April 22nd 2018 – A mirage I was warned about

DISCLAIMER: This story is a very personal one that I’ve debated making available to a larger audience for the past two years. I was inspired by Madison’s bravery; her article really made me want to tell my story too. Writing this was not easy. I also want to recognise form the get go that I am also not at all objective. Yes, this is biased, because I am a human being and although I try my best to be the least partial I can be, I still have my own feelings and my own perceptions. Although I am trying to be as open as possible there are obviously details that I intentionally left out, out of respect for other people’s or my own privacy. This was written without one ounce of resentment in my heart, and I think being able to write this actually showed me I was way more over those events than I ever thought I could be. I also do not wish to hurt anyone in the process of telling my truth, so I hope my word choices will allow me to convey my point without making anyone suffer in the process. 

The f word

I have been thinking a lot recently about the implications of being a fan in today’s society. This is not a thought that crossed my mind out of the blue but rather something that I have experienced from up close, through my friends’ experience but also through mine. This is not something I talk about very freely in my day to day life, simply because on a daily basis I am not at all surrounded by people who would know what I am talking about when it comes to the world of fanbases. My generation, the one born in the late 80s and the early 90s, is the last one to have known a life without social media, and in a way it makes us the generation at the border between two worlds. Some of us do not dabble in the world of the internet as much as millennials do. Others, like me, dipped their toes and ended up taking the biggest most unexpected plunge. This story is mine, and after years of holding onto the illusion that keeping it to myself made me all the more powerful, I have come to terms with the fact that the real power resides in the strength it takes to admit to a problem instead of brushing it under the rug along with my self-esteem and my shaky confidence. You are free to have your own opinions about what you are going to read, and I do not mean to insult or slander anyone. I have been very cautious with my use of speculations and they will always be clearly stated as such. Of course this is biased, I am just one person. But I do believe many got hurt and I do not think it’s fair. I was inspired by Madison’s bravery to write this post and I would like to thank her and all of those who know the full extent of this story and have always had my back. It is time for what used to be whispered about in private messages to come to a much more public light.

I have always loved harmonies and choir-like sounds. For as long as I can remember I have tried to harmonise to everything and I spent many years in my school’s choir. This is only faintly related to the story I plan on telling today, but it also allows me to introduce you to one of my main traits: I am a passionate person. I am dramatic, excessive, you could even say stubborn because everything I do, I do with a fiery passion. So, of course, when, at a time in my life where I only allowed myself to spend one hour a day online and had deleted my Facebook account, I stumbled across a group making a capella harmonized covers of popular songs, I could not resist. They soon became a part of my daily routine, which, mind you, was getting slightly monotonous since they didn’t even have a lot of videos up at the time. I had pure admiration for their artistic abilities, and also a little bit of jealousy that I couldn’t find five other people to make such amazing sounds happen. It came suddenly, I got hooked, and that was all it was. Until it wasn’t.

I had heard about fandoms. I remember it was around that time that Justin Bieber chose to call his supporters Beliebers and I was so confused as to what that even meant. Oh 2011, you were a simpler time. I passed the exams I had deleted Facebook for, so I decided to re-activate my account and create a Twitter account because those girls singing every day on my screen were telling people to follow them on Twitter. I remember being so confused as to how it worked at first, it was honestly probably very embarrassing. But I ended up getting the hang of it. Those girls used to follow people back upon request and soon enough a few of them were following me there. I started talking to other people who also liked their music and I realized those people were exchanging with those girls whose singing I loved so much through direct messages (for those of you unfamiliar with social media, at the time you could only exchange DMs if the person who you intended to message followed you). I remember wondering what they’d even talk to them about and I remember not wanting to be a burden so I gave messaging them a try and messaged them once and forgot about it. I kept talking to other fans and created a small circle for myself. We used to hangout together on tinychat (a video conversation platform) and it slowly but surely became one of the things I could rely on in my life.

So was I a fan now? Apparently so. I kept my online life very separate from my real life but it was becoming very evident that I had become a fervent supporter of a band. My real life friends were making fun of me (in a loving way) for liking a cheesy YouTube band, but I didn’t really care at all. I started messaging them a little bit more via DMs. I got a few answers. Nothing big, and I knew it was nothing big. I was perfectly happy with that and did not for one second even imagine it could go any further than the polite and generic messages I was getting back. I was grateful that they would take time out of their day to talk to me, a random girl from a foreign country they had never been to, especially because I knew they did the same for so many other people. I was actually quite admirative of their ability to talk to all those people and make them feel seen. At that point I did not feel the need to feel important because I knew that I was not, and it was perfectly okay. Through time, I gained a little bit of confidence in my online life and started expressing my opinions and my personality a little more. I started getting a little bit involved in promotion too, because as YouTube artists they struggled getting any kind of support from their label. It made sense to help, and I’ve always been someone who loves to help. I did it out of the goodness of my heart, and without thinking twice. I did it without expecting anything in return.

