Recently, I moved my Daily Music project to twitch.tv, a video game streaming site that has encouraged more creative streamers such as painters, cosplayers and musicians. The majority of my stream features marimba, vibraphone, and voice. I also have a fair share of gaming. The other day, I did my first drum set stream. That same day, I had my first harasser on twitch.
I’ve had trolls before. Trolls tend to spam my chat, make lewd comments, criticize my apparel, and negatively comment on my musical choices. However, this person was not a troll. They targeted my stream, which was listed as a “positivity” stream on twitch. They specifically misspelled expletives to try and trick my bot, which automatically detects such words. They went through a variety of derogatory ethnic/racial slurs in an effort to hurt me. And yes, I cried. Although I do not need to justify myself, I want to share why I cried.
I cried because I was shocked that someone could write such hateful and horrific things.
I cried because they said I looked “inbred.” They probably have no idea that someone very dear to me was raped and tortured repeatedly by her own father and forced to carry a child to term.
I cried because they said I looked like I have an extra chromosome. They probably will never know how proud I am of those students who still make music and lead beautiful lives, despite their special needs label.
I cried because they tried to hurt me. By attempting to hurt me they also tried to create an environment that would hurt my viewers. That is something I can never allow.
I cried because I have suffered through manipulative, psychological, and physical abuse. I have been told over and over again that my emotions are invalid. They are not. I have been told over and over again that tears are weak. They are not.
I cried because I realize how difficult it is to break the cycle of abuse. Possibly my harasser is stuck in this cycle, and has known no other way of interacting with others.
True, I could have ignored this harassment, blocked them, and continued on. But, the pain had already been inflicted. Ignoring the situation would have only allowed their behavior to go unchecked.
At the end of that day, there were a few happy tears. Those tears were for the strong, supportive, and understanding people in my life. My friends, my family, and even some of my twitch followers reached out to me to make sure I was ok. I am eternally grateful for their compassion and support. I cried because I know I am loved. And those tears have no shame.