the feelings of others. We can’t allow tragedy to be what brings our attention to this issue.

  • bytes

    Hugs all and all be hugged! Aw I cry even now dredging up the past with other peoples memories , I have been a manic depressant since before I can remember, my moods would swing all over the plays, I was not your normal kid I was emotionally fucked up I had one parent that was mentally mind fucking me by blaming me for my other parents death and school was a living hell I had people beat me in the bathrooms and even had a gun to my head. I would tell teacher and who ever listen and got nothing for help. Though I did have one thing going for me I was fucking smart I was a straight A student and if I learned any thing from my parents is was this saying, High school is not the real world its high school and those that feel the need to pick on other in highs school need to learn to grow the fuck up or their going to see how cruel the real world can be.

    • http://www.facebook.com/shaylinjs Shaylin Elizabeth Jones-Silva

      You are a powerful woman. I admire your strength and perseverance.

  • Ryan_Anas


    Yeah it blows. I have spend the better part of the last fifteen years getting over the kind of harassment that deal the fate of that poor woman. And so many others. I don’t know why my peers decided to target me. Maybe it was because of my life soul grown in a sanctuary of love. Maybe it was because of the violence I witnessed on the weekends at my grandmother’s house and forever rebelled against, making me a pacifist. Maybe it was the fact that my last name, hacked apart on Ellis Island was on letter away from Anus, and for some gods named reason every teacher though that that would be a good place to start while trying to pronounce it.

    I don’t know.

    What I do know are the endless nights of tears. Coming home on the bus covered in spit and sunflower seeds. Feeling like there was no future for me. Feeling like no mater how wonderful I was or could be or that I knew I was, there was a flaw in my inherent design. I know the countless loves I have lost due to the confidence I lacked. I know my heartache, an theirs, more than anything theirs, as time after time I sabotaged all chances of real love taking root.

    What I don’t know is why I am still here. Why I found the courage time after time to present myself in front of the ones I loved and admired in spite of the flaws I believed to be there. The phantom limb pains of a dirtiness that never really existed. I know my parents loved me very much, and the reason I never tied that rock to my leg was I just couldn’t do it to them. God help me if I didn’t think of that same damn reason to this day.

    I remember reading a blog post by you just after thanksgiving of ’08 when you talked of sheep, and train platforms and of how we all flirt with the idea of the grand ¡FUCK IT! I physically bucked reading that post, what with the loving you so much and all, but also couldn’t help but relate with it.

    This life, this world, it goes against 10,000 years of evolution. And understanding this is paramount to our development and survival, and yet the common human is lucky if they understand that fact before twent-five.

    The Internet shines a light on these issues, it makes the victims of the actions of these social vampires findable by us lucky, adjusted, surviving adults. And it also gives new tools to the hands of the tormentors. What can be said to the kids who come home at night with spit and sunflower seeds and gum and hate in their hair like I did at the end of the day?

    I am still here. I see that every act of hatred that was passed on to me was inflicted onto that bully by someone. I chose to plate the hate on the floor and leave it there. By not passing that pain onto others, I freed arms to receive the love that I always knew I deserved. Letting go of that pain was not easy, but you know that you are beautiful and that’s why it hurts so much when they tell you you are not.

    It’s almost four and there is so much more I could say… But let me end with this. The hardest part of being a part of your beautiful grand experiment in art and love was knowing there was a chance that I may actually be capital S seen. And stars help me that scared the shit out of me. All of the deep inherent faults that the arses of my past made me believe believe I had were the single greatest wall keeping me away from reaching out and touching, helping, and loving you. I am one of the lucky ones. Somehow that wall wasn’t too tall for me. Somehow my fate provided me with the strength to steel myself and share my heart.

    Share your heart.

    We all need to put down the hot potato of fucking pain and share our motherfucking hearts!!

    You’re not alone.

    You’re wonderful.

    I love you.

    <3 Ry

    • k

      This is raw, painful, and beautiful. Thank you.

    • http://twitter.com/_jenneryy Jennifer Wilkerson

      I just want to hug you. <3 Thank you for taking the time to tell this.

    • Left in Bama

      We all need to put down the hot potato of fucking pain and share our motherfucking hearts!! BRILLIANT LINE! Love it!

  • http://twitter.com/writebastard Ian Wood

    I’ve been doing whatever the hell it is that I do on the Internet, in one form or another, for a bit over ten years. Lots of writing. Some music. Videos, now. In all that time, I haven’t encountered much in the way of malicious trolling. Which fine with me, and I regard it as not so much an indication of any particular brilliance or likability on my part as it is of the utter indifference of the Internet to whatever it is I do. Only once have I ever responded to such a comment, with a blog post. Like so:

    [This Person] would like you to know…

    …that this is by far the most boring, pretentious shit he has ever seen on the net.

    At least, I assume he wants you to know that, otherwise, why take the time to comment?

    Or…perhaps it was important to him that I know what he thinks. Yes, I think that must be it. He has seen my towering intellect and witnessed the breadth and depth of my creative genius, and knows that if he can manage to bring himself to the attention of a person such as myself, I might mention him in passing to one of my peers, and he hopes that, eventually, such mention might trickle down to his immediate betters and open doors for him that have hitherto remained closed.

    Furthermore, [This Person] advises me to delete this site immediately, get drunk, and then get a life upon regaining consciousness. Sage advice, and not to be dismissed lightly! But it’s so much trouble to delete a site. I’d have to send an e-mail to my hosting company, maybe even make a phone call. However, getting drunk to the point of passing out is always a grand idea, so I’m going to get started on that straight away. In the morning I shall reconsider the meaning and purpose of my existence.

    So, consider yourself noticed, dear [Person]! May my brief attention bring you the success you so
    obviously crave and richly deserve.

    I felt better for having written it…and even better because I never posted it.

    That about sums it up for me. Sarcastic, hyperbolic self-confidence in the face of a smallness that is entirely unworthy of any further attention. And mockery.

    Because what sort of person has the need to make a deliberate and conscious effort to inflict pain from behind a mask? How much weight are we to give the words of such a person? What value shall we give the opinions of such a person? How much regard should we have for such a person?

    All commensurate with the size of that person’s heart and spirit, I should think.


    The power of attention is yours. Not theirs.

    • Rhiannon

      I especially like that you didn’t actually post it. I remember recently a very camp and obviously gay UK comedian retweeted a homophobic comment from a young girl called Chelsey. She immediately got loads of replies from people and I looked at them a bit and saw one that said ‘what can you expect from a person called Chelsea’ to which she had replied ‘but my name’s Chelsey’ – because I was angered and shocked by a YOUNG person posting such a virulently homophobic comment in the first place I was just on the point of replying to her ‘Chelsey’s even worse cos it shows your parents couldn’t even spell Chelsea’, when I stopped and thought, no, I’m not going to do that. This girl’s already screwed by having parents who have brought her up to be homophobic. I’m not going to make it worse. Even if Chelsey IS a stupid name. And I think the comedian was wrong to retweet her.

      • http://twitter.com/writebastard Ian Wood

        I agree, the retweet was a mistake. Social acknowledgment is such a deep and powerful primate need that, almost by definition, any interaction becomes a form of positive reinforcement. It will trip the same basic triggers, regardless of context. However, online interaction lacks all of the subtleties we’ve evolved with: facial expression, body posture, tone of voice. It’s a very blunt form of communication, with most of the immediacy of speech but none of the mitigating cues. The choices, then, are similarly blunt: acknowledge, or ignore. In the case of negativity, any acknowledgement, even if it’s intended to reject someone’s negativity, will still trip those triggers and provide a positive social “hit.” Fortunately–or, at least, “fortunately” as I see it–there is much more complex bandwidth for positive interaction. There are all kinds of way to meet positivity with positivity, but the only way to prevent any kind of benefit for negativity is to avoid any interaction at all.

        Tl;dr: don’t feed the trolls. It’s a true thing.

      • http://twitter.com/LittleJanelleS Janelle Sheetz

        Someone somewhere in this discussion mentioned the benefit of retweeting such things as kind of reclaiming the insult and turning the tables, but as it’s been pointed out, that can lead to some big problems, too.

  • http://twitter.com/n3cr0phelia Alejandra

    I don’t understand how people can be so cruel… most children are cruel by nature, but teenagers understand the repercussions (or so I’d like to think). Bullies are afraid, afraid they might be on the other side of the situation – “better her/him than me.” And from that insecurity, the bloodlust and disgusting power trip.
    What frightens me the most about this girl’s story is how, in three schools, not a single person intervened… What is wrong with people??

    I was bullied in school… Catholic school, but it doesn’t compare to this girl’s story, not even a bit. Many students were, I learned it wasn’t personal, just a cruelty culture. Switching schools helped with my sense of perspective, students were so much nicer (normal) in other schools. I was deeply and desperately lonely, and did think of suicide when my angst was in bloom.
    This may not be very practical as advice, but reading, music, writing, painting, and the internet saved me.
    Books and music were my best company, and the angst was the only fuel for my creativity (a powerful one it was). I started posting stories, poetry and rants on a personal website (late 90’s, before blogs were a thing) and made friends… and then, livejournal, where I’ve met some of my closest friends to this day (most of which I still haven’t met in person because they’re EVERYwhere).

    If I could advise someone like Amanda Todd, I would say “find somebody.”
    Write a friends-only blog, join some groups or communities, find a REAL friend online to talk to and tell you that boob pics are no big deal and that your classmates and teachers are a bunch of idiots, that you’ll be fine once you get to college. To take down your facebook page so no one could tag or contact you, to make a private one with a fake name and no public photo for real friends. That not everyone in the world is an asshole, just the ones that surround you at the moment, unfortunately. That it will get better, that their opinions, deeply and truly, do not matter.

    The internet is full of compassionate and beautiful people when those around you fail you.

    Thank you, Amanda Palmer.

  • http://twitter.com/shannonQeck Shannon Eck

    Story time. I am fat. I’m not a fan of being fat and have, in fact, struggled with it my entire life. I am now 22 and starting cosmetology school later this month. I have to buy all solid black, fancy work clothes because apparently my super hero t-shirts and Converse won’t cut it. Finding things sucks. And that’s just one thing I hate about being fat.

    Although these events didn’t occur online, I have been bullied online many times from Xanga to LiveJournal to MySpace to Facebook. All had to do with my weight and my looks, calling me fat and ugly. Some were anonymous, some weren’t. I’ve cried many times over things people have typed to me, and although the below situation was the hardest to deal with for me, I think it is relevant here.

    Anyway, I am, and always have been, very realistic about my situation. I was a chubby toddler who turned into a chubbier kid who turned into a fat teenager who turned into a fatter adult. I’m aware of what I look like because mirrors exist; however, people have always felt the need to point it out to me. How kind. It was great when a friend would be pissed at me, and their first insult would be, “well, at least I’m not fat!” Hey, thanks!

    The worst was gym class in middle school. We had to change into our uniforms, consisting of shorts and a t-shirt provided by the school. I was always so uncomfortable. I never, ever wore shorts. Not even around my house. I still don’t wear shorts. Ever. And my family didn’t have a lot money, so my gym shoes came from Payless. Those shoes suck so much. They never had any traction on the gym floors, so I would slide all around. And my body would not slide with me. The black girls even made up a little chant just for me.

    “Payless shoes ain’t got no grip, I hope that poor fat bitch don’t trip.”


    Because there were so many kids in my school, there were four classes combined in the gym at a time with only two teachers. So the supervision was lacking, and not wanting to be a nark, I pretty much just laughed it off and pretended not to notice. At the end of class, the teachers would go into the locker rooms before us, and that’s when one of the boys, Austin, would absolutely terrorize me. I didn’t know Austin until my gym class, and I had never had a conversation with him. He threw insults about my weight, my bad haircut, my make up…everything, although they mostly landed back at my weight.

    What was even more fun was that we all had lunch right after gym. At the same time. Even better, Austin’s table was right behind mine. He’d always mock what I had on my tray, calling me a cow. He’d back his chair into me and shove me into my table, sarcastically apologizing to me, saying it wouldn’t happen if I wasn’t so fat.

    One day, I finally had enough. I told him to shut the fuck up and stop making my life hell. He didn’t. I dropped it. A few weeks later, I was sitting at lunch, and he sat behind me, without bumping into me. “That’s right, bitch,” I thought.

    Before the end of the semester, Austin killed himself. I don’t know why or how. I just know that we were all sat down in gym one day and told. I was shocked. This person, who I saw everyday, who said terrible things to me on a daily basis but never had a conversation with me, was gone. Forever. I didn’t say a word. I just went home that day and went to my room and cried all afternoon. I was trying to understand why this happened. That’s when I learned a very important lesson that most of us know very well. Most bullies are the way they are because of how they have been treated. They just don’t know any different. They don’t know how to deal with their emotions, so they lash out.

    Austin’s death broke my heart, but it made me open my eyes. What if I had tried to just talk to him? Would it have made any difference? Probably not. But at the end of the day, we’re all human. We’re all broken in a way, and we’re just trying to feel whole. I try to understand where people are coming from, even if they are being horrible to me.

    When I would get those mean messages online, I would instantly retaliate with something equally terrible and soul-crushing. After Austin, I didn’t do that. Sure, I can be an asshole at times when I’m caught up in the moment, but that’s most people. When you type something out to someone, you can’t take it back. And they can look back at it for as long as they want. They can delete it and move on immediately, or they can stare at it and dwell on it.

    So my only input is to try and realize that when someone is bullying you, online or otherwise, their words mean nothing. They are probably going through some kind of hell you are completely unaware of, and that’s just how they deal. And even though it is upsetting and can really piss you off, think before retaliating. They are probably just as easily hurt as you are.

    And honestly, Amanda, people like you–and well, you–are who have helped me grow as much as I have. Sure, I’m still fat and not happy with myself. I’m trying to change that and will keep fighting until I finally lose enough weight to be healthy and content. That’s just who I am and what I want for myself.

    But when there are people like you, who are different and weird and awesome and loud and proud, it makes me hopeful. You were brave enough to get past the negativity and become a public figure, a voice for those of us who are still trying to be okay with themselves. It’s people like you who realize that bullying is a huge issue now that social media is so massive and say something that makes a big difference in how people handle these situations.

    So, you know, thanks and stuff.

    • http://twitter.com/julietyler12 julie tyler

      an amazing post, thank you so much for sharing.

    • http://twitter.com/LauraWearsHats Laura

      This is such a sad and important story. I thought this video may help you a little http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-BxWV77MGc

      • http://twitter.com/shannonQeck Shannon Eck

        I’m going to watch this ASAP. My volume isn’t working for some reason? Quality! And thank you :)

      • timelordteapot

        This video made me really happy…. :)

    • AmberG

      Ditto what Laura says. and this video too:


      • http://twitter.com/shannonQeck Shannon Eck

        I actually saw that awhile back on Reddit. She’s pretty kick ass for doing that, especially when she’s in a business that focuses heavily on looks.

        • plussie galore

          I live in the town where Jennifer Livingston anchors this morning show and as I’m shuttling young ones out the door and off to school every morning I have this on in the background because I enjoy and her co-anchor so much. They are a pair of goofballs. So, I watched this clip as it was being broadcast live and I thought “you DO IT, Jennifer. You aren’t being mean to the man who wrote but you are saying out loud that it’s not ok to be a total fucking douche.” The mother in me cried. The fat chick in me was satisfied. But I also felt profoundly sad for the man who wrote it. Part of me wants to find him here in my relatively small town and say “why are you hurting so damn much that you have to tear other people apart?” It’s fucking terrifying raising children.

    • http://twitter.com/LaMinda Mindy Weisberger

      The fact that you wondered, “What if I had talked to him?” about the boy who was bullying you…well, you’ve just become one of the reasons why I think there’s hope for the human race after all.

      • http://twitter.com/shannonQeck Shannon Eck

        I kind of love you for saying that. Thank you. I always have a wall up, and last night, I thought I would try being super honest, and I was. And it felt great.

    • Ashley M. Pérez

      You’re amazing. Thank you for sharing this.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Melanie-Heim/735373387 Melanie Heim

      This touched my heart so deeply, From being abused/molested by my father from an early age until I was 13. Music was the only thing that gave me strength to do something about it. Tori Amos’s music did that for me, gave me the strength. The Music gave me strength to do something, to leave home, to stand up for myself. I told my father off, and I left home. Luckily I had friends to move in with. And thank goodness Tori co-founded RAINN (Rape Abuse Incest National Network) When I graduated High school I started a forum for other Tori Amos fans to get together and share there stories. this was 1997. So not everyone was online yet. I am glad I grew up before this time as well. Years go by…I tour the world following Tori. With some close friends I run and continued to gather a following of fans online. Just sharing our love for the woman who brought us all together. More years go by…I fall in love with The Dresden Dolls. I go to more concerts, more shows, meet more people, make alot of friends. Around 2010, I have a falling out with my best friend who also runs the Tori forum. She goes and tells lies about me to others, (without going into detail) the lies where so mean so disgusting. I never thought I would deal with anything like this. I get harassed online by some guy who is defending this girl. He literally messages everyone I ever had contact with on the forum, and tries to ruin my name. He is still harassing me. (it has been 2 years of harassment now) I no longer have anything to do with the forum, I actually started my own group for Tori fans on FB now, where we can get together and chat and meet up on tour. But my name has been ruined, no matter what I say or do, I know that people are wondering about me. Why do people do this to each other. It’s not right. Bullying is wrong. I thought I would go mad over the whole thing. But somehow I have continued on. Occasionally this insane guy pops back up somewhere online, but I try to not dwell on it. Through Music….I found my release. Going to Amanda & Tori’s shows, I found that music can heal. I will still always have those scares from those who have hurt me, but I will not let it define me. I WILL be stronger! I will not let myself go into that dark corner. I just want to say Thank You Amanda for being who you are, for having such a huge heart. Just by posting this blog you are helping. We all must help each other. This is a great start. ~Much love

      • http://twitter.com/NLak_echAlaK_in Caitlín Eilís

        This story has really moved me, beyond words can express. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing. Your incredible insight and compassion warms my soul – you are truly beautiful sister, inside and out, upside down and all around, every way imaginable. :) Let your love shine – the world needs you to. 1Love! <3

      • Ella

        Melanie your story, that of Shannon’s and Revsean helped me to open up and start writing my story here also. Thank you for daring to stand up and speak.

        I know that the scars that you carry, sadly will never dissapear completely. That is why I want to wish you continues strength. You know the real truth….and that is what truly matters.

        Let us continue believing in ourselves and become the people we wanna be.

      • Ella

        Melanie your story, that of Shannon’s, Revsean and others helped me to open up and start writing my story here also. Thank you for daring to speak up. I can imagine that it ain’t easy to carry the scars, that you are carrying. That is why I want to wish you continues strength.

        May we all keep believing in ourselves and stay true to ourselves.

    • http://twitter.com/Gadgetosis David Malcolm Shein

      Hey Shannon, that’s a lovely piece of writing. Balanced and very wise. Thank you.

    • http://twitter.com/_jenneryy Jennifer Wilkerson

      It’s incredible how we can remember direct quotes of things that hurt us when we were young. You have a good heart to the core for being able to recognize amidst your own pain that someone else might be in pain. Thank you for sharing your story <3

    • L

      You are so beautiful, there are just no words.

      • http://twitter.com/shannonQeck Shannon Eck

        Oh, be my best friend, too, please! <3

        • http://twitter.com/emma_emily Emma Carrington

          All of these posts touch me so much. My name is Emma, im 42 and fat. There, i said it. But i really dont need anyone else to tell me – do people not think that you have heard it all a million times before?/ The said thing is that people’s nastiness doesnt hurt any less just because its the millionth time of hearing it.

          As a child i spent a lot of time at my grandparents, with my younger sister. She was petite, with blonde hair and blue eyes – everything my grandmother thought her grandchildren should be. I, on the other hand, was tall, sturdy and had dark hair, everything she didnt like. She put me on a diet at 7 and said things like “well, you havent got the beauty of the family, but at least you have the brains.” That one comment has stayed with me forever. Later in life she got Alzheimers – i went down to visit her, at the age of 30, and she spent the whole day telling anyone who would listen that i was fat and disgusting. At that moment i decided that i wanted nothing to do with her and that she had poisoned my life enough.

          As well as comments from my Grandma ive had the usual shit to deal with – managers making snide comments, so-called friends talking about someone being fat and then looking at me and saying “oh sorry” (that is just SO pathetic!), total strangers in the street feeling the need to make a comment. All of this is VERY BAD.

          On the positive side i decided that enough was enough.I decided to leave my high-powered career (where it seemed to be ok to be nasty about someones appearance) and am retraining to be a counsellor – i want to help people become the best person that they can be. I do a lot of voluntary work with amazing people. I KNOW that my true self worth is more than a number on some scales – im a good person, am fun to be around and i care about people. I just wish everybody else could realise that it really doesnt matter what someone looks like on the outside.

          We all need to BE EXCELLENT TO ONE ANOTHER (i never thought that the words of Bill & Ted could be a mantra for life!!).

    • WinterNight

      Beautiful and tragic story. Not to fixate or anything but I am also large and I just found out last year about Woman Within, Romans, and Lane Bryant. They all are online stores with plus size lines. I highly recommend them.

      • http://twitter.com/shannonQeck Shannon Eck

        I know all about them :) I’m also very into Torrid, SimplyBe, Old Navy, and Avenue. And work out clothes and basics? Walmart’s website. Shhh :D

    • http://twitter.com/BNPQOE Bethanie

      I’m a fattie too, and guess what, I get it everywhere I go from all ages and
      all walks of life just like you. I can make fun of myself in five languages
      (that I can think of off the top of my head), have had special chants made for
      me, got bullied (behind and in front of and by teachers and adults) and I know
      what a nightmare it is to try to shop for clothes. Hell, I have family members
      who buy me clothes every year on Christmas (including this last one) that they
      know won’t fit because they feel it will teach me a lesson. And with my
      plethora of bizarre medical issues – none of which have to do with my weight –
      I know what it’s like to have doctors give me shit, treat me like I’m putting
      them out, and basically act like I’m less of a person because of how I look.

      I have to hand it to you, Shannon Eck, because you give the bullies way more
      credit than I ever have. I basically chalk it up to ignorance, to stupidity,
      and to some media image of what we are supposed to be. You, on the other hand,
      see people who are probably hurting themselves and are projecting their crap
      onto you, because we are all hurting in some way or another. So while you
      consider all the people you’ve turned to for inspiration, please know, that you
      yourself are a wholly inspiring person. Even if you don’t hold yourself up to
      some ideal perfection that you have in your head, please consider that you are
      nearly there – if not actually there already.

      Well done.

      • http://twitter.com/shannonQeck Shannon Eck

        I can say, “There’s a party in my pants, and you’re invited. But I’m fat,” in Spanish. But I learned that on my own, actually the same year I met Austin. I used humor to deal and to try to beat them at their own game. Not a brilliant plan. Would not do it again.

        I have a cousin who lost a ton of weight, and she used to get me clothes and say, “oh, well it fit me, so I thought it would fit you!” Okay, great. You lost weight and I didn’t. Shut up :)

        Also, be my best friend, please and thank you! <3

        • http://twitter.com/BNPQOE Bethanie

          I will totally be your best friend. You kick ass.

          • http://twitter.com/shannonQeck Shannon Eck

            Follow me on Twitter @shannonQeck and we can braid each other’s hair and shit, haha :)

          • http://twitter.com/BNPQOE Bethanie

            Ha ha ha. @BNPQOE Obviously. See you there.

      • SomeGuyNamedMark

        Ok, we don’t have to all like each other or pretend we find everyone physically attractive but I will never understand why the hell someone feels the need to go out of their way and make an effort to tell you they don’t like you. They’ll do it no matter what you’ve done and do it over and over. Some people must think they can raise themselves by stepping on someone else.

    • http://twitter.com/NLak_echAlaK_in Caitlín Eilís

      This story has really moved me, beyond words can express. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing. Your incredible insight and compassion warms my soul – you are truly beautiful sister, inside and out, upside down and all around, every way imaginable. :) Let your love shine – the world needs you to. 1Love! <3

    • Zabet

      I want to hug you, just one Fat Girl to another. <3

    • Jessica Dooper

      You are a beautiful person for having the courage to share this with everybody. As many other people have said, you are an inspiring person yourself – that you can put yourself in the shoes of someone who has caused you so much pain, and understand.

      Thank you for being brave, and believe in yourself.

    • timelordteapot

      It takes a rather amazing person to think “shit, what if I had tried to talk to him?” about the guy who was making your life so difficult, seriously

    • http://twitter.com/laurainnis Laura Innis

      I think you’re awesome, and inspiring and absolutely right – we’re all broken and hurting in our own way and dump that on others who seem weak so that we can feel better. We all need to share the best of ourselves and work on the worst; why is it the worst thing in the world to be fat? Or queer? Or…fill in the blank. We have differences that some people don’t understand and they may even fear them, so they respond by poking fun and bullying and teasing – even our families who buy smaller clothes for us, thinking they’ll shame us into losing weight.
      I’m 44, have been fat all my life and have dealt with all the fun communal changerooms for gym BS that you have, and the other assorted nonsense that kids/adults/family/society/PEOPLE dish out because we’re not what they think we should be, and we’re not destroyed by their hatred. Our choices is to add to the hatred and negativity in the world, or spotlight the positive and have a little more compassion for everyone. For all the Austins.

      My best friend in high school (many years ago) happened to be gay, and I first saw him when I was walking down the hall, and he was standing in a classroom wearing a wedding dress; he’d pulled up the skirt and was saying to someone ‘See? I even shaved my legs!’ I knew then that I had to know who he was. I didn’t hesitate, but I made friends with him immediately – I’m sure that made me brave in 1984 or so, but I wanted to know him. Wanted to be around him because he just seemed so different and so much cooler than the rest of the usual kids in school. We went on to have many adventures, and I got called all sorts of names because of my friendship with him but I let it all slide off of me, because I knew who I was and the name-callers didn’t.
      Fast forward to grade 12 graduation; my friend Richard and I had gotten all dolled up because as it was the last day of school, we were going out and we were going to have fun that night. I don’t remember what happened first, but I got called to the office mid afternoon…and I waited a long time before they told me why I was waiting, but Richard had been beaten up at lunchtime (he lived right around the corner and had gone home for lunch) by a group of our school’s metal-heads – you know the type; they were like Judd Nelson’s character in Breakfast Club only less articulate and less well-dressed. There were thirteen of them that cornered him coming back into the school yard’s back gate and got him over to the park across the street, where they proceeded to kick the shit out of him, breaking his nose.
      I’m not sure I can articulate exactly how that all made me feel, both at the time and now, recalling it, but I remember the abject rage that these kids brought out in me that day, and now, again. I couldn’t protect my friend and help him – for that matter, I could have been attacked too (or worse – and that’s what scares me more), but it makes me so sad that he’d sent me home to change or whatever I did at lunch that separated us, while he had to endure that.

      It still makes me feel sad and sick and scared and angry; and I stand up for people who are hurting and picked on because I can, and couldn’t that day. I hope to always add my compassion and care to those situations where people feel they have nobody, and I laud those who do the same. The internet is a scary place, and some days, I have to turn if off because it makes me cry…but we keep adding on to the goodness that is out there, and maybe it will swing the balance in our favour.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=658483364 Sara Ivette

      You are not alone, Shannon. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself. I don’t know you, but I love you. *hugs*

      • http://twitter.com/shannonQeck Shannon Eck

        I love you! <3

    • Shaeon

      Hi Shannon.

      I’m fat too, have been for all of my adult life. The bullying I’ve experienced was minimal because I wasn’t that fat as a teenager, and I guess in some other ways I flew under the radar as obviously this isn’t the only thing you can be bullied about. I was randomly singled out and called a lesbian, however, and was asked if I was in love with a girl who I actually wasn’t friends with even. That particular torture didn’t last long, but imagine my surprise when a few years later, in college, I realized I really am a lesbian. It’s a particularly strange situation to learn to stop feeling like you let the bullies win by turning out to be what they said you were (Those days are way behind me now and I’m out and proud and not the least bit concerned about betraying myself by loving women, but my goodness. If those bullies had asked if I was in love with that girl with the heavy metal rockstar hair, who I was obsessed with in high school, maybe I would have figured some things out a bit earlier).

      Anyway. While I wasn’t bullied for my weight, I was told for all of my teen years that I was fat by my parents. I was told that I would be so pretty, if only I lost a few pounds. This lasted until around the time that I was 19 or 20, and got angry and confronted my parents, pointing out to them that they were telling me I’m not pretty. They said no, that’s not what they were saying at all – they were saying I WOULD be pretty if I just lost a little weight. I said never mind, they clearly didn’t get it, and told them to just never say it again. I was, not coincidentally, heavily into my angry lesbian angst at the time.

      These weren’t mean verbally abusive parents that I had a lot of major issues with. These were loving parents who were in all other ways supportive. This was just their blind spot.

      Last year, I saw a photo of me and a friend that was taken in the 8th grade, and was surprised to realize that I wasn’t fat. I was completely and totally average. I worked out that my parents were comparing me to my older sister, who admitted a few years ago that she was anorexic as a teenager. I’m still not really sure what the hell was going on with body image in my family.

      Anyway, I wish I’d figured all this out when I was a lot younger, because I did gain weight in college because I decided fuck it, I’m apparently fat, why fight it. I eventually met and fell in love with a fellow fat girl who had a lot of her own self-esteem issues, which prevented her from being out of the closet – she could be out to friends, and that was all. After 11 years together she left me without really explaining why, but she started dating a man soon after leaving. I’m pretty sure I understand why she left.

      It’s taken me decades to work out my own low self-esteem, which is definitely related to not only my weight but the choice I made in being with a woman who couldn’t be out. Now at 39 I’m working hard to lose weight for myself and my self only, which is the only reason to do it.

      So I don’t know. Whether we are bullied or not, this shit seems to happen. Seriously, what is UP with body image in my family? I have no fucking clue. Even good, well intentioned people can mess us up. Obviously they are messed up in some way too. It all comes from somewhere else, it all goes on forever until we make it stop.

      • http://www.facebook.com/amber.hawkinson.58 Amber Hawkinson

        I had a friend and roommate in college who’s mom did the same sort of things to her and her sister. Calling her fat even though my friend was skinnier then me, and generally calling her useless and lazy. This lead to my friend having trouble in school and eventually being diagnosed with depression, when that happened her mom’s bullying got even worse and she didn’t get the help she needed because of that. I remember the few times I visited her home over the summer I avoided being alone with her mom as much as possible (both because of the stories I’ve heard and my own difficulties with strangers) by hiding in my friend’s room until she got back to work. The one time her mom did end up cornering me she started asking me questions about where we were going and why on earth we’d be going all the way to the park just to look at rocks, we we’re going to boulder field in PA which is pretty awesome by the way. Really she was quite severe and angry and I was just a guest, I can’t imagine what she would be like to her daughters. I haven’t talked to her for awhile, and I don’t think I was as much of a help as I could have been or as she insisted I was but still I hope she’s doing even better now and that I did helped just a bit. I hope it helps a knowing that other people have crazy parents as well, everyone’s family has some oddness and bullying I’m sure. *hugs* good luck!

        • shaeon

          Everyone I know has parents that are crazy in one way or another. And let me restate, I wouldn’t consider what me or any of my friends had with their parents bullying (as it sounds like your roommate genuinely did have). This is just parents saying things that are a bit blind and not seeing how something that seems harmless to them is pretty upsetting to their kids. Where did that come from? I’m guessing our parents’ parents. It just keeps going until we say “OK, I’m stopping this, I’m looking at me, I’m talking to friends, I’m seeing a therapist until I can maybe not take my personal bullshit out on those around me.”

          • Krystal Egdell

            shaeon, my mother did the same thing. I had a very supportive parents who saw me as the apple of their eye. My dad was always big, I know that my mother was know as an amazon due to her lithe but curvy form in her mid 20’s.
            The comment that rings in my mind though, is from my mother. “If you just lost a little bit of weight, you’d have the prettiest face”. Cue the fall into a vicious cycle of dieting and guilt that still sticks to me today.

            I, too,looked back at the pictures of the time that this happened, and realised that I wasn’t fat! I just had a body that wasn’t like my mother’s that the same age.

            It took many years of fighting internal demons, and seeing that my mother was scared because of her own bullying during her teenage years, to realise that I am a really awesome person.
            Yes, I am currently overweight, but that’s because I always thought I didn’t have a chance. But now I know that it’s up to me to be happy.
            If I can lose weight, that’s awesome, but it’s not the sole purpose of my life. I know that my husband is grateful for the fiery, outspoken woman I have become today.

            When i hear about the stories of those being bullied, I just want to grab them in a big bear hug and say “It will get better. It may take time, but there is someone out there who will have your back. You may not even know it yet”

            BTW I will give you loving hugs anytime you want. Just ask the awesome people I know today how magical & healing they can be :D

          • shaeon

            Well I never refuse loving hugs from fiery, outspoken women. ;)
            There’s something about phrasing it that way, “if you just lost a little bit of weight…” It’s social algebra. “If X, then you will be accepted and your problems will vanish. Solve for X.” It’s such a lie. I’ve learned as an adult that LOTS of people couldn’t solve that equation, people I would have thought had high school easy – my younger sister was the only one of my siblings (there are three of us, all girls, I’m the middle child) who was a popular kid in school, and she had it the worst of us all.
            And I fully endorse what you say. It is up to me to be happy. Totally my job to make that happen.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mackylatheman221b Kyle Alistair Rigney

      Dude, I really know how you feel. I went though so much similar stuff in grade 6 and 7, and despite my problems more recently which lead me to self harming, I can still say those years were the worst years of my life. So many jokes, like kids in my class saying that I was the cause for earthquakes and shit like that. One time in particular, some guy called me a fat whore and my best friend comforting me about it consisted of him say “Its okay, you’re not a fat whore. You’re just fat!” Humor based on my misery. Ha ha ha. I’m sure you know very well how I feel.

      These days I’m afraid to walk around my neighborhood because so many of those people live near me. Maybe if I wasn’t as heavy still, I’d be okay. But alas, its gotten worse. So despite our difference in age, I feel you. Like, I totally dig what you’re saying. All I can say in comfort is at least you are making something of your life instead of letting it keep you down in everything you do. Go you!

      • http://twitter.com/shannonQeck Shannon Eck

        Are we twins? My friends would do similar things. One time my “best friend” pointed out a TIME magazine to me at CVS saying, “Oh wow, I didn’t know you were famous!” The cover from October 16, 2006–don’t worry, I’m not fixated, I just looked it up–was an elephant walking away. That was her being nice.

        I finally realized how toxic our friendship was, and we haven’t spoken in two years. She lives in my neighborhood, just a few houses down. I’m so scared of running into her. So far, so good.

        Also, we should be friends, ok? :)

        • TheDeadUnicorn

          You go.Honestly.YOU GO.First of all,because you did not only the best thing for yourself (and her.Bet she’s gotta find someone else who will stand her way of treating people,now!);but also because,as soon as you realized she was no good,you made a decision.It took me about 8 years to understand that I was into an abusive friendship.And hey,guess what?That DID ruin me.I was blind and I wanted things to be good,so I ignored comments,advices,anything.And what do I have,now?Major depression,social anxiety,all the kind of crap,and I am basically unable to love or accept love.Of course,my head was ‘oh-o-not-okay’ all along,but after my emotional abuse,it got worse,and it got to today’s point.

          What I mean by this,besides just taking a chance to talk about myself (my ego is showing,sorry),is that you were brave.And you should be proud of who you are,how you are,and what you’ve gone through.Because it all brought to you today,aka a beautiful person who knows what’s right and wrong for them,and has the strength to decide,to take action,to change for the better.

          That’s something I,personally,can’t do,so,trust me,it may seem like something small,but it’s really,really,REALLY big.
          Also,being scared of her is completely ok/normal,after the history between you two.And,as long as it doesn’t evolve in anxiety,I think it could help you to avoid her,which can do only good to you.
          I talked a lot and said dumb stuff.Oh,well.
          Hope you’re having a nice day x

      • kaylougarrison

        I know how you feel about this. I am going threw this right now am I am a junior in high school

    • http://twitter.com/magic_and_lilac Elli Agg

      Never have been in a similar situation, but I’ve always thought that way about people who are mean. I thought it was somewhat weird too, so I’m glad I’m not the only one.
      The bad part is that I tend to blame myself instead, because I gave them reasons, I drew their attention etc.. And then I decide not to share too much, nor trust too much; I expect everything from everyone, alarmed and ready to forgive. I thought myself strong for doing that when I was younger, but I later realised I was weak because I wouldn’t -couldn’t- go and talk it over, as you suggested, which is in my opinion the most simple and human and correct thing to do. It takes courage though, and mine is thinning out.
      I’m just glad whenever I come across a blog post of this nature, and such comments/stories below, because they remind me to be strong, and that is all I ever need.

    • Amanda Todd’s mom

      Shannon – thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. How you felt after you heard about Austin’s news and how you changed your way of reacting to others is pretty much the same as how my daughter’s friends are. continue to be a ‘changer and motivator’ to make a difference in our world. :)

    • Erika Franz

      You’re kind of awesome, you know? I think you will be healthy and whole because your attitude is beautiful. And, for the record, I don’t know you and I certainly don’t know you as “Fatty,” I only know you as Shannon. And, Shannon, you seem to me to be a pretty phenomenal person. So, good luck in all your ventures! :)

    • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

      You are a very good person, a far better person than I am. I couldn’t forgive my tormentors like you did.

      Many years ago when I was in HS, long before Columbine or any of the HS stuff that hits the news, a kid killed himself every year I attended HS — the sicker ones among us (myself, mainly) would joke about who it would be this year. Even though it was a very small school compared to most I had never even met any of the kids that killed themselves, so it didn’t affect me personally.

    • http://www.facebook.com/No.Life.King.Kyo Justin Garcia

      Your a better person than i am. When you said he killed him self, i said “Good, Fuck em’ ” . Personally i don’t understand bullying. I never saw it much in the schools i went to and it never really happened to me. I have always been a fight fire with go fuck your self kind of kid. I am sorry to read about your stuff though. And the idea of becoming a shield for those perhaps weaker in voice sounds like an amazing thing. So thank you for posting this . Much Respect.

    • Brooke

      You are a good person, just make sure you don’t blame yourself for it. I am happy you have spoken out about how things are happening on both sides of the bullying.

    • Kim

      “So my only input is to try and realize that when someone is bullying you, online or otherwise, their words mean nothing. They are probably going through some kind of hell you are completely unaware of, and that’s just how they deal. And even though it is upsetting and can really piss you off, think before retaliating. They are probably just as easily hurt as you are.”

      Your story-in-progress is sooooo inspiring. This paragraph jumped out because it reminds me of an audio book I listened to that helped to forever change my understanding about arguing and conversations. It’s called Non-Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg.

      I can’t do it justice but one thing he states is that when both sides can state (not agree, but just state) what the other side is asking for, he can help them come to a resolution within ten minutes. It has to do with understanding first. it also is about understanding what is being said behind the words – – like your bully that was himself tormented. It teaches how to get away from the retaliation and find resolution instead. It’s widely popular if you look for it. There are groups, books, local chapters, all kinds of things.

      Anyway, continue on and keep learning, finding peace and being yourself. You truly are an inspiration in your own right.

  • Katie

    I don’t know what to say, this breaks my heart on too many levels. My 16 year old daughter has aspergers, she has spent every lunch period sitting by her self in the library. She couldn’t connect to anyone. I let her leave school, because I couldn’t take the heartbreak of her being there…alone…sad…crying. She finally made a friend, a wonderful, beautiful person she met on tumblr, where they share their love of broadway, and have connected on a level I never thought she could. She is on antidepressants and has anxiety, and every day is scary for me….scared I’ll lose her, knowing there is nothing if I can’t save her, protect her. I am sad that teenagers are so vicious, so full of hatred, they can’t see past next week, never mind next year. I’m rambling, this subject hurts and scares me on such a deep level, I can’t be rational about it. I hope you save someone….I know you will. Just one sad, lonely kid who needs a hug. Who needs a kiss on their head, and to be told they are loved, and needed and so very very precious. All of them

  • http://www.woahmolly.com/ Molly Woah!

    I can’t say much about hatred on the internet – I’m just a little blip on the endless net radar and as for the kinds of hate these girls get…well, thankfully I was before that time.

    But if I had been growing up in a time like this…

    The bullying at school was hard enough, I couldn’t imagine coming home to it as well, having it haunting me everywhere. The internet for me is a safe space, a space where I get to express myself with my little photos and my little stories and my little blog, and where my friends and I can keep in contact over the distances that separate us.

    I cant imagine what it would feel like to have that portal to awesomeness sullied by hatred. It would be like a violation.

    I can’t imagine being able to Google myself and see criticism. It’s hard enough to take from the ones you love, the ones you care about and who care about you, but to have it fired at you from strangers, from people who don’t know the real you… It would be awful. Because those people don’t know that you are a good person, that you care, that you make excellent cookies as gifts and that you always save bugs and take them outside instead of squishing them (except for cockroaches, when it comes to cockroaches, all bets are off.)

    I guess all that we can do is make good, awesome, happy, safe spaces on the net as like a… refuge from all the hate and coldness and criticism. You’ve made one here, I’ve got one on my blog, you can find little pockets of awesome everywhere. We need to protect them. Like how you choose your little group of friends to become some kind of interim family IRL, we need to do that kind of thing in the online community. Because any hate and criticism and negativity is bearable if you’ve got a refuge, a place to come to where you know that folks have got your back.


  • http://twitter.com/leabdollen Ashley

    How do I cope?

    Remembering there are always other people who feel the same way. Crying, because it’s an easy and healthy way to let it out. Stepping away from the computer and its ability to twist anything against me. Yoga to clear my mind. Books that inspire me. Fresh air.

    And sometimes just thinking about Samwise Gamgee, and the notion that “there’s some good in this world… and it’s worth fighting for.”

  • Meredith King

    I feel at such a loss when I hear stories like these, because I have never had an experience like it. In spite of being different, shy, nerdy, and a little awkward all through school, I was never once bullied or teased. I was nice to everyone, and if there was someone who was not nice to me, I simply shrugged it off and told myself that they didn’t matter anyway. I wish more people could have the experience I had in school. It seems almost miraculous now that I came out unscathed.

    I don’t have anything profound to add to the other great comments that have already been made, but I want to lend my voice in support of what you are doing, and in support of those who are struggling with these issues. Because if I don’t say anything, the other side wins. Silence is defeat, and I have too much faith in the good of humanity to let the immoral, selfish, scornful pigs out there continue to run amok across the internet without having to answer to anyone for their vicious and merciless cruelty toward people like Amanda Todd.

    So I am speaking up, because I believe in the old story about the two wolves of good and evil fighting inside everyone. I am feeding the wolf of love, peace, mercy, and tolerance. I am feeding the good wolf. And I know the good wolf can win.

  • SarethJay

    First off, this blog is a friggin’ wonderful idea and then some. I can’t wait to read it. Now, story time.

    So I was growing up and in school right as the wave of facebook and the internet hit, and luckily for my most sensitive (I.E. Middle school) years I was lucky enough not to be graced with the wonderful internet.

    However I can count the number of close friends I had on one hand for the first 6 years of my public school life. I had a few through middle school, then high school, from just about every group you can think of. Nobody close. I learned to keep everybody at arms length by then. Which hasn’t help my trust mechanisms now by any means, but you do what you have to to get by. I was the fat girl with the frizzy hair who read and drew all lunch break because games involving balls usually involved me getting hit in the face and everyone thought I was faking an accent to get attention because I have a speech impediment that keeps me from saying my ‘r’s. I remember a lot of ‘say rasin’ and way too many glares, manipulative friends/”boyfriends” snickers, and ostracization. I don’t remember much else about middle school. I try not to.

    I think the most important thing I learned is to figure out why they did it. I believed back then and I still believe now that people are ultimately out for making things better. Usually for themselves, but they get enough out of making others feel good to be up for that too. So I tried to understand why they did what they did, as much as possible.

    Bullies do what they do because they can’t find any other way to make themselves feel good. I’m not saying kindness is the way to fix things, but understanding others’ points of view can lead to keeping yourself serene in the face of adversary. I pitied them. Even when what they said hurt.

    So I learned. I learned to be kind, but also to be clever. I read a lot. I learned how, and when to use my wits to take control of the anger they have, to control their anger and thus keep myself calm and uncaring. It helped that I’m a smarmy, sarcastic bastard who’s a few dozen times as clever than they should be, but hey, thoughts like that are why the saying ‘narcissism is the best cure for self loathing’ exists.

    I can’t say that I’ve ever been the subject to too much internet hate, I try to avoid it by responding to honest critiques with thanks and gratitude and conversation, I try to not argue unless I have all my facts and re-read everything I want to write at least twice as a mental way of biting my tongue. I try and remember the point of debate is not to change someone’s mind but to try and get them to see things your way. I listen twice as much as I talk. I like listening. I admire those that can talk but I like taking the time to chew on my opinions a bit before I spit them out.

    And if they give you blatant hate? I ask why. If they don’t have a reason or don’t care to give one then their opinion is just that, their opinion. It’s not helpful to dwell on it because they’ve given me nothing to help make me better.

    But what do I know? I’m a 20 year old kid with a wet nose, a zen attitude, and a mild case of snark and cleverdickery. But I do like to listen. And I look forward to reading the finished product of this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DaniLouiseLyons Danielle Lyons

    In high school internet bullying was never a problem. It was college for me. A friend of my forced my pants and underwear down as a joke in a very public place. Now, as a rape survivor, that was incredibly scary for me to have a man forcing my pants down to expose me. That prank took all my dignity I had. After a lot of razzing and intimidation I had to contact police just to have them talked to, friend or not. Hardly any of my friends spoke to me after that. I was known on campus, as the girl who was being dramatic over a prank. Not very many people at all dared to talk to me in public. I spent a great deal in my room wishing I were someone else or calling my mom begging me to come home. It was a very lonely time.

    Facebook however is where all those people that shunned me chose to speak to me. The internet gave these cowards a lot of courage. Some of my friends posted their outrage at what happened to me. Others posted about how I was a dumb bitch that got what she deserved. And my inbox was flooded with hateful messages. I just wanted it to be over. I became pretty close to killing myself. But after a lot of crying and a phone call to my mom, I decided that I had so much to live for and if I killed myself I’d only be punishing the ones that really loved me.

    I changed my privacy settings to only friends can view my profile and only friends can message me.

    I would unplug my computer and go for a walk. Or just stay in the art lab and work.

    I deleted the bullies and those that fed into the problem. There’s no room on my friends list for such jerks.

    If received more hate mail, I’d have my roommate delete it for me so I couldn’t see.

    I’d constantly remind myself that my goal is to get through the semester with good grades and they weren’t going to beat me down.

    I thought about how there are so many other things to be doing in the world. And how silly and pathetic it is that they’re choosing to pester me still.

    Deleting is also a must. Because I found myself rereading all the hateful messages and feeling sadder than I already did.

    I don’t status about it. It always makes things worse.

    I started seeing the school therapist.

    I contacted the police and he talked to the guy that pulled my pants/underwear down and informed him that his friends harassing me was illegal and they would take action. Although it sucks I think that you can’t be afraid to see help with your school or police station.

    I let my friends and loved ones know that I’m having a problem and I can’t handle it on my own. A few of my loved ones checked up on me often to make sure I was okay and to monitor if the problem was getting worse.

    I think that the most important thing with bullying of any kind is to just reach out and say, “Hey, I need your support.” I hold a special place in my heart for the people that reached out to me and gave me that support. There were people that didn’t know me very well that sent me messages asking if I were alright and offering me comfort and support. Those people made it easier to get through the day.

    Ps. Amanda Palmer, your such a kind and amazing person. I pity that New Yorker for not having good taste in music or in human beings. Its a shame really. Your music always makes my day brighter with its quirky amazing sound.

  • Vanessa Buckley

    I receive hate the same way I deal with it. Friends. Family. The internet. At some point everyone expresses something less than love for you. If its someone on the Internet giving you hate, I find someone on the same website willing to cheer me up. If a family member lets me down, I call a cousin that i know will make me feel better. I get rid of the friends that make me feel like shit, and make friends that actually give a shit.
    There is always someone who cares.

    • k

      You might have found yourself hard pressed to believe that if your experiences had been different. I’m not saying i don’t necessarily believe it’s true, but if it is, it’s not necessarily easy for a kid to see things that way. I survived without the support, which may or may not be the right way, but i’m not sure i would have had i continued to reach out to people and the only thing i’d ever brought back to my heart was scorn.

  • http://www.facebook.com/barringtond David Barrington

    The BBC radio presenter Richard Bacon had a novel way of dealing with one particularly nasty troll – he decided to try and meet him, so he could ask him how he could have so much hate for someone he had never met. The story starts here: http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17399027

  • http://twitter.com/Isabelyourself Isabel Jones

    I think your blog says it all: when you’re being bullied on the internet, GET OFF THE GRID. Please note I’m not blaming Amanda Todd or any other victim. She just had no other way of trying to connect, to find validation. That’s exactly why children should be taught that they don’t have to be alone. That real life happens outside of the internet. As someone commented below, there’s always SOMEONE you can talk to, even when you don’t expect to find this person. In my view, in this kind of situation getting of the net and off FB for a while is not caving in to the bullies. It’s about self esteem, and realizing you deserve to be safe. What breaks my heart most is that Amanda keeps going back for more bullying, convinced (probably subconsciously) that she didn’t deserve any better. But she did, we all do. So leave those haters in their own little warped world of hate, get off your computer and choose life. Believe me, I know how hard that can be. But you won’t regret it. You are loved.

  • http://twitter.com/Cirrata SLS

    I’m an English teacher in Germany. One of my 8th grade students is half-Filipino/half German. He obviously looks different from a lot of the other kids in the class. There are a lot of kids in my school from different cultural backgrounds (Turkish is the largest minority group in Germany and we have lots of kids with a Turkish background), but only he stands out as being the only Asian-looking kids in the school.

    One day he came into class after lunch, tears streaming down his face. I made the rest of the do work while I pulled him aside and asked him what happened. He looked up at him, struggling for breath, and said 2 boys from the 7th grade came up to him and called him “Slit eyes” (Schlitzaugen in German) and made racist noises like “Wong Chin Chong” and asked him if he understood their “Chinese”. They had also posted horrible racists cartoons to his Facebook page.

    I held his hand. What can you do in that moment, confronted with such raw pain and such ignorance? I told him to take a deep breath, to think about the fact that he is a brilliant writer. (He truly is. He writes in English stories that are pages and pages long. He loves writing and his writing is very advanced for his age). I told him the world is full of people who have hate/ignorance in their hearts and that he is a wonderful, unique person. I told him about how I was bullied in high school (a boy used to Moo whenever I walked by. A whole year long). How I know it hurts.

    It felt a little like trying to stop a flood with a few handfuls of sand.

    Eventually he did calm down. The tears stopped. I don’t know if my words really did anything but I did notice one thing. His grip on my hand remained tight right up until he stopped crying.

    He is only one case. As a teacher of teenagers (8th through 12th grade), I see this way too often.

    The only advice I can really give anyone who is being bullied is if it is happening in school, find a teacher you trust and talk to them. Teachers have the right to see what their students are doing online and can report it to the principal and parents.

