*This was written on the second last day of my exile. I was in a pretty dark place. I have since had my admin privileges restored and am walking on sunshine.I will be posting to explain the details of how I lost, then found, my Science Pony self, but today I am focusing on trying to get some content together for all of you who stuck with me through the past week. It is appreciated, truly*
I recently had my Facebook page, Science Pony, stolen. It has been 5 days and so far there seems to be little recourse for regaining the page, which is refusing to moderate comments (allowing trolls to run roughshod over my work product) and still insists on using my likeness which is maddening. I am not sure what kind of sociopath feels entitled to a year of someone else’s work, or to their dreams, but I hope that they have to live with their actions for years to come, and that somewhere deep down in their blackened souls they feel a modicum of guilt. Their morals are bad, and they should feel bad.
My children are taking the theft extremely hard. They both like to help me to choose my images, and my son Alex, who is almost 7, loves to have explanations of the science news I post. Even though much of it is still out of his grasp, I see his understanding of the topics improving with every passing day. My daughter’s reaction was to throw her hands in the air and cry out dramatically, “How could this happen!” – she is 4 and studying hard for her first Oscar. My son was more reserved, digested the news then asked quietly “But you can still science, right Mom?”.
I don’t know how to answer him. Maybe, hopefully, but when I started this page that at its peak had a monthly audience of over a million, I had no idea that the next 6 months would bring pregnancy, fire, homelessness, extreme poverty and a sustained, targeted campaign of online harassment that would include hacking, threats and using my children’s names and my image to make baffling and untrue claims about my secret identity as a prostitute. In short, what I created was done in spite of huge barriers that still exist, and now that I have been knocked back to the bottom of the mountain, I am not sure I am able or willing to start climbing again.
I am not sure what lesson I have from all this for my children. They already know life isn’t fair, this last year has exemplified this for them in spades. That hard work doesn’t necessitate success? How does this benefit them, how do I encourage them to try when I now know that putting every ounce of effort you have into a dream does not protect it from awful people in the world, the ones who exist only to destroy never to create anything of substance themselves. How do I explain that the more success they gain, the more blessed they have been, the larger the target on their back becomes, and the more they have to fear those who have less than them but feel entitled to more.
I am sad and scared and unsure of what how to rally myself, let alone my adorable little cheering section. I love them so much, and wish that this was enough to protect them from the mean, jealous, and cruel people whom their futures have in store for them. But it isn’t, nothing is. All I can do is caution them not to share their views too passionately, or rise in their chosen fields too effortlessly – in short, I can direct them not to shine too brightly. Because if they have talent, or drive, or ambition, and follow it, then there will be those who will work to take it away, and as of yet I have no clue what to tell them to do to stop this from happening.
This is evidence based.