BANNED FROM IG - I Must Be Doing Something Right
It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. ~Krishna Morti
Said to me by my gamer friends while discussing certain forms of flack I receive: "When you find yourself bombarded by ever-increasing numbers of enemies and ever-larger bosses, you know you're headed in the right direction."
So remember how I quit FB in 2020 because I was pretty sure I was being shadow-banned and I got sick of the disparagement by some of my supposed "friends" when I started sharing this blog?
I should actually clarify that. Because it wasn't when I first started sharing links to this blog. The earliest posts were mostly about dance, perseverance, inspiration, and my frustrated determination to figure out my bleeping rhythm on this thing. That was no problem.
You know when people started telling me that they weren't seeing my stuff anymore and when my engagement on all my posts in general suddenly dropped?
When I started sharing posts of about the realities of living with TBI. An even more noticeable engagement drop and the sudden disparaging comments happened when I started writing about c-PTSD.
Yup. It happened when I opened up my big can about things I'd long tried to keep hidden. You know, a bunch of those things we’re not supposed to talk openly about: prejudice, childhood bullying and its variants committed by people in adult-sized panties, domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment, slut-shaming, assault...
Social pariah status: activated.
Well, I did some experiments with the algorithm and with my old audience, which led me to the decision that Fakebook was no longer for me, and probably never really had been.
But you know...the Gatekeeping!!!! We neeeeeds it! We can't advertise without it, uuuuuughhhh!!!!!!
I no longer have a big audience to lose. I no longer have an income to lose. And I refuse to build a new one upon reindeer games. If I ever find myself with an audience that could feed me again, it will not be dependent upon social media.
I learned that lesson back in 2009 when the music industry had its heyday with YouTube. Back then I had videos that numbered in the hundreds of thousands of views, and even a few that came up as the Number 1 item on a Google search. Yes. Widdle ole me.
When our ability to post videos with copyrighted music was yoinked unless we personally owned it, that obliterated my happy algorithm status. It obliterated my ability to reach new people. It obliterated my primary advertising medium. Piggybacked by the two-punch combo of brain issues and 2010's economic crash where I had six festivals and multiple local classes fold in a year, it was one of the primary things that obliterated my career.
Because, um...dancer. Moves set to specific music. Zero impact when you remove said music and put other background bulldookie behind it.
Well, YouTube and the music industry made nice, but it didn't matter. Because those most popular videos that had the largest numbers of views were not on my channel, but on the channel of one of my producers. She got nervous and took them all down. My algorithms never recovered, and since then, I've never figured out the magical formula.
I mean...I have. I've spent a nice chunk of my very limited money on taking courses in such things.
That formula simply doesn't work for me. I'm a surge-creator. The fact that I'm so regular-ish on here now is due to the fact that I have months--monnnnnnnths--of posts already puked into my computer. But then I'll hit a snag with research and everything bogs down. We'll get through that series and move onto the one that's been waiting in the wings. This one doesn't need jack squat for research because it's just about my happy-crappy, and so I'll projectile-vomit it out every other day for two weeks straight.
Then crickets because I'm recovering.
Then I'll start back up again, steady-eddy for 2.3 months. Then I'll have a round of surgery or a trip or an injury or whatever and I'll bog again. Then I'll come back with a vengeance and...
Yeah. Algorithms hate creators like me, and oh, do they let us know it.
I've seen these same things happen with other entrepreneur friends, and especially with my author friends while trying to navigate the constant algorithm changes of Amazon. They'll be flying high, at last able to pay their bills with their writing. They get that mortgage and then--BOOM. Algorithm changes. They lose their entire income overnight.
Then you have my dastardly content. I've said it before, I'll say it a gazillion times for the people just arriving. "Izzy, you're in the written format. Why don't you just edit out your profanity?" Because I don't want it to be an appalling shock if people meet me in person for the first time and my Think-It-Say-It Syndrome is active, as well as the involuntary F-Bombs from Dain Bramage.
I used to do that. People who had only met me once would become ohhhh so enamored of me via my writing. We would decide we wanted to get to know each other more intimately. Then they'd hang out with Buttcrack Joe for a weekend and wonder who the fuck had possessed my pretty-pretty body with this sewer-nasty mouth and my big boots kicked up on the dash.
I am capable of sweeping prose. I am capable of eloquence. I am capable of serenity and tranquil inspiration, and I enjoy them a great deal.
This is NOT my primary personality. (Remember that. It'll be super important later. Many times.)
So besides my inconsistent rhythms and sailor-mouth delivery, there's always the dastardly content itself about the cruel shit humans do to each other. But am I solely a fist-raised ranter? Am I solely a hair-on-fire bridge-burner?
