2 years ago

Have I been asking for it all along?

A few weeks ago, I found myself staring at an account written in Arabic on Instagram which had stolen one of my photographs and was using it as their profile image. I don’t speak or read Arabic and was slightly jolted as I scrolled through the account looking at many photographs which appeared to be purchased stock photos of roses, candles, and the Koran.  The account has since then been shut down by Instagram for impersonating by using my image as their property, and while that’s fine and dandy, it reawakened my sense of false security I feel when I share myself and my photography online.

I started blogging in 2005 under the pen name Enya0305 mostly to hash out random college student/life stuff in an extremely vage-Dashboard Confessional way using emojis and emo music to express myself.  No one knew who I was and I maybe had 3 followers.
In those 10 years (ouch), I’ve changed as a person; how I write, what I write, and what I share online.  It’s much more personal, albeit only a window of who I fully am. However, I’ve become aware that as Blythe says it, I thought we were all friends here, but unfortunately, not everyone is here for that.

I’ve made meaningful friendships and networked with an amazing group of like-minded women, for each I could not feel more blessed to know.
But having an online presence is a double edged sword. Of course. Putting myself anywhere in the world is. And when you find yourself feeling like you have to defend your internet house, it’s rattling. It’s rattling, and then you find yourself wondering what you’re even doing, if it’s making a difference, and how inflated must your own ego be to think this is even a big deal. For the record, it’s not. But this is my creative outlet, soooo.

And you come this close to shutting down the whole operation but you email someone who’s been doing this better, whose audience is larger, with the wonder that maybe she’s been through something similar- of course Grace has. She just be truckkin on. [editing: I don’t know where she went (camppatton.com), dang that just magnifies my irritation with the whole matter]
And at nearly the same time, Blythe is going through something which makes my little ‘gram scare look like a paper cut.
I’m not dignifying the website by naming them here (also they don’t know I exist -at least to my knowledge- I’m not a bigleaguer and I hope to never be.), but merely to voice that wherever you go, whatever you do, which might be for the cause of bringing glory to God, there are beings out there who waste large chunks of their own time watching what you are doing and waiting to spot a human inconsistency, a flaw. And boy are those people quick to mention your feral hipster children and how they think you so poorly run your life. Like they literally spend their time hate-reading blogs they don’t agree with.  They also super enjoy mentioning they were raised UBER Catholic and still don’t see a problem not following Church teaching. …  yeah. UBER Catholic. Much raised. So qualified. I can think of so many memes for this right now but I’m not wasting my ridiculously brilliant (sarcasm) talent on it.

I’m still here, doing my little tiny blogger thing, for my own enjoyment, and hang me if I sometimes make money from it because WOW those people are sellouts. -_-.  But because of weirdos who like to steal my images, I don’t know how I’m going to handle sharing.  Still working on that.

20 comments

  1. Haters gonna hate. And although most people think the advice “shake it off” comes from Taylor Swift, she hijacked that idea from Jesus…

    If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.
    Matthew 10:14

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  2. No victim of any crime ever “asks for it.” It takes a lot of courage and self-confidence to share yourself so openly. Art and creative expression both necessitate vulnerability; the fact that someone took advantage of your openness sucks, but ISN’T YOUR FAULT.

    Wow, GOMI is pretty much the internet equivalent of the mean girls’ table in the high school cafeteria, isn’t it? Just remember, small things amuse small minds. I can’t imagine framing my entire internet experience around the belittlement of someone else. How self-limiting that must be!

    You are God’s light. Someone out there needs to hear you speak that light into their lives. Don’t let fear of such narrow-minded, petty, and really actually very pitiable opinions dampen that light. Maybe the answer is simply stronger security measures for your photos, like encrypting a copyright stamp so they can’t be downloaded?

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    1. My images are encrypted- I believe Instagram does that. Also I edit all of my photos with VCSO Cam and they copyright them and encrypt them with a signature metadata. So that’s great, I can definitely prove an image is mine, but peeps still think it’s okay to screenshot and use as their own. blah.

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  3. I think people just don’t realize the harm they’re causing. I feel like it’s this high school kind of mindset where they see themselves as the witty intellectual crowd bringing down the bimbo popular girls. For some reason when you show your happiness people can take that as you attempting to put down their lives and their decisions. My husband showed me the subreddit r/childfree the other day and I was blown away, mostly at the fact that so many people can build their lives around being “anti” something. So I dunno, maybe people get nasty because they feel like they’re outside the “community”? But the great thing about the internet is that you can connect with just about anyone anytime, so I don’t get what there is to be bitter about. Yeah, who knows.