The triggers

I cannot share all the details of this part of the story because to this day I still am scarred by it and do not wish to reopen that wound today. To sum it up, I got into a very bad argument with someone influential (or at least good at pretending that he was) who knew the girls and was helping them out with their Facebook page. This man made my life a living hell, he blocked me from the band’s Facebook page (on no grounds, literally none), he sent me death threats, he tried to talk me into killing myself, he sent hundreds of people to hate on me, he targeted a twelve year-old who had decided to side with me. It was terrible and it lasted a long time, the worst part being that, when I let the band know about it, I was told it was my fault because I had also bullied people and they had proof (??) and it was not their responsibility what this man did in his free time. I was in shock. Mind you it could have ben much worse had I been younger or more fragile. I was 20 and clearly knew I was right. I had very few people on my side but they were the right people. I was lucky, and I am grateful to the very few who stuck by me through it. So I did something very brave: I stood up to people I looked up to as artists, mainly one of them, who tried to make me delete my tweets about the matter via direct messages. I stood my ground on everything I had been saying from the beginning. I remained polite but I added that if they considered this man to be someone they’d gladly give responsibilities to even though they had proof that he had sent death threats not just to me but also multiple teenagers, then they were not who I thought they were and I was mistaken about them too. “You know I can’t take sides” she said. Well you just did, and the wrong one, I replied.

I never got a proper apology but I know they ended up seeing I was right. I never got the “you were right” I was looking for, but he finally got removed from all of their social media. I thought it was the end, but it actually started something much bigger that had much bigger repercussions on me than I would ever had imagined. Because through seeing that I was not having any of her dumb arguments that were only supposed to convince me because she was this big “authority” figure, she saw something in me that she must have liked because our conversations started happening more regularly. I did not think much of it at all in the beginning because those girls were known for talking to a lot of people. In retrospect I understand it was also their way of making sure their fans remained interested, which is smart. She was not the one with whom people were most interested in talking, and she was not the one who was usually the most responsive. We were just having casual chats about music and life. I had sent them all a package with a letter for each of them and she mentioned that mine made her cry, that I wrote really well and that it was so nice to read something coming from someone who went beyond appearances.

Around that time, I noticed that jealousy was a core component of a life as a fan. I was in the “older” part of the fandom so I feel like I was able to see the big picture a lot better, and I could see very young teenagers getting caught up in unspoken contests about who would get noticed the most. Keep in mind this was 2013, and it wasn’t even close to being the worst of this phenomenon. I would pride myself on the fact that I was leagues above that, not depending on someone’s attention, and just grateful when it happened. Then I started noticing patterns that made me ill at ease. I realized that people were faking serious illnesses, or pretending to be suicidal in order to get noticed. This kind of manipulation and guilt tripping made me feel like throwing up so I cannot even imagine how it felt for those girls. They were young and had a lot of pressure on their shoulders. But a part of me also noticed how they always seemed to encourage people to emotionally depend on them, consciously or not. Hopefully not. And then there were the ones I looked down on so much who kept going on and on about all the interactions they had with this girl or that one, and called them their friends. It made no sense to me. Why brag about interacting if they’re your friends? What kind of friendship would that be? I already understood, I believe, the inherent imbalance of power that would then come to bite me back with a strength only irony has.

Then came the second trigger.

One day, the girl I would casually talk to once a week or so tweeted something that immediately rang a bell in my head, so I messaged her telling her something along the lines of “I don’t know if this tweet is about this and I don’t want to assume but just in case it is here’s something that would help”. I expected no reply. I got the reply that changed it all. Suddenly there she was in my DMs telling me about this person and making me promise, saying she cannot confirm or deny but that she’s lucky only I was able to read through this tweet of hers. She, who was known for giving kids advice, was now looking for some from me. She seemed like she really and sincerely just needed someone to talk to. And I was this person. I listened. I never spilled anything. I just did my job as a f… as a what exactly?

