How Social Media Made Me Happier – Including the Trolls

[read time: five minutes]

[WARNING: EXPLICIT CONTENT] 

I have a confession to make: I wanted a troll. 

This upcoming Saturday, the 19th of February, will mark the fourth month this blog has been established. 

I have been reflecting on this for a while now and wanted to share with you how it has made me happier. 

By blogging, I’ve been forced to open up. By extension, I was forced to use Instagram: I needed some way to promote my blog!

What I discovered is the majority of people on the internet have been kind and supportive and thankful. 

I couldn’t ask for anything better. 

But, for some reason, I felt that the Blog Experience was not complete without the appearance of a troll.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”

Brené Brown

I feel this, 100%, in relation to my blog. 

By being vulnerable, and finally sharing my story, I feel free. 

Admittedly, I eschewed social media for years because of my fear of hate comments, cyberbullying, and trolls. 

However, my disability has forced me to rethink how the rest of my life will be shaped: since I have no control over flare-up days, I cannot foreseeably work a job that will require my presence at a certain time. 

So, my life has turned inwards, homewards, and to writing. 

I have known for a while now that I have something to say. We all do: our own lives, experiences, and histories have shaped us to become who we are, and we are all very different. 

I did not put together what was missing from my life until recently: an avenue to connect to people like me – those with a rare disease, since there are so few of us. 

I realized that I can combine my life experience of being disabled along with the love I have for writing and present to you, world, all that I can offer: a glimpse into the life of someone with an arteriovenous malformation, who struggles with trichotillomania and, in the past, alcoholism. (That will be an upcoming post.) 

This actually is not my first attempt at a blog. I began another one in late 2018 and discontinued it in early 2020. At that time, I had not gotten over my fear of the internet haters and the worry that my blog would be “found” by someone I knew and dissed. 

However, those things do not worry me any more. Why? I took control over my story. If I am the one living it and experiencing it, then I am the one telling it. If I do not take my chance to tell my story, then there might be someone out there like me looking for the same thing I was – a blog about being different, and how being different is ok – but not being able to find it. 

If I don’t tell my story, someone else will, and incorrectly. 

Once I began to write this blog, and to do so without fear, I began to love it. Once I let go of any worry, I embraced what I should have been doing all along – my writing practice. 

Once I began to get comments thanking me for telling my story, I knew I was on the right path. If I can get through to someone else who is going through the same thing, we can all help each other along and the world gets a little better. 

For a bit. 

Then, along came a troll. (In the comment section.) 

I feel like I passed a test. Like I’m a Real Blogger now. Like I can say, “Psshh, there’s one of those trolls making a damn fool of themselves again.” 

I needed to see for myself what it felt like to be trolled. I needed more, though, to see how I would react. 

I often tell myself, “I didn’t come this far only to come this far.” 

What does that mean? 

It means that I didn’t go through 35 years of living disabled, 25 years of having trichotillomania, 10 years of being an alcoholic drug user and graduating from university 11 years late just to let some asswipe of a troll leave a grammatically incorrect comment on my blog thinking it’s going to get me down, because it’s NOT. 

If I was the same person I was over 6 years ago, I’d tell you, troll, to go eat shit and die. But instead, I wish you love, light, and happiness – because you clearly need it. 

Because writing this blog is something I love being able to wake up and do, those comments can’t bother me. It’s the exact same as dealing with a shitty customer or a road rage driver. We are all going to encounter shitheads in our lives, no matter where we are, what we do, or what we are doing at the time. 

I think people troll to try and make others feel bad about themselves. They troll because they are unhappy with their own lives. They troll because they are jealous. 

Remember, trolls (/bullies): what you do doesn’t say anything about me, but it says everything about you. 

So – how did social media help me become a happier person? Despite trolls? The love and support I get from people and the support I try to give back is sustainability to me. I am actually usually pleasantly surprised to see – at least on the accounts I follow – people are nice to each other in the comments and it is not an all-out war as I assume it always will be. 

This goes without saying: not all accounts out there will have positive comments. It’s up to you how you want your social feed to look – but more importantly, how you want it to make you feel

Social media, in my eyes, CAN be used for GOOD. So far, my experience with it on Instagram has been positive. My blog has helped me grow as an individual – and writer – and by sharing my stories I feel more connected now than ever. 

So, yes, social media and blogging has made me happier: I grew out of vulnerability, and I realized that haters cannot bring me down. 

What about you? Do you see social media as a positive influence in your life, or negative? Leave a comment below. 

Published by Erica Black

Erica was born with a rare disease called an arteriovenous malformation in her right leg. She is now an advocate for those with disabilities. She left the corporate world in 2016 to pursue a career as a high school English teacher and began to blog along the way. She has a BA in English Lit and minor in Creative Writing. Her writing has been featured in The Martlet, The Globe and Mail, Heroica, and more. She enjoys cats, reading, and her daughter.

8 thoughts on “How Social Media Made Me Happier – Including the Trolls

  1. Isn’t it strange how we all care so much about what other people think? If I look at others that create stuff and share it with the world, from paintings to clothing, to written art, I look at them with admiration. Yet, when I post, I always feel the fear of being disliked, or made fun of. For me this is one reason for doing it. Hitting that submit button is great exposure. It’s why I write every day. In over a year of daily posting, I have had overwhelmingly positive responses. Zero negatives. Zero. Our fears are so irrational. But you’re right: let them come.

    Thanks for sharing!

    By the way… IG as a way to promote…? How does that work for you? It probably would be my last medium to share on, so I’m interested to hear your thoughts :).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow I’m jealous you’ve never had a troll! That’s so lucky! And using IG to promote has been a challenge. I think I only get a few extra views from it. The problem is nobody wants to click the “link in bio” lol. They just want links!

      Like

  2. Yeah, I thought about trolls when I started my blog. None so far, though I’ve found them on social media. At least on socials you have the option to delete their comment without reply. That generally seems to be an effective strategy. I’m glad you’re not letting them silence you. Solidarity.

    Liked by 2 people

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