Proud2Bme | Strength in Numbers: A Personal Story on Overcoming Cyberbullying

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Strength in Numbers: A Personal Story on Overcoming Cyberbullying

By Rachel Taylor--It was your typical Sunday morning. My alarm woke me up early so that I could get ready for church. Out of habit I reached for my phone before sleep had properly left my eyes and discovered that I had over a thousand emails in my inbox.

While a few where your typical spam emails and newsletters, most of them where social media notifications telling me that people had been commenting on my videos, pictures and blog post calling me every name you could imagine a fat person might be called and worse.

What was the cause of this wave of hate? A subreddit site called Fat People Hate made through Reddit.com had made me their new poster child based off a YouTube video I had made ten months prior. The video was a simple rant about the site and how it should be taken down. I never knew that it would be played over and over again as a form of mockery. The video now has almost 75,000 views.

At first I tried to ignore it. I got out of bed, put my makeup on, and got dressed. Then I got angry, took a selfie, and shared it on Instagram with the caption, “F#$% the haters.” Then I went to church with my family without muttering a word about the storm that was brewing. During church instead of paying attention to the sermon I deleted comments on my social websites switching from fury to simply trying to do damage control. I believed that it would all go away if I just stayed quiet.

I was wrong. Within minutes of posting the selfie it was on the Fat People Hate site, which I discovered later in the day along with a string of other pictures from my Instagram. Pictures I thought I looked good in, maybe even beautiful in where now being torn apart.  And it wasn’t just my Instagram account. I continued to delete hundreds of anonymous asks from my Tumblr and block tweets on Twitter.

I had always felt a sense of safety on the internet. Having been bullied most of my life for my weight and appearance, the internet offered a secure place where I could talk about my feeling with online friends, people that understood, something I could never do at school. But now nowhere was safe. I felt trapped and I isolated myself as a result.

I’d like to think that for the most part the comments didn’t affect me because I’m not only one of the most stubborn person you will ever know but I also realized that I had already been called all these names, by no one other than myself. I am in recovery from an eating disorder but just because you’re in recovery doesn’t mean that the negative and mean voices in your head completely vanish.

While I believe I handled this horrible situation well there were times where I felt like an emotional wreck. Especially once people began calling me a liar, telling me that there was no way that someone of my size could ever have an eating disorder. It felt as though my two stays in treatment meant nothing.

Thankfully I had more than enough support from my friends and family. I realized quickly that if I was open and honest about what was going on the people that truly cared would be there for me. I realized that there is strength in numbers.

Two and a half weeks later Reddit banned the site for breaking their new harassment policy and thankfully the cyber bullying has mostly stopped. Something I’ve realized through all this is that I am stronger than I give myself credit for both in my recovery and in life, especially with the support and love of others.

We each face a lot of trials in life but it’s isolation that makes it harder. Through faith in ourselves and love from others  we can conquer anything.

About this blogger: Rachel Taylor is a 21 year old from Tacoma, a city not far off from Seattle, Washington. In the fall, she will be attending college for her degree in creative writing. Her goal is to be a writer and public speaker and to break the stigmas with eating disorders, mental illness, and fat acceptance. You can follow her blog or her YouTube channel. 

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