It’s been a while since I’ve written from a place where I’m letting my emotions run free. I’m sure I’ll edit this a bit after I finish writing (I did, I removed several screenshots of abusive, bullying tweets), as I feel it might be a purge of sorts. Since I’ve begun writing on a more professional level, I’ve found that I’ve neglected the kind of writing that has always eased my spirits. Well, now is as good a time as any. You don’t have to read this, remember. You’re doing so of your own will, so if you think I’m whining or whatever, you might want to stop here.
I’ve never really spoken about something I’ve been dealing with for almost three years because people, self included, expect me to “be above” certain things. Instead, I’ve internalized a LOT of shit and remained silent for a long time. I’m not writing any of this to play any type of victim; trust me, I’ve been subjected to a lot but I can’t see myself as a victim. I’m writing because it is finally time for me to release this shit so I don’t EVER have another crack like I just did. And man, did I crack. I don’t do enough to let people know I’m human, and part of that is because of the things I’ve had to deal with over the past few years. I keep a lot of my “weaknesses” to myself because one bit of exposure leads people to run with it and just increase the torment.
Well, shit. I’m human. So now you know.
I joined Twitter in 2009, right after splitting from my ex-husband. I’d heard about it but wasn’t sure if I wanted to get involved with another social media platform. I’d been connected with Facebook since around when it started and I was fine with that. Twitter seemed weird, but there were celebrities I liked on there sending their thoughts in real time. Cool shit. I also thought it might be a great way to release some of the things I dealt with re: my marriage ending. A few of my friends were on it and hey, why not.
Fast forward about 6 months. I’d tweeted and interacted here and there but wasn’t consistent until I began to follow “normal” people. By doing that, I found out about events in my area and decided to attend some. I wanted to branch out more, get back to being the me I was before all of the marriage mess began. At one event, I met a handful of amazing people (who are now some of my closest friends), and became encouraged to get back to writing/blogging, as I’d been doing before. Sidebar: I started a fun blog, this one, which was called “Knob-Slobbing Feminism”. It was a tongue-in-cheek blog that would humorously talk about feminism and sexuality and hopefully change how some folks viewed feminism. With every RT of my links and every read, it grew more popular. I decided I had more things to say so I changed the name, rebranded everything, and here we are with this one.
I’d become cool with folks and one was planning an event in 2010, a Halloween party, and I was like cool! Should be fun, haven’t dressed up in a while. Some folks planned a dinner with a friend from out of town and I joined. I hadn’t really interacted with her before, but I figured if she’s cool with my people, she’s cool with me. I’ve been wrong about a lot of things, but this definitely has to be one of the top 5 things I’ve been wrong about. I would go on to learn the greatest lesson that not everyone who is my friends’ friend will be my friend.
At the dinner, I admit I was a bit put off by this woman’s behavior. I don’t need to go into detail, but I’ll just say I found her to be a bit obnoxious. That happens; we don’t have to like everyone we meet and first impressions are lasting impressions. I was told later she didn’t care for me either, and that’s perfectly fine. Despite that, she and a few other new people I met (they are a circle of close friends) seemed to have a pretty good time at my friend’s party, we all drank together, took pics, danced, and I figured all was good. Some of you may recall I even posted a fun pic of her dancing in what was a really cute costume. I posed with another person as well (in a picture that would later be used to taunt me). It was all love, right?
After the weekend, I decided to “unfollow” this woman on Twitter because, though I’d only started following her upon news of her coming to my city for the weekend, I just didn’t vibe with her tweets. She was a bit shady, simply put. I can say that because she’s since built an entire platform on being shady and mean. I know it. Most of you reading know it as well. I didn’t want to be bothered. She tweeted me a few times after and I remained cordial. I don’t usually make a big deal out of unfollowing people nor am I usually outwardly rude. I don’t know what happened on her end, but she went from being cool and tweeting me after we met, to unfollowing me and shading me. Maybe she was offended by me unfollowing her after meeting her, I don’t know. I don’t even care. Just note that we did not have beef, or an argument or any issues at that point other than an unfollow.