    I also told him to remove these kids from his FB friends. Why have anyone as a friend who isn’t? I also explained how to use the privacy settings to block people, just in case he didn’t know.

    Moral of this long story: Don’t add people who you don’t like. And if possible, hold someone’s hand for a few minutes. Human contact helps.


    • http://twitter.com/tapsiful Agnes Kormendi

      Dear Sara,

      I don’t really know the German school system, but I think that you, as a teacher, should probably also talk to those 7th graders about this, or talk to another teacher who teaches them, so that they know that it’s not funny at all and that they shouldn’t do this, that bullying like this is neither acceptable, nor tolerated. It’s great that you comforted their victim, but you, as a teacher, are also in a position of authority and are one of the few people who can effectively step up against the bullies. I know there’s always a danger that they start bullying him more for “hiding” behind a teacher, but I think racism is one issue that’s taken really seriously in Germany, and I think they should be old enough (around 13, right?) to realise it’s not a war they could win.

      And you’re definitely right that human contact helps… it helps the most.


      • http://twitter.com/Cirrata SLS

        Hi Agnes,

        The child kept begging me not to tell anyone as he said it would make everything a million times worse. I did end up telling his homeroom teacher anyway. She then had a talk with the entire class, not singling out those boys but made the topic of bullying something everyone had to think about. She also told me that she made it very clear that if she ever heard anything at all about anyone in her class bullying anyone, there would be swift consequences involving parents and the principal, etc.

        I asked the student a few weeks later how things were and he said they had left him alone since then.

        And yes, racism is a very serious topic here in Germany. Given their history, they are extremely sensitive to it. When I compare things that happen here with some of my friends who are teachers in the US, the situation is, sadly, worse there then here.

  • fruityfascism

    After being upset by something a friend passively sub-statused my way on facebook, I told my dad about it. He said, “If someone is pushing your buttons, remove the buttons.” I deleted him on FB right after that. If he wants to be mean, he can it in person.

    • http://twitter.com/LittleJanelleS Janelle Sheetz

      This is more or less why I’ve just straight up stopped communicating with my cousin and his boyfriend. If they’re not in my life, they can’t hurt me anymore.

    • http://twitter.com/_jenneryy Jennifer Wilkerson

      Love this!

    • Barb

      I love that… Dad is a smart man

    • Artemis

      Remove the buttons (takes work, cannot be done overnight; like so many things that take work, it’s worth it) or make it so that the person in question can’t push them anymore. The latter gives you the space to process why you had those buttons in the first place, and time to figure out what you can build in their place.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=567405182 Cait Brennan

    I’m trans, and a singer & writer, so I’ve had my share of abuse and bullying for being different. I have a pretty happy life now, but I honestly don’t know how I survived some of it, especially high school. The hurt is unavoidable, but I think on some level I just didn’t want to give them the satisfaction of killing me (emotionally or physically). I also knew that other people were watching, kids that maybe hadn’t had the courage to come out yet, and that if I let them beat me down for being open about who I am, those others would be afraid to ever be themselves too, so I had a responsibility to make it through somehow. I tried to find love in friends and in music and not keep it bottled up and not be ashamed of being hurt. Hurt goes away, but that feeling of being ashamed or humiliated, that’s what feels like you can’t live through it, and that’s what I tried to stand up through as best I could. Bullies want to break you, they want to make you ashamed for existing, and the only way you beat them is to keep existing, let your heart burn through it as bright as you can. And find humor in whatever you can because laughter completely kills that shit. And you know, whoever we are, we’re not the only ones who’ve been hurt like this. We’re never alone. We need to find each other, connect, share the pain and overcome it. As far as reviewer-type bullies, the only thing that ever matters is if you can make a real heart-to-heart connection with your tribe. Other people won’t get it, they’ll doubt you, they’ll tear you down and tell lies about you, but what you (or any of us) do is not for them, it’s for us. They’ll never get it and they’ll never matter and that enrages them so they lash out. In 20 years, the art will still stand and still reach people and still be full of passion and love, but the haters will be selling term life insurance out of a broken-down camper van and wondering where it all went wrong. Be strong when you can and let friends, music, truth and love carry you when you can’t go make it on your own. xx

  • http://www.facebook.com/lacie.bollon Lacie Michelle Bollon

    I have a long story to tell. But, I’m 28, lived in a small, close-minded town. Not only did I deal with high school hating, mine got started good and early. Try grade school, and not just grade school, but kindergarten. I did what my mother told me, compliment girls on their clothes, their hair, something you like about them, you’ll make a friend. But this didn’t work like my mother told me it would. The first girl I told that I liked her dress, I was called a bitch. I got to go home and ask my mother, being only 6 years old, what a bitch was.

    This continued all throughout grade school. I was the girl kids threw rocks at. I played alone, or if I tried to make friends they would always use me for blaming the idea on when we did something we weren’t supposed to do. I just wanted people to like me, how was I to know at that age.

    I left the one grade school to go to another, moving homes and so moving schools. This one had different kids, but not nicer. Since a lot of parents worked, they weren’t watched and we could get away with more, and since I was the odd one out, I was picked to get picked on, even by my “friends”. Even having some girls play a “prank” to say I was raped by one of their brothers and thought it was funny when the cops were called to my house and I could’ve been taken away from my mother.

    My father died when I was 10. We moved and I had to go back to my old grade school. The kids didn’t forget me. And I was told on arrival “Too bad you didn’t die along with your dad.” by the kids there.

    Needless to say that I didn’t feel good about myself or have the social skills to tell my parents or teachers what was going on other than I was being picked on… and they thought I was lying about what was being said to me because who wants to believe that one kid could say that to another.

    I wanted to kill myself when I was 10 years old because of how I was treated at school by the other kids. They would do bets on who could pretend to be my friend, or want to date me for fun… and then laugh when no one wanted to really like me.
    Stupid kid shit.

    But I just kept saying to myself that one day, I could get away from these kids.
    And I would prove to them that I was more than they were.

    After 7th grade I just stopped listening to these kids. Because they were just that. Kids. They didn’t know anything. And I didn’t need them to like me to be who I was. I decided to be myself anyway. Because after high school, no one gives a shit who you were in high school. It doesn’t matter in the real world.

    I would try to help others see this too. But everyone wants to be accepted. and yes, it hurt me too, not to be.

    I am an artist, always have been. And I want to use my art to show people like this, that they aren’t alone in how they feel. That someone out there is going through what they have been through or are going through.
    And to inspire them to be themselves. Live how they want to. Not give up on their dreams, and the people who matter will be the ones who stick by them. The rest, don’t matter. Never would and never will. The bravest thing you can do, is live when you really don’t want to. And I have been there. I have wanted to give up…. but fuck it. You might as well live, and rock your shit out. Fuck people who can’t see the good in you. They aren’t worth your time.

    – You Amanda, have inspired me so much to be a stronger girl in this world. And I want to be the same for others. And I hope they want to do the same for years to come!




  • LADYinterrupted

    Thank you for writing this.

    Hi there. People often think that it is only children who get bullied.

    But that’s not true.

    I am 38 years old. A grown woman. An artist, an activist, teacher. I am bullied. By former “friends” and their friends.

    Sometimes my bullies get the best of me, and I cry. Most days I am able to tell myself that they are nobody, and that their words and actions mean nothing. But I have weak moments, and during those moments, their hatred seeps in, like a kind of poison. Especially the bits about about how they hope I will die soon, so they can celebrate my death.

    I hope a day will come when they will finally leave me alone once and for all. I am strong… I’m not going to kill myself. But, I hurt. A great deal.

  • http://twitter.com/IndustrialClef Rasheeda Wilson

    I found that you have learn to take everything with a little grain of salt. What does that person sitting behind the screen or walking pass you down a hallway know? Can it even be guaranteed that a family member be telling you the truth? We take what we hear too seriously. We take every negative comment we hear and play it again and again in our heads. Those assholes who like to hate do it for the sake of making someone else feel like shit. That is all. If you think about it, there is nothing wrong with being fat, homosexual, mentally challenged, short etc. But they make it seem like it is to mess with you. People are hated on for being too skinny, too fat, too stupid, too smart, too poor, too rich, too famous, a nobody etc. Everyone has a fucking say on everything. No one stops to think if it even really matters. It is all superficial garbage and nonsensical gossip. That is what poor souls are being tortured for. To be a source of something to talk about it or hate on. People do it because it makes them feel better. We live in a society where it is cool to be cruel and hatred can be hidden behind the disguise of an ‘opinion’. Nothing fucks up your life more than feeling like you are being criticized and devalued by other people. In primary school, I felt like i had to prove my worth to have anyone to play with me. Basically spent those years being isolated and rejected and it affects me now to this day even when I have great friends now and don’t have to deal with that kind of shit anymore. It’s horrible. In the words of Morrissey of The Smiths “It’s so easy to laugh, it’s so easy to hate. It takes guts to be gentle and kind”. The internet just makes it easier for people to say shit in my mind because they can be anonymous and not accountable for their deeds. Some people get pleasure from being an asshole and what you need to do is stop and actually stop those kind of people in their tracks. THINK and KNOW that what that person is saying is complete bullshit and has no ground. We need to have the strength to put those people who think it is okay to hate and bash other people around to be put in their places. Don’t let them go on about their abusive use of their ‘freedom of speech’. We also need to be a little nicer to each other. Go out of you way to something nice to someone else and keep silent about the bad. It is not necessary. People know their faults. They don’t need to be reminded or be fed false information. I hope my long ass speech helps some other people and I hope everyone has a good day! <3 xoxoxoxo

  • Sean

    Stories like this really touch my heart.

    Not only the depressing story of Amanda Todd, but it’s admirable that you, Amanda Palmer, have dedicated your very time and effort to sharing it.

    I can’t understand why this older Chatroullette gentleman never served time, not only for child pornography and extortion, but for stalking and dedicating so much time to tear this poor girl apart.

    Never have I encountered that much full-blown hate in a school, I guess it’s why I can’t fathom it.
    It’s hard to believe that not a single soul stood up for her, there must be SOME humanity among us humans.

    … Right?

  • http://twitter.com/julietyler12 julie tyler

    stories of internet bullying left me scared for my son. scared that he might be on the receiving end of it, but also scared that he might not realise the damage that can be done by casual insults, or the importance of actually doing something to defend people. he told me he never saw any internet bullying, he thought i was just being a panicky, over-concerned mother. until one day he did… he showed it to me. a girl at school had received messages of hate on an anonymous ‘ask questions’ site. he also showed me the response, with some pride. the community had closed ranks and everybody – friends, acquaintances *and* enemies of the girl – had waded in to defend her. her facebook page was flooded with messages of support. the love obliterated the hate.

    i hope that the story of my son and his peers is not an isolated one.

  • Arwen Xaverine

    I’m 38 now, but I really connected with this story when I watched Amanda Todd’s video. The teenaged me remembered. This, though not exclusive or definitive, is a compilation of the coping mechanisms that worked.

    Make good friends.
    Not a lot of them. Make allies, find comrades in arms, find solace in strange company. It takes time. Don’t jump into friendships with both feet. Know yourself, make trust and honesty a priority.

    Learn to meditate, go inside and find what defines you at your core. Find your strength. Make a place, somewhere inside you can retreat to. Visit it often and drink from the well.

    Make space in your life for yourself. Do things that make you feel good. For me it has always been running and yoga. But whatever it takes to give some love to your body and mind.

    Read. Books.

    Switch off your computer/phone/device when you go to bed. Leave it in another room.
    Do something before you switch it on in the morning. Even if it is only the first trip to the bathroom. Don’t be a slave, be the master. It’s just a toy.

    Nobody is any better than you. We are all trying to be ok in the world. Start the compassion, love the haters, they are only humans trying to deal with their own pain.

  • http://twitter.com/ShiversTheNinja Samantha Port

    I have been lucky and mostly avoided internet hate. Over my teenage years, I got a lot of really angry and mean people commenting on my fanfiction and other writing, which deeply upset me, and not having learned the mantra “don’t feed the trolls” (not even knowing what trolls were yet), I often personally responded to them which would start gigantic fights over email which would last hours and sometimes even days. During these I would spend a lot of time pounding angrily on keys and crying. The negative comments got so bad that eventually I took all my stories down and posted on my profile that the bullies had ruined fanfiction.net for me. My writing was not that great in retrospect, and the major problem (and what angered most people) was that I put myself in it and paired myself with a character I really loved. But I still don’t think I deserved the amount of vitriol I got, especially because I was a 14 year old girl who was just writing these silly things for fun, and people were VERY aware of that because I was very public about my age and motivations. Around the same time, I occasionally got very harsh comments on my art and websites, which also hurt a lot, because I was putting a lot of work and passion into those things. I know you know how that feels. I was young, but I don’t think that gets any easier to take no matter how much older you get.

    Nowadays, I get some bullying here and there on my YouTube where I post ukulele covers… fortunately, the majority of the feedback I get is wonderful and amazing, I have over 300 subscribers, and I feel good about what I do. But occasionally I will get someone telling me to give up because I can’t sing. That’s not so bad. A few months ago I got a misspelled comment on a video I had recorded while I had a sore throat, which I mentioned in the description to explain why my voice wasn’t up to my usual standard. The comment was this, exactly: “u fuking suk sick or not u fat damn whore”. Normally this wouldn’t bother me much, but it happened to come at a really bad time in my life. I’m currently struggling with depression, the medications and my moods have caused me to gain a lot of weight very quickly, and my self esteem has gone down the shitter. But the comment was baffling. When the video had been filmed, I was at my ideal weight, and definitely not fat by any standard (other than maybe the fashion industry’s, but we all know that’s bullshit). The whore part was… well, obviously, the guy probably didn’t mean it literally, it was just a harsh word to throw out there, but due to my mental state, I took it literally and was more confused by it than anything. I’m the opposite of a whore… I’ve only had sex with one person, and it wasn’t 100% consensual as I was very strongly pressured into it over and over until I just gave in and said “okay.” I regret it every day of my life. So… yeah. Hardly a whore. But fat, currently, yeah. So that stung. And I should have ignored him, I know, don’t feed the trolls. But I just couldn’t ignore it. I responded to it with apparent confidence, and basically told the guy to fuck off. But yeah, that wasn’t fun.

    This next one is a bit… odd. I don’t know if it necessarily constitutes cyberbullying, as I wasn’t being insulted, but I definitely was (and still am) being harassed, in my opinion. One particular video I have posted has become massively popular, probably because it was the first halfway decent cover of “Civilization” by the Andrews Sisters and Danny Kaye that was posted to YouTube. The song has gained a large amount of popularity due to being featured in the game Fallout 3. So I post it, and I get this influx of views mostly from gamer guys who are, sorry to say it, probably desperate. But it also turned out that a lot of them are fucking pigs. The majority of the comments on the video were about how hot I was. No comment on the music itself, if I did good or even if I did poorly. Just “you’re hot”, “you’re gorgeous”, inappropriate comments about my mouth and such. It got to the point that I had to set the comments on that video to approval, so I have to monitor and approve them before they actually show up on the video. So I still get a lot of similar comments, but I block them from ever showing up. So I announced the comments were now being monitored and explained why. In response, I got a lot of confusion. “Why do you hate being told you’re pretty?” I responded, “It’s not that I hate being told I’m pretty. It’s that I hate constantly getting creepy comments and messages from guys who think I’m hot and pay no attention to the reason I actually posted the video, which was the music. It gets tiring.” It’s currently the top rated comment on the video.

    Outside of that video, I’ve gotten some private messages on the site as well that have been disturbing to say the least. One guy bought me a present from my Amazon Wishlist unannounced, then started trying to get me to do something to get him to buy me something else. I was oblivious to his motives at first and told him thank you but you really don’t need to buy me more, that was very nice of you to get me that thing, but he started getting bolder and creepier. When he started to use the word “bossy” a lot, “be bossy”, “boss me around” etc., that’s when I started getting suspicious. I went to his page and looked at his favorite videos. Much of it was humiliation porn… videos of women bossing men around and making them do humiliating things for their gratification. Jesus christ. I blocked the fucker. Unfortunately YouTube doesn’t really have a system that allows for reporting that type of harassment. What disturbs me the most is that he didn’t straight up tell me what he was doing… he was slyly trying to get me to participate in his fetish without my consent. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d been jacking off the whole time we’d been talking. Ugh. Makes me feel dirty. I know some people might have taken advantage of it… such an easy way to get free stuff! But I am not that kind of person. I’d feel disgusting and sleazy. Like I said before, opposite of a whore.

    I’ve also had people with other fetishes contact me. One guy asked me to smoke in my next video. I do not smoke, I never have, I find it disgusting, and also, I’m a musician, not a fucking porn star, why would I randomly make a video where I’m just smoking? Another guy contacted me when I was sick, saying “sorry you’re sick,” which seems normal enough, but his username made it VERY clear that he was a sneezing fetishist, and his favorites were full of videos of girls talking with stuffed noses and sneezing. I try not to judge people for their sexual interests, but… like the humiliation fetish guy, these people were contacting me out of the blue as if I’d randomly go along with their kinks. I am just an innocent, nerdy girl on YouTube who sings and plays ukulele. What on earth made them think I’d be interested in any of that?!

    Sigh. Okay, one last story. This one… I brought it on myself, in a way, but… well, you’ll see. I’ll try to keep it as simple as I can, but because it involves fandom for a particular show, I’ll have to explain a tiny bit about the characters and their dynamics. So on Tumblr, I was following this secrets blog (sort of like PostSecret) for the TV show Supernatural. In the fandom for that show, one of the most popular romantic pairings is between the two main characters, who are brothers. I find that disgusting… I mean, come on, it’s INCEST. The pairing I prefer is between one of the brothers and a male angel who is NOT related to him. For reference, the brothers are Sam and Dean, and the angel is Cas. Cas IS an angel, but he is inhabiting the body of a human man. The man willingly gave the body to him so he could do God’s work on Earth.

    So there was some secret posted about the incestual pairing, and for some reason, I was in a bad mood or something that night, and I reblogged it and added a bunch of text about how disgusting the pairing was and how fucked up people are for liking it, and how there’s just no excuse for it. I posted it and moved on to other things. Totally forgot about it. A couple hours later, I get this HUGE message in my ask box about what a horrible human being I am. And not only that, but I am a hypocrite for calling incest disgusting when the pairing -I- like between Dean and Cas is “rape.” This is a big point of contention between the two unfortunately warring factions… Dean/Cas supporters attack Dean/Sam supporters because it’s incest, and the incest supporters only have one possible defense: that because the body Cas is using doesn’t belong to him and the man who actually owns it MAY still be somewhere inside it, anything Dean and Cas do is rape because the man is straight, married and did not consent to any of it. The man still being in there is highly unlikely… the show has pretty much blatantly shown that he willingly left it so that Cas could do good with it, and since getting it back would do him no good, as once his body was taken, he was taken away from his wife and family for such a long time that when he tried to come back he was basically kicked out because they had all moved on. So even if he took it back from Cas, he would have nothing to go back to, nothing to live for, because his family no longer wants him. After that incident he pretty much straight up told Cas, just take it, I’m moving on, I’m done here, you do your work. There’s also the fact the body has been exploded and put together at least twice, and Cas took on Sam’s severe mental illness at one point, so the physical body has been messed with so much I’d think that’d knock the soul right out of it. Anyway, it’s a matter of opinion. But that’s not the point. I’m sorry, I said I’d try to make this simple, and I’m failing… but this is fairly complex.

    SO. To the point. I get this message about how disgusting I am for supporting rape and how dare I attack blah blah blah blah blah. The scary thing is, I had COMPLETELY forgotten about the scathing post I’d written. I don’t know what frame of mind I was in, but I was NOT myself. I would never normally do something like that, as much as I dislike that pairing and think people are a little sick for supporting it (I have a theory that none of the people like it have siblings, because if they did they’d know that even the thought of fucking your sibling is just vomit-inducing). So I thought this attack was totally unwarranted, and I was angry. I got prepared to write a response about what a fucking idiot this person was…

    (so yeah, I’m not making myself look like such a great person here, but hey, we’re telling stories about cyberbullying, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with telling a story about BEING one of the bullies rather than being bullied)

    …and I’m ranting and raving to my girlfriend at the time about how pissed and hurt and disgusted I am, when suddenly she points out the post on my blog. She doesn’t like the incest pairing either, but she says “I hope you didn’t write that. Please tell me that’s just something you reblogged.” Unfortunately, as you know, I DID write the piece of shit. And I go to my blog and read it and I am HORRIFIED. I don’t even remember typing or even THINKING the words. I’m still mystified as to what happened, how I thought it was okay, and how easily I just FORGOT doing something so reprehensible as attacking a gigantic group of people just for liking a fucking fictional pairing. I started sobbing uncontrollably. I immediately deleted the post and retracted everything I said. I posted a huge apology. I was absolutely sickened with myself. I didn’t agree with everything my attacker said, but they were right about one thing: I had no right to attack a bunch of people like that.

    I only got one response to my apology, and it was a very nice one. It was not from the person who attacked me (I still don’t know who that was, as they were on anonymous – of course). She hadn’t seen the original post, though, which is probably part of why she was so nice. But she thanked me for the apology (she likes the incest pairing), and then she did something very odd… she told me it was brave to apologize.

    This sent me into a confusion. I still don’t quite understand it to this day. Why is it “brave” to apologize when you make a gigantic mistake? If you hurt someone’s feelings, you say sorry. Apologizing for causing pain or saying something offensive is what a decent person does, and despite the huge-ass, horrible mistake I just told you I made, I think I am generally a decent person. I did not have to gather up courage to apologize. It was something I had to do. If I didn’t, I would have felt immense guilt for the rest of my life. Well, I still do feel guilt, but far less than I would have if I had not said sorry. I just don’t understand why anyone would consider making an apology to be a brave thing, though.

    Anyway… it’s funny, I started this off saying that I have had very little problem with being bullied on the internet, but it wound up being ridiculously long. Still, I stand by that. These problems are, all in all, very minor, though the last one really wrecked me emotionally because I was so disturbed by my own actions. In actuality, I have been bullied far more in real life, so much so that I started homeschooling in 7th grade (though that was also partially due to my social anxieties, but the sudden increased amount of bullying was what spurred the decision to leave public school). Obviously, after that, I was mostly about to avoid being bullied in the physical world.

    I’m sorry this comment is so long. You probably will pass it over, and I understand that. If anything, I hope you read this: thank you for everything you do, and everything you stand for. You and your art have saved me from the depths of despair, caused by bullying, heartbreak and any other pitfalls life has brought me. The first time I met you, I told you that you are my hero, and that your music saved my life. You are still my hero, and I can’t imagine you will ever stop being one of them. I actually wrote a song that is mostly about how you changed my life and healed my heart. It’s not that great, but I might as well link it in case you ever read this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCMKfsMlVXc

    Thank you, Amanda. I cannot wait to read your blog on how to deal with internet hate. You have already changed so many lives, and I know you not only have the ability to, but WILL change many more. Keep doing what you do.


  • http://twitter.com/Almahart chrissy

    I wouldn’t have made it as a teenager living today, Amanda. I barely made it through 1990 when half the country still didn’t have cable, much less texting and internet social media sites…with real live trolls. If I could have OD’d on live feed streaming negative comments about myself back then, oh my fucking god! That’s all depression wants you to live on is the lies.
    I’m 37 now, and I’ve seen a few of my kids and their friends through break-ups and drama. It always spills over into an RPG for their social circles online. ALWAYS. I make my kids disconnect entirely for a period, and help them through it in real time. All internet/ cell phone social media blackout. I’ve called parents of my kids’ friends who were going through similar things to ask them to do the same.
    Parents to be present and aware. I give my kids enough freedom, but when I think sadness or depression, drama or bullying is lurking, I jump into the deep end. The kids can hardly help themselves from being addicted to negative feedback. Why? Who knows. I would have been, too.
    Thank you for this for me, my kids, Amanda Todd and the prevention of future Amanda Todds ♥

  • Fortunata

    I first tried to kill myself when I was ten. I was sick and tired of being mocked and ridiculed of my every move. I’m nineteen now, still broken and a mess, but I try. my coping mechanism has always been getting lost in your music and the truth in the lyrics. Every song I could relate to and I felt you feeling with my. Just recently, at your concert in detroit we made eye contact while you were crowd surfing and in that brief second I felt understood and everything was okay, really truly okay for the first time in years. Without you Amanda, I wouldn’t be here, you save lives every day, you are a hero

  • jessicacowan

    In my final year of high school (in 2007) I had an ex-friend bully me over myspace. He and I had always gotten along and bonded over music, and then he suddenly turned and started calling me an “emo” and telling me I should kill myself, etc. He would also often post general things about self-harm, making jokes about it and I was so furious at him that I printed out what he’d posted and confronted him about it at school. He was terrified and although I didn’t really get through to him and I ended up walking away crying, seeing how nervous he was when confronted made me understand entirely that his motivation was fear (as you mentioned above). A couple of years later, completely out of the blue, he sent me an email about how often he thought about what he’d done to me, how terrible he felt and how he was sure I would never forgive him. He told me he only ever attacked me because he was scared his friend would find out that he liked the music that was classified as “emo” and attack him in turn for it. It was easy to forgive him, because we can all understand how terrifying judgment from your peers is when you’re a teenager. Especially if you want to fly under the radar and just get the fuck out of high school unscatched. With social networking how it is NOW, I would NEVER go back to high school, not even for a day. Young people these days seem to have a disconnect between what they say online and what they would say in real life, almost like they have two selves and the cyber one never suffers consequence. If only that were true.

    I’ve gotten hate from complete strangers on youtube before, calling me ugly, etc. I often, like I did with the guy from high school, try to understand WHY people would say horrible things, and I feel rather sure that it’s because anonymous haters are unhappy and ordinary, so they need to make others feel worse than them to be happy. Far too many people seem to feel better by making others feel small. And I block them or report them. But then there’s situations like Amanda Todd, and I feel that people that keep going, keep pushing people down when they’re so obviously broken, must be broken in someway. And it makes me feel hopeless and scared for young people who don’t have support systems. Even though ignoring bullies is near impossible, it’s important to try and remember that everything they say and do is a reflection of how they feel about themselves or despicable character flaws. And try to remember the good people out there, and always keep an eye out for them.
    I really look forward to the blog about this, and what everyone else has to say. This is something that I care about a lot, but gives me tons of anxiety because I feel so helpless in the face of it. Here’s to moving toward a solution! Love love x

  • David

    I think this blog is a fantastic idea, not trying to be a mushy here, but you have given me and all of my friends, that know you, lots of inspiration, you are one that made it. I would love to hear any advice you have on dealing with hate and the likes. You’re music has helped me personally with a lot of the hard ships in my life, i have had my fair share,but thanks to your music for the most part i pulled through with quite a lot to show for it, so thanks for that. The blog is a great idea and I trust that it will help hundreds of people in need, Thanks.

  • GMTminus7

    I’d have been one of those teens if we did stuff like that 6,000 years ago when I was in school (for me it started in 4th grade). “They” can’t hate someone they don’t even know. They can think you’re fat, or your hair looks stupid. They can call you all kinds of awful names, or envy that you’re smarter than them, or realize that you are extraordinary and they will end up bored and unhappy for lack of any imagination at all. But they can’t hate YOU. They don’t know YOU.

    What’s hard is learning when the shell is protection and when it’s keeping you from letting another extraordinary soul in to your life.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dearestunknown Christina Reekie

    I had a similar problem to Amanda Todd in high school, mixed with the problem of being a little to openly unique for my own good. I grew up in a smaller town near the Great Salt Lake, born an outsider to the LDS community by my lack of religion, complete open views of the world and all it had to offer, mixed with the fact that i moved like a gypsy with my mother never staying any place too long. The only thing their bible taught me was that “God” does the judging not one else gets to.

    However that is not how the “real” world behaves. When i was 15 and a sophomore in high school i got my first taste of internet bullying *mind you this was ten years ago and i was still on Dial up AOL* I not only danced to my own beat but had a whole orchestra to match, i wore some of the most wonderful antique and replica outfits and i stood out from the crowd but didn’t realize it. i never bothered anyone so for most it was easier for the kids to just ignore me which never bothered me i was used to always being the new girl/outsider by that point. Now I don’t know how this person got my email or knew anything about me but whatever their reason they wanted me to suffer. It started as simple chat requests from strange screen names. At first i thought it was just a joke a friend was playing on me, but the messages got worse and more personal. I had a difficult relationship with my mother and her methods of punishment after our battles were unique to say the least. Yet this person seemed to know all about them and how they embarrassed me. They also seemed to know about my past, they knew things i hadn’t opened up to anyone about regarding a friends recent suicide. I could still handle that though i was strong (or so i thought) i just deleted that account and created a new one thinking that would be the end of it. It wasn’t till after about three months of this vile commentary from a new screen name every time i logged in to check my email or work on homework i began to actually fear for my life and began printing out every email of IM i was sent. They ranged in tame things like admonishing me for my horrible spelling and grammar to death threats, very specific death threats. They claimed to want to cut off my head while i slept so they could keep my curls perfect forever(i have crazy natural Victorian curls that i hated at the time), now had i not received pictures which I am sure now must have come from rot.com or a similar site i would have shrugged off this non sense. However i was a young scared teen girl. The messages started getting out of hand i stopped opening them and started not sleeping or leaving the house much. One day while i was at school my brother and his wife came by to fix my bedroom door that had been broken down in a recent war with my mother and while in my room my sister in law found the printed emails and IMs and called my mother who then proceeded to call the police. They were able to track the server address or some computer sounding nonsense to somewhere in Florida but that’s all they could do to help me other then to offer support and let me know that i was safe. I was done with the mess and tired of the harassment i told my teachers about the problem and that i would no longer use computers and deleted my self from the internet as well i could. That meant deleting all my web accounts and emails i even shut off my cell phone I effectively went off the grid and just learned to live life away from the small people who seek to make others suffer. I didn’t get back on the web till after i graduated high school, it honestly is no better now then it ever was then however no screen name is required to log in to comcast and i don’t use messengers.

    I cured the disease by cutting off the hand however the scar still remains. I am not sure that kind of pain ever goes away it becomes part of you and at least in my case its not the good parts of me its the nightmare parts. The ones i still don’t talk about in hopes that they’ll be forgotten or repressed. And I am not sure that method is the best method to fix the problem of internet bullying, but it was the only thing 16 year old me could come up with. Out of sight out of mind?

    • http://twitter.com/astarynight Crystal Michelle

      That sounded pretty scary. I think you made a very wise choice.

  • http://twitter.com/astarynight Crystal Michelle

    You know, I don’t think anyone ever steers clear from
    criticism, or, even worse, hatred. It manifests itself in all kinds of forms. Most
    of us have experienced it. I feel, though, that with the adage of technology,
    there are more ways for people, especially teenagers, like Amanda Todd, to
    target their victim. Nowadays, everybody is so easily accessible–important
    information is available at just the touch of a button. It’s kind of scary to
    think about.

    Ignorant people who don’t realize the consequences of their
    actions sadden me to no end. Here you
    have this young 15 year-old girl, who is so full of life and wants nothing more
    than to be loved (looking for attention in all the wrong places),who flashes their
    boobs and tries to hook-up with a guy whom she THOUGHT truly liked her, make a few minor mistakes. But that doesn’t mean she deserved to be harassed
    (in person and on the internet) the way she was, be physically harmed and
    driven to suicide. This video made me tear up to see how she was crying out for
    SOMEONE to be there for her in her time of need. I wanted to take down all of
    the bastards who ruined this beautiful girls’ life, one by one. She didn’t
    deserve to die.

    Sometimes when I hear horror stories like these, I can’t
    help but to think all innocence has been lost.

    I think the best thing people, especially teenagers, can do
    is to be more wary about the information they are providing for the rest of the
    world on the internet. Although I am well-aware that peer pressure is almost
    inescapable for those who are trying to find themselves and their identities in
    this crazy, beautiful mixed up world of ours. Even some of us adults have
    trouble with peer pressure. Things tend to cross over from stage of life to the
    next. There’s a trend. All the time, I see people posting nearly their whole
    entire lives on Facebook—the good, the bad and the ugly. I think people need to
    be a little more aware of what it is they are posting as well as the audience
    they are posting it to. If you think you might regret putting something on the
    internet later on, than you probably shouldn’t put it there to begin with.

    I remember in high school, I used to turn to the internet
    for solace. I’d find someone, usually another girl, and get to know her well
    enough to share stories about myself. It was through the internet I met my best
    friend, Jocelyn, whom I’ve known for twelve years now. She’s been closer to me than
    some of my own family members. So I’ve never had any real trouble with the
    internet, because all of the popular social websites that are available today
    had yet to be created. Instead, all of my problems were a result of the people
    who were directly involved in my life, specifically bullies in high school. I
    took a lot of heat from dating a girl. I also had some family issues that didn’t
    help any. That is why I confided in strangers over the internet. I guess I was just lucky
    to have picked the right kinds of people to be friends with over the internet.

    I think the best thing people can do—for all of the young
    people, for all of the artists and musicians out there striving to get by in
    life—is to ignore people. You can only tolerate so much criticism and negativity,
    but then, like Amanda and Neil, you just have to put up your blindfolds and ignore
    people. If you don’t, people will tear you apart. They will pinpoint your
    weaknesses and drill a hole, deeper and deeper.

    Be careful with your heart and mind.<3

  • Chow

    This is a beautifull idea I wish i had imput but the best thing I can say is the very drive to want to help people will help them, someone out there like you who could spend your time doing other things with your fame giving a shit for strangers. Thats all people ever really want, is anyone to care. Thank you alot amanda <3

  • Pepperpie

    I was never bullied. I count myself lucky.

    I hate bullying. Searing hate.

    But I don’t hate bullies. I feel real sadness for these people. Some
    have forgotten love, compassion. Some have never experienced it. This
    kills me.

    I’ve seen the effect of bullying first hand – my girlfriend was severely
    bullied in high school and 10 years later still bears scars. I asked
    her just before what advice she would give to the bullied. Her answer?
    “Sorry, I can’t talk about it. It’s triggering”.

    She then came back into the room and said “If anything, I would tell
    them to talk. Keep talking and don’t stop. Ever. I wish I did that”.

  • Katy

    I was massively bullied at school, physically and verbally…and yet, I was kind of happy about it. I went out of my way to encourage it, deliberately being as weird or provocative as possible. I remember consciously thinking, well, I’m okay with this, I don’t mind being the focus of these people’s attentions, I can deal with it. And yes, this was pre-Internet, so when I went home, I could ignore it all, unless I went into town, where it would carry on, but that was okay too. The point was, I felt like I was a diversion, like my point of existence, aged 12-16, was to ‘take it’, because I could, and because I felt like I was getting strength and, occasionally, wit out of it, and the kids who would’ve taken it otherwise, some of them simply didn’t have the strength behind or inside them for it.
    I wasn’t being noble or anything, as I said, I got plenty out of it. I just thought it was my place. And then when I got to 16 I went to a super arty college and felt really…normal. This was both better and worse, because I didn’t know what my place was, but it was wonderful to be surrounded by people like me.

    The best advice I have for survival at this point is to really learn who you are, what you love, what you want, what you can do, and then to embrace it. Even if the world can’t be kind to you right now, be kind to yourself. Listen to what you love, read what you love, watch what you love, and make good plans. Enable yourself, whenever you can.

  • borichu

    You should talk to Felicia Day. She has been through, thought and talked about a whole lot of this stuff.

  • x_chemicalism_x

    Remember, whether you’re Amanda FUCKING Palmer or Amanda Todd, for every person out there that hates you, and wishes you were dead, there are dozens (if not hundreds, or thousands) who would die for you.

  • Phil Jones

    I’m not one for getting emotional over a song or Movie etc but watching that poor girl show her cards is the saddest thing I have ever seen knowing what she did later. I just wish that someone somewhere in her life could have given her the love she so clearly needed. Yes she made a few mistakes we all do as teenagers but it should never end like this. She was a lovely young woman with a life to lead and her desparation breaks my heart.

    As for trolls the best solution is just don’t read it, lock down your social networking if young and if not DON’T READ IT. Trolls survive on creating misery so just don’t give them the pleasure.
    Life has phases and you just have to survive certain periods in life. It can be hell at the time but eventually it will pass and you will move on to a better place in your life.

    That video will haunt me for days I just want to hug her so much and tell her it will be ok and people will love her for who she is. DAMMIT

  • http://www.facebook.com/tashadax Tamara Lazic

    I watched the clip and it was the car-crash effect: I couldn’t look away. Who the hell are these people and who in the name of everloving crap raises kids that will sand by and watch somebody get beaten up and FILM IT?!?! My boyfriend and I plan to have our first baby in about two years and it’s shit like this that freaks me out. How do you protect teenagers from this? It’s so intense, having all these hormones coursing through you, everything feels closer, more painful, more pleasurable. But when it hurts, it feels like the end of the world… How do you show somebody like that that one day, all the fucktards who made fun of them and called them names will disappear in the general noise of the world like the insignificant gnats they are? I would fully support these “survival tips” you suggest because they can’t come soon enough!

  • http://twitter.com/StoryMistress Sammi

    Just. Keep. Breathing.

    You can’t stop the bullies. You can’t stop the hate.

    But there are people in the world who love you. Who want you to succeed.

    You may not know them. You may never meet them, they may be strangers on the internet who share your unique, beautiful & amazing perspective of the world.

    But they exist. They love you. I love you.

    How do you deal with the hate?
    Just. Keep. Breathing.

    • Erin U

      This is beautiful.
      I love you too.

  • HeyHoudini

    This past fall I met you in Austin, TX at Waterloo Records. You signed my commitment sheet that I would not try to take my life again. You, and your fans, are huddled under the same freak umbrella, and openly took me into the safe place of acceptance. You are a sort of hero of mine, and I’m sure, many others. That handful of people that spit hate at you just don’t understand, you stand for all the misfits. I’ve been bullied in many ways over the years from being called a lesbian, to being ostracized for asking for help with a cutting problem. Knowing that someone out there named Amanda Palmer wrote a song about cutting, hating an ex, etc, helped me feel less alone, helped me vent, helped me find a way to vent. I painted about all the hate, the feelings, the sadness. People still talked. But I feel empowered knowing that someone like you, or one of your fans, would listen, would see and know that it was a beautiful thing to expose yourself. Exposure is what starts all the negative. I don’t understand why people make fun of what they don’t understand. Is it a shield? Whatever it is, people who are freaks have learned to take it. I don’t want to take it though. I want more people like you, who tell the truth even though it hurts. Not everything in life is pretty. Finding music that inspired me to vent in my own way has been my coping mechanism when none of the others helped. So if anything, I hope that this message just reaffirms you in your strength. I’ve wanted to write you and tell you this for years. I totally say what you did…if one person is helped by my pouring out of truth, the retelling of the shitty things that have happened in my life, I am happy for that one soul. If anything, Amanda, I am that one soul. But plainly, you know I am a drop in the bucket of such stories. Your job is done. Look how many “ones” there are. Fuck the haters. They just don’t understand. And when they do, we are waiting here with open arms…

  • Jim

    Having had a sheltered, untroubled childhood, the only help I can give is a quote from Community:

    “Troy: Let me ask you something. People have been calling on me about this jacket since I got here but if I take it off to make them happy, that just makes me weak. Right?

    Jeff: Listen, it doesn’t matter. You lose the jacket to please them; you keep it to piss them off. Either way, it’s for them. That’s what’s weak.”

  • Dean

    This isn’t a happy, friendly way of dealing with it but it works for me. The sort of people who post horrid vitriol about someone on the internet are not nice people. If something you do upsets or annoys those people then good. I’m glad they’re upset and annoyed. They’re horrid and deserve to feel that way. I call that a win.

  • meganbrophy11

    About a week ago, on a night out, a girlfriend and I were asked to get this kid to talk. Just talk. His friends made a bet with him that if he says a single word within the next hour, he has to roll all their joints for the next month. So our job, as two drunk stranger girls, was to get him to talk. Game on. We started off with light flirting, but this boy was good, he just smiled and hid his face, not a word… It started progressing to the point that we were full on mocking him. Painfully. He laughed it off, shook his head sometimes but he didn’t say anything. We had no idea who he was, his name, where he came from or what he did but we were making fun of him. I realised, through all of this, that you can say anything, fucking ANYTHING, to someone who can’t talk back, or directly defend themselves. It’s a simple power trip: you can punch anyone in the face as long as they’re tied to a chair. It’s easy to bully someone online, you’re a faceless anonymous person with a repetoire of hurtful words and no one can hurt you back. It’s simple to say ‘just shrug it off, you don’t know these people and they don’t know you’ but if someone had to leave a mean comment under this comment, I would probably cry and change my name. Most advice won’t work, a revolution might though.

  • Erin U

    Im a little late commenting. You’ve hundreds of responses already.

    The first time I heard the Dolls the music ripped me open with the precision of its connection to my heart and soul and whole-person. I put the message of not being alone, the message of love inside me and stitched it up inside me. I carry it. Now and always.

    That seems like ages ago now. But that message, that unity that you, Amanda, instill in all of your fans I have done my best to pass it one to any who will listen and in some cases to those who would only hear me without taking it in. As long as I spread this love that you have given to me and all of us I feel I’ve done my part as a person/human/tiny-part-of-everything that I am.

    We, all of us, this army of acceptance soldiers, do this and like water on stone we change a creek into a canyon. We change the world for better.

    You’re getting this life right. Maybe not everything but the parts that matter. All we can do, as a force, is be one for good.

    It will be slow. It will be worth it.

    Love, love, love.


  • http://www.facebook.com/wolfthatcr13dboy Zack Gilpin

    I am working on a college project revolving around film criticism and how adaptations work, and the drafting phase of this led me to a thought process that completely changed the way I’ve looked at all forms of criticism, including baseless insults. Because you get that a lot in (sometimes respectable) film criticism, and it has always driven me nuts. I realized there are, essentially, two kinds of criticism; there are things which are objectively wrong that could have been done better, and then there are things the critics disagree with from a personal/creative perspective. In terms of art, the latter is sort of like a classically trained musician criticizing jazz for being off key. Like, dude, come on, you’re missing the point. That isn’t jazz’s fault. Right now I’m a cashier at a grocery story, so I get a lot of hatred from the masses for no particular reason. It gets to me, and then I feel worse when I Get mad because I feel like I’ve failed as a customer service representative. But when people get crabby I always try to ask myself what it is they’re seeing, why they are acting the way they act, what they expect from me that I am somehow not giving them. And I smile and act nice and tell them to have a good day and move on to the next person. This doesn’t, strictly speaking, solve the problem. I’m not like asking these people what’s wrong, emotionally, how can I help you /as a human being/, there’s no time for that and it wouldn’t fly in that context anyway. But it helps me tremendously to keep in mind that my perspective is not the only one, and if people are being assholes it’s probably just because they don’t know how to fix themselves or their lives, or they’re just having a bad day. These people are endless, so you just smile and nod and wish them the best when they leave, and know that they have no idea who you are.

  • http://twitter.com/Corvustristis Corvus

    I don’t have the kind of internet presence to draw this kind of hatred, at least not yet. Hell, I’m a craft blogger (MOAR GLITTER), and while I’ve thought many times about branching out into other passions of mine -feminism, atheism, science- I’ve seen what comes after a person who is visible on the internets, particularly a woman, and thought again.

    I suspect a big part of the problem with the internet, with life in general, is that good people, though they may be legion, are inherently quiet (after all, we do not want to intrude, or disturb,or maybe accidentally hurt someone when we’re trying to help, or tromp all over things which are not our business, so we keep quiet), whereas one bad person can spew enough vitriol to destroy a thousand hearts because they are loud, louder than loud, impossible to ignore. As Betrand Russell put it, “…fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

    And I want to know how to fix this. I agree with other commenters that a lot of these hurtful people are themselves hurting (and while I do not consider that an acceptable excuse, it does humanize them and give a potential avenue to help). I also think some of those people just do not realize how socially unacceptable their hate is- in high school, when I was there, bullies got the support of general laughter in their favor, and no one actually called them out, and I suspect many of them never learned differently.

    Either way, it comes down to learning: learning how to deal with pain without causing it, and learning what is socially acceptable behavior. Which means, I think, that the best we can do to address this problem is to act as teachers.

    Which is, I suspect, one of the hardest jobs in the world. I mean, what practical action does that lead to?

  • Erin U

    Also I would like to say I love the love that never fails to spill over into my real life whenever I am surrounded by all of you beautiful people. All thanks to one amazing woman.I may never meet any of you but your stories are beautiful and revealing and painful and you are all here to share them and that makes them hopeful as well.

    I love all of you.

  • KP

    RE: Internet Bullying:
    I grew up with the internet boom and remember the comments. The backhanded status and song lyric ‘this is obviously about me’ status’.

    My thoughts on the matter:

    The only reason people feel that they can be horrible online is because you cannot, unfortunately, punch them in the face over the internet. To your face they would never be so hurtfull. Remember you’re stronger than they are because you dont need to belittle people over social media/ the interenet to feel better about yourself!

  • Emma

    I was bullied through high school and primary school because I’m fat. Fortunately I went to high school when the internet was not a big thing. There was no facebook and myspace was new. I’m so glad social networking sites weren’t a big deal then because I don’t know what school would have been like for me otherwise.

    The high school memories are fresher but the primary school ones are more painful. In primary school there was this once kid who would bully me everyday. He’d make fun of my weight, he’d get his friends to pick on me. He’d follow me around at break and tease me. He took every opportunity to hurt me. Even when it was my birthday when the entire class sings happy birthday to you he changed the words so that they were threatening and violent but I was the only one close enough to hear him.

    He wasn’t the only bully but he was the worst of them and the teachers were almost useless. I read those tweets from the teacher trying to help her student and it makes me feel a littler happier because even if she can’t do a lot she’s trying to do something and I wish my teachers had put more effort into helping me.

    They’d tell the bully off if they caught him teasing me but they never put effort into doing anything else. They knew it was a problem, they knew he targeted me but they never tried to do anything but the bare minimum.

    One year I had a teacher who made us sit according to her seating plan. I ended up at the same table as the bully. She knew he bullied me but she sat me next to him because it fit her seating arrangement. When I finally said something she made me sit a couple of seats over. I was still close enough for him to tease me. I remember what she said as she told me to move. ‘Let’s see if it’s just you.’ And even now I remember thinking that by saying that she was implying it was my fault I was being bullied. In the playground I was being bullied one day so I went to one of the teaching assistants to tell them. Her response was ‘don’t go near him’. As though I was following him around waiting for him to bully me.

    My parents tried to help but since the teachers were useless nothing could really be done. They couldn’t even sit down with his parents because they didn’t speak english. I guess a translator would have been too much effort for my lazy school.

    Years later these are still painful memories. I still feel angry when I think about how apathetic my teachers were and though I’m not a violent person by nature when I think of him I want to do violent and horrible things to him. I often wonder what I would do if I ever saw him again. Probably nothing.

    As for coping mechanisms? I didn’t really have any. I cried a lot. I told my parents what was happening. I asked for help. I bottled up the hurt and anger and rage but that was a mistake because I just lashed out at other people. I wouldn’t suggest doing that. I asked for help. I think that’s the only thing I can suggest doing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/thisismytruthtellmeyours Jamie Lee Bick

    I’ve always felt different from other people. I’ve been picked on for most of my life, not only by kids at school (from middle school into high school), but by members of my own family (which still continues). I internalized a lot of that and still am very negative toward myself most of the time. What I’ve always tried to do, in spite of it all, is to have some sort of outlet. Be good at something. It doesn’t necessarily have to be creative in nature, just something positive you like to do. Have someone you can talk to, and lean on if need be. Allow yourself to feel your pain honestly and truly, but don’t let it consume you. Self-acceptance and self-love are hard-fought sometimes, but so important. Seek help if need be, don’t suffer alone. If you don’t have a supportive family (as I don’t), you can try to surround yourself with like-minded people who will hopefully love you for you, support you, and fight for you when you can’t fight for yourself. Sometimes these people will be hard to find where you live. I turned to the internet (which isn’t always a good idea, mind you, but it can help you to try to see a bigger worldview than that of just your rural, backwards-ass Midwestern town). I also learned about all sorts of cool bands and things because of the internet, which, while being kind of superficial sometimes, can help you make friends, too. What my friends have taught me is that family doesn’t always mean just flesh and blood. Sometimes you can choose who you consider family. Sometimes your friends ARE your family. Also, you can choose how much influence the people close to you have on your life, and hopefully that will effect the larger sphere, too. The overall thing to remember is to be kind. Not just to other people, but to yourself most of all. We’re all in this together. Life can be lonely, and it can hurt sometimes, but it doesn’t have to, and it won’t forever. Or that’s the hope, anyway.

  • http://twitter.com/LauraWearsHats Laura

    As John Green says in his novel ‘Looking For Alaska’ – the only way out out the labyrinth of suffering, is to forgive. So at some point, you have to understand that the bullies are people with their own hopes, dreams, flaws and emotions. At some point, although it’s so fucking hard, you have to forgive them and move on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/321STARS Mark Effing Bryan

    First off, holy fucking shit Amanda, amazing post. I want to see something come of this, especially from someone like you.

    Anyway, I guess since we’re all telling stories, I’ll hop on. I don’t know much about internet hate because I never really had to deal with it, as all of my experience with unwanted and undeserved hate happened in the days before social networking was even invented. Pre-myspace, even. But I’m sure it’ll at least be relevant.

    So I was bullied (I really hate that word, it’s such an idiotic term) constantly between the ages of five and sixteen. I never did anything to really deserve it, at least nothing I knew of. I was always the introverted, softspoken kid who would be happier reading a book rather than talking to other people that weren’t very similar to myself. I was incredibly uncoordinated and I “ran like a girl.” To this day I don’t run in public places. I also should mention that I’ve always lived in the deep south, so a lot of these traits are a little, er, “looked down upon” by certain people.

    Kintergarten through second grade wasn’t too bad. I got the usual playground death threats, the getting picked last for every game in gym, etc. Nothing you don’t see in hilarious, awkward teen comedies, except I always cried. I was a huge fucking crybaby. I’d cry when people would make fun of me, pick me last, if I’d get a question wrong on a spelling test.

    At the time, I lived on a cul-de-sac, back in the period where neighbors knew each other and interacted, and everyone knew everyone. A lot of the kids were inexplicably mean to me but only when it wasn’t a one-on-one situation. One of them that I considered my best friend for years had a phase for a few months where he would do horrible, vindictive things to me repeatedly and it didn’t really do much good for me.

    During second grade, I moved to another state, another school. Kids started getting clique-y. I came in in the middle of a school year, so I was the outsider. I fit well into that role, though, so it worked out. I was still the crybaby, though, and I still cried a lot at school. A lot of kids descended on this and made it hard for me to deal with, but things were mostly fine on and off until fifth grade, when for reasons unknown, 80% of my homeroom class liked to deliberately make me feel miserable. I can’t even recall how or why, but they did it, and it seemed systematic. Routine exclusion, fake-out face-punches, blaming me for things, etc.

    Halfway through fifth grade, I moved again. The rest of fifth grade was not good for me, as I was pretty much the only kid who hadn’t had “THE TALK” yet and so I was behind in every non-academic recpect, though that was pretty typical for me.

