When Online is Out of Line: You Should Get a Blog

While I didn’t end up creating a new account on the forum I was banned from when I went to Rhode Island, I did end up creating a different kind of new internet account while I was there. Multiple people on that forum had suggested I get a blog but I hadn’t paid much attention to their suggestions since they weren’t suggesting I get a blog because they thought I was a good writer with interesting things to say. They were suggesting it because they felt the stuff I was posting on the forum was annoying drivel and they wanted me to post it on a blog rather than bother them with it.

If what those people were saying was true they were only reading what I posted on the internet because they had to in order for the rest of the forum to make sense. No one would have to read my blog in order to follow along with the rest of an internet community and since I only produced shallow nonsense no one would be interested in reading what I wrote for its own sake.

And yet I knew that what those people on the forum were saying was not true. I knew that if I created a blog those people would track it down and read it. I also knew that I was a good writer.

While I knew that going back to the forum would be a bad idea, I still felt the need to make my thoughts about what had happened there known to both my cyber enemies  and cyber friends. Blogging seemed like the perfect way to accomplish that. I wouldn’t just be writing about it for their benefit though. I would be writing about it for my own benefit and the benefit of whoever else might read it. Maybe other people who had been cyberbullied would realize they were not alone.

I also had plenty of other things I could write about on a blog that were unrelated to the forum. While I did hope to eventually get readers who liked me and my blog, even if my only audience was hate watchers from the board, it would be good to give them an intimate glimpse of myself and my struggles. I did not expect any of my cyber enemies to ever feel bad about anything they’d said or done to me but perhaps they would be forced to acknowledge that with their words and with their actions they had not hurt a troll and they had not hurt a faker. They had hurt a real person with a real life and real feelings.

I Googled blog sites and came across WordPress. And thus Crazy-NOS was born.

My About section makes sense in its own right but it’s filled with references to things that were said to me on the forum. It was my way of starting to work through my hurt feelings and take back my power. My tagline “This is a Kiracracy” was in reference to the person who had told me “This is not a Kiracracy” in regards to the forum. I wasn’t in control of the forum but I would control my blog.

So I started writing on my blog. I wrote about various subjects and I made some references to what I had gone through with that forum without going in to great detail.

Sure enough it wasn’t long before my referral links showed that people from the forum were reading and discussing my blog.  “I’m glad they’re enjoying it” I thought to myself.

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When Online is Out of Line: Second Thoughts

I did not end up re-registering for that forum when I went to Rhode Island or any time after that. In the end my heart just wasn’t in it and it just didn’t seem like a good thing to do.

I reasoned that if I satisfied my curiosity by reading what those people had said about me and then gave them a piece of my mind I would be banned again. After I was banned those people would inevitably say more stuff about me. Would I then have to register for the forum a third time to satisfy my curiosity about the additional things that were said about me? Would I have to respond to those things that were said about me and thus get banned a third time? Would I then have to register for the forum a fourth time to satisfy my curiosity about the things that were said in the aftermath of my third banning? Did I really want to get caught in an endless loop of insatiable curiosity and forum bannings?

Plus I knew that seeing me return to the forum, have an emotional outburst and then get banned again would be satisfying to some of my cyber enemies and I did not want to give them that satisfaction.

Of course I could just register for that forum, read what was said about me and not reply to it. I could continue to read that whole forum and remain undetected for years to come. But would being a passive observer in a community where I was once an active participant ultimately be a satisfying way to spend my time? What would spending all day observing from the sidelines a community that rejected me do to my already precarious mental health? It may have done me less harm than all the time I spent interacting with a community that constantly attacked me but was this really a path I wanted to continue on?

Furthermore, I knew that even if I read every word that was said about me on the forum I was banned from, people were also talking smack about me on the spinoff forum reserved only for the popular members of the original forum and I would never gain access to that. I was sure that people also talked smack about me elsewhere on the internet and in private conversations. I would never know the details of any of that. What I didn’t know wouldn’t hurt me.

When Online is Out of Line: I’ll Be Back

I heard through the grapevine that it had been announced on the forum that Bernadette had been banned for stalking Marcia. People were creeped out and horrified that we had searched the internet for information about Marcia and her family even though they had done the same thing to me less than two weeks ago. Their hypocrisy infuriated me.