All I know is that from November 2010 until the present, she has devoted a great deal of energy towards being horribly antagonistic towards me online, and she roped in a number of people to join her in her “shade brigade”. Some may say “Oh why do you care? What does it matter? It’s just Twitter”. No, it’s not. You don’t have to buy into how this stuff goes way deeper than what’s on the surface, but it does. And it wasn’t only her. Group think and mob mentalities are rampant on Twitter, so people who know/knew nothing about me would join in on the insults, badgering, attacks etc just because she and her friends did so. I’ve had her supporters threatening to find me, beat me up, slap my kid, even kill me. Yes, you read that correctly. People have threatened to kill me in her name, over stuff related to a pop singer at that.
It was hard to deal with. Who wants to be subjected to that type of stuff day in and day out? I could not, for the life of me, figure out why she chose me as a target. It just didn’t make sense. We never had an argument or fight. I’d never said a single negative word about her, not even to mutual friends we had. As I write this, I still can’t figure out what it was about me that made her decide attacking me for years was something she needed to do. Given our mutual friends/associates, I made significant effort to NOT say anything negative about her our of respect.
She and her cohort have spent countless tweets and countless hours over almost 3 years talking about everything from my weight (which I was almost 400lbs when she met me) and weight loss surgery, to how my ex-husband and I raise our child, to passing around naked pictures of other people and claiming it was me, and everything you can think of in between. I’ve written extensively about my co-parenting here, because there is this idea that my son was snatched from me, that I don’t have custody of him, and that I don’t raise him. All of that is false, but it is a default thing people use to attack me. Every single time. No matter what. She’s also maintained that I lie about having weight loss surgery. I do not and this is where I talk about it: video, watch for yourself, if you care.
I chronicled the entire weight loss process in an open blog (linked above) and in a video where I describe why I started the health and fitness challenge, #SexyShred. She has even spent time literally trying to convince people NOT to join my health challenge, telling them that I lied about the surgery. Why would she care either way, right? Who does that? Don’t you have other things to do than to hit up random people you don’t care about and tell them NOT to participate in something you know nothing about? I started #SexyShred in August/September of 2012. We’re talking almost two years later after us meeting that she was still maligning me, and I’d never uttered a word to her or tweeted her or anything in the 2 years since meeting her.
As I said earlier, my being open about my custody arrangement led people to strike with daggers. Any time you open yourself up online, you invite both support and antagonism. Especially when it comes to parenting, where people think they are authorities on what everyone else in the world should be doing. She and her people found a sensitive spot, struck a dagger, and continue to twist and turn whenever they can, not based on facts though. It’s never about facts. It’s about constructing whatever narrative works for people to get attention, laughs, support, whatever. Many of us who blog/write/podcast on certain platforms know that using our Twitter timelines to maintain discussions about the topics we speak about helps generate support for what we do. Well, when your platform is being shady and “reading” people, it makes sense that your TL is filled mostly with you doing just that… being shady, mean, insulting, and bullying.
Yes, she is a bully, as are many of the people she surrounds herself with. It’s not just her though. Twitter is filled with people who make it their business to be mean. They proudly tout being “shady” or have things in their bios that say ‘I’m only here for shade and slander’. Some folks, like her, actually delight in and are proud of the ways in which they attack people. They don’t have to know you, could have never had a single conversation with you, but they will attack because it’s funny, right? It’s always funny until it’s about them.
Many people know it and many people abide by it so long as it isn’t about them or people they care about. It is the banality of evil. The hardest thing for me has been knowing that people who say they love and support me, who KNOW what these folks have been doing to me for YEARS have said nothing. I don’t know if people are afraid of being subjected to their bullying too, but…I guess I’ve been disappointed. I just decided that I didn’t need anyone to defend me and I turned inward, tried to keep my head up, and focused on what I wanted to accomplish.