For a month straight, we talked every single day. Time zones were the only reason we weren’t talking day in and day out. I remember once her phone broke and she borrowed her mom’s to message me so we would keep the conversation going. That’s how much she actually wanted to talk to me. She would send me song lyrics to a song she was in the process of writing so I would be able to read them first and giggle with her at how it was one big indirect to one person in particular. It no longer was me asking. It had become somewhat mutual. Except we only ever talked about her. But I was ok with that, I was happy even that she was interested in me not because I needed fixing but because I was just fun to talk to and made a positive difference in her life. I was 20 years old with a good head on my shoulder so I did not allow myself to hope for anything out of it. Yet the messages kept coming. “You see things in me that even people who know me in real life sometimes don’t see.” “You read me like a book.” “It feels like you’re the only one who understands.” “I don’t really have many friends. Not friends who understand like you do.” She asked me to make videos of myself so she could watch them and imagine me saying things. It was uncharted territory and I was in way too deep. I had no idea what was happening, no idea what any of us was doing. I was not talking about it to anyone because my real life friends wouldn’t have understood and my online friends would have felt bad that they didn’t talk to any of them that much. I liked it being my little secret. But that too, only lasted a little.

The first warning

It stopped after two months. It’s not that the conversation died down, she just stopped answering one day and that was it. I was in this weird position where I was the only person whose tweets she had favorited (if you were there at the time you remember how few and far between her favorited tweets were), I knew her fairly well, but she was at liberty to ignore me for as long as she wanted. I felt really bad because insecure as I am I imagined I had done something terribly wrong. I felt even worse because the people who could have understood my struggle I refused to talk to because I did not want to appear like I was one of those children who depended on being DMed a “hello” once in a while. It was no longer just the fact of being a fan that bothered me, but it was having to explain that it hurt so badly not because she was the artist and I was the fan, but because she felt like more of an acquaintance for a little while and then she disappeared with no warning and no explanation.

Meanwhile, I was already doing a lot for those girls. I’m not saying this to brag, I’m saying this because it’s the truth. I did a lot of promotion for their band, I created their update account, I organised a lot of twitter trends back when their first label-backed single came out. I did all that out of my own free will, and no one forced me to do it. It’s the beauty of being a caring person with a strong passion for a band, and a lot of time on my hands. I had a lot of fun doing it at first, because it had the taste of novelty and because it made me feel useful, like I was contributing to something greater than me. But quickly enough, the perfectionist that I am started finding flaws in the way things were working, flaws that I had to work around while promoting which truly made me angry. When she stopped talking to me, I stopped shutting up and started getting a little bit more critical about the way things were run. Maybe I expected a reaction. Maybe I was just utterly frustrated of doing work and having it sabotaged by their subpar organisational skills.

Eventually, after a month and a half of radio silence, she came back as if nothing had happened, telling me we hadn’t talked in a while and she missed me, and not mentioning any of our conversations from before ever again. The situation I had helped her fix was sorted so I would guess she did not need me for that anymore and preferred to pretend there had never been a situation to begin with. But I had grown wary (and weary). I am not someone who trusts again easily. Everyone starts with my trust but once you break it? Good luck getting it back. So I would be more defensive. It took me time to be comfortable speaking to her again, as I honestly did not understand why she suddenly seemed to have an interest in me again. She would talk to me about her everyday life and her boyfriend and things that were happening. In the rare occasions that we would talk about me, she would always say that she was so impressed by my progress and that I was so brave. I am not sure how much she meant it but it did make me trust her again. The rare weeks that we did not speak I would always get a message the next week of her updating me and telling me how sorry she was that we were both so busy and could not speak more. It rang true this time. The attachment that was forming towards her in my heart had grown stronger than my questions, stronger than my fears that she would ghost me again, and just like that, I let her back in my life.

Fire and ice

Towards the very beginning of 2014 they finally announced that they were coming to a Youtube event in London. I lived in the South of France at the time but I had promised her that the second they would set a toe in Europe I’d be there. So I did exactly that. on the day of the announcement I purchased a plane ticket, a hostel room for my stay and VIP tickets to the event. Of course I had to tell her. Her reaction was beyond what I had imagined. I had told her right before going to sleep and I woke up to ten messages of her freaking out, saying that knowing she was finally going to meet me made her day, and even made her cry. I remember reading those messages and having the feeling that we would probably really solidify our now blossoming online discovery of each other.

At the time, I was talking to her mother a lot because we were planning a lot of promotion together. I was really good at this stuff and I spent a lot of time doing it. I already knew the meet and greet at the Youtube convention was going to be horrendous, so since I was arriving the day before I told their mother that, should they want to, I’d love to meet up with them the day before. She said they would not know their schedule ahead of time so if it happened it would be very last minute. I had zero hopes because I have always been fairly good at keeping my expectations at a minimum, especially knowing not only how unorganised they could be, but also how hectic travelling in such a big group could be. I mentioned it to her in passing, saying how we could meet up and she sounded very unenthusiastic which made very little sense to me, but I chose to take it as a sign that it was not going to happen and just not expect anything.