Oh, heck no. If I was, algorithms could probably deal with me better. Humans probably could, too. But alas, I am a being of extremes, so people who love all my glittery, inspirational, artsy, nature-lovin' Shiny can't stand my froth-mouthed middle fingers. People who wanna stand up and roar with me get bored when I traipse off into the woods to ogle flowers and sunbeams, or go down the dance history rabbit hole. Worse, some of them call me down when I talk openly about all the years I was a doormat and I dare to--ohhhhh, heavens no!--call myself a Victim.
Um...yeah, that's the literal definition of someone who's had a crime committed upon them, and I've had multiple felonies committed upon me, in addition to a lifetime of other bullshit that is societally criminal, even if it's technically legal. Pretty common for the neurodivergent, the peace-loving, the hypersensitive, and the nonconformist.
(Additionally: No, that's not a slam on anybody who feels empowered by thinking of themselves as a Survivor instead of a Victim. That's cool. You do anything you need to do for yourself to heal in your way. Badassery. I needed to do something different, so I'll appreciate it if you don't treat me like some sort of weakling, stuck in the Victim Mentality because I give that word no power over me, and instead wield it like the criminal definition it is. Thank you.)
Then I do that super awful thing of combining glitter, violence, rainbows, practical advice, epiphanies, and dark Underworld humor all in the same po--
Which brings us to the transgression of the day.
Yes, folks, I have been officially banned from Instagram!!! I'm not on time-out. I'm no longer being "reviewed over the next 24 hours." Nope, I am BANNED.
Why? Because in early December I actively shared My Journey With Lindsey Stirling blog series. This was the last post they allowed me to share without issue: LOST GIRLS - Rise Again. And Again. And Once More. This was the final straw that got me banned: BEHIND THE VEIL - Hiding Things Underground.
And I know. I can hear y'all spluttering the same things that my family and closest friends lobbed at me for days in an attempt to figure out what had happened.
I dunno, exactly. Instagram would not tell me. They simply locked me out for over 48 hours, and then officially banned me.
This is actually no surprise. After the way FB had gone, I had decided to do another social media experiment with IG. The ban was jarring, but absolutely in line with what I figured might happen because they have the same owners.
Other people post links off site to their own content all the time! Yup.
But you Insta-Bombed with 5-7 posts of your multi-photo galleries within minutes of each other all the time, and these last posts took way longer than normal in between each other to create in Canva, write the descriptions, and link the hashtags. Yup. That was the early part of the experiment. To see if I'd get dinged for putting up similar content in rapid succession. No problem when it was pretty nature. No problem when it was pretty dance.
But other people use those same hashtags and talk about these issues all the time! Yes, they do. In fact, on the touchy issues, I intentionally stuck solely to hashtags that had hundreds of thousands, if not millions of posts in the category, just to make sure.
But there's not even any copyright issues. Nope. All the photos were mine with Canva augmentation, and even the snippet I posted to Reels of me dancing to First Light got put into the First Light hashtag with everybody else who used the song for their background music.
The first posts in the series weren't the problem. Then I wrote about a subtle, surreptitious, public assault. Didn't name any names. But I wrote about it. The post that finally got me booted was about being at a writer's conference on a really bad TBI day.
Come to think of it, the other time I pinged Instagram's SWAT bots and received their hairy-eyeball was way back when I first tried posting about living with TBI. I suggested solutions for stress management that included journaling out how you feel on bad days, and that a journal is a safe place to put all that, as is a punching bag if your body can take it--which at that point mine couldn't, so I had to pour it all onto paper.
Well, that post triggered this:
This was the big message their bot flashed onto my screen when I tried to post. That "Get Support" button led to the Suicide Hotline and basically asked me, "Are you okay? Because you don't seem okay."
I was all..."Um...yeah. I'm actually great. But thanks."
So which hashtag combo did I use? "TBI. Traumatic Brain Injury. TBI Awareness. TBI Survivor. Journal. Writing Therapy. Stress Management. Overstimulation. Sensory Overload. Bad Day. Rough Day."
And I might be the instigator of suicide if I post this!
Well, I must be at it again, because I dared to open up about being disabled in an ablist world, and just before that, I had dared to write about being assaulted. Go figure I got banned by Big Brother for talking about it.
Know what I can do to rectify the situation?
I can grovel--oooooh! I can beg! I can wrack my brains trying to figure out which exact transgression I committed and then apologize or swear that I didn't realize it was a transgression and promise to never, ever, ever do it again.
You know who talks like that?
The person who isn't up for leaving an abuser, but has to figure out a way to fawn enough and kiss enough ass and make enough Good Girl promises to stop the beating or to prevent the next one from happening.
If this was a person employing these tactics, instead of a corporation, there would be no doubt.