Enough of you know it how shitty this has all been, that one of you sent me (and a few other people) an email containing rather damning information about her allegedly being caught up in credit card fraud. I received the email on June 19, 2013. Another Tweeter came forward, to the surprise of many who had their minds made up about me, and said she, too, received the email around the same time. I didn’t click the link in it at first, because I get a lot of emails and thought maybe it was spam. But when I saw “Oklahoma” in the link, I was curious because I knew that was where she was from. I figured the email was a dummy account, so I paid it no mind. Mind you, until this point, SO MANY people, including people who interact with her regularly, were frequently emailing screenshots, DMing me text of tweets where she and others were constantly “going in” on me (
see various links to example images above). This was becoming such a regular thing that I had to start telling people to stop, to just leave me alone. I collected a lot of the screenshots into a file in the event that one day I would have had enough and would have to take legal action. Cyber bullying is a crime and it had been years and I was SICK of this shit. Somewhere along the way I just kinda gave up and accepted that as long as I continue what I’m doing, she and others like and around her, will continue to antagonize me. I haven’t been bullied since middle school.
This is embarrassing and shameful.
Since June, a few other people told me they received the same email, not knowing I had gotten it. They were telling me because, well, they knew how she’d treated me and I guess they wanted me to feel better knowing that she was a fraud. I also sent it to someone who had issues with her as I did, and we both agreed that we would just leave it alone and let whatever was to happen, happen. The other night, yet another person who had been subjected to her random, unnecessary attacks received the same email. Whoever is the “mole” knows exactly who to send the information to. He decided to drop the information on the TL. Here’s where I went wrong and where I will admit every single wrong thing that I did.
I joined in. I egged him on. He and I are friends and when she went for him, I was PISSED for him. I knew about the link to the information because several of us got it, discussed it at length behind the scenes, even considered releasing it at different points in time. I even said, she has ONE more time to fuck with me and I’m letting it all out. She did fuck with me, more than once, and I talked myself out of it. I just couldn’t do it.
A while back, I’d come across some of her old blogs about various traumas and bad experiences she had growing up back home, and for whatever stupid reason, I pitied her. I knew she was basically a hurt woman who had been through hell and was lashing out at the world around her. So many people who know her kept telling me “Michelle, she is just miserable. That’s it. She is a miserable, hurting person”. Maybe I reminded her of someone and that’s why she latched onto attacking me for years, I don’t know. I don’t need to “expose” those blogs; they’re open to the public. Despite all of the bullshit, she is actually a talented writer and the social worker in me connected to what she’d experienced. I’ll even admit one of her blogs brought a tear to my eye. I’m really fucked up smh.
I’d recently been tweeting about how I wouldn’t be responsible for someone’s downfall, because mannnnn I wanted to release the information SO BAD. Like, you don’t even know. In a way I think I was tweeting myself out of it. I wanted to watch her crumble because she and her folks have hurt me so much over the years. But I was like, if I do this, I’ll be just like her. I’ll be lashing out because someone has been hurting me.
Spreading lies and calling me a bad mother HURTS. I love my son above anyone and anything else in this world and for you to spend years talking about how I have to ask permission to see him, how I’m an unfit mother, etc… I could have whupped her ass at any point and been totally justified. I’d even seen her once or twice at events and she was all fake smiles and it took everything in me to not punch her in the mouth. Again, that whole “take the high road” and “be the better person” that everyone expects me to be, right? I also knew that were the tables turned, she would not have hesitated a single moment to expose me. Why was I protecting her?
Well, whoever sent it to me knew, and was counting on me to be the one to drop it. I’m still convinced it is one of them, someone in the circle, but that is neither here nor there. I didn’t. Other didn’t. I’m sure he wasn’t going to bother, but oh well. We all have our moments. I egged him on. I joined in. I asked him if there was a link, knowing there was one, to encourage him to tweet it out. I shouldn’t have. I DMd someone who had prior issues with this woman and told her to RT his TL.
Listen, I was delighting in this. Despite my best intentions, I delighted in it. I 100% admit that I was enjoying watching her get “dragged” the way she has dragged COUNTLESS people online, including myself and people I care about. I should have kept my mouth shut. I should’t have tried to get others to join in, whether or not they had issues with her in the past. People were already RTing and spreading it fast, so it wasn’t even necessary.
But I did. In the moment, I got caught up and acted in some of the most petty ways I’ve ever done.
