A troll is someone who takes another person down using snide comments or memes on social media. That is according to the Medrine dictionary. The last couple of weeks have shown how easy it is to be dragged on social media for having an opinion (Sauti Sol) and sometimes your mere existence is a magnet for anonymous keyboard bullies.
Nobody is born being a pain in the behind. Our different backgrounds and environments shape who we are. That is where we learn hate, prejudice, love, empathy, disdain, cruelty or generosity. As children, people around us make most of the decisions for us and even when our contribution is allowed, its impact is not of a huge magnitude. When we grow older and gain an understanding of who we are, everything we do is a deliberate choice. Even being a troll is a conscious choice.
A troll is anger, jealousy and bitterness trapped in a human body. Anger can be towards self or can be projected on others. It stems from unachieved goals and unmet expectations. Simply put failure. In some occasions we are the cause of our failure and in others malicious people have a hand in our defeat. In both situations there is need for forgiveness for self and others so that the healing process begins. If left to fester the green eyed monster, jealousy, buds.
When I was in campus I had a plan for my life and for the most part it went according to my blueprint with only a few non-fatal missteps. Then came my first internship. I got to work with a good company but in a position I had not intentions of pursuing long term. On the bright side I had one leg in. I would do what was required in the least time possible so as to leave time for what I wanted to pursue; content creation. At the time I did not have a name for it.
All was well till my editor told me that I had been let go as an intern a week before my time was done. Reason? I was no longer needed and there were other people who wanted those opportunities as well. That was the press release version. The truth is I refused to play ball. I remember leaving and being so beaten and scared because that was not part of the plan.
For years I tried to get back in into radio but that door was just stuck. I was angry, remember that word, at myself for not doing enough to stay on. It did not help that the other intern flew out of the country, the other promoted and then there was me. Back home after my family did their best to get me an education. I went over all the conversations I had had with everyone at the company to see where I went wrong.
Guess who else shows up for the party when anger checks in, insecurities. I thought maybe I did not have the right family name,run in the right circles, have the right accent or know the right people. I started to observe everyone who was doing what I wanted to do and they were everything I was not (or so I thought). Instead of focusing on their journeys, I took them at face value. And I was pissed.
I never thought of venting on social media, instead my battle became internal. After that internship every job/ project was a confirmation of what I said about myself. A little secret, when you are angry and bitter at the world, the world can tell. It shows on your face. There is a death look that angry people have. I know because I had it. Mine came with scary acne that no beauty regimen could cure.
After anger and jealousy have cozied up, bitterness pitches up its tent and that is a hard one to bring down. This is what feeds trolls. If they pick you apart, for a split second they bring you down to their level.
Have you ever noticed that trolls pick on people who are doing something bold? You don’t have to be known, though celebrities are the easiest target, you just have to be doing something the troll is not. It could be something from taking a photo in the perfect light and posting it, to bagging the opportunity of your dreams. Trolls drag people because that fuels their ego and justifies their negativity.Being bitter hurts both inside and outwards and the only way to keep that going is bring people down.
There is nothing wrong with you it must be them. They who have made a bold choice to live out their life. They who have admitted their faults and began the healing process. They who started out as an unpaid intern for two years before getting a chance at news reporting. They that dared to leave. Surely it must be them.
Wrong (In Trump’s voice).
Now that you did not step out and dare to be you bring down everyone who did. Honey there is nothing wrong with them. The funniest thing is when trolls pick on people they have never met (probably never will). You are the one with the issues. I know it because I was there too. Not a troll but I had issues that could ensure job security for all psychiatrists. Do you know how much bile you must have to key in your email and password, click on someone’s tweet or Facebok update, Instagram photo and leave a negative comment? Or even fabricate a story for clicks?
All is not lost. First, take a break from social media and evaluate why you are the replacement of the playground bully. Seriously search within yourself and understand why you take pleasure in other people’s downfall. That says more about who you are. Identify what your triggers are and why you feel the need to feed the ugly monster disguised as bitterness. Use a pen and paper if you have to.
Afterwards, begin the healing process. The first thing you have to do is forgive; yourself, others and most importantly those you consider enemies. It will take lunches, awkward calls, unsettling conversations and a whole lot of apologies. I promise you, you will feel lighter, look better and have a glow that even you cannot explain.
It will not happen instantly and fear should not hold you back. Dare to be. If you know how much work goes into building dreams and battling fears every day, you will respect the process. If you are busy living out your dreams, there is no time left to bring other people down. My journey took four years and I am still in the process. Only now I am very aware of triggers and toxicity that threatens my peace.
Find your peace. Namaste.