    Middle school was by far the worst for me. Once I made friends, we formed a very tight group that was uniformly despised by the rest of the school for one reason or another. We were the nerds, I guess. But I was kind of the target in that target group. It wasn’t fun, to say the least. I lost friends I had made in fifth grade because of the ongoing clique war and it got to the point where I started being called new nicknames, including “faggot.” I didn’t know what it meant. I knew it was bad. I eventually figured it out when people started to talk to me with a lisp (that I didn’t even realize I had) and made dick-sucking gestures at me.

    Teachers, of course, got tired of my constant distress and stopped trying to help after awhile and I ended up being on first-name basis with the principal, the guidance, counselor, etc. I would be in there practically one day out of every week trying to have something done until I eventually gave up trying to make things better for myself by the end of sixth grade. In seventh grade, someone on our football team asked me if I was queer, and I was reading a lot of Roald Dahl at the time, so I said yes, I am very queer, embracing my weirdness. It backfired because it turns out that “queer” is a synonym for “faggot” so now I had admitted to something they had been saying about me the whole time when I didn’t even think I was one of those. I remember having a panic attack right after the incident in class, not being able to breathe while the teacher was out of the room, the other students making a show of me while I just sat there and cried and screamed for five minutes.

    My parents noticed by this point that I was turning inward rapidly; I never did anything out of the house and only left my bedroom for meals. I remember taking random board games and lego figures and making stories and other games out of the various pieces and boards for hours on end, blasting any number of bizarre CDs nobody else had heard of, Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, Frank Zappa’s Leather album, Enya. At about the same time, my parents started to argue a lot. Turns out my mom was an alcoholic and had been since shortly after my brother was born (if not before) and it had been quietly tearing my family apart, so I was often dragged into the fights.

    A group of kids at school who had basically identified themselves as my main tormentors realized that they’d never get in trouble for anything so they even talked out loud about me in classes I had with them. They’d know which lunchbox was mine, what backpack was mine, and I’d find little notes in them, fake-flirting with me, saying raunchy things that I didn’t even understand until years later. It was about the same time that my grades started to rapidly decline from the usual straight A’s to C’s and D’s, and I eventually, in a fit of anger and terror during one of my parents’ arguments, screamed that I wanted very much to just kill myself and see how sorry everyone else would be.

    Nothing got better.

    So I learned in the middle of 8th grade that I’d be moving away again. During the last week of school, I got brave. I decided, you know, I’m never going to see these fucks again. Time to fight back. So I decided to have a hand at playing their game. I knew what designated a “faggot.” Pink. Liking girl things. Awkwardness. Lisps. So when one of them called me a faggot that week, I called him out on his pink shirt. Faggot. That week, he started pushing me up against lockers in the hall in a rage, and I’d just laugh and scream “OH THE PAIN AND THE MISERY, OH MY GOODNESS” and fake pain for everyone to watch, and it seemed to work. To this day, i call that week one of the best in my life.

    I move to another state for high school. Things are strangely simple. Nobody says shitty things to me. And then Katrina hits in sophomore year, so I go to another school in another state for a month or two while Louisiana recovers and my high school reopens. During that month, I realize that I, in fact, like men. I don’t know how I didn’t figure it out before, but I did. Things started to make sense.

    I came out to friends. They already knew. I eventually got a boyfriend. But then the rumormill kicked into high gear. I was the only kid out at my high school, apparently, especially who didn’t give a shit about it. I was still physically awkward, and I remember my gym clothes fitting so awkwardly, making it look like I had a permaboner all the time. The guys would get on me for it, really, really bad. A lot of the girls, too. Then the rest of the more popular kids jumped in on it. It became a game to everyone to make the gay kid feel awkward. Then, one day, I decided to fight back again. During one of the little tirades against me in P.E. by some vapid cheerleader with a wheezy laugh, I interrupted her during one of her donkey-giggles and calmly asked her if her laugh was always like that or if she crushed her voicebox on her boyfriend’s dick like the little slut she is.

    People left me alone from then on. It felt fantastic. I still don’t know if it was the right solution, but I realized then that the only way you can get out of that kind of situation is to play dirty and fight back. Make them an equal to you. Use your own position as helpless victim to pull the rug out from under them and make a show out of it. So I eventually started making more friends because I started talking to people, learning how to interact and hold my own better.

    So, yeah. A bit long, I know, but maybe that last part was relevant. How to survive: work up the courage to fight back. For one moment, let yourself go and set everyone that torments you figuratively on fire. Take pleasure as you watch them burn for just one moment for the millions of times they’ve done it to you. Take heart knowing that their words will not kill you, and that yours can do the same damage theirs can.

    Let them know you refuse to play the silent victim. Don’t give them the satisfaction of knowing that they’re winning. Shit in their mouths instead. And then turn around and walk away knowing you and your tormentors are equals, even if for a moment.

    How to survive: Fight.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=501009333 Sarah-Louise Kelly

    Hi Amanda

    Unfortunately, I did go to school at a time when the internet was really starting to boom. I was a Myspace and MSN kid, my friends and I all had each other added on these things and it was our primary source of communication outside of school.

    I was bullied right through school, from age 5 to 15. I still struggle to accept that it wasn’t my fault despite being 23. I still feel like I must have done something to make people consistently hate me. I mean, I even moved COUNTRY and the people from different fucking countries hated me. I really didn’t understand, I’m outspoken now but I wasn’t then. I was different, I suffer from Dyspraxia which makes my thought and speech patterns really strange and I struggled to walk in straight lines/do gym class. It might have been that. It was more likely that I was just vulnerable, a victim. My father sexually abused me throughout my childhood and I think the vulnerability and general fear of everybody just made me an instant target.

    Anyway, the girls in my group of friends turned on me. They did this a lot to people and I guess it was my turn. It was bad enough eating alone in the cafeteria, having nobody choose to sit with me in any of my classes, having nothing to do at weekends because I’d become something of a leper but then I’d go online to try and connect with people that knew me outside of school, that didn’t know I was a massive freak. I posted a blog on Myspace, it was a kind of meme that a lot of people that I had added were doing; ’50 things I like about myself’. When you’re 15 and the whole world seems against you, it’s hard to come up with 5 things nevermind 50 but I accepted, embraced and completed the challenge. I posted it up and within hours one of the ex-friends had commented with 50 things she hated about me. It seems silly and infantile and it was but even now, as a grown adult, I’d be devastated if somebody could think of 50 reasons to hate me. And that was just the beginning. I’d get strange accounts messaging me on MSN telling me I was a freak, I deserved to be a cutter, I’ll never amount to anything and on top of all of that I was apparently ugly.

    Once the girls from my ex-group of friends stopped, bullies from school, ones that had always hated me found my addresses, my accounts and I was inundated with hate messages. I felt like I was in a neverending circle of hatred. I’d go to school, get bullied, come home, go online, get bullied, check my voicemail, messages of hate and I suppose I could have not gone online but… I was self-loathing and self-destructive and didn’t really want to protect myself. I’d run out of the strength to. I just wanted it to stop.

    So I left. I was a clever kid who had no qualifications to prove it but I was finally free of them and for a long time it was fine, I had around 3 years of radio silence until someone in a new group of friends in a new city took a dislike to me and it started all over again. 3 people who were once friends were finding any way to contact me, to make me feel 2 inches tall and I responded. Which I shouldn’t have. Not feeding the trolls is hard to do especially when those trolls are people you actually know but responding gave them more ammo. Nothing I said got through to them, it just made them even more desperate to hurt me.

    And now, 9 years after my first incident and 2 years after my last, I finally have a hold on internet bullying. I have had people from college do it, people who don’t know me, people hiding behind anonymous and it can be anything from ‘you’re really fat, you shouldn’t be body confident because fat isn’t something to be proud of’ to ‘you probably begged your dad to rape you.’

    It hurts. It’s hard to escape when the internet allows for anonymity and endless ways to contact people- especially those who are very prominent online and base their whole careers around it. It’s hard to ignore the hatred and to be honest, I don’t ever. I’m not that kind of person. I don’t, however, respond. If someone thinks so little of me that they can say I asked to be raped, I’ll never change their mind on me and my words will just be used against me, no matter what I say.

    And then I deal with the inner pain and there’s a fuckload of it. It brings back sad memories, it makes me doubt myself and my worth, it makes me doubt whether I’ll ever be able to get away from bullies (answer: nope). John Green said in (I think) The Fault In Our Stars ‘Pain demands to be felt’ and it does. I don’t hide my feelings or push them away at-all. I feel. I write. I cry. I listen to music (a lot of yours helps.) I scream out loud if I need to and then I speak to my mother, my boyfriend, my best friends. I don’t usually tell them what’s happened, I just know who to turn to for comfort.

    I don’t think it’ll ever get easier reading cold words about myself, especially poorly constructed character assassinations but ignoring them does make a difference. They do give up, eventually. Just don’t ignore your own pain because that shit comes back to bite your ass.

    And as I always, always say to artists, friends and family who are getting a hard time for being themselves or going against the grain even if, like me, it’s inadvertently. Or it was. ‘if you’re pissing them off, you’re doing something right.’

    I love you Amanda, thank you for being part of what’s made me a stronger person who embraces being a freak. Artists like you, films like Hedwig and the Angry Inch, friends like mine, they make being a freak feel like a fucking honour instead of an ailment.

    Take care of you. xx

  • The Pinata Sepai

    I was bullied quite regularly through my time at a ‘good’ private school in Australia. The punchings, hassling, insults were one of the constants of that time. I never really fit in anywhere, even in the theatre and music groups, where other outcasts and misfits found acceptance. Alone, amongst so many people. Telling teachers did nothing. They believed that bullying was ‘not a problem.’
    My coping mechanism of the time was to escape to the library during every recess and lunch, disappearing into the student free rooms, as somehow, some of the teachers accepted me. I dreamed so often of standing up for myself, retaliating with the violence that was thrown my way.
    I survived. Oddly, looking back, I never had suicidal thoughts. When I made to university, many things changed for the better.

    These days, I spend time on Reddit, observing the vitriol and inanity generated by people who seem to revel in the freedom to post anything they like, with no repercussions. There are times when I ignore my messages, knowing that I have said something that will offend the Hive Mind (anything which highlights racism, sexism, or even just general idiocy), and other times, when I have the strength, to call people on their moronic behaviour.
    ps. Disqus is painful and hurts my brain.

  • http://twitter.com/Karinjuxis Karina Loza

    I’ve been bullied in school. Mostly by girls in my class, and mostly by cutting me out, hissing at me, back-talking and back-stabbing. The first time it happened I was about 14 (a bit more than 20 years ago). I am an only child, my parents were always busy, absent, at work. I had no one to talk to. No one to ask the most disturbing question – why? what did I do? I had never heard of bullying back then. At one moment I snapped and tried killing myself by taking pills I found in medicine box at home. Luckily, it didn’t work, nothing happened, just a long nap, I was home alone, my parents still don’t know. I’ve been through bulimia, depression, apathy, suicidal thoughts. Then I started building my “armour”, I’ve grown stronger. I’ve learned not to rely on other’s opinion of me. People were given tongue, so they use it, some for good, some for bad. I am what I am, regardless of their opinion. The most important advice I could give to my teenage self would be – soar above it, this too shall pass.

  • subgirl

    I don’t normally comment on things like this or at all anymore because the iPhone plays so poorly with comment forms but I had to say something.

    My story of bullying in school is long and would take the gig free on my phone to explain it, but it was not just the same kids I was in class with for 11 years (small town, big school. Complicated.) that continued to torture me into HS. I couldn’t transfer schools and I was very poor and couldn’t afford private school (the only option aside from the school I was in or homeschooling. But my parents have issues remembering my name so them teaching me would be a joke.) so I had zero options. The school itself was against me. I had mono one year and while home sick got severe carbon monoxide poisoning and nearly died. Needless to say I was absent a lot. The school took my parents to court for truancy, despite my still high grades. There was one art class. There was football for toddlers on up, same with cheerleading. I was not a cheerleader so I must be a delinquent, but I had such good grades, and delinquents don’t study according to the admin.

    Anyway I had gotten used to not going to school while sick and teaching myself what I needed to know from books and research so after another crap year of trying to make it work and being sick all the time to not have to go to school, I decided to quit.

    Yes, quitting HS is (sort of) an option. I quit my sophomore year and at that time you had to be 16 to take the GED and registered as being schooled so I lied and said I was being homeschooled and saved my pennies for the few months until I turned 16 and could take that test. I took the test and passed (it was way easier than the classes I had been taking.) and enrolled immediately in Community College. There I found my niche and the other students were fighting too hard for the learning and paying too much to be assholes during class so I actually thrived. Granted I was a freak there too, being half the age of most of the adult students, but it didn’t really matter as much there. Everyone had baggage and just wanted to get on with things.

    I sometimes miss that I didn’t walk in graduation or have senior pictures taken and I don’t get to go to reunions, but I forget with distance and time that those people were the reason I quit and why the fuck would I want to see them again?

    So there may be a way if not through HS, then around it. I had to deal with a lot of judgement and the path I chose wasn’t easy (taking the ACT without having seen 90% of the curriculum it covered was not fun), but it certainly was better than the only other option. I could not see me lasting another year in that hell.

    I look back and see myself before the GED & community college in these stories. Having that option, making that choice, saved my life. Maybe it can help someone else.

    (Just for the record, I now have three college degrees and proved every one of those fuckheads as well as my MIL who thought I was a “stupid dropout” wrong.)

  • Bec

    Sadly, I can’t ever see a time when bullying won’t exist in one form or another. So I think the best and only solution is to focus on the victims, teaching them more effective coping mechanisms and making them feel comfortable enough to reach out to the support networks available to them. Likewise, we all need to get better at looking for signs of distress in our friends/family/classmates/etc. It’s been a few years since I was in school, but it doesn’t seem like much has changed – most of the focus is still on trying to identify bullies and punish them. But it’s not working. If bullying really is cyclical, where bullies are also victims, then by putting more effort into helping the victims we may also be breaking the vicious cycle. Or at least we might save a few teenage lives, who will hopefully graduate high school and realise there’s a whole world out there beyond the classroom, facebook, twitter, etc, and it’s definitely worth living.

  • watchmeboogie

    Amanda, I’ve been wondering… to what extent did your out-of-school life support and strengthen you so that you could get through it? I ask because I was just bullied all the time – by kids in school and by my mother at home. By my boss at my job. Random kids from my school, kids I didn’t even know, would yell shit at me walking down the street. Actually writing that, I guess maybe it’s similar to these kids not being able to unplug? Being bullied by your parents is different than being bullied by randoms. I feel like if you have a loving/supportive home life, it can build a thicker skin. If you’re cowering all the time, you never get the chance to build up callouses.

    But then again, regardless, if the Internet had existed back then (I’m 3 years older than you), I can’t even imagine. I tried to kill myself a couple of times anyway but probably would have tried more often (and been successful, due to the handy Internet). These kids now… I have a cousin who’s 15 and everything is just out there 24/7, there’s no escape. And it’s there FOREVER, which is so many kinds of fucked up I can’t even. They’re just KIDS. I still have all my high school journals and if any of that was immortalized on the Internet I’d freaking die.

    Ugh, I don’t know… this is such a tough subject. I ache for these poor kids. One thing that I think is SO IMPORTANT, and sadly unfixable, is the perspective of time. WE see that high school is just 4 years, but their brains aren’t capable of processing time the same way. It’s their whole life, it’s an eternity. The fact that they will feel differently at 25 means nothing to them – 25 is, like, kinda old.

    The other thing you said above is so fucking important and damn I wish I’d learned it earlier than 3 years ago: that everyone is afraid. Everyone is terrified that at any moment, everyone is going to find out that they’re actually full of shit. WHY do they not teach you that on the first fucking day of school? It’s so important. When I think of how much time in my life I’ve spent terrified… of people who were just as pants-peeingly afraid as me. It’s kind of hilarious and kind of infuriating, all at the same time.

    I’ve babbled long enough but this is a really good conversation and once again, got to say it, the world is a better fucking place because you’re in it, Amanda. Anyone who gives you hate, think about the unhappiness inside them that they would look at love and hate it. <3 Love you.

    • http://twitter.com/LittleJanelleS Janelle Sheetz

      My best friend was bullied by her dad. I cannot believe some of the things he used to say to her, including telling her to kill herself. Fortunately for her, friends and school were actually an escape. One of our favorite teachers used to let her sit alone in his classroom and just cry when she needed to get it out. He tried to intervene when he heard her dad verbally abusing her at school, but the principal said it wasn’t their place. People who perpetuate that need to lose their jobs.

      • watchmeboogie

        Thank you for sharing that. It’s what made me first give up on religion, the fact that I begged God for help every day and no help ever came. Schools couldn’t help, either. This sweet young substitute when I was in 6th grade hollered at my class because they bullied me until I sobbed. It just made it worse, the other kids now had “ooh teacher’s pet” to add to the chorus of insults. It makes me so sad to think that she must have been bullied herself as a kid, the way she reacted. I’d probably holler the same way, and be about as effective. Frell, the whole thing is so sad, people are so fragile inside.

        I don’t know what my point is except thank you for reading, and for replying, and I hope that your best friend is okay. How is her relationship with her dad now?

        • http://twitter.com/LittleJanelleS Janelle Sheetz

          It’s hard to say definitively. He still can be pretty terrible and she normally doesn’t interact with him, but sometimes it goes well when she does. Most recently she had some problems with him, but as far as I know, it was more general douchery (he told her to just get a boyfriend while her husband is away with the Navy if she’s gonna miss him. Um…) rather than actual verbal abuse.

          She got married quickly in a small legal ceremony due to the Navy thing, but she’s still planning a big reception for the summer. She keeps going back and forth on whether or not to invite him.

          And one quick fun fact: her dog, who’s an adorable, friendly, rambunctious beagle, does not like him at all.

        • http://twitter.com/LittleJanelleS Janelle Sheetz

          I could swear I replied to this, but I see no reply here!

          In case it got eaten, short version: there are still some problems sometimes and she not close to him or anything, but it’s better than it was. Probably helps that her parents have also since divorced, so contact now is more limited. In high school, she even spent some time living with a friend.

          She got married in a fast legal ceremony to make sure it was done before her husband leaves with the Navy this month but is still planning a big summer reception. She still goes back and forth about whether or not to invite him.

          Fun fact: her beagle, who is normally a very friendly dog, does not like her dad at all.

    • http://ashshields.tumblr.com/ Ash Shields

      There’s a book from the 70s, Future Shock, that covers a bit of what you say. It makes the point that, to an adult of, say, 25, high school is only a fifth of their life, whereas to someone currently in it, at, say, sixteen, it’s about a third – more, if you consider primary (or elementary, depending on where you live).

      • watchmeboogie

        That’s really interesting – thank you for sharing, I’ll look it up.

  • jdalts

    As a mother and teacher of teenagers I believe the best strategy is to talk and to listen. Always. Share stories. Use your sphere of influence – however big or small – to ensure people know they’re not alone.
    And never, ever accept bullying – either directly or by being a silent bystander. So often there is a very fine line between bully and bullied. Both need support. The bully needs support in developing empathy. Hearing and seeing their effect on others. If a young person hasn’t developed this empathy, it’s not their fault. It’s the role of society and communities to ensure they do and to ensure we don’t give up on either party. Then we may have hope for raising the kind of compassionate adults we all wish to be surrounded by.

  • Rachel2

    Oddly I’ve been ruminating on this recently. Specifically revisiting in detail the experience of Rebecca Watson from Boston, founder of Skepchick and prominent atheist/skeptic speaker. One little sentence spoken on a YouTube video: “Guys, don’t do that,” brought down the wrath of the internet upon her. She had been at a conference, and after a long conversation with a group of people at a bar, decided to go to bed at 4am. A guy she’d never spoken with got in the elevator with her (just them, no-one else) and asked if she’d like to go to his room for coffee. She never named him, she simply said, publicly, “Guys, don’t do that”.

    The result has been a never ending stream of insults, threats on her life, threats to sexually assault her- some credible- YouTube videos discussing what a bitch she is. She now gives talks about her experience of this, the reaction of conference organisers, the police and others, and how she manages her life post “Elevatorgate” as it’s been dubbed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Ez8gs-C53ic#t=293s
    (actually watching it back, the abuse started WAY before that, it just became a deluge at that point).

    Three things:

    1. You can always turn the computer off. I’m not a fan of Ani’s more recent albums but a lyric does come to mind “Remember you can always go outside/really, REALLY far outside”.

    2. What someone writes on the internet is enshrined forever, long after they’ve moved on or forgotten all about it. Most people aren’t big enough to admit when they’ve changed their minds, so who knows what that blogger thinks of you now? If you’re a douche, you spit vitriol and move on. Think of it as a pain-vomit. They ate bad oysters in life and are bringing it up on you. Wash it off and move on- they certainly have.

    3. Don’t shut up. Don’t ever let them silence you. This is why Rebecca Watson impresses me so much. Rather than shrinking away from the limelight, she is now not only continuing her regular work, but calling out this bullying behaviour in public. It’s made her louder, not quieter. Internet bullying shines a spotlight, a saved, traceable spotlight, on the idiots out there. Good. We can learn from this.

    Last word to Ani:

    We just call it like we see it, call it out loud as we can/
    then afterwards we call it all water over the dam.

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.remington.75 James Remington

    Hi Amanda. This is the first I have heard of amanda todd, and that alone makes me sad. Coming from a high school experience where I was the target of bullies and creeps I think I can understand a small part of the hopelessness she felt. I too wish that someone could have reached out to her and let her know that she was not alone. There are a lot of us “weirdos” out there, and we will understand and accept her FOR WHO SHE IS! Maybe someone should start a blog/wiki/skype/internet support group where we “society fringers” can get together and lend support.
    I’m an art teacher in an elementary school and I see hundreds of kids each day.

    I am going to use her memory to further inspire me to help those I see struggling, and offer them a friendly smile, or a pat on the back, or just an acknowledgement that I notice them.

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention, I will not let her story be forgotten, and I will try to use this tragedy to inspire a little change.

    Every bit helps right?
    Keep being Amanda Fucking Palmer. She is pretty fucking awesome!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mhoram.freeman Mhoram Freeman

    Large numbers of people here on the internet mock and insult Amanda Todd for being unable to take what happened to her. They like to go on about how easily they would have shrugged it all off. Perhaps they are right about that, but they are sadly missing the point. What only bends one person, breaks another. Amanda Todd reached her breaking point. Criticising her for that is vicious.

    It’s sad that there were not enough people trying to help her, making an effort to show they care about her, until it was too late. Hers was an avoidable death. But I think the lesson to be best taken away from it is what I already said: what bends one person, breaks another. That’s an important thing for people to know.

    I haven’t personally experienced vast amounts of internet hate. I get a bit, here and there, but not enough to really affect me. I’m quite sure however there’d be a point where hatred from complete strangers would in fact affect me as it did Amanda Todd. Because we humans are social creatures. Without community we struggle to survive, the handful of hermit exceptions notwithstanding. Due to my experiences with homelessness, I can understand this quite well. When one is isolated from and ignored by the community, it opens up considerable wounds in one’s mind. It triggers a strong sense of despair. I can’t imagine how much worse it must be when the community actively turns against you. I don’t think it’s something anyone should ever have to deal with, but inevitably it’ll happen from time to time. All we can really do about it, I think, is try and be compassionate about it, and reach out to those who suffer like this when we see them.

    – Mhoram.

  • JuliaLarson

    Best advice I have is support ANYONE & EVERYONE you see being bullied. We can & will lessen the number of bullies out there, but they will always be present in some number & some way. THE best thing we can do is PROMISE to stand up for anyone you see being bullied. In the end it’s not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends that most breaks our hearts. Like Amanda Todd, bullied people feel alone & sad, are looking for & NEED support from kind people. When they don’t find it, they are overcome w/ hopelessness, sometimes driven to suicide. We can show love to our fellow human beings & lessen their suffering, while also standing up to, defeating & weakening the numbers of bullies causing true suffering. We just have to make a pledge to do so.

  • Genya

    I’m from Canada where when Amanda Todd died there was a pretty big discussion on bullying & suicide nationwide. In high school I was an ‘outsider’ due to my very nerdy interests and was hopeless to fit in and can sympathize when if I could just do anything and everything to be accepted I would. A few things that helped then and now were/are.. (Now free from HS it is much much easier to manage and make my own choices)

    1. I had to stop actually caring what other people said about me when it wasn’t there approval I needed. Once I could more or less stop fixating on that unhealthy conversation that helped a lot.
    2. Paying it forward. Reaching out to others who were also being teased and tormented seemed to help lessen the impact of the blows.
    3. You need to talk about it. Be honest, say this is happening to you. This may be the hardest part when you are feeling hurt and misunderstood but is crucial.
    4. One of the biggest things I think for teenagers, or maybe it’s just me – I didn’t know how to explain what I was feeling/thinking all of the time. I could talk forever about anything but that. I bottled it up rather then dealt with it…

    I focus on being content/satisfied with my life. Amanda, I’ve always admired that you don’t let “it” (world/peer pressure/cynicism/etc..) grind you down. Please keep being you and beating you drum. It matters.

  • Heidi

    I’m not sure if this will help or is even what you asked for but I want to share something that I find helps me: For every hateful/mean/negative comment that comes your way, do something nice for someone else. It can be as little as sending a text to a friend you haven’t spoken to in awhile that simply says, “Hope you’re having a great day!” (sending this message to people on tumblr, facebook etc works too) or even just donating your loose change to a charity. Find something that you’re comfortable with doing and do it. Doing something to make either the world better or just someone’s day better can make you feel so much better.

  • The_Pip

    High School was a living hell for me. A year or two later, after flunking out of college due to no confidence, I ran into a shit that used to dump on me. And he “felt bad” and “Had changed”. He had a kid and was a different person. Yeah, sorry, I wasn’t feeling it, nor feeling bad for him. I ran into another bully about a year later. He ended up getting transferred in to be my boss. He remembered me and he addressed it simply “yeah we used pick on you, but it was all fun.” NO IT WAS NOT. I have not gone to any of my high school reunions because of asshole #1. I can’t handle a night of apologies. Maybe it’s my weakness and flaw, but I am not forgiving. I’d kill the third person that apologized. Where were your apologies when I had the knife to my skin and contemplating suicide? Fuck You assholes.

    I have learned from watching many of these “Political” or “Celebrity” scandals that apologies are a completely selfish act that have no impact or bearing on anything. They are hollow words designed to make the Criminal feel better about themselves. Actions matter. Anyone can say “I’m sorry I hurt you”, but it takes real courage and a real grown-up to actually change your behavior. That’s all that matters. Rush Limbaugh can apologize all he wants, it’s not worth anything because he’ll never stop being a mean and horrible person.

    I cry happy tears over the anti-bullying movement. I cannot imagine going through what I did in the internet age. I understand the criticisms of the movement, but I don’t care. Kids need to be spared this crap. We can be better people and kids can learn from the mistakes of their parents. There might not be anything that can be done about my pain, but I can make sure my kid is on neither side of that Bully-Victim dynamic.

    I’ve stared over that abyss and I don’t wish it upon anyone. I still hurt, I hurt so much, and I feel I’ve made no progress with my life since I clung so desperately to hope at 19. But I fight on, I have to. I have to make it worthwhile for that scared 19 year old me. It may take another 30years before I say yeah, you did it kid it was worth it, but I have to make it worth it. No matter how bad I suck, or fail.

    Thank you Amanda

    PS- I hate my old HS so much I want to leave them a very bad review on Yelp. I can do this. I haven;t yet. But I’m sure I will. Private schools are horrible places. Never send your kid to one. Save your money and spend it one their college education. The teachers were the worst bullies of all. They could fuck up your life with one call to your parents. Just because they felt spiteful, and needed to feel powerful after you proved them wrong about something. They could stand back and let shit happen, not giving any sympathy, and seeing the weakness the Bullies see and jumping on in the herd mentality.

  • http://twitter.com/MFennVT M. Fenn

    Thanks for this, Amanda. I’ve been online since 1996 (just turned 50). I haven’t really had to deal with internet hatred yet (other than arguing with trolls on FB, which feels more like swatting flies than anything else). This new writing thing I’m doing has me wondering when it’ll start, though, because I’m more public online now than I ever have been before. My coping strategy? Besides my own awesome support team, my “real self” (so to speak) has her own locked-down journal. Kind of a safe neighborhood wherein I can center myself and only people I trust are allowed.

  • Jehssuda

    Two brave women who have been through intense cyberbulling and came out the other side talking about their experience: http://lacigreen.tumblr.com/post/38343928590/what-happened-last-summer


    I hope it helps someone. I feel afraid sometimes of putting my work out there (like Laci and Anita) and having to deal with not critics of my work but personal attacks and invasion of my personal life. Bullying has effects not just on those who suffered directly from it but also spreading fear and threatening creativity and the simple act of expressing one self truly.

    These two people have given me courage. And so have you, Amanda.

  • http://twitter.com/brittanyawillis Brittany Willis

    I’m twenty four. I’ve lost friends and family to all sorts of terrible things from ovarian cancer to car wrecks and to this day I could cry more over thinking about junior high than some of those tragic deaths. Not because they were unimportant to me, but because thinking back to junior high also transports my squishy feelingy guts to a time when I was completely vulnerable and completely torn apart. You know that old torture thing? Where they would tie each limb to a different horse and make them travel in opposite directions? (Was that a real thing or am I making that up?) That’s how it felt. And I was lucky. I didn’t come home to Facebook. I had supportive parents whose hearts hurt with me. They also thought it was a part of growing up. And maybe it is, in a sense. People will attack us and reject us for all of our lives. I’m not saying it’s right, by any means, but we all have dealt with it.

    As a child, I was an escapist. I read. Obsessively. Anything I could get my hands on and extra points if the hero was tiny or bullied and finally stood up for himself. And then I moved on to other things. Art. Performance. And over time I became good at it. I learned to deal with rejection. A scathing review could probably make me collapse any day, whirl me back to junior high, except I also have a brilliant support system of artists and friends who fight for me to keep fighting every day.

    Now kids can’t escape bullying. It follows them. Or it’s in their homes. so many people have been taught they’re worthless and that is the greatest tragedy of all. No one is worthless.

    I love this “how to deal” kind of idea but I think, more than anything, kids need an online presence specifically for them. Run by someone older who can be there as a mentor. A community of all ages that can be a haven when they come home from bullying and go online to bullying. Not an attack group, a haven. I’d be more than willing to start one if I knew the best social network to use. I’m drawn to Tumblr but that’s not very…community presence, except for the following.

    • http://twitter.com/brittanyawillis Brittany Willis

      Actually, now that I’ve thought about it a minute. What about a forum? something like that where it could be divided into threads based on interest if need be? That way it isn’t just necessarily about anti-bullying but also about supporting people in their personal interests. I don’t know. Ideas? Or is this even a solid idea? Or has someone already had it?

  • Trixi

    I’ve been bullied in real life and online. I’ve been told to kill myself a couple of times. I’ve been called a liar when all I did was tell the truth. It all has hurt A LOT. Most people on the internet (and in real life) hate those who are honest and real. It’s as if they hate others who talk about their insecurities and problems because they don’t want to face theirs or they can’t be open about them. It took me a long time before I realized that even though I sometimes cave in and self-harm or stick my fingers down my throat, I’m doing better than them because I accept myself and all my problems. I don’t need to degrade others to feel better about myself.

    My coping mechanism as always been art in all its forms. I’ve put my sufferings into words, drawings, photography. Whenever I get another message from someone telling me my poems helped them, I feel great. Mission accomplished! Writing them has helped me, and I’ve always hoped that reading them has the same effect on others. Art is what kept me going when I was hospitalized. I read tons of books, I listened to tons of music. All of that to get better. I take photos of the most bizarre and broken things to show their beauty. I do that because I think we’re all broken and that’s what makes us beautiful. Some of us can just deal with being broken a bit better than others.

    One of my friends said this a few days ago, “We are all human, we all are happy sometimes, we all get angry
    sometimes. The internet is made for people who cannot accept this.” I guess he was right.

  • dootsiebug

    It doesn’t matter what the story is.
    Everyone will bore of it. The story will change. It will be onto someone else, some other scandal.

  • ellen

    I send you emails about how I’m doing. Even though you probably won’t reply, it’s nice to vent without being told I’m being a bitch or lying about what he did to me. You help a lot of people. Stay weird.

  • James G

    A friend sent me this video, and it was totally worth watching: http://lifehacker.com/5915498/if-you-respond-only-to-ass+hats-your-life-will-soon-be-full-of-ass+hats

    And it’s true, and it’s one of the more proactive things you can do. Just stop feeding the jerks, stop dealing with them. But it’s pretty impractical. If you don’t have a thick skin for it, you are going to be hurting when you process the things people say to and about you. I know I don’t have a thick enough skin, and I’m 40.

    I love this article: http://incisive.nu/2012/how-to-kill-a-troll/ Basically, all you can respond with is love. That’s it, because there is not better response. They put it better in that post, but it’s true. If I had thought compassionately about the people who treated me like crap over the years (and no, not everyone has treated me like crap, but there were plenty along the way), or been a little more proactive with the times I had a choice in what to do about it, I would have been much better off, and the issues and pain would have ended sooner. For the real physical people in my life who have done bad things, it would have taken courage. And at times, I have had that courage, and at times I have not. I know which ones I have been more proud of in my life, and when those people are no longer a part of my life, that pride and self-respect remain. So have the courage to love those people, sometime wielding that love like a sword to cut their hearts out.

    Would you have tried to help that girl? Most likely. But how do you scale it? How do you deal with so many people and sort out who you have the time for (even the moment for an @reply) and who not to? Perhaps with her, it would have been so obvious, but with other people it isn’t. I don’t get the impression you are beating yourself up over it, but it’s hard to scale such things. You don’t have the time to find every person who is broken on the internet. You may have the heart to try, but you won’t find them. Many of them don’t know how to say their are broken. Many of them don’t like you (or me or anyone) and so they troll. They try to make you like them, angry and bitter and wasteful. They try to bring you down to their level, and all that crap they talked about in high school. Yes, when they talk about stooping to their lower level, it’s true, which is infuriating, because what they don’t have is a way of fixing it. They don’t give you solutions, just the passive direction. Don’t stoop to their level, but they won’t stop if you just sit and take it.

    Maybe some of the solution is to actively, DEFIANTLY, AGGRESSIVELY not read their crap. Do your art and do your thing so loudly and so defiantly that you not only blow them away, you don’t even notice them. I am reading this book for me, but I’m doing it against you. I can’t hear how much you don’t like my music because I am rocking out so hard over here. I don’t have time to deal with your anger issues because my fingers are typing something beautiful that is going to help people, rather than typing a response that won’t make anyone feel better.

    I don’t know if you read this far, but that little paragraph… I’m a little proud of that too.

  • Brian L

    Shortly after my parents divorce, I was bullied, not online, but offline. I had no friends through middle school and high school. The one time it got physical, I defended myself. I felt unwanted, and still do to this day. While I never attempted suicide, the thought crossed my mind a number of times back in school. Instead, I faded into obscurity, where no one notices me, where no one knows me. I decided to stay alive out of spite.

  • GJ

    I’m 24 and fortunately grew up in a time where technology was growing, but the most social interaction I got was chatting, so I didn’t experience the cyber bullying until a few years ago.

    I met my current boyfriend when I was 17, but about 3 or 4 years ago we had a long break up in which we continued seeing our friends in common and interacting with them in forums online, but he was with someone else.

    We used to organize contests and activities, some of them very time consuming, and the situation frequently led on to small discussions since not all of us had that much time to spare.

    One of these small discussions escalated from some girl critizicing those who didn’t help for whatever reason to her calling me a slut and accusing me of having sex with my ex boyfriend behind the back of his girlfriend.

    After this situation one of my best friends cut me out if her life for not reason after this and I decided to close my account on the forum and on facebook and no longer keep in touch with that group of people.

    Not only did it hurt that this girl wouldn’t confront me personally if she had suspicions that something was going on, but she manipulated a lot of people into thinking her accusations were true, I found out by a friend… none of them saw necessary to adress me at any time. Most of the rest just didn’t care.

    I’ve thought a lot about this, I had my family, I was still in college and have various other groups of friends by my side, but this destroyed me. I relapsed into cutting. If it weren’t for the escape route that books, movies, art, or games provided I coul’ve ended up much worse. I can’t possibly begin to understand what this does to those who are in their teenage years right now, when things like not having a facebook account means almost shutting yourself out of society.

  • TashaOrlovsky

    While tackling bullying and negativity (on the internet) DOES need some direct attention, the #1 skill I have learned is to RUN AWAY. I hide. I close everything. I unplug my (desktop) computer straight from the wall, safety be damned. Because even if I lost all of my thousands of photos that span 10 years of my life, it’s worth it to preserve my sanity.

    Put yourself first. Comfort yourself. Call a friend. Look around you. Remember why you are loved. If you do not feel loved, make a gratitude list. I am grateful that I have sock. I’m grateful that my feet are standing up to the cold even though I have no socks. I’m grateful that I am out of that bad place I ran from, even though I am homeless. Whatever it is, there is always something. There is always hope.

    I was a cutter. I recently re-read some of my old online postings during the height of my self-injury. Reading about it wasn’t triggering. Writing about it now is. Even if it was only a chemical imbalance that lead me to believe I was only in the world, I was still heart-broken. I was alone in my mind. If I could go back and talk to myself, I would have just listened. If you yourself are not suffering, be an ear. Or be a voice. Tell people that you care. Show them that you care. Be really obvious, because sometimes the pain is too blinding.

    I write my blog and I pray that someone will find help from my story and my words. I hope my positivity will have an impact. I was once contacted by someone asking for help with nutrition and depression. I don’t think they ended up doing anything that I suggested, but the fact that they saw me as a potential ally touched me deeply. If one person can seek my help and then brush me off, that means there are many others that might listen.

    My coping mechanism was cutting. Now I run from negativity when I need to. You can always come back, when you’re ready.

  • damian

    I won’t dwell too much on my backstory, but i was a long term cutter with a suicide attempt at 12.

    My home life was pretty traumatizing and I got picked on a fair amount for being very quiet due to an untreated speech impediment and for showing up to school generally dirty and ill-tended.

    I’ve read through a number of stories here of people who got bullied far worse than I did, mine was just more than I could handle without having anyone to talk to.

    I can laugh a little about my attempt now. One night when I was 12, I took the rest of a bottle of aspirin thinking that was all you needed to do. I took a bunch of pills and tearfully went to bed happy that it was all going to be over. Then the next day I woke up with a stomach ache, but otherwise no worse for wear. I woke up relieved and devastated and emotionally mixed up in ways that I wouldn’t figure out for years.

    That’s about where I stayed emotionally for the rest of my teens. Shamed, and sad, and scared of life, but with enough little victories and triumphs that I was able to hold it together until I moved out and started making a life of my own.

    Things turned around for me when I was 20 and pulled myself together enough that a girl I worked with slept with me and we started dating. I began to build an ego and a circle of true intimates. I’ve had other relationships and got heavily into the burner community and slowly built a family of my choosing. That’s been my resource that got me from being a deeply traumatized teen to a fairly well adjusted post-traumatized 30 year old. Whenever I have flashbacks, or new incidents now, I have people I can turn to who can hug me and pat my head and remind me that I’m awesome.

    There are lots of things I can do for myself when I get triggered. Movies, Books, Running, or Meditating can help me pull myself out of most shame spirals, but what does me the most good when things get too much for me to handle is having a small love list of people I can reach out to. It can be as little as texting a heart or hug to someone knowing that I’ll get one back. One piece of external validation from someone i care about to offset the external criticism and rebalance my universe. Good vibes to fix the bad vibes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/claudius.cluver Claudius Clüver

    What helped me in school was the thought that it would be over someday. My Parents promised me that the big kids school would be better than the little kids school (wich was true in some ways and very false in others) and that University/College/Work would be better than School alltogether. (wich was very true in every way.) They even kept me from believing a teacher who told us that we were having it so good, that this was going to be the best time of our life. He was wrong at least about me and at some time i realized how sad and terrible this opinion was. Poor guy.
    So, to put it short. The way to think about this is: You don’t have to be fine right now. It is okay to be hurt. You are allright, it is not yu or all the people, it is the situation you’re in and some of the people.

    Your goal is not to be happy now, it is to survive this.

    A thing that also helped me was to find nice people. They are hiding somewhere. For me it was accident and real life, but on the internet one could always look for Amanda Palmer fans or Nerdfighters.

    And one last thing: Do not ever think that to be happy, you have to become as hard and cold and mean like everyone else is to you. Look for nice people and be a nice person by yourself. You know how to – just don’t do the things they do and do what you wish someone would.

  • Jessica Malitoris

    Honestly, I found that, when you have no other support community, places on the internet can really get you through things. SOME places. For me, the wonderful literature community on deviantART (it does exist, and though it’s hard to find, there are really wonderful, positive, caring people there) was a really valuable resource when I was being picked on at school, or when I was studying abroad and was trying to sort through something traumatic that happened to me.

    However, I also recently had a reaction similar to yours when faced with hatred on the internet: I just got away from it. I took some time, went and watched an episode of Stargate SG-1, and then came back to the other person’s comment and tried to think about it from their perspective.

    Although I definitely have quite a huge arsenal for dealing with bullying towards myself, I’m definitely still affected by meanies and trolls. And lately I’ve been trying to respond to them, if and when I have to, with love. Well….at the very least, by refusing to cuss back at them and trying to treat them in a respectful manner. And ultimately, I know I’ve got my community, I know there are people out there on the internet who aren’t assholes, and even if this person refuses to be less hateful, I know not everyone is.

  • ExXtian

    Don’t know that I have any strategies to share, since I was a high-schooler LONG before the internet age, but I want to share my story.

    I was a fundie christian as a teenager: not a hateful christian-type, I took Jesus seriously enough to worry about my own sins rather than judging others, but I didn’t cuss and didn’t make (or laugh at) dirty jokes and was an all-around uptight prig. And I was targeted for it.

    A gang of jocks would wait for me on the walk home from school, physically bullying me and terrorizing me with a knife, trying to get me to say one cuss word. I finally gave in (to my shame at the time) and threw them a “damn,” but the bullying only got worse after that. They were there every day. It was a mile home by the shortest route, but I started taking long cuts to avoid them.

    And it wasn’t just them. I was set up on prank “dates” for public mockery. (A date, I should say; I didn’t fall for that twice. Or ever believe a girl could possibly be interested in me.) Textbooks stolen and returned with pages ripped out and hateful messages inside the cover. Even a couple of the teachers made fun of me, in front of the whole class. I’m puzzled to this day: I never proselytized, never preached, never scolded. I was only concerned with my own behavior. I don’t know how or why I generated such venom.

    And I tried to kill myself. Even though I “knew” suicide was a sin and I’d go to hell, I thought I couldn’t take one more day.

    The bullying and mockery didn’t stop after my suicide attempt. (Well, teachers no longer made fun of me. No apologies from them for past behavior, though.)

    But things did get better. I found friends among other outcasts: the fat, the gay, the non-white. And, listening to them, I broadened my mental horizons. I eventually cussed because I wanted to.

    I know now that my rigid religion was an attempt to control the chaos that was my home life — alcoholism, abuse, you name it. At home, I was the lucky one. I never got stabbed or had any bones broken, and the other things that happened (that I’m still not comfortable talking about) wouldn’t have qualified as sexual abuse in those days.

    The kid I was then would annoy the hell out of me today, but there were reasons I was the way I was, and I didn’t deserve the treatment I got.

    I guess the upshot is, have compassion for all the outcasts — even the ones you’d like to cast out.

    And have compassion for those who aren’t outcasts, too. That gang of jocks — something made them act that way. Happy, confident people don’t do that.

  • http://twitter.com/revsean revsean

    I’ve tried to comment about a hundred times since you wrote this. It all sounds so fucking cliche. I was fat. I was genderqueer/trans*. I was smart. I was intuitive and empathetic. I wore a bandana around the leg of my cheap jeans. My mom had a mental breakdown and I had to be the adult.My dad got married five days after the divorce was final. I was being molested by my stepbrother. I was attracted to boys and girls. I read Kazantzakis and Friedan and Shakespeare for fun. I was into ritual, spiritual stuff, the tarot and any religion that moved me to tears.

    All that made me a target for a lot of hatred and meanness. A lot. I wanted to die. I tried to die. I cut. I did drugs. I became a “slut.” I wanted to be loved. I wanted to die. I wanted to be loved. I wanted to die.

    Now I’m 47. Old. :) I’m not a screw up or failure. (even if I can’t quite manage my money or lose the weight.) I have a calling that I love. I am actually respected. I have a partner and a son and a new granddaughter. I am still genderqueer. I am still smart. I am still empathetic and intuitive. I am creative. I make art. I’m actually a minister. Of a (UU) church. For 20 minutes every week, people listen to what I say. Holy shit! They really listen. Sometimes they change their lives–like the guy who came in and said, “Your sermon made me realize that I’m not generous enough, so I’m revising my business plan and life plan to give more stuff away and I wanted you to know.”

    And here’s the thing. It’s like high school is this pressure cooker time when you’re supposed to cut off the parts of you that don’t fit and conform, conform, conform. Only if you look like, sound like, smell like and vomit like everyone else are you a success. You’re supposed to give up every bit of your uniqueness and become a Stepford wife, a clone, a part of the Borg, a perfect fucking consumer who will fill your emptiness with toothpaste and donuts and the best new workout followed by dinner at the Olive Garden.

    I call BULLSHIT. I don’t care if resistance is futile, I’m going to resist anyway. I’m going to be a fucking 47 year old grandfather who listens to Amanda Fucking Palmer and won’t choose a gender and won’t stop loving the things I love and knowing the things I know and making the things I can make. I will be a secret agent in this world, passing as a “normal” but quietly instigating a revolution to destroy the machine that is trying to homogenize us to death. I will leverage every bit of my respectability to help create a world that is more fucking loving and more fucking creative and more fucking beautiful. I will spend my life creating communities where people begin to see that they are meant to be themselves and they can do that. That it’s actually pretty easy to succeed at being yourself. And when you do, you unlock this crazy deep well of joy that will make you laugh and cry and scream and dance and be in love with being alive, even when it is excruciating.

    And I will find comrades, partners, lovers, friends–and I will reach out to them–whether they perform to thousands of screaming fans or feel like they are all alone–and I will tell them: Your only mission is authenticity. Your only job is to be yourself. Your only vocation is to look inside your soul and see what’s there and bring your amazing, wonderful, beautiful gifts into this world. Bring yourself to life! It will hurt sometimes, but birth is messy and painful. But when you hold your newborn self for the first time, it will take your breath away. You will be alive. Truly, deeply, wholly alive. And I will be too. And we can run screaming through this world together.

    • http://ashshields.tumblr.com/ Ash Shields

      As an eighteen year old genderqueer/fluid currently doing a lot of small things to appear less gendered, thank you for this. It’s really good to know that it’s possible, that there are people out there with accepting families and communities. Currently only my closest friends know, but one of them took me makeup shopping yesterday, and even though I don’t exactly know what to do with it all, it’s the best I’d felt about it for a long while.

      • http://twitter.com/_jenneryy Jennifer Wilkerson

        Good friends are the best people in the world for figuring out who you are. Taking a step to be who you want to be is even better. Stay brave. <3

      • http://twitter.com/revsean revsean

        Ash–it’s not easy, but it is so worth it. I love knowing there are more and more people out there who are determined to resist the boredom of gender and see themselves as the works of art they are. It helps when you can keep your attention on your own soul and expressing that, rather than being/not being what other people think you should be. Just keep asking, “Who am I?” and “What do I desire?” If you desire glitter and tutus one day and a football jersey and boots the next–hurray! ” Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)” ~Walt Whitman “Song of Myself”

      • Guest

        Here, a reminder for anyone who needs it to download.

      • http://twitter.com/revsean revsean

        Here’s a link to a visual reminder for anyone who needs it. http://revsean.tumblr.com/post/39961909882

    • Omy Keyes

      Revsean, This is amazing. Thank you for sharing your story and writing here.

    • http://twitter.com/_jenneryy Jennifer Wilkerson

      I’m so happy you made it through all the BS to be yourself because you’re making an impact now and that is POWERFUL.

    • http://coinoperatedbear.deviantart.com/ CoinOperatedBear

      Just to let you know, you fucking rock. That is all.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rexington.funk Rexington Funk

      I really like the way you put this: “It’s like high school is this pressure cooker time when you’re supposed to cut off the parts of you that don’t fit and conform, conform, conform. Only if you look like, sound like, smell like and vomit like everyone else are you a success. You’re supposed to give up every bit of your uniqueness and become a Stepford wife, a clone”

    • http://www.facebook.com/lara.l.hixson Lara Lynn Hixson

      You are fucking amazing and I love you. Brilliantly said. Be my friend, please?

    • Artemis

      Fuck yeah.

    • http://twitter.com/laurainnis Laura Innis

      Revsean, I’m old too (44) and it is hard to be different in a world that doesn’t respect diversity. There are some of us who will always be in our corner – even if we don’t know you, but just based on this post, I’d like to know you, and I think you’re awesome too.
      I’m a secret agent with you – I’m going to steer my path through this world MY WAY, spoken like a true first born, fire-sign Monkey-child that I am, and the hell with anyone who doesn’t like it. I’ll be as authentic as all get-out: my mantra has been ‘This is me, dig it or fuck off’ for a number of years now, and drew my amazing husband to me. I’m fat and bi and crafty and tattooed and pierced, and I jokingly like to think of myself as a 14 year old boy because I like boobs and driving fast and video games; I have green in my hair and I work at a bank. I wear as much makeup as I want. The hell with stereotypes and people who tell me that I shouldn’t do *whatever*.
      I’m going to do what I can to ADD to this world and support and create and love and share and be joyful wherever I can, because those are the things that can drag the darkness into the light. I’d love to run screaming through this world with you and your tribe because I know, I feel in my heart, that they are my tribe too.

      • TheDeadUnicorn

        I like very much the fact that you exist.An awful lot.
        I only hope one day I’ll be as brave and strong as you are. x

    • Bookwyrm102571

      You are fucking amazing and I love you!

    • http://twitter.com/Aibhleoga Catherine Margaret

      You’re inspiring. I am so glad everything worked out for you. The world needs more happiness and success stories. I only wish Amanda Todd, Shannon and Erin Gallagher and so many others could have read this post, read these stories and realised that there is strength and goodness and a world of opportunity out there.

    • http://twitter.com/revsean revsean

      Will so gladly enlarge the tribe to include you all! I wrote from my heart–never expected the love. Thanks, all.

      • Left in Bama

        Revsean: to get back to the original topic of Amanda’s post; how do you deal with the haters? I am just now expanding my own internet presence and I am discovering more and more posters who seem to deliberately want to misunderstand things I say. Folk who want to put words in my mouth or suggest an agenda that does not exist. How do you stop the purely emotional response of wanting to fight back in a sophomoric way? I try to take a deep breath and be compassionate, and the more I practice that, the easier it gets. Even compassionate responses can invoke still MORE abuse. “You think you know me! or I don’t need advice from YOU” kind of talk. There are still times when I shoot off a scathing reply and then feel like total crap for letting someone else’s issues get the best of me. I am 50 fucking years old and have been through plenty of my own struggles. I was depressed for several years and just kind of woke up and took charge recently and decided to revel in who I am and be comfortable with who I am. My success at being Me seems to intimidate others who are still on their own journey. What strategies do you have for coping with anger and jealousy directed at you?

