Keeping Up With...

Carolyn Keep

Virtual vs. Reality -  Online vs. REAL LIFE - Kindness vs. Not.

I’ve been living back in New Zealand for just over 12 weeks now. It’s been a blast. A rollercoaster of awesomeness.  I’ve learned a lot about myself, as well as those around me. I’ve observed a lot. I’ve worked hard. I’ve put my heart into everything I’ve done.  I’ve had some glorious times, lonely times, romantic times, hilarious times, successful times, and surprising times.

They say home is where the heart is, and that statement could not be more correct. What I have learned though, is that home can also be where the hate is.

I love getting older. I love knowing myself more and being more clear on who I am, what I stand for, what I want to DO and who I want to BE in life…And yet sometimes I feel like I’m 14 all over again, getting bullied by girls in High School who had nothing better to do than upset me to empower themselves, threaten me, scare me, or call me names, all whilst I was just trying to get good grades, be a good daughter, friend and student.

Being an adult with hopes, goals, dreams and a plan of attack to get there is inspiring to me. I have friends who are dealing with life and death, friends who are dealing with heartbreak, friends who are studying, opening business, friends who are wonderful mothers and fathers to beautiful little gifts from heaven we call children, the list of accomplishments is just incredible…Me? Well, while I have the freedom to do so, and while I’m waiting for other dreams of mine to materialise, I’m doing something rather simple. I created a website/blog to document a challenge I set myself…To save money. Not to spend my hard earned dosh on clothes, but instead, travel and experience the world. Has this been hard? Yes. Is it a first world problem? Yes. Will I quit? No. Are my dreams as important as someone else’s? Yes. Does that give someone the right to be nasty? To try and bring me down? To try and make me or my supporters quit? No.

When I first started my Fashionistafail mission, I got a bit of feedback from a couple of ‘haters’ (for want of a better word) and I took that in my stride…It’s my journey, my mission, my life…If you like the narrative I provide, continue to follow my journey, if you don’t? Then don’t follow. I would consider that fairly simple logic. It has come to my attention however that a couple of extremely loyal followers, are only following me so they can dedicate their precious time attempting to upset me. Now, I don’t care if it's abuse, bullying or negative vibes directed at me. I’m a big girl. I can handle being called ‘fat’ or ‘single and desperate’ or being harassed by a random who claims to know an ex-boyfriend then ‘kindly’ let me know he’s gone on a date with a brunette…All of that stuff I have no problem with. I’m a happy individual. I fit my skinny jeans. I love hard; I would do anything for those I care about and I would hope an ex-boyfriend is happy and moving on with his life (I also think brunettes are hot, so kudos to that particular ex!) I appreciate the scrutiny…it means that for whatever reason, someone is really hooked on what I’m doing, and for that I’m flattered…

Now I don’t recall ever having stolen someone’s boyfriend, to have hurt someone intentionally…I am the kind of person (and my friends love, as well as cringe at me for this) where if I have an issue with someone or something, I’d have the guts to say it to whom it may concern…I’m fairly transparent that way. Love me or hate me for it. If I love you, you’ll know it and that’s all I care about. Love.

When an individual goes to the effort of creating fake social media accounts, setting up fake email addresses just so they can call me fat, or comment on my relationship status ok…But step over a line and comment on my family and those I love and care for, or try and derail something I am working hard at? I have issue, and I will not tolerate it. If it’s about my bottom? Fine. My small boobs? Fine. If it’s about my family? My career? Things more special to me than anything else? NOT FINE. 

Because I’m strong, happy, and surrounded by awesome family, friends, work colleagues, generally amazing people on a daily basis, despite spending time online, my REALITY is blessed. It must be really lonely for people whose lives are committed to destroying others while they sit behind the imaginary safety of a computer screen.

Bullies, when you think about it, are the kind of people who live in a world of “less than, and I’m not worth it” and the only way they can try and make themselves feel good is to bring other people down to be “with them” on the level which they live their lives, to make themselves feel ok. Wouldn’t it be a great world if people who lived in this negative space could look upon those who are trying to make a positive difference in their own lives, and cheer them on?

I’m a fan of social media…of the opportunity it offers us to share this thing we call life. What I’m not a fan of, is the opportunity it gives others to hurt, to bully, to attack…this is where the danger is…and this is what the issue is.

Is the fact that people some of us know and love have been so emotionally hurt by online bullies that they couldn’t deal with their reality anymore and took their own lives just to be rid of it not enough for people with only half a heart (or less) to stop and consider the fact that their fake profiles and nasty words to people they don’t even know is damaging and dangerous? This is a serious issue. At home and worldwide…it’s called “the worldwide web” after all…It’s a pandemic and it’s spreading. Some are clearly not coming out of it alive.

A couple of attempts at upsetting me can’t derail me or my dreams. But this issue is bigger than me and my saving goals and the jeans I fit and whether or not I buy a top vs. a ticket…we have teenagers in schools being txt bullied to the point they would rather not be alive anymore, we have online bullies who cause so much damage and yet they think it’s a game.

If I can do one thing that is positive in this space I will. I acknowledge a couple of ‘trolls’ who are dedicated to upsetting Fashionistafail, out of  the thousands who support me, and I say ‘good luck’ to them. I appreciate your attention. I appreciate your time, and your energy. I will try and set an example of life in the REAL world vs. life online…and show that although there is crossover, they are NOT one and the same…What I wear in my #outfitoftheday Instagram photos are clothes. What I DO on a daily basis is what matters.

Here is to REAL life. To living in the real world, away from online. To accomplishing dreams, being with family and friends while being off our phones. To knowing our worth and for taking a compliment from those who find our happiness and success annoying…It only means we are on the right track.

I love watching others live their dreams…may we see more of THAT online, and may bullies RIP.

So much love and positive vibes to you all…If you want positivity to spread online, share it!

Caro x

Posted: Thursday 26 February 2015


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