I started out with a small place. It wasn’t anything special, but it was mine, and for that, I loved it.
As with any first home, my place wasn’t great, at first. The decor was sporadic, the design a little too basic. So, I fixed it up. I painted the walls, hung up a sign and called it home. I opened my doors to any and all who cared to visit.
And it worked, far better than I could have imagined. I made more friends online than I ever had in person. Men and women of all ages and walks of life who saw the world in all its splendor and beauty came by, and they picked me up when I was down, cheered me on when I needed some encouragement, and rejoiced in my successes with me, great or small.
But keeping my doors open came at a cost.
Along with all the goodness that came through my virtual home, there came the ugliness and the hatred. Trolls, as they’re aptly called.
Ignoring them didn’t work.
Blocking them didn’t work.
And I know from experience that you can’t argue with crazy.
With every preventative measure I took, they came back in greater numbers, with more anger.
Insults I can handle – I have a soft heart, but fairly thick skin. It was threats of further harassment, continued stalking, and more lies that got under my skin. It was a lack of peace that I couldn’t deal with.
Before I locked up my place for the last time, I printed out the vile comments to hold, for proof and evidence. It came up to twelve pages of hatred.
That’s not including the 65+ emails, the comments that were filtered and deleted through the “spam” folder, and the numerous texts and calls I received.
If this had been a physical home, and I was continually harassed and bothered and stalked and there was nothing to prevent it, I would do the same thing I did online: change my name, move to a more secure location, and keep the doors locked.
And I’d mourn the loss of my beloved home as I looked around the sparsely furnished new place, the color scheme not quite what I was used to, the decor a bit different. But it’s safe here.
It’ll never be my old den, but I know I can make this nest my home. I hope to one day leave the door open for any and all who care to visit.