        • http://twitter.com/revsean revsean

          Just saw this tonight. I deal with it like everyone else. I seethe. I doubt myself. I write scathing responses that I FINALLY learned not to post/send. (They just make things worse.) Mostly, I ignore. I would say that responses to what I write/publish/preach/tweet are 97% positive. So I give 97% of my energy to that. I have a file called “fan mail” and when haters show up, I go read that. It reminds me that being vulnerable is worth it. Occasionally, I’ll block someone, but it’s rare. As in, I’ve blocked ONE person and he is a known troll, It really does get easier with practice.

    • Karen Goetsch

      I have literally been moved to tears by reading these comments. I have more feelings than I can probably put into words at the moment. But I need to say that while I haven’t belonged to religious/spiritual community in years, I want to belong to yours. Thanks for the inspirational words and I wish you all the strength you need to face the life you want.

    • http://twitter.com/chemilyx Charlotte Murray

      Oh my. There are no words to describe how that post made me feel. You are an incredible person. I wish I knew you in real life/ could listen to one of your sermons. THANK YOU.

    • http://twitter.com/emma_emily Emma Carrington

      I love you for this xxx

    • Erika Franz

      Sweet! That wasn’t cliche at all! Well said.

    • Left in Bama

      this may just be the best thing I have read in weeks! I wanted to highlight my favorite part, but I kept copying and pasting different sections, so I just decided to say I love this whole post! Amen! Hallelujah and All That Jazz! Bring yourself to life just might be my new tag line! Thank you and good luck to you and yours!

    • Max

      I love you for this post, particularly the last two paragraphs. Had to read it aloud, felt good. Thank you! :) x

  • JJ

    Hi Amanda – I read your blog in my RSS feed. I starred it to come back to. I’m the mother of a child raised in the age of FB and thought I might offer a comment or two, but wanted to think it over.

    Then I went down my feed a bit to the daily posts from My Modern Met. The image below was posted as a National Geographic Photo of the Year honorable mention. Here’s the caption:

    “Yayasan Galuh Rehabilitation Center is an impoverished mental health facility based in Bekasi, Indonesia that hosts over 250 patients. Most come from poor families no longer interested in managing their conditions, or are unable. Some patients are homeless, deposited after being taken off streets by police. The only medical treatment received is for skin conditions. No assessments, psychotherapy or psychiatric medications is available. Over one third of the patients are shackled in chains. These measures are implemented to those thought to be violent, uncontrollable and dangerous.”
    (Photo and caption by Wendell Phillips/National Geographic Photo Contest)

    And I thought – this is what it must be like, to be depressed and/or suicidal and/or mentally unable to cope, and then find that the Internet hates you as much as you hate yourself. This is what it must be like to be shackled to that kind of negativity, that kind of feedback that just affirms what all the ghosts in your head are saying. What a nightmare.

    (Sorry – can’t get the photo uploader to work. Here’s the URL – http://api.ning.com/files/25bImbQoP-9mu8DkiZ8LTiOn-o5jTMV1Hs*7R5cRny8eCrAJ9J5kJ7gk6by6R93HJ9C4KHkqD6ASMkw3EWd1Yj9Y-m-*GtBi/Captive.jpeg

  • Aidan

    Just…be careful believing the videos like the “My Story” one up there. I went to high school with a girl (2 years below me) who did one near identical to that one, what with self harm and no friends and whatnot. She told her story of how hard she was bullied. She was *this* close to getting on TV. The truth was she was one of the popular kids. She was literally the person who MADE other people make these videos. She was a bully, and a fraud. She had kind, loving parents, a wealth of friends, honors and awards galore, and yet used her success to shoot others down. We all know that you can’t believe everything you see on the internet, but it’s always harder to suspend your disbelief when it comes to stuff like this. It is truly sickening knowing that for every video of someone genuinely experiencing hardship, there are at least 10 of people trying to ride the “tragedy train” to popularity. Again…just be careful where you choose to invest your emotions, because the amount of people who will do anything for popularity is sickeningly staggering.

  • ZenJenn

    (warning, long and ramble-y…)

    It’s always hard for me to write comments on your blogs. I feel like I’d
    have nothing to write worth reading, so most of the time I don’t comment, I
    just read. This time I want to try adding my input while at the same time
    fighting the urge to quit halfway through because I’m just being ‘whiny’.

    I’ve been bullied my entire life, as far back as I can remember, earlier than
    elementary school, than preschool. My half-sister, Elizabeth, hated me, hates
    me, always has, never knew why, as a child I chalked it up to jealousy. Still
    don’t know why she’d treat me the way she did, I stopped caring years ago,
    haven’t spoken to her since I was 13, I have no desire to. I’m 20 now.

    Elizabeth wasn’t the only person who’d bully me, though. It started as far back
    as preschool, though I can barely remember. I just know that I was alone all
    the time. I never really had friends, ever. If you ask me ‘why’ right now, I’d
    tell you it’s because I was very arrogant, very selfish, ignorant to others. If
    you asked me then, in preschool, elementary school, middle school, high school,
    I would’ve told you it’s because these people just didn’t understand me. That I
    was too smart for them, or something along those lines.

    I think that’s one of the ways I survived it, living in denial, or trying
    to. I’m…honestly not too sure, I’ve worked insanely hard to block out my
    childhood because aside from the bullying about my weight or my weirdness, my
    parents were going through a violent custody battle.

    Actually, that’s not true. The custody battle didn’t happen until I was
    older, 5th grade…ish, I think. It happened because I was being
    physically and emotionally abused by my mother. She’d call me worthless, she’d
    tell me I’ll never amount to anything, make fun of me, my weight. Violence was
    her method of discipline, I can’t tell you how many times she’s hit me, like I
    said I’ve blocked a lot of it out. The one time I do remember, vividly, was
    when I was in 5th grade and I wanted to go on a field trip to the
    Zoo. My mother said I couldn’t…I don’t really remember why. So I asked my dad.
    My parents were divorced, had been since before I can remember. During my visit
    with him, he signed the slip, and said that he’d take me to school the morning
    of the trip so my mother doesn’t find out.

    Maybe I was horrible at hiding my secret, because my mother insisted on
    taking me to school that morning. She walked right up to the teacher and asked
    her what I was doing for the day. She found out my dad signed the permission
    slip. I didn’t get to go to the zoo, I stayed at school, terrified all day
    because I knew what was going to happen. I remember, vaguely talking to the
    school counselor. Telling her I was afraid, that I knew I was going to get
    beaten or something along those lines. She looked at me with pity and said, “I
    wish I could take you home in my pocket…” It was a Friday, I think it’s
    important I mention that I had the whole weekend ahead of me.

    School ends, I get home, my mother calls me to come upstairs, and I see that
    she’s in my room and she has a giant black garbage bag, and she’s throwing away
    everything I own. All of my papers, my books, everything. (I specifically
    remember her throwing away my Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I was devastated
    because I really wanted to fucking finish that book).

    Anyway, she announced to me that my room was no longer my room. That was I
    being moved to the smaller room down the hall, that was for my baby brother.
    And that I was grounded. Then she took me into the room, made me bend over and
    grabbed a wooden spoon, (it still had left over mac&cheese on it.) She beat
    me with it, so hard that after she was done I had to crawl to the bathroom. I
    locked the door, lay on the floor and sobbed. My sister was there. My mother’s
    husband was there. Neither of them said or did anything to help me.

    So, I suppose the biggest bully in my life was my mother. Though her husband
    came in at a close second. He’d make me stay up all night and clean the house,
    then tell my mother it was him who cleaned. He’d lock me outside in the middle
    of the night, in the dark, in nothing but shorts and a shirt and he’d turn out
    all the lights inside, leaving me out there for hours. He manipulated me,
    sexually assaulted me, (thank god he didn’t rape me) and convinced my mother
    that I was lying about it.

    I’m sorry. I’m rambling too much, going off topic, back to the discussion. I
    don’t really know how I got through it. I suppose it was because I had my dad in
    my life, and he was my rock, maybe I was just too defiant through it all, or
    ignorant about how I should be feeling. I guess it didn’t hurt too much because
    for me, life like that was normal. I have dozens of more stories I could tell
    you about the abuse, from my mother, her husband, from my sister, from all the
    kids at school, but honestly I feel like doing that, writing that, hell,
    writing this, is just some stupid whiny scam for attention. I know it isn’t, I
    KNOW that I shouldn’t feel stupid for telling you this. But I do. I’ve always
    felt that there are people in the world who had it much worse, and I shouldn’t
    pretend that I’m anything special because some shit happened to me when I was a
    kid. I’m 20 now, my world is entirely different. I still live with my father,
    but now HE’S the biggest bully in my life, he makes me miserable, and my mother
    is the person I go to for comfort. She’s become one of my biggest rocks.

    I have no advice for the ones going through hell, aside from something that’s
    very childish and ignorant: Endure. I know it sucks, it does. But stick your
    chin up and endure. That’s what I do. I cling to the fact that it WILL get
    better someday, if you just stay strong. But I know that won’t work for a lot of
    people. Everybody is different, what doesn’t hurt me can devastate someone

    But it will make you stronger, in the long run. All that terrible bullshit
    that you’re forced to swallow every single day. It makes you stronger. Nothing
    really hurts me anymore. Not really. I’ve developed so many emotional callouses
    that I honestly can’t recall the last time I sobbed earnestly. I’ve shed some
    tears here and there, but never any devastating sobs. Hell, I don’t get
    depressed the way I used to. I’m optimistic all the time, even when I’m
    depressed, I have faith in myself, even when others don’t, because all I’ve
    ever had was myself. I even have friends now. REAL friends, people who love me
    and care about me, who’d help me if I ever needed them. I wish I had them back
    then, back when I was a kid, back in high school when, even though I was away
    from my mother, I was getting bullied every day by the kids at school. (I
    dropped out of high school, third year. Not only because my grades were bad but
    because I just couldn’t fucking stand that place anymore.)

    I’m rambling again.

    Short version, my advice is:

    Endure. Stay strong. Stay optimistic. Listen to Amanda Palmer’s music. Heal.
    Have faith in yourself, and in PEOPLE. Because there are GOOD people in this
    world. There are. You will find them. But you can’t give up hope.




    I know for a fact you’ve heard this at least a thousand times, but thank
    you. Thank you. Thank you. Your music got me through so much of this. But it
    wasn’t just the music, it was YOU. The person that you are, the love that you
    have for everyone, the connections you worked so hard, not only to build, but
    to maintain. It’s one of the things that’s kept me going. I can say, without a
    doubt that YOU are the reason I am the person that I am today, you are the
    reason that I’m optimistic and loving, that I’m open and humble. You gave that
    to me. I love myself, I love this person that I am, and it is thanks to you. Your
    shows are the only place I have ever, truly, honestly felt that I belong. Thank


    Hilariously enough, when I considered suicide I was 15 or 16, and it was
    because my best friend who I was in love with, rejected me. That and hormones.
    God I’m weird.


    My will to live is stupidly strong now, I just thought I should mention
    that. So if anyone finds me dead with a suicide note then call the police
    because I’ve been murdered and it’s a frame up.


    About a year or two after the abuse (and the ensuing custody battle which my
    father won) I finally got to finish “Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire” …It’s
    probably my favorite book in the series. <3


    God this entire thing is so ramble-y and badly written, sorry for the fail.

    • Julie

      “My will to live is stupidly strong now” is my favorite line in this post. Thank you for sharing your story, and your perseverance. I hope it never wavers, stay strong!

      • ZenJenn

        <3 I will, thank you. :D

    • Ben Jellicoe

      I think you are incredibly brave. But I am so sorry about all that’s happened to you.

      I think you’re brave to be optimistic after everything that you’ve suffered through, and I think you’re also brave for writing down all that you have. Thank you so much for writing it all, because though I haven’t gone through what you have I recognise things in what you said, and I think your story is one that should be heard.

      It is so terrible that no-one helped you or did anything when you were going through so much abuse. I’m amazed that you can be so optimistic when you’ve been through so much, and frankly your resilience and courage are inspiring, but I recognise what you said about emotional callouses. My girlfriend has suffered with bullying (though not as bad as yours) all her life, and she sometimes feels immune to it now. Even when a guy in her building hit her she said she didn’t feel anything. I find that so hard to understand, but I so want Amanda Palmer’s effort here to at least make sure that people don’t have to go through the experiences that lead to having to build those callouses. I don’t want anyone to have to suffer through what’s happened to you, but I also want what she does to help people like you have suffered these things.

      I feel very insecure writing this, and I wasn’t going to write a comment on Amanda post because I always feel I don’t have anything worth saying on here, but I had to reply to this because your story deserves to be heard and you need to be told that your life, your views, your words, your joy, and your experiences are important.

      I’m so glad Amanda’s music helped you so much. She is joy and awesomeness made into a person.

      • ZenJenn

        Thank you. <3

    • http://twitter.com/_jenneryy Jennifer Wilkerson

      There was absolutely zero fail in that post, and I appreciate the PSSSS because I was still wondering if you got to finish Harry Potter, lol. As far as what you shared you can’t look at things like this as “whining” you’re not, you’re sharing your story so that maybe someone else can connect, can feel like they are less alone, can feel like it’s possible to be sane, be eloquent, still smile at the end of the day, even if horrible things are happening. You’re not whining, you’re being a beacon to someone who needs it. *HUG* I am hugging you through the internet SO HARD.

    • http://twitter.com/FrazzledFemme ~*~Maggie Davis~*~

      Oh no!! I think your autocorrect made an error and inserted “sorry for the fail” where you must have originally written ” I haz an epic win” ;)*


    • http://twitter.com/LadyTrubbel Tina Trubbel

      Brad Blanton , psychotherapist and author of Radical Honesty, says “It’s okay to feel sorry for yourself.”

      I know it doesn’t feel like it, it feels like weakness or pity; it feels like letting everyone who has ever hurt you win. But it’s not. It’s clearing out some of the pain (even scientifically. Crying helps release cortisol build up. Cortisol is the “stress hormone”) so that there’s room inside for the rest of you. <3

  • LittleDude

    We are not what sad, angry, scared people say about us. That is, we’re not what anybody says about us because, as it has been so correctly pointed out, we’re all scared (and that’s okay). The important thing is not to accept everything we are told about ourselves as fact.

    Only I can determine what is true about me. Only you can determine what is true about you. Only Amanda Palmer can determine what is true about Amanda Palmer.

    Even when other people are simplifying us, we need to be better than that. We need to at least try to understand others as complex, identify where their comments or actions are coming from, and act accordingly. If a comment comes out of love, accept it as such. If a comment comes from hate, fear, or sadness, recognize that and, if you have the strength, address it as such. Do so compassionately, remembering that we’re all fighting our own battles.

    The beauty of places like this comments section on Amanda Palmer’s blog is that we don’t have to fight alone. Seek out places of love and you will find places of truth.

    Love, love, and even more love to you all.

  • http://neversaynikki.tumblr.com Nikki

    A few months ago, when you asked us to share brief stories of what had happened to us In Our Rooms, I responded that I had written a love letter to a boy who had killed himself three hours earlier.

    He was just a kid whom I’d watched, twice a day every day, walk to and from from the street where the bus picked us up and dropped us off. I lived about a mile away from that street, and he lived four houses down from me. He was a year older, and he smiled easily, and laughed even more easily, and, god, he had the most beautiful hair.

    (In other words, all the things I was lacking.)

    And I fell in 16-year-old love with him because every day for two and a half years he would stop in front of a lot where they had cleared all the trees away to build a house but had never built it. You could see past the wealthy neighborhood a mile away, past the lake that they lived on, all the way to the mountains of some neighboring anywhere-but-here state. He would stop there, and he would stare, wordless, admiring, out across the lake.

    For two and a half years, I wanted more than anything to go stand with him, to talk to him. But I was so, so very afraid — today, I can’t even begin to understand why.

    And in April of his senior year, when I was a junior, he hung himself in his bedroom, four houses away from me. His sister found him.

    All I could think was that he was so fucking close to getting out of high school. This boy that I loved for his hair and his laugh and his mannerisms, he could have been gone from here in three months. How could he have thrown away the chance to leave?

    Now I’m a freshman in college and Boston, and maybe I’m starting to understand. I go to a school of actors and writers and artists, and I have never felt so completely inadequate in my life. The way that we mutter behind each others’ backs, scoff at thoughts for scripts or novels or movies, step on each others’ still-warm bodies in an attempt to make it to some “top” that we really don’t know anything about. Don’t we all have it hard enough, having decided to be fucking artists? We’re our own worst enemies.

    So, yeah. I don’t think that the boy that 16-year-old me loved had it right.

    But I’m not sure he had it completely wrong, either.

    And at 18, I don’t really know how I’m coping yet. I don’t know if I’m coping at all. I’m sitting (hiding?) in this sleek urban college, hating every minute of it, wondering if it is even possible that I might escape into some world of art — your world of art — that is just as vague as the “top” that my colleagues are climbing over me to get to.

    As a writer, I guess this is coping. Saying something and feeling like maybe it’s being heard. As a reader, listening to you is also coping. Knowing that you are somewhere out there, geographically (and sometimes emotionally) not too far from where I am. Knowing that it is possible to come out on the other side as someone strong and admirable and just generally fucking awesome.

    I can really only hope.

    • Avi

      This is why I often advocate private training from accomplished individuals or alternative schools or just self-study for artists. Most art schools are built on a commercial model to take your money and pit you against each other via nonsense grading systems, scathing critiques, and other such things. They are rarely built on models of finding yourself and what you want to say as an artist and encouraging artistic collaboration. Out of curiosity, as I also live in Boston, where do you go? MassArt? Emerson? MFA?

      I think a large part of what you’re discussing and an earlier post I commented on is people being made to feel like they don’t have options. There’s no form of schooling that’s absolutely necessary. There’s no career with a path that guarantees you being successful in it. There’s no location that you’re required to stay in to be a success. There’s no definition of being a success that’s absolutely right. I think that, psychologically, suicide and the suicidal impulse comes from feeling boxed in. So many people, places, and organizations are doing everything they can to make people feel boxed in.

      You will fail at life if you don’t graduate high school or college, and there are no other respectable routes to learning than those. You’re a failure if you don’t have money. You’re immoral for not adhering to one standard of morality or another. Racism, sexism, homophobia, elitism, etc. It’s all about putting people into boxes and making them feel like they don’t have options. There are so many options out there. It amazes me that people can actually be made to feel like they have to live the only life they have in a certain way. People can be convinced that it won’t work out for them if they don’t. The solution to a lot of this, as I see it, comes from showing people that they have options that go way beyond the limited spectrum their teachers, peers, parents, or whoever else might be telling them. People who close off options to you and tell you what to do are a dime a dozen. People who open up options and show you there’s more out there are rare…unfortunately. It should be the reverse.

      • http://neversaynikki.tumblr.com Nikki

        I agree. It’s just such a strange idea to get used to, that I can go anywhere and do anything. All through secondary school, the option of doing something else was scarcely even mentioned — either you go to college or you Don’t, and Not Going was some obscure scary thing that was likely to ruin your entire life. It was only as a senior that I began to realize that the last thing I wanted was another four years of conventional schooling.

        In the end, I’m still there right now because of my mother. She’s terrified of the idea of me leaving school, because it’s the same thing that she did, and for very similar reasons. All she can really consider is that fact that dropping out never got her anywhere, and she has trouble believing that it would be any different for me. The thing is, she has been such a huge source of support for me through some of my hardest times that I have a lot of trouble coping with the idea that I’d be hurting her so much. It’s turned into a weird situation where I’m really inclined to do what makes me happiest, but simultaneously really reluctant to hurt her.

        I go to Emerson. It seemed like a really good idea at the time, and I’m at least glad that I’m in Boston. I still don’t know what I’m going to do, but you’re right. We seem to have it backwards. Maybe if we’d all just stop fighting each other, we’d be able realize that we never even had to in the first place.

        • Avi

          Post hoc ergo propter hoc…after therefore because. It’s one of the most common logical fallacies. Your mother has succumbed to the idea that dropping out of school was the cause of anything that happened afterwards rather than one in a chain of decisions she could have made differently. Dropping out of college doesn’t mean you can’t ever go to a school including those that will provide training as well as connections if that’s what you so desire. Even teaching yourself there are still myriads of avenues to connect with people.

          Regardless, while I admire your empathy, it’s misplaced. I see no way you’re hurting your mother by dropping out of college. Your mother has made her own choices, and it’s not your fault that she will feel like a failure as a parent if you make what she sees as her biggest mistake. Those kinds of issues are for her to sort out with a therapist or confidante. Right now she’s fixing what she thinks is the worst mistake of her life vicariously through you. That’s not your responsibility, and it’s clearly harming you to take responsibility for it which is what actually matters here. It’s your life and your decision. Your mother is already living with the consequences of her decisions. Living out the decisions she wishes she made isn’t actually going to do anything to help either of you.

          • http://neversaynikki.tumblr.com Nikki

            Yeah. I’ve been putting off opening the conversation back up, putting off even thinking more about it, but I think I have to. I’ve gotten past what my friends think about my wanting to leave, and what my father thinks about it, and what my teachers think about it. This is the last step, I just need to get past the fact that I’m afraid. Which I guess is the root of all these conversations.

            Thank you, by the way. I’ve had so few people reminding me of all the options I have, lately. It’s not that I don’t know it, it’s just that the chorus of opposing voices can be discouraging. So thank you.

          • http://avi-love.tumblr.com/ Avi

            I totally understand. Honestly there’s nothing I’ve been saying that I think you haven’t already thought of. It just seemed like stuff you wanted to hear from an outside source. So you’re welcome. :-P

            Having addressed all of that stuff, what are you afraid of out of curiosity? Is there anything in particular, or is it just a generalized fear that this might be the wrong choice, people might hate you, things might go wrong, etc? I left a very expensive art school after the end of my first term. There were more discussions involved in doing it than I can count. I talked with a lot of successful professionals in different fields too. I’ve long since said don’t take advice from anyone who isn’t successful in a way you’d like to be. The ones who aren’t just like to place blame for their lack of success on something, and their advice is rarely true to you. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made though, and it also gave me a lot of confidence and put me on a path at the time of starting to figure out what I want and how to achieve it rather than what other people think or want for me. I’ve struggled a lot with that latter part in my life.

            Out of further curiosity, what is it you want to do (or are thinking about)?

          • http://neversaynikki.tumblr.com Nikki

            I’m afraid that I’m about to drive a stake through one of the most important relationships in my life. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to subsist as an artist.

            I’m very, very afraid that I’m not good enough.

            Because even as I look up at Amanda at one of her shows and think of how lucky I am to have this role model, to be a part of this community, there’s still a part of me that is screaming, “You will never be as good as this.”

            So most of all I’m afraid of that.

            I want to be a writer. Sort of an itinerant writer, I guess. In the end, I just want to make art that creates this type of community. I want to inspire the sort of conversation that I’ve gotten to be a part of in situations like this, because I don’t really know what I would’ve done without them.

          • http://neversaynikki.tumblr.com Nikki

            I’m afraid that I’m making the wrong decision. I’m afraid that I’m driving a stake between the most important relationship in my life.

            I am so very, very afraid that I’m not good enough.

            Because even as I stand at a show, looking up at Amanda, thinking about how lucky I am to be a facet of such an incredible artist and community, a part of me can’t help but think that I will never be that good.

            I want to be a writer. Sort of an itinerant writer, I guess. In the end, I just want to make art that’s going to inspire this kind of environment and this kind of communication, because I don’t know what I would’ve done without it.

          • http://neversaynikki.tumblr.com Nikki

            I’m afraid I’m making the wrong decision. I’m afraid I’m driving a stake through one of the most important relationships in my life.

            I’m very, very afraid that I’m not good enough.

            Because sometimes I’ll be at a show, looking up at Amanda, thinking of how lucky I am to have found such an incredible artist with such an amazing community, and part of me will still be thinking that I will never be that good.

            I want to be a writer. Sort of an itinerant writer, I guess. In the end, I really just want to make art that will encourage and inspire a community like that, because I don’t know what I would have done without it.

          • http://neversaynikki.tumblr.com Nikki

            Also, sorry that comment posted literally four times (and once as a guest, which is interesting). Disqus is being a little off-kilter.

          • http://avi-love.tumblr.com/ Avi

            No worries. :-)

            I guess my first comment is how would you actually be making the wrong decision? You can’t screw up your life with one decision. Well, you can, but it would have to be something like murder not something like leaving school. Everything you do in life is a self-expression. What the decision to leave school is really about is whether school is an expression of you now. It’s not about any ultimate choices. You’re allowed to go back to a different school later without having made the “wrong” choice now. The idea that you can ruin your life/career/whatever by leaving school is based on snowball arguments and post hoc. It’s pretty much all people who want to blame their failures on one big decision rather than recognize they’re the result of a lot of little continuous decisions.

            A relationship should not depend on anything that does not directly effect the relationship. In other words if you leaving school doesn’t mean that you and your mother will be physically separated and unable to see each other frequently then she should be supportive of it no matter what. She can offer an opinion, but in the end she has to be able to recognize that the decision has nothing to do with her. She’s projecting pretty heavily onto you and living vicariously through you more than a little too it would seem. Stuff like that can get emotionally/psychologically abusive pretty quick. You shouldn’t be made to feel like doing something for you generates an ultimatum in a relationship that’s important to you wherein you might lose the relationship.

            Again, I have to ask not good enough for what? Not good enough to make it on your own? How do you know your good enough to make it with school? The very idea that school makes you not be on your own and guarantees giving you a career, connections, or the necessary skills is a fallacy in itself. Every successful professional I ever talked with (and you’d be surprised at the list) told me to go to school if there was something at that particular school that I really wanted to be apart of and take advantage of for the duration of time I was there. The experience of the school I was going to had to be very important to me, or it was worthless. Every single one of them said don’t ever go for the piece of paper. Especially in the arts, the only thing anyone wants to see is your work. If you show them a fancy degree, they’ll laugh in your face. I’ve actually auditioned actors who came in with their degrees as the featured item on their resume, and my producer and I would laugh at them after they left and mock the fact that they think we would care. It’s about your work. A degree proves nothing.

            Again, how would you be as good as Amanda? You’re not doing what she does. Even if you were a musician you’re still not doing what she does. So what’s your criteria for being good? My point here is that right now you’re judging being good from a cultural basis. That financial success or a large following will prove something for you. It won’t. If you’re insecure about it now, you’ll still be insecure about it with a million followers. The only person who can truly judge whether your work is good is you, and you have to develop your own criteria for that. You have to be able to look at your work and ask is this the thing I wanted to make? Did I make it the best I possibly could for what I wanted to make? Only you can really know that (and maybe an extremely close best friend or significant other). That’s another major reason I hate the art school model is that almost all of them teach that you’re good if your peers or superiors accept your work. They don’t teach you how to evaluate yourself. They teach you how to handle “professional evaluation” well. Then there’s a culture shock when kids get out of art school and realize the world isn’t going to give them an evaluation or an extra assignment about what they’re doing wrong. The world is 99% of the time completely apathetic towards what you’re doing. If you don’t care 100% about your work regardless of what anyone else thinks then you’ll probably fail. The people who come to need validation in order to even start something or continue working on it are the ones who never get anything done. You have to be able to sit by yourself and with someone(s) you’re close with and just work on something for the sake of working on it. Figure out if it’s good later, and most of all learn to know that for yourself.

            I really admire the fact that you want a close-knit community of fans who really enjoy your work specifically, and their enjoyment of it brings them together. It’s what I honestly think an artistic following should be rather than any of this obsessive fandom nonsense. It’s something I might like to have eventually too, but what I really want is to figure out what I want to make. If other people enjoy that too then awesome, but if they don’t then that’s ok because this is about me and who I am. The one thing I will promise you is that if you’re looking at Amanda and being totally floored on how good she is and where she’s gotten. She didn’t get there by not being herself. I think that’s a major part of the reason I follow her at all even above her music is that I just admire who she is as an artist. I think really admirable artists are a little too few and far between. There are too many models of Hollywood dreams and big record labels, and too few artists who just have the guts to say here’s me and what I want to do. I like it and maybe you will too.

          • http://neversaynikki.tumblr.com Nikki

            I know that this decision isn’t one that’s going to define me or my life, but it still feels like it’s a decision that’s going to have major consequences, whether they be good or bad. But, like you mentioned, staying in school could have similarly major consequences.

            My mother’s mantra has always been “Please do not be like me.” Which is hard enough to begin with, as I (with no siblings or other role models for most of my early life) naturally set out to follow her lead. To her, my choice to leave school is the epitome of making the same mistakes that she did. I actually breached the subject last night, and the response was essentially what I expected — I’m throwing away everything she wants for me, turning my back on everything I’ve worked for, etc. I know it’s hard for her to see my side, but it’s frustrating. And emotionally, it’s just going to be difficult to do this without her support.

            I can’t even put a finger on exactly why or how I feel as though I’m not good enough (to succeed in this industry, to make it with no Plan B). I only know that ever since I started voicing the idea that I wanted to be a writer, people have done nothing but tell me that it’s a competitive field, that it’s not monetarily stable, that when I say “writer” I mean “journalist,” right? Again, these are all things that I knew already, but not exactly the encouragement you give to an already-anxious teenager. I’m not sure if those things will ever fade away, no matter how successful I happen to be — and now, with little success to speak of, they’re particularly overbearing.

            The thing about Amanda, though, is exactly what you said: she’s much more than just a musician. She’s a role model and an artist, and she inspires so many people to do so many things. I think that that’s much rarer than just succeeding as a musician, or succeeding as a writer; I love doing what I do, and I do it primarily for myself, but I’ve never been able to ignore the ferocious need to do it for others as well. I think that’s a little harder to do as a writer, especially as she’s the main model of it that I’ve seen. It clearly hasn’t come easy to her, which is a slight comfort. But sometimes I still can’t help but think that it’s impossible that I’ll ever inspire the level of artistic trust and faith and communication that I see here.

            I feel so privileged to be on the forefront of a generation that does have the opportunity to make their own ways in what they choose to do — recently, striking out on my own and being successful in doing so wouldn’t even have been an option. I know that I’m ridiculously lucky to be living in a time where I really can skirt the major publishing houses and mass hysteria and create for myself and for the people who truly care. This seems to be the first of a ton of hurtles that I’m going to have to jump to get where I need to be, and it’s just proving to be a harder jump than I imagined.

    • http://twitter.com/tapsiful Agnes Kormendi

      Nikki, I’m so sorry you for your loss, because it is a loss even if you never had the courage to go and stand with him. And I wish you all the strength and the luck you need to carry on.

      Also, if you find college so poisoning, perhaps consider finding another place. Emotional scars like this either cripple you for a very long time, or you just eat you up until you become bitter and hollow and I don’t really think that’s a step towards becoming an artist. I think art has everything to do with love, so don’t let them crush that. Your spirit is the most important thing you will ever have as an artist.

      People your age often don’t realise that you still have time to change directions, take a pause and reconsider (and maybe go back to doing what you started, but with a different perspective on things) and that the world doesn’t end if you “lose” a few years. What I see is that people who started doing something in their mid-late twenties (or even later) were usually better at it, because they were more certain that it was what they wanted to do and were more mature and grounded about it emotionally. Don’t stay somewhere where you feel threatened or abused, if you don’t have to, not even (or especially not) if it’s a community standard.

      • http://neversaynikki.tumblr.com Nikki

        Thank you — there seems to be a fine line between losing a person and losing the idea of a person, but it all hurts, no matter where you stand.

        Like I responded below, I would personally find it very easy to leave college — I’m in the process of battling the thought of how much it would hurt my mother vs. the investment of three more years. But, like you said, I’m terrified that those three years could mean a lot of fighting in terms of love and spirit. It’s a scary decision with a lot of factors. But you’re right. When it comes down to it, you don’t have to stay anywhere forever, regardless of the forces at work in keeping you there.

        • Kj

          I don’t know if this is an option, but I know several transfer students and almost all of them say changing schools was the best thing they did for their education. The one exception started at my college, transferred out…and then came right back after a semester.

          • http://neversaynikki.tumblr.com Nikki

            I’ve thought about transferring to a state school for money reasons; that would really be the only thing I could think of that would make me feel even remotely better. With the college I’m attending now, I’m at least in the city where I want to be, with a bit more freedom. As much as it goes completely against what I’d prefer to do, I might just need to give the issue some time before I make a decision.

  • Nicholas

    I’ve been bullied and have been a bully at times to those I love. As I approach my 23rd birthday tomorrow I saw this and wanted to say to the people in need of love you can have mine. Take it. Let it be a gift and use it however you wish. If you’re stuck in a dark place, let it light the way out. If the world seems empty, make a friend out of it. If it helps you to stand back on your feet, pass on your love to another. Make it contagious to kill hate.

    This is a small seed of love im planting. I’m quoting my favorite movie line that “life’s a garden. Dig it.” Dig the shit out of and fill it with love. Sure we’ll get weeds in the garden, but we can pull them out and plant another seed of love.

    Finally for amanda some words that have helped me keep going on my dark roads back to a place of love and serenity. The tenets I learned in my karate.

    Self Control
    Indomitable (fucking) Spirit

    Happy new year,

    I love you all

  • Alexander Langshall

    I grew up in the early-mid 90’s (graduated high school in ’96), and suffered a lot of bullying in both a Lutheran junior high and a Catholic high school. When bringing an incident at the Lutheran school to a teacher, she informed me that I was being bullied because I needed to “accept Jesus Christ into my heart.”

    Back then, I was able to escape through the internet – mind you, the old internet. Pre-facebook, pre-myspace, the internet was the geeks and freaks, and it kept me sane. Friends half-way across the world with the same interests, with the same problems – the community I lacked at school I found there.

    Fast forward a bit. I decided I want to be a school teacher. In my student teaching placement I had a student who was awkward, fat, did not fit in, and he was not only bullied by the students, but my mentor calluded in letting the students bully him in the classroom. He went out in the hallway once crying because he felt no one wanted him there. I told him *I* wanted him there, and he damn well deserved a place in my classroom. He was the only student who gave me a parting gift when I left, and I often wonder what has happened to him – if he made it.

    A few weeks ago there was a news story that a gay kid from that school committed suicide on the pedestrian walkway that leads to the school.

    I now teach community college, and can see from the students that make it to my classes that the high school system is seriously fucked up. First day of class we watch an excellent video by Sir Ken Robinson (search Ken Robinson RSA on youtube for it) and talk about the herd mentality that pervades high school, and how that mentality is damaging in the real world. We talk about bullying, we talk about how horrible high school is for most, and few of my students ever say that high school is a good experience for them.

    I think that the “it gets better” mindset just isn’t enough. It needs to be better, now. The institution of high school MUST CHANGE. It must seriously adapt to the needs of ALL students. Teachers and administrators need to open their eyes and see that their behavior is often part of the problem and not part of the solution. They need to stop coddling the popular kids because they themselves need to feel popular. If the high school experience doesn’t change, this kind of stuff won’t stop.

    • http://twitter.com/_jenneryy Jennifer Wilkerson

      I can’t add anything to what you’ve said, but YES, ALL OF THIS.

    • http://twitter.com/KlementineBS Klementine Sander

      YES. You are so right. It does get better, but it shouldn’t have to be bad in the first place. Teachers can do more to stop it than they think.

      I’ve only been bullied in a very superficial, easy-to-shrug-off way, but the fact of the matter is that (no offence to you of course, hey, both my parents are schoolteachers) teachers are idiots.

      For instance, there’s a new kid in the class. A known troublemaker keeps talking to her, poking her, blowing air on her, taking her things, refusing to give them back – that kind of thing, just stupid unimportant stuff. And the teacher tells the new kid to stop misbehaving, and makes HER move, and singles her out in front of the class? No. Tell the idiot off. Not her.

      It’s the most harmless of examples, but it happens in such alarming rates and on much higher levels. It’s wrong. The victim is made to feel at fault, or even if they know they’re not, everyone else is encouraged to see them as being in the wrong. And sure, the bully might get told off, or a detention – but that’s never stopped them before, so why should it now?

      And if ever the victim fights back, they get in trouble too. For instance, the only time that someone has gotten a detention for pestering me? I got one too. Because he screamed in my face and I slapped him.

      Some teachers are great – others just can’t be bothered helping. They close their eyes to what’s happening around them, or, even worse, they dismiss it as ‘just teenagers’. ‘Just teasing’. ‘Just high school’.


      It doesn’t matter if you’re 14 or 24 or 34 or whatever other age. It shouldn’t be happening. Ever.

      In fact, it’s when you’re 14 that it can affect you the most, because that’s all you have.

      As I’ve said, I’ve only experienced the slightest bullying. But it’s so annoying when people say ‘It’s just high school, it’ll be over soon.’

      Because yes, that’s true, but it’s the right now that matters. Right this moment. Right now, when people could be stopping bullying. You can always stop bullying. It doesn’t matter how old the participants are, they should be stopped.

      Again, let’s use me as an example.

      I *try* to stand up to bullies and stop them. But it’s hard if you’re the new kid in a school. If, on the other hand, you’re an established resident of the school, with social standing, it’s so much easier. You can tell that bully off, and like as not, people will agree with you. They just don’t have the courage to do it themselves. So if ever you’re in the position to stop someone, DO IT.


      • http://twitter.com/LittleJanelleS Janelle Sheetz

        I wish this entire blog and its comments were required reading for any person working in education.

        • http://twitter.com/KlementineBS Klementine Sander

          Now THAT I can agree with. It should be. But not only for those working in education – those going through it too. There aren’t enough teenagers reading this and they really should be.

      • http://twitter.com/pixieodeath Rossi

        God. I remember in 8th grade, when the bullying was new and all the more horrible for that, my parents spoke to my teachers about it. And the response of one was to send me out of class on an errand and then tell the rest of them “not to be so mean” to me. As you can imagine, things got worse. Far, far worse.

    • http://twitter.com/wispered Ember Cescon

      This really resonates with me. Throughout school I was often picked on by teachers more than students. I wasn’t an athlete or a math/science whizz and I can’t sing. These were the important things at my high school and so, because my strengths lay elsewhere, my strengths were ignored and I was, at best, ignored and at worst humiliated in front of others. Even when adults in the situation aren’t adding to the situation they’re so often blind to it (purposefully or otherwise) that it really keeps kids from wanting to confide in them or seek help. It gives them a really strong sense that they’re on their own. That makes me sad.

  • http://twitter.com/LittleJanelleS Janelle Sheetz

    I wish I’d seen her video before she killed herself–and I wish the same for anyone in pain. I’d like to reach out and talk, let them know that someone out there cares and wants to help in any way possible, even if I don’t fully understand it.

    I’ve only been that low once, and it was actually just over a week before Christmas. I felt like most of my core group of friends hated me at worst, didn’t want me around at best.

    I’ll try to be brief.

    I’ve been friends with most of them since high school, and the group includes two of my cousins. Gradually, I’d started to feel a bit bullied by some–I was regularly made fun of and put down for everything from being a vegetarian to being a writer. While I was with my boyfriend one weekend, who was then living three hours away, I was iPhone surfing and found they were having a party for the oldest cousin’s college graduation–a party I was not only not invited to but which was kept completely secret from me because said cousin didn’t want me there. When confronted, he blamed me for trouble in his relationship, criticized my concern over his sister’s possessive boyfriend, and said I hurt another friend. I was unaware of most of this and was told no one confronted me sooner because I would’ve just denied it and blamed other people (I still don’t know what, if anything, that conclusion is based on) and I needed to “own up” and talk to everyone I hurt. I later found out he left out his real motivation (a single frustrated tweet about feeling ignored, which he and his boyfriend blew up into me not caring about anyone but myself). My friends knew all of this. I know horrible things were said about me behind my back, but I don’t want to know what. I was expected to carry on as if nothing happened, but I was tired of being treated like shit and I decided to ditch my cousin and his boyfriend, at least as close friends. While I know not everyone liked this and feels terrible and understands how hurt I was, I still get insecure. They still sat and watched it happen. Makes me wonder who I have on my side, which leads to over thinking, loneliness, and tears. Basically, this one event managed to do more emotional damage than almost anything else I’ve gone through in my 23 years. I’ve never felt more betrayed, disregarded, and alone.

    One of them saw a Facebook comment I left on a status complaining about bad friends. I expressed my decision to cut people out for my own mental health and had no regrets, which was held against me. I was criticized for using social media to be passive aggressive and vindictive. I was told I treat people like they have no feelings and displayed “blatant disregard” for feelings (ironic, given the situation) and I brought all this on myself, more or less, and deserved it. After all, the intention wasn’t to hurt me–never mind the fact they knew it would and did it anyway. I was told I was playing the victim, being immature, and my pain came from my own insecurities and not their words and actions.

    I said I deserved better and wasn’t going to put up with being treated like shit, so we parted ways.

    A month or so later, I criticized Lana del Rey on Tumblr (worth noting that it wasn’t particularly harsh, especially compared to your communism friend, and was a reblog about racism and not my own words). What did this guy who’d accused me of and criticized me for being passive aggressive do? Made passive-aggressive attacks on me on Twitter, calling me a “gullible crusty” who was perpetuating a nonissue for the sake of my own self-image and…that I was bullying Lana del Rey. I’d hardly consider a discussion of someone’s problematic music video bullying. Yes, critics often take that turn, but I didn’t. And who’s the bigger bully here? The girl saying, “What a minute, that’s racist” or the boy spewing very clear hatred for her?

    Within about 10 minutes after the tweets went up, he blocked me from Twitter and Tumblr. I do wonder if this was an attempt to keep me from seeing them.

    I’ve also made appearances on his blog, most notably when he called me a “vicious creature.”

    Hurtful as this has all been and even though I’ve already stated it led to a particularly sad, lonely, and unhealthy evening a few weeks ago, I know that this is tame compared to what others face. I feel most of this isn’t actually about me, which is usually one of my consolations. It’s more about him and how he deals with things–or doesn’t deal with them. He’s angry, and his own issues are surfacing throughout all of this in why and how he attacks me. And I know that he’s often a bad, mean-spirited person.

    I’ve made mistakes. That’s on me. But he was willing to forgive and even accepted an apology until I also explained the friendship had mostly left me unhappy and I was unwilling to return to the way it had been. He was at his meanest after that.

    My other consolations? I have had other friends to turn to, and nearly everyone else–including mutual friends–agreed cutting ties was best. I have a wonderful boyfriend who has been supportive (and never liked this guy anyway). And I even had your music and fans I connected with. This started in early May. I got a Kickstarter party on the internet shortly thereafter. The full falling out was in early August. I got your album the following month.

    And THAT’S how I cope.

  • Frida

    Dear Amanda.

    First of all, thank you so much for writing this. For everything you have done,
    and still doing. For being you, and for being real. I so want to hug you right now.

    I am 14 (please don’t judge me because of my age) years old. I have always been
    an outsider, the weird one, the freak. Let’s say I found my own way pretty
    early. I have always had my own opinions, dressed like I want to, and been the
    person that I wanted to be. People at school have never liked me. They would
    yell things at me. They would push me and they would hit me. They were only
    pushing and hitting me when no one else was watching. When I got older they
    stopped beating me, but the comments and yelling still continued. I tried
    telling the teachers, but they didn’t listen. One day I got told “They aren’t serious;
    they are only joking with you. Don’t be so sensitive.” and after that, I
    officially gave up trying to be heard. No one was really listening to me

    I still go through the comments and yelling, but it is on a lighter level now. In
    periods it will stop, but it always starts again after a while. I think it will
    get a little better at school now, because next year the handful of people that
    have been the worst will go out of this school.

    I do have friends, but not so many and not many of them go to my school. I am
    so grateful for the few that is keeping up with me, but I kind of feel like
    they don’t really know me. The one I go to to talk about my feelings is my
    notebook. I write a lot. And I read a lot.

    Even though the bullying at school is on a much lighter level now, I think all
    the years with it kind of destroyed me. Now I am kind of being a bully to
    myself. I wake up every morning, and I hate every inch of myself. I am telling
    myself that I am worthless, I am nothing. That’s what they used to tell me. I’ve
    always had an incredibly bad self-esteem and trust-issues, and the bullying
    didn’t make it any better. I feel so weak and alone. It’s like I am screaming
    but nobody can hear me. Sometimes I feel like I have to get better, but other
    times I don’t want to because I feel like I don’t deserve it. I don’t know,
    really.. I am so confused. I thought I was strong, but I don’t know if I can do
    this anymore. I feel like I am drowning. My mind is just a black hole, and my
    thoughts are starting to scare me.

    But do you know what I do when reality gets too much and my thoughts are
    exploding in my head? I think of you. I think that there are still people like
    you out there. People that don’t suck. I listen to you. I sit down, quietly,
    and listen to you. And that’s makes everything okay for a moment. I think I was
    10 or 11 the first time I discovered your music. You have helped me through so
    much, you wouldn’t even believe it. You are helping me grow. Maybe I am strong
    enough to keep going on? I don’t know… I will try to stay. Thank you so much,
    Amanda. For being you. And being awesome. I hope I get to see you one day! That
    would mean the world to me. You keep me going.


    I did not post this for any attention or sympathy, I just wanted people to know
    that they are not alone, and I kind of needed to let it all out a place where I
    don’t feel I am going to get judged for everything I say. People, you are not alone!

    • http://twitter.com/KatrinaHallene KatMarie

      Stay strong, you are certainly not alone. I had a very similar story, would have said nearly the exact same things about 4 years ago. And it was listing to Amanda and in relying on the one or two friends I did have that got me through. I am so sorry to hear that you are having to deal with this, especially at 14, but please know that there are others of us out here. Becoming your own worst bully is a really hard thing to go through, and a really hard habit to break, but there is another side. If you ever want to talk I’m around.

      • http://river-of-sorrow.tumblr.com/ Frida

        Thank you so much. And thank you for being here if I want to talk, it honestly means a lot to me. ♥ You are strong and a wonderful person, always remember that!

        • http://twitter.com/KatrinaHallene KatMarie

          Same to you <3

    • Me

      You are amazingly strong and eloquent, to be able to post like this at 14. It breaks my heart that the bullies have gotten to you, and have made you your own worst enemy. Please, please, please seek help – guidance counselor, art teacher, therapist, somebody. You DO deserve it.

      • http://river-of-sorrow.tumblr.com/ Frida

        Thank you so much, you are really kind.
        Maybe I will, I am going to think about it.

    • Julie

      Thank you for sharing your story, it takes some guts to do that. I am so sorry that you were hurt enough to hate yourself so much. I know it’s a really, really hard thing to do, and you feel like you don’t deserve it, but you DO deserve to love yourself. You are not a bad person, you are not alone. People love you, and you should love yourself too.

      It took me many, many years to learn to love myself after being bullied and being in that place where I loathed myself so deeply. As you said at the end of your post, you are not alone! Thank you for putting yourself out there for other victims, and if you need any support yourself I am available as well as the nice people who have responded before me.

      • http://river-of-sorrow.tumblr.com/ Frida

        Thank you so much for all your kind words. They do mean a lot to me. I am so sorry you had to go through the bullying as well. You are strong!
        Again; Thank you. ♥

    • http://twitter.com/KlementineBS Klementine Sander

      Frida. Please, let me help you – I don’t know if I can but I may as well try. I suggest myself because I’m only 15 so maybe you could relate to me more than a 23 year old.

      I’ve only been bullied a little, not nearly enough to damage me too much inside – I think. Sometimes I’m not so sure, but then I read what other people are going through and think that I’m spoiled to escape so very very lightly. Then I remember that I shouldn’t be spoiled to escape horror – that should be something I take for granted.

      I do take it for granted now that I will be mostly happy, but I still feel so guilty when I see other people suffering and don’t know how to help.

      You want someone who knows you? Well, may I try and get to know you? Maybe it’d make you feel a tiny bit better. Please. Email me at klementinesander@yahoo.com.au and don’t be shy – I love to both talk and listen. And I promise I won’t judge you, if that’s what you’re worried about. I only want to help. Please let me help you.

      • http://river-of-sorrow.tumblr.com/ Frida

        ♥ Thank you so much. I emailed you a longer reply.

    • A stranger who cares about you

      Just the fact that you wrote this eloquent post (especially at the age of 14) tells me that you are not worthless. You are smart, thoughtful, and talented. And you’re not alone, either. We’re all out here! Thousands of us, reading your words and feeling your pain. A lot of the smart, interesting people in the world have gone through hard times like this. Things really do get a lot better.

      • http://river-of-sorrow.tumblr.com/ Frida

        Thank you, wonderful stranger, for all of your kind words. They mean a lot to me.
        I will remember that.

    • Robyn

      It did not break you, it did not destroy you and you will not drown. I promise. You are better than all of this, and you will get through it. Read and work and listen to music and give not a single fuck about all of those idiots. You will be something better than any of them, and, much as it sucks, you will be (and already are) stronger and better because of all of this.

      Honestly. I was you, near enough, ten years ago.These days, things are not perfect, but I have a life and a good job and a husband who loves me, and most importantly, on all but the worst days I can look myself in the eye in the mirror and I like who I am. You will too. You just keep on doing what you’re doing, and you will too. And as someone else said, you will never be boring.

      • http://river-of-sorrow.tumblr.com/ Frida

        Thank you so much for writing this. All of this means so much to me, and I will keep it all in my mind. You are strong. You are amazing. Thank you. I will keep reading and working and listen to music. I will try not to give a fuck about all of those idiots. I will try my hardest to stay, even though how hard it will be..

    • Magda

      Hang in there, and know you’re not alone. Also, know that there is nothing wrong with switching schools or leaving and doing the GED. A lot of people give advice for how to survive the people you’re forced to be around every day, but there is absolutely nothing wrong about choosing to leave. I’m 24 now, and 10 years ago I felt a lot like you’re describing. I ended up toughing it out, but I missed a lot of days of school and ended up struggling with some major mental illness and eating disorders. I’m not sure if leaving would have helped, but I like to remind people that it’s an option, and something I’ve seen people do with good results.

      Above all, know you’re not alone either, and it does get better. Not magically, or all at once, but slowly and surely as you make your way outside of the bubble of school, you’ll meet great people (and a few terrible ones, but in real life it’s easier to get away from them) and have so many little experiences that bring you joy. It’s really worth it, and though on some days it’s still hard (lots of wounds leave lots of scars, as you mentioned), I’m glad that I made the choice I did to keep going. Sending you lots of healing thoughts, and hopes for the future.

    • Madrigorne

      Thank you. Love you.

    • alice

      Hey Frida.
      You sound awesome. My best friend dresses likes she wants and is weird and
      beautiful and has her own opinions. I think she’s wonderful for it. I am trying
      to be free like that, too. I know it’s hard- even when there is no
      straightforward bullying. Being alone. Being singled out. I want to tell you
      that i am thinking of you. I love you. Hugs.

      Sometimes a
      little thing like someone leaving can make everything seem better. Hang on, for
      the future. For next year and after. For the good bits of life. For the things
      that you like, for someone’s laugh, for a book that made you cry, for songs you
      want to scream along to, for internet strangers who are really friends and for
      honey. (or jam ?) :)

      When i feel
      like i cannot cope anymore i listen to a Harry Potter audiobook. Soothing voice
      and it helps to rest in someone else’s story for a while. (and be inspired by
      an epic tale ;)

      I don’t know
      if this is worth anything ; it’s a story I wrote, born from feelings
      similar to yours- black holes. But i hope it makes you feel a little bit
      better. http://www.wattpad.com/9470900-dissolve-in-the-sky

      (and since i
      know you write too i wouldn’t mind being a reader if you feel like sharing
      things :) )

      I love you.