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  4. I’ve been in your shoes. A few years ago when I was pregnant with my second, someone from Brazil stole every last one of my weekly belly shots and posted them on a social network I had never heard of before in an album titled “Waiting For You.” I felt so violated and I was absolutely furious. (And after I reported it, the profile was deleted by the social network.

    Since then (and after receiving nasty comments in my little corner of the blgosphere after the death of my firstborn — way to keep it classy, internets!), I’ve been SO GUARDED online, when I used to be pretty open and enjoyed connecting with new people. Some of my favorite people in the world are people I’ve met online

    Even though you have no idea who I am, I’ve enjoyed following you and have appreciated how fine folks such as yourself manage not to go insane while maintaining a public online presence.

    I’m sorry someone found you and used you like that, because it sucks and kind of feels like a big ol’ breach of trust. “I thought we were all friends here.”

    Anyway. Gotta go nurse a baby. :)

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  5. Ugh GOMI is the worst example of what the internet has to offer.

    Catholic mom blogs saved me as we started our family and then as we’ve tried to figure out how to parent. All of you ladies (Grace, Blythe, Dwija, Christy, Haley, Jen, Britt, YOU, etc.) showed me an example of joyful living while staying true to Church teachings that we just weren’t finding in our parish.

    I know you guys take risks by putting yourselves out there, and that people can be cruel but please, please, please know that your preaching of the Gospel by sharing your family life has had a huge impact on me and my family!

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  6. Yeah, it’s seriously weird to realize that apparently there are people who read blogs specifically to make fun of them… For me, the good outweighs the bad – I don’t have an inflated sense of my (nonexistent) importance and really didn’t think my blog was a big enough deal for the GOMI people to care about it… But apparently they do. And whatever. I tried to clear up some misconceptions and invite open dialogue – it’s REALLY easy to contact me, and if people are so concerned about my life they can comment on my blog or instagram or Facebook or email me instead of anonymously trashing me on a random message board. There’s a lot of bitterness and anger there, and I pray those people realize the constant gossip isn’t good for their souls and is making them unhappy :/

    As for you, you keep doing what you do! You bring beauty to the world, a world that sorely needs more truth and beauty and goodness.

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  7. So, so hard. We need to continue to be the good, to share our ups and downs, to relate to those around us, to push out the dark. Yet in doing so in this digital world, we expose ourselves to crazies and it’s scary. But are we just being paranoid or overly sensitive, needing to just brush off those haters and keep on keepin’ on or do we need to scale it down or even quit. Ugh. I’ve been struggling with this since somebody stole pictures of my kids and claimed they were her/his own last year. We kind of were on edge for a day and then we chalked it up to a phishing/high school girl thing and moved on. I took down the picture of the front of our house on my blog and wished it all away. But should I do more? :(

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  8. Carolyn, I’m so sorry this happened to you. It sounds awful! Regardless of what you decide for your future, I just wanted you to know that I have appreciated your posts. I have a son with Autism, and it’s so nice to see that I am not alone. You are an encouragement to me…and I’m sure many others! May God bless your family and protect you all.

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  9. I’m keeping you in my prayers! What an awful shock that must have been seing your picture stolen like that. Creepy doesn’t start to explain it. That being said, creeps don’t win. Jesus Christ won. Creeps can creep, but we know we’re the real winners as followers of Jesus ;)

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  10. I’ve been thinking the exact same thing lately. I am nowhere near a big blog, but I did have a few of my photos stolen on IG and it really shook me. I am so thankful for the friendships I’ve made with other Catholic women through the blog, but I’ll admit that there are days that I want to shut the whole operation down.

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  11. This is such an interesting issue to me and I don’t even have a large scale blog! The internet is like so many others thing is life – brings a lot of good but also a lot of bad.

    For what it’s worth I enjoy reading your blog (I’m a lurker) and I’m glad you aren’t shutting it all down.

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  12. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I keep wondering if I should make my intsagram private, but I love connecting with fellow knitters through it … I don’t know. :( Sorry you had to go through this!!

    And yeah, what happened to Camp Patton??

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  13. Coming out of the woodwork as a reader (and stalker on Instagram)– love your blog. When I discovered GOMI recently I was shocked that people took the time to make a wesite dedicated to tearing other people down. Wow! Just wow. I did NOT hang around long. Tough stuff here, knowing how much to share and how to protect it. :(

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  14. I hear ya. I am torn, also, and haven’t had to go through what you did. Private insta? No idea. I share more photos on insta than on my blog, so I just don’t know.

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