I was skipping my way through the minefield of early adolescence, experiencing the same low-grade bullying that most kids do, when I recorded a music video during a school break, just to help me gain some experience and have some fun. When “Friday” went up on the internet, it went crazy — and the onslaught of negative attention I received was so sudden and so intense that I wasn’t sure I would survive.
One minute, I was a normal girl and then, in the next, millions of people know who I was and they were ruthless in hurling the most vile words my way. People were writing things all over the internet, on social media and they were laughing at me on TV shows, and making fun of me in YouTube videos. It was open season and I was the target. The fact that there was a human, a person — a 13-year-old girl — on the other side of the screen seemingly escaped so many people’s attention.
An adolescent girl is, at best, pretty confused as to what life is all about and usually struggling to navigate this world around us as we’re beginning to be seen as adults but without the emotions or experience to handle adulthood. It is so challenging to live up to all the requirements that a hugely demanding society places on us women; to perform, to look exquisite, to be fun, to be smart, to be popular. It is just too much; we are not created to be "perfect" and it is not fair to demand so much from a young girl, let alone from any grown woman or any human.
Although I was hurt to my core by the intense nastiness, I had absolutely no way to deal with that, so I shut down. Looking back, I can see that that was actually a pretty sensible way that my brain coped with the stress of what I was experiencing: Pretending that the bad things were not that bad and easy to shake off, was the only way I knew to handle it.