While being banned is meant to prevent you from ever coming back to the forum, getting back on to a forum you’ve been banned from is pretty easy to do. To read the public area of a forum you’ve been banned from all you have to do is clear your cookies. If you want to post on the forum and gain access to the members only section you have to register for another account without being recognized for who you are but that’s not too difficult to do either.  If you’re not banned by or recognizable by your IP address it’s as simple as registering under a different email.  If IP address is an issue then you just have to register with a different email from a different location or use an IP blocker.

Old habits die hard and after I cleared my cookies I was going back to the public section of the board on a regular basis. That section of the board was devoted solely to discussing names but even there members were writing nasty, insulting comments about me. One member re-started a thread that I had started previously, saying she wanted a thread that was Kira-free. Another member said she thought Magnolia would make a good middle name for a kid but was hesitant to suggest it because it had been my user name. She went on to say that she was really, really fucked off that I hadn’t changed my user name before the ban hammer hit because Magnolia was a lovely name but I had turned it in to something that should not be used. Then there was the member who referred to me as a psycho stalker with the posting speed of a spambot

Many if, not most, of the members who have been banned from the forum I was a part of have come back under a different account. Sometimes they’re upfront about who they are and tell everyone off but usually they come back under a fake identity and make themselves a part of the community again by pretending to be someone they’re not (then there are those who are banned for originally creating a fake identity and come back as themselves.)  Other members eventually discover that they’re a previously banned member, at which point they are banned again. Sometimes they continue to come back with more fake identities. There are also banned members who create new accounts so they can lurk on the forum without posting.

Registering for that forum again to post under a fake identity was never remotely appealing to me but coming back to tell people off was and so was registering to go back and read everything that had been said about me after I was banned.

I had more anger over the whole situation than I knew what to do with. As a release I wrote “letters” to the board that I deleted soon afterwards. I had this fantasy that if I “sent”those letters everyone on the forum would agree that I was right, that they would recognize their hypocrisy, that they would apologize for how badly and unfairly I had been treated but I knew it was just that: a fantasy. “Sending” that letter would just make me look worse in the eyes of the assholes and hypocrites. They would respond to it by further attacking and insulting me.

When I told my forum friend Trixie that I was considering going back to the forum to give everyone a piece of my mind she said she didn’t think it would be worth my time. She also said nothing good would come out of reading the thread in which I was banned.

“I want to go back and read the thread where I was banned” I said to Bernadette

“Why? You know it would just be really stupid.”

“My curiosity would be satisfied”

“Satisfied in a good way?”

Well, no, my curiosity would not be satisfied in a good way but unfortunately I had the kind of curiosity that didn’t discriminate between good and bad. I wanted to know all the lurid details of everything even if I knew they would upset me. If people were talking about me I felt I had the right to know what they were saying.

Towards the end of the summer in which I was banned I went on vacation to Rhode Island. I brought with me the new computer I had gotten for my birthday. This seemed like a good opportunity to register for the forum again with a low risk of being recognized. I set up a new email account for that purpose.  I would get back on to that forum, I would learn everything that had been said about me there and maybe I would give it a piece of my mind.

 

When Online is Out of Line: The Sting of Betrayal

Although I had been closer to Karen than I had been to Weasel, being blocked by Weasel hurt more. Karen had given me an explanation for why she had blocked me and I had come to believe that she had both of our best interests at heart. Weasel had blocked me with no explanation. I was left to speculate as to why she had done that and I did not believe her intentions were in any way noble.

I kept thinking about how she had consoled me when Karen had blocked me. I thought about how I had said to her “You aren’t going to block me, are you?” and she had replied to me “No, Kira I would never do that. I am your friend always and forever.” Now I felt like an idiot for believing her.

When I told Bernadette what Weasel had done she said “I’m not really surprised. I wouldn’t have expected her to remain loyal for very long.  She flip-flopped on me a few times. She’s a fair weather friend.”

A few hours later Bernadette got the following e-mail from a ninja mod:

“This is a notification that you are henceforth banned from the forum for your creepy, and frankly unhealthy obsession with “outing” a supposed faker and the lengths to which you have gone to dig up proof of faking.

