It is time that I address something that has been bothering me for quite some time that I never really figured out how to share, so I hope this post does not go off track too much. I have stated in the past that I struggle with social anxiety disorder (amongst other things) and that I have extremely poor self-esteem and a lot of body image issues. I am not sure exactly when this started, but if I were to guess, I would have to say around the time I was four and in preschool, which is just a rough estimate as I know that is when I started biting my nails out of anxiety. (I finally stopped nail-biting in 2007.)
When I was growing up, I was on a lot of asthma medication that caused my weight to fluctuate dramatically. For instance, when I began the 5th grade I was a tall and skinny kid that even towered over the girls, but after being hospitalized for an asthma attack that year, I had ballooned by 13 kg from prednisone regiments and other steroids used to treat my symptoms. Back then, controller medications were not widely available so the only way I could survive was with a nebulizer treatment in the morning, two puffs of an albuterol rescue inhaler at the nurse’s office before lunch, and another nebulizer treatment before bed. More if there was an emergency.
This put enormous stress on my body, especially on my heart (I have had a heart murmur since birth), and made me even more sickly than I normally was. As a result, I was overweight, greyish in colour and could not participate in many of the activates I was previously involved with at school: I had played the flute in concert band but my asthma forced me to stop. I played basketball but had no choice but to quit as I could not breathe well enough to be competitive. And in a school where you were either “a jock or you were not” as it was said, this made me incredibly isolated and likely contributed to my difficulty handling social situations later on.
I want to say that this got better over time, but the years of bullying and name-calling that I had been subjected to in middle school made everything much worse once I arrived at St. Nard’s for high school. Before classes began, I spent that entire summer obsessively exercising and refusing food so that I could enter a new school with a new look and, in my mind, having little to fear. By the time I was a sophomore, I had developed anorexia and was running on fumes every single day. At most I may have had a cracker and a piece of cheese during the week, and only allowed myself to have part of a meal on weekends.
I had such a hard time making friends in school that I always thought it had something to do with my weight, the way I styled my hair, the tenor pitch of my speaking voice, or more that I was nervously trying to fix all at once, and all at the cost of my health. Adding into this, the car wreck that I was involved in and the subsequent diagnosis of PTSD, my nerves were in ruins and my health was deteriorating rapidly. At the time my senior portrait was taken, I weighed only 62.5 kg while being 1.9 meters tall. I was completely emaciated: my eyes looked bigger than normal as my skull was being exposed and I had no strength left in my body so that I could no longer lift weights or even move the couch.
And this did not stop here. By university, I started eating again but in massive amounts: I would eat junk food all day long, eating ready to bake cookies nightly and had a near daily lunch of Burger King by the time I was in my final college semester. By this point, I had again ballooned up to 95 kg and was a sickly grey in the last jazz ensemble pictures that were taken of me. And adding to my own internal monologue that incessantly berated me for being too fat, or for not being good enough as a musician, an artist, or even as a person, I ended up becoming the butt of every joke by a group of people on YouTube (circa 2008).
I was new to the internet, I had dial-up until 2007-08 and I was not aware of the unmitigated evil that is the YouTube comments section. In several of my videos where I could be seen playing the piano or bass, or just making uploads that today would be classified as vlogs, I was getting trolled by one or two users who escalated their attacks in private messages that came every few minutes in the middle of the night. I was called “tits boy,” “the Rack,” and other names poking fun at my weight. I was told that my voice “sounded like Barney if he was [sic] a queer” and that a turtle with a tampon up its arse would sound better than anything I was performing. The messages included several comments that I should be struck dead.
I was a young 20-something and I was stupid. I had never heard of trolling before so I engaged with these users who destroyed what little was left of my confidence until I deleted my channel and removed all of my pictures from the internet. I have since grown thicker skin, and am happy to say that I could care less for comments directed at me, but unfortunately this has also meant that I seldom take good comments to heart and the dark thoughts of my internal monologue returned, screaming at me that I was not good enough to be a musician, or was not cut out to be an artist or a writer. And then the thoughts would turn darker and I would strongly consider acting on the vile suggestions that utter nobodies online had given me.
By 2009, I had stopped regularly performing in public and in the few instances where I did take a gig, I vehemently refused to have any pictures or videos of me taken. I gradually lost the extra weight after graduation and arrived at my current size of 80.7 kg but I still felt heavy, and I still refused to be photographed by anyone outside of my immediate family. I was also uncontrollably nervous and the thought of playing before people, something that I did without issue for years before, was impossible for me.
I was having a nervous breakdown.
I had retired as a performer because the dark thoughts in the back of my mind had won. The seven and a half years of being the victim of stalking did nothing to help either. The only personal image I would use was an old headshot taken in late 2012, which is still on several of my stores at the time I am writing this, and I am not even smiling in it.