No shit, there I am, in the middle of making an art project in my art room, and my abusive partner comes storming into the room, yanks me up out of the chair, and hurls me bodily out into the cold. He locks the door and informs me through the window that I am committing questionable activities and he'll review my conduct over the next 24 hours to see if I'm allowed back into HIS house.
And it is his house. He pays the mortgage and it's in his name, not mine. He just lets me live here because, up until this moment, he has found it beneficial to have me here. When people call the house, asking for me, he tells them that I no longer live here, even though I'm right outside, shivering in the cold, waiting to be let in.
After waiting in the doghouse for my 24 hours, I knock.
I ring the doorbell.
I can see him in there watching his favorite TV programs, but he ignores me.
I bang on the window and ask him what I did wrong.
After 56 hours pass, he comes to the window to inform me that he's done with me, that he has destroyed everything I have in his house, and he denies that I ever lived here. BUT! He does shove a note through the mail slot, stating the myriad reasons he might have had for booting me out. He also generously gives me a blank piece of paper and a pen with the suggestion that I explain all the reasons why he might have made a mistake.
(Could he? Ever? Is someone that powerful and sexxxy ever capable of making a mistake? More likely, *I* made a mistake and just have to convince him that it was accidental and I'll never, ever do it again.)
Interesting, considering the fact that I don't even know what the BLEEP I did to begin with.
"Yes, you do," he growls. "You know exactly what you did."
Yup. I had the audacity to speak my mind. I had the audacity to tell the truth. I had the audacity to be myself instead of putting on some Fakebook Face based upon my addiction to Likes and my ever-growing neurotic fear that I'm #NotAsGoodAs. That I'm #NotEnough. That I'm #TooMuch and all these other people are soooo much better than I am, so if I can just be good-pretty-smart-fit-rich-successful-perfect enough maybe people will stay on my page for long enough and come back to me like dopamine addicts. Then maybe, just maybe I can be beneficial enough for this abusive partner to keep me around.
Trust me, I was fully aware when I moved in here that this was how it might be. That his goal was not to love me. It was to be loved by me, and that it was my job to bring as many people around to love him as possible. But when you're as financially desperate as I am, sometimes you give things a try, especially when everybody and their #DogsofInstagram are ranting and yowling about how great it is to live there.
Alas. I have never been capable of playing reindeer games just so I can be one of those #SpecialOnes chosen to haul Santa's sleigh by the sweat of my fuzzy, antlered brow. I can't even play these games well enough to be welcome in the Christmastime Village and get to...you know...chomp on the leftover cookies after the Blitzens and the Dashers have had their fill. Even during all the decades when I tried really hard to color within the lines--those were the most damaging years I've ever lived on this planet.
So no. I will not be filling out the form to tell Instagram that I think they've made a mistake about me. I doubt they have. They know exactly what they're looking at with me, and that's a label I don't mind wearing.
“Oh, noooo! But why would you do that to yourself? It’s like cutting off your nose to spite your face!”
No. It’s like Rudolph whupping ass at the reindeer games, getting smacked for having a shiny red nose, and then going off on his own to find Herme, Cornelius, and the Island of Misfit Toys.
It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go we have come to our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings. ~Wendell Berry, Standing By Words: Essays
“Yeah, but why do you have to make everything so graphic? Why can’t you leave it to innuendo, then give 12-step lists of advice so people can fix themselves instead of making all about you? Just paint the general gesture of your personal experience and leave the rest to our imagination. Your writing would be soooo much better if you didn’t hit so golly-darn hard.”
Oh. Were you under the impression that I wrote these posts for you? If you’re asking those questions, obviously I didn’t.
“Why can’t you just go back to being pretty for us?”
Now that you know these things about me, you no longer think I’m pretty?
I do. I think I’m far more beautiful than I was at twenty-two. No, not in that airbrushed, youthful, barely-past-little-girl way. More like that ancient tree I climbed the other month. You know, the one with the two broken branches and the gazillion knots. More like that jagged mountain peak you love to stare at on vacation, especially in the depths of winter when it’s covered with snow. You’d really like to climb that thing. You imagine doing so. But that’s all fantasy, because you actually enjoy breathing and you know you’re not up for that.
That’s okay. I’m not made to be mounted. I always wanted to be, when I was barely-past-little-girl, and for a long time after. Now? Neh. I’ve got way too much Vulcan in me for all that.
Hmmm…is she referring to her Spockly nature or to vulcanism…you know, like lava-belching, pumice-and-ash-ejecting, noxious fume-spewing—
It sure is gorgeous when it erupts though, isn’t it? You just don’t wanna be anywhere in the blast radius. I do not blame you. A lot of days, I don’t wanna be in my own blast radius.
"So why DO you write it like this?"
Because these are my memoirs and that's how it felt and smelled and tasted from my end of things as it was happening.
"If you didn’t write it for us, then who DID you write it for?"