We have examined your proof and found it to be wanting and you are no longer welcome in the community.”

At that point I put two and two together and realized what had happened. Weasel had taken the information I had confided in her as a friend and shared it with the moderators in an effort to get Bernadette in trouble, stir up drama and make herself look good on the forum.  Those questions she had asked me about Bernadette had not been friendly, innocent questions. They had been leading questions meant to get me to spill information that she could use against me and my friend. And I had been dumb enough to fall for it.

The truth was that if anyone had a creepy, unhealthy obsession with outing a supposed faker, it was me, not Bernadette. I had suggested  to her that since those assholes on the forum wanted to accuse me of lying about my life with no evidence to back it up, despite all their efforts to dig for it, we should go back and share the evidence we had found that proved Marcia was a liar. Bernadette had replied that that would be pointless, as the people on the forum would just complain about how creepy and trollish we were and then go back to starting cat threads. They weren’t worth our time.

Neither of us cared that Bernadette had been banned because she hadn’t planned on returning to the forum anyway but boy did Weasel’s betrayal sting. It stung even more than all the nasty things that had been said about me on the forum. At least those people had been upfront about the fact that they did not like me and that they did not care if they hurt my feelings.

Weasel,  on the other hand had pretended to be my friend and to be concerned about me. She had reached out to me at a time when she knew I was emotionally vulnerable and encouraged me to confide in her. Then she had taken what I had confided in her and used it to stab me in the back. She knew full well how hurt I would be at being blocked by her but she did it anyway because tattling on another friend of mine for her own personal gain and pettiness was more important than my feelings or emotional well being.

At that point the emotional progress I had made since being banned from the board started unraveling. My acceptance of the situation had been based on the premise that I still had friends from the board that I could socialize with online. Now I was seeing that those friends could not be trusted and could slip away from me at any time. I felt completely and utterly alone. I was slipping in to a pit of despair.

When Online is Out of Line: Pop Goes the Weasel

While the accusations that I was lying and faking were hurtful to me, they were also helpful. Some of the people on that forum were clearly ridiculous fools. Since they were clearly and unequivocally wrong in their claims that I was a man with multiple internet personalities who had faked my dog’s death, perhaps they were also wrong in their claims that I was a rude, annoying troll who was incapable of thinking for herself . Because as always while there was a part of me that felt those people were judging me unfairly and were wrong about me, there was also a part of me that felt they were right about me.

Weasel told me the names of the people who had accused me of faking. Some of them came as no surprise because they were the people who would constantly attack me on the forum but some of them did surprise me because they had never said anything cruel about me before.

“I was also surprised that some of those people accused you of lying but I’m sure they were just doing it because they wanted to feel like they were part of the crowd. It has nothing to do with you personally” Weasel said.

“They can search the internet for evidence that I’m a liar all they want. They’re never going to find any because I haven’t lied about anything.”

“Exactly. They’ve been digging and all they’ve come up with is ‘Oh yeah, that matches up with what she said.’ ”

I told her about the evidence Bernadette and I had found that Marcia was lying. Her mind was blown. Like me, she’d always disliked Marcia but had never suspected she was a faker.

“Maybe I should go back to the forum and post the evidence we found of Marcia’s lies” I said.

“I don’t think that would be a good idea.”

“You’re right. People will just believe what that they want to believe and Marcia is already a miserable person so there’s no point in trying to make her more miserable. It would end up hurting me more than it would hurt her.”

“Do you think Bernadette would do it?”

“I don’t know. She didn’t seem too enthusiastic about it the last time I mentioned it.”

Weasel also told me that a lot of people on the forum had said they hated that I was banned. When I later asked her who those people were she told me that she’d been cautioned by people on the forum not to share any more information about what was happening on the forum with me and she’d realized they had a point. She wasn’t helping me move on by doing that.

“Okay, I’m curious about what’s been said about me but I understand why you don’t want to tell me.”

“The thread really wasn’t even that bad, Kira. It was mostly concern for you with a smattering of ‘she’s annoying’ from assholes.”