  • Jenica

    As you’ve noted, it’s not just teenagers, and it’s not just high school and it’s not just minorities (though they’re often more vulnerable for lots of reasons), it’s regular grownups who rock the boat, too. Here’s my story:

    Here’s the background. I’m a librarian — a library director, an administrator — at one of the small SUNY arts colleges. We have a great music school, and an historic teacher education program, and a liberal arts and sciences backbone. The library has to provide information resources to support the work of all those students, from scores for the Crane performance majors to middleschool textbooks for our student teachers to academic journals and monographs for about 40 distinct subjects. We’re a little SUNY — 4000 students — so our funding is pretty tight, given New York’s budget situation. One of the hard decisions I had to make as the library’s administrative leader was on what to cut from our ongoing subscriptions so that we would come in under budget this year — prices rise and rise, and my budget continues to blow. So I cut the American Chemical Society package, which was hugely and egregiously overpriced. They have a monopoly on the information they provide, and they’re the best there is for chemistry stuff. I worked with the faculty, and they agreed that this was the best we could do, even though it sucked.

    And then I wrote about it on the internet. It blew up, in the small circle that is The Internet Of Academic Librarians. The American Chemical Society responded, initially, by saying that since I had a track record of profanity, they would not respond to this discussion. Standard “sit down and shut up, you uppity woman” tactics. I didn’t shut up. I wanted other libraries to know they could make hard choices, and it wouldn’t break them. It got picked up by the Chronicle of Higher Education, by American Libraries, and by the ACS’s media arm itself.

    Largely, the feedback was positive — “a brave thing to do”, “a real leader”, lots of glowing accolades. Right up until I corrected an interview I did, saying that 71% was the wrong figure, it was 41% price increases for the period in question. I was ashamed that I’d made an error, but I wanted the record to be clean and correct. So I corrected it.

    And then the blog comments started to turn. Now I’m seeing “what, she can’t do math?” and nasty personal attacks about my skills, my professionalism, my character, and suggesting that my bosses by told about how terrible I am… and while I know intellectually that I should ignore them, let them go, trust myself…. they hurt.

    All because I declined to pay 10% of my budget for 42 library journals, and then talked about it publicly.

    (Anyone who actually thinks this sounds interesting can find my writing at http://attemptingelegance.com, and a summary and linkdump of the kerfuffle at http://scienceblogs.com/confessions/2012/10/01/around-the-web-suny-potsdam-vs-american-chemical-society/)

    But long story aside, I have a very specific coping tactic. I remember two things:

    1. How important my internet community actually is, and how important having a voice in that space is. I have helped people. People have helped me. I have a side gig doing speaking and workshops for librarians because of it, and it not only pays me extra but is incredibly rewarding (I’ll be in AUSTRALIA in 3 weeks as a result; no small life reward!). There’s a world out there that wants to connect with like minded people, to have challenging conversations, to learn and grow and experience the world. And a bunch of haters aren’t going to keep me from being a part of that.

    2. Hate is fear. The people who want to anonymously (or not) tear me down online are doing it because it’s a way to punish me. And they want to punish me because I’ve threatened something. I’ve threatened their corporate reputation and value. I’ve threatened their understanding of how their profession works and functions. I’ve threatened their perception of the role of women in media. I’ve threatened their understanding of how decisions should be made by the powerful. I’ve threatened their faith in the validity of decisions they made. Something. And their fear reaction shouldn’t drive my choices. Someone else’s fear is something to be pitied and soothed, but not by subjugating who I am and what I need to their emotional reaction.

    And I know that my professional struggles aren’t the same on the emotional scale as being endlessly and viciously bullied for your identity. It’s never going to drive me to suicide. But it’s still THERE. High school ends, yes, and the top comes off the pressure cooker, but this piece of modern American society still exists when you’re an adult. The nasty kids in high school are now just nasty coworkers and music reviewers at the New York Times. So learning to cope *matters*. It’s a set of life skills that you will always, always need. Build them early, if you can, because it makes it a lot easier to stand and take the shit flung at you by monkeys if you’ve already figured out how to shield yourself from it.

  • http://www.unspoken0dreams.tumblr.com/ unspoken0dreams

    When I was 16 I went to a party and class mates at the time got me drunk. I’d never really had alcohol before. Some of the guys tried to get me to strip. I didn’t want to. I went to the bathroom. They locked me in. I couldn’t get out. I started to panic and cry. They eventually let me out (Because someone needed to pee) and I started gathering my stuff to go home. The started pushing me arund, spining me until I feel to the floor. I can’t remember the next few menutes but suddenly I opened my eyes and they’d put chairs over me. I couldn’t stand up, I couldn’t get away. The stood there laughing. And filming it on their phones. I eventually got up and out of there. I walked home, calling my friends on the phone and crying. They lived in other cities, the opposite end of the country. I got home, my parents didn’t notice anything was wrong.
    In the morning I signed on facebook to see I had been tagged in a video. I cried. I asked why they would so something so cruel? They called me an emo cutter who probably got drunk just to get attention. They called my friends freaks and asked how many of us had tried to kill ourselves and cutted. It wasn’t funny.
    I was lucky, I had my friends and I was done with school in 1 month. I blocked them all on facebook. I ignored them whenever I saw them. I moved on. But sometimes it still hurts to remember that time. To remember how alone i felt. How all I could do was try and pretend it didn’t hurt.

    I can only give this advice:
    Find someone – anyone – who you can trust to not hurt you and don’t be scared to rely on them for support. If I hadn’t had my friends during that time – or my mum and family – I’m nore sure I would have been strong enough to not do something drastic.
    Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to admit that it HURTS.
    And if seeing someone’s facebook posts about you hurt you then don’t be afriad to block them. Or anyone else who gives you shit for blocking them. It’s your life and you get to choose who you want to share it with. Cut the haters off – don’t let them force you to listen.

  • http://twitter.com/greengrrl Lauren Baker

    I love you all. Seriously. Even though I may not know you, or even know your name, I love you. With all my heart.

  • Jaime

    As a mother, also 36 years of age, my first thought after watching the Amanda Todd video was “Where were her parents?” I am sure they did the best they could for her and I don’t like how judgmental I am feeling but, as parents, we are supposed to protect, inspire, and heal our children when they suffer.

    I have a 12 year old daughter. If she was enduring this Hell I would have taken all electronic interaction out of her life. Instead of a teen filling her void with social media and sex, it is up to parents to fill her days with creative adventures, safe-haven, togetherness, and opportunities for her to define herself in a strong and positive way.

    I am going to ask my 12 year old to read this blog posting. I want her to know that communication should always be open between us. I want her to know that she is NEVER alone.

    I am a Teacher Librarian for kids from ages 5-17. The teenagers often come to me with their sorrows and secrets. I look upon it as my duty to help them follow the right path and understand how beautiful and wonderful they all are. I am run a bully-free classroom. My kids know that if I catch them being unkind to one another I WILL serve them up some strong consequences.

    I was a teenager (and adult) with depression. I used to cut myself back before it became this strange “cool thing to do” among highschoolers. I used to dream of death at a time when I should have been reveling in life.

    As an adult now who has faced her demons and told them all to take their arses back to Hell, I look upon it as my obligation to protect my children and everyone’s children from the darkness that is self-loathing. We have to give them reasons to want to be a part of this world. Sometimes that means unplugging them from the virtual world so they can learn to cope and prosper in the real one.

    If only I had known Amanda Todd. If only her teachers could have seen the danger she was in, If only her parents had taken away her social media the first time it caused her grief. If only. If only.

    We have to become ACTIVE sources of support and inspiration for our teens- not PASSIVE adults who leave them to their own poor judgment.

    Amanda Palmer- those online who wish to bring you down only do so because they themselves are down. Keep being the unique source of creative light that you are. You are surrounded by positivity- always remember that. Neil, a creative force of goodness like the world has never seen (I am such a fan), reminds you daily, I am sure, that you are exactly what you should be. I know my own husband does that for me.

    Now, we have to take it up a notch. It isn’t enough to know that we are loved. We must make it our mission to help those lost, hurting teens who are trying to figure themselves out in a world that it instant, digital, and sometimes quite cruel. Let me know, Amanda Palmer, if you need crusaders. I will join you. Until then, I will be giving my children, my students, and the people in my life reminders everyday that they are important, beautiful, and worth every breath they take. No matter what.

    • me

      “I would have taken all electronic interaction out of her life”

      Social media is a part of life. The internet has many great things to offer including support and somethings kids/teens need the support of someone other than their parents. After all in theory their parents have to love them and listen to them. While it’s great to include other things in your teens life and strengthen the joy they have outside of social media to just take it away from them isn’t good. Having something taken off you is often a punishment so taking away their phones/computers/internet access may feel like a punishment. Why should they be punished for being bullied? Now not only are they being hated, they are cut off from their friends (because you have to face the fact social media is a big part of staying in the loop now days) and have lost something that may be important to them.

      Stop the bullies and teach coping mechanisms, don’t punish the victims.

      • Jaime

        Ah yes, but when your own child has used poor judgment online, as Amanda Todd did when exposing her breasts, and then faced horrific bullying online, as a parent, the best thing you can do is pull the plug until they mature and heal. I know now, thanks to Peg, that Amanda Todd’s parents did just that- they tried to remove her from that virtual world in which people use words of hate without contemplating their consequences. However, she found her way back to it. If social media had existed when I was a teenager, I would have made some MAJOR mistakes. I thank the Goddess it didn’t exist when I was young, depressed, and unbalanced. I now teach children how to stay safe online and how to make the right choices. If a child is being tormented online- it is okay to remove them from that forum for a while. It isn’t a punishment. There is a whole wide world out there of real people and it is in that world that we really live.

    • Peg

      I know you are not trying to be judgmental and are not attacking them but I want to respond in defense of Amanda Todd’s parents. Because the defense will reveal how insidious the situation surrounding Amanda was. Amanda at the age of 12 was convinced by a person who was I believe a pedophile to lift her shirt and show herself to him. This could happen to any child even one who’s parents monitor their internet time. Such a person is practiced and a child is easy to convince. He tormented her by showing her the photo he took of her brief flash and threatened to show it to others including her parents unless she co-operated with him again and he again photographed her. It is easy to shame a child this way. He then began to show the photo to others by sending them to kids at school’s facebook pages and social media accounts. He even sent copies to every email account and facebook acount in the small town where she lived on Christmas eve. The cops notified her parents of the crime that morning. The kids immature and unable to understand began to bully her as a “slut” unmercifully. When her parents discovered this they moved her to new school and closed down her social media accounts. But the pedophile followed her by computer to the new school. He stalked her to the new school contacted kids enrolled there by pretending to be a new student and got them to friend him on facebook. He then sent them the pictures he had of Amanda thus ensuring her life at the new school would be hell. Her parents kept her off Facebook but the taunting at school revealed to her that she was being discussed online and she would constantly return to see what was being said about her. They tried to keep her off but they couldn’t. Total removal of computers is not possible in modern school because kids are expected by teachers to use them and communicate through them. She obsessed about what was being said about her and kept going back until in despair she killed herself. (There’s more but this is the outline.) Her parents were loving and supportive and she even communicated that, but a teen needs peers (this went on for years. It started at 12.) The cruelty from her peers orchestrated by the pedophile lead her to despair. Every time she tried to escape him, he would find a way to surround those around her with her pictures.

      No one around her was sophisticated enough with computers to stop him. Her parents tried to do all you said, but couldn’t defend her against the cruelty of her peers. And they were cruel.

      • Jaime

        Peg, thank you for telling me this. I am less confused about her parents’ behavior now that I know they made an attempt to shield her from the taunting online. What an awful awful tragedy.

  • J Mercer

    There is an XKCD cartoon where stick figure one uses the excuse, “SOMEONE IS WRONG ON THE INTERNET” (http://xkcd.com/386/) to refuse to go to bed. The sooner you realize that trying to correct, or even address all of the wrong on the internet, the better. It is trying to empty the sea with a spoon.

    Also, I was teased and lonely in middle school, but not in high school. What changed? More kids. I was different and it took a critical mass around 2,000 for there to be enough “kids like me” for me to be part of a community. College was 40k and even better. The internet – awesome beyond belief. If your peers suck, find new peers. It’s not you that’s broken. My friends now are my friends BECAUSE of my oddities.

  • http://twitter.com/CreativeTweets Tom Megginson

    I get trolled quite a bit in the comments sections of the blogs I write for. I tend to leave their bullshit up, because I feel like deleting them will give the trolls the satisfaction that I care. But then again, I’m a straight, white, 42-year-old man. The great thing about privilege is that you get to build a pretty impenetrable ego by the time you’re an adult.

    Like you, however, I’m glad I didn’t have social media as a teen. I was a bit of an opinionated loudmouth (still am), and although I had lots of friends I accidentally made lots of enemies too. I can only imagine what the guys who defaced my locker, pushed me around in the halls, and one night even pretended they were going to run me down with a car (a jumped behind a snowbank) would have done with such effortless bully media as Facebook or Twitter.

    Now I have a young son who is every bit the verbal dude I was. I will watch him with care.

  • http://www.facebook.com/erica.weiss.14 Erica Weiss

    I have never really liked myself all that much. I really preferred school to home, because people could be mean, but at least I had SOME friends there. It was difficult at home. I felt hopeless there. I spent all of my time holed up in my room with books and movies and sketchbooks. There were days I’d come home from school and not leave my room again until it was time to go to school the next day.

    I’ve been depressed, and I’ve been suicidal, but I always found a way to cope. I had good friends, and although I barely ever told them what was going on, they were always there for me. And I had stories and art and secret places to hide from all the bad shit around me.

    Some people don’t have anything though. I’ve had suicidal friends and I just never really know what to do fro them. I try to be there for them, maybe recommend a good book. But I always feel kind of useless in comforting them and I really wish I could do more form them.

    Mostly I just try to be nice to everyone, because everyone is living their lives and there are ups and downs. It’s hard sometimes, and there are times when there is not other option but to fight, but it shouldn’t be the first thing people do. All the hatred and fighting really tears me apart. And I don’t really know what I can do to stop it.

  • http://twitter.com/ChuckEye Chuck Ivy

    Is it safe to say that most hatred is nothing more than fear, set to action?

    And why are they afraid? Sure, a certain amount of fear is from direct experience. I don’t want to discount that. Some bad shit happens to you, you don’t want to put yourself in the situation where that will happen again. Natural to be afraid of that. But I would think more fear stems from “the unknown other”… that which is alien to me, which somehow challenges me, my beliefs, my choices, my lifestyle.

    I was bullied in junior high. I was beaten up; had boys piss on the clothes in my locker during gym. Why? Who knows. It’s not like they were ever able to express why they hated me. Because I was different… a musician, a nerd, a D&D player, not rich enough to own Izods and pennyloafers. I lucked out going to a performing arts high school, because we were all freaks, so nobody was marginalized. I witnessed more fear when I went off to college. One year in my suite there was me and 2 other straight guys living with a gay guy and two bi-guys, and we were all fine with that arrangement. Having a LGBT-friendly suite in the dorm meant that we became a natural meeting place for a gay student club, and that made us the target of vandalism on more than a few occasions. (This was ~1990, when the AIDS fear was particularly strong.) What made me sad was that my gay roommate thought he had to apologize for bringing that shit down on us. My girlfriend an I had to tell him it wasn’t his fault, it was the close-minded assholes who were too chickenshit to express their fears in a more productive way.

    Now days I’m a Freemason, and I get called a baby-eating, Lucifer worshiping monster on a regular basis on the internet. Why? Because Masons keep secrets. And somehow, people don’t recognize that secrecy and privacy are essentially the same thing. But because people don’t know, they jump to the worst conclusions imaginable, and they fear, and they hate. Because they never take the time to try to understand that thing which is unknown to them from any perspective other than their own.

  • Sarah V.

    I think we need an “It gets better” type of campaign for EVERY bullied kid. It DOES get better. After high school things were a lot better. And after college, better still. Putting young people in these weird forced nearly-adult-free environments for their whole childhood is so f*cked up. It’s like Lord of the Flies. And the internet is even worse. I worked as a moderator on a big internet forum and the stuff that goes on is unbelievable. There was a group of grown, adult men, with kids, with families, who spent their leisure time ganging up and picking on people and harassing them, following them around the site (and to other websites when they could) and trying to make them quit the site. Just for fun. It’s so damn pathetic. Classic case of people who feel powerless needing to make someone else feel even worse. Like racists and bigots, they always need to have someone to spit on so they don’t feel like they are themselves the dregs of society.

    What really works on the internet, though, is that on most websites (and with e-mail and chat and everything) you can block people. Blocking them is not “letting them win” or “letting them get the best of you.” It is YOU winning, by choosing what people to surround yourself with. YOU get to pick your friends. I’ve had to do this a few times and after a while you won’t even remember they exist. You can often report harassing behavior to the site, too, if they are really being nasty. On the site I moderated, all the mods hated those people and were always looking for a valid excuse to ban their butts from accessing the site. Most of them ended up banned eventually. But you have to file the complaint for that to happen. It’s not “tattling” and it’s not wrong. Block them and report them. Those are the tools you have at your disposal.

    If you can’t block them, what really drives them crazy is ignoring them. Have a conversation with your friend and pretend the haters aren’t even there. Completely ignore anything they type. I know this is not easy to do, but you can do it. This shows them that you have control over your own life. You do not have to respond to the nastiness, it is words on a screen that you can choose not to even read if you don’t feel like it. You can carry on your life as though they were invisible. Don’t read what they say. Don’t acknowledge it. They will give up eventually.

    There are occasional true crazy stalker types who don’t give up ever, and you might have to call the cops on them. But most internet a$$holes are just in it for fun and they will stop bothering you if you block and ignore them.

    This sort of thing works less well if you are a famous rock star getting stupid articles written about you, but in that case you probably have to learn to take the good with the bad… :-)

  • http://twitter.com/GreenSWT Violet No Yume

    Thanks for this… as always your blog asks the right questions…

    For having been bullied in high school for a whole year this story of amanda todd touched me… She couldn’t escape, they were all so cruel with her.

    Bullying in high school or on the internet, is the power of the weaks.
    Being a jerk when criticizing an artist just to be “an intellectual”, someone who does not follow the successfull ones is a kind of bullying. The power of the weaks.

    Let’s be strong all together, fighting the bullies and the blind criticism. Because people didn’t forget how to love, how to be social.

  • http://twitter.com/KatrinaHallene KatMarie

    Interestingly enough I had written pretty much on this topic, and how you saved my life just two days ago but thought it would sit in the files of my laptop. Instead it is posted on my blog now: http://katmarieh.tumblr.com/post/39759270173/all-about-my-love-for-afp-my-brother-and-new-years
    I was abused, bullied, and turned into my own worst enemy. Then I listened to your music, and I started writing my own things, and I pulled through. Thank you.
    The majority of my abuse was off-line, though I saw some of the internet type. I would say that my strategies were finding people who inspired me, and writing.

  • Becky

    I’m just a little older than the Internet bully generation, but thinking of what I did to overcome my immense anxiety and shyness that followed me from school…. Putting myself in new environments was so very important. I went to college and took classes in subjects I enjoyed. I went to science fiction conventions. I worked in retail. And slowly I realized that the people around me were treating me like I was a more-or-less normal human being and that I could handle complex social interactions.

    I am still shy, anxious, and awkward, but at the end of the day I DON’T FUCKING CARE.

    I think if I had started forcing myself to try new social experiences more often in high school, this discovery would have happened much more quickly. High school is such a poisonous microcosm and what I needed was a reality check!

  • paige

    What I’ve always told my students is “It doesn’t have to be this way. YOU can change things. Middle school and high school don’t have to be awful. Stick together, love each other, find your strength in community and collaboration.The way to triumph is to survive.”

    I think it’s as true for online life as it is for offline life, and for all of us. I have not been bullied online, thankfully, but I’ve had students who were. They trusted me enough to tell me and they were fortunate enough to have supportive parents and friends who could ameliorate, improve or stop the bullying.

    The key is that we can’t triumph and survive alone. We don’t necessarily need an army, but there’s strength in numbers as well as safety; there is a comfort and strength in a group of people who know you and love you and TELL you that as often as needed.

    “Shared pain is lessened.
    Shared joy is increased,
    thus, we refute entropy.”

    –Spider Robinson

  • RiverVox

    I see this issue as going way beyond young people in school. They are the vulnerable ones who become victims of a whole culture of sarcasm and hate. It begins at home with adults nasty remarks about their friends or neighbors weight, hair style, car etc. The sarcasm at home, the mean comments often punctuated by “just kidding!”. Magazines and TV shows full of images and articles attacking the appearance of celebrities, comedy shows that consist entirely of sarcasm & ugliness. We are modeling this behavior to kids every day. I would ask parents and other adults to check their own interactions. How much of your conversations are spent criticizing other people’s appearance or lifestyle? It’s corrosive and just not interesting. I am reminded of the Eleanor Roosevelt quote: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” The internet is in a league of its own. I found this blog from David Wong on Cracked to be spot on: “…whatever you try to build or create — be it a poem, or a new skill, or a new relationship — you will find yourself immediately surrounded by non-creators who trash it. Maybe not to your face, but they’ll do it….Read our article comments — when they get nasty, it’s always from the same angle: Cracked needs to fire this columnist. This asshole needs to stop writing. Don’t make any more videos. It always boils down to “Stop creating. This is different from what I would have made, and the attention you’re getting is making me feel bad about myself.”” And there it is. Hate driven by self-loathing, fueled by hate reflected from other sad, broken people. Since I’m an optimist and romantic, I believe that people have the potential to change and move toward the light. Let’s smash the hate mirrors and open the windows.

  • http://www.facebook.com/MissMandala Mandi Blahey

    So many,many years this has been a lingering question for me. I’ve been heavily accused of being a “damn hippy” “love-sick-fool” and all the other ways people try to tell me that loving EVERYONE, no matter who, what, or why, makes me weak, stupid, or lesser than. The struggle was not short, nor easy. I’m NOT weak, I’m very opinionated, well read, and quite strong. My own story brings people to their knees in tears, when I choose to tell it. THat, however, tends not to be often. Why? Because this fucking life is SO short, so fast, that I can’t seem to care enough about all that bullshit back there to waste the precious moments I still have (like this morning, reading your thoughts and feeling so….understood). Love looks so different in words, and that’s the fight we’re fighting Amanda. We are attempting to use words to fight a war that hurts souls, and that requires a strength that’s new. This cyber-world we now live in has caused us to evolve, and now we need a new filter, a new way to shield out the bullshit, the trolls, the hate. These idiots that say things just to hurt us? They can now TOUCH our minds, simply with a keyboard. Take it from someone who lives so much of their life in this cesspool known as the “Internet”, there are SO many more out there that are good and decent, and there is also an unending supply of pain. Love where you can, never forget who you are, and use the shield of those who appreciate your art, your soul, and YOU. I know I sure as fuck do. <3 To quote you from my card "From one Amanda to another" … may YOUR year be filled with Love and Rock… and to add my own…. may it be filled with more REAL :)

  • LP

    Trigger warning (unsurprisingly):

    I was verbally bullied in school from 2 years before kindergarten through third grade at a level that made everything else (including situations of abuse) which I got later seem mild. I responded the only way I had learned how to at the time, with physical violence. I never really learned another way to behave until I transfered schools in 4th grade. And then it was a slow process to learn other social skills, meanwhile I *was* one of the physical bullies. And what I did was profoundly fucked up. But it was the only thing I had learned.

    Except that for a freak like me, even though I grew up, and *stopped* reacting with physicality that didn’t stop the bullying. At my summer camp, a director sat me down, and had a long conversation with me including details like banning my best friend and asking me questions like “why are you friend with outcasts?” The head of a camp where girls go to learn and gain support was tearing me apart. And I still went back for 2 more years because it was still better than the alternative. In high school i got shoved into lockers and questioned “are you a boy or a girl?” all the time. I was lucky in that the ‘popular’ girls in my year liked me and wouldn’t tolerate anyone treating me badly, but mostly that just meant I was safe when doing sports. Even in college, even at a school known for it’s liberal/radical politics, i dealt with cars of frat boys (and we only had 3 frat houses) shouting abuse at me, friends got egged, and walking home at night meant either cutting through a rather dark and dangerous back path or walking by the bad frat where they shouted homophobic/transphobic/etc comments from their 2nd story porch.

    Sometimes I dealt badly. Sometimes I dealt well. But one of the things that I wish I had gotten sooner was Kate Bornstein’s “Hello Cruel World: 101 alternatives to suicide for teens freaks and other outlaws” because it was a brilliant and necessary book. I think this book should be in every school library in the country for middle and high schoolers. I try to ignore most of the shit (including a blog group from my high school years that was created for those who hated me) and have high privacy settings on facebook to avoid people commenting who aren’t good and trusted friends. But mostly, I avoid.

    My best coping strategy was always friends. When I was a young teenager a friend called me up worried about someone else killing themselves, not knowing that said call was the reason I didn’t that night. I had people in my life give me reasons for living, and later I was the person crying, trying to tell someone else they were loved, begging them to stay alive. These weren’t friends from school usually, these were people I knew from a queer youth group, from a trip with my family, from connections built in non-traditional ways.

    Another great coping tool was music. Music was something to drown in, music could change my mood from hopeless to angry (which was honestly an improvement) from sad to excited. Music and art saves lives.

  • http://twitter.com/Capuletx Kristy Allan

    Capulets’ Crippled Self Esteem OR, An anecdotal guide to quashing interwebz hate.

    I had the same group of friends for the seven years. They were my friends through high school, and those friends bled from adolesence to the brink of adulthood. Whatever adulthood may be, I’m there now in age, and that group of people are not.

    An important thing to understand about internet hate is this: No matter what you have done, whether you have kissed someone you shouldn’t have kissed, you have taken your clothes off to the wrong person (or people), if you have said something nasty or simply don’t look the way someone else thinks you should, whatever. It doesn’t matter. Nothing is acceptable about bullying. That is the first rule to this guide – it is NOT your fault. And that is how I survived, because I was sorry for any hurt feelings I had caused, and I expressed that, the treatment afterwards as not my fault.

    Being called names on a blogging site – You don’t deserve that.
    Having people discuss your life over facebook – You don’t deserve that.

    Having the above done and you AREN’T able to defend yourself – You don’t deserve that.

    Feeling afraid to go out because it might inspire a hateful comment – You don’t deserve that.

    A lot of people don’t realise that vauge ‘oh my god SOME people are SO SELFISH’ sort of posts on facebook and twitter constitutes as bullying. People get involved in that, they ask who it is about. There is usually a base group that knows EXACTLY who it is about and discuss it at length on a public forum. That is bullying.

    Everything above is bullying.

    2) You call them out on it, if you can.

    If the people who are writing nasty things about you are people that you know personally, then call them out. If you are safe and feel able to, I think this is important. They want you to be passive. They want to zap the power from you. They want to make their pain or their lives more important than you. Well, they’re wrong. Tell them that. Don’t get personal. The best thing I did after reading a nasty blog post about me was send a simple text that said outlined that person was demonstrating bullying behaviour that was unacceptable and would not be tollerated. I discussed that I had made any apologises on my side that were necessary and this person was being unreasonable, and no action I had done deserved it. If they were to continue, the matter would be taken further.

    The post was taken down. The person said their piece, and that was the end of it.

    The same night the same thing happened with another girl. She made an excuse, but the tweet was taken down.

    3) Tell someone.

    It’s cliched and the last thing you want to do, but it is also the best thing to do. Because it’s not your fault that someone’s business is so messed up they’re trying to make you feel bad. We do enough of that to ourselves anyway. We don’t need any more of it. I told my family that the people I used to be friends with had taken our fall out to a personal level, and they had done that online. They supported me. I told other friends and they supported me. I told colleagues, and they supported me.
    You’re not alone in this. When you do someone, make sure you don’t leave out any of the gory details from how YOU have reacted either. Threatened, upset, shamed, it can make you do things out of character. Accept you might have said or done something in retaliation if you have. I was honest about my short commings and no one turn their back on me.

    4) Get your feelings out.

    I cried on my kitchen floor for a day and then impulsively bought a hamster to ease my loneliness. You might want to try something else. However you vent, make sure you try do it in a healthy way. Cause like I said, if people aren’t being nice to you then don’t be too harsh on yourself.


    I deactived my facebook account and focussed solely on work. When I was ready to rock the online world again I made a NEW account and added people I wanted to, staying away from those connected to the ones who bullied me. Be strict. Be selective. Don’t invite pain into your online life. Keep it all private. Keep it secure. It is yours. Be safe.

    6) Accept an apology, but never forget.

    Over time, if the bullying has settled down (and it WILL, I promise you it will) some of the bullies who don’t realise that they were being bullies might crawl back into the cracks of your life. And because they were nice, or you were unaware of their part in events, you might let them in.
    In my experience, they want to settle their own guilty conscience and they are contacting you without considering your feelings. Ditch. You don’t need it. You’re a rockstar. Fuck ‘em.

    7) Be kind to yourself.

    All the cliches are true. Love yourself and things get a whole lot easier. When your self esteem and identity are being locked on and targetted the MOST important rule in all of this is to just be kind to yourself. Look after yourself. Make sure you’re eating properly, having enough sleep, doing activities that get you away from the computer and even outside for a while if you can stomach it. Do your thing, do it till you feel at peace, and then write down how much of a badass you are. Frame it. Love it. Kiss it. You should kiss every inch of your body and you should work up a sweat when you do.

    It’s obvious, it isn’t fullproof but it is how it got me through. Along with a couple of hangovers, terrible artwork and poetry about rotting carcusses. But I’m here, and I don’t feel alone anymore x

  • mimi

    we do it by taking that reprieve. shutting it off. disengaging and listening, tuning out all but the inner feedback, until we’re centered enough to go back out, with the truth of who we are, to seed love again. take once daily, or as needed.

  • http://twitter.com/elleseesyou Elle Sees

    I always hoped bullying ended once I grew up. It doesn’t (for me). I get comments about my big, ugly-ass nose still.
    From men: Ew, Good God! Damn, your nose is big. You so ugly.
    From “friends”: Honey, you really need a nose job.
    From little old ladies(!!!): You’d be pretty if you got your nose fixed.

    And so I have a beauty blog, where I show people how to be beautiful on the outside.
    I wish I was.

  • http://curiouslyawesome.blogspot.com/ Rachel

    I am overwhelmed by the blog entry and comments. The only piece of advice I have, is to breathe. Sometimes, it is the only thing you can control.

    I too, have stories of bullying, life kicking me in the clit, and other not good things. But, at the end of the day all you can do is breathe and try to say kind things to yourself.

  • petponygirl

    adopted (cue instant feelings of abandonment and rejection from that alone) into a family who viewed mental illness as just not trying hard enough to get along and do the things one is supposed to do and bisexuality as the devil’s bidding. grew up and married a boy like i was told to and ended that 15 year relationship when he refused to stop drinking, cheating, beating, and convincing me to end my life because it was worth nothing. since then i have been homeless off and on for four years because i couldn’t afford a decent lawyer who would have fought for me and the divorce resulted in the foreclosure of my home which is the only place i have ever felt safe in my 36 years on this earth.

    how do i survive? fuck if i know. i am amazed each and every day that i am still here when i so desperately want to not be but every so often i stumble across beauty and humor and love from jenny lawson aka the bloggess or from amanda fucking palmer or allie who wrote “adventures in depression” and in those moments i am placed in a bubble where no harm can come to me. where i can cry and laugh and just be. then i hope to jebus effing chris that it will last through those moments when everything goes dark.

    of course that’s a quick summary of my life but you can read more about it here: http://www.petponygirl.com/ which is probably what has kept me going the most in the recent years. having an way to get whatever is inside me out that is trying to take me down.

    it’s strange how a person you have never met can make you feel so worthy of love and life when the person staring back at you in the mirror can’t seem to. thank you amanda for being you and i will try to continue to be me for as long as i can.

  • MLD

    I truly believe we are in the worst part of this transitional period. Soon, everyone’s “boobs” will be on the internet (metaphorically) and this meta-social structure will actually really help, in the long run, in exposing the bullying, exposing bullies to a deeper culture outside of the sticks and allowing those “odd” isolated kids who would be bullied to come together who are actually very far apart.

  • rodalena

    How to cope…I don’t know exactly. I suppose the best way is to go all Atticus and walk around in their shoes for a minute, or a month. Remembering that everyone is carrying a heavy load, and not everyone carries it well. Also, usually the amount of bile people spew out is usually in direct correlation to their own insecurity. And, sometimes, people are just really cold and small.

    It’s exhausting to run in the human race: doing it well requires giving and receiving kindness. Maybe the best way to cope is to sneak away from the pack, and just walk around in the woods alone for awhile.

    All the best to you, Amanda. On the surface, I am quite possibly your polar opposite, but I think you’re amazing.

  • Rocket

    I have some anonymous blogs that I write in, (a few because even my secret online writings can’t stay in one place) and about a year ago, my main follower, a woman whose username was “firespark” linked in the comments to an Amanda Palmer music video. I watched some more and ever since then I’ve been cursing in good ways, like, “fuck that hate, my black lipstick and fishnets are fabulous.”
    I think AFP helps even without the help blogs.

  • Phanie

    As an all female band I think we get picked on the most for how we look. Especially Jenn and I. Lesbian and fat. Alot of people won’t give us the time of day because of what they see first. Even music critics etc. How do we deal? We are just happy that we do play music and that we do have fans. That people like you and Morrissey and more can appreciate and understand what we do. So we keep going and understand that music is us no matter who can accept it or not. Jenn and I are shooting a documentary as we speak about being an all female group and being treated different. Even by your own peers. You just have to stay strong and know what your doing is important to someone.

  • Taylor Heider

    I wanted to start by saying that what happened to Amanda Todd was extremely tragic, and up until this blogpost, I had thought that there weren’t many other people that thought the same. My friends would always make bleach jokes, and talk about how she was a ‘slut’. Sometimes people really just disgust me. I couldn’t even begin to fathom why the only thing they picked up from that story was that she slept with someone’s boyfriend, but felt the need to leave out that she was feeling alone and thought he cared about her.

    In short, my friend’s are pretty judgmental. It’s hard to go to them when I’m feeling particularly lousy about myself, because I don’t think anything they say in comfort is genuine. Not after the Amanda Todd thing anyways.

    When I was a freshman in high school there was this kid in my class who would harass me daily. He would comment about my weight and my hair, and weirdest of all my cupid’s bow. And that was bad. He was in three classes with me.

    • Sarah

      I recently read a story about a turtle researcher who put a plastic turtle on the highway to see how drivers would react to it. When I told this story to a few kind-hearted people, they all responded by saying “oh, no, wouldn’t that cause accidents from people swerving away from it?” No. Many people every hour swerved to HIT the poor thing. Apparently it is a popular sport. There are a LOT of very dark people out there. Anyway there are also a lot of people who are here to love. As has been said here, everybody is afraid and your friends are probably still under the grip of their own fears. I pray you find your way to friends who have learned a little more about suffering and can give you some real comfort.

  • Ali

    I speak with an accent, I am shy, and a bit weird, and come across as too serious, but that is just because mi face is shaped in a funny, downturned way. I’ve been bullied in school, then in college, and then by my flatmates, who were my boyfriend’s friends and made him choose between them and me.

    I have to fight everyday the feeling that it is ME who is wrong, because how can these things follow me around this way? Then I remember that I spent five of my teenage years on antidepressants and doctor visits, and think that people prey. People smell your fragileness. People hate your differentness. You remind them of what they chose not to be. And to think that they may be wrong is terrifying, so they put you down and make you miserable, only to say “see? I’m the right one.”

    Still, it hurts. They used to say I looked like an old lady (I was 27, am 32 now), and I can’t look at myself in the mirror without thinking I’m ugly. Really ugly. That is not important, I know, but…

    • Sarah

      I definitely agree with you that people can smell when someone is fragile, or carries old wounds, or was abused in childhood. Everyday ordinary people who would never think of themselves as bullies in any way, people who probably think they are very nice, will pick up on someone’s vulnerabilities and self-esteem problems and automatically treat that person as less-than. Or they will just take liberties with that person, let their own demons have a little more room to play, be a little less respectful than they would be around someone who exudes genuine confidence. I’m sure that you are BEAUTIFUL when you are happy. I also think it’s awesome that you fought for a position where you could be creative and give back to your community. That tells me that you can do it again, and that opportunities will never stop appearing for you. I hope I trip across your writing!

  • http://twitter.com/Vacant_Corpse Becca Sklar

    i dont want this comment to be about me. It’s about how I managed to save 2 new facebook friends from killing themselves. I had just met them on facebook through Otep’s Tribe. The first one I had just friended that day and this was the first time I talked to her so didn’t know she was suicidal. I honestly don’t know what I did to make her change her mind. We had fun talking to each other. She told me a few days later that she was getting ready to end her life, she was getting all her affairs in order and was going to do it that weekend. Shes fighting now through some medical problems. The other one was VERY angry. I met her a year ago. She had already tried suicide a few times before we met but obviously she failed all attempts. She tried I believe 2 times after we started talking. She is bullied horribly for being different and such. Its personal for her so I obviously can’t give details. But one day she was extremely depressed and I was terrified she was going to try to kill herself. So I stayed up with her on skype until 5 or 6am. We had been skyping the whole day. Even if we have nothing to talk about I stay on with her. I started to read her articles from cracked.com to make her laugh. I thought she was ok and eventually we both fell asleep. The next day she tried to OD. But she told me she thought of me and told her mom right away and went to the hospital. Im so proud of her. She’s doing ridiculously better now. <3 I just love helping my friends and I'm apparently pretty good at it. I just show I care…I have medical problems so I'm in bed most of the time…I know bad physical, mental and emotional pain. I dont want my loved ones to feel it and I do my best to help them.

  • Anonymous Blogger

    I’m a Google-able person. A creative person. The kind of person who has a million and one ideas, and some of them are actually good. I fought for, and won, a job in which i could be wildly creative, and support and promote the wild creativity of others. A job where I could make a big difference to my community. I began the job with an incredible amount of hope and optimism.

    At first, no noticed my work, so I worked incessantly promoting myself and the other creative people I had under my wing. And I got popular, far more popular than I ever intended. People wanted me to speak at conferences and give workshops. People wanted me to review their books and music and events. People wanted to be my “friend” for status or be associated with me professionally for a juicy bit to put on their resume.

    And the negativity came. People called me fat a lot. I was sent an image of my picture with a pig’s snout. When I pointed out impracticalities or made reasoned criticisms I was branded as an “angry girl.” People sent me passive-aggressive notes about how I was “obviously” a disturbed person and need to be less “angry.” I was threatened with lawsuits for stating my opinion of PR stunts or ethical questions. I was subjected to hateful e-mails by people who felt I wasn’t working hard enough because i didn’t respond to their 1 AM e-mail within 5 minutes. Campaigns were waged to get me fired from my job. An hour long podcast discussing my “pro-lapsed vagina” was created simply because I warned someone against jumping to conclusions.

    While this wave of negativity washed over me daily, my employer entertained all my haters. Even when I proved I could accomplish amazing things, they refused to stand behind my ideas, and sometimes claimed credit for them while still telling me my ideas were full of shit. I worked remotely, only interacting with my colleagues via the internet, so it was easier to dismiss me. They would do things behind my back to undermine me, and make me look like an idiot, and not even care when I pointed it out to them. And as a start-up, sometimes they didn’t pay me on time. Sometimes they didn’t pay me for months, even when I was putting in 60 hours a week. I lost friends and missed opportunities because I had this great job, yet I couldn’t make appointments and events because I wasn’t getting paid. I sat through performance reviews in which I was told I was a good employee who exceeded expectations but obviously I sucked at my job because my haters said so. After the third performance review of hearing my haters words coming out of my boss’ mouth despite exceeding at my job in every way, I decided to quit.

    Just because I quit, didn’t mean my haters quit. There are blog posts and tumblr threads full of people hating on me. People who don’t know me. People who don’t know what I sacrificed for my job or what difficulties I endured. I took the job because I saw an opportunity to do something amazing for my community. Now I’m completely broke from the job, from their owing me money I will never see and from spending my income to make awesome things happen. I can’t read anything relating to my community anymore without seeing the names of my bullies and haters in the comments section. I can’t comment on anything without haters coming out of the woodwork. Now that I don’t have a job, my haters have decided I’m more vulnerable. When prospective employers look me up they find all this invective, alongside all the amazing writing I did.

    I have my fans. They are amazing. They want me to write. And I do. I’m working on a book and a television series script. But I work slowly, because I know the haters are there, and after my bad job experience I can’t imagine anyone wanting to support or be involved with any of my creative projects. When I finish a project, I don’t publish it, because I know the haters are there. I know I owe my fans, but I just can’t take the abuse anymore. I don’t even trust anyone anymore. Too many professional friends and colleagues have attacked me when I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, give them something they they wanted from me. I’m a “sell-out.” A member of my community only because I was “being paid” to be a member. I’ve been treated like a leper or a Machiavellian schemer.

    I’m an excellent writer. I’ve been published, both fiction and non-fiction. But now I’m a hermit. I’ve shut down most of my social media and all my websites. I’m no longer a member of any organization. I’m alone, and I’m wounded, and I just want to curl up in a cave and lick my wounds. Hope for healing.

    Since I quit my job my few close friends have said I look and sound happier. I find this bizarre because i have verged on suicidal these past few months. But I don’t correct them. I’m afraid to reach out for help, because the last thing I need is for my haters to crow that they were right all along and I’m mentally unstable. I’ve had enough cruel people commenting on their fevered imaginings of my mental state.

    So here I am, a talented writer afraid to publish, and a smiling depressed person just trying to pretend everything is alright, and that she isn’t afraid to open her laptop.

    • Anonymous Blogger

      I should add that you and Neil bring joy to my life. Don’t let the haters get you down. You are both beautiful and I love you both madly.

    • http://twitter.com/_jenneryy Jennifer Wilkerson

      You earned the job you had through talent, that’s obvious. To be honest I’d be terrified of the haters too who have nothing better to do than hurt you. Maybe try publishing under a pseudonym to share your craft and get the credit for your talent, it may help in the long run to get past this darkness. Don’t ever be afraid to reach out for help, even to anonymous sources, when you’re feeling low and like you might hurt yourself.

    • Katie Kee

      It makes me sad to hear that you stopped publishing due to the assholes. Assholes are always going to act out. I think it is because they think being mean is the same thing as being clever. My husband has a different theory, which I also agree with which I will explain with this round about story.
      A tattoo artist who lives near my house does beautiful murals on the blank and run down spaces in West Oakland. His name is Mark Bode and he does cartooning in the style of his father who died when Marc was little in a terrible accident. I have a fantastic tattoo by him. A peacock feather on my left shoulder that spills into the crook of my arm. He did on the spot. He did it freehand by simply putting a peacock feather up near his station and working from it. Recently we saw that his mural that is closest to our house was defaced. Someone blackened the faces with spray paint and then wrote “Ha ha! The Joker.” beside the mess they left. My husband turned to me and said, “Some people cannot take it upon themselves to create, so they can only feel important by destroying the amazing things created by others.” I think that is most definitely true.
      Creating is a hard and it can be painful thing even as it is, at the same time, a driving need. At least that is how creating art is for me. I hear others take a less tortured route. When I was a fledgling therapist I had the strange stroke of fate to be the therapist to a high school idol of mine. I won’t say who or what kind of music they did as any identifying info would be highly unethical and ethics are important to me. I will say that my high school was a desperate time for me both in the classroom and in my home life. I almost did not make it several times. But artists like this one made it possible for me not to re-tie the noose that broke, to throw up the pills I had swallowed, to spit out the overdose of GHB, to put down the razor blade, and continue putting one foot in front of the other until I could finally leave the fuck home and find a place in the world where the world not only valued me but celebrated me.
      I didn’t recognize the person until we were well into the therapy. I never knew If, as the therapist, I should have acknowledge my own appreciation of what they did for me, what they meant to me or even if I knew the music they had created. It did sadden me that they left all of it behind and had shame for the art they had accomplished. I decided to err on the conservative side and kept my feelings to myself because I didn’t want to interject myself into their therapy. I wanted it to be entirely their space. But I can say to you what I fantasized about saying to them, even though I do not know who you are or you or what you write.
      Please don’t let them muzzle you. They, who are too terrified to take risks. To take the real risks of sweat and blood and fear. You cannot let those cowards silence that! You cannot let them mean so much to the world that they can take away a voice the world so clearly and desperately needs. Those assholes will just move onto another victim. They feed on blood and death and shame. It’s all that they know. We know something greater than that. We have experienced giving birth to a voice that is greater, louder, and has the potential to touch others even through the generations. It is this thing, this gift that you have which gives meaning, points out the beauty, in an otherwise terrifying and random universe. It’s the shred of hope for the otherwise hopeless. Those who you have touched are not as quick to rush to you and tell you how you have changed them or even how you might have saved them for fear of seeming like the crazed “other.” But they are out there and they will tell their children about you.


    • Sarah Jungling

      You may call yourself afraid but by saying something here and now shows that you still have something left to say, something you WANT to do, the spark is still there. You need your fire back, and I hope you can get the fuel you need to make it burn again, it’ll burn again brightly. I feel this way because you care and you want something to change, you just don’t know how. I truly understand how you feel, while I am not a writer, nor am I in the professional world yet, I have always had trouble with initiating the change, I never know where to start so I often give up. This probably won’t help you but I want to make sure you know that you aren’t alone and knowing that you have similar fears and hopes, someone who is confidant enough in her writing abilities to call herself talented, which is clear from your comment alone, comforts me and gives me hope that I’ll be able to do some of the things I want to do. You did make a difference you made me remember that I needed to fuel my own spark if I ever want to help someone else with theirs so,
      Thank you.

      P.s. I tend to write in circles and I know I don’t always make sense nor do I always remember to close the circles (or arc in those cases) but I hope you know you aren’t alone and that your loved here because everyone is loved here EVERYONE. Even talented writer’s who are afraid to publish their amazing work. <3

    • http://twitter.com/LittleJanelleS Janelle Sheetz

      I second everything that’s already been said, and I would love to read your work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/simone.birger Simone Birger

    All I can think is, “She needed a hug from a peer.” It’s amazing what one person can do for another by being kind for 30 seconds.

  • PhaedraHPS

    I agree with what someone said about the culture of put-downs and nasty humor that is ubiquitous in current entertainment. I think it’s awful and painful and encourages the worst in people. Yet I was bullied in HS, way before the culture of put-downs and way before the Internet (I graduated in ’69). Don’t know how I would have coped with Internet bullying. Offline abuse was bad enough.

    I couldn’t wait to get out of HS. At first I wanted to go to a really, really big university, thinking that in a population that large, it increased the odds there would be at least some people like me. Instead, I waited until I was 23, then went to a tiny (1200 students) art school. We were all weird. But even there, in the mid-70s, I got grief just for being female. Over a cafeteria table one day I was told by a guy younger than me that since there was no female Picasso, there was no reason for women to be in art school. I told the guy that there wasn’t an American Picasso, either, so there was no reason for him to be in art school. And I kept going. In one of the bathrooms that we shared with the theater school, there was always warring graffiti over who was weirder or more useless, artists or actors. What is it about human brains, especially younger brains, that insists on finding a pecking order?

    I want to say it gets better. It does, but maybe it’s because you do learn to ignore and learn to live and, yes, develop a tougher hide, I think. The nasty people may never stop. My late husband was an author, not a best seller like Neal, but he had books in print for forty years. He used to call himself a micro-celebrity in our little niche market. When he was dying from cancer, much too young at age 60, there were corners of the Internet saying “Good!” “About time!” A few said they had cursed him to cause the fatal cancer (he said to me, “Some great magicians they are, the spell only took forty years to work.”) We didn’t reply, we didn’t feed the trolls, but believe me it hurt. And I won’t forgive them. I loved my husband so much, and it hurt so bad. But let them have their little smug triumphs on their little, tiny Internet forums; my husband got an obit on NPR. All they will ever get is the last word on some obscure forum thread.

    This has given me the courage to NOT Google “I hate [my own name]” or his. Screw ‘em. I have cancer myself. I gotta do some living while I can. I don’t need to know who hates me; if they want to waste their energy on that, let ‘em. If they feel that strongly, I must be pushing some powerful buttons. Good, then I’m doing something right.

    It is true that living well is the best revenge. But ya gotta keep living.

  • JHL

    The year is 2008-2009. I was 19, buried deep inside my Amanda-love obsession that I’d been in since 5 years earlier. That’s when I found the secret life of a girl I went to high school with online. She’d made some comments to her friend in front of my then-boyfriend suggested I should see what she’s up to…a few years earlier, there’d been a bit of a fiasco of another then-boyfriend involving her. We broke up. They got together. She was mad because I dated him before her. Then the internet came into play. She would frequently visit a video game forum, but they’d often talk about other subjects. I happened to be her favorite. She’d look for any excuse. If they brought up something, she’d find a way to bitch about me. If she happened to see me that day, I could count on the fact that I could come home and read about every move I made and her thoughts about it that night. She had no idea.

    Her comments were infuriating. She was a timid little mouse in my presence, but online she turned into the biggest bitch I’ve ever met. And her online friends applauded it. They encouraged it. Which also bothered me, made me very self conscious and a nervous wreck actually. But it was just infuriating, I could handle that.

    Then she put photos of me up. They started out talking about how ugly I was, how she’s so much better than me, how I’m probably a lesbian to shame me for choosing virginity. Then they started saying “we should just kill her.”

    No longer just infuriating.

    I screenshot years worth of things she said, printed them, made copies, still have them on my hard drive somewhere. Sought the help of lawyers, seriously considered trying to get her stupid ass thrown in jail. It was difficult to find help, because believe it or not, these “cyber bullying” cases were relatively unheard of at that time. I even looked for expert help on the internet, explained the scenario, and they said it would be interesting to see a case like mine taken to court, because it was one of the first of it’s kind.

    I’m not sure what stopped me. She didn’t deserve the easy way out. Instead, I ran away. I cut ties with all my friends, broke up with my boyfriend, deactivated facebook, enrolled in a college out of state and dropped off their grid as best I could. I haven’t been back. I don’t check to see what she’s saying now, even though at first it was tempting. To this day I don’t even know if she’s aware I saw it all.

    In all honesty, it pushed me to get out of the hole I was in. I’m much better off now than I was then, but I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. She was stupid enough to put her full name and school name out there for all those strangers to know, I sometimes am really scared of what information of mine she may have told them as well. I really believe since I’ve disappeared, she no longer has a reason to hate me or talk shit. If she wanted our group of friends to herself, she’s more than welcome. They weren’t that great in the first place and I’ve had amazing experiences and met amazing people and will continue to do so. She’s still hanging around the same losers, in the same shithole town, and is probably still bitching about someone on that site. I’m living the life I’ve always wanted. I won. No looking back.