I flew to London on a Friday and before my flight, while I was waiting at the airport, she sent me a message telling me she had had a dream in which I was showing her around London and it was the best dream ever. She also mentioned that she had been really down and that she’d love to rant to me about life in person. I remember having tears in my eyes because I just could not believe she was actually this excited to see me. The next day, I did not expect anything but ended up being able to meet up with them at a restaurant. I remember them all being excited, but mostly I remember her being the quietest. I remember that was when I started finding excuses for her actions. Because I did not want to think that she just did not like me that much, and because it would not have been coherent with the way she would react to me while online, I told myself that the most reasonable explanation was that given the fact that she was a leader in the band but showed a more vulnerable side to me, it was a difficult situation for her. And she had messaged me after this encounter after all, so there was no reason to be worried. The day after, at the very public and incredibly messy Youtube-convention meet and greet, when she saw me, she had tears in her eyes. Literal tears, to the point she could not even really speak. She hugged me tight and seeing that she was visibly distressed, I asked if she was okay. Her only answer was “I am just so happy to see you. You don’t even know.” I asked her if she needed to talk, she said yes and then did nothing. So obviously I got removed by security, because after all we were on different sides of the table and I had no power, none at all, to stand my ground and say wait. She needs to talk to me. Who would have believed that?

I genuinely think she wanted to talk to me that day but she could not find the words. I also genuinely believe that my analysis of her difference of attitude when around her band-mates and one on one was the right one and at the time she did find me useful to her life. That night, when I messaged her to say I loved seeing her again but only regretted not being able to talk to her more, her response was a few crying emojis and a “me too”, that at the time rang true. And then what? And then she ignored me for another month, completely shutting me off, despite my attempts to reach out to her in order to know what it was that she wanted to talk to me about. Mainly, I was worried. I had my ideas, and I truly and wholeheartedly cared. So I made a few speculations, and I wrote her a very long letter that I sent her in the hope that even if she did not reply she would at least find some comfort in it and it would make it easier for her to maybe deal with it. I remember telling her some very personal things that could help her with what she was experiencing. I trusted her enough to open up even though she had ghosted me for the second time for no valid reason.

The Chase

In the meantime, I stayed on top of promotion. I feel like it’s important to mention this, because it was such an integral part of what I had become known for. I was promoting a lot and in a way that I found fairly smart. Most of the people who were close to either of those girls had stopped promoting in an effort to seem cooler, but I knew that it would not be faire and I loved that band and I really really wanted to seen them succeed. I was also ranting quite a bit about my thoughts on the way things were organised. I felt I had a say because I was doing a lot and organising a lot of things that sometimes ended up being for nothing due to a lack of a proper direction in promotion. This sounds boring as hell but bare with me. Before I sent the letter she would sometimes stalk my tweets, find the ones she didn’t like, and message me about them in a very condescending way. It was like she was scolding a child. It absolutely drove me bonkers and she knew it would because she knew me well. This all started a game of cat and mouse that I found no enjoyment in but that she seemed to particularly appreciate.

She got my letter, it was a long and beautiful one where I explained how much I cared, because genuinely, once again, I did. And there was that one big speculation I had made, that one big leap of faith in assuming what she was going through that had made her want to talk to me so badly in London. The entirety of her response to my letter (via DMs) was about this speculation. I woke up one day to a long rant from her about how I was totally wrong and if anything it was the exact opposite and “I-have-lots-of-people-to-talk-to-about-this-lol”. Not only were those messages pretty stupid, they were also pretty obviously lies. I knew she struggled opening up to people in real life because she had told me so herself, and I also had noticed a few things upon meeting her that I just knew were signs that I was right.

The lighthearted conversation became scarce and the patronizing scolds happened more and more often. It only made me all the more ironic both publicly and privately because I could not stand being disrespected like that. I got more sarcastic, more sardonic, I became abrasive in a way that was extremely out of character because I was hurt. My feelings were hurt because I had tried to reach out to someone who had specified they wanted to talk to me and it had backfired. My pride was hurt because all those things piling up made me feel like I was getting used and then thrown away.