Before I knew it a few weeks had passed since I’d been banned. I was surviving. I wasn’t doing all that well emotionally but I hadn’t been doing well before I was banned either. Those ‘old chestnuts’ of autism and mental illness that according to the forum I used as an excuse for my bad behavior were continuing to wreak havoc on my psyche.

As I thought about the accusations from the forum that I’d been lying about my life, I thought of some of my interesting life stories and was inspired to write some of them down. This wasn’t the first time the forum had gotten my creative writing juices flowing. For Bernadette’s amusement I would write hypothetical scenarios that could occur on that forum. They read like sketch comedies.

I was talking to Weasel every day,  sometimes for hours. We would talk about current events, our personal lives, our likes and dislikes. We shared our past and present experiences and our problems and struggles with each other.

One day when I logged on to messenger eager to talk to her, I was not able to send a message. Thinking there was something wrong with my computer, I clicked on her profile. I saw the yellow X of death. She had blocked me.

When Online is Out of Line: A Silver Lining

Although I was fond of many of the people on the forum and I had a certain attachment to them, I did not consider most of them to be my friends. Karen I did consider to be a friend so losing her her brought a fresh level of pain to my situation.

At the same time, the banning was resulting in me forming friendships with people from that forum. One of the people I became especially friendly with was a woman I’ll call Weasel. I call her that because at one time she had a wild weasel running loose in her house and it became a joke on the forum but as you’ll see later in this saga, the name is also appropriate for other reasons.

I told Weasel about what had happened with Karen.

“I’m sorry. Losing a friend is hard” she replied.

“I wonder if Karen was starting to believe I was a faker like people were saying”

“She doesn’t believe that, sweetie”

“Why do you think she blocked me?”

“It has nothing to do with you personally. She’s just stressed.”

“You aren’t going to block me too, are you?’

“No, Kira, I would never do that to you. I am your friend always and forever.”

I wrote a message to Karen and asked Weasel to relay it to her. It said that I was hurt by what she she did but I understood why she did it and I hoped she would be friends with me again someday.

Karen replied: “Thank you for the message. Honestly, I am very worried for Kira. I think I probably encouraged her in ways that I shouldn’t have and I feel quite guilty over that. It was nice to be able to vent all the things that would irritate me and that was not only a petty thing to do on my part but I kinda feel like I contributed to her demise. Selfishly I don’t want to be banned if I tell her things that are happening on the board, but even more than that I didn’t want to sabotage any good that might actually come from her getting away from the board.

I wish her all the best. She has an amazing mind and is funny and clever and I still like her, I’m just afraid that I’m not good for her right now.”

After that I started to feel a little bit better. I reasoned that Karen might be friends with me again some time in the future, that I was deepening my friendships with other people on the board and that I would no longer be interacting with my cyber enemies. Maybe some good actually would come from me getting away from the board.

When Online is out of Line: “For All We Know She’s Really a Dude!”

Another factor complicating my dealing with being banned from the forum was the shame and secrecy I insisted on maintaining over it. In the aftermath of my banning I reached out to some people from the forum and some people from the forum reached out to me but I would not discuss the issue with anyone who was not a member of the forum.

My loved ones who knew me in real life could sense that I was upset but when they asked me what was wrong I would not tell them. I couldn’t even bring myself to tell my therapist about it. I had this fear that she would tell my mother about it or that she would go looking for the forum and find it.

Bernadette said to me “I don’t think your therapist would be able to find the forum or that she’d tell your mother about it and even if she did, so what? I think excessive anxiety about this situation is preventing you from taking steps that would allow you to move on from it as quickly as possible.”

Kevin, one of the forum members I’d reached out to, said “Kira, I can only imagine how isolated you must feel right now and I’m happy to listen but I can’t help but feel that I’m not the best person to talk to about this. I have strong ties to the forum and I’m friends with a lot of the people who went after you. I think you need to speak with someone who can be more neutral.”

Again, I recognized the wisdom in their words and I knew I needed to speak to someone because I was in a really bad place emotionally but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

People continued to talk about me on the forum and I continued to hear about it. Soon the talk turned to speculation about my personal life. Being picked apart like that when I was feeling so down added insult to injury.

