CHAPTER TEN: PICTURE PERFECT

In the Lifestyle section there was an old story entitled “Wife’s Obesity is Symptom of Marriage in Big Trouble”. It had thousands upon thousands of posts, people keeping it alive by saying all kinds of silly things, including long rants about how the board was closing, or asking if the board should be re-opened, etc. Of course people kept responding to these threads, which always brought it to the top of the list.

As usual, on this and on other boards, I had been bashed and called a hypocrite and everything else. People accused me of thinking I’m better than anyone else, which is totally untrue. On March 25, I wrote a long, heartfelt response, message number 35,694:

“The people I have blown up at on these lowcarb and drug boards have pushed me to my very limit. Nobody else has been so mean and rude to me. I have been patient as could be with most of them, and my main message was always trying to make people see that they are too GOOD to be doing something like smoke pot, that they of ALL people should know better than to do something like that. I would always build people up and praise them whenever I found something praiseworthy. But certain people continued to hurl insult after insult, finding anything they could to try to turn the tables around on me, to try and make ME look bad, in order to justify their pot-smoking (or justify the fact that they think nothing is wrong with getting “stoned” on pot). People would attack anything they could find about me—my religion, the way I eat, even the fact that I collect dolls. I put up with it for months, never using any kind of bad language, never attacking people personally, just the BEHAVIOR of smoking illegal marijuana joints. I tried to tell them what kind of trouble they could get into with the law, how people have gone through hell where I live, and that even if it were legal, smoking pot is not a good thing  to do, that they are BETTER than that. But the attacks continued, until they got so ugly that I blew up. And yes I have used language out of complete anger (whereas many of these posters use that same language casually; but to me, it’s a BIG DEAL to use any kind of four-letter word. Heck, I don’t even use the a-word in real life. I am more on the quiet side and never, ever swear in real life.) But as I said, I blew up when certain posters have done everything they could to taunt me and try to make me feel bad. Anybody else would have told them off long ago, and used much stronger language. Especially funnychick, who attacked my weight loss story and tried to make me feel like there was something mentally wrong with me, when virtually anybody else reading that story would understand how I overcame my sugar addiction, learned to eat properly, and see it as an inspiring story and CONGRATULATE me, not put me down. But that’s the kind of stuff funnychick says to me, attacking me, my religion the way I eat, everything she can think of. Yet she’ll have you wrapped around her little finger, thinking she is so sweet and nice. Oh well, all I can say is that I tried to be nice to her, I really did. I thought there was hope, but I have learned my lesson. Anyway, that’s about all I can say. Again, I don’t think I am better than anyone else, I never have. We are all just people, children of God, and nobody is better than anybody else.”

By this time, I had blown up more times, using the b-word and perhaps others. I would just get so angry at some of these people, I didn’t know how to express myself. It’s different when you are face-to-face with someone and they can see your expression and hear your voice. But when the only way you have to express yourself is the written word, and you have been abused and provoked until you are practically foaming at the mouth, sometimes it’s easy to resort to saying things you normally would not say in real life. That was certainly the case for me. I did not want to use bad language, and vowed to never do it again. “I never used to be this way, and I hate how I’ve become. It’s not like me at all,” I told the others tearfully.

I had spent so much time with Fuschia trying to instill some sense of morality into her regarding marijuana. She was a mother, she had two little boys, and if she kept making fun of a woman like me, what kind of example was that setting? Did she want her precious little boys to grow up to be the typical teen pot-smokers, the type that would cave under peer pressure because they weren’t taught proper values? She told me that she never smoked pot as a teen, that her parents taught her to stay away from drugs and that she was 22 before she tried marijuana. Even so, she still smoked it! No matter what I said, she ridiculed me. She said several times that thanks to our conversations she was donating part of her income to the society to legalize marijuana or some such organization. Again, what kind of message would her two little boys get about drugs, if their mother was making fun of a woman like me? Why couldn’t she understand the importance of teaching her sons moral values, to stay away from drugs FOREVER, not just until they are 22? After some particularly vicious attacks, I blew up one night and said something about how she shouldn’t blame me if her kids rotted in jail—that with her attitude I wouldn’t be surprised if they grew up to be teen pot smokers. “If they get caught, don’t say I didn’t warn you!” I tried to tell her. After that, she started spreading rumors that I wished death upon her children. She KNEW that was not true, but she kept saying it anyway. It got to the point where the more she said it, the more I wanted to say, “I hope you die!” And then I began saying that as well, along with the cuss words!

