Leaving the trolls behind me…

Almost two years ago I woke up at 1am to a message from a friend begging me to scrub my blog of any information about her, which I immediately did. She told me a group called Kiwi Farms had found me. Who? I had no idea but would soon find out.

That day found me watching my statistics skyrocket to over one thousand views. I’d wanted viewers but not this way, not from trolls. Because, when you get down to it, that’s all they are. The weird part is they claim they read my blog but it’s like getting it read by a semi literate monkey. Nothing that comes out on their end remotely resembles my life.

I stopped reading their posts ages ago but was still getting screen shots and updates from Kait, until yesterday that is. Yesterday she sent me a screen shot where someone by the moniker Abortions4All claimed that since I’m slightly more romantically interested in women than men, I must be incestuously grooming Colin to be female. Pardon me while I go gag.

There is nothing healthy there. No reason to wade through their increasingly demented sludge, even via screen shot. The life they depict is nothing like mine. The me they depict is nothing like me. They live in a fantasy world and have created something that is linked to me only by name and a tiny handful of warped facts. The rest is all fiction. They aren’t worth my time, even in 10 second readings via Kait’s messenger. My life is better than that. I’m better than that.

Also, I just discovered how to hide them as spam in my statistics so I don’t even have to see them there anymore, which is a relief. If you’re dealing with them, you can see three dots beside their name in your statistics. Click on those and you’ll get a spam option.

I don’t want to leave this post on a sour note so here’s a clip of me singing karaoke at my friends’ house last night. Sorry about the quality, it was recorded on my phone (hence the weird angle and my startled expression) and I was using a $20 microphone from Superstore LOL

An update: My curiosity got the best of me and I went into the Kiwi Farms thread and found their newest comments. They are so dense they think my quote from their blog is my own writing, even with the person’s user name right there. Plus they’ve made up a bunch of fake quotes and are busy debating them as if they’re real. I don’t know what drugs they’re on but they really should look into rehabilitation. That look into the page was more than enough for me. I feel like I spent that time wading through dog shit.

I’m almost offended at the poor quality of trolls I ended up with but it’s better to have incompetent trolls that I can ignore than intelligent ones, that’s for sure.

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Segregating Vegans

I settled down at the computer with my breakfast and dove into the “memories” section, hot chocolate in hand, to see what happened today on previous years. Some days the memories are funny, some days they’re poignant, and sometimes they kick you in your teeth. This was a kick you in your teeth day.

I had posted that I thought Sci Babe was being ridiculous for being against vegans who wanted a vegan option at In and Out burger. I also figured my friends would agree with me because, hey, what’s wrong with an extra item on the menu. It wasn’t like it would affect the rest of the food. I was wrong. Almost immediately one friend posted this…

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“Are you a vegan like the ones I described?” Seriously? What that really means is “just ignore me making nasty comments about vegans on your page… you’re different”. And, no, I’m not different. If I was in the States, I’d have been signing that In and Out petition for a burger too.

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This was someone I’d been friends with for years so her question surprised me to say the least. I was especially surprised she thought it would be okay to walk into a vegan restaurant and ask for a beef burger but couldn’t understand why a vegan would want a veggie burger in a meat based restaurant.

I figure it goes by can and can’t. Can a meat eater eat a veggie burger, fries, and salads? Yes. Can a vegan eat a beef burger, caesar salad, and french fries with gravy? No. So a veggie burger can be added to a meat based menu while a meat burger simply doesn’t go on a vegan list. It’s like asking someone with celiac disease to eat a wheat based slice of pizza. No, just plain no. But they can order a gluten free pizza at some restaurants. Flip side is you couldn’t order a wheat based anything at a gluten free store. It goes by who can eat what.

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When was the last time she was at a vegan restaurant? 1978? Every vegan restaurant I’ve been to has served pretty traditional meals. Burgers, soups, salads, fries, cupcakes. The closest one even serves “fish” and chips and poutine. But she didn’t want her bubble of ignorance burst so she blocked me instead. Blocked because I gave her a list of restaurants that serve vegan dishes.

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No, that’s not how it works. You don’t get to have a conversation about a minority of any type, especially one that puts them down, then claim it’s the minority’s fault for being upset. Saying I shouldn’t be able to eat at traditional restaurants with my family is not “a conversation”. Me explaining this isn’t an assumption. Funnily enough I haven’t missed her.

One thing I learned that day is you can think someone’s a friend but you won’t know for sure until you bring up something in your life that might be “controversial”. Fist bump to the friend who said it’s cool to ask for new products.

Something else I learned recently (not from this thread) is that the people who yell the loudest while defending you might not be yelling because they’re defending you. They might be yelling simply because they like yelling and controversy. I scrolled through my blog recently and found a post where a friend added a picture of herself eating a beef burger on a vegan thread I’d made then blocked everyone who disagreed with her. She had been a friend for years and one who vehemently supported me and the kids several times. But she turned just as quick and was just as vehement against me when her opinion was different.

That one was a hard one because I thought of her as a real friend. We’d messaged each other regularly for years, sharing thoughts, opinions, and pictures of our fur babies. She’d recently discovered a love of makeup and I sat through several makeup box openings because she deserved to have someone watch her happiness. I wear makeup maybe twice a year. And then she left, flinging insults as she blocked me. A friend said she’s like that, I wish I’d known in advance. But you can’t know everything.

