The alarm rang at 8 AM and Sarah woke up reluctantly. She wanted to sleep some more as she slept pretty late in the night. Being an Instagram influencer was not a joke with two million followers.
Sarah ran a fashion handle on Instagram called “OOTD – Outfits over the Diets” She routinely grammed body positive messages that told her users to fret on their outfits instead of diets. In no time she had two million followers and was an Instagram influencer.
She enjoyed doing what she did but there is one aspect of social media that everyone hates is “trolls” and so did she . People who have no face, no identity or even worse sense of respect to people who follow and Sarah had dozens of them.
Her strategy to deal with the trolls was to ignore them and most of the time she was successful in doing that. But one day it changed.
She was excited about a particular post she was working on. She captioned it “outfits you can wear when you are feeling fat but you are not” . It was a feel good feature where she talked about ladies going through their PMS days or menopause or just the day when they feel bloated. It received many likes and Sarah felt great and started scrolling down for the comments. There was a follower called JusHon who commented – “ what makes you feel you are fat when you are not” ? What rubbish? You should do a segment on glasses and caption it “Use these when you think you can see but you can not” You are fat and you should feel fat.
For some reason, Sarah was not able to ignore this and got quite upset with it. She remembered this follower well now and whenever she posted anything she would always find something demeaning written by JusHon. She tried to view his Insta profile but it was private and the profile picture also had a tiger in it. The only thing she got from his information was JusHon stood for just honest. I wish I could see JusHon and set things straight with him or her. What makes JusHon so sick. I wished I could get into his mind.
The next morning alarm rang bu it was a different alarm then her usual one, so Sarah opened her eyes and looked around. She was bit disoriented and her surrounding looked different. Her phone was different, she was shocked and woke up. She saw a man lying next to her. It was 7 AM in the watch and the alarm continued to ring. The man next to her yelled at her “ Hannah, can you please shut the damn alarm? I want to sleep” Sarah managed to stop the alarm and was trying to make a sense of the situation.
She picked up the phone and saw a picture of the man lying next to her and a woman. Suddenly there was an Instagram notification on the phone “OOTD, Jennifer Lopez and Ellen Degeneres have made an Instagram post” . Inexplicably, Sarah managed to unlock the phone and opened the Instagram and saw her own post. She looked at the profile and she was shocked to see the handle name as JusHon.
It was JusHon’s phone in her hand. She went through her Insta and realised JusHon’s husband was lying next to her. Sarah broke into the sweat and walked around the house she was in. After an hour, the husband “Marcus” woke up and looked around in the kitchen and yelled “you have been up for an hour! Where is the damn coffee?” Sarah got scared and scrambled to the kitchen and made coffee. Marcus took a sip and yelled back “ when do you plan to learn to make a decent cup of coffee? cant you do even one simple thing” Sarah felt humiliated.
As Marcus started getting ready, there was a continuous barrage of abusive words being thrown at Hannah. Sarah realised Hannah was in abusive relationship. While leaving for work, Marcus said “try to be useful if you can, don’t sit around and splurge my money.
After he left, Sarah could feel Hannah’s situation. She was in an abusive relationship, she did not have a courage to fight back and she felt powerless. Hannah just picked up her phone and started scrolling her Insta feed. Jennifer Lopes had posted a nude picture on her 50th birthday. A beautiful post by any standards. JusHon commented “ For a wealthy woman, this is all you can afford to wear on your birthday! shame”! Ellen had posted a funny video JusHon commented “only you can laugh on your jokes. Lame lesbian woman!” One by one Hannah wrote something nastier on each of the people she followed. Instagram, Facebook, snapchat she covered it all and then put her phone down and took a deep breath and filled a cup of coffee and lit a cigarette. Sarah witnessed Hannah’s day which was filled with despair, helplessness and dependency and abuse.
Next morning turned out to be normal and she woke up in her own bed. Sarah was relieved, she made herself a coffee and sat quietly reflecting on her experience being Hannah the day before. JusHon was trolling her but it was nothing personal. It was a way for her to relive her stress. It made her feel powerful. It didn’t have repercussion as it was done anonymously. Sarah felt bad about her.
Then she thought about other trolls and wondered if they also had a situation like JusHon. She realised every troll does what he does as a release. Some do it as they are going through a tough life like JusHon and some do it out of sheer pleasure of pulling someone down or wanting to be mean, which is far more tough in real life and has its effects.
“All I can do is to ignore these trolls and concentrate more on people who appreciate me and continue my good work”. She smiled and opened up her Instagram and scrolled to JusHon’s comment and replied. “Thanks and I get you ! “