Looking at myself in the mirror, I saw only a shell that was coming apart at every conceivable seam. I refused to share or even take any personal images because I felt that I was too ugly, too fat, or too tweaked out from constant nervousness. I hated my body. I hated myself. I felt like Jack Nicholson in Batman (1989) after he becomes The Joker.
So, over the course of the summer I decided to start over. I got an entirely new professional and casual wardrobe filled with colours after wearing nothing but drab blues and browns for years. I sought professional help to guide me with my body image issues, and realized that I have body dysmorphia and I am working every day to build up my confidence in my own skin and to realize that I am perfectly comfortable being who I am.
I want to take this moment to announce my official return to the professional music and art worlds.
I am not sure how to end this post as it is late at night and I have had to relive so much in order to create this, but all I can say is thank you and I love you all. Be well, be safe, and I’ll see you soon.
I had written last week about this topic but decided to remove the post after a few days went by and things settled down. I want to rewrite a post regarding this matter as it has now become apparent to me that something horribly wrong was happening during that time, and my decision to pull the post was premature and was naively lacking in awareness to the reality of my situation.
Someone, I'm not sure who at this point in time (I'm guessing Diesel), created a fake profile using my name on both Grindr and Craigslist Canada. They used the headshot that I have on the homepage of this website and uploaded it to the aforementioned apps/sites where they claimed I was a male escort who was "down for anything" and revealed my private phone number on the listings.
I ended up receiving over 200 phone calls and text messages this past week propositioning me for all manner of explicit things with strangers. It took me days to get the fake profiles removed and the comments deleted from my phone and website.
Today, I have been bombarded with threatening messages from a user identifying herself/himself as "Lemon Girl" or "TickleMeSilly," claiming that they have been impersonating myself and family members on social media and that they have been creating all sorts of rumours amongst my friends to the point where some have outright stated their hatred towards myself and my family, or simply blocked us from contacting them without explanation.
I do not know what has been said or done by this individual/group using my name or likeness, but I am now fearful that I have lost everyone that I have ever cared for or loved because of it.
Messages from the so called "Lemon Girl" have also made claims that she/he has put my headshot on adult websites in order to impersonate me, defame my name and/or to destroy my relationships by "givng [sic] sumthing [sic] for [homophobic slur] to [explicit action] to." They have also made the nefarious claim that they either have or are willing to go so far as to impersonate my relatives on adult websites, up to and including my late sister Hannah.
I want to make it very clear that I have never used any such app, explicit website, Craigslist posting or any other such thing. As I've desperately tried to remedy this situation I have found social media and email accounts using usernames such as "Lemon Girl" and "TickleMeSilly" going as far back as 2012 or late 2011, the same time that the stalking and harassment against my family began.
I have been attempting to contact all administrators regarding the behaviour of these users and the threat they are posing to me so that proper action can be taken before I call the local or federal police.
I do not use social media of any kind. I deleted my profiles ages ago because of this situation. Also, I no longer use or have any email other than Gmail. Any messages from AOL, Yahoo or other addresses are fake.
Profiles that have a connection to the following usernames have been confirmed to be impersonating myself or my family and should be reported to administrators on any website or social media platform that they are used on, or to the police:
Mike R. A.
Mike R. A. Smael
Christofer Smale Moon
Christobell Smale Moon
Mike "Rack of the Year" Smale
Note the incorrect spelling of my last name in many of the accounts trying to hijack my URL or GMail address. Also beware that the imposters generally use burner email addresses that end in ...@mail.com or ...@email.com. They do not use GMail or any service that requires cell phone verification so that they can send off harassing, threatening or disgusting messages and delete the accounts before the authorities can be notified.
Do not respond to any email ending with an address like ...@mail.com or ...@email.com!
Messages from such addresses are highly dangerous and likely connected to servers in Eastern Europe, Russia or China and lack any security. These are the same sorts of emails that hackers used to create numerous fake accounts on Facebook and Twitter in order to influence the 2016 US Election!
If you believe that someone impersonating me has contacted you at any point, message me via the contact page so I can further try and correct this issue. Any information regarding the imposters is welcome to help track them down.
I have been notified that the origin of these more recent attacks came from a white supremacist/neo-Nazi website or websites where Diesel and friends of hers had shared my family's private information. This has, sadly, become a norm for people in the United States since 2015/16 and has been spreading around Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand since.
As I shared in my story about my abusive high school relationship with Diesel, her family was extremely racist and anti-Semitic and upon learning of my family's Jewish heritage, our relationship ended with a whole lot of ugliness from her white supremacist father. After the summer of 2011, the harassment and stalking began after Diesel found my now deleted Facebook page and this sharing of private contact information on neo-Nazi websites was part of it.
Her entire goal was to destroy my life, to isolate me from my family and my closest friends and to make me paranoid that even my best friends hated me via impersonation accounts. Her involvement with these Nazi websites makes her actions a hate crime as well as felony stalking and assault.
I have informed both the RCMP and the FBI about this matter.