One morning in August, I saw a post from Funnychick to Sammy, telling him that she thought he was pretty cool. Sammy, knowing I was there, responded with something like, “at severe risk to my status in Cindy’s inner circle, I think you are pretty cool, too.” I couldn’t believe my eyes. How could he think anyone like Funnychick was cool? Had he read ANYTHING she said to me??? All the rants I posted about her ripping into me for my weight loss story, telling me I wear a kick-me sign on my back, lifting things I said from a lowcarb site and posting them on Yahoo to ridicule, making fun of my doll collecting and my pictures, trying to make me feel like crap about my sex life…how could he think ANYONE who was as mean as her could be “cool”? He and I were getting along pretty well, but I couldn’t let this slip by. “You bet this is a risk to you being in my inner circle!” I said. “I can’t believe you said that!” We “discussed” this further privately. It was one of the few spats he and I ever had. He later told the Tough Chicks he had to watch what he said on the boards. “I never know what I might find in my mailbox,” he said. But this is what I mean about Funnychick wrapping people around her little finger. Nobody seemed to find fault with her, no matter how mean she was, no matter how far she crossed the line. 

On August 15, I came across a post from Tickytack to Factmcfactstein, where she was telling Facts that I am selfish and self-centered.

“I honestly can’t see anyone voluntarily staying with a person so selfish and deluded about what is and is not proper for a woman to do,” she said. “I mean, it’s like others have said, fine if she doesn’t LIKE doing it, but at least try it first, don’t just write it off as ‘unladylike’ and ‘too much work’. That is just self-centered. ‘No honeybunnysnookiesnuggums—I won’t do anything you’d like to do because it’s too much of an effort on my part. But YOU’RE a man, so do my bidding!’”

Oh I was just FURIOUS!!!! I saved her post because I wanted a record of just how mean she was. Unfortunately I did not save my reply, but I’m sure I told her off but good. She was making me feel like CRAP!!! Just outright calling me lazy, selfish and self-centered! I kept telling these women over and over that they were “delusional”, that they thought just because a woman didn’t have it in her to “suck off a penis” that she was worthless! Oh how I wished I had never said anything about blowjobs! How I wished I had never used the phrase “too much work”. That is not what I meant at all! She made it sound as if I was just too lazy to do the vacuuming! She made me feel terrible! I am crying just typing this. It is bringing back terrible memories.

I remember one evening TickyTack’s boyfriend was posting on the boards with her. She told him about me, what a “selfish prude” I was. I tried to defend myself, and even appealed to her boyfriend, asking how he could be with a woman who would attack someone like me, trying to make me feel totally worthless and inadequate for something like that. “Is this really the type of woman you want to marry?” All he did was tell me how great he thought she was and how much he loved her.

I was becoming more and more vicious. This was really getting to me. I had never even thought about this before, and now it was on my mind constantly. In fact, I told them that what I was learning was that if all women who do this are like the women I met on Yahoo, I didn’t want anything to do with it. And whereas I had stuttered and stammered my way through that golf story in October 2004 where everyone made me feel like a freak and I was so cognizant of others’ feelings, now I was really speaking my mind. “What kind of woman has it in her to perform a BLOWJOB???” I’d yell to these women. “You just gotta be TOUGH, don’t you! You think anyone who doesn’t do that is a frigid, selfish, lazy prude and that her husband is cheating on her, so you have to be a TOUGH CHICK and suck away, so YOU won’t be called that, too! TOUGH CHICK!”

Things just kept getting worse. Three days later, on August 18, I was on one of the current boards in the afternoon, a story about drugs. The Original Tough Chicks, who normally stayed on the old index stories, showed up out of nowhere and began posting links to where I had blown up and used bad language. I guess they saw a story about drugs on the main page and figured Cindybin would be there, so they attacked. This was all a game to them, to try and embarrass and humiliate me.

I had been having a discussion with a pot-smoker, and apparently this guy was asking me why marijuana is wrong. I was saying my usual spiel about how most parents try to keep their kids off drugs and out of trouble with the law, and that even if pot were legal, they would still raise them to stay off of it, because it’s a mind-altering drug! Then Silver told this guy, “It’s pointless to argue with her. She’s a troll.” I exploded! Just when I thought she understood, she turned on me again! I went berserk and started cussing up a storm. I just could not believe it. How could Silver be so mean and dense? What was WRONG with her???? It was a horrible, horrible afternoon.

That night, I checked the old “bully board”—one of the older stories that the Original Tough Chicks congregated on, and found some very mean posts. I told Sammy about it in an email:

“Someone asked me how much my husband spends on BJ’s down the street and Funnychick replied, “They are free. The women feel so sorry for him that they donate their services.” I tell ya, Sammy, I’m so drained and disillusioned, I couldn’t even get mad. I must be in a different kind of mood or something, but I just felt great sadness rather than rage. I honestly don’t see how anyone can think they are nice and that I’m the mean one. The other night, Fuschia said she and her kids think I look sad and sick. Internet Fake Tree said I was a dried up shriveled frigid prude or something like that, I forgot the exact words. But this is what these women are like.”