In an effort to find out more about me members of the board Googled my name. They posted links to the information they found including my stepfather’s work page and the obituary of my stepbrother, who had died tragically and unexpectedly at a young age.

Several members said they thought I had been lying about various aspects of my life and identity.  Exactly one year to the day before I was banned my beloved dog had died tragically when she suffocated on a chip bag. I had been devastated and had expressed my devastation over the accident on the forum.

Now Cowgirl was suggesting that I had faked my dog’s death. Overall the members of that forum were very intelligent but Cowgirl had never been the sharpest tool in the shed so perhaps she surmised that I had been lying about my dog’s death because her Googling turned up obituaries for my family members who had died but no obituary for my dog.

The accusations got even more ridiculous than that. There were people who thought Bernadette and I were really the same person.  There were people who were suspicious of the fact that I never posted pictures of myself on that forum and said that for all they knew I was really a dude.

Sure, the reason I never posted pictures could have been that I was really a dude but it also could have been because at the time I did not own a digital camera. Plus when I already had a group of people constantly criticizing my character, I didn’t really want them picking apart my looks as well.  Don’t think the members of that forum were above doing that either. One member called another member a confident ugly girl after she posted pictures of herself.

There was general disbelief that my stepfather was really as mean as I said he was. How ironic that a group of people who regularly made the same kind of cruel comments to me that my stepfather made would doubt that a man as cruel as him actually existed.

“The things those people are saying about me are so ridiculous” I vented to Karen.

“It’s all just speculation. You can’t be surprised. This always happens when members are banned.”

“They’re such assholes”

“People were messaging me about you after I said in the thread that I talk to you off the board so I posted that I know you’re real and I know you and Bernadette are not the same person.”

“What were they asking you about me?’

“They wanted to know if you were as consistent with your story off the board as you are on the board.”

“I hate them.”

“I’m not going to tell you about what they’re saying anymore because it’s just upsetting you and I don’t like doing that.”

“They can all kiss my ass.”

“Okay, this is really starting to stress me out. I’m really, really sorry that you got banned. I do not think it was cool. But I’m going to have to step back from the situation. I wish you all the best. I really do.”

And then she blocked me.

Strangers Being Assholes to Me

Sometimes I wonder if I have some kind of target on my back visible only to other people. That could explain why strangers so often seem to feel the need to humiliate me in public. I think a lot of it has to do with misunderstandings related to my being on the autism spectrum but the amount of shit I’ve been getting from strangers in public lately has just been insane.

Of course if you asked those strangers they’d say I was the one who was the asshole. They’d say my behavior was so appalling that I needed to be reprimanded. They’d say they were just setting me straight and giving me what I deserved.

A few times when I’ve neglected to thank someone for holding the door open for me they’ve reacted by huffing and puffing and blowing out a snarky “You’re welcome.”  I’ve seen that kind of thing happen to other people too. It’s awkward and it makes me roll my eyes.

Obviously those door holders are offended by the perceived lack of manners on the part of the people they held the door open for. Yet somehow I don’t think barking a snarky “you’re welcome” at a person whose story you don’t know is the epitome of good manners. That person’s slight against you was probably not deliberate while you are definitely deliberately trying to make that other person feel bad. Intentional cruelty is worse than unintentional rudeness.

I don’t know about anyone else but I can say that there’s never been a time when I’ve noticed that someone has held the door open for me and I’ve thought to myself “I’m not going to thank this person for opening the door because I do not feel this person is deserving of my gratitude.” When I notice that someone has held a door open for me I say thank you.  It’s just that sometimes I don’t notice.  That’s because I have attention issues and executive functioning issues. Sometimes I’m distracted because I have something important or upsetting on my mind.

One time after a woman huffed and puffed about not being thanked for holding the door open she said loudly to her daughter for the benefit of the person she’d held the door open for (who happened to be my father) “You can still do nice things for people even if they don’t thank you.” She’s right about that but since she’s so outraged about not being thanked perhaps she should examine her motivations for doing nice things for others.  Maybe you should do nice things for people for the sake of helping them and not for the sake of being thanked.

