In my defense

Emma Collins

I knew it would be like this. I’m the crazy fangirl. Because I can list all of Linnea Barnes’s 38 lovers offhand, I “don’t have a life.” Because I have opinions about autogen anime, I’ve lost touch with reality—but you’d still be happy to be stuck on a spaceship with me, because you find me physically attractive.

I have my own fantasies, yes—and one of the reasons for that is so I don’t need to be yours. I know what I want, and what I want is a complete set of Ding-Ding mysteries in hard copy. (I left them with my parents.) More importantly, what I want is friends—Internet friends, yes—who respect that, and respect me. If you respected me, you wouldn’t treat me like a slot machine, pulling my levers to see if I pay out.

I’m way over paying attention to trolls, but this isn’t about the active trolls—the ones who try to get my goat. This is about the passive trolls, the ones who comment publicly about me and simply don’t care whether I see or not. Don’t you understand that you’re just as bad? You’re worse, in a sense, because you’re not even pretending to engage me in a dialogue. You’re just talking trash about me, and you don’t care who hears, even if it’s me.

I’m flying away from all of you at a speed I can’t even comprehend, really, sealed up in my little chamber here, but you’ll always be with me. If I thought I couldn’t continue my online life as I settled on Mars, I wouldn’t be going. I need it way more than I need an IRL life on Earth, and you know that—or you should know that—and yet you comment about me as though being physically far away (and kind of famous now, I guess) makes me blind and deaf to you.

I’m scared. Of course, I was scared to be on Earth too, but at least there—at least, in the moment, from hour to hour and day to day—it’s possible to imagine that nothing will ever change. I was a frog in a frying pan, and the heat was turning up so slowly that I couldn’t feel myself fry. I can feel this—feel the weightlessness, feel the cold, feel the isolation.

There are five other people with me, yes, but it’s like having a shelf of five thick books: they feel infinite until you spend some time with them. I’m not saying that my shipmates are boring, I’m saying that they’re finite. So am I, and so are all of you, but I’ve spent my whole life among billions of you.

I need you—I need all of you—to keep my grip on reality here, okay? You’re all part of my universe, more important than you’ve ever been. Every like, every comment, every follow, it’s all meaningful. When I check back and see I have a few thousand notes, that reminds me that life is going on, and that I’m still a part of it.

I know a lot of you are jealous, and I’m not telling you not to be. I’m just asking you to please be compassionate. If this wasn’t me out here, it would be someone else. Would you rather it be someone else?

Don’t answer that.

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