In my place

I met her for a second time in Madrid. At the time we were on speaking terms but things were getting tense because she was visibly withdrawing from what I thought we had. That day, she spent time with me backstage but didn’t even bother saying goodbye even when I made the effort to go to her to do so, she waved and said “see you around” knowing full well we lived in different continents and probably would not see each other around. I remember I thought that I should have been angry but I was just sad. I felt rejected and the pain of the hot and cold was even worse when experienced in person. I felt like I was absolutely unlovable, like my real life presence was in no way as interesting as my online personality and like I was, to put it bluntly, a let down. How ironic that she would make me feel like that, intentionally or not, when one of their most loved songs was all about telling people how worthy they are.

I went to three dates of their tour in the spring of 2015. Before the tour we had gone through lots of rough patches although we were still talking, because she would ask for my opinion and be annoyed when I gave it. At the time I had also been talking to people in her internet circle for quite a while who had all told me the same sorts of stories of her using them for emotional support and then pretending they didn’t exist so it was all getting to me a lot. After the first date she messaged me asking if I could be front row for the upcoming dates that I was attending. She asked. I will write it again: she asked. And come those dates she made a point to ignore me for the whole show while I was standing literally right in front of her face. I couldn’t believe it at first so after the first time it happened I tried to tell myself I was being paranoid and I gave her another chance. But she did it again. Held the whole front row’s hand but mine. Looked at everyone but me. What was the point in asking me to be there, then? What was the aim of making a request?

It was such a petty way to go about it. I guess her goal was to put me in my place. Back to the fanzone where I belonged. I just could not comprehend why she was acting this way especially when literally two weeks after that she came to me for advice because she was feeling terrible and needed motivation. And of course I gave it to her. And of course I was kicking myself for being so weak, but I can’t help that I’m a caring person. Right? She knew that too. She had figured out that no matter how badly she would hurt me I would always come back if I knew she needed me. Once, after a disagreement, I told her that I was tired of always having to go back to square one every time we would argue, as if me not agreeing with her once in a while was a horrible thing, as if I was not a PERSON who saw things differently than she did. After arguing that she didn’t think we were back to square one she used one of her most famous lines on me, telling me that social media was a strange way to communicate and that she felt we were all guinea pigs in this social media experiment, especially when it came to the fan-artist relationship. She included me in a collective “you guys” for one of the first times, although I had made her understand that she had hurt me by using personal things against me and then arguing that what was happening was just a fan-artist relationship. I think deep down I already knew it was over and I had to let it go. But it took some more time, because I never learn.

Explosion

One day things were too much. She asked for my opinion on a promotion idea she had come up with that involved making only a few people in the fandom privy to their plans hence giving them special status. She asked me to make a list of those people who were either good promoters or “cool” enough that they’d have an influence (they were losing supporters) so she could make private group Skype sessions happen. I jokingly asked if I should put myself on there and she said “well do you think you deserve to be on that list?”. I did. I had been carrying a lot of promotion on my back for the better part of 4 years. Her irony really set me off and I told her very honestly that I thought her idea would create jealousy in a fandom where people were already competing for their attention badly enough as it was. Her answer was that it wasn’t her fault people were jealous. This really made me think.

Can you really think something is not your fault when you publicly notice people on purpose and know what the consequence is? Even if that part is not your fault, doesn’t it start becoming your fault if you make a decision that dramatically increases the problem? I tried to explain my reasoning because she had asked what I thought and she answered that she was disappointed that I could not be supportive for once. The “for once” set me off and planted a seed in my head that enough was enough. I could no longer carry on being overlooked as a person because my value as a promoter was bigger. I could no longer stand being asked to not have an opinion when I had many. I was no longer okay with being scolded or talked down to when all I did was answer a question that had been asked. I no longer enjoyed the pressure that I was under every day to only put on my Twitter things that would please her and feed her ego, without being even given half of that in return. I was tired of supporting someone both professionally and personally and have her constantly ignore the value of both my mental support and my promoting of her band. I had talked to a lot of people and had realised I was one of a few that got hurt too, by an illusion of closeness created only to use us afterwards, and even though I did not love myself quite enough to stand up for myself, I did love others enough to see how what was happening was no normal. I was absolutely done.

I wrote a long message to each of them, explaining that I needed to focus on my own life and hence would be withdrawing from all and every promotion thing I was involved in effective immediately. Of course I wrote her a special paragraph explaining how our argument was not to blame for my decision and that if anything it had helped me see clearer. It was partly a lie that I was telling her and myself in order to protect her feelings. All the others sent me very warm messages thanking me for what I had done, which was lovely. She replied something that still hurts to read to this day. She told me it was probably unprofessional of her to say it but that her wish was that “all of you guys could stop being online so much and focus more on yourselves or something, it would do you good”. Not one single thank you after five years, two and a half of which had been spent talking almost every day. And she followed by asking me what platform they should use for their upcoming livestream. To this, I told her to go ask her Youtube-famous friends. And then I stopped answering her. The aforementioned livestream was absolutely dreadful and partly aimed at me. I left Twitter for a good while and did not contact her or any of them at all for a few months. I had severed the ties.