Sure, it can sting when you’re not thanked for your good deed but let’s keep things in perspective.  Acts like opening a door for a stranger require a minimal amount of effort and hardship on your part. It’s not like you donated a kidney. But speaking of which, I regularly donate blood knowing that the people who receive my blood will never thank me and will never know who I am. I’m fine with that because I don’t donate blood for the sake of being thanked.

Sometimes I’m dense and don’t even realize someone has done something for me for which they should be thanked. I walked in to my school cafeteria and asked the cashier how much a meal cost. She asked if I was a student and I replied that I was. She then told me I didn’t have to pay.  Thinking that just meant the general cafeteria policy was that students didn’t have to pay, I went on my merry way.

The cashier barked an angry “Thank you” after me. I continued to be dense and didn’t realize she was chiding me for not thanking her. I thought she was thanking me for something, although I wasn’t sure what. “You’re welcome” I replied in a confused voice.

That’s the problem with being all around socially awkward. My social awkwardness causes me to be called out and embarrassed by strangers and then my social awkwardness causes me to respond to the calling out in a socially awkward way, causing me further embarrassment.

“What do you say when someone does something nice for you?” the cashier asked.

“Thank you” I replied meekly, feeling about five years old and five inches tall.

“Remember that next time”.

It was nice of her to give me a free meal but her random act of kindness was cheapened by the random act of unkindness she followed it up with. I would rather have paid for my meal than been publicly humiliated like that.

Perhaps she held a grudge over that incident because the next time I encountered her she chided me for coming so late to lunch even though there was no official time limit and the cafeteria was open and serving

The next time I came to the cafeteria I got a different cashier. I made sure to thank her after she gave me my change but the truth is I was also thanking her for not being the other cashier.

At the theater I accidentally bumped in to a woman when I was exiting the bathroom. I immediately apologized but apparently my apology wasn’t good enough for her. She had to snidely say “Just shove right past me, why don’t you?”

I was sitting in a movie theater reading on my silenced cell phone before the movie started and before the lights went out when this douchebag extraordinaire walks down a few aisles to point at me and yell “Turn off your cell phone! What part of the announcement about turning off cell phones did you not understand?”

I was so angry that I tried to flip that guy off but unfortunately I raised the wrong finger (my awkwardness strikes again!)

I’m self conscious and socially anxious enough without having to deal with this kind of shit from strangers. If I’d done something truly horrible I could understand why they’d feel justified in yelling at me like that but when it comes to minor faux pas like not saying thank you I think they can afford to give me the benefit of the doubt and choose their battles.

You can never know what issues the random people you encounter in public may have or what they may be going through. They may have some kind of invisible disability that makes seemingly simple tasks like saying thank you or navigating their bodies through space difficult. They may not have the energy or wherewithal to pay attention to their surroundings or to social niceties because they’re reeling from a traumatic loss they’ve just suffered. The last thing they need is to be the recipient of some random act of unkindness from a stranger.

The impulse to publicly humiliate a stranger over some minor issue is foreign to me because I would feel just as embarrassed and uncomfortable to be on the giving end of something like that as I am to be on the receiving end but for whatever reason some people seem to get off on that kind of thing.

The moral of this story is don’t be an asshole.  If you want to make nasty comments to a stranger whose story you don’t know because you think they’re an asshole due to some minor perceived social slight, consider that doing so makes you the real asshole in the situation.

 

When Online is out of Line: The Morning After

For years the first thing I had done when I got up in the morning was check that internet forum. When I got up the morning after I was banned I felt the reflexive urge to do just that. When I remembered that I couldn’t and thought about what had happened, a sinking, empty, dreadful feeling spread throughout my my body.

Although I could no longer log in to the board since I was banned word gets around the internet so I heard about some of things that were being said about me there.

Whitney said: “I won’t be weeping into my pillow over this decision, god knows, but I do think the way we got here was….not great. The woman had been a member here, for good or ill, for a very long time, and the tone of some of the posts directed at her today made me really uncomfortable. Yes, she was annoying. Yes, she insisted she wasn’t going to change. Yes. And yet, I would have thought we as a community were better than some of the insults flung at her. I don’t know. I understand that tempers were frayed and patience has just all run out for her. But I’m a little disappointed at some of the things that were said. Maybe it doesn’t matter now, the situation is over, but that’s what I think.”

