Of Trolls and Bridges

Being this open and vulnerable about my life and the struggles therein isn’t easy.

I started this process so I could be honest with myself, and create a sense of accountability.

Owning my struggles and my successes.

This had nothing to do with building a public profile. In fact, I’ve gone out of my way to try and not do interviews with both local and even national media. Because that’s not why I’m on this journey.

Nothing could have prepared me for the outpouring of love and support that followed both the blog here on The Narcissist’s Revenge, and Downsizing with CBC Radio. Nothing.

The messages, and feedback have been tremendous.

Another aspect that I couldn’t foresee would be that of trolling.

According to lore, Trolls were nasty little creatures that dwelled beneath bridges. They would take whatever they could from people who just happened by.

Modern day trolls attempt to attack the credibility or just hurt people online. It’s bullying of the worst kind — nameless, tasteless, and tactless.

However, here’s what the trolls are doing.

They’re shining a light on how hard it is to achieve a healthy life.

Their collective attitudes are a reflection of how pockets of society really feel about people trying to better themselves. So, when they ask “why is it so hard for you to just stop fucking eating?” They are, in essence, answering their own question.

The answer, of course, is that society treats those outside the norm as just that… outsiders.

Recently, I had somebody who knew me — most likely from years back — expound on how I wasn’t a nice guy.

And every one of us are entitled to our own opinions, so I’m not going to dispute that fact. But I tend to disagree with that un-named “friend” — which is also my right.

What I will say is that I’ve been far from a perfect.

I’ve made terrible choices. I’ve hurt people who tried to help me. I’ve shut people out of my life. I’ve said mean things on occasion to people. Held irrational opinions on a variety of topics from proper service in a restaurant to whether or not somebody said “you’re welcome” (that still bugs me, sorry).

In the years after the loss of my brother I got angry. Really angry. And I would do this thing where I’d select random people to be angry at. For little to no reason whatsoever.

One gentleman in particular — Sam was his name — was taking pictures at a party I was at and I decided to just flat out hate him. No real reason. Other than I didn’t approve of him taking photos. After all, who the fuck was he to gleefully snap away at parties? Who takes pictures at parties?

People do, that’s who. All kinds of people.

I carried that anger with me for years. Until one New Years Eve I was at another party with him. I leaned over to Sam and told him how sorry I was for being so irrational towards him.

He was a great guy. He said that he understood. I assured him that it was nothing he had done, he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I’ve made lots of those mistakes. And more.

And while I can’t turn back time and change things. I can look forward to the future and make sure they don’t continue to happen.

When I started this project with CBC I was given the option to turn off the commenting. I said “no, leave them”. It was important for me to read how other people felt. The stories that people shared online in that public space were tremendous.

And every now and then you’d get somebody who is probably just as unhappy as I once was. And I get it. I really do. And I feel bad for people when their only release comes from public displays of anger like that.

But, I also I think it’s important for people to see the kind of vitriol that is out there. And instead of it being swept under the blanket with a “that’s trolls being trolls” attitude, or avoid reading the comments all together — perhaps we need to talk about it in a more open and rational tone. Maybe we need to ask why these attitudes exist.

I don’t know.

But one thing I do know, almost for sure, is that this kind of bullying isn’t making anyone happy — neither the bully nor the bullied.

Being overweight when you don’t want to be isn’t a lot of fun.

And let’s face it — living under a bridge can’t be all that it’s cracked up to be, either.

12 thoughts on “Of Trolls and Bridges

  1. Dave, your journey is hard earned. And your sharing along the way has been so inspiring. I love seeing new pictures of you, when you post, and new Fe atures emerge – you once again have a neck, and you have bravely stuck it out for us all. Thank you!

  2. I was goinng to add that ‘Trolls do troll things” , but you are right. Hurt people, hurt people. I doubt that a) They realize to what extent that they are hurting people, and b) they realize to what extent they are hurting.

  3. It’s still boring and hard work, BUT, you’re on the downhill slope, and you not only have have affirmation in the mirror, but also in your trousers falling down after you’ve buttoned them.

    Best advice ever from one of my sister-law’s loosie-goosie West coast advisors, most excellent for the holiday season:
    When you know you have to have a treat…booze, pastry, red meat with sauce…make sure you have the BEST. Do not buy a Walmart or Sobey’s cake, go to the best pastry store in town and buy the most expensive item you want; eat and enjoy, and you will be surprised at how little satisfies you. Ditto with red meat and tons of real butter, and the most expensive bottle of booze you can find. The amount of how little of any of these treats gives you so much real pleasure will be a revelation.

    Good luck, and do not dread the Saturnalia, it’s what keeps us alive during the dark, dark days. Kathie

  4. I just read a quote on Facebook, it said “Hey, if someone treats you like crap, just remember, there is something wrong with them, not you. Normal people don’t go around destroying other human beings”

  5. Hey Dave,

    Every time I commented either on one of your CBC installments or your blog in the back of my mind i hoped that my comment each time at least “neutralized” some “of the dark side” comments that trolls pointed your way……

    You, my friend, are so “real” it “hurts” the trolls.

    Thank you for allowing us in the “ethernet” to be part of your journey of discovery. A journey that contains elements we all share.

  6. Dave can you call me to talk about a book?

    Beth Bruder| Vice President Dundurn 3 Church St. Suite 500 Toronto, ON M5E 1M2 (416) 214-5544 x232 dundurn.com

    facebook.com/dundurnpress @dundurnpress

    This message, including any attachments, may contain confidential and proprietary information. If you are not the intended recipient of this message, or have otherwise received this message in error, please notify us immediately by return e-mail and be advised that the use, disclosure or copying of any portion of this message is unauthorized and may be unlawful. Please permanently delete the original message, including any attachments, without making a copy.

  7. Hi Dave, I hope you keep being honest with yourself and in your blog. I’m far from perfect too and have also made lots of mistakes. Quite frankly, I don’t know anybody who is different than this. I came across your blog by accident (if you believe in accidents) and am so glad I did. I’ve been wanting to do something about my weight for a long time. I’m still in the wanting to do stage but reading what you’ve been doing about it gives me hope – maybe I can too. Thanks for your inspiration. Keep it up and keep up the good work. Phyllis

  8. I can’t add much to what’s already been said, other than keep going. What you write is raw and honest, and it has to be said because no one knows what it’s like to be overweight but someone who is living it. You’ve inspired a lot of people. Trolls be damned.

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