About a month ago I joined TikTok. I wasn’t planning on doing anything interesting with it, I just enjoy the content and I love that it’s a community of (mostly) regular people just sharing their stories and creativity. It immediately replaced my Facebook fixation.
After a month or so, encouraged by some friends, I started making my own (very bad) videos. The few interactions I had with strangers was fun, and I was encouraged to make more content.
I made a video series about my DNA test results and how it revealed a family secret. I also talked about the racism I faced within my own family. This was my first experience with negative and overwhelming comments. I ended up taking them down a few days later because I became very tired of people who only half listened and for some reason either confused my dad with my grandmother, called me racial slurs, or felt like they needed to analyze my dead relatives. It triggered a bad anxiety episode, so I removed all the content I had made on that subject. I still had people commenting on other videos, but that stopped once the others had been deleted.
My second negative experience with the community came from a series of videos I made about my abduction, and life afterwards. The majority of the reactions I got from these videos were very supportive, and a few made me laugh. I made them on the encouragement of others that had made similar videos, and I’m happy to say they weren’t wrong. It was cathartic and I hope others were able to find some comfort in knowing that they aren’t alone while growing up with trauma.
The one reaction that upset me wasn’t even a negative reaction. This person messaged me to let me know that I shouldn’t feel bad because the woman that facilitated my abduction did it for the ‘right reasons.’ This comment was made about a video where I plainly said I was suicidal for more than a decade. My response was not polite, and they later apologized. But from what they said, I know they think I’m ‘too traumatized’ to know what’s best for me.
And it absolutely boggles my mind how anyone with a functioning brain can watch a video of a person crying while talking about their pain, and then turn around and tell them trauma was the best choice for them and the person who aided in creating it for me did nothing wrong.
I am not a child. I am almost 37 years old. I have attempted to take my life twice. I never thought I would long enough to see 40. I think of all the other kids that went through what I did, and it makes me immediately tear up. This person believes we all benefitted from this trauma, collectively. It’s like we aren’t even people to this individual.
It feels dehumanizing to be spoken to like this. It feels ugly to be told you needed this trauma because it was the best choice for you. I feel made useless by someone telling me that the adults in my life with the power to make choices for me are not responsible for the damage their choices inflicted, that has resulted in emotional damage I need to deal with until the day I die.
Don’t fucking do that to people.
I haven’t deleted any of those videos, and I plan on making more. I won’t be silent anymore. But be warned, anyone who tries to excuse the authors of my trauma will get the Red Foreman treatment. I’m not here to be nice to apologists.