Stuck at home, I devoted myself to Tumblr. What was I trying to accomplish? Mostly, I was interested in knocking people off their pedestals. I also enjoyed being popular, controversial, discussed. When a comedian I had posted about name-checked my blog on Twitter, I was giddy.
Then I started receiving threats. Someone sent me a screenshot of a house from Google Maps, claiming to have found my IP address. It wasn’t my house, but still. I realized that for every person on Tumblr who looked up to my blog, there were many more, online and offline, who hated it — and me. I started posting less and, eventually, stopped posting at all.
In the years since, I’ve looked back on my blog with shame and regret — about my pettiness, my motivating rage, my hard-and-fast assumptions that people were either good or bad. Who was I to lump together known misogynists with people who got tattoos in languages they didn’t speak? I just wanted to see someone face consequences; no one who’d hurt me ever had.
There’s something almost quaint about it all now: teenage me, teaching myself about social justice on Tumblr while also posturing as an authority on that very subject, thinking I was making a difference while engaging in a bit of schadenfreude. Meanwhile, other movements — local, global, unified in their purposes and rooted in progressive philosophies — were organizing for actual justice. Looking back, I was more of a cop than a social justice warrior, as people on Tumblr had come to think of me.