    • JHL

      Also, I just wanted to say, your songs, blogs, tweets, photos, EVERYTHING you’ve done helped me through that and so much other shit throughout my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you Amanda.

  • http://twitter.com/jamescomins James Comins

    This is not very big of a deal, but here is my experience with bad reviewers: I write stories and novels and put them on Smashwords, which puts them everywhere else. In my writing I use a bunch of Finnegans Wake-inspired alternative spellings and punctuationings. In every review I’ve gotten so far, the reviewers has said “Omg he needs to learn to spell.” Which makes me insanely mad and sad, because it means that my experimentation is falling on deaf ears. So I went back and added these “ALL SPELLINGS AND MISSPELLINGS AND ODD PUNCTUATIONS INTENTION” disclaimers to all my books. Which makes me feel like a wasted fraud, or like that equally unhappy woman from a year ago who kept commenting on bad reviews of her self-published book. I don’t really know what to do about such stuff. I don’t have answers. But this is my experience.

  • http://twitter.com/AKOTAS Paul Gadzikowski

    For almost nine years I’ve drawn a daily cartoon and put it on the web (counting only the general interest series, not the Doctor Who crossover fanfiction series). I have a modest-sized audience as these things go, something less than the threshold required, whatever it is, to have the percentage of trolls in the audience be a large enough number to be visible, as the more popular webcomics have on their forums. The only time I ever got notice from a hater, at least so as to be affected by it, was when I advertised my second anniversary on a LiveJournal community for webcomics.

    The hater was one of three people who commented on my post (the other two with more encouraging reactions). I responded to him as I did each of the others, “Thanks for reading.” He responded with another few paragraphs of abuse; by abuse I mean, for instance, he claimed that I was dragging the entire art of cartooning, writing and drawing, down by putting my cartoons on the web.

    I didn’t respond any further to him but, in the only friendslocked post in my LJ that isn’t adult material, I mentioned it to my friendslist. I said I wasn’t telling the story to look for support, but I was wrong, and I got it. Some of my flist even went to the post on the community and argued with the troll.

    I’m pretty thickskinned (which is why I didn’t recognize the want for support when I got it) and don’t have a lot of experience in this area, so I don’t know how much help my story will be, but there you are.

  • http://twitter.com/raliel robin stevenson

    I was always a loner, and always different..I did not choose this. I was bullied constantly at school and could not really cope with my parents divorce (still love them though) It made me who i am in both positive and negative ways, i am glad i am not generic, but i am also constantly on the verge of giving in, quitting reality…..a few things have kept me going and you and neil are a couple of them…..i feel ashamed to be 40 and still feeling like a lost child…

    • RiverVox

      You’re not alone here in Neverland, Robin!

  • Moribund Cadaver

    We live in a world of the walking wounded.

    Humanity has already done an excellent job of tearing itself apart. Hatred is, most often, born out of people who have already been twisted beyond recognition by the world. Even the most hateful believe that their hate boils up out of something inside, something that is at the core of themselves. They’re not entirely correct. The anguish that causes the emotion which is twisted into hate may come from inside. But the form their hatred takes is, by and large, an artificial construct. They hate what they have been conditioned to hate, fear what they have been conditioned to fear.

    When someone directs their hatred at you, barring your own willful act of inhumanity which may have inspired rage in another, you’re really seeing their problem. You’re seeing their personal demon laid bare, their insecurities. They are attempting to shake the tiger chasing them by leading it onto another target, an innocent bystander. And yet even when you understand this fully, their act of hatred still hurts you, because you’re wounded too. (We all are.) Their hatred, however impersonal (though they may believe you alone are the sole inspiration) pulls at the rough sutures over your wounds and causes them to bleed.

    The internet is a vast and sprawling vehicle for damage-hate to spread and multiply because usually the only thing barely keeping the rage of the wounded in check is, to be blunt, the visceral threat of a monkey-punch to the face. This is why hecklers most often scream anonymously from a crowd, or from the safety of a small group of their peers and friends: because they feel protected. Only those most deranged by their damage will come up to you on the street, one-on-one, and risk physical threat to take out their problems on you. (This is, however, why physical bullies are always on the lookout for those they consider small and weak – to the twisted and hate filled person, nothing is sweeter than living out their fantasies of power in real life, with a real person cowed under them.)

    Mind you, the internet also provides a tool for the targets of hatred to band together and find their own strength in numbers. The net is, unfortunately, still organizationally a mess. It’s difficult for people to stay banded together without their communities being attacked and engineered by negative elements. In the end, it could be argued that for all the net seems to empower the hateful, it empowers their targets more. The hateful have long practiced plying their trade in the real world, taking advantage of the ramshackle state of society, knowing that the weak and vulnerable are, in many places, outnumbered individually by the callous and uncaring, allowing the predator to stalk them. The internet only makes it a little easier for people to spread hatred, and to follow their targets, and to gang up on them. By contrast the power for the formerly powerless to network and reinforce one another is magnified by countless powers. Geographical isolation is no longer a factor.

    As we move forward however, mobility in society must be addressed so that real life can catch up. The victims of hate are still in many cases alone and isolated, sometimes held metaphorical (or literal) prisoner by their own family. We might do what we can using the net, but physical isolation will still be too much for many to bear.

  • Shufty

    I started getting bullied around the age of 9. I used to swim every week and was skinny, then I broke my wrist (falling over a basket ball of all things) and never went back. Without the routine exercise I unsurprisingly put on weight. I wasn’t very fat, but enough to be a target. Generally wasn’t so bad, bit of verbal stuff, nothing physical.

    It kicked up a gear when I started secondary school. At secondary school I met some of the greatest people I have ever known (one of whom is going to be my best man) but I also met various people who thought it was fine to abuse verbally and physically. Over the five years there I was called everything under the sun by a broad selection of people in my year. One year word got out it was my birthday which somehow entitled people to hit me once for every year I had lived. This particular year I had P.E. (physical education, and the irony has just occurred to me). I got dragged into the other end of the changing rooms and beaten senseless. Another occasion someone leant out of a classroom door and threw a two pence piece at me. It hit me directly in my eye. That really hurt, to this day I have no idea who threw it.

    Secondary school was not a fun time for me. I left and went to sixth form which was fantastic, the vast majority of people who had made my life a misery had suddenly disappeared and instead were intelligent people and I spent two happy years there. Went on to university, for the most part enjoyed it. Life was good.

    Last year someone added me randomly on Facebook. I didn’t recognise the name or picture so looked into it and found it was someone I had been at secondary school with. She hasn’t done any of the bullying but she had annoyed me at various occasions such as claiming her views on religion were more valid than mine as she had been raised a Christian and I hadn’t.

    Anyway she was organising a reunion for the tenth year since we had left. I ignored the invitation for a while then one of my friends messaged a group of us asking if any actually wanted to go as he certainly didn’t. We all agreed with him, the idea was repellant. The people confirming they were going were the ones who had made our lives difficult for years. It brought it all back, the hated, the misery I had felt, everything.

    I bumped into one person from school a few years back in a takeaway after a night out and she apologised to me. I couldn’t believe it. One of my friends received a similar apology randomly from someone else a while ago too. That is good, if I bumped into others I doubt I’d get more apologies, would be nice but I doubt it.

    Many people like to put things in the past and move on. Forget. I don’t forget. I remember and come to terms and it helps shape who I am. I never want to see those people again. I am happy, getting married, have amazing friends and although my experiences helped shape me I could have happily done without that bunch of bastards hitting me and calling me things for years. I haven’t had things as bad add others but it still makes me bitter and angry to this day.

  • http://coinoperatedbear.deviantart.com/ CoinOperatedBear

    Internet hatred, like most other forms of hatred, is destructive. What makes internet hatred that much worse are the twin illusions of anonymity where you can say anything you want and not get so much as a stern look because noone knows who you are and authority like the pretentious pitches and brooklyn vegans of the world. Unfortunately, we can’t control the hate cannons and yes, one remark can cut through a thousand pieces of support. We can only control how we react, learn and grow as people and show that we are, in the end, strong and justified in our existences.

    Therefore I offer the following few ideas:

    1) The negative things we think about ourselves will eat us alive if we do not accept them.

    Yeah, I know, it’s not exactly the cheery, upbeat sort of advice you’d expect but it’s true. The things we hate about ourselves, the things that cause our insecurities to skyrocket are the things that bullies, whether they are projecting their own issues or just being assholes, pick up on first. By accepting the things that we want to ignore or repress or destroy in ourselves, we gain power over them and ultimately from them. Through self awareness of the good and bad parts, our shadows become our personas. (If any of you have a glancing familiarity with the works of Carl Jung, you know what I’m talking about)

    2) Collaboration is key to survival.

    Rob Dickinson sang it best when he sang “You’ve just gotta smile and hang out with intelligent people.” However where can you find people on your wavelength? Social media can do so much but finding local support is vital. For me, back in high school it was the community theatre youth group. There was a period of 2 years where I was constantly in or involved with a show between the theatre group and my own high school. When I was unemployed a couple of years ago, my collaborative spirit and sanity were kept alive through volunteering with my then local HIV/AIDS community association. Find an association where you are, be it artistic or charitable, and join in. If it’s something you care about deeply, you’ll find people on a similar wavelength as you and find people you’d be happy to spend time with outside of the volunteering. It certainly doesn’t hurt on the social skill front as well.

    2.5) Work towards something greater than yourself.

    This goes hand in hand with the previous entry. Be it feeding the homeless, putting on a musical or joining with a couple of friends to be art rock terrorists of open mic night, working towards something with other people gives you a community, a goal and an accomplishment that you can add to your psychic armor.

    3) Learn from criticism.

    This is the hard one. In every situation where either you or something you’ve done is being criticized, it can be very difficult not to take said criticism personally, especially if the person doing the criticizing is trying their best to make it personal. When it hurts, ask yourself why it hurts. It means being objective about yourself, about your actions and about what you’ve done. How would you react if you weren’t you? What can you learn and apply if you filter out the nastiness and look at the real issue? If there is an answer there, if you agree then agree, if not then write it off. If there’s nothing there, well…

    4) Be the landlord of your own psychic real estate.

    One of the most satisfying things about accepting the things you don’t like about yourself and using that as a source of self empowerment is that noone else can hold that shit over you. If you sift through the bile and just find bile, well they aren’t paying you any rent to stay in your mind and you are well within your rights to kick them out, block them on social media and put your efforts into something you deem worthwhile. To quote Kate Bush:

    I’m the concierge chez-moi, honey
    Won’t let ya’ in for love nor money
    My home, my joy are barred and bolted

    And finally, on top of all of these things…

    5) Expand your horizons.

    Read books. Find your favorite author or musician and find out what inspired them, then go give that a try and see what inspired that and give that a try as well and so on and so forth. Give yourself a cultural education in anything you have even a remote passing interest in. Find other people interested in these things and ask them what they love. If there’s something you want to do, learn about it, get involved, point yourself in that direction. As was said in an earlier post by Amanda (and I swear I have art coming that is based on that particular post) “Ask yourself ‘Who do I want to be? What do I want to do right now?'” When everything else falls into place, this is where you make the decision to grow as a human being, not just wrap yourself in music but be inspired by it. By broadening your understanding of the world, you’ll be better equipped to go out and spread some love and creativity in it.

    That said, and here is the important bit: self awareness is not a one time deal. It washes over you and then recedes like a wave. As we grow and change, new things will pop up, new insecurities, new targets for derision, new regrettable decisions and bloated over controversies. We will lose our way before finding it again with a new set of knowledge and understanding. To overcome internet haters and haters in general, we must empower ourselves , find our support bases, learning to differentiate criticism from insults and sift some truth from poison and grow past the petty stuff, rinse and repeat.

    • http://coinoperatedbear.deviantart.com/ CoinOperatedBear

      And just so you know where I’m coming from, I was constantly bullied in school for being the fat kid, the new kid, the gay kid, the geeky kid. If they could find anything to hold over me, they did until I learned not to let them. Everything I wrote here was hard learned and yes, some days I do need to relearn. Thank you everyone for your stories here as well, it’s nice to know I wasn’t the only one.

  • lilli

    Thank you for this post. I work in a high school and the best thing I’ve found that works is to talk about how things will be better AFTER HIGH SCHOOL. But, of course, that’s just for now, but I hope that if it gets anyone thinking past the awful moment–that’s a good thing.

    Also, in addition to my day job, I write. The best thing I’ve found for me in dealing with the hatred in the world is to work on my murder mystery. It’s set in a high school and it’s pretty bad and will probably never be published, BUT, on the awful days, I go home and add to the intrigue/suspects, and yes, at first, these people are the ones who need to realize that love is better than hate. Then, the more I work at the writing, cleaning it and changing things so that if anyone did ever read the story I would NOT get sued, the happier I become and I can move on to the current work in progress. I know it’s the writing, but it’s also the reworking that particular event/energy and moving on. If I just work on my current project, my mind keeps fuming away and I don’t achieve much. But, the murder mystery. . .ah, that’s the thing.

    Thank you. Stay true. Write on.

  • RMGilby

    I was bullied throughout elementary and middle school, due to what I now [at 23 and on my own] think was an undiagnosed complication of my childhood epilepsy and/or a higher IQ that I didn’t know how to function with. Looking back, the most heartbreaking thing was how much I wanted to connect with the kids in my neighborhood and school, but I lacked a lot of the tools to make that happen. So I continued to follow the bully/bullies around, because it’s better than being alone. Sometimes I think I still have the same issue, but am better about hiding it.
    Luckily, the internet has been a pretty safe space for me. I got through high school writing angsty poetry on live journal. But the vortex is super strong: I think the internet gives us a sense of an always-connected community, which isolates us from getting out and disconnecting. Sometimes I wish I could pull the plug, but what would happen to the poke war with my Mom?
    We need to remember that other people are on the other end, not just zeros and ones.

  • LadyEgress

    I was picked on in school, but much like you have said, i went home and played, wrote and listened to music, and was free from taking the torment home with these interweb devices. Now i Am 30. I am in a fairly successful band, and by successful i mean we are working, we have fans and I am doing what i’ve always wanted to do with people i love to do it with. However, even now as a 30 yr old woman I have been dealing with slander and harassment via interwebs. Not our band as a whole, but me, by another girl my age, who wants the things i’ve worked my damned ass off to get. She comments on our youtube videos, Blogs,Websites, Flickr,and where she could; Things that are hurtful and appalling to hear come from another grown woman. Making digs about my voice, my style, my weight. Do Deal with it,… I meditate, do A LOT of yoga, every time something new would come up I’d hold my boyfriend, my mom, my dog , myself a little closer and do something that nurtured my soul. Most importantly, at risk of sounding cliche, I wrote it into songs, poems, lyrics, I wrote it out in any way I could, I practiced it out, sometimes until my finger tips were bleeding on my violin strings. The biggest thing for me to be hated with grace is to be as sure as i can be about what I am doing and WHY i am doing it and when that uncertainty sneaks in,……I Fake it Until I Make it.

    Much love and gratitude to y’all

    • SarethJay

      AAah! I’ve heard you perform (You came to Seattle with Voltaire!) and it was one of the most fun concerts I’ve ever been to, and I still listen to your music so much. I loved it so much. The thought that somebody was hurting you in such a way…I’m so sorry that happened. I’d say that what you do is FAR from faking it. You are an absolute idol to me. Keep playing and keep fighting.

  • R.G. Summers

    I have a quote on my wall. Part of it is something I said when defending your Grand-Theft-Orchestrating: “Good art will find it’s way to people, and people will compensate it., All’s fair in love and war, and art is most definitely love. The other part is a picture of a man and the words he responded with: “With an attitude like that, I hope and suspect you will never become established.” I’m nineteen, and I keep those words and that man right across from my bed. I love him as much as he hates me, because he gives me an ideal to fight for, a philosophy to prove. Hate is just unpracticed love. Take it, use it, return it with all of the might of your well-practiced heart.

  • http://twitter.com/chris_con Chris ♡

    I love you, Amanda Palmer.
    The fact is, when I am alone & think about you, I think of you as somewhat of a narcissist. And then I realize that pretty much everyone I fucking know (including myself) is a narcissist. Especially us artists. I am a songwriter as well. I think the biggest piece of advice I can get from you, is how to deal with the cynicism of others who think that our art is not expression, but an excuse for being narcissistic and self-absorbed. That is what I struggle with the most. For people to see me as an artist, not someone crying out for fame, attention, or recognition. Because at a certain point, it does start to fool with your head. I’ll catch myself thinking that what I do isn’t real, it’s just an odd excuse to make myself seem captivating to others. But I know in my heart that I write songs, because I FEEL, and that I need some way to express what I feel to the world.

    How do you battle that cynicism? Narcissist vs. Artist?
    Because YOU do have a whole network of people watching what you do, and I don’t.
    So who is MY art even reaching besides myself and a few friends?
    Does that make me a narcissist?
    Will that feeling ever go away?

  • http://twitter.com/rileycavana Riley Cavanaugh

    You don’t have to call yourself a folk singer, but you’re a hell of a folk blogger. Love ya Amanda.

  • Mister M

    While your music is not my cup of tea, I have a lot of respect for you as someone who is actually talented and actually making music rather than just attempting to sell CD covers with your picture all over them as most ‘artists’ tend to do these days.

    What you have written above makes me have even more respect for you.

    The comments below are incredibly sad and have returned me to thinking about hate. Why? Well, I’ve been thinking about hatred quite a bit over the past few years. I was bullied as a child, but not much – it was an amount I could easily cope with. I was bullied as an adult in one job by people who couldn’t handle my superior intellect (I’m quite smart and I know it the way some people are beautiful and they know it – just can’t help showing it). That was quite hard but I’m now out of there into an environment where my intellect is appreciated.

    Anyway, what has had me thinking about hatred is religion. Now I’m not going to turn this into a preachy thing. I’ll just give the examples I know from the religion I know – which happens to be Christianity, more specifically presbyterianism. (For information, I’m now an almost-atheist, probably a deist in transition – you can’t be a pure atheist very quickly with the upbringing I’ve had.) So, what I’ve wondered for some years is why religious people hate homosexuals.

    Whether or not you believe in Christ, his message (not the messages of the centuries worth of people with too much time on their hands) was a simple one – love one-another. Quite damn simple. Nowhere in that message is there “except the gays – hate the guts of the f*&%ing gays”. So, where has this hatred come from? I used to have it myself. Why? From religion? Not really. And no gay person has ever done me any harm, at least not by their being gay.

    The reason is simple – it is human nature to hate. Any religion which says you need to love everyone, is almost impossible to follow because we have to hate. Even before my faith started to decline, I realised the hatred of gays was ridiculous and I stopped. So why are gays in particular chosen for hatred by religious people? Because there are mentions in obscure corners of the Bible that homosexuality is wrong. And yet aren’t Christians supposed to love sinners? And why exactly is a man loving a man wrong? Or a woman loving a woman? Surely all they are doing is loving? And isn’t that the point of the religion in the first place? Religion hates gay people because it is human nature to hate and as there are brief mentions of homosexuality being wrong, the wise leaders decreed that it was OK to hate these people. Despite the rules on homosexulaity being in the same place as rules on looking after your slaves or rules for women to take doves to the priest after their monthly cycles. All of which are now considered ignorable.

    The only thing worse than a bully is a divinely justified bully.

  • http://twitter.com/brokenophelia Sally Ross

    Firstly I think this video from a vlogger today is incredibly relevant to this http://youtu.be/O7aWanfqBi8

    Secondly I have been bullied all my life. I went to a school of 1000 students and I was victim number one. Even my teachers bullied me. People I thought where my friends where just bullies in disguise. I didn’t experience real friendship until I went to university. It was tough, really tough. I tried to kill myself a couple of times, I had a nervous break down and couldn’t leave the house for 3 months and missed 8 months of school (I wasn’t held back a year only because I caught up – I wasn’t spending any longer there than I had to). Things like myspace where new and shiney in the last couple of years of school for me and luckily the bullying didn’t follow me there. The internet was a great place for me to escape to. I joined some writing and art communities online and built some online friendships which I later successfully turned into friendships which went beyond the internet. I am sure internet bullying wasn’t unheard of back then, just that I was luckily to not experience it.

    I can’t help but think of myself when I see stories about kids like Amanda Todd because if I was a few years younger that really could have been me. Something that makes me glad though is that online there seems to be an growing opposition to those who want to spread hate speak and bully, people are fighting back against the trolls and the hate. It is wonderful to see people fighting back against it. For some kids it could be too little or too late but if people fighting against bullying in this way keeps growing then I have hope yet, I really do.

  • Moribund Cadaver

    I would add:

    In the culture of the wounded and deranged, the hateful, a powerful narrative is that the emotional are “weak”. That those who are more easily hurt by the hateful are inferior, thus their open weaknesses. To be strong and powerful is to be cold and callous. The wounded spread more hate because they also believe this makes them stronger. It’s a reassurance that they are mighty, and that they don’t share the weakness that makes others prey animals.

    But I think, in reality, those who are more easily hurt are not necessarily the weaker ones. Rather, in spite of their own damage, they are not yet lost. They are still capable of feeling, and being moved by feelings other than fear, hatred, and aggression. Over a longer timeline, I believe one sees where truth strength may lie. Those who projection hatred often demonstrate how brittle they truly are. They burn out, fall apart, or explode before long. Their acts of aggression are those of an animal caught in a trap; they are psychologically bleeding out, every day of a hateful existence is another drop of blood lost. Those who do survive by living a hateful existence are those that possess a kind of twisted passion; turned wrong, but still there. Most of the hateful are far weaker than their aggressive exterior suggests.

    By contrast, the “weak” are often much stronger. Their apparent weakness, their emotion and vulnerability, is only a stage of reaction. A phase of processing. See, those who are still capable of feeling, capable of empathy, have one thing the deranged lack: they can understand. The hateful are blinded by their hate. They do not grow. They only react, stumbling from target to target, looking for another victim. The apparently weak have the potential to gain the strength of understanding and personal evolution. They can move on, and move past. They can outlast even the most hateful, including the hateful who have managed to survive to a ripe old age.

    I will say that I have never seen a hateful old person who appears as anything other than thin and gaunt, or greasy and unhealthy of pallor. This is not even mystical, it’s biochemical. One cannot live long years subsisting on a narrow range of chemicals without doing damage to the body itself. Even if we’re all hurt inside, the so-called weak still have the potential to blossom in time, and display inner strength that becomes visible on the outside in the end.

  • http://twitter.com/TheCharmQuark Joely Black

    Everybody who’s commented has left brilliant advice, so I’m not sure what I could possibly add.

    I was also bullied at school and went home to a frightening family situation. I spent 15 years with severe anorexia, and have had mental health problems for a very long time.

    What I remember about the worst time, when I was about 13-15, was how alone I felt. I don’t think Amanda Todd commit suicide because it never occurred to her to see a doctor, a counsellor, or a teacher. It’s probably because she didn’t feel she could, or she tried and they didn’t listen. Or what they said was trite and meaningless, or implied that somehow it was her own fault.

    You commit suicide, or you contemplate it, because even though those adults are there, they seem to be unreachable. They don’t seem to understand. If you talk to them it feels like you’re the problem, because you’re daring to complain.

    My brother has three young children (the oldest is 10) with another on the way. They’re going to grow up in a world where it’s much, much harder to escape the bullies, to disappear into an online world. They’re also going to grow up in a world that has little understanding of the need for privacy and guarding it, a world where you put all your most personal stuff online and don’t think about it until it comes back to bite you in the ass.

    Imagine how complicated our conversations about growing up have to be? That I have to tell my nieces never to let a man take a photo of them naked or doing anything slightly odd because it might well end up online? That you have to be very, very careful who you trust, even more careful than before.

    My niece recently broached a conversation where she admitted to being bullied at school. She’s far more confident and friendly and outgoing than I ever was, but she’s still been subject to it (we have red hair, and in the UK, that’s often a massive burden when you’re young). She wanted to know how to handle it.

    I wasn’t sure what to say. I think, in the end, I might have advised her to keep talking about it to people, and that the bullies were not worthy of her fear. She’s very precocious, but I don’t want to assume – people assumed I was fine because I got straight As. It’s amazing how much you can hide when you think you have to.

    What’s even worse is, although we can talk about not going online, often you find that support online. Imagine if you’d known, or any of us had seen the video Amanda put up at the time. I ache to think of what I’d have done to get her out of that situation.

    I had a hate blog kept about me for a while, and I have had people go after me online. The advice not to feed the trolls stands. You take your ire, your fear, your pain, offline. Take it to people you know you can trust. Teach kids that it’s totally OK to feel all those things, don’t surpress it (that will screw you up for decades). But also, don’t put it on public display, because it’s like giving your bullies exactly what they want.

    Keep trying to find the people who will listen. There are organisations out there, there are good people out there. It’s easy to lose faith in humanity, and in yourself.

    I’m not sure I can relate the end of the bullying and why it suddenly stopped when I was 16, because it’s rather bizarre and convoluted. But I was met with grovelling apologies from some kids who’d been utter monsters to me for four and a half years, in a spirit of terror that had nothing to do with me. Somebody else was involved and put the fear of god into them.

    It revealed that all the time, it was a way to make themselves look big in front of others. The whole thing was a veneer, and they tried to hurt me because it meant the pressure was off them. I saw the fear in them that they’d made me feel for all that time. It was surreal, but I was too preoccupied with exams to care.

    I coped for a very long time before that by working very hard. You know the “success is the best revenge” thing? Teachers advised me to drop my grades, that I deserved to be bullied if I insisted on getting high grades. They also suggested I dye my hair. I refused to do both. I tried asking teachers not to mention my work in class, but many refused to give me even that relief. Instead, I kept on working. I did struggle, it was a nightmare, but in the end I couldn’t kill myself because it felt like it was letting them have what they wanted.

    Reading these comments has been amazing because there’s a huge sense of relief in feeling like I wasn’t the only one. Many of the kids who bullied me went home to horrific family situations, where poverty was rife and their parents had already written them off. I was very, very lucky. Even if it was hard for me at home, I had the advantage that I was surrounded by books, could write, and had a lifeline. I knew I could have a better future.

    I hope youngsters get to see these stories, kids who are being bullied. So that they can see that no matter how alone they feel, they aren’t. Other people have been there and survived. As the Terry Project says, it gets better.

  • Rosie

    Honestly, the internet was never really a bad place for me. The only bad things I ever saw on the internet were slurs being thrown around on Facebook statuses, and none of them were aimed at me (although they still cut, often). When I was coming out, and when the vast majority of the bullying I was subject to was taking place, the internet was still quite small for the people at my school. We had Bebo and MySpace accounts, but I was anonymous on the internet. I never let my friends tag me in photos. I never accepted friend requests from people who I knew weren’t there to leave me positive comments.

    However that never stopped the bullying at school. It didn’t stop my 45-minute bus journeys to and from school from filling me with dread every morning as the people who used to call me their friend shouted homophobic slurs at me, alongside people both older and (here’s the bit that really stung) younger than me. It didn’t stop people from whispering as I passed them in the corridor.

    I spent my first years of secondary school (age 11, 12, 13 and 14) eating lunch in the toilets and hopping from friendship group to friendship group trying to find someone who would love and accept me for who I was. Finally I found those people. I was happy for a while. But I had a string of horrible significant others who bullied me and mocked me and made me feel generally like a horrible person, even though they were the issue. My last significant other was the worst. I am no longer allowed to contact any of my friends from my hometown because when I left for university they took custody of the friendship group. The ex-SO told me repeatedly what a terrible person I was. They emotionally manipulated and abused me and accused me of doing all the things they actually WERE doing. They lied about me to my friends (hence why they are, well, no longer my friends) and to their therapist and to teachers at our school. I was completely ostracised and every time I tried to get out of the relationship everyone I knew would turn their backs on me until we were back together.

    TRIGGER WARNING. Throughout all of this I self-harmed, getting to the point about a year and a half ago where I couldn’t get out of bed on a morning without doing so. My family were no help. When I ended up in therapy they acted like I was a disappointment – the same way, incidentally, that they had acted when I came out to them a few years previously.

    By the time I was at my lowest, just after leaving secondary school, I knew I couldn’t count on anyone. I had my best friend (who has stuck with me through everything, and bless her, she is one of the brightest lights ever to shine – she is probably the only reason I’m still here. People like her are the reasons for clinging to every inch of a miserable life. If I had ended it all, it would have hurt her so much, and she is the kind of person who should only ever be happy because their smile lights up a room) but she had a lot of her own issues (abusive exes, family problems, and an unwanted pregnancy) and I couldn’t bear to put more on her shoulders. She was the only person who cared, though. My ex, who was at that point still my SO, my so-called “friends” (who now refuse to speak to me) and my family could not have helped.

    When I thought things couldn’t get worse, my grandad remarried without telling me and my parents; I found out on his girlfriend’s Facebook page. It turned out my aunts had been invited, and my mother and I were the only ones who weren’t. My mother broke ties with her family. I now had even less people who cared, and whilst I could probably say that my ex cared, my ex was the kind of person who, when you have a headache, they are in a full body cast. I could not have a single problem without them doing the “I have it so much worse than you” story.

    I know this is a rambling and somewhat pointless story but the thing is, I’m here. I’m still here. I’ve just started my second term at a university away from my hometown. I’m living with 15 people whom I love dearly, and who all accept and love me for who I am. My best friend visits me often. We chat all the time. She’s not happy, but I’m making sure she’s feeling better. I love the maths course I’m studying; it makes me feel like the universe is such a beautiful and awe-inspiring place; I’m so passionate about everything I learn and it gives me drive to get up in a morning because of the amazing things I could learn. I’ve made some amazing (and some fuckin’ beautiful – take that, ex!) friends on my course. I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

    My coping mechanism has simply been to hold on. To wait for that promise of a better “someday”. I know it’s bullshit when you’re a teenager and you just don’t want to live anymore. Hell, I still am a teenager. I’m still young and I’m still miserable more than I feel I should be. I don’t have much life experience. And sometimes when I look back at how I used to feel when I was younger, I have no clue how I managed to get to where I am today. I don’t know how I managed to drag myself back up every time I got knocked down by the Universe. But I did. And now, whilst I still sometimes feel like I’d rather go back to sleep and never wake up, the Up days are a lot more frequent than the Down days. I’m keeping optimistic that one day the Up days will almost eclipse the Down days. I know it’s not a great coping mechanism, and I know this isn’t the greatest story, but I just wanted to share it with you, Amanda. I think you’re an incredible inspiration.

    Love x

  • Saphss

    What has always gotten my through everything and it may or may not work for other people, I just believe that the people who are doing this are jealous of me in some way, I have something they don’t and they are mad at me for it. It makes all the pain turn to laughter.

  • Ruined

    Being 40, I was fortunate not to grow up in the midst of the (anti) social media age. God knows, as with all youngsters, I made my share of mistakes that I would never want following me years later. Currently, I live in isolation through no choice of mine (I’m in the midst of a nasty legal battle with a former employer). For the last two years, I’ve lived in exile: I am an educated man living as a teen high school drop-out. It’s tough to face the day, sometimes; but, I hold onto the belief that this chapter in my life will be over soon enough. One telling fact: The phone never rings for me and I have no physical friends in my immediate vicinity. I once had what I thought was a large group of friends; but, when hard times hit, the numbers dwindled to nothing. Watching that video broke my heart as I deal with an anxiety disorder and it has been hell; I cannot imagine a child dealing with such a challenge. Oddly, social media has been my salvation during this time of exile: I have made friends all over the world that have gotten me through some lonely nights. As far as advice, with regards to social media: Always remember the quote from The Social Network, “The Internet’s not written in pencil…it’s written in ink.” Never post without thinking; don’t let emotions (especially negative emotions) guide your keystrokes. In the years that I’ve posted on various sites, I can say that I stand by what I wrote. Not everyone agrees; sometimes I get harsh responses. Nonetheless, I take comfort in knowing I spoke my mind and let the rest roll off my back. If things get too harsh; if people cross a line, that’s when I make use of the “unfriend” button. Those simple bits of advice can go a long way to preventing unnecessary pain. One cannot prevent people from acting like idiots (especially on the Internet); but, one can reduce exposure to such idiocy.

  • http://twitter.com/crookedstamper leslie

    I saw this via Twitter the other day and thought it was great. I thought you might like it in light of your post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lindsey-mead-russell/ten-things-ten-years-olds-should-know_b_1553134.html

  • http://twitter.com/ireneaddled C.M. Black

    Hello there. I think the first thing you have to know is that the Internet is a place where people of varying interests congregate together. You can find sites/boards/chatrooms for people who love things as inane as romance novels to pictures of President Obama riding a unicorn. It’s great that you can always find people who like the same things that you do–who share things in common with you–even if it’s not that many. However, like Amanda Palmer was saying, it’s a double-edged sword, because people who dislike/hate things have the advantage of getting together and hating all the way.

    I think the majority of people are going to come up against things that are bullying to them or offensive–and not always directed at them in particular, but because of their gender, orientation, race, religion,etc. I know this might be odd, but I’m Catholic and I have only to look at the comments of an NPR article about the “Catholic vote” back in September to read about how horrible my religion is, etc., etc. Bullying is not always directly aimed at one person, but sometimes all of the people of a certain group. That doesn’t make it any less hurtful.

    There is a rule that the more anonymous you are, and if you are given a voice/audience, the more likely you are to do negative things. Especially when around a “support group” of people who share your views.

    They’re just there. In your chatrooms, in your forums, in your comment sections, in your video games. Calling you all sorts of epithets, harassing you, “trolling” the entire room, and being altogether hateful.

    What is the remedy? I think it’s best to counteract it with safe places on the Internet. Places where people can spend their time without fear of ridicule. It would be difficult to orchestrate that without a very, very low tolerance of trolls who might come and go, but it would be worth it, I think.

    My practical tip, however, is to keep away from the comments section if you know the subject matter is a touchy one with you. And ALWAYS (if you can) ignore/block/report anyone who is harassing you. I know there is this masochist desire in some of us (myself included) to see the thing through or see if you can change the person’s mind, but don’t. They’re not worth it if they don’t know you as a person.

    I’m not sure if that can help people like that young girl who was harassed by people she knew, but it’s a decent tip about online bullying, that, I think, can save a person some hassle. And anyone who is being bullied–in real life or on the Internet–take heart! You have friends who don’t know you yet, always. Thanks, Amanda Palmer.

  • http://twitter.com/ireneaddled C.M. Black

    Hello there. I think the first thing you have to know is that the Internet is a place where people of varying interests congregate together. You can find sites/boards/chatrooms for people who love things as inane as romance novels to pictures of President Obama riding a unicorn. It’s great that you can always find people who like the same things that you do–who share things in common with you–even if it’s not that many. However, like Amanda Palmer was saying, it’s a double-edged sword, because people who dislike/hate things have the advantage of getting together and hating all the way.

    I think the majority of people are going to come up against things that are bullying to them or offensive–and not always directed at them in particular, but because of their gender, orientation, race, religion,etc. I know this might be odd, but I’m Catholic and I have only to look at the comments of an NPR article about the “Catholic vote” back in September to read about how horrible my religion is, etc., etc. Bullying is not always directly aimed at one person, but sometimes all of the people of a certain group. That doesn’t make it any less hurtful.

    There is a rule that the more anonymous you are, and if you are given a voice/audience, the more likely you are to do negative things. Especially when around a “support group” of people who share your views.

    They’re just there. In your chatrooms, in your forums, in your comment sections, in your video games. Calling you all sorts of epithets, harassing you, “trolling” the entire room, and being altogether hateful.

    What is the remedy? I think it’s best to counteract it with safe places on the Internet. Places where people can spend their time without fear of ridicule. It would be difficult to orchestrate that without a very, very low tolerance of trolls who might come and go, but it would be worth it, I think.

    My practical tip, however, is to keep away from the comments section if you know the subject matter is a touchy one with you. And ALWAYS (if you can) ignore/block/report anyone who is harassing you. I know there is this masochist desire in some of us (myself included) to see the thing through or see if you can change the person’s mind, but don’t. They’re not worth it if they don’t know you as a person.

    I’m not sure if that can help people like that young girl who was harassed by people she knew, but it’s a decent tip about online bullying, that, I think, can save a person some hassle. And anyone who is being bullied–in real life or on the Internet–take heart! You have friends who don’t know you yet, always. Thanks, Amanda Palmer.

  • http://twitter.com/CallMePagliacci Call Me Pagliacci

    After the shameful Abu Ghraib scandal broke, I read an editorial in an indie paper. The author wrote that his mentor advised him never to publish something he had to drink a shot of Scotch to write–or in modern parlance, to take a Valium to write. (It was several years ago, I might’ve mixed up the liquor and pharmaceuticals, but that was the gist).

    I think it’s good advice. Whether you need that drink to calm down or work up some courage, neither is a good position to be in. So instead of some Scotch, I take a deep breath and a step back. Calm the fuck down. Is this hater really worth engaging? Probably not. Would I even change their mind if I did engage them? Even more probably not.

    I’m a loner. I always have been. I always preferred a few close friends to dozens of acquaintances. So, going online is often how I satisfy that craving for community–without actually having to come into contact with other humans. Real life doesn’t come with TweetDeck filters and it sucks.

    That girl was young–immature and inexperienced–and presumably alone. Had I been her friend/sister/parent/teacher, I would’ve told her to get the fuck offline already. Or, since apparently her school life was terrible, to stop hanging out with those same assholes online. The Internet is vast. Certainly she had interests which she could’ve pursued in other venues online. Unfortunately, it takes a great deal of discipline and emotional maturity to remove oneself from situations like hers. Evolutionary psychology pushes us to try to “win over” detractors, to earn love from those that hate us. (Survival was a community effort. Everyone had to be working toward the same goal. No room for petty conflict.) We’re social animals. We *need* for others to like us.

    My advice? Choice. You have choices. You can choose not to Follow/Friend/Whatever hateful people. You can choose to seek out healthier situations online. It’s not a family situation you’re locked into, or a school district.

    Suicide is also a choice, one I believe people also have the right to make. Was her situation truly hopeless? I don’t know. Whatever comes next, Heaven or reincarnation or just oblivion, I do hope she’s happier, or at least at-peace.

  • http://twitter.com/CallMePagliacci Call Me Pagliacci

    After the shameful Abu Ghraib scandal broke, I read an editorial in an indie paper. The author wrote that his mentor advised him never to publish something he had to drink a shot of Scotch to write–or in modern parlance, to take a Valium to write. (It was several years ago, I might’ve mixed up the liquor and pharmaceuticals, but that was the gist).

    I think it’s good advice. Whether you need that drink to calm down or work up some courage, neither is a good position to be in. So instead of some Scotch, I take a deep breath and a step back. Calm the fuck down. Is this hater really worth engaging? Probably not. Would I even change their mind if I did engage them? Even more probably not.

    I’m a loner. I always have been. I always preferred a few close friends to dozens of acquaintances. So, going online is often how I satisfy that craving for community–without actually having to come into contact with other humans. Real life doesn’t come with TweetDeck filters and it sucks.

    That girl was young–immature and inexperienced–and presumably alone. Had I been her friend/sister/parent/teacher, I would’ve told her to get the fuck offline already. Or, since apparently her school life was terrible, to stop hanging out with those same assholes online. The Internet is vast. Certainly she had interests which she could’ve pursued in other venues online. Unfortunately, it takes a great deal of discipline and emotional maturity to remove oneself from situations like hers. Evolutionary psychology pushes us to try to “win over” detractors, to earn love from those that hate us. (Survival was a community effort. Everyone had to be working toward the same goal. No room for petty conflict.) We’re social animals. We *need* for others to like us.

    My advice? Choice. You have choices. You can choose not to Follow/Friend/Whatever hateful people. You can choose to seek out healthier situations online. It’s not a family situation you’re locked into, or a school district.

    Suicide is also a choice, one I believe people also have the right to make. Was her situation truly hopeless? I don’t know. Whatever comes next, Heaven or reincarnation or just oblivion, I do hope she’s happier, or at least at-peace.

  • Fiction

    Hey Amanda. I have long been considered an ‘anti-troll’ on the internets, so I figured I’d share some of my tricks and tips. The most important thing I can think of, internet wise, is simply to kill them with kindness. People can say outrageous things online, because it’s online. The very best way to unbalance people trying to provoke a reaction by saying horrible things online is be exceedingly nice to them. If you respond to the bad stuff at all, be sure to compliment the shit out them. This make them not only go ‘bwah, what? Why isn’t she angry?’ it also makes them have this little nagging feeling of guilt. Or, it makes them angrier, and they lash out in more outlandish ways until everyone in the area is going ‘wow, that guy is an idiot’ and suddenly you have a massive amount of supporters. So, that’s my biggest tip: Never ever respond in a way that would let them pat themselves on the back and say ‘Yep, see, I was right, what a bitch!’ Vomit rainbows in their faces. Nothing will confuse them more.

    • Kj

      “Vomit rainbows in their faces”
      This is awesome. It’s also pretty much how I try to live.
      Sometimes I have really bad days. I don’t do much of anything on those days. But then, I pick myself up and make myself smile. Even if it starts as a grimace, or a sarcastic smile, I do it anyway.
      Then, I try to make someone else smile. It might be something totally stupid or weird but I do it.
      And if anyone is being mean to me, or anyone I care about, I smile at them. Or I wave to them. One girl in particular almost got one of my best friends kicked out of her fraternity. She also ‘secretly’ hates me and most of my friends for no good reason. Any time I see her, I smile and say hi. I can’t read minds, but I’m pretty sure it infuriates her.

      I also remember two of my mottos:
      The Weapon we have is Love
      Don’t Forget to be Awesome

    • http://twitter.com/FrazzledFemme ~*~Maggie Davis~*~

      Yay for spewing skittles in faces! It takes some cahones and wisdom to do this I think though… Maybe not an option for the 15 year olds, but the more positive energy we ALL spread around and the more people we make aware that this ain’t cool with our rainbows of awesome, the less kids and teens that will end up suffering.

    • dean jordan

      Best way ever! BTW, I love Amanda Frakkin’ Palmer more than ever each and every time she posts, sings, writes, and thinks out loud on the interwebz. Just so inspirational. To all the folks that are having a tough time, i really don’t think anyone can shorten the answer any better than Hank does in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmEmvKaKt5A Courage!

  • Ty Carson

    Honestly, I don’t have a coping mechanism either. I’ve been really lucky and have avoided bullying from other people for the most part. I’ve had O.C.D. for a couple years now. Most of the bullying comes from myself and a lot of it is just trying to stop the thoughts in my head and realizing what Ryan Anas said which is the fact that I’m still here and if it were meant to be any other way, I would be dead. But I’m not, so life moves on. I don’t believe in taking medicine for O.C.D. Well, it’s not that I don’t believe in it. If you have a medical issue and that medicine can help you, I believe you should take it. But I created this world of fear, and I feel like I should be able to get out of it myself without a drug that someone else created. It just scares me that the worst enemy you can have is yourself sometimes. A part of it has to be what Amanda Todd thought of herself during that time… or what any of us is thinking of ourselves during hard times. Not just the people bullying her or us – though that is still a problem.

    Anyways, to people still in High School: College is ridiculously so much better, You’ll meet the occasional bully but it’s not as cramped to the point where you’ll see them every day. Hang on. :)

    And to Amanda, Runs in the Family has helped a lot during these O.C.D. phases. Thanks. :)

  • Koleta

    When I was in sixth grade a boy named P Onji who lived in the government subsidized housing of my very small town screamed at me down the hall to stop eating so many twinkies. I never really ate twinkies (and haven’t had one since this incident, fifteen years later) This very popular, pretty, wealthy girl named Stephanie saw me crying in the bathroom afterwards and asked me about it. She rage-quit the bathroom and told any teacher she could about this boy. Thanks to her, he never picked on me again. I just wanted to point out how bullies come in various shapes, sizes, and incomes. It’s not always the “mean girls.”

    After that I started dressing like a homeless gypsy and since I didn’t date everyone thought I was a lesbian and steered clear of me. It was actually a pretty great high school experience compared to what it might have been.

  • Taylor

    Much like Amanda Todd, I’ve chatted with people on webcam and flashed them because…well, because I thought it was fun and had a really good time. (Unlike Amanda Todd, I’m 22 years old, and never encountered the relentless blackmail she did.) I also went through a phase where I posted nude photos of myself online.

    BTW, I’m 5’7″ and weigh about 220. Yeah, I’m fat.

    When I started posting nudes, I did it because it was fun and because I wanted to do something that pushed me out of my comfort zone. For the most part, the men and women who commented on my pictures were supportive, but there were (of course) many many people who said hurtful things. (Most of the time calling me a disgusting whale or some variant on that theme.)

    The first time I got a comment like that, I panicked and deleted my pictures, and told myself I’d never ever ever let anyone see my naked body again.

    But then I thought…I like posting these pictures. I like flirting with the men and women who talk to me after seeing these pictures. And I’m tired of chubby women (like me) being marginalized and bullied. After that, I got so angry that these people were trying to keep me from having fun, I decided that if seeing my naked body was such a hardship, I’d post even MORE pictures just to show them who was boss.

    It didn’t stop people from calling me fat, and some of their comments still really hurt my feelings, but having my own private rebellion against those people who hate fat women was really fun. Sometimes when people see me as an affliction, my best retaliation is inflicting myself on them. I’m still not at all confident about my body in “the real world” and am still far too vulnerable to bullying, but seeing things like this (and having friends and allies I can count on) makes life a lot easier.

    The fact that a young woman exploring her sexuality was bullied until she killed herself infuriates me. There is nothing inherently wrong with flashing someone. Our society begs to see women naked and then vilifies the women who expose themselves. It’s disgusting. I think the only solution is for people like you to keep talking about and opening dialogue about these issues.

  • LP

    I will be 28 next month and I keep running into this problem in my life: I wind up in work places where everybody just hates my guts for no reason. I do my job and I don’t gossip, I don’t talk to anyone, really, about anything besides work. But SOMEHOW, I find myself stuck with these groups of people who absolutely hate me and act negatively at me for no reason. I know there are other people out there like this, it ties in with this blog and everything. I don’t get the hate on the internet, fortunately, but throughout my life I have gotten it at school and work. PLEASE include survival tips for every kind of hate, not only internet hate! Internet hate is a terrible thing, yes, but there are those of us struggling with real-life hate, too. I find myself wanting to die sometimes, because it’s the only way I can see myself escaping the hate. So for you to make this blog will be a tremendous help to me, just please also include tips in general, not only for internet bullying! Please please. I have been searching for help on this for years and haven’t been able to find any. Merely reading a few of your sentences in this blog helped me, if you have more to share, that would be great!

  • Ashley M. Pérez

    I’ve been going back and forth, wondering how to say what I want to say. After erasing large paragraphs for the second time, I figure I’ll just spill out everything I’m feeling and hope it’s at least somewhat coherent.

    I was teased in middle school, and the comments that were thrown at me and written in the girls’ room walls were enough to scar me – literally. I self harmed for about a year, and it developed into an ongoing obsession with skin picking. My legs and shoulders are evidence, which is why I can never show them.

    For a while I played around with purging and skipping meals, all in order to fit into an idea of beauty my family and friends had unknowingly burned into my brain. The saddest part is that I was never thin enough for anyone to think I had a problem. In any case, skipping lunch and throwing up dinner was a step in the right direction.

    I always thought I had no one to blame but myself. It was my fault I was ugly and weird and fat. It was my fault I didn’t like the right things or think the right things or feel the right things. I longed to stand out by fitting in. I wanted to be different by being exactly like everybody else.

    But it got better. I met amazing people who, to this day, have no idea how much they’ve helped me. I found strength in movies and tv shows and books and music. I started acting like the person I’d like to read about, like the person I’d like to hear sing – and it worked. It was a little reminder in the back of my head. What would the Doctor do? What would Hermione do? And even, what would Amanda do?

    As corny as it sounds, you helped a lot, Amanda. I loved The Dresden Dolls from the moment I first listened to them half a decade ago. I’d look to your music or your blog for encouragement, for a laugh, for a good cry. So, thanks. A lot.

    I guess my ideal way of coping is to escape through fiction and art. And when I can’t, when I’m stuck in the throes of reality and the insults and the teasing are right there and I have no book to bury my face in, I ask myself what my hero would do. Because I hope someday I can be a little bit like my heroes too.

  • Kara

    It’s amazing to look back and think of how much has changed for me in just a few years. I’m a college freshman now. My middle school / early high school years were rough for a variety of reasons, one of which being the daily messages & texts from a group of girls that had sized me up as a good target. (I was never once bullied face-to-face, but online it was never ending.) It started smaller: how ugly and awkward I was, how I had no friends, how everyone made fun of me behind my back. Things escalated, as things are wont to do, and before long they were telling me to kill myself.

    I was tempted to listen.

    I rarely talked about what I was going through, because the overwhelming response to my plight was something along the lines of STOP PAYING ATTENTION AND GET OVER IT. Why are you listening to them? If they make you feel so bad, ignore it. You don’t have to read the messages. Just pretend it’s not happening. It happens to most people & it’s something most people learn to live with.

    There’s something to be said for this line of thinking, but if someone had sat me down and explained the philosophy that you’ve embraced here, it would have saved me years of emotional struggle. Yes, there is hate, and there is love, and everyone who’s doling out either has felt both, and that is life. Denial of any of the above won’t get you anywhere. The way to happiness isn’t to turn a blind eye to the hate coming your way; rather, you have to stare it down, size it up, and remind yourself that the love and potential for love will always be greater.

    To Amanda, and to everyone sharing their stories here: thank you. You are all part of the pile of good things, weighing against the bad, that keeps me sane and functional even through the bad times. Even if we’ve never met in person, and even if we never interact again. I’m sure a lot of people feel the same way.


  • Lucina

    I want to share a failed coping mechanism–relying too much upon your own ability to “make everything alright.” When I was being bullied, I didn’t reach out to anyone because I was afraid it would make me seem weaker. I wanted to appear strong. i wanted to make it seem like no one could touch me. I thought I could handle it all by myself–that if I could end this problem without help it would mean that I had won (didn’t really think about what I would have considered “winning” at the time). If someone had to help me, it would mean I was dependent upon them, and as soon as they went away, i would be facing this pain alone again. I went through a lot on my own that I now know I didn’t have to.

    Find someone, anyone to share your pain with. It is not weakness that makes us reach out for help, but confidence in the fact that we are worth helping. You are worth someone helping you. You are worth someone sticking up for you. People will not abandon you. Be as loud about it as possible. If something is happening to you that you can’t easily stop, that you can’t deal with–yell about it. It is not your embarrassment, but embarrassment of those that created this situation for you, of those who turn away when you say you need someone. This is something I wish someone had told me.

  • Katie

    A story.

    I grew up bullied. I was never sure of the reason why. I’m desperately shy and we were poor when I was young, so my clothes were often ill-fitting and screamed ‘rummage sale,’ and I did not have confidence to wear it properly. It didn’t get better as I got older and was able to dress myself better. I decided that I would wear black as a defense mechanism, and a scowl to keep my abusers at bay. It worked, they became frightened of me, but behind my back the attacks got nastier. To the point my high school administration was forced to step in after a sympathetic counselor got wind of the fact that I was not only being abused by students, but by a teacher who was encouraging it. Because I wore black and a scowl. In those days, the internet was a safe haven, for shy quiet girls who grew angrier as time went on. It was my safe place where I could go and relax and find other people like me. I can’t imagine what would have happened if those taunts followed me home. The teacher and students were disciplined, and the abuse mostly ceased, but the damage was done. I spent my 15th birthday in a mental hospital after a suicide attempt. Over and over again I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong, to make people attack me like that.

