On Feeding Trolls and Why I am Eternally Grateful to Angelina Clements (whoever she may be….)

When a person, previously unknown to me, called Angelina Clements chose to post a judgemental and slightly inflammatory comment on one of my posts yesterday, it led to a chain of events that I never would have foreseen. 

Played out in public and perhaps unfortunately for her, preserved forever in screenshots shared to Instagram. I’m not sure what she was thinking when she chose to comment on my post as she did… but I don’t think she expected it to pan out quite the way it did. 

I’m going to share the story by means of screenshots and quotes as I think this is the best way to explain what happened. I am going to try to stay neutral in my commentary to avoid going off on tangents and allow you to draw your own conclusions.
Post 1: as shared on here, in celebration of my progress in ED recovery. 

Also shared to my FB page.

I write this from my happy place (being in my wilderness of a garden, while sunbathing in a wooly hat and drinking gin through a heart shaped straw). For those not “in the know” I feel I should explain that my use of the term “happy place” here, does not mean I feel happy. It means I have taken myself to pre-ordained safe place, mentally and physically, in which I can usually at least have a chance of boosting my mood and finding some inner peace and safety. Sometimes a “happy place” can exist purely in the imagination. And sometimes it’s purely a physical location. Most people try to have a few because you can’t always predict when and where you’ll be when you want to go to them. And I feel I must stress here, strongly, how DIFFICULT it is to “go to your happy place” when you need to. So that, right there. Me just WRITING THIS FROM HERE is huge. In and of itself. Yet this is NOT the positive thing I feel compelled to share, not at all. My happy place simply allowed me the inner peace to access wise mind and reflect on the year that I’ve just traversed and realise how far I’ve come. I’m not gonna lie. Things are REALLY hard at the moment. Physically, mentally, in every way possible. But you know what?! I CAN DO HARD THINGS!! And what I am doing RIGHT NOW exemplifies this. Two years ago, I had never in my life sunbathed with more than… a third… maybe… of my body exposed, due to a foul combination of Body Shame, Eating Disorder and Body Dysmorphia. A year ago almost to the day, I proudly shared a photo of myself sunbathing in this very same place. At that point, I considered myself in Eating Disorder recovery. I was eating again. But I was also at (or close to) my “ideal” body size. Sunbathing was still an achievement, and being ok with exposing my body (even in the privacy of my garden) was another. But I still feared weight gain (was terrified in truth) and “knew” I wouldn’t be able to do this if I gained even a kilo. That told me something wasn’t right. I’d never maintain my recovery if I was still thinking like that. And so began my journey into the world of Body Positivity. It seemed like a wondrous thing. But it was an aspiration, one I felt I’d never achieve. And I’m not there yet… but I have just realised that as I lie here in my garden in almost perfect mimicry of last year’s scene… one thing is different. I’m not within my ED brain’s idea of the weight range it’s ok to exist in… but I care not one bit!!! In fact I am comfortable with my body. More so even than I was last year. And it’s only on being here, like this, that I realise… this is not what I thought would happen. I had been thinking that this summer was going to be harder for me than last. That I was going to have to work a lot harder at maintaining my healthier eating behaviours and not relapse… and that still might be the case at times… but, I feel something I never thought possible. I have developed a mindset I never thought I’d achieve. And it feels like magic. But it isn’t. It’s the result of a lot of HARD WORK. Really, really hard work. And good therapy and it’s an achievement and I am allowed to be PROUD of myself. And I am. So this is in part me celebrating how far I’ve come, and in part a message to anyone out there reading this and feeling the way I felt last year (the way I still feel about many things). You CAN do it. It doesn’t happen overnight but it does happen. And it takes a TON of REALLY HARD WORK. But it’s worth it. One day you’ll will catch yourself doing something you never dreamed possible with such ease that you didn’t even really think before you did it. Trust the process; it works!! Also, a massive shout to all the Body Positive Warriors who’ve gone before, for sharing their own journeys. You guys kept me going! Especially @bodyposipanda – this lady is my hero. Image Copyright Katy Matilda Neo 2017

I was honoured to receive many positive comments & messages congratulating me on my recovery progress, such as:

“Great post Katy. Soooo pleased that you are in a better place of self- acceptance than last year ( despite not thinking that when you woke). I remember your smart, feisty, hidden warmth and knew you’d make a mark on the world… Which you are doing through your inspirational blogs. Enjoy the sunshine and gin- fabulous combination xxx”

“I’m so proud of you my darling”

“Simply wonderful!”

