You have to read this! Tell me what you think?
Hash Tags Like Little Cages is a glimpse into those at risk of suicide and how life online can pose an array of hazards. Hostility is amplified, and dangerous impulses are encouraged. You will be moved by reading this short glimpse written by my friend Lisa.
Hash Tags Like Little Cages
Kayden slammed her laptop shut. It was too much. She was being cyber-bullied on Facebook and Twitter. All the places she loved to talk about her fashion dreams had become a nightmare. Instagram was the most brutal, though. Her photos got comments and hash tags of the worst sort. #lamedame. #crazychickclothing. #killitwithfire. Kayden spent every moment of free time taking gorgeous photos of her very colorful but wacky home sewn garments only to evoke these cruel comments from her high school friends.
She began sewing as a child, having watched her grandmother intently hand stitching sequins and small silk flowers to cardigans for her alcoholic mother. It was magical watching something old and plain become transformed in a matter of minutes to something whimsical. Kayden hoped each time the beautiful cardigans would transform her mother into a sober person but they never did. But oh, Kayden was transfixed! Sewing with her mamaw gave the quiet little girl a passion for color and ribbons. Each flower she crafted, every sparkle she added would make the world too beautiful for her mother to be sad in. She designed fashions on the backs of coloring books with crayons, finally moving to markers and watercolors as she entered her teens. It wasn’t long before she had a following of European art students who enjoyed her creative posts. Her classmates didn’t get invites to see her posts. None of them were friendly to the quiet girl sitting at the library table coloring in her notebook, hair hanging over her face. They thought she was psycho and didn’t bother finding out if their impression was wrong.
Kayden didn’t care to meet them. She was busy enough with her drawings and sewing nights and weekends. Scraps of silk and tulle in neon colors lay scattered on the floor. She was too focused to clean them up. Besides, her online friends gave her all the conversation and encouragement she needed. Until the day her post on Instagram went viral. #PicassoPromDress was seen by over a million people worldwide. It was a stunning photo of the very artful over-the-top tulle dress she would wear to the dance. Admittedly it was an acquired taste but design lovers the world over cared enough to share it using her real name instead of her online moniker.
The “mean girls” at her high school saw it. They connected her name to the weird girl in the library and viral took on its more sinister connotation. #MeanGirls dragged Kayden to hash tag hell. #StupidFreak and #Talentless were the mildest. Comments were appearing faster than Kayden could delete them. #ClownClothes….#RetardedRags…..#FAILsquared…….until finally the only hash tag posted was #KillYourself. #KillYourself. #KillYourself…….and the laptop slammed shut. She threw scissors and needles against the wall. Then she walked downstairs to the fireplace mantle to visit her family. Her mamaw’s ashes were nestled in a painted Danish Butter Cookie tin along with her measuring tape and a few buttons. Her mother’s ashes were in a sequined pouch covered with spectacular rhinestone roses Kayden had fashioned herself. Kayden stood there and heard the encouragement of her mamaw. She whispered futile encouragement to her mother that had no more effect now than it did when she was alive. Her mother had slit her wrists anyway.
Kayden put her hand on mamaw’s tin and stood there praying. Saying “amen”, she grabbed her mother’s pouch and emptied it in the back yard. She threw the sequined pouch in the garbage can and ran upstairs to her laptop.
The next hash tags on her viral photo were her own.
#KillinIt. #KillinItYouKnowIt. #KaydenKillerKween. Her design friends chimed in with many more.
The next morning #KillinIt was trending on Twitter and so were hearts for #Kayden.
“Imagined scenes from imagined lives…”