Volume 35, Number 2

Unalive Yourself

The white cis man from Arkansas with
a profile picture of himself in a red hat,
holding a fish and smiling at the camera,
DMs me a kys 41 at 3 on a Sunday afternoon.
The block & report button comes
with a 30-second response of This does not
go against our community standards.

The algorithm led him to a post I made
about queer joy and after leaving a laugh react,
he messaged me. I take a screenshot
and return to my page, posting with the comment
I can’t believe people are allowed
to just tell others to kill themselves,
and I
am flagged for posting hate speech as well as
a message appearing on my screen asking
if I need help for my mental health. My post,
now removed, pushes Arkansas to message
me again, you must be on your period.
You know, I don’t think something that bleeds
for seven days and doesn’t die should be alive.

An image is loading, and when I click it,
it is the Google Maps Street View of my house.
This time, when I post about what it is to face hate
for joy, I pull out a laugh emoji, comment that,
lol he thinks I should unalive myself,
Thinks it’s that easy to get rid of me.

And for every laugh react I get to that post, I feel the
pang of shifting my language to make someone
else happy, to make myself more acceptable,
and I wonder if it really is that easy
to get rid of me.

—Dameien Nathaniel