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  • Writer's pictureclaudiaherman

Who's That Trip Trapping Over My Bridge?! A Tale About Trolls, Triggers and Reaching Out for Support

When we lift our heads above the parapet of anonymity we make ourselves vulnerable to trolls and the world of trolling. Interestingly, in Icelandic culture trolls are beneficent creatures bestowing protection and good fortune. Not so much the ones online. I am used to my written offerings being poorly received. In a previous life I used to write court reports on paedophiles. A fairly ungrateful audience who used to make the occasional threat so the police had a flag on my house. Everyone's a critic.

I've been making my writings, on various topics, public for a couple of years and maybe my first troll is a rite of passage. It is a fascinating process to observe. I'm not super creative, you might have noticed, so regarding the content of my blogs there is usually a substantial clue in the title. I write about real life or at least a version of real life, my version of my real life. I try to include humour, some would argue, badly. Real life can be difficult, painful and hilarious, sometimes simultaneously.

The thought processes of reading the title, thinking 'this will probably challenge, trigger or offend me' and then reading on anyway is fascinating. It might be cathartic to deliberately wind ourselves up to within an inch of our lives and then shout at a stranger online. Then, riding high on self righteous fury refuse to engage in a dialogue of any sort, sticking resolutely to the one way shouting in cap locks.

I completely understand that some of my blogs might be triggering in their content. The briefest glance at my website, my facebook group or my book would inform you that I don't tend to write about gardening and interiors. Though I am interested in gardening and interiors.

If one of my blogs is triggering for you please reach out. There are an almost infinite number of infinitely excellent resources and organisations. In the UK, I strongly recommend Women's Aid, NSPCC, Childline, Papyrus, RASASC. Resources are available online and can be accessed anonymously. I suspect for some trolls they are not solely giving others a hard time but also having a hard time. As mentioned earlier, maybe shouting at strangers is cathartic, in which case I am providing a public service. You're welcome. For others, I suspect the act of trolling is deeply cowardly. We can all reinvent ourselves or project a persona from behind a keyboard but probably don't shout at strangers in the street in cap locks. Did I mention the cap locks?

No one is obliged to agree with me. I am willing to discuss my views, defend my views, provide the evidence to support my views and amend my views. We're allowed to change and grow. On a cellular level, human beings regenerate every 7* years - a bit like Dr Who. We are not defined by our previous experiences or behaviours. Nor are we obliged to hold slavishly to the opinion we held 5 minutes ago. But reflection requires bravery because sometimes it's not pretty.

It's worth mentioning that the UK has relatively robust laws around libel, defamation and slander, top troll tip. Forgot to mention that the blog that was evidently triggering was, 'The Pornification of Mainstream Culture'. You could be forgiven for not knowing what it was going to be about before you read it. Anyhow, the other day my daughter came home from the independent, fee paying school she attends and mentioned that one of the boys in her English class had been talking about 'threesomes'. They are 12 and 13 years old.

I, therefore, defer to my troll's superior knowledge. Nothing to see here.

* Edit *

it seems some cells do not renew themselves at all whilst others renew themselves much more frequently than 7 years.

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