“That’s so amazing. Love it! Love it! So much to celebrate on the retreat!!” (the next time we’ll see each other, I’ll talk about our retreats some other time in another post).

~ and other similar comments from a variety of sources, friends, followers and even an old school teacher (pretty miraculous given what a nightmare I was to teach).

But out of the blue I ended up engaged in the following conversation, with someone I have never met or heard of:

And the more I conversed with her, the funnier I found it. And also, the more my friends, followers and wellwishers rallied around me:

“I’d ignore her if I were you. The comments section of most social media is the swamps. Don’t get sucked in there it’s sticky, mucky and truly the breeding ground of parasites, sucking the life and joy out of everything (dementor grounds). There are no facial expressions, no tone of voice, no personal contact and it’s dehumanising. Pour yourself another gin, put that fabulous heart-shaped straw in it, stay on dry land and in the sunshine and bask in yet another day of you-ness. Life has a way of teaching everyone the lessons they need. And it’s usually very humbling…”

“I read through this and it made me really angry -.- I was two steps away from replying to her on your page and realised that exactly as [the previous commenter] said all I would be doing is getting suckered in. She either has her own demons with Alcohol, is another USA prohibition era hippy or just a moron, either way bring on the ban hammer and ignore the dappy troll 🙂 keep fighting the good fight xx”

This show of support resulted in some slightly more personal, and even threatening behaviour from Angelina.

One follower had referred to me by the name I use on my personal FB page in a comment (my identity is no secret on my FB page, I just like to keep my private life separate from what I choose to publicise), and Angelina responded something like “well, she’s obviously only defending you because she knows you, some friend you’ve got there TILLY”. [No emphasis added]

A bit threatening?

So I immediately deleted it as threatening content has no place on my page. None whatsoever. 

If I’m honest, by this point I was just baiting her…. and it worked…. because the next bit is ignorant troll gold!!!!

Many things ran through my head at this point… including questioning her judgment of ME as irrational, sending her a list of my qualifications or pointing out that I have taught psychology research methods to MSc students at a top U.K. University and advised the design of some of the most prestigious healthcare research projects currently in progress (I’m sure that would have put fear into her heart at the fate of future generations)… 

but… I didn’t bother – she says it all for me – why waste my energy on a thread I’m gonna delete…

But then, it REALLY annoyed me, as it affected a vulnerable and loving friend and supporter; the one who had named me. Inadvertently her comment naming me was deleted as I deleted the entire thread but ANGELINA CLEMENTS led her to believe she had done wrong to me. To the point where she apologised to me. I of course reassured her she had done nothing wrong, I was grateful for her support and her comment was only deleted as a side effect of me deleting Angelina’s.

This woman had attacked me for no apparent reason, and now she was attacking people I care about. Enough was enough. I deleted all her comments. Blocked and reported her to Facebook, and thanked all my friends for their suppport, which meant the world. 

However, in aid of highlighting, and I hope bringing an end to this sort of behaviour, I also chose to preserve and publicise it via a serious of instagram posts:

And then I honestly spent all morning in fits of laughter discussing the situation with various friends, culminating in a final Instagram post on the matter

And you know what… if her intention was to do good in the world and help me and others….. she succeeded:

please, please, I beg you, engage your sarcasm sensor when reading the following: OMG I’m at it again… all that SUN, the WOOLY HAT and the GIN and WORST OF ALL I’m working on another “Hattie Page” in my art journal full of positive affirmations about how far I’ve come since this time last year…. WHAT A BAD INFLUENCE… I should just commit myself now…. also my gin glass has grown EXPONENTIALLY in size since yesterday… I’m on a slippery slope here people… I NEED HELP!! I’m hosting an intervention on myself, tomorrow afternoon in my garden, weather permitting, BYOB.

I feel absolutely great about myself and have had a day of feeling strong, powerful, and looking back over all my achievements as well as feeling all the good feels that come with having all your loved ones, friends and followers rally around you with messages of love, light and encouragement.

And I choose to end with a note from my therapist. Verbatim:

“Add my comment to the list of supporters. I’m proud of you.”

So thank you Angelina Clements. Sincerely. From the bottom of my heart.

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