Frenchie said “I’ll cop to being someone who had to take a commenting break from the board for about six months because I thought I was being a total butthead to Kira but I wasn’t reeling it in. I was always at a ten with her no matter what we were discussing. I couldn’t figure out how to deal with someone who took everything I said so literally, and then didn’t seem to internalize any of it at the same time. And I was way ruder than I should have been. On the other hand, she was driving me up a wall, so this will definitely prompt a lot of uncomfortable navel-gazing on my part. ”

I appreciated both of those posts very much because even though I was called annoying it was acknowledged that no matter how annoying I was it was not okay for people on that forum to have treated me as badly as they did.

Sushi said: “Wow, I missed the party… but then I have things to do, like prep a house for my in-laws, who are descending upon us next week.

I’m another one who has been here since 2004 (and before that, under a forgotten login) and look at my pathetic post count… But Kira? 28,000+ posts. Not. healthy.

I’d been seeing her posts ramp up again rather badly recently, and I sighed aloud to myself: she’s slipping again. This time, she was in threads she really had no reason to be in, like Pregnancy Updates… which I thought was weird. It’s one thing to peruse them and lurk, but to post when you aren’t part of the convo at all was just a bit bizarre. So I started avoiding her threads/posts other than the Minor Celebs thread. I just couldn’t take it.

I don’t like banning long time posters but this was absolutely justifiable. She’s divisive, provocative, rude, has these annoying blinders on, and acted like she ran the board. I started to find it insulting that every time she was called out on her excessive posting and rudeness, she’d drag the old autism/mental health chestnut out again. I think this latest go-round became really untenable, even more than the previous attempts to curb her impulses, and I saw that she continued to chase away other posters, this time including myself. It’s that relentless thing in her that just grates and drives everyone nuts.

Thank you, ninjys. I truly hope she finds counseling that will help her behaviors.

I hope this opens a new chapter where folks can be comfortable posting again.”

That post I did not appreciate so much. Since Sushi thought the number of posts I had in relation to the amount of time I had been on the board was so unhealthy I have to wonder how she felt about those people who had been members for a shorter time period and had more posts than me. I also have to wonder how she felt about those other people who posted in threads that they “had no reason to be in.”

She found it insulting that I would bring up the old autism/ mental health chestnut?  Well I found it insulting that she would refer to disorders I’ve struggled with all my life and have suffered a lot from as an old chestnut.

I have gotten counseling to help myself but my counseling has never focused on behaving in ways that will please the assholes of the internet because there is no pleasing the assholes of the internet. The assholes of the internet might benefit from counseling themselves.

The events leading up to my banning certainly hadn’t felt like a party to me and now that I had been banned my mood was rather funereal.  My grief was compounded by a couple of feelings I couldn’t shake: 1. It was my own fault I’d been banned and I’d gotten what I deserved  2. Being banned from an internet forum really was not a big deal and it was ridiculous for me to be this upset about it.

I reasoned that if I had posted less or argued less with the people who criticized me I wouldn’t have been banned so how could I complain or grieve over a situation I had brought upon myself?

I knew that people could grieve and feel a sense of loss over situations that did not involve death but extending that concept to being banned from an internet forum seemed a bit much. It was just an internet forum after all. It wasn’t like it was “real life” and it wasn’t like being banned from it was the end of the world.

Yet the truth was that that forum had been a very real part of my life and that when I was banned from it a part of my world did come to an end.

Grief is among the most painful emotions humans can experience. Another painful emotional experience is social rejection. I had just been kicked out of a social group that was very important to me and was really my only social group outside of my family.

Of course alongside my feelings of grief and rejection were feelings of anger. I was angry that I had been banned, angry at what those people had said to me, angry about the hypocrisy, the unfairness and the cruelty. Sometimes the anger was so intense it felt like a boiling hot rage welling within me and the only thing that could fill the overall emptiness I was now feeling inside.