    Time passed. More terrible things happened. More terrible people. In my late twenties I gained admission to a very prestigious art school for graduate studies. I was elated. I was to finally be among “my people.” People who would understand me, and we would be a tribe and make good art.

    Instead I found a mentor/professor who delighted in abusing me, who often humiliated me in front of my peers, and berated me over and over what a terrible person I was. How I would not succeed in my field, and refused to even teach me. She would hold the other’s hands (the ones who sucked up to her) while I was left to spin my wheels on my own and teach myself. What’s worse, my peers were no help. The ones in my program abused me for brownie points with our mentor. The ones in other programs often made fun of me, degraded my art and my skills, and once I was even asked to leave the room so the “real” artists could have a discussion. I lost too much weight, my hair fell out, I started to vomit blood. I was so angry, all the time. So angry and helpless and powerless, all over again. It would have made more sense if I was doing something to deserve it, but other professors and administrators felt that I was doing fantastic work. I even gained a prestigious internship, to the horror of my mentor and peers. I succeeded it quite well at it, even when they all begged me not to do it because I would “fail and shame them all.” Of all the people in the world that I felt should be understanding, who should *get it*, these people were the worst! We were all artists, we were all there to create, we all should have understood each other. I couldn’t understand where all this abuse was coming from, for the longest time.

    Then a therapist (who treated other students) finally gave me an epiphany. These people were deeply, deeply insecure, just as I was. Just as a lot of artists were. We are all yawning chasms of vulnerability, even my bullies growing up. But instead of using this vulnerability to comfort and connect, they instead turned vicious. Tearing others down in a way to make them feel stronger, better, more secure. Creative people are by nature deeply insecure, we’re exposing a piece of ourselves and putting it out there for other’s approval. And some people can’t take that level of vulnerability. They get mean. They get judgmental. They do whatever they have to do to protect their squishy selves. Some people can only feel tall when others are kneeling before them. My mentor was like that. Many of my classmates were like that.

    Some people need a villain. They need someone to attack, to tear down, because then they feel justified, and self-righteous. Some of it is motivated by jealousy, some of it by boredom, but mostly it’s because of a yawning chasm of vulnerability. A deep-seated need to feel secure and strong in face of a world that makes you feel so very weak sometimes.

    To the people being bullied, it’s not you. It’s nothing you’ve done. Your tormentors are sad and weak, and at the heart of you, the core of you, you should know that what they say has no meaning. It’s easier said than done, but in order to survive (and how I survived) was that I found a precious handful of people who loved me very much, who encouraged me and fed me and wiped my tears and pushed me to keep fighting. I learned to listen to the critics with sound advice, and ignored the ones that came from a place of anger and jealousy. I am humble and thankful for my tiny tribe. The scorn of many is nothing compared to a cup of tea and a happy afternoon with a true friend, even if the friend is on the other side of the country.

    I survived school and wound up with a job at a prestigious company, but horror of horrors my boss was exactly like my mentor in school. I ended up being fired for a mistake she made, and now I’m left in an unfamiliar city with no friends or family and no job. But at least now I don’t have to deal with her anymore, and that is a blessing. I know now to take my time to find a good job with a good boss and good people. I just have to have faith it’s out there.

  • Ria

    That was devastating. I want to hug all these children. I’m 41. I don’t know how any kid manages high school now. :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/danielledragula Danielle Dragula

    I… I really have no idea what got me through, to be honest. I used to get bullied and picked on a lot at school, and online too. I had trouble making friends, and I still do. I struggle with weight as well, though not in the extreme, just enough to make very lithe, fashionable kids make comments and occasionally poke fun. I guess, I dealt with it by letting my moods coil up like a spring, and then violently lashing out every 5 or 6 times I was picked on. Not healthy, I know, but I had no real coping mechanism. More recently, I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar. I still have major self esteem issues, even now. My self confidence comes and goes, up and down like a rollercoaster that’s been going on for far too long – it comes when I’m thinner, more on point in my appearance, and am coping well with my education & generally. But I know that the seeds of having a poor impression of myself lie in my childhood bullying, both online and in the real world. I’m trying to dig them out but it’s not going so well, so far at least – I have hope.

    Also, I was just as horrified as you were about the Amanda Todd backlash. I cut off a few friendships because of that.

  • Ria

    Shannon Eck: you are Beautiful! That’s all you need to know.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pitpat71 Roger Nicholson

    Thanks Amanda,

    I got bullied horribly in high school. I dropped out and became a druggie. The one thing I have now that I didn’t then was a mental defense against what other people think about me. It used to fuck me up when I found out that people didn’t like me or talked shit behind my back.

    I have a bunch of youtube interviews I’ve done and trolls get on there and tell me how bad I am at what I do and how lame I am. But then it dawned on me that it really only make believe. It’s not like any of these people would ever walk up to me on the street and talk the same shit. They are hidden and anonymous line and can say the things they’d never had the balls to every say in person.

    So, I honestly stopped feeling the need to defend myself. What the fuck do I care? One of the greatest revelations I’ve ever had as an adult is not everyone has to love me. I suck as person just fine, all by myself. I am in not in need of any assistance in feeling inadequate. Besides, it’s not like any of the Roger haters out there are going to hate something new and exciting about me that hasn’t already occurred.

    Basically, when it comes to hating me, no one is better at it than I am. So, suck it you fucking amateurs!

    And while I’m at it, I am doing many things that make me like myself, little things that make a world of difference. Things like going to the gym or meditating or cracking a joke you know will get someone to smile or displaying compassion for a stranger. Anyone who gives a shit about the pain and suffering of other people can’t be all bad. If I have just given my seat up for the old lady on the bus, or mediated for a half hour or called my mother to tell her I love her, nothing anyone says to me after that is going to convince me I am worthy of being hated.

    This is going to get long winded, so I shall this shit up. Thanks for giving a shit Amanda.

    • Sarah

      “It’s not like any of these people would ever walk up to me on the street
      and talk the same shit. They are hidden and anonymous line and can say
      the things they’d never had the balls to every say in person”

      Yeah, I had the weird experience of meeting someone in person that had given me a hard time on the internet for months and months. And he did not, in fact, have the balls to say anything even the slightest bit mean to my face. He was perfectly nice and even tried to joke about how we “don’t get along” online like it was all an act or a joke. Gave my arm a friendly squeeze, all that shit. The next week, safe behind a keyboard, he went back to his same old nasty self. But that taught me a lot about him and people like him.

  • Annette

    The kind of bullying that Amanda Todd had to go through is one of the most heartbreaking things…. It’s similar (if not almost the same) to the kind of bullying gay kids endure. The slut shaming, the constant taunting, and the “wish” that they would kill themselves. And they do [kill themselves]. It’s murder via language. It makes me furious, it makes me sad; it makes me want to shelter all of the bullied kids forever and say “you’re beautiful,” “you are talented,” “there is nothing wrong with you,” “FUCK THEM.”
    And I have to say Amanda, I doubt that you would be putting up with this much shit about making money (money people willingly donated because we fucking love you) if you were a man. I had a lot of conversations about this with my boyfriend and roommate (also male. Also fans), and we all agree. You’re unique and a woman and people are threatened by it. Amanda Todd was a girl who was learning about herself as a sexual being and was punished for it. Because she has tits, and someone wanted to use that as a weapon. Moreover, what does that say about our society that tits can be used as a weapon to ruin someone’s life? She was shamed, manipulated– she was a fucking child.
    I’m sorry I’m rambling, and part of me wants to apologize for a feminist rant but it’s a problem. It’s a real problem. It’s a problem that I get harassed every day on the street. It’s a problem breasts are still “dirty.” It’s a problem that successful women have to deal with so much hatred (ahem, Hillary Clinton, Lena Dunham, etc)
    We love you Amanda. You’re brilliant. Your album is amazing, and we gave you a million fucking dollars because we fucking love you.
    So haters can go suck it.
    End of poorly connected rage rant.

  • Karlen

    I was only made fun of in elementary school but that was because as soon as I went to high school I was placed in an Accelerated High School (Read: Where the people who are expelled go OR the people who want to graduate faster. I was the second.) That was pretty much like sitting in a cave of wolves all the time. How did I deal with it? I realized that they weren’t making fun of me they were just trying to blow off steam from their lives (or I hope they were) and getting all bent out of shape about it wasn’t going to do anything to the world. Feeding hate only makes hate stronger and hate was not what these kids wanted in return. Did it upset me? Yes, who wouldn’t be upset at a constant barrage of their character. But over time I learned to not look at the comments and knee jerk react to them like a hormone driven teen. I learned to take the comments, see them for what they were, and let them go. Dwelling on it would only make them stronger and I wouldn’t let that happen any more.

    I like to feel that I was lucky to find the wisdom and a shield against hate at that time and I’ve done my best to be as calm and thoughtful in my adult years (it’s often hard. Adult life is so different.) and it is always sad to see friends and strangers alike who just couldn’t handle it and ended their lives. It would do well to remind people that there is always someone on the other side of the screen and that hateful comments do have consequences.

    Much love, always

    P.S. I’m reminded of the Phoenix show you recently did when you were reading the comments left in the box of dark thoughts and that guy yelled out “They probably deserved it” and everyone boo’d him. There are good people who won’t tolerate hurtful things in this world and they shouldn’t be forgotten either.

  • a.j.crowley

    amy pond is from doctor who :P

  • http://www.facebook.com/charlotte.l.connolly.7 Charlotte Lottie Connolly

    That part about, walking through high school and wearing the comments as a badge was so me. The worse the comments got the more out there I got and Amanda you got me through every single day. Each time I felt like caving in I stuck on a DD album shaved of my eyebrows and created something (even if it was just a myspace pic) that made me feel better. Now I am older and wiser I cope by spreading the love and remembering every bit of hate comes from fear. People are scared and get defensive but it is always their own insecurities they are projecting. So take them by the hand and show them how safe the world feels when you truly love each other <3

  • Skwedge

    Another of my favourite songwriters, Grimes posted recently on the subject… she has been receiving rape threats via Tumblr (news which darkened my festive period) http://actuallygrimes.tumblr.com/post/38990279224/claire-are-you-ever-scared-of-anything-i-feel-too

    I can’t read youtube comments any more. They just reaffirm my belief that the world really hasn’t earned a free outlet of expression… it brings out the Stalin in me.

    For artists, a problem is that they are now encouraged to ‘network’ for the sake of their career, rather than spend the time making art. For many artists on just a local level it can be so tempting to aim to gather 90,000 online ‘fans’ (while still only playing gigs in Hull, Goole, Skidby etc.) and then to just burn out.

    Ultimately, I think haters are all just people who believe they were destined for fame and fortune and are all just really bitter at the fact that they haven’t achieved that.

    • http://www.facebook.com/charlie.d.oconnor Charlie ‘Denny’ O’Connor

      yes rosie!!! finally someone who agrees!!!!!
      I feel I spend most of my time trying to ‘network’ online for the sake of my music career, but it opens you up to harsh criticism, hate comments etc etc

      and you have to like grow a second skin against it

      atleast in the old days it wouldnt be directly in your face if someone hated you

      its like!! in the olympics! that british diver guy got really badly slated over twitter when he messed up. I just hope he doesn’t have twitter on his phone like i do, cause that’s it then, directly to him
      hate filled messages

      athletes and musicians dont need that shit

      nobody does!

  • Briony

    I finished high school in 2000, back in the early days of the internet and way before social media. Nevertheless, a girl I was friends with at the time made a website devoted to how much she hated me. (She asked me for help on how to make a website, and I rather foolishly helped. It wasn’t til someone told me about it later that I realised.) Luckily there weren’t any comments agreeing with her!

    I think the only reason I could brush it off (and the six years of being at a farm school) was that I knew I was getting out. It became my all-consuming mission when I was 13, so every time I was bullied and told I was going to die, I just kept thinking of The Plan.

    If all that happened now, it might have been a different story.

  • http://twitter.com/rockinlibrarian Amy W

    Something that I’ve been learning lately, that has really been helping me self-confidence-wise lately, is something you already alluded to in this post: that EVERYONE feels this way. That inside them, everyone is frightened and alone and lonely and crying for help. They just show it in different ways. Some people lash out, take it out on others. Some people put on a show, pretend they DON’T feel those things. Some people get depressed and withdrawn. Some people give up. Some people reach out to other people who are feeling the same way and try to help. And whatever anyone says about anyone else actually says more about THEM than about the person they’re talking about. It’s all them fighting whatever fears they have inside.

    To realize this has helped me to see myself, well, more in relation to myself than in relation to other people. I shouldn’t just assume that because a person is acting confident or assertive or AGGRESSIVE that they actually DO know more than me. I can be right, too. Sometimes other people– no matter what kind of authority they SEEM to have– really are wrong.

  • http://ashshields.tumblr.com/ Ash Shields

    You have spectacular timing. I had plans in town yesterday, and before leaving, I caught a glimpse of a friend’s tweet, something along the lines of “jumping off the skytower would be a nice way to end it”, the skytower being the biggest building here in Auckland. I didn’t take it seriously – it’s the kind of thing they’ve posted before (a horrible excuse, I know) and in any case, seemed somewhat joke-y. So, a couple of hours later, a close friend and I were waiting for everyone else in a food court, when all of a sudden one of them came running in, out of breath, exclaiming “there’s a guy about to jump off the skytower”. My blood ran cold, and my first reaction was to get up, start running, and shout “oh shit, I think I know him.” We spent the next half hour or more standing on the street, our necks aching. I felt physically sick. My phone had ran flat, so I had no way of checking if it was him. The worst part was the people walking past, looking up, yelling “jump!” and walking away laughing.

    The guy came down in the end, to applause across the city from those watching. It wasn’t the guy I knew. It’s not that we were even that close – our communication has been the occasional joke across twitter, and my silent appreciation of his feed. But I felt so horrible, a combination of a strange sort of guilt, worry, and anger – this is one of those people who the system has let down repeatedly and essentially given up on.

    In any case, when I got home I told him the story, and made sure to mention that I was so very glad it wasn’t him. And while that was probably a rather selfish act, really, he seemed to appreciate it. I dunno.

    This year so far has been a hodgepodge of emotion, most of it tricky to deal with. But it’s things like this, along with time spent with treasured and close friends that got me through the last, and I know it’ll be the same this year. I guess that’d be the advice I’d give anyone – treasure those close to you. If you think there are none, look again, because they’re there. They may be as obvious as the people you’ve always had around you, or they may be silently appreciative twitter followers. They’re there.

  • Anon

    I struggled my whole life with depression and my weight. I was bullied in school and turned to self harm as a release. Through my love of writing and theatre, I was able to use both as an outlet for my emotions, which got it all out of my head. It was an exorcism, and I continue to exorcise it. When I took an overdose, all I could think of was how heartbroken my family would be.

    I knew enough was enough and moved back home. I am so lucky to have an amazing family who love me, and a few years later, when romance was the furthest thing from my mind, I met the man who is now my husband. He has suffered depression too, and completely understands me. He’s my best friend.

    I have now turned my life around. I am 32, married and we have a son. I knew I never needed to be that person again. I got a beautiful tattoo to cover up my self harm scars and everytime I look at it, I know that I have moved on and my life has turned beautiful, just like my ink. Depression wil always be there, but I know that I can beat it.

    So much more needs to be done. There are no consequences for people who bully someone to the point of suicide. This isn’t something the world should be looking the other way from.

  • http://twitter.com/mbosen Melinda Bosen

    When I was 10, my parents started going through a lengthy divorce, I was happy. I was finally going to be free of my abusive mom, and my dad came back to rescue us. He had no idea what was going on, working 20 hour days because he trusted my mom to actually tell him the expenses. Three years later, she was finally charged with 12 counts of abuse, after we testified and talked to so many counselors. She was jailed for about 2 months. When she got out, she would call us, harass us, show up at our school and insult us, tell us we were going to hell. It didn’t matter, in my hometown, she was finally unmasked as the monster she was, and the people who knew, did their best to protect us from her.

    Then, a judge awarded her the house, and all of our things.

    My Dad, in debt, for legal expenses, had declared bankruptcy on the house. We were left with nothing, and quickly moved 20 miles away to a whole different world.

    I started at my new school in the middle of year, after everyone had found their own friends, and was practically an alien. I wore head-toe black because that’s what kids at my former school did, and here the rage was color. We couldn’t afford new clothes just because people assumed I was a drug dealer or something.I was automatically marked a goth, a witch, a whore, a lesbian, a cutter, depressed, and stoner.

    I didn’t have friends. I saw the situation as temporary. We would get our house back because that would be justice. I got by, got teased by everyone, but it didn’t matter, they didn’t know me, and they couldn’t have stomached what I had. I was stronger than them, I told myself.

    After living there almost 2 years, I realized that I was never going back to where I was happy. My old friends stopped calling, caught up in their lives. At 15, I gave up hope. I put on a show of happiness because I couldn’t bear people asking if I was okay. Everything in my life that had been good, was taken from me. I had no friends, my family didn’t understand, having made friends immediately. I read, that was what was good in my life. Stories of heroines running away from their awful lives.

    So many times, I was this close to killing myself, I couldn’t handle the stares at school, the mockery, and school was no longer the comfort it was when I was being beaten at home, by my mom. Plus the cops here didn’t have the background story to correctly act in situations when my mom would start stuff again. So many times they almost forced us to go home with her, with her outdated custodial paperwork. The only thing that stopped me in those years, was thinking that if I actually killed myself, just before life started getting better, it would be incredibly ironic. Who knew better than me, how quickly things changed? So I didn’t.

    Eventually I did make friends, and things got a little better. Before I knew it, I was mildly happy, I didn’t have the urge to spill all my blood suddenly quite as much. I wrote for so many hours a day, slept rarely more than 3 hours a night.Then, my Dad got remarried, and we had move into her house, I had to give up my comforts, and when my dad wasn’t there, she turned into a slightly more tame version of my mom. Besides, I was bigger, being 17, not 10. If she tried to beat me or my siblings as bad as my mother had, I was going to fight, and I felt that I would win.

    Things got dark again, but now my friends would explain to my friend’s parents why I didn’t have a mom, so I could walk out of the room when I saw it was going to come back up. I didn’t have to reflect on those dark memories. I could face my current darkness head-on. I did, and I won.

    Now I am finally the master of my own fate, no longer a minor. I finally dropped the hate out of my heart, and learned to love all people. I’ll admit I’ve had relaspes of the hating, dark girl I used to be. But all things end, and things will undoubtedly get better, and it gets me by. I learned that hate took so much more energy than love did. I learned to attribute hate to the degree which people care about me. It makes it complimentary, that you’ve affected someone’s life so much, that they would spend that much energy on you, and if it lasts years, that’s years they’ve spent obsessed with you.

    Things are always going to get hard, at times we all have to doubt ourselves and wonder if this misery is ever going to end. That’s what makes those times that are amazing, where you’re happy to be alive, good. Knowing that those times are coming, eventually, is what gets you through the dark.

    Dresden Dolls, Girl Anarchronism, helped me to realize that other people go through stuff too. The only thing we can do in this world against all that, is be kind. It’s too bad that no one was able to get to Amanda Todd. It’s too bad that her taunter couldn’t have just moved on.

  • theelusivefish

    As an artist:
    Lovers are gonna love. Haters are gonna hate. Alligators are gonna alligate.

    You need to put a wall between yourself and the love, the hate and the gators. The love can blind you to what it is you need to change. Can give you a false sense of where you actually are in your journey. The hate can stymie you and cripple you. The hate makes you feel you’ve hit a dead end as opposed to passing another milestone on a long long road. And the gators… well gators bite. Don’t keep ‘em around.

    As an artist there is only one audience that you ever need to concern yourself with, in my opinion, and that is yourself. Are you enjoying what you’re doing? Are you moving forward? Are you still learning and pushing forward? Then that is all that matters. Just keep making art as best you can.

    Skim the love and the hate for tools to help you in your journey. For things that you hate about your work, look for those that love it and understand what it is about that thing you dislike that they seem to love. For things that you love about your work look for anything constructive within the hate. Is there something in that you can actually use or is there enough emotional push in there to make you take what you like and turn it into something you love?

    As a person:
    Other people’s words only have the power that we imbue upon them. This is going to sound quite geeky, but I would recommend memorizing the litany against fear, from Dune:
    I must not fear.
    Fear is the mind-killer.
    Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
    I will face my fear.
    I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
    And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
    Where the fear has gone there will be nothing……Only I will remain

    Look past the words and to the underlying behaviour. Why are they doing this? Why are they chasing and sniping at you on your Facebook page or from some random tumblr. Is it that they have so little esteem of their own that they can only feel good by tearing down another? Is it vicious and savage pack mentality where cleanse the herd of the different because they can’t stand anything that doesn’t match their own world view? Let their hateful words pass over you and through you and then deconstruct where the hate is emanating from. You will see that their words are empty and the source of them is not yourself but within them.

    Amanda, you talked about your shield of “They are normal and therefore inferior” and I can remember using a similar shield of my own. I was the geek. I was the nerd. I was largely ignored and lonely, but eventually found connections with other geeks and nerds within my highschool.

    And that is where I think the Internet is the greatest thing that these kids have that you and I did not in our youth. We were stuck with the local geography and the people it contained. But the Internet … the Internet allows communities to form, not on geography but on interests. You control who you connect to on the Internet. Find people who like what you like. They are out there. There are a million and one islands of misfit toys for those of us who are surrounded by people ‘normal and therefore inferior’. Go find your community where everyone will know your name and welcome your arrival.

  • Em

    I’d heard about Amanda Todd but didn’t know the specifics. I can’t even imagine what she went through. Jamie Hubley’s suicide hit me hard. Although Rick Mercer’s rant about it caused controversy, (he’s asking gay people in public life to “represent”) I love what he has to say about Jamie and what we potentially lost when his life slipped away http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wh1jNAZHKIw

  • Kitty Licks

    I cry. I let myself feel the hate, the embarrassment, the sting of exclusion, the guilt and sadness and self hatred. I invite all these feelings in with open arms (or, at least, try to) and allow myself to experience them. And then I comfort myself. I tell myself that’s its ok to cry. It’s ok to be sad. I am allowed to be hurt, to feel weak… but I am also allowed to be happy. I can nurture myself. I’ll reach out to a friend, or my notebook, or a canvas. I’ll write down all the things I love about myself. Or play dress up. Take a bubble bath while blasting some music. I tell myself that this pain, this hurt, is just a moment in time. A moment that will eventually pass and transform into another moment. A better moment. I take a walk outside and look into the sky, and to me the world is usually beautiful… even in the thick smog of the city there are clouds and birds in the trees… there is something beautiful to be found if I look hard enough. So, I tell myself that I deserve happiness, that others’ opinions are a reflection of THEMSELVES not ME. I know me. I know who I am & what goes on in my head. I know what I believe in and stand for. I know how much love and talent and beauty exists inside me. And I accept myself. I love myself & I remain determined to show the world – or, at least – as many lives that I can, that I can spread that love and warmth and acceptance until I use up every ounce of my being. I want to help others find even a glimpse of that beauty, even in their deepest sorrow, and know that it is good. And … above all… I find that the world keeps turning & life is generally okay.

  • http://www.facebook.com/EpicReader Rosemarie Ison-Edgington

    I think the most important thing anybody can do to help is to connect people. I’m a teacher, and I know kids who have had their lives ruined by sexting. We should teach kids not to do that in the first place (though it’s incredible the way the teenage brain insists “that can’t happen to me”), but nobody’s life should be ruined by a single bad decision. If there was a way to connect people with this experience together and help them to regain their self-esteem, to help them insist on a culture that accepts that normal people have bodies and do sexy things sometimes, I think that would go a long way. I love knowing other people who grew up poor and have a certain outlook that’s created by those common experiences. Knowing other people struggling with depression or the economy is vital to coping, at least for me. Maybe we need online “Big Brothers / Sisters.” You know, people to look at or look to to help counter all the negative. Support networks. That stuff. Make one, Amanda. I’ll sign up to help.

    • RiverVox

      Regarding the Big Brothers/Sisters idea, I’ve been thinking the same thing as I read these comments. There are older people here who have survived and can be supportive listeners. I think of Amanda and Anthony, and how much it can mean to a young person to have an adult in their lives who isn’t a parent or teacher. Can we be a resource for each other?

  • rattbeat

    You have hit the proverbial nail on the head AFP. Those of us who grew up with out the internet and all the other electronics of 2012 took our sore abused self’s home and listened to music, usually sad. We would read books and lie on our beds wondering what we did to deserve the abuse. Thanks for this blog. I am sharing it with my teenage girls, reading it our loud to let them hear that it is for everyone to hear and digest to know that it is a problem that has existed for a long time and that there are people who care and will listen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=830054516 Melissa Gill

    My two coping mechanisms:
    1) better to be hated than forgotten. I’m not sure how psychologically sound this one is, or what experts would decide, but you can’t hate someone you don’t care about. It’s impossible. Hate is a strong emotion – if someone is taking the time to hate me that means i got under their skin, and damn it, that’s better than being invisible. At least it is in my mind. And I wish 13 year old me would have known this.

    2) Those that decide to actively hate or bully have something wrong with them. They’re insecure. They can only feel good about themselves by tearing others down. my mother used to tell me this. It’s taken awhile….but i think she was right <3

  • http://twitter.com/Mercuryal Jamie Z

    I want to have kids one day. But then I wonder if I should because they’ll be born into a world that constantly hurts it’s children. And I’m not strong enough to stop it.

  • Sophia

    I have been bullied since I can remember, from family, from friends, from strangers. I have also been loved greatly. Sometimes the love is harder to focus on. What keeps me going is also the same thing that inspires blogs like this- to help others who feel like me. Through community. Through art. Through dark sarcasm and emotional story-times at Gay Denny’s. I can listen to music or read some Tom Robbins and believe that the lovers and the artists really do create magic in the world. And that gives me hope.

  • Anna

    Here’s a story that helps me deal with it:

    Maria Callas got booed onstage several times as her voice started failing. (Can you imagine that? Being a fucking legend, possibly the best soprano in the world, rehearsing all day in the Greek July sun and still getting jeered at?)

    Anyway, on this one evening things seemed to be going OK, most of the people were cheering, throwing roses onstage… and somebody threw a carrot. Now, Callas was very very short-sighted, so she didn’t actually see what it was. But of course she heard it fall, so she walked serenely towards it, knelt down, picked it up. She kissed it, and she threw it graciously back at the audience.

  • Monstertesk

    These are things I wish someone had told me when I was younger:

    Don’t just take it. Don’t just stand there silently, speak up. I know this is difficult. Oh, I know.
    Love yourself and if you don’t, fake it until you do. It’s surprising how well pretending to love yourself works to make you actually love yourself.
    If you’re shy, if you’re what you’d consider a coward, if you can’t speak for yourself, fake it. Be loud because you are afraid.
    Be loud because you deserve to be heard and even if you think you don’t, be loud anyway.
    Don’t give them your tears, they don’t deserve them. Tears are for your friends. Give them your laugh, your sass, your sarcasm, and your invulnerable wall of self love. Even if said wall is currently cardboard painted to look like the real thing.
    Leave your weaknesses and self doubt for your loved ones, they deserve to see you at your most vulnerable.
    Take the sticks and stones and words they would use to destroy you and build your self on that. Take those things and paste them together with that self-love as mortar and build yourself up so that those words that used to tear your down, raise you up.

    You are always worth it. You may feel lonely but you are not alone. It’s ok to seek attention and love. It’s ok to need validation. It’s ok to look for help when you don’t think you can do it on your own.

    I know that it’s not ok now but there are those who love you who are willing to help you make it ok.
    You are loved not in spite of your perceived ugliness but because of who you are and how beautiful your life is. You are loved. And you will be loved.

    You may hurt now but, like any other hurt, you will heal. Some wounds leave scars but that’s ok, they just show that you have lived and healed. If you need strength, look to those scars to remind you that you may hurt now but if you allow yourself to have love and care, you will heal.

    You will always heal. So love yourself because the more you do, the easier it is to heal.

    Wow, that was longer than I intended.
    Tl; dr:
    Love yourself. Fight for yourself. Be loud if you are afraid.

    • Ben Jellicoe

      Thank you for this. I think this is great advice.

      I especially liked:
      “I know that it’s not ok now but there are those who love you who are willing to help you make it ok.”
      Because it is better than the advice, ‘it gets better’. For many it does not, and I think what you said was perfect.

    • http://twitter.com/KlementineBS Klementine Sander

      This is just beautiful. A thousand rounds of applause for you, whoever you are. What you’ve written is so true, and so meaningful – scars show that you can heal. Bullies don’t deserve your tears. Cardboard walls can be as good as the brick ones they represent sometimes. Be loud, because you’re afraid, and because you still deserve to be heard. Just some of the things I loved from this comment. Thank you for saying this. It needed to be said.

  • bizzy

    Thank you.

  • SkyD

    Thank you Amanda.

    For myself I grew up being bullied because I was the skinny, tall, red headed kid from starting school until nearer the end. I went through stages of being called all sorts of names and the isolation that being a bit different can bring. At 10 I developed depression which has carried through with me the rest of my life. I ended up being more of a drifter than anything else in my years of schooling. I used the experience though to do some work within my high school as a Peer Mentor and Yellow Ribbon Ambassador. Taking to time to listen to other students and try to help them with anything they were going through. It is good to talk to people who have been through similar and not just taken their info from a text book and applied it to everyone willy nilly. Sadly at the start of my last year of schooling I developed a Social Anxiety disorder and ended up struggling through my last year as I had the panic attacks and never understood what was happening. I did my best though, was a prefect at the school, never dealing out punishment as I decided to let people have a 3 warning system instead. The culture had some what been stopped by the time I left, it was more widely accepted to be different and unique. Alas it didn’t last but I know the events of the Christchurch Earthquakes helped to drop some of those barriers that had reared up again.

    As for my coping mechanisms. In the early years I retreated to my own little world, then took up inline skating up until the person I held as my best friend got in with the wrong crowd, which I always felt in some way was my fault as I’d introduced him to the people who would lead to it. Then I took to drinking to keep the fuzzy warmness alive, which ended with me taking a look at my life as it was and then quitting where I’ve stayed sober for 12 years, albeit struggling a lot against the demon as he likes to pop up particularly when I am down.
    Most helpful of all was music for me. Mainly listening to Rock and Metal, then into the ambient style of music. Although I compose music myself I have self doubts, maybe because of all the bullying years. But I still enjoy it when I really get into the swing of things.
    I also ended up finding a support group for Depression and although I was scared shitless I made it to the first meeting and have kept it up to today. I read some of my poems and told my story at the open night.so I hope you don’t mind but I thought I would post one. Its called “I have Depression”.

    I have Depression by SkyD.

    When I get up in the morning I don’t see a beautiful person in the mirror. I see a monster. I have Depression.
    my family says, “I love you” I hear the words they don’t say; “I love
    you because I feel I have to, Not Because I want to.” I have Depression.
    someone says to me, “You’re Handsome.” I say, “Thank you” but I’m
    really thinking, “Thank you but I know that’s not true.” I have
    When I see pretty things like flowers and butterflies it
    can hit me very hard emotionally and I want to cry because I think its
    really amazing. I have Depression.
    When you tell me you are going to
    do something that makes me all excited and then you fail to do it, it
    hurts me quite badly and makes me want to hide away from the world. I
    have Depression.
    When I spend a day with a good mate or with a group
    of people I like I am quite happy, as soon as they’re not there anymore I
    start to feel sad and miss them. I have Depression.
    When I give
    compliments a lot of people seem to brush it off, this makes me feel
    like they think I am being dishonest when I am being as honest as
    anything. I have Depression.
    When my girlfriend shows me love it
    makes me feel special and I love her very much but I struggle to say and
    show her how much I love her. I have Depression.
    I live, I love, I care even when you are not there. You may mean the world to me and I won’t say it, but I do try to show it.
    I wrote this not to make you feel sad, I don’t want you to feel sad or sorry for me.
    I just wrote it in the hope that maybe it would help you to understand me, even just a little bit more.
    have Depression, It is a part of me, But I am still a somebody even
    though sometimes I feel like a nobody in a world that won’t let me be a
    Sometimes, I know you feel the same way too.
    So even though I’m not there I want you to know that I do love you with all my heart and you mean the world to me.
    I may not be able to hug you, to kiss you, to hold and comfort you… But I would if YOU asked me to.
    Always remember that, if you forget anything in life just don’t forget that I am there for you.
    I have Depression, and perhaps even, So do you.

  • Carnaby Bennett

    Good evening, Internet. I am an ex-bully.

    In primary school, which is now over a decade ago, I was in a class with a kid called Daniel. I was a total shit to this guy, name calling (with a focus mainly on his weight and that of his mother) and a small amount of very mild physical abuse (pushing and shoving, essentially). It got so bad at one point that his mum confronted me as I was coming out of school at the end of the day, saying that if I “got her son one more time”, she’d get me. Most of my friends joined in with this bullying, though I became the main instigator, and I always took it furthest. I can’t remember how long it went on for, but it must have been at least three years, if not more.

    As to why I did this: firstly, and while this isn’t the main reason it’s probably what first lead to it, was that he was an easy target. He was an overweight kid in the special needs maths and English groups, and while there were members of my friendship group who joined the bullying in the special needs groups, they were ‘cool’ (whatever the fuck that means) and Daniel was not.
    Secondly, and this is why the bullying went on so long and why it was so necessary for me to ruin this kid’s day almost every day of the school week: surprise, *I* was an overweight boy with special needs who felt at the bottom rung of his friendship group. I was in the top groups for maths and English, but my (then undiagnosed) dyspraxia meant that my workload was low, and that meant getting frequently yelled at by teachers for being lazy. So, I took my insecurities based in being chubby and unproductive and earthed them in this poor kid. Not at excuse, but hopefully an insight into what makes a bully bully.

    Thank fuck I didn’t have Facebook, though. We’d have taken this online, probably, and fucked up his home life as well as his school.

    I’m so fucking sorry I did all that I did. Based on the unlikely chance that you’re reading this, Daniel (and even if you ain’t): sorry, man, for all the little this means, sorry. I’m really, utterly, sincerely and painfully sorry.

    • http://coinoperatedbear.deviantart.com/ CoinOperatedBear

      Thanks for posting this. I wish that my old tormentors would reach out this way. Might I suggest trying to find him and tell him directly?

      • Carnaby Bennett

        I’ve certainly considered it. Dunno if I’m at that place yet, y’know? But maybe that’s an excuse. Who knows. I’ll dwell on it a spell.

        • http://www.facebook.com/eve.condon Eve Wartenberg Condon

          Do it!!! Just write him an email, don’t ask for a response, just be honest about your regret. I bet it will be good for both of you.

          • Carnaby Bennett

            That’s at least a part of the issue – I have no idea how to contact him. I can’t remember his last name so facebook is out, and I never knew his address or anything.

          • http://www.facebook.com/eve.condon Eve Wartenberg Condon

            if you remember any people who knew him, you can hit them up on facebook. Also, check your high school yearbook.

          • http://twitter.com/Corvustristis Corvus

            I know some people who would love this and some people who would hate it, so I think the poster’s caution is appropriate. I think the general anti-apology attitude is “You, my old bully, are taking my time and inserting yourself into my life and dredging up all this shit that makes me feel crappy and angry to think about just to make yourself feel better about what a dick you were and tell yourself that you’re a good person now, and that’s not cool.”

            Not saying that’s how I would feel (I don’t think I was bullied all that much, or if I was, I was a rather oblivious kid and didn’t really lift my head out of my fantasy world enough to notice), just saying it’s a perspective I’ve heard from victims of bullying/abuse/etc when the perpetrators pop up eons later. And really, I think it’s one of many very valid ways to feel. On the other hand, I’m sure some people would really appreciate an apology, even if it did mean their bully reappeared in their lives. Also a valid way to feel. That’s the problem with feelings, I think- just because they contradict doesn’t mean they’re invalid.

            So then what does an ex-bully do? I mean, it’s not like you can suss out whether your contact would be invasive or appreciated without, y’know, contacting them. Maybe not track them down, because that could feel invasive, but if you do ever get a chance to apologize do so, and if they don’t accept it, recognize that that’s their right? And meanwhile, take what you’ve learned and try to use it to keep others from making the same mistakes.

          • http://www.facebook.com/eve.condon Eve Wartenberg Condon

            Valid points all. I think a lot of it depends on your intentions and attitude. I once had a guy who sexually assaulted me back in high school approach me in the supermarket and start apologizing and it was not exactly therapeutic. On the other hand, a guy who’d dumped me rudely ran into me years later and, after we’d chatted a bit and no one else was in earshot, said that he had been an asshole and left it at that. It’s true that you don’t know where he’s at emotionally and that you’d be taking a risk there. Do whatever you think is best–it’s great that you’re owning up to it and want to turn it into something positive. Your insights as a former bully could be very instructive. Thanks for sharing.

        • http://twitter.com/FrazzledFemme ~*~Maggie Davis~*~

          I think you are. If I may, permit me to explain. You obviously realize that you made a fail back then. So many bullies never see themselves as such. Every month, I get at least one FB request from someone I went to school with or was involved in a dance team with back in the day that made my life less um “fun?” … We’ll be positive and say “fun”. I just look at the screen in disbelief like really? You think everything’s cool now and I’m gonna accept that? (*ignore friend request*). The fact that you actually FEEL something inside that recognizes that wasn’t all that “fun” back then, well, it means that not only are you in a wonderful place, but are a wonderful person.

          • Carnaby Bennett

            Oh wow, thanks so much! It’s always a fantastic to be called wonderful by a stranger on the Internet :)

          • http://twitter.com/LittleJanelleS Janelle Sheetz

            Second this. I’ve never heard from most people I had trouble with, but one did try to add me on Facebook. Um, no, you don’t get to act like nothing happened.

          • Madrigorne

            I have actually replied to them with that, “So you and your friends were complete assholes to me though all of highschool and now that we’re older you want to be my friend? Let bygones be? Nope.” Sorry, I have perfect clarity of all the time in HS, and Junior HS. Eidedic memories with the flashbacks that make me want to bite out my own teeth. I don’t want those people back, and I don’t care if they want me. I’m free. You will be free too, if you just stay with me. I love you. Seriously, I fucking love you.

    • Gem

      Only one of the kids that bullied me ever said sorry. It was pure chance we ran into each other. I have nothing but respect for her and still think she is awesome for having the guts not only to accept what she had done, but also to face me.

      It means a lot when you hear from someone that they are sorry for what they did and acknowledge the wrong against you. It also makes me think you are a good person for recognizing your wrong. I hope you get the chance to make the amends you obviously wish to make.

  • Ana

    HI there Amanda,

    Usually I don’t answer to this things. I read, absorb, and move on. 288 comments, mine will be just one more. But let it be. For I know what bullying is.

    I’ve been bullyied for all pre-high school and high school time.
    And what I was here got me really scared.
    You know why?

    Because when my class mates beat the crap out of me, called me names, made me feel the worse animal in the world, I could get home and close up in my room and cry. And inferno was only at school. Of course, I didn’t have any friends out of it. I was a teenager for goodsake. A teenager life is school. But the bullying crossed over through my little town. Everywhere I was bullied when my parents weren’t watching. And you know what they said when one day I got the courage to speak to them?

    “You will grow up”
    “They don’t mean nothing.”


    “You’re useless. You don’t even answer to them!”

    OK, THAT hurt more than all the names and punching and isolation.
    Of course I got depressed and I thought of suicide.

    And then I thought… what the fuck? Why? Why should I kill myself? So they can keep calling me names and call me a coward? They can’t get in my ROOM. My world. Where I used to sit for hours writing and reading. It hurts, of course it does! I wasn’t fat, I wasn’t ugly. I was just the smartest girl of class and the most grow-up because I had to take care of situations those guys never did in their life with that age.

    But I didn’t have internet.
    That probably saved me too.
    That is what got me scared reading this now. You want to cope with it? Don’t feed the throlls. Don’t read them, don’t listen to them. They bully you because they can’t understand you. They fear you because you are different than they are. They can’t make things like you can because they are so into “being accepted and normal” that they can’t see anything past their little brain cells.

    I do believe in karma and sometimes karma is a real bitch.
    Now my bullying classmates have miserable lives. Tiny little sorry lives. Good for them. They can keep their noses down because someone was a lot meaner to them now that ever they were to me. One of them, as it came to me, died of a overdose. Can’t say I pity the creature. I simply don’t care.

    I had several other bullying episodes in my life. Specially with guys. One, not accepting a NO for an answer, came after me for two years. Until I showed him the police and said: keep doing that and I will have the pleasure to tell them all you have done. He got a nice ass to go around and left me alone. But internet was to blame on this guy. And I knew my path. The only mistake I’ve made was to have met him. So I will not cut myself for it. Or kill myself. Maybe I needed to know that guy to understand there were more fucked-up persons in high school than me. I had a maturity (that I didn’t see at the time) that he would never have.

    So how to cope with bullying?

    Cut it off.

    Don’t search for it. Don’t feed it, don’t see it.

    We humans do have the tendency to search for this type of things.
    Don’t. If you can’t do it, eat an apple, read a book, go for a stroll.

    But, if it comes to you don’t run. NEVER ever run. Stand it up. Face to face. Try to see what is wrong it them. Because lots of times they can’t think. They do it, because they fear you to their guts. They fear you so much, they hate you. And they think they are strong because of it. If you don’t run, they you are showing them that they aren’t strong, you are.

    And then, I know it hurts, it still does. Go to your friends, have hugs. See the good side of life for a while.

    And don’t pity them. They are in that hate hole because they don’t know better. They can’t be better. So focus in their little lives and worlds that revolve in bullying what they can’t get… an identity.

    To all you teens that are out there:

    I’m 31 years old. I’ve survived bullying alone. I had no friends and no family support. If I did it, you can do it too. No matter how down you are. No matter what they say: YOU FUCKING MATTER. Be better than all of them. Be who you are. Don’t go down to paths of waste. It won’t be easy, but you will be a fucking warrior. You will have an experience that will make you better that all those shit-holes that are trying to fuck your life.
    Don’t turn inside.

    Find your haven and be there as long as you need. Heal.
    And please, don’t come to the internet. Don’t expose your life there.

    And most of all:

    In yourself.

    Thank you all that will reading this.

  • Kristin Ross

    This is the only blog where the maxim “don’t read the comments” is not valid.

  • http://www.facebook.com/charlie.d.oconnor Charlie ‘Denny’ O’Connor

    Amanda Todd has a memorial page, everyone you should go and like it, and we should show our support to all who knew her.

    Her story is a lesson to the world. To open their eyes, ears and hearts.


    In answer to your question Amanda, I really wouldn’t know how to go about dealing with internet bullying and hate messages. I think your man is right in saying don’t read it! But sometimes it is impossible to avoid, especially if people have gone out of their way to make sure you see it.
    I guess stay strong and always believe in the power of good people.

    I’m in a band myself and a few people have gone out of their way to make new youtube accounts just to leave us a nasty comment and a dislike,

    but I just thanked them kindly for going to the trouble as it meant a teeny bit more prs for us ;]
    And when I saw all the positive words from kind people it boosted me up and I just carry on soldiering forward

    People are so quick to judge people they dont even know. My Auntie got a terrible review in the NME in the 80s, they said she was a drama school queen and spoiled brat or something to that effect, none of which was true, she didn’t even go to drama school (!?) but people believed it.

    Best thing to do is surround yourself with supportive friends :] and dont read bad reviews/magazines/blogs

    Internet bullying reminds me of the press. The way they can just lay in to people, create scandal, exaggerate stories and frame people for things they haven’t done

    Trouble is, you are right in saying ‘we are the media’

    but sometimes maybe that’s not such a good thing
    At least in papers and magazines its to celebrities with teams of people trying to protect them

    but on the internet, anyone is fair game, even a young teenager with no hope

    • http://www.facebook.com/charlie.d.oconnor Charlie ‘Denny’ O’Connor

      oh and they said she had love handles… that kinda shit makes women and girls stop eating. I know cause i’ve been there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/charlie.d.oconnor Charlie ‘Denny’ O’Connor

    oh and also Amanda your new way of doing music fan funded is probably scaring all the big wigs in the music industry
    so they will probably fire some missiles of resentment and bad press because they dont like what you are doing !

  • aubrey adams

    CDN artists recently put this out. It’s fab.


  • Bonnie

    Amanda, you are a wonderful person. I want to help you in this project because I think it’s an amazing idea. Everyone should do their part to balance hate with love and hopefully outbalance it.

    I was recently the object of some homophobic hate speech on a social media site. It wasn’t that bad, but that doesn’t make it any better. I reported the user and received a wonderful message of apology on their behalf from the moderator who dealt with my message. It restored my faith in humanity. I then found out that this user was probably a troll who had multiple accounts, so I added that to my report. I felt like SUCH A FUCKING BADASS just because I took a stand against some fucker online with no filter, too much spare time and too much interest in my business.

    So this is my “coping mechanism” advice: DON’T LET PEOPLE GET AWAY WITH HATE SPEECH. EVER. NO MATTER HOW FUCKING “MILD” IT MIGHT BE. TAKE ACTION. Almost every website where people can make posts have policies against hate speech and cyberbullying. Report the user. If they’re anonymous, ask the website moderators about tracing the IP address. Such messages could be a criminal offence. It’s worth a try. Take control. If nothing else, you’ll feel a lot better yourself.

    It’s better to get mad than to dwell. So make a big deal because it’s your life and if you aren’t hurting anyone then nobody has the right to make you feel like shit. Even if it’s just a little like shit.

    This and a few recent events inspired me to write a post on my blog about standing up for others. If you want, you can take a read here: http://bonnie-bonnie.tumblr.com/post/39773675489/just-read

    Peace and love.

  • http://www.facebook.com/VivaLaMoose Gracie O’Donnell

    Here’s my story. I’ve had some pretty traumatic things happen to me in my lifetime, and as a result I shut people out. In elementary school I had cooties and no one wanted to talk to me. Which would’ve been fine, but I had no way to learn how to socially interact with others and because of this I wouldn’t learn. When I got to middle school…dear GOD. I was the emo kid who cried all the time, who said stupid stuff, who looked like white trash and was, to top it all off, fat. Not fat in the sense that I was actually overweight, but fat in the sense that I was just not skinny enough.

    I spent a lot of time crying in the closet of the choir room. I tried making friends, but a lot of people would only pretend to like me long enough to get dirt on me and spread it around like the plague. I left my first middle school and went to an almost all-black school, where I really felt like I didn’t fit in because I was the one little white girl in my class. But I met this one girl who was sweet to me. I told her I liked her shoes in typing class, and it’s funny how something stupid like that makes two people instant friends. We would pass around this notebook with all our feelings in it, feelings of worthlessness, our hatred of the people who hated us. Eventually another girl found it and tattled, saying we were ‘bullying’ her by venting and keeping it just between the two of us. Soon people started spreading rumors about things that were in the book, and my friend and I got in huge, huge trouble and were outcasts again. To top it all off, at a slumber party I had my first kiss with a girl, and soon the news was spreading that I was a lesbian at a time when I was supposed to be a good Christian girl and I hated myself for even looking at girls. I dropped out of that school and became homeschooled for the rest of seventh grade. I returned to my first middle school and made a few lasting friends who weren’t cruel to me, but the bullying still didn’t stop. I accepted my bisexuality and my friend and I started dating, but she moved away and immediately cheated on me. I was heartbroken.

    As high school has gone on, my social anxiety only gets worse, even though I’m lucky to be surrounded by people who love and care about me. There are still people who despise me and spread horrible rumors about me. After a suicide attempt, a dear “friend” blabbed to everyone about what happened even though she’d been sworn to secrecy. And now I’m the bad kid, the crazy kid. People who meet me and think I’m a nice person hear from other people how terrible I am and don’t want to associate with me anymore. I’ve heard countless times from people who found out what I did that they wish I’d succeeded. And I accept it most days. The world is cruel. Kids are cruel. But there are a few kind ones out there. But some days the hatred and the paranoia about people leaving me becomes way too much to bear. I started self harming in the seventh grade, and only recently stopped. I recently relapsed, but I feel a lot better now. I was anorexic for a little while, bulimic for longer, but now I’ve accepted my body and I love food. Still, I cling to the few people that actually care about me…and plenty of them abandon me. And yes, I know people will say that if they do that they aren’t real friends, but I am a toxic person. I have so many defense mechanisms built up that people are afraid of me. I can’t cope with this distrust sometimes. I don’t know how to open up. I don’t know how to let people love me. That’s the worst part of it all, that even though I’ve overcome, all the bullying has left me completely distrustful of the people who love me most. How the hell do I get over something like that?

    • Bonnie

      Gracie, I’m so sorry for everything that has happened to you. I think you need to break your patterns of defence mechanisms, which I honestly know is far, far easier said than done. But start by taking a second to think about what people say about you. Not to dwell on it, try and think about it clinically and without emotion. Now think of the things that you think they should say about you: things that are more accurate, or even things that are not but that you want to be. Make a list of these. Then tell yourself every day that you are those things. You will eventually believe it, especially if some of those things are true to begin with: you are obviously a strong enough person to know that the haters are wrong. So you can say that you are strong. You can say it honestly, because it’s true. Then think of more. Good luck, and never feel afraid to get out of a bad situation or to talk to someone impartial, like a counsellor. They are really amazing people. And don’t forget, people love you. <3

  • Kerrie Hughes

    I’m 47 and I have too many bully, rape, abuse, terror stories to tell; some are my stories, many are the stories of the people I have met over the years. I’ve lived many lives in this life. I have studied counseling in hopes of becoming one Thank you for doing this.

    My coping skills: When I meet a bully I know they are perhaps a victim of bullying themselves, but are more likely to be someone who lacks empathy, that is my shield. When someone commits violence on me I know they need to be dealt with via. my rights as an American citizen, that is my armor. When someone criticizes me I know they criticize themselves and everyone else because they have unresolved issues, this is my sword.

    I also know that most problems are a combination of brain issues, body issues, and social issues. This helps me take off the armor, shield, and sword in order to be a helper. But I still need my defenses because sometimes the best thing I can do to help is to stand up for myself and be a good example.

    I also know when to ask for help. Probably the hardest lesson of all.

  • Charlotte

    Amanda, this post makes me love you all the more. Thank you. My contribution:

    So, like many, I was bullied in school (and online). Ever since I was little I felt like an outsider. I was always the type susceptible to bullying because I felt worthless; I felt like I deserved all the shit I got. I got upset about it. It made me hate myself. And I never fought back, because what right did I have? I felt like I deserved to be abused at school because it was done to me at home too. My depressed mother neglected me and abused me emotionally and sometimes physically. My dad had had an affair and left home. He wasn’t interested in seeing me. When he did see me, he’d be ashamed because I wasn’t a “cool” kid. He was only concerned with reputation and what other people thought of him. Later on, When I was 9, my mother got re-married. My stepdad was abusive emotionally, too. One of his daughters had a massive jealousy problem when it came to me and my mother “taking” her dad away from her (and was a couple of years older than me) so she picked on me as an outlet. Then I got picked on all through school. I had stuff thrown at me, people tried to trip me up, I got called names (including “boffin” just because I liked learning and schoolwork was my outlet and the one thing I enjoyed), I had rumours spread about me. I was ignored. I was laughed at. I was called ugly, worthless. By the age of 12 I had started cutting my arms. It got progressively worse. I dreamed of death most days. I used to hide in the school toilets crying and cutting myself, especially in P.E. lessons because they were the worst for the bullying. By the age of 16 I had people saying things to me like, “who would ever want to be with YOU? Ewwww.” I felt that because I had been picked on at pretty much every stage of my life, I must be a fundamentally bad person. There must be something horrifically wrong with me for so many people to want to be horrible to me.