And it was fucked up as hell. I won’t even try to act like it wasn’t. I won’t even call it a mistake because I knew what I was doing at the time. No, I didn’t expect the DMs to be revealed (whoever does?) and I also deleted my TL because when it was all said and done, I was like this isn’t me. This isn’t what I’m about. This is entirely too personal for me, I’m too close to this, and I’m letting people see my pain and pettiness all in one. So I wiped my TL and went on about my business.
I apologized to the woman to whom I sent the DMs because she and I were cool, I thought. She’d come to me for another issue and I tried to help out and be supportive. I figured she would understand that it wasn’t about me trying to get her to do my dirty work, but more about me giving her ammo, as she had been subject to shade and such. That was stupid of me and childish and petty. A lot of things people said were right.
- I did not go to Bossip and give them information. I can’t stand that site and when I saw the article, I cringed. I thought it went too far, but she’d spent enough time attacking them, I guess they got fed up too.
- It was suggested that I anonymously post it on Lipstick Alley, which I’d never heard of, but was told there were a lot of people who hated her there. I didn’t.
- I did not send myself and others the original email. I wouldn’t even think to Google her to find out bad things, thought that was kinda crafty, I must say. I didn’t even know her real name. I was in just as much shock to receive it as others. I even responded to the send that it was shady to send it, but funny.
- I did not spend months plotting this with or without said gentleman. This was literally an in-the-heat-of-the-moment thing that night. Unlike her and her friends, I don’t spend days focused on how I’m going to attack her and drag her.
- I am not fucking Chad Ochocinco (I don’t even know why that came up).
- I don’t raise my son via FaceTime. I do send his SIMs to work in the morning on the days he is with his dad or other family, with whom he’s been spending the bulk of his summer this year.
- I haven’t “let feminism down”. Being attacked for years and reacting isn’t a commentary on feminism. I’m not sure how anyone can convince themselves anyone should someone mistreating them and not respond because of “feminism”. I would give a feminist asswhupping when deserved and if necessary, though I try my best to avoid fighting so I don’t end up on World Star Hip Hop.
Rise above, rise above, you’re supposed to be above it all, right? Right? That’s what everyone says as people take jabs and daggers at you all day long day in and day out, week after week, month after month, year after year. How much is one supposed to stand? I have one time “reacting” and suddenly I’m solely to blame? For real? Ok.
All of the other conflated nonsense that came along, I know was for LOLs and RTs and such. Most people who joined in don’t care about either one of us and they just wanted to egg on and instigate a fight. I get it. It sucks but it is normal on Twitter. Every other day, someone is being “Dragged” for something and it is usually the same people involved, men and women alike. There are people who are loyal to folks they’ve never met and will pile on even without having facts. The funniest part was when someone was chastising someone else and said “Get your facts straight. Feministajones gave the information to Bossip”. Chile, please.
I wrote all of this to open up about the bullying I’ve been subjected to by a small group of people who, for whatever reason, find me to be an easy target. They know I’m not willing to risk the work that I do or the safety and wellbeing of my child by responding, so they can attack at will, then play victim when it turns on them. This time, it turned on her, because information a number of us were sitting on finally got out. My gaffe became the perfect deflection. And now, it is being made to seem like I orchestrated the entire thing.
But I played a part.
I’m 34 years old and I got caught up in a petty battle with someone who has never been worth my time or energy. Many of you reading this have watched it all happen. You’ve watched the daggers being thrown over the years. You’ve watched me say nothing. You’ve watched me “rise above”. You’ve told me to shake it off and ignore it. You’ve told me not to risk everything I was building for myself as a writer. You told me to focus on being the “better person”.
Did anyone say anything to her and her people like “Hey, lay off, enough is enough”?
I wasn’t the better person this time, but I’m not the one she needs to worry about. Someone else has it out for her, someone much closer to her than I’d ever care to be. That someone is very interested in seeing her fall and wants others to do the dirty work. I hate that I had anything to do with it.
I’d like to move on, but understand why some folks might not want to rock with me anymore.
This is just my side.