In order to keep myself from blowing up again, I still was not reading Funnychick’s posts. However, a few days later on a health story, a guy named Alainkieda, who liked to give me a hard time, started a thread entitled, “Now I know where Cindybin got her f*ck me pose.” I thought, “What?!” I looked at the post, which turned out to be a link to a publicity picture of the actress Jessica Alba, who was in a similar pose as my profile picture, sitting on the floor in a skirt and leaning back. Hers was MUCH more provocative, however—she was practically horizontal and the pose was just sexy all around. She was quite pretty and tastefully dressed, though, and I thought it was a refreshing change from the lewd photos so many actresses use.

I saw that Funnychick had responded to Alain’s thread. I debated about reading it, afraid of becoming upset, but I succumbed to curiosity and took a peak. I was not prepared for what I saw. 

“Dear God…Alain…please warn us next time,” she said. “I about coughed up a lung. And you are right on. RIGHT ON. What’s funny is that I actually prefer the Cindy that was standing at the bottom of the stairs. She looks happier and healthier. She looks totally drained in the f**k me pose. But I guess she has to crawl through life since she doesn’t eat any carbs. I bet it was the dolls fault: They are making her I their likeness: Skinny, can’t move and nothing in their hollow little heads. And if you want to have sex with them, they are lifeless.”

I was livid. Absolutely livid. I was so stunned I couldn’t even get mad. The response I typed was that of a calm person, matter-of-factly stating what was on her mind:

“I made an exception and decided to read this one post of yours, because I wanted to see what you could POSSIBLY come up with about the reference to my picture. I thought of all kinds of things you might say, and yet I was still surprised that you were meaner than I imagined. You are such a bitch, you know that? And I don’t even have to be foaming-at-the-mouth mad to say that. I never started using that word until you came along. You are something else, I tell ya. What a thing to say. I honestly can’t believe you are a mother. You are the meanest, rudest, most immature woman I have ever come across.

“You know, I could sit here and pick apart your picture, but I wouldn’t do that. In fact, I honestly don’t think that is really your picture. I honestly hope it isn’t. Because I can’t imagine the pretty and sweet-looking woman in that photo saying the things you do. It just doesn’t fit. You don’t look the type to be so mean and immature. If it really is you, it makes me sad. It truly does.

“Thanks for saying I look “totally drained” in my photo. And it’s not a “f**k me” pose, anyway. I’m just sitting there, fully dressed. It was modeled after a 60’s picture of one of the Beatle’s girlfriends—a picture I liked and wanted to copy. And I thought it turned out okay.

“And again, I DO eat carbs. Lowcarb does not mean NO carb. For the millionth time, the media has distorted plans like Atkins, making it sound like the short induction period is the whole diet, when nothing could be further from the truth. And I am not on Atkins but Somersize, which has no induction period, so I have eaten things like oatmeal, whole-grain toast, etc. all along. I eat a big bowl of oatmeal almost every morning.

“And I am not skinny. I know I look rather slender in that picture, but if you could see me in person, you would realize I am far from skinny. I weigh a good 20-25 pounds more than I did in college, and I am still heavier than I was in my 20s and early 30s.