Bernadette tried to comfort me:

“I’m sorry people have been so rude to you, Kira. I know it always hurts a little when the dogpiling starts, even though we’ve all seen it before. Being banned will feel weird for a little while – for a few days it’ll keep popping into your head. You might even think of checking the board over the next few weeks, forgetting that you’re banned for a moment. Then when you remember, you’ll feel bad about how it all happened. Soon enough, though, you’ll stop thinking about the board except for occasionally, and you’ll feel more neutral than negative.

You’ll laugh when Karen posts something ridiculous from the board and be glad you don’t have to deal with it. You’ll be amazed when you think about how much idiocy and cruelty you’ve put up with for years. You will find other ways to occupy your time, online or off. For example, I chat with people on Facebook more now, and I’ve read a couple of books for pleasure, a habit I had unfortunately lost in college. I also found some really fun strategy and sim-type games that I play sometimes. If you want to read about names, go to sites like Baby Name Wizard or blogs like British Baby Names. If you want discussion of news and various topics, try Quora, or look for subject-specific boards.

Again, you will be totally fine. Soon, you’ll wonder why you ever stuck around that forum when people there treated you so horribly for such a long time. Yes, many people there are intelligent, some are funny, and a few are kind, but many are also arrogant intellectual snobs who enjoy bashing others for sport. Just look how much we complain about them!

You don’t need people like that in your life. They’re not even worth a “bye, shitters” post. When I was first suspended, I considered returning after the six months to share my true thoughts and get banned once and for all, but why bother? I don’t want to waste my time. It would be like complaining on Facebook about people who were mean in high school. It’s over now, and everyone should move on.”

Even as I recognized the wisdom in her words, I still felt awful and I was still reeling from being banned.

 

Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated

I must apologize to anyone who assumed I was dead as a result of my absence from this blog. I’m alive and well but school’s been keeping me busy.

That’s actually not the reason for the title of this blog though.

For a while I was getting daily emails about funeral insurance. Each morning I would be implored to make sure my family wasn’t burdened by expenses for my funeral after I kicked the bucket. I’m a big fan of both puns and gallows humor but somehow taglines like “leave grave concerns at the cemetery ” and “don’t let your family be buried in funeral expenses” failed to amuse me.  The emails said that although it can be hard, it’s never too early to start planning for the future. I’m going to have to disagree and say that your thirties is too early to plan your funeral.

Eventually I became sick to death of being reminded of my impending demise every time I opened my email so I unsubscribed from those funeral insurance emails (not that I’d ever subscribed to them in the first place.) When I did so I got a message implying that I was crazy for not wanting to get funeral insurance emails and informing me that I may continue to receive funeral insurance emails for ten more days.

That’s actually not the reason for the title of this blog either though.

Since I don’t drive myself, my father, bless his heart, is great about assisting me with transportation. He’s not always so great about arriving on time though. Yet he usually has a legitimate excuses for his tardiness. Two weeks ago he was late because he went the wrong way on a one- way street, was stopped by the cops and incurred a $500 traffic ticket. Last week when he picked me up he told he was late because he’d just gotten a letter from his car insurance company that he was really upset by.

“What did it say?” I ask.

“See for yourself. Can you believe this?” he exclaims as he hands me a piece of paper.

“They canceled your insurance policy?” I remark after my eyes skim the paper.

“Yes but look at the reason they canceled it.”

It takes me a minute to find it in the chart that’s printed on the letter but when I do I gasp and say “Oh my god!”

Under “Reason for Cancellation” it says “Insured Deceased”.

“Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

“They sure have been.”

“I guess when you get to be my age people just assume you’re dead.”

“The best part is that they sent you a letter informing you of your own death.”

I accompany my father on his visit to the insurance agency’s office to clear up the misunderstanding over his death.

“Are you guys a serious company?” he asks incredulously as he deposits the letter informing him of his death on their front desk.

The guy sitting at the desk looks over the letter and says “Oooh…that’s not good…you’re clearly not dead.”

The insurance company mostly takes the laugh it off and blame it on someone else approach. After making a phone call they inform my father that he will be getting a new letter in a few days and assure him he is no longer considered dead.

Those funeral insurance emails continue to arrive for a few days after I’ve unsubscribed from them. “At least they’re not assuming I’m already dead” I say to myself.