And for those who aren’t shocked at the thought of eating vegan, here’s a curry recipe for you:

Vegan Indian Curry Recipe

4 medium onions, finely chopped
4 tbsps oil or cooking wine
1 1/4 cups Silk soy creamer
2 tbsps white wine vinegar
398mL can diced tomatoes (14oz)

2 tsps turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp tandoori masala
4 tsps coriander
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground ginger

2 tsps brown sugar
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 stock cube (or 1/2 tsp salt)
4 cups mixed vegetables, chopped (mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini, potatoes, carrots, sweet bell peppers etc)

Mix all the spices together. Cook the onions until translucent, adding more water as needed. Add the spices, reduce heat, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the milk and vinegar and stir well. Add the tomatoes, paste, sugar, and stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer very gently for 45 minutes. Add the vegetables and cook until tender – between 30 to 45 minutes. Serve over rice.

Adult bullies…

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I was bullied throughout elementary school. If there was a contest for the most bullied student from kindergarten through grade eight, I’d have won first place. That prize was a joint gift of anxiety and depression, which I’d trade in for one of those cheap carnival stuffed animals if I could. What I didn’t realize at the time was that adults can be bullies too, they’re just sneakier about it.

It was grade eleven. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up and the whole growing up thing was looming alarmingly close. I found a course called “Career Options” and figured it might help. I didn’t know what to expect from the class but thought the teacher would discuss different occupations and the education required for them along with a few personality and aptitude tests. I was half right.

I admit I started off on her wrong side. She asked everyone to write down their ideal career and I put down sinecure. It didn’t help that she had to look it up in the dictionary. Then she started on the tests and quizzes. Each time she’d tell us exactly what we couldn’t score and that would be my result. If she said we’d only end up with two categories, I’d have relatively equal results in three. If she said there would only be one category, you might have minor results in a second but they wouldn’t be equal, my two would be split 50/50. Two opposing personalities that would never, ever combine… I scored high in both. I ended up with 100% fine artist for my perfect career, despite her assurances that no one ever scores 100% and despite the fact I can’t draw. I’m sure she thought I was trolling her; meanwhile I was frustrated by her obvious dismissal of my results and my questions.

That year I saved up and bought myself a leopard gecko. We always had pets when I was growing up but this was the first pet I’d had of my own. I named him Leo and took tonnes of pictures. He had a comical way of crouching to stalk crickets; squatting low and twitching the end of his tail like a cat. Then he’d pounce and miss, ending up with a face full of bedding. His favourite treat was pineapple. The teacher asked us all to talk about our pets and I proudly mentioned mine. She looked at me for a moment.

“Michelle? Could you come here?”

I stood up and walked over to her desk with no small amount of confusion.

“Now turn around,” she said once I got to the front.

I turned to face my classmates. While none of my grade school bullies were in the class, none of my friends were in there either. I stared toward row after row of indifferent faces.

“Michelle likes to think of herself as unique but in reality she’s just weird,” she announced loudly before sending me, humiliated, to my seat.

She came to my cash register this morning. I wanted to yell at her but realized I had no idea what I’d say so I asked for her order instead. She gave no sign that she recognized me. I don’t think I’ll ever forget her. Up until then I thought kids outgrew being bullies, that people simply grew up and became responsible adults. I didn’t realize some bullies grew up and became adult bullies.

And then there’s Jeremy’s teacher. She’s a bright and friendly lady who gave me a ride home last winter when our meeting went too long and I missed my bus. She’s got children around the same age as mine and an autistic child as well. Yet…

Jeremy stayed home last Thursday after zie begged me, almost in tears, to miss school because zie just couldn’t handle being there. Zie had a professional development day on Friday which meant zie had a four day weekend. Sunday night rolled around. I went to bed early as I had to be up before 5am. Jeremy woke me both just after midnight and at 2am complaining of a headache. I called zir in sick because two hours sleep isn’t enough for anyone to function and wasn’t nearly enough time to sleep off a bad headache. Then Jeremy’s anxiety kept zir awake all last night so zie stayed home again. Right now zie’s been up for 33 hours. Hopefully zie’ll go to school tomorrow but who knows since zie’s being bullied and it’s not by one of zir peers.

Jeremy’s teacher has a new tactic these past few months. Whenever Jeremy’s hanging out with kids in zir class, the teacher comes over and asks if “he’s” intimidating them. Do they really want to hang out with “him”? Is “he” making them stay there? Every casual walk down the halls. Every stroll outside. Every gaming session at the computers.

Is he intimidating you?

I’m sure the teacher doesn’t see this as bullying. I’m sure she has herself convinced that she’s protecting her vulnerable students from a teen who’s more verbally adept and brighter than most of them; a teen she sees as trying to manipulate her with every anxiety fueled rebellion. She doesn’t see that painting Jeremy as a manipulative bully to zir peers is in fact bullying zir. She doesn’t see how she’s intimidating zir. And, despite printing out the school board’s guide to working with transgender students… despite calling in PFLAG and a school board official… despite having said official come in to meet with the staff and explain the guide in detail… despite the teacher insisting she’s a huge trans ally who talks a lot about “transgendered” in the classroom… the teacher still refers to Jeremy as he and him. Zir pronouns are too confusing. I’m sure she doesn’t see this as bullying either.

We have our first PFLAG meeting on Thursday night then we meet people from Jeremy’s potential new school on Friday. Our school board is also holding meetings for LGBTQ students and their parents next month. We’ll be there for sure.

With any luck Jeremy will be out of this class soon and then zie’ll never need to see zir bully again.