    I knew that life didn’t suck this much for everyone, and I was sick of people treading all over me. I knew that through working hard, I could get myself out of this situation. I could go to university and meet like-minded people. I could be successful, one day. So I worked my butt off. I got good GCSE results (I’m English, btw). I got top A level results. I went to university. I wish I could say that I am the successful vision I had wanted for myself after all this time, but sadly it didn’t quite turn out this way. I still struggle with my depression (I’ve been on anti-depressants since the age of 16 and every time I try and come off them I fall apart). And, what’s worse, is that at 17 I became physically ill. It’s like in response to all the stuff I dealt with for all that time, my body shut down. I’m so weak and ill and tired all the time I just can’t manage much. But I pushed myself through my A levels and university regardless and got a 2.1 degree. Now, after all of that, I’m taking time for myself. I’m letting myself rest and recooperate, away from my parents and away from the place I grew up, away from the memories. I am having psychotherapy to deal with everything. I focus on the little things that make me happy. I am becoming more confident, and feeling like I deserve to be here. I’m sure I will get better one day and get to do the things I deserve to. :) and I’m damn proud of myself for persevering through it all even though I haven’t completely got to where I want to yet.

    I’ve realized a lot since my school days. I’ve realized that I was interested in things that the kids at my age weren’t. Most kids at school liked pop/ RnB/ hiphop and drinking alcopops, and they hated school and learning. They thought “going clubbing” was the coolest thing ever. I, meanwhile, liked classical/ metal/ folk music, didn’t see the point in alcohol or going to these seedy parties and hated the other kids’ conformity and unwillingness to explore things that weren’t “the norm”. I hated their habit of picking on people weaker than themselves, and I purposely distanced myself from them, which they seemed to get offended by. A lot of people find those who are “different” insulting and confusing. That, combined with my inherent feeling of worthlessness, makes it kind of unsurprising that I wasn’t exactly popular. I was a good target.

    There are a lot of things I wish I’d known through my bad experiences. I had no way of dealing with being picked on and I was totally alone. I had no support. All that got me through was a) the knowledge that some day, things HAD to get better and b) my love for things like reading and the subjects I enjoyed at school.

    For all the people who are going through or have been through something similar, I’d give you this advice:

    Why waste your precious time on meaningless negativity and hatred?

    So what if someone doesn’t like you? There are infinitely more people who DO like you.

    If someone doesn’t like you, it’s probably not because you’re a bad person, it’s probably because they don’t *understand* you.

    I just think, the people who bullied me probably had shit going on in their own lives. That doesn’t make what they did okay, and it doesn’t make me hate them any less. But it means that I’m less bitter and slightly more understanding and forgiving towards them.

    People who bully – people who consciously spend their time hating on other people’s faults (both real and imagined) – are clearly insecure. They are projecting their own insecurities on to other people.

    Bullies pick on the weak, because they know the weak won’t resist. The weak won’t fight back. They will take it, feeling like they deserve it. That in turn makes the bully feel strong.

    Focus on YOU. Focus on enjoying yourself and embracing the people you love, and who love you in return. Don’t waste your time on the shitty people who have nothing better to do than pick on you. It says more about them than it does about you.

    I actually feel sorry for bullies. Why? Because if they one day become better people and realize the misery they caused others, they then have to live with themselves. If they don’t become better people? Well, then I feel even MORE sorry for them because they’re going to be shitty people forever. At least I get to be a good person and my experiences have made me stronger and wiser. Oh, and one day they’ll realize how much time they wasted bitching about people and not living their own lives.

    Things CAN get better, and they DO. I’m so so so at peace with myself in comparison to how I used to be. Things are still not perfect, but that’s life. I feel so much more in control these days, and am excited about the future. If I’d let those shitty people get to me as much as I could have, I wouldn’t be here now to enjoy the things I do.

    Much love to everyone <3

  • http://www.facebook.com/katmulkey Kat Mulkey

    We don’t see a hater’s humanity, just his electronic spike of anger. Internet haters are
    uninformed, bullied, or sick people who do it just because they can. Because it
    was news of YOU that they came across during the moment they were most angry
    with the world. Because they didn’t like your photo. Because you remind them of their sister or
    teacher or stepfather. Because they misread or misunderstood an article about
    you, or a post you made. Because they need to see their foul words on the
    screen of their computers, words that scream “I’m miserable and pathetic and
    angry, and now my anger is legitimate because it is in this important font on
    the internet!” or some other demented reasoning.

    A troll’s words are NOT legitimate, but more like the wrong
    answers on a test because they didn’t read the book. Put a (mental) big red X on their mistake,
    and move on to the next student’s exam, to find glorious, insightful, fuzzy,
    rewarding words, to make it all ok.

    Just say “Next.”

    • KatC

      “A troll’s words are NOT legitimate, but more like the wronganswers on a test because they didn’t read the book.” <– I love that! Sorry troll, wrong number *click*. Sometimes the most effective way to cope with hate is to not engage it at all, not contribute any power to it from your end. I realized when I was dealing with some creepy phone stalkers that the very worst thing that was happening (once I learned to hang up right away) was that I wasted 20 seconds answering my phone and hanging up. If it was more than that, it was something I was giving energy to in my head. Suddenly their power was well and truly gone. What a relief. Doesn't work all the time, especially in person, but when it's online or on the phone, you do have a choice to disengage and move on. Takes some practice, but it's possible!

    • http://twitter.com/LittleJanelleS Janelle Sheetz

      I love this so much!

  • http://www.facebook.com/rebekah.veach.3 Rebekah Veach

    I am 35. I can remember very clearly a time when I did not own a cell phone, laptop, ipad, etc. I can actually remember the first e-mail I ever sent. My time outside the influence of these devices was drastically increased by the fact that I was raised in foreign, non-Westernized coutries. I was taught at the age of 12 how to operate a gas mask, I know how to live for extended periods without electricity or running water, I know what to do during a sandstorm or blizzard, and, yes, I keep a ‘go bag’ packed in case of natural distaster or military coup. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to smile and nod as someone ranted about how ‘unsafe and terrifying’ my childhood must have been. Bullshit.
    You can prepare yourself for -40 degree temperatures. You can learn to function by candlelight. But how can these children (and I’m old enough now to call them children – a fact both depressing and a little bit well-earned) sustain themselves against baseless hatred? How can they defend against this type of attack? Polite society turns a blind eye as adolescents tear each other to shreds. Hell, you could even say society sanctions bullying: the beauty ‘ideal’ is unachievable, creativity is sneered at unless it is, by chance, financially profitable, the basic human right of marriage equality is being denied to people who actually love one another.
    There is nothing spectacular about the way I look or dress or act. Looking back, I was probably a pretty awkward, smart-but-geeky kid. I have happy memories of my childhood. I don’t recall being a frightened child. I never felt unloved or picked-on. I lived in actual warzones and my childhood was child’s play compared to what teenagers now have to face. They engage in flat-out battle everyday and the casualties are mounting. As someone who works with children professionally, it breaks my heart and it scares the hell out of me.
    So…because I don’t know what to do about the situation, I’ll offer this up to the universe: I don’t know who you are, I don’t know what you’ve been through but I know you’re in the trenches, I know you are, quite literally, fighting for survival. If you need back-up, tag me in. I’m on your side. And I know what this world can look like when no one is actively trying to make you feel like less that what you are. I’d be happy to show it to you – it’s actually very pretty.

  • http://twitter.com/rhiarti Rhiarti

    Beautiful post. The contrasting pictures were so poignant. I love that you even notice, let alone care.

    My best sanity saver comes, of all places, from an episode of Buffy (Earshot), where she could hear what everyone was thinking…

    “My life happens on occasion to suck beyond the telling of it. Sometimes more than I can handle. And it’s not just mine. Every single person down there is ignoring your pain because they’re too busy with their own. The beautiful ones. The popular ones. The guys that pick on you. Everyone. If you could hear what they were feeling. The loneliness. The confusion. It looks quiet down there. It’s not. It’s deafening.”

    Absolutely summed up how I feel, and what we easily forget everyone – without exception – feels to a greater or lesser degree, whether they choose to tell others or not.

    The internet is also a particularly good place to remember the advice in Richard Bach’s Illusions: “Perspective. Use it or lose it.”

    Beyond this, I wish I knew… it’s not the landmines of hatred that cripple me, so much as the engulfing isolation. Life’s been spectacularly falling apart of late, though most people who speak to me (online or in person) would assume everything’s peachy. As a friend so eloquently put it, I end up feeling like I’m “screaming in a crowded room but no one has noticed”. Lying and saying I’m fine ends up being the less damaging option.

    I guess my final comment would be to remember there are songs advising “laugh and the world laughs with you” and “smile, though your heart is breaking” way, way before we ever had the internet to make the lonely ones more acutely lonely than ever! It’s an experience as old as humanity, and you can either choose to dwell on it, or to shift your focus to the things you can enjoy and improve.

    • Vallie in Portland

      I remember, even though the episode was already shot, Earshot was pulled by the network on the first run as it was scheduled to air right after the shootings at Columbine, as well as the season finale where Sunnydale High gets blown up. Really, though, I always felt the sentiment of the quote you picked was needed at that time.

  • http://twitter.com/ChazStrummer Chaz Strummer

    Couldn’t finish watching her video. Hard to believe that people can be that cruel. I guess the internet makes it easier for stuff like to happen. Why didn’t someone step in and stop the guy?

  • http://twitter.com/AlexTheorist Alex Theory

    As a musician i’ve gotten bad reviews before and it used to sting… until I realised two things:

    1. Art is subjective, there is no good or bad. There is like and dislike, you hope that your audience fall more into column A but you can’t MAKE everyone sit there.
    2. Some music critics live to say more about their own wit, personality and prowess as a musical guru than they do to convey their honest opinion of music. If it’s easier for them to meet that need by being negative they will choose this route. It’s easier.

    But then, is that their own artform? I wouldn’t hang a negative review on my wall though.

  • Lisa Giese

    I’ve been bullied because I used to live in
    a children’s home and was “fat.” It started when I was about 10, but at that
    time I didn’t care about it. A few years later though, social networks became
    more and more popular. Classmates were writing bad things about me; they wrote
    stuff like how fat and crummy I was. They also often wrote that my parents hadn’t wanted me
    anymore and that was the reason why I had come into a children’s home. At
    school, they hid my stuff and didn’t lose any opportunity to make really bad
    jokes on my behalf.

    When I was 13, I got really depressed and
    started cutting myself. I had skipped school more and more until one of the
    nurturers found out. But I refused to tell them what was wrong with me, so they
    sent me to see a therapist. I didn’t tell her either.

    And then I realized that I shouldn’t show
    other people my weakness. I went to school almost every day and deleted my
    social media accounts. This didn’t stop them from bullying me, but I dealt with
    it through drawing and music. Then, one day, I was diagnosed with PTSD. Not
    because of the bullying, but because of other events that had taken place when
    I was at home with my parents. I had to take antidepressants and sleeping pills
    from that time on. Somehow, one of my classmates found out and of course the whole
    school knew soon after. From now on I wasn’t only fat and antisocial, I was
    also a psycho. I fell back into self-harming behavior. This time though, it got
    worse. I tried to kill myself by taking an overdose of the sleeping pills.
    Until then I kept telling myself things that were worth living for, but after a
    while they didn’t feel like that anymore.

    After that incident, I finally told my
    therapist. She helped me a lot and I managed to go on with my life. Now I know
    that it is important to have a person to turn to. It’s also very important to
    express your feelings; through art, sports, music, etc.

    Every person is amazing in his/her own way.
    People who are bullying others are just showing their insecurities; that makes
    THEM weak people. And hating a person you know nothing about is just bullshit
    and shallow, especially on the internet. I don’t understand how people can say
    they hate a certain famous person if they don’t know him/her, only his/her art
    and presence in the media. Besides, on the internet everybody can act up, but in
    real life they’re probably cowards. It’s okay to say you don’t like the music
    this person makes, but being mean because of his/her personal beliefs or media presence
    is stupid. But famous people have the luck that they have a lot of supporters,
    normal people usually not. I think that even if you only have a person you can talk to, you should do it. That person might not be able to stop it, but he or she will surely do the best to help you feel better.

  • Vallie in Portland

    Short version of my life story: I’m 32. I lived with an emotionally abusive parent through most of my life. At the age of 6 or 7, I was sexually abused by a trusted friend. From ages 8 – 17, I dealt with bullying on a fairly regular basis at school. Somewhere around age 12, I attempted suicide. This was all pre-internet as I didn’t have it as a resource until I was 17. If I had been able to go online and have my facebook inbox flooded with messages of “I hate you, I hope you die”, I don’t think I’d still be here right now.

    While my story is different from Ms. Todd’s, I can identify with her, and I’m sorry that she never found the support that she needed while she was alive. All any of us want now is to hug her and tell her that life will get better, that there are worthwhile people in the world, that she can walk through the fire and come out the other side. We all have scars, some physical, some emotional, but those scars will make us who we are and will give us compassion to stand up for others who aren’t able to speak for themselves. But she didn’t make it through the other side. She now stands as a cautionary tale.

    As for you, Ms. Palmer, KNOW that for every asshat on the internet that trolls you, there’s 100 people that have your back and love you and thank God for you every day. BELIEVE THAT. Not every person in the world is going to love you. Not every person in the world loves me. That’s ok. You don’t love every person you meet, either. Don’t cling to that, let it roll off, let it go. Focus on those who you do love and show you love in return. Live in that. Hate, hurt, pain, suffering, while it makes for some fantastic art at times, it’s poison. We get enough of it randomly coming at us, you don’t have to go searching for it. Literally. On Google. Don’t invite it in. Shut out the hate. Invite the love.

    Also, all the Amy Pond haters can bite me. Amy Pond is awesome.


  • http://twitter.com/pinkrubbersoul Shery Kearney

    Last night I was reading a New Yorker profile of Neil that included the line–Internet critics deride Gaiman’s fans as “Twee ‘Bisexual’ Goth Girls with BPD”—borderline personality disorder—“who are drama majors and who are destined to become cat ladies.” I read that out loud to my daughter. She said, “That’s you.” I must have responded with a puzzled look because I hardly fit any of those descriptions, at least not at the moment. Then she clarified, “No, I mean you have the same fan base. Neil Gaiman and you. That must be why you like him.” Yes, perhaps it is. In you and Neil the power to be different and that gives me fuel to encourage all the girls who describe themselves as “freaks” and “weird” or the boys who are pummeled for being gay or sensitive. I see a family that loves each other devotedly in your cute tweets about food poisoning, an engagement, a wedding, or a batch of cookies. It never crossed my mind that you will be the victim of Internet hate.

    I teach high school, parent three children from 14 to 21, serve as a safety net at school for anyone who doesn’t fit in especially LGBTQQ kids. I am not sure what qualified me to be the one they come to. By all standards I look like a middle-aged mom and school teacher. I think the inner punk shows through though. I wish I had the courage to look as different as I feel, to be as bold as I dream about. Yet I know that I need to be there for these kids, and they really need me to look like a mom when they come tell me they are cutting themselves, like girls, want to go through with gender reassignment, think about hanging themselves, or have racing thoughts. I used to be very accessible to them on social media, but I got in trouble, threatened with my job. I scaled back my presence. They still know where to find me, but it is more difficult. Why is it easier for someone to attack someone on social media than to provide help, peace, support? Why do we protect that speech but fail to provide the kind of care we need to for teens who hurt? Why are my hands tied when it comes to asking for help for a student who is in distress? Why are there so many stigmas still associated with mental illness? Why do we have so many labels?

    Write this blog, Amanda. I am trying to make a little difference in a little place. But you, you and Neil, have a stage.

    • http://twitter.com/LittleJanelleS Janelle Sheetz

      I think it’s because people are afraid a line will be crossed between teacher and student, but not enough people are considering that sometimes that teacher needs to be there to help.

  • dfskldslk

    when i was younger, i guess i had bullying issues. i still can’t really come to accept it as bullying, i’ve blocked out a lot of what happened me when i started middle school. but i guess i was different to the other children i knew when i was 11, i thought i was really clever and i used a lot of big words and i always said exactly what was on my mind. i didn’t think it was a bad thing, and i never intentionally set out to hurt anyone. i had a couple friends and that was enough to make me feel secure at that age, even if it was only one in my class and a few others in different ones, and of course one outside who was completely isolated from all of this. the friends i had left in school all decided that they didn’t want to be friends with me anymore, and word got to me here and there that the one i would walk to school with every morning was saying i was really weird, and that i was following them, even though they would ask me to come meet them and were perfectly nice to my face. eventually i got the gist that she was embarrassed to be friends with me, and the other one just fell in with a group of friends who i tried to be nice to, but they would just patronise me. i got the message. and after i lost all my friends, i basically just sat around writing throughout lessons, and i always carried my notebook with me. sometimes i would open it up and find that someone had written things about my appearance or just calling me a freak, so i try not to look at those notebooks. i heard people talking about me openly, cruelly and without the slightest care that i could hear them. they would laugh if i mentioned this to them, and i felt powerless. i cried a lot, and i sometimes had to leave the lesson to do so. sometimes i didn’t even bother leaving. i honestly wanted to kill myself at some point. and then i made a friend, on the basis that he felt sorry for me (something he later admitted when we were much closer) and i can’t blame him. i felt better because of him, and we’re best friends now. people stopped being this way towards me over time but i still have trouble making friends because i’m terrified that they’ll suddenly decide i’m a freak, and i can’t trust other girls at all after an incident with the last female friend i had, where she got quite violent. i just sound like i’m trying to make people feel sorry for me, and i’m sorry about that. but music like amanda’s helped me cope a lot over the past few years, and writing helped me gain some sense of self-worth. i can’t believe i’m even writing this, but it feels good to put it somewhere. there’s a lot of stuff i didn’t even remember until i wrote this down. the point is that i really hope i get over all these simple little things that have happened in the past, and that even the small things can hurt someone for a long time. reading everything that everyone else has wrote is quite eye-opening, i guess. i love you all, and i still can’t believe anyone quite as compassionate as amanda exists.

  • http://twitter.com/DDragonDesigns Lindsay Legler

    I am weirdly in the opposite situation. I’m an artist, pansexual, married, female though genderqueer, Pagan, a geek and very open about all of this. I’m practically a target. But I’ve never really been bullied online. Mostly I just feel invisible.

  • JaraC

    So there’s this vlogger Katers17 who vlogged every single day for over two years, until 28th.
    Just today she posted video, where she explains how hate influenced her life and stalking made here stop. It’s heartbreaking, but also amazing, because there’s just so much love:


  • e.s

    God that video was sad :s I wish i could have done something. High School is hard…and i feel where she’s coming from so much…i’ve overdosed twice now, the first was when i was in sixth form and i remember going down to the train tracks and telling myself it was the only way to stop hurting everyone and then i came back in and just wandered around the common room bawling my eyes out and what killed even more was not a single person looked at me or asked if i was okay. Then i went to the toilet and passed out when i went to go to a sink and got found by the best friend of the girl that bullied me for years and years, nice touch life, very nice. Naturally she told the teachers and i got carted off to hospital with the entire school watching as i left, that was horrific even for a performer like myself lol. And do you know what i fucking hated that girl for not leaving me there, but i forgive her now finally after 6 years because life does get better, theres not many joys in life and my god is it a tangled mess most of the time but i know now ive got more to give than lying in a hospital bed and running away from everyone and everything because it scares me. There are those rare people in life that make it worthwhile and you will think you’ve found them so many times and have not but eventually you do and they’re worth the wait and you pull through the shit together. In a nutshell my dear amanda we fuck the haters with the support of others and carry on spreading the love :P

  • Kay

    Firstly, I’d like to thank you Amanda, where ever you may be. You are a light in a world of darkness.

    Maybe I’m dumb for wanting to put this hear, maybe this is pointless, and I’ll continue crying about it, maybe good will come. I don’t know. But I do know this: Everyone who has posted their story, about struggle, about survival, about hope and cries of help, have shown courage and compassion, and are wonderful human beings.

    That being said, I want to share this short “journey” with you all, because a part of me feels like this is my last resort.

    I am 23 years of age. I live alone with my two cats in the house I spent my entire childhood in. I take online college classes, and have a part time job in retail. Two weeks ago, while waiting for my bus to come so that I could go to work, I almost killed myself. A massive truck was careening down the highway, and as it approached, all I could think was “It would be so easy. And over in a second.” Before I had noticed it, I was standing with one leg in the road. What stopped me was my sudden terror of the moment of pain just before my intended death, and I yanked my leg back and sobbed on the side of the road until my bus eventually came. I spent the rest of the day smiling at customers and saying “Have a nice day!” Because that’s what my life is now. I wake up, go to work, spend 6 to eight hours a day telling people that I sincerely hope they enjoy the rest of their day. Then I come home and cry.

    Now I’ve told you that story to preface a question. I know what everyone says. “It will get better. It always gets better.” What I want to know is this: “How do you know? And when?” And to explain my reasoning, I will continue with another story.

    I grew up in a hispanic household, where getting your face busted was just a way of life, and emotions like fear and sadness were frowned upon as weakness. My older sister use to control everything I did or said, and would make a game of molesting me. I cried and complained, and though my mother would scold her, she still continued to do it. Since she was taller and stronger, there was naught I could do. In elementary school I was harassed because my older sister was light skinned like my father, with pretty curly dark red hair, and I was dark like my mother, with hair like a Brillo pad, black and prickly. The only thing I had was I was thin like her. When I hit ten, I blew up. I became taller, fatter, stronger. But this only made things worse, for now I was “so fat and ugly”. Middle school was torment. The few friends I managed to make made a habit of ditching me and talking behind my back. When I retaliated, they openly turned their backs on me. This happened repeatedly because I was terrified I’d be left without friends and I would always forgive them. In high school, I started drugs and was constantly getting drunk in and out of school. My mother and I got into many fights because of my failing grades, and my older sister still tried to control everything I did. My younger sister was a genius, and while she never meant to, always ended up as ammunition in my mother’s screaming matches. I tried to commit suicide, ran away from home, but always ended up right back where I had started. One day, while my mother was punching me in the back of the head, I finally snapped and punched her, which I had never done because I was terrified of what she might do. She went in a rage, and my father had to hold her back to keep her from killing me. She barred me from eating, so I started babysitting to pay for my own meals. I had a small group of friends, and they became my family, but I always felt inferior. I’d buy them things and in return they stayed. I tried to run away one last time and was arrested and sent to a mental institution for a month. They put me on antidepressants that only made me feel empty.When I was finally released, my family moved, and I was put into a new high school, with people who ridiculed me because my make up was a little dark and I didn’t “act black enough”. I lost all my friends, but built relationships with my family. I moved back out here almost two year, and haven’t made a single friend. The only “friend” I had was an old high school friend who used and abused me, and threatened me anytime I tried to retaliate. I have dropped contact with her, but I fear she may try to find me again.

    I wake up with anxiety attacks, sometimes they happen in my sleep, and I wake up gasping and crying. I don’t leave my house, and am terrified of people I don’t know. Occasionally I drink myself into a sobbing stupor, and cut myself constanly because pain seems to be the only thing I can control.

    I will be 24 this year and this is my everyday.

    Someone, please, tell me when it will get better. Hard as I’ve tried, I still don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, and its eating me alive.

    • Vallie in Portland

      I can not tell you when it will get better, but I want you to know that it can. Don’t lose hope. I know that when you’re at the very bottom of that pit of despair, so far down you can’t even see light above, that hope seems laughable. It is possible. I know that we’re strangers, coming together through a mutual admiration for a musician, and I might not KNOW you beyond the words you’ve written here, but I hope you understand. I think you need more help than the time in the institution provided. If there’s any sort of free counseling or support groups in your area, I suggest seeking them out. The drinking and the cutting, they’re a destructive self-medication for a larger issue. What that issue is, I’m not qualified to diagnose. But I’ve been there. I suffered panic attacks as a teenager. I was able to get rid of them by working through the emotional issues that was causing them. I’m not saying you need more medication. I didn’t. Different people need different things. Some people need medication for a chemical imbalance, some people just need someone to talk to. Take life a day at a time. And when that’s too hard, take it an hour at a time, a minute at a time, a second at a time. Just live through this and through the next thing and all the rest. Some day, you’ll look back and you’ll say, “Wow, it really is better.” But it takes time and it takes work.

    • http://sarahwynde.blogspot.com/ Sarah Wynde

      Asking when it will get better makes it seem as if time is the cure, and time is only the cure when you’re in a situation that will change on its own (eventually we all get out of high school, thankfully!) Your situation isn’t like that anymore so instead of asking when, you might need to look for the how. So how will it get better? Therapy would help you. Not necessarily drugs, but someone to talk to who can understand and teach you strategies for dealing with anxiety, such as thought defusion or reframing. Finding a creative outlet–painting, writing, music, quilting–something that lets you express your pain and let go of it would probably help you. Learning will help you–you say you’re taking online classes, have you enjoyed any of them? If not, keep looking. You need to find your passion. Once you find a passion, you can carefully start looking for other people who share that passion, because they’re the people who will be your friends. If you’re drinking too much and you know it, a support group like AA might help you: believe me, the people at AA understand pain. The answer, though, isn’t going to be time. It’s going to be what you can do to make your life better. If you think of the place you’re in as a pit instead of a tunnel, the way out is to start climbing. (And the reason you can’t see the light is because you’re looking in the wrong direction!) Finding a therapist would be a really good first step, but it’ll be two steps forward one step back, sometimes three steps back, for a while. Good luck!

  • Porny

    Posts like this one are the ones that make me love this artist called Amanda Palmer. We need more artists that are capable of make people feel, think and question themselves the way she does. It’s not only about the songs. It’s about these words, the feelings that shaped them and about the 342 comments (and counting) they are generating.

    If I believed in God I would thank him for her. So thank you, AFP.

    And to all those being hated: Hate comes out of ignorance and fear. The problem is not within you. The problem is within them and their incompetence on dealing with their fears.

    One of the sentences in the post made me think about a quotation by Kurt Cobain that I used to wear on a shirt and it was my personal mantra: “You laugh because I’m different. I laugh because you’re all the same”. The funny (or stupid) thing is that I was often laughed at for wearing that.

    Some humour: “Haters gonna hate. Potatoes gonna potate”.

    Be strong, people, and laugh at your haters. Laugh at everything.

  • malte

    My advice for people who struggle: It’s not personal. It sure as hell feels that way and the bullies try to hit you as hard as they can. But it really isn’t about you. It’s about themselves. (Of course this is kind of sad itself, but you can say “Fuck it!”).

    The other advice or technique which comes easy to me but I don’t know how to get there: Humour. I got hate mail today and it was among the funniest things.
    I could do this because I could say “Fuck it!”. I know that there is no right or wrong and although the things I did are and were faulty (that’s what the hatemail was about), that was the only way I could have done them.

    Oh, and I know the agony of doing shit one regrets after a while. It’s the things I acutally could have known better but pretended to not to because nobody could prove or even suppose so. The other things were I _whished_ I had known better are easier: you just learn your lesson and are done with it. But to not fall into the former the only thing you can do is to be true.



  • Laura

    Oh Amanda, you’re so right about so many things. We should stop being so cruel to each other.

    I have a lot of different experience with bullying – my dad, a jealous co-worker, high school WHY IS IT ALWAYS HIGH SCHOOL and university and myself. I bully myself and punish myself.

    but i didnt and don’t deal with that shit very well, although I’m trying.

    When I was a kid, however, bullying washed off me like water from a duck’s back. Introducing Little Laura – she wore glasses, PURPLE GLASSES from the age of 4 – didn’t care, quite liked them. She was so nerdy – such a bookworm, pedantic, She made huge drawings of the Tudors for a project – another project about France she taught French vocabulary until someone shouted out “YOU’RE BORING!” to which she said, “I AM TEACHING YOU STUFF’, looking back she was massively weird.

    I miss being her.

    And of course, all the boys hated me. Well, I dunno if they hated me, they said mean shit. In particular one.

    Ross the Bully “I’m going come round to your house and smash your windows in.”
    Little Laura “You don’t even know where I live! Silly billy!”

    Ross the Bully “You look like a grandma in those glasses.”
    Little Laura “I’m eight. What kind of grandma is eight?”

    Ross told me I was going to die when I was 30. Nice boy. A few years later, I was walking back from high school and, after a few years of never seeing him as we went to different high schools, I walked past him. And I recognised him and him me. And he gaped at me. Mouth dropped, eyes wide. I looked behind me after I walked past him and there he was behind me, staring.

    I don’t know why. Because I’d got contact lenses, my short bob from age 11 was now long blonde hair? Because he had been relentless cruel and felt bad about it? And for some reason, I started laughing. Because he had tried to hurt me so many times and he never had. I had won. I had never been mean to him, the school I was at had been very anti-bullying but had done nothing OF COURSE, so it was just me versus him.

    Of course, as puberty hit, severe acne, puppy fat, massive insecurity, depression all came with it. And I was very unhappy and sometimes people’s words cut so deep it felt like they were physically branded on my skin. I was painfully shy, I had no confidence…I was knee deep in self loathing and I’ve only just sorted myself out.

    Little Laura seems like such a different person from Laura now. I had such confidence in myself as a kid, Ross’ meanness meant nothing to me, because I liked who I was. Of course, not all bullying is as mild as his was…and I’m not suggesting we just have more confidence in ourselves and everything will be perfect. We need better support systems. Schools and families need to do more about it. Bullying stems from bullying. And I know I have to try and be nicer, kinder, more loving.

    But…from now on when I feel whenever I feel crap about myself, because someone has said something, or a wave of self-hatred has washed over me, I’m going to think of Little Laura and what she would do.

    And I hope…I hope the bullying stops. Sometimes you have to make it stop. Reach out – there are free phonelines to call. I don’t know the American ones I’m afraid, so you’ll have to google it. Talk to people online. Talk to real people! Do stuff that makes you happy, don’t like the bully win. Kill them with kindness, and if that doesn’t work, tell people they’re a bully. Confront them, confront the teachers, the admin, everyone who stands by! Because you are not alone. And life can be wonderful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/erik.grafendorfer Erik Grafendorfer

    are there support groups that don’t -just- focus on dealing with the haters, but also try to create -new- circles of friends for the sufferers? be it online or in local groups – Amanda Todd said she had nobody – could she have been given someone? how could she have been connected to an Amanda Palmer?

    unless you search for help/advise, you might be stuck in a lonely place. but haven’t facebook and google perfected targeted ads? there must be algorithms to find people that are being bullied (simply by the kind of words/phrasing that they receive, or what they search on google). what could be done? maybe just cut out all the ads for shampoos and replace them with links to Amanda Palmer’s Club of Fake Communists? maybe: receive a little blip on their screen: “hey, there’s a lot of awesome people here, talking about EVERYTHING. wanna join?” with a link to a forum of people who have experiences of being bullied, and of mentors? where you can organize meet-ups in the real world? there are non-profit-bakeries who get communities together, why not have non-profit-circles-of-friends?

  • Charlotte

    Amanda, this post makes me love you all the more. Thank you. My contribution:

    So, like many, I was bullied in school (and online). Ever since I was little I felt like an outsider. I was always the type susceptible to bullying because I felt worthless; I felt like I deserved all the shit I got. I got upset about it. It made me hate myself. And I never fought back, because what right did I have? I felt like I deserved to be abused at school because it was done to me at home too. My depressed mother neglected me and abused me emotionally and sometimes physically. My dad had had an affair and left home. He wasn’t interested in seeing me. When he did see me, he’d be ashamed because I wasn’t a “cool” kid. He was only concerned with reputation and what other people thought of him. Later on, When I was 9, my mother got re-married. My stepdad was abusive emotionally, too. One of his daughters had a massive jealousy problem when it came to me and my mother “taking” her dad away from her (and was a couple of years older than me) so she picked on me as an outlet.

    Then I got picked on all through school. I had stuff thrown at me, people tried to trip me up, I got called names (including “boffin” just because I liked learning and schoolwork was my outlet and the one thing I enjoyed), I had rumours spread about me. I was ignored. I was laughed at. I was called ugly, worthless. By the age of 12 I had started cutting my arms. It got progressively worse. I dreamed of death most days. I used to hide in the school toilets crying and cutting myself, especially in P.E. lessons because they were the worst for the bullying. By the age of 16 I had people saying things to me like, “who would ever want to be with YOU? Ewwww.” I felt that because I had been picked on at pretty much every stage of my life, I must be a fundamentally bad person. There must be something horrifically wrong with me for so many people to want to be horrible to me.

    I knew that life didn’t suck this much for everyone, and I was sick of people treading all over me. I knew that through working hard, I could get myself out of this situation. I could go to university and meet like-minded people. I could be successful, one day. So I worked my butt off. I got good GCSE results
    (I’m English, btw). I got top A level results. I went to university. I wish I could say that I am the successful vision I had wanted for myself after all this time, but sadly it didn’t quite turn out this way. I still struggle with my depression (I’ve been on anti-depressants since the age of 16 and every time I try and come off them I fall apart). And, what’s worse, is that at 17 I became physically ill. It’s like in response to all the stuff I dealt with for all that time, my body shut down. I’m so weak and ill and tired all the time I just can’t manage much. But I pushed myself through my A levels and university regardless and got a 2.1 degree. Now, after all of that, I’m taking time for myself. I’m letting myself rest and recooperate, away from my parents and away from the place I grew up, away from the memories. I am having psychotherapy to
    deal with everything. I focus on the little things that make me happy. I am becoming more confident, and feeling like I deserve to be here. I’m sure I will get better one day and get to do the things I deserve to. :) and I’m damn proud of myself for persevering through it all even though I haven’t completely got to where I want to yet.

    I’ve realized a lot since my school days. I’ve realized that I was interested in things that the kids at my age weren’t. Most kids at school liked pop/ RnB/ hiphop and drinking alcopops, and they hated school and learning. They thought “going clubbing” was the coolest thing ever. I, meanwhile, liked classical/ metal/ folk music, didn’t see the point in alcohol or going to these seedy parties and hated the other kids’ conformity and unwillingness to explore things that weren’t “the norm”. I hated their habit of picking on
    people weaker than themselves, and I purposely distanced myself from them, which they seemed to get offended by. A lot of people find those who are “different” insulting and confusing. That, combined with my inherent feeling of worthlessness, makes it kind of unsurprising that I wasn’t exactly popular. I was a good target.

    There are a lot of things I wish I’d known through my bad experiences. I had no way of dealing with being picked on and I was totally alone. I had no support. All that got me through was a) the knowledge that some day, things HAD to get better and b) my love for things like reading and the subjects I enjoyed at

    I still look back on this time and think: wow. I was really fucking BRAVE to keep going through all of that. I really don’t know how I did it.

    For all the people who are going through or have been through something similar, I’d give you this advice:

    Why waste your precious time on meaningless negativity and hatred?

    So what if someone doesn’t like you? There are infinitely more people who DO like you.

    If someone doesn’t like you, it’s probably not because you’re a bad person, it’s probably because they don’t *understand* you.

    I just think, the people who bullied me probably had shit going on in their own lives. That doesn’t make what they did okay, and it doesn’t make me hate them any less. But it means that I’m less bitter and slightly more understanding and forgiving towards them.

    People who bully – people who consciously spend their time hating on other people’s faults (both real and imagined) – are clearly insecure. They are projecting their own insecurities on to other people.

    Bullies pick on the weak, because they know the weak won’t resist. The weak won’t fight back. They will take it, feeling like they deserve it. That in turn makes the bully feel strong.

    Focus on YOU. Focus on enjoying yourself and embracing the people you love, and who love you in return. Don’t waste your time on the shitty people who have nothing better to do than pick on you. It says more about them than it does about you.

    I actually feel sorry for bullies. Why? Because if they one day become better people and realize the misery they caused others, they then have to live with themselves. If they don’t become better people? Well, then I feel even MORE sorry for them because they’re going to be shitty people forever. At least I get to be a good person and my experiences have made me stronger and wiser. Oh, and one day they’ll realize how much time they wasted bitching about other people and not living their own lives.

    Things CAN get better, and they DO. I’m so so so at peace with myself in comparison to how I used to be. Things are still not perfect, but that’s life. I feel so much more in control these days, and am excited about the future. If I’d let those shitty people get to me as much as I could have, I wouldn’t be here now to enjoy the life I do.

    Much love to everyone <3

    P.S. I haz a YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/user/chemilyx88/videos?view=0&flow=grid

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=550619542 Mad Maxine

    We need a world where it’s not ok to share people’s personal information on the internet without real legal repercussions. It is the first thing bullies go to when they want to destroy someone–let’s look up … and post their address and phone number on the internet. This is especially used against women, and it is horrifying. I’d love to hear ideas on how to make that kind of harassment stop and how to make it absolutely illegal. I have no ideas myself, but I’ve seen it happen to friends of mine and I can imagine how frightening it must be.

  • http://twitter.com/Losile Amy Contreras

    I actually feel this way about you, a lot of the time my love <3 I'll see the posts that rip you apart and people jumping on a bandwagon and I'll just make this UUUUUGGGGHHHHH sound that fills up the whole room.

    A person's a person no matter how small, or big. No matter how much you see them, or you don't. I was assaulted at 14 and called a kinky goth slut for most of highschool even though the thought of a boy touching me sent shivers down my spine until I was in my late teens. The things I did to cope, to keep smiling, to make people comfortable…shit, if I had eyes on me like I would've if I were famous, I cannot even imagine. I'd explode. I'd punch babies. I'd have killed myself because the people I loved seeing me that way was hard enough. I just narrowly avoided the generation of cyber-bullies. But as a writer and blogger who's nearing 30, I see the trolls and I gush tears for others. Take any tweet Miley Cyrus makes, and look at the replies. You want thick skin? You'll find it in a 20 year old popstar, who posts a picture of herself with her new puppy and gets 50 messages back that say "FUCK YOU UGLY CUNT YOU DON'T DESERVE YOUR BOYFRIEND GO KILL YOURSELF."

  • http://www.facebook.com/amanda.butler Amanda Butler

    The only reason why I get upset over something said about me on the internet is if I genuinely fuck up about an action I have done.

    I do a pretty okay job at not putting myself in situations where I face unnecessary criticism but then again, I am neither a teenager, a business owner, a well known activist, or even an artist.

    The most internet hatred I have gotten are from people I barely know who make FB statuses about me without directly mentioning me. You know, when they bleat the beats, but they won’t tweet the deets.

    If someone went out of their way to say something negative about me on the internet and they do not privately message me, I am going to assume they want the whole world to hear them because we listen to them. We become an audience for negativity all the time. We “+1″, “like”, “share”, “retweet”, “reblog” these posts, articles, and reviews. If we stopped making deliberate choices to “like” the FB page of “Twilight Sucks” or stopped clicking on celebrity blog articles that poke and expose real human beings because they looked bad in a bathing suit or reconsider reblogging that gif of Honey Boo Boo and asking “what is wrong with America today?” Because of that really adds up. Unlike real life, the internet grants people with tokens of acknowledgment when others react to their words, images, etc. Technology utilizes our most primal response system of positive and negative stimuli to garner personal fame and web traffic revenue.

    I am not saying we need to become wet noodles of emotion or pretend like these things don’t entertain us. News stations used to be the primary avenue of this exploitation. Don Henley tried to explain this in “Dirty Laundry”. Reporters are no longer the ones cashing in. If we are truely the media, then we can use our power in being producers AND consumers by making it “cool” to not be bullies.

  • Jessie

    I was at the last Brighton show you did and I confessed to you about my nervous breakdown. Your words meant a lot to me but I continued to spiral downwards for quite sometime. I still have the ticket with the message you wrote me, it’s stuck on my wall. For the last year I’ve been fighting a pretty hardcore depression and it’s slowly getting better. A lot of the time I feel so lost amongst everything, but other times I don’t. I always look forward to those days the most.

  • Teg

    You could check with teachers who get anon evaluated by their students. The comments kill. It’s not really bullying, and some classes leave you no doubt as to how your students feel about you. I think new teachers are esp vulnerable to students’ critiques, but they also have to deal with peers and principals as well.

    Teachers are hemmed in when dealing with students, too. I taught creative writing. I’ve had students that I know had problems but didn’t know the extent until after the semester was over. One had killed her husband. Another was a prostitute. And yet some more were on prison release. Since I taught at a college, I wasn’t familiar with any students bullying each other. In fact, in class students seemed to avoid arguing with one another. Outside of class, however, students were very aggressive esp when partying at night spots. One killed another at a bar by karate-kicking him in the head.

    My solution after enduring a couple esp surprising and vitriolic student evals was to stop reading them at all. My dept chairperson evaluated me enough as far as I was concerned.

    Amanda, I’ve read some comments about your performances on various websites (brooklynvegan, for one), and I think those comments are juvenile. If I were you, I wouldn’t bother with those comments’ sections because they’re stultifying (and uninformative). As for ‘civilians’ like Amanda Todd, I can’t conceive why anyone would bully a lovely person like her.

    But even if I considered her unlovely, I think we would owe her (and each other, ultimately) honest forbearance. Unconditionally. In fact, though I think myself super-duper, I know my daughter’s friends consider me a complete dork and feel sorry for me which is fine. My ex-wife doesn’t bully me. Nor do my neighbors. I’m grateful for small allowances that people make for me, so I try to do the same for them.

  • http://twitter.com/Rachellie242 Rachellie242

    Great blog & wonderful reaching out to use love for those in need. The Brooklyn vegans! Ha- that must be the Boston talking ;D Am w/ you on luck being spared online bullying back in the day- I went through some knocks too & think it comes w/ the turf of being a creative “different” kind of a person, which like you, eventually became a badge of honor. Deflecting the negativity of others is certainly a battle tho, no matter your age. It can happen online. It can happen at work. It can happen wherever you encounter insecure, unbalanced, and wayward people in disharmony- which is all of the time, everywhere. People don’t exercise, eat well, they’re doing drugs & boozing at all times, popping pills for any old pain, etc. etc. and all of this leads to seriously unbalanced energy. The first mistake is to assume these people are coming from the same place as you- their madness is theirs & yours is your own. Buddhist detachment works wonders for me. I keep on the middle path & lead where the spirit says go, not what swords the ego/ Athene wants to rip out. It doesn’t work. As an artist, if I get a bad review or cranky putdown (definitely on a smaller scale than NYorker), I figure in part it’s my job to allow them their opinions & take whatever good might be in the poison arrow to improve, then leave the rest. Right now I’m channeling a lot of mental dick energy from some haters into a new book & I’m exploring dynamics of what brings out this awfulness in people, and have lately landed on Scarcity. Not having enough brings out the animal in people. Whatever they’re putting out there is far harsher to their inner selves- so you’re right about representing love. It’s hard- I get thrown all of the time, but this is the center that keeps coming back, where engaging is the worst action. Pulling back & maybe going in another direction might be the new calling. Peace love- wonderful topic!

  • Julie

    Thank you for this post, and encouraging the comments. I am feeling so emotional reading everyone else’s stories. It’s wonderful that this has become a safe place for people to allow themselves to be vulnerable and share their amazing stories. I’d like to share mine as well.

    I was bullied growing up too. The low point in my life actually hit when I was 11 years old. I was on antidepressants and dreamed of death, of escape, every night, often crying myself to sleep. Thank god my mother noticed and pulled me out of my school and put me into a new one. It was still damn hard and I was still a bully target, but it got better from there. I am now 25 years old, and I can honestly say that no matter how bad things could possibly get in my life, I will never fall to that depth ever again.

    My problem was that I didn’t have anybody to talk to who understood me. All adults treated me as a child and never respected me, and I was too weird to make friends my own age. I am ashamed to say it, but I have been on both sides of the bullying spectrum. In early elementary school, I was so desperate for attention, any kind of attention, that I became a bully. If anybody noticed me at all, I was succeeding. I wish I could take it all back, I wish I could apologize to everyone I ever bullied and tell them it wasn’t personal. I wish I could take back any pain I caused them, or take that pain onto myself instead, since I’m the one who caused it.

    I had been excluded most of my life, but the bullying didn’t really get bad until I reached junior high school. I only lasted at that school for half a year before my mom discovered my suicidal letters and anxiously pulled me out of there, but it’s the half year of my life that I remember the least, I think there are a lot of repressed memories.

    What I do remember is my “best friend” turning on me, calling me ugly, laughing at me for tripping in the lunchroom, getting nastier and nastier as time went on. Her grandfather accosting me outside the school, yelling at me, threatening me to never say anything bad about her, terrifying me and confusing me since I didn’t know what he was talking about. Learning what the word “slut” meant, when a classmate, angry and hurt, demanded to know why someone told her I had called her that (obviously I hadn’t). Going to the guidance counselor for help, who didn’t help me, who didn’t believe my stories, thought I was just exaggerating. Getting sent to the vice principal’s office, who threatened to suspend me, and called my mother in for a meeting about it, while I, terrified, had no idea what was going on. (Turns out several classmates had come up with a plot to tell lies to the vice principal about me and try to get me suspended.) Getting on the school bus, and not being able to sit down despite many empty seats, because the other kids wouldn’t let me sit next to them. My favorite teacher, who had seemed so kind when school started, blaming me for the disruption in her classroom when the boys who sat around me would pick on me, grabbing my stuff and throwing it across the room. She refused to move me away from them, she lost all trust I had ever had in her.

    There’s more, but I know my story is still not as bad as many others, sadly. I felt alone at the time, I felt like nobody else could possibly hurt as much as I did, but little did I know that there are many others hurting.

    I am so lucky. That experience gave me empathy, which I am so proud to have now, I think it is my greatest quality. And it took me many, many years, but I can honestly say right now that I love myself. I used to hate myself with such a passion, that words could not explain it. But I have gotten through it all, and I am a good person, and I am happy.

    I truly hope that the children and teenagers suffering today will get through it and find happiness, as I have.

    Thank you, Amanda, and thank you to all the commenters here, for everything. If there is a way for people like myself, with no kids (yet) and who do not work with kids, to help out the bullied victims (and the bullies themselves), please let me know and I would be the first to volunteer.

  • http://danceinblue.com/ Monica

    I was probably one of the last few high schoolers to graduate before Facebook exploded. But I also spent a ton of time online, despite pretty severe anxiety about actually interacting with anyone. But you saw it then too, the bullying. It just wasn’t always people you know.
    I was bullied as a kid, too smart, too short and a little too pudgy, oh and I rarely talked. Talking to people scared me. But going home for me wasn’t a disconnect from that, home, despite my mom’s best efforts could be a somewhat volatile place.
    I learned how to shut things off, shut doors, write shit down. Even if I was just screaming at a piece of paper. I’d find allies, sometimes friends, sometimes teachers. I’d give them pieces of my story to keep safe. Or to save me from.
    I think bullying on the internet is the same. Shut the damn thing off. I know it’s a train wreck and as humans we can’t look away… but we have to learn how to. We have to find the people we can cling to that tell us we aren’t alone.
    I don’t know if I’ve even got it figured out, other than hold on to hope, and learn how to use the power button. Some days I’m still a mess, bits of brokenness in between what’s slowly turning into a beautiful life. But even though I’m still young (26) I’m starting to realize that no one actually has this figured out, we’re all making it up as we go along, adults can break just as easily as teens and kids. We’re all just human, we all get scared, and some of us were never taught to deal with that feeling. I mean, this is a culture that tells people to “man up” – which yes, sometimes just needs to be done… but we ignore fear and say its a bad thing. We don’t deal with it.
    I’m rambling on now, so I’ll stop here, but thank you for thinking to write the post that you’re looking to write. We need to have more people helping spread lessons of humanity and coping. <3

  • wadjet

    I was bullied. Up until high school, really. It was mostly teasing and name calling abut my teeth in elementary school, but in middle school I had a girl who just seemed to have it in for me. It at one point got to physical attacks, and she knocked me down on the way home from school. Right past the school bounds, so the only things the teachers and all said was they couldn’t do anything about it because it was off school property.

    Luckily I found some really good friends in middle school, and that helped me not feel so bad in high school, but the earlier stuff still affects me to this day. It might even be one of the causes of my anxiety disorders (general and social) and why its so hard for me to even talk to people.

    I can’t really offer any help with my story, as it was probably just luck that I have supportive parents, found good friends, and then later supportive teachers in high school. But I feel a bit better getting it off my chest.

  • Mad Duke

    I really just have a few questions I suppose. You see, most of the hate I get is from myself. I am constantly comparing myself to others, putting myself down etc. I have been struggling with self harm and suicide…stuff since I was…I want to say 12. I’m very insecure about my art and my music, and I don’t really have a solid support system for when I start slipping down into my depression. I have been clean from self harm for 3 months, but the scars still kinda haunt me. I don’t want to get drawn back into that downward spiral. How do I keep my head above water, even when it feels like I want to drown? Also, Thank you for just being you and for creating the powerful art that you do. (ps, last October I went to a show of yours with Jason Webley and afterwards gave you a letter/long poem/thingy. You may not remember, but I just wanted to know if you still had it) anyhoo…
    Much love,
    The Mad Duke

  • Brianna

    I could never justify such hatred on the internet, but I try to remember that these people are human as well. Yes, they are still being cruel and that is not right, but there must be some darkness or some hurt growing inside of them that makes them so hateful toward others.

    Something about realizing that they are equal to me, it helps.

  • Captain Obv

    Not to detract from the seriousness of the post, but the “Amy Pond” that beats you in hatred is in fact the fictional Doctor Who Character.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sas.hill Sas Hill

    I am reading through your comments and crying right now guys. I love you all, and I think that my main coping mechanism is to remember that amazing people like you guys and Amanda are out in the world.

    I was lucky that I went to high school during a time when people had myspace, but that it wasn’t uncommon not to be online. I remember being bullied on msn chat by some girls from school, so I deleted it and it didn’t affect my life too much (losing msn, not the bullying obviously, that sucked). I would go to school and be laughed at. I was called fat (still am), crater face, nerd, loser, and all sorts of other names. I hated going to school and I hated my life.
    But then I could leave school at the end of the day and that was it. I could go to my room and cry, or hang with my friends, or listen to loud music, and I didn’t have to worry about the bullies until the next morning back in class. Thanks to music, family, and a few close friends, I made it through high school. But not unscarred. I still suffer from depression, I am over weight, and I still suffer from a lot of self-hate. But at least I don’t have people bullying me online like kids that are in high school these days have to. Each day gets a little better, and you guys all help with that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fmccullen Felicia McCullen

    Thank you. This does mean so much and you have made a difference. As a writer-artist-sensitive, words have the power to just tear me up. Words have power, to wound or to heal.

  • http://danceinblue.com/ Monica

    I’m reading these comments and crying. There needs to be a support system. The community here, that Amanda has built is amazing, but maybe in light of the fact that we’re all trying to naviga