Closure

During those months off, I wrote her a letter. I’ve told you, I NEVER LEARN. I felt like I deserved to give myself some closure by letting her know why exactly I had been hurt. Because I was very lucid about who I was, I also apologised about a lot of things in that letter. I do not want you to believe that I was absolutely without blame in that story, because I was not. I was snarky. I was blunt. I was critical. I was probably rude even sometimes. I apologised for that, profusely, not just in that letter but even before that. I explained to her that it was hypocritical of her to expect me to help her out with personal matter as well as professional matter, and then expect me to understand that I was still no better than those anonymous accounts that came a dime a dozen in her book. Not only was it hypocritical but it was also cruel. I sent the letter and she DMed me to tell me she had gotten it and it was on her desk. I asked her if she was going to open it. She said: “I am not in a good place right now to read letters from you guys.” You guys. I told her that if to her my letter meant nothing more than the ones sent by people she did not know, and that despite once having been the one person she could trust with everything, despite everything we had faced together (be it on my end or hers) my letter was just one more on a pile of tedious chores, then indeed, she should leave it unread.

The next time their toured Europe, most of the reason I went was because I wanted to see my  friends I had made through them. Their music obviously still meant a lot to me and I had kept in touch with one of them so I still wanted to go. I went to 4 dates because I am not a reasonable person. There, I got part of the closure I was looking for. Me and her apologised to each other (at my initiative). And right there and then I understood how over it was, because even this apology sounded empty compared to how hurt I had been. I understood right there and then that closure with someone who does not equally need this closure is vastly useless. Through it I grew, but through it I hurt, I bled and I cried. The growth cannot erase the bad things it brought about and although I no longer feel any resentment towards her or any of them really, I still am wary of her interactions with people who get a little closer to her online. I monitor. I watch out for those who could get hurt like I did.

Peace

I have lived through all those events countless times. I have rehashed all of my memories, I have journaled about it all, I have talked about it to my friends (real-life and Internet ones), to my therapist, and I have hated myself for my weaknesses and the depth of my attachment. I have been told many times that my account of this story sounds like a romantic break up and to tell the truth it does. It hurt me deeply. Platonic relationships that disappoint you can do that too. I know now that there is nothing wrong with caring about people sincerely. There is nothing wrong with loving with your whole heart. But there is something very self deprecating in putting ahead of yourself someone who does not value you as a person. As much as it angered me at the time, the “guinea pig” expression stuck in my head because surprisingly, I tend to agree. We were an experiment. Experiments are still going on. The relationship between people online is so completely new, and it is yet to be formally understood how the interaction between artists and people who support them has forever been changed by the Internet in general and social media in particular. Para-social relationships have always existed, as well as the concept of being a fan, but what happens when the line gets blurry? What happens when the imbalance in power shifts for a second, and then switches back? Where does it leave us all? I hope one day I find an actual answer that will apply to all the situations I’ve seen happen.

I firmly believe that she got hurt. By me and by a few other relationships she made through the Internet. I think she needed us and used us without realising that we were actual people, and not just an online support system to use once in a while when convenient. It is a very human thing to make mistakes. But because in that case the imbalance of powers was so acute, someone on the other side of the screen was bound to get hurt more than she did. I have learnt to accept the things I cannot control, but I believe that through sharing this story, maybe, I will help a few of you realise what you are putting yourselves through. It was not just me, or even just her, there is a whole pattern to it that I keep noticing and that keeps sending chills down my spine. Supporting someone as an artist is a beautiful thing. There are so many artists that I do support in their career to this day still. But since it’s apparently hard for some people to draw a line, please draw yours. It is paramount that you realise that your worth is far more than just a drop in an ocean of fans. You are someone outside the supporting role you play in somebody else’s career. And should you ever see a line getting blurry, should you ever have to wonder what your relationship with someone has become exactly, stand your ground like you would in a real life relationship. Accept that some people are incapable of reciprocating in a way that you would deserve, and walk away. What took me the longest was to acknowledge I deserved better. I sincerely hope it does not take you as long as it did me.

