Why the internet can make me feel great. And also, very not great.

The internet treats me pretty well, all in all. I’ve made friends with wonderful people who I may never meet, booked amazing holidays without having to speak to a live human and saved in my bookmarks the Youtube results for ‘cats in water’. Sometimes though, I like to do a big hidey from the internet. Occasionally, this is because I’m feeling low, or had some bad news, and don’t want to just sit on Twitter posting endless *sad face* tweets. People are very lovely at times like this, I get messages from friends checking I’m not just sat in a corner, crying, and doing some real damage to a block of cheese (sometimes I am).

At other times though, I’m not on there because I’m just elsewhere, being happy, and whilst I’m not ignoring the evils in the world, I’m sort of just not letting them get to me on a daily basis. It’s so easy to get caught up in it too, we send this nonsense round, retweeting the opinions of a fool, and making more people sad, cross, catching them in vulnerable moments where they might actually choose to engage with these bastards.

I do it too. “Oh my God!”, I think. “How appalling! Let me just show everyone else what a wanker this person is!” I’ve made a ‘beginning of May’ resolution though (not really a thing, apparently) to not do this anymore, or at least not with someone else’s opinions. I’m going to try to assess whether it’s something anyone really needs to be aware of, or is so ridiculous that we can just laugh at it, but I’m going cold turkey on putting nasty shit out there just to add to the seething pit of righteousness that is Twitter. It stands to reason that if so many of us have experienced rape or sexual violence, there are plenty of people in existence who think that it is a fine and reasonable thing to do. I know that they exist, I just don’t really want to read what they’re saying. We’re all entitled to freedom of speech, so the argument goes, but I don’t want to publicise anyone’s comments just because I think they’re wrong, or idiotic, or worse.

It worries me who is reading these retweets as well, flung in a carefree fashion into our timelines. What if someone’s horrible experience is uppermost in their minds at that time? If they were to see some cretin spouting horrendous opinions, they might well be in a place to ‘go on a mental’ at the offender. (I tried, unsuccessfully to copyright this manoeuvre several years ago). If I could change one thing about my blog, it would be that I put some sort of trigger warning about it when I sent it out there, so that people could choose whether they felt in the right sort of place to read it. That was really stupid and unthinking of me, and I regret that hugely. Since I did it, I’ve been more aware of the things that Twitter can just shove in your face with no warning. I was enjoying a particularly hilarious Twitter conversation with two of my best internet friends the other day, when amongst their replies crept in someone else’s question to me: “On the whole, do you think it was a good thing that you were raped?”

Um, I thought. Ha! Woah. Then I had a little lie down on the floor (underneath the table, obviously, it’s safer). I worked on my best “Why don’t you go screw yourself” type response, then decided not to bother. It can sod off, frankly, as can retweets of remarks by any misogynistic no marks who would benefit from a good old slap off their mums. Like DM links, ignorant remarks about rape, and purported news articles judging women on their appearance, I would like that stuff kept out of my (averagely attractive, please rank me accordingly) face.

  1. thescribbl3r said:

    I think I will try to follow your example and do the same thing re. the retweets. Sadly, there are just too many wankers out there and so I shall adopt a position of generally not feeding the trolls unless someone is quite simply too objectionable to be allowed to continue unchallenged.

    Oh, and once again, I am so very glad that you posted your first post (with or without trigger warnings) because I love reading your observations and comments. In fact, you are probably the person whose comments make me laugh/choke/snort tea out of my nose more often than anyone else on a daily basis. I have replaced my keyboard twice since I started following you….

    Keep at it. The interwebs need people like you.

    • Irregularly Irregular said:

      It is difficult though, isn’t it. Like you say, there are some things we need to be aware of (particularly if we can do anything constructive about it) and other things we just need to leave well alone. Thank you for being nice, as always xxx

  2. I find it incredibly difficult to comprehend the notion of someone asking you such an insensitive and pointless question. It takes a special kind of idiot to do such a thing and as you already know our world is full of them.

    With or without a trigger warning I am glad you posted and spoke of your experience. Our society needs to wake up and stop treating women as second class citizens. I’d say smash patriarchy, but I’ll get too political. The point is we need to fight for justice and equality and that won’t happen in silence.

    You are brave and you have incredible amounts of courage and frankly you stand as an inspirational role model. The world needs people like you. The wankers will always be there, but as you say not feeding the trolls is probably the best way to starve them to extinction. 🙂

    • Irregularly Irregular said:

      I love your comments, thank you so much! As a matter of fact, ‘smash’ and ‘patriarchy’ are two of my favourite words, to be uttered on a regular basis, sometimes about the serious stuff, sometimes just at Boots adverts. Thank you for writing xxx

  3. lofrede said:

    We could all learn from toning down the bitch and being nicer. I join your nicer May

    • Irregularly Irregular said:

      Nicer May! Let’s make posters!

  4. carys83 said:

    Hi – I’m so sorry, yet another “I follow you on Twitter!” type person. You’re awesome on there too 🙂

    I’m really struggling with how anyone could think that was either an acceptable or vaguely useful question to ask. What on earth did they expect you to say – and in a 140 character’s no less! although I suppose “fuck” and “off” takes very little….

    I still remember reading your first post. I think all girls should read it. Especially those going away (Uni, work, whatever) who seem to think (and I include myself ten years ago in this) that itjust won’t happen to them. It might.

    My story is neither so awful,nor so inspiring.I don’t want to hijack your comments thread either,although I’m positive you don’t see it that way. My situation is very much still part of my life, unfortunately. Will always be, to an extent, as it involves my Father in Law. He denies ever doing anything.I know that boiling hot rage,I know the lowest lows. I’ve done the breakdown. Because that bit is “done” I think everyone assumes I’m alright.I feel it’s partly my own fault because I pretend I am. However,your amazing posts and the incredible comments gave me hope and comfort where I have felt none for a long time. That it will be ok, in time. It’s ok that that hasn’t happened yet.

    I’m so sorry if this is the most insensitive comment you’ve received so far, I feel like it has nothing to do with your post.I just wanted to say – you helped me.Thankyou.

    • Irregularly Irregular said:

      Hi! Firstly – this is a wonderful comment, thank you so much for writing it. People sharing their stories on here has really helped me, I’m completely grateful. I agree with what you say, just because the lowest lows have passed, doesn’t mean it’s over and done with. I kind of think it never will be actually, just that you get more familiar with what makes you feel shit and are better placed to avoid it as time goes on. Whatever you think, your story is both awful and inspiring, I’m sorry that for you that person will always have a presence in your life.

      I don’t think there’s any fault in pretending to be okay sometimes. I don’t think there’s any fault in any of it at all. I’m so glad you wrote on here, big hugs to you for the good times and the bad. Much love xxx

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