I no longer had respect for Funnychick, so I brushed off her comment about BJ’s. Fuschia’s remark about my picture saddened me. I would never say anything like that about her or anyone else. She had very briefly posted a picture of herself last month or so because she wasn’t comfortable keeping it up on the Internet. The others had a chance to view it, but I said I was not going to—I wasn’t interested in seeing her, she had been too mean to me and I did not want her image in my head. She said something like, “Oh come on, I bet you’ll look at it. In a few days you’ll be making fun of the bleached blonde floozy.” Apparently she had bleached blonde hair. But that made me mad, because I would never say make fun of her picture, no matter what she looked like. Internet Fake Tree never did post a photo of herself. But the same held true for her—no matter what she looked like, I would not say anything bad.

One night I came to the bully board and Fuschia greeted me with a post about how she was making “real brownies” and not the “fake” lowcarb ones I make. She knew this would get me. She knew that I use real ingredients. I responded that my brownies WERE real, they just didn’t have white, refined flour and sugar. I told her to go ahead and eat her brownies, “and I hope you choke!” My post got several recs. This was obviously not a very vicious exchange, but more to generate humor. But Fuschia did seem to want me to think she was a b-word. She delighted when I’d get mad enough to call her the worst of the Tough Chicks. She’d say something like, “Score!”, and laugh about it, thrilled that she now had the title of Queen of the Bitches. That’s what many of these women were like. It was all a game to see who could get Cindybin the most upset, or cause her to have a “meltdown” as Robert called it. Alainkieda always could tell when I was losing my patience. One time during a conversation with someone, he interjected, “Tick, tick, tick…KABOOM!” 

One might ask, “Why did you keep going back?” That is a very good question. Sometimes I said it was like a train wreck, where one couldn’t help but look. Also it’s an addiction of sorts, like a soap opera. I grew close to them, cared about them, even told them all a couple of times that I loved them. I spent so much time with them, put my all into it. I’d have to keep replying to some outrageous thing somebody said, and just when I thought I’d said everything there was to say on some subject, just when I thought they couldn’t possibly find anything more to argue or disagree about, just when I thought they would finally UNDERSTAND, they would top themselves. And then I’d have to respond to THAT. It just never ended.

It was probably the next day that I emailed Silver out of desperation, telling her that I had cried half an hour before bed last night, “Why can’t she understand what I mean????” I sobbed. I kept trying to tell her that I feel EXACTLY AS SHE DOES about drugs, why can’t she understand that? What was I not making clear??? I just didn’t understand what she had against me!!! She emailed me back but I was in such a state I couldn’t read it, not then, at least. And I doubt it was nice, because she posted on the board something about how I had to be a troll, how nobody would cry over a message board. I never did read her email, I was so weak at that time I just couldn’t take it. I knew I’d lose control if it was mean, so I deleted it.

There were other tough chicks who appeared now and then, too many to mention here. But Melanthy is one I remember from this month. I didn’t see her too often, but she joined in with the bullies on the older stories. I had just read some posts of hers where she talked about finding responsible babysitters or care for her children. She sounded like such a good, decent mother and I told her so. “So WHY are you joining with those Tough Chicks and making fun of me?” I asked her. I really was serious. I told her that I was just a normal, average person, that I didn’t say anything outrageous, that I was a mother like her. Why was she being a bully to me? What had I ever said to her? But she kept it up. It just hurt so bad.

I was so depressed, having crying jags…I remember one morning I woke up and as I was getting out of bed, tears dropped down onto my journal. “What a way to wake up,” I thought. I didn’t know how long I could keep going like this. It got to the point where I couldn’t make a post to any of them without using the phrase “f*cking bitch”. I’d say things like, “I HATE YOU! I HOPE YOU DIE!” I was just filled with hatred. I kept telling them that I hated being this way, how I never planned on this happening. I thought of the pleasant conversations I’d had with Exie and Marcus last fall, the fun things I used to post with the “regulars”. And here I was, less than a year later, crying and typing, “YOU F*CKING B*TCH! I HOPE YOU DIE! I HATE YOU!” What had happened to me?

And then Hummy posted a link to me about the teachings of my church and how we should not swear. That made me more furious than ever! I blew up at her, yelled stuff about how I already KNEW that, and that’s what I’ve been saying all along, how I know this is wrong, how I never used to swear and these bullies drove me insane, and when I apologized and vowed to not do it anymore, they wouldn’t let up, they kept reminding me of how I did it, and that made me even madder, and I was doing this because I was so hurt and angry and didn’t have any way to get back at them. Didn’t she understand that? She always seemed to say the wrong thing, even though she didn’t mean to. Another time Hummy made a long post to me about how I should treat others as I would want to be treated. Of course her post received many recs. That made me angrier, too! Why didn’t she tell this stuff to Funnychick and the others for all the horrible, horrible things they had said to me???

By mid-August, I had stooped to a new low. I said something to one of the Tough Chicks that I thought I could never say to anyone.

Chapter 23
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