“And then you start in with the doll thing again, making fun of an innocent little hobby like that. I would NEVER do that to you! I would NEVER stoop so low as to make fun of a person’s hobby. You are just unreal, you know that? And then you say I have a “hollow little head”. And to top it off, you bring up the sex thing, just ASSUMING that you know what I am like in bed—that I would just be “lifeless.” Man, I honestly can’t believe you, I really can’t. You are sounding like an immature pre-teen. You are just pathetic. So rude and mean. A true bitch.”

I meant every word of that post, and I still do. It was tough to read this, because it brought back such horrible memories. What is even worse is that at the time, I still was not sure Funnychick was real. I half-believed someone made her up just to taunt me. Nobody could be that mean, I thought. But as you will see as this story continues, I came to believe with almost 100 percent certainty that she is who she says she is. And that’s even scarier.

Kristclear then told me that I looked like a “skeleton” in my picture.

“I hope you raise your daughter to have better manners than you have, making rude comments about a person’s picture,” I told her. “That’s not nice at all, even on the Internet.”

Someone named ddnlj came along to defend me. I had never seen this person before, but their post was very nice:

“For what it’s worth, Cindy, I don’t think you look like a skeleton. But, don’t you realize there are no “nice” people on these boards? If you want ‘nice’ people you have to go to sites that are moderated. These boards here are open season and provide forums for every body to demonstrate their lack of intelligence, manners, compassion, and self-control. Anonymity is not good for a lot of people. Cowardliness prevents them from expressing themselves face to face with the people in their lives, so they choose to do it behind the cover of a message board, attacking people they don’t even know. Gives them some odd sense of power, I suppose.”

I thanked this person for their post, and said I agree about moderated sites because people can say all kinds of things on the Yahoo boards. “Actually that is a good thing,” I pointed out, “because I can try and talk some sense into people about their pot-smoking, etc. and don’t have to worry about being banned. We can all say what we want. Freedom of speech is a good thing. And I wouldn’t post my picture unless I could handle it. I’m just trying to help people realize that they shouldn’t attack someone’s photo, that it is very bad manners. I would never say anything negative about a person’s appearance.”

Fuschia then started a topic, “Cindy’s hypocrisy shines through again.” She was determined to prove me a “hypocrite” every chance she got. She said that if I am so fond of the unmoderated format, “why on earth would you go to a moderated pro-hemp site in the first place? You’re just asking for people to wipe their @sses with you.” And if I think freedom of speech is a good thing, then why did I say mean things to her and the others, she asked. She also pointed out that I “attacked a woman” just a few days ago because I had said her picture was pornographic.

I told Fuschia to go puke on herself (I know that was bad, but it was better than cussing at her). “Man, you and the rest of your gang of cyber bullies are just unbelievable,” I said to her. “I have told you over and over the reason I blew up at you guys, after putting up with your abuse and insults for months, yet you won’t let it rest…And there’s nothing wrong with going to a moderated pot site and trying to talk some sense into the people there. Sure I expected abuse (or for them to “wipe their *sses with me as you so crudely put it), but there were also people on that site who appreciated me, who understood my message. And maybe those kids (and adults) wouldn’t get what I said at the time, but maybe at some future point they will come to realize what I said is true, and change their ways. That’s all that matters. If you were any kind of decent woman and parent, you would be agreeing with me, and doing the same thing I did. But no, you put down the nice, decent lady like she’s some kind of loon. Oh well, maybe you’ll change your tune when you end up bailing your kids out of jail because they end up the typical teen pot-smokers who think there’s nothing wrong with lighting up a joint on a Friday night and getting ‘stoned’. All the cool kids do it, you know. The only ones who don’t are the nerds and losers.

“And yes, whenever I see women who post pornographic photos, or photos in poor taste, I point that out. I don’t tell them they are ugly or look like a skeleton or that they look drained etc. I point out that the BEHAVIOR of posting a pornographic photo or a photo that is too suggestive is wrong.”

I made that post and left the board. There was only so much I could take of the Tough Chicks.


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