Writer with Rare Genetic Disorder Had the Most Inspiring Response to Being Bullied on Twitter
It's a great reminder to block out the haters.
Melissa Blake, 38, of Dekalb, Illinois, is no stranger to criticism. As a writer who runs the blog So About What I Said, she's often subjected to the kind of trolling associated with having an online presence.
But Blake also has Freeman-Sheldon Syndrome, a rare genetic bone and muscular disorder, for which she's had more than 26 surgeries throughout her life. And that leads to a whole new level of cruelty and online bullying.
"I didn't really get bullied over it when I was at school and my parents recognized that I looked different but always encouraged me to be myself," Blake told Best Life. "But the bullying really picked up once I joined social media, because people feel very brave behind keyboards."
In August, Blake wrote an op-ed for CNN, and the responses to her small author photo within the piece were vicious, with commenters calling her "parade balloon" and "potato with a face." "All of the insults were about my appearance," Blake said. "There was nothing about the content of my piece."
One troll even told her that she should be banned from posting photos of herself because she was "too ugly."
At the time, Blake admitted that hurt. But then she got a great idea: "I thought, 'If they don't want me to post pictures of myself, I'm going to give them the exact opposite of that.'"
On September 7th, she posted three defiant selfies on Twitter to "commemorate" being told she should be banned from doing so because of her appearance.
The tweet immediately began to go viral, and currently, it has more than 20,000 retweets and more than 240,000 likes.
Blake was shocked, to say the least, and also touched by the outpouring of support and positivity she received in response. "It shows us the positive side of social media," she told Best Life.
Blake hopes the tweet will remind anyone who has been through something similar to not let anyone else's words affect how you feel about yourself.
"It's not easy," she said. "You just need to tune it out as much as you can and block people if necessary."
And given that the tweet has boosted her Twitter following from 7,500 to 44,000, Blake has one final message for the bully who told her she shouldn't post selfies: "Thanks for all the new followers!"
And for another inspiring social media story, check out This Mom's Instagram Post About Her Service Dog Reminds Us That "Not All Disabilities Are Visible."
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