I’m walking away from all this with a deep peace of mind, a strong sense of my worth and more scars than my share. I’m walking away from this with my head high, and this band still in my heart because I know that it’s impossible for me to forget people who have been with me for almost a third of my life. I’m walking away from this hoping that sharing this will do people good, but also selfishly hoping that it will not get me into more painful situations. I’m walking away from this because after running in circles for seven years I trust myself enough to know that I deserve to. I’m walking away from this a better person, and it’s not thanks to you. I’m walking away from this knowing that the wound will hurt for a long time, that I will probably lose people because I have spoken my truth; but this goes beyond me and I will accept the consequences. I’m walking away from this, finally.

To finish, here is to her, should she ever read this. I don’t know how you ended up here, and honestly, you should not be here, because you lost your rights to my deepest thoughts a while ago. I wish you a good life. My one request is that you learn from this and never let something like that happen again.

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I grew up.

Madison says it best, as always.

the little madi that could

It’s a funny thing, hindsight. The saying goes that it’s 20/20 but from where I stand, it’s more like 20/1.

The best human vision ever recorded was 20/8.

Hawks see at 20/2.

But hindsight never closes its eyes. It never even blinks.

Somehow, I managed to be both blindsided and blind.

I thought, two summers ago, when I finally decided I had had enough, that I knew how hurt I was. I thought I reached the apex. I was so sure that no matter what, it was never going to get any worse than it was in that moment. I was never going to be that angry again. I was never going to be that frustrated again. I was never going to be that hurt again.

Then along came hindsight.

It didn’t ever get worse, per se, but in the months following that night in August 2016, it’s like this…

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miss you at 2 a.m.

.

I only crave you when the night is at its darkest

When I have nothing better to think about

When I should sleep but my brain won’t let me

And I slip up and send you “I miss you”

 

I expect no answer; I don’t even want one

Because when it’s not 2 a.m. I remember

That there is much more to my life now

Than your deceitful words

 

I always want you after midnight

And I realize this is a good sign

Because it’s just out of boredom

Because it’s just when there’s nothing better in sight

 

You were my 5p.m. “room full of people and I still need you”

You were my 10a.m. “I’m in class and I want to hold you”

You were my dinner time “it’s not the same without you”

You’re only my 2a.m. passing thought now

 

I’m erasing you.

Mostly, at 2a.m., I’m sleeping.

I sleep through your memory

I let it seep through and replace it with pretty dreams

 

I do not miss you anymore

You’re just a habit

That I am quitting

Except on some nights at 2a.m.

If that.

HEAVY

This is all too heavy for you, little girl,

This weight will break you,

Let someone stronger carry it,

Let the nice stranger lift it.

 

This is all too heavy for you, miss,

Those two things on your chest

Like they grew overnight

Mountains now yours to carry.

 

This is all too heavy for you, young lady,

Those thoughts. You have to fight them,

You’re shrinking and you look amazing but

The weight of your thoughts will kill you.

 

This is all too heavy for you, baby girl,

What do you mean you’re alive again?

You cannot carry that weight around

This is not supposed to happen to you.

 

This is all too heavy for me.

And by this, I mean I.

And maybe the mental pressure is heavier

Than the tangible heaviness of my body

 

This is all just heavy, I guess,

Heavy to process and heavy to live with

And you make it heavier,

I wish I didn’t blame you for it.

 

This is heavy but this is me.

I am heavy but I am light as air.

I will rise just the same.

I will make peace.

 

This could be heavy but I won’t let it

I am burying the hatchet

Fighting against myself means I can only lose,

So I won’t fight.

 

I am heavy, but this is not.

May 6th 2016 – A sweet sense of closure

Hello there, did you miss me ? I haven’t posted anything in so long, but I have decided today that I would try to start posting daily, because I find that I truly enjoy writing here and having people react to my writings, my emotions, and my experiences. Maybe it will help someone. Maybe it will inspire someone. Maybe it won’t, but maybe trying is better than doing nothing.

I always have this feeling that I have left so many chapters in my life unfinished. To me, those are like wounds still open that can still come bother me whenever they please. I am growing up, the wounds add up, and I end up overwhelmed. So last night, I made a decision to tie up all these loose ends and cauterise all the wounds so that I can make more room in my life for all the other feelings that I have that aren’t nostalgia or remorse.

I think everyone you meet in your life matters, I think everyone has their story, their role to play. Sometimes they are just a background character that will stay there for a week or two. Sometimes they are permanent and make an impact so deep it changes you. I used to have trouble accepting the dissymmetry of it: if someone is a permanent influence in my life, how can I possibly accept not to be one in theirs? I kept asking myself if I was doing something wrong, if I was feeling wrong, if there was something inherently odd about me. I am sure we all go through those phases, and I am sure we also all, in time, come to the same conclusion: it is a perfectly normal thing to feel.

