I’ve always been a very open person.
I’m one of those confessional bloggers who shares stories others may consider too personal for the Big Bad Internet. From my very first heartbreak, to my parents’ unexpected divorce, I’ve shared intimate parts of my life for as long as I can remember. It’s cathartic, and writing has been my absolute passion for as long as I can remember.
Perhaps that’s why I didn’t think twice about sharing a drunk selfie on Facebook.
You see, my Saturday night was spent drinking too many vodka sodas at a club with my boyfriend and friends for his 22nd birthday. Like any nightclub anywhere – ever – it was squishy and hot. Too hot. An ‘I’m extremely conscious of my forehead resembling a mirror’ kind of hot.
By midnight, I could feel the beads of sweat forming on my face, the moisture no longer concealed under my heavy-duty foundation. Oh shit, I was shiny. I could feel the shininess in my T-Zone like it was a pulsating fireball. Shit shit shit, those 45 minutes spent trying to make myself look nice 'n' fancy were slipping down the drain. Fast.
But - and this is an important BUT - my absolute favourite Usher song was playing. And I'd be damned if I was forced to leave the dance floor to de-shine by shnoz and fivehead. Not. Happening. There was only one thing to do: I would haphazardly powder up on the d-floor, like the breezy, low maintenance gal I am.
'Just a few dabs should do the trick. Too easy,' I smugly said to myself, like I was a Napoleon Perdis incarnate.
I spent the next hour bopping around, making trips to and from the bar, and chatting with acquaintances from high school. And then - THEN - after sixty freaking minutes of blissful ignorance, a stranger grabbed me by the arm and laughed, "Um, I think there's something on your face."
I took a photo to investigate. And subsequently posted it to Facebook.
Hilarious, right?! I mean I look like a downright idiot; like a (very powdery, very drunk) deer in headlights. 'People will giggle at this,' I thought on Sunday, thinking only of my mum and close mates. "They will freakin' LOVE this."
It turns out a lot of people giggled. Two THOUSAND people giggled, in fact. And my ridiculous, very intoxicated selfie? It has since been seen by tens of thousands of people.
"This reminds me of you on New Years!" the early commenters wrote, others laughed "OMG this is so something we'd do!", and "I can SO relate to this!"
In the first few hours, I was pretty chuffed with the whole situation. 'Look at me,' I mused to my girlfriends, 'I'm practically The Queen of The Internet'. But while I was daydreaming about my future life as a mega celebrity and driving something more exxy than my crappy Holden Barina, things took a turn. My selfie branched out wider across the Internet, reaching spaces I have never before touched, and what happened is something I never expected.
The comments weren't just a shade of bright, happy yellow anymore. Mostly, the new comments were darker. They were meaner. Edgier, nastier, brutal. All of a sudden, those happy yellow comments were interspersed with black ones.
"You're just a slut trying to cover up the fact she's a slut," the first of them read. I double blinked, thinking I had misread my little iPhone screen. But no, I had it right. A stranger, 'Mike', was calling me a slut. For taking... a drunk... makeup selfie?
Do you know Facebook filters your messages? There's a secret inbox you probably don't know exists... (Post continues after video.)
After Mike's black comment, more came. And more. And more. Groups of girls came out in droves to label me an "embarrassment", as a "retard", as inherently ugly.
"You are an embarrassment, I can't believe you show your face like this you retard"..... "Lol if she looks like this with makeup imagine what she looks like without it"..... "This is atrocious. Learn to do your makeup properly it's not hard FFS."
You get the idea.
While those words do not faze me whatsoever - as a writer I've learned to have a tough skin and ignore keyboard hatred - more than ever it has become clear to me what trolls thrive on. They thrive on a comment buffer. The trolls feel comforted when their own vitriol is sandwiched with other people's. They need those other comments as a security blanket. Only when they have that buffer, do they feel safe to emerge from their cesspool of hate and spit out their inner blackness. Because at the end of the day, they are cowards. And that's just how cowards operate.
It's the same deal for catcallers, who choose only to holler at passersby while perched on top a building, or in a group of mates, or when they are protected by the revving engines and waxed metal of their souped-up cars. They too choose only to survive on a buffer.
And that's why I choose to ignore them.
I deleted all the mean, black comments without scripting a single response. I mean, why would I? Those people are sad. They are sad about something else, something that's completely unrelated to me. And their hatred is not my issue. Ultimately, I cannot control what people think of me (or my lacking makeup skills).
If those haters can't appreciate a powdery, drunk, ridiculous photo when they see one, then they don't deserve a second of my time, anyway.
And for the women out there who have also had a makeup faux pas after drinking one (or five) too many, I salute you. I champion you. And I promise to always giggle at and delight in your dorky selfies.
You can keep up with Michelle's posts (and her drunken escapades) on Facebook here.