As for why I share this stuff publicly, let’s use this last Satyr Series as an example. I posted that series for that gal over there who has just spent the past 63 days or 64 years under the notion that, since she didn’t have anything violently jammed into her vagina, what happened to her was “no big deal.”
I shared it for that desperate widower with the six kids who went down on his boss when she threatened to fire him if he didn't, and he feels like it's his fault, so he can never tell anybody even though he desperately needs to.
I shared it for these ones over here who reached out to accept help from a friend and got bitten by a monster. They feel really stupid now, so I shared my experience to tell them that "stupid" might not be an accurate label.
I shared it for that tight-lipped one back there. You know, the one with the furrowed brow and the searching gaze. He has an obvious penis and sincerely wants to understand more about all the people in his life who don't.
I write other stuff with so much detail for that survivor over there who has been trying to form their words into feelings, but they're just not any good with those--words or feelings. They're good at numbers and great with a paintbrush and extraordinary coaching their little league, and words like mine bottle up in their throat but they're in therapy now and they know they need to get it out because if they don't it’s all gonna blow at a really inopportune time but every time they go to talk about it all just—
Dissipates like pulverized mirror shards floating off into the ever-encroaching dark.
I share this stuff for anybody who can’t find the words and needs to say, “Yeah! That’s exactly it! That’s what it feels like!”
And they do.
I share it for the ones who have people in their lives that are a lot like me. Can I tell you how often I’ve had readers thank me for helping them better understand and learn how to help or at least live with a loved one who has experiences similar to mine?
It happens a lot. That’s why I don’t just keep this stuff in my journals. It’s why I don’t hint around about it and talk in PC, family-friendly code. It's why I give you the full guts and nuts, nasty fluids and erratic thoughts and fucked up neurochemistry experience.
Because if you don’t KNOW, you can’t know.
I didn’t write it for them over yonder, rolling their eyes and singing pooh-pooh in the hopes that my tale will give them a clue.
I wrote it for you over there against the wall, for that time when she snickered, “Well, you weren’t actually raped so…” and when he gruffed, “I don’t understand why you’re making such a big deal out of this,” and when they paused scribbling report notes and jabbed those beady eyes your direction, saying, “So you didn’t actually say the word, ‘No,’ and you didn’t insist that he sleep on the couch and you didn’t stand up and hold your ground and you didn’t do this, those, that, or that? You didn’t say anything? In fact, you smiled? You actually laughed? What do you mean you don’t understand why you laughed? Why would you laugh if you were in a dangerous or traumatizing situation? You must be crying wolf. Vindictive. Attention seeking. You must just be a crazy bitch.”
So yeah, writing my underwear with all its raggedy holes and old period stains and that embarrassing dingleberry stain nobody likes to admit they made--I wrote all that for me. I aired it publicly for you in case you’ve been beating yourself up about that, too.
I write in such a graphic, gut-punching way because that’s how it happens sometimes. You’re going along, prancing in the tulips and suddenly—
You’re in the Underworld, flat on your back with no breath, staring at stalactites and wondering, "WTF just happened to me?"
Ready to go down another layer?
Watch your step. The next staircase is even darker.
Personally I subscribe to the Glittery RainbowSide and the Gray Way:
Flowing through all, there is
There is no peace without a
PASSION TO CREATE
There is no passion without
PEACE TO GUIDE
Knowledge stagnates without the
STRENGTH TO ACT
Power blinds without the
SERENITY TO SEE
There is freedom in
There is purpose in
The Force is all things and
I AM THE FORCE
* * *
I am the revealing fire of Light.
I am the mystery of Darkness.
In balance with Chaos and Harmony,
I am the heart of the Force.
CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE
--UP NEXT: OK, before we head any further down, I need a palate cleanser! Let's go back into woods and I'll show you the amazing tech behind my favorite art installation of all time, those faerie lights in the night that I showed you on Winter Solstice. NERD ALERT: FAERIE LIGHT TECH - The North Forest By Sunset
--OR: I've written a lot about living on The Island of Misfit Toys
1) Acts of Groveling: how I could have attempted to get my IG account back
2) TALK HARD - GenX Style 1990 and more relevant than ever:
"You ever get the feeling that everything in America is completely fucked up? You know that feeling, that the whole country is like one inch away from saying, 'That’s it, forget it.' I mean think about it. Everything’s polluted. The environment. The government. The schools, you name it...
"Find your voice and use it. Keep this thing going. Pick a name, go on the air. It’s your life. Take charge of it. Do it. Try it. Try anything! Spill your guts out. Say ‘shit’ and ‘fuck’ a million times if you want to—but you decide. Fill the air. Steal it. KEEP THE AIR ALIVE!"
~Hard Harry, Pump Up the Volume, a movie Big Bro definitely doesn't want us watching.