Generally, I’m an eraser. I wipe people out of my life like they never existed and leave it at that, pushing their memory as far away as possible and trying my best to repress it. Slowly but surely, I am teaching myself not to do that, I am learning to take it all in, feel the emotions when they happen and accept them. Because when I don’t, eventually everything comes back crashing in, all at the same time, like a flood, and I drown in it all. I can’t afford to drown anymore, and most importantly I don’t deserve to drown. I deserve to keep swimming, and sometimes choke on the water of my emotions, but always swimming and doing alright. It is not living to constantly pretend like people from your past no longer have any type of influence on you.

In life you develop and you learn as you go, that’s kind of the point. You’re not the sum of the people you’ve met, but you’re a sum of the experiences you’ve shared with them and most importantly what you make of them. Sometimes people leave a bittersweet aftertaste in your mouth, maybe because they hurt you, maybe because you didn’t part friends. But they were there nonetheless, instrumental in your growth. Not everyone is meant to stay in your life forever, but you can let everyone you meet be a new way for you to grow. That is the philosophy that I am trying to embrace. Everyone knows something you do not. Everyone has lived through something that you have never experienced. As humans it’s only by accepting how virtually tiny we are compared to the entirety of mankind that we can become better, I truly believe that.

Letting people go, asking for forgiveness when I have been wrong, accepting that sometimes those who have hurt me will not right their wrongs, I believe those are all the things through which I grow more peaceful, more at ease, more mature. It is a journey and not always an easy one, but it brings me something that I was so longing for and never imagined I could achieve: closure. And it feels good.

 

Walking oxymoron – what I wrote about you I wrote it about me, too

She walks around wrapped in her pride and a cute dress, looking at the world like she owns it. She sits down at her desk, disarmed, the virtual knives of strangers’ opinions stabbing her to her very core. She looks unshakable, for the mask she’s been wearing for so long has turned into a brick wall. But walls are just that, temporary protection, and the one in Berlin, too, crumbled like hers will. When her fear and self loathing slip through the cracks she’ll put a brave face on and say thank you to the masses who ran at her with a hammer thinking she couldn’t be destroyed. That’s what you get for acting tougher than you are. That’s what you get for being softer than you want to show. That’s what you get when you keep the best of you hidden for so long. That’s what you get and probably not what you deserve, that’s what you tell yourself in the comfort of your room when you manage to run away from the voices and all this noise. Finally at peace, away from it all, maybe that’s where you’re happy, but you want to go back out there and help them all. You’re a never-ending cycle, between an unresolved god complex and a dire fear of failure. You can blame it on the arms people are brandishing towards you, be they fists or helping hands. You can blame it on the stars or whatever God you pray to, they did you so wrong, maybe they have a plan. But you’ll carry on walking. Someone has to.

(I wrote that a few months ago about someone I know. I read it again today and realised there was more to it, so I decided to publish it. It’s not good but it was very liberating.)

What lays beyond anger – a cathartic summer

I wish all the relationships I have with human beings were as simple as the bonds I’ve been forming this summer. It’s easy and natural, just talking and having a good time, no one trying to use the other, no power imbalance, just people being people. And it gets me thinking. About those relationships I hold on to that are broken beyond repair.

So here’s to you. Maybe in another life we would have been friends and maybe in another world things would have been simpler. Maybe it’s time that I move on from you. Maybe we regret all the chances we don’t take but there are some occasions in which regret is still better an option than what we put each other through. I’m sorry you couldn’t see that you, too, should have been sorry. I hope you don’t realise too late that you miss me, because I’ll be long gone by then, I have earned my right to selfishness.

And here’s also to you, you whose memory I cherish and always will, I know you’re not coming back. You didn’t leave me you just left altogether, and as much as my heart will welcome you whenever you choose to come back I cannot keep shivering every time something reminds me of you. Our paths will cross again but before they do I will draw a path of my own and paint my footsteps in the holes your absence left.

Here’s to you, all of you, that I tried to impress just for the sake of it, because I knew you didn’t like me and I couldn’t live with the thought. I spent too much time on you and not enough on people who actually value who I am, that’s a mistake a child makes, and not one that the woman I plan on being will make anymore. Because finally I see that being me is what the people I’m compatible with will like. All my accumulated self loathing is wearing thin and I’ll win this fight, without you.

This does not come from a place of anger, these thoughts appease me and I even feel grateful. Every person I have met, even the ones I do not want any contact with anymore, have made me grow and shaped me into who I am now. For that I am grateful. But sometimes it’s just time to realise the past is only just that: something that has passed. I will let my heart heal, keep the good things, and drop all the rest. No looking back.