Finding grace between the folds of reality

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that”–Martin Luther King Jr.

It’s been six days since I realized I was scammed (see previous post), and roughly two weeks since I had been targeted. And yes, they looked up this blog, tracked it for a week, filed through everything, took my money, and then disappeared like fog on a sunny day.

I’m not stupid. I know there are malicious people in this world, and I know that there are some sketchy people that trawl through here. This blog doesn’t contain any useful information to anyone unless they want to gauge my psychological and emotional stability. But to use even that against me, is low.

As the dreams turn back into dreams and the dust settles, I’m faced with a reevaluation of how I view myself and humanity, and I’m hit with the practical education that I have received from my parents. Thank you mother for teaching me money management skills! Because of you, I am able to take a $1,000 blow without my life falling apart financially. I have a diverse portfolio, and I make sure to have a “financial cushion” in case situations like these arise. $1,000 is still a lot of money, especially if you are a college student without a job. But I know that one day $1,000 won’t mean as much to me as it does now. And now I’m six days smarter, six days older, and six days into my decision making: do I want to become jaded? Remain naive? Become paranoid? Give up? Never.
Shit happens. Last July I almost died in a car crash, this July I got $1,000 stolen. I wonder what next July holds?

It would be so easy, and highly understandable, to shut down this blog, change all my email addresses, passwords, and wipe myself off the face of the internet. It would be so much safer to assume that everyone is out to get me, not trust any new strangers, and walk around with a resting bitch face until proven wrong. And it would help me forget about all of this if I were to give up my dreams of being a writer, and settle for something more secure (like being a diplomat perhaps?). But I’ve decided I don’t want to live my life like that, despite this situation. I also don’t want to make the same mistake twice. So where do I draw the line?

I’m going to continue writing here, and I will still aspire to be a starving writer. And after this post is finished, I will go back online and search for part time jobs, and most importantly, I will not let this affect how I view humanity, or myself.

Once I realized I had been scammed, I felt beyond stupid, embarrassed, ashamed, and self-critical. “How could you not have seen all the red flags?!”

But that’s the bittersweetness that retrospective thinking provides us. It makes us feel smarter and dumber simultaneously.

I wanted to hide, pretend it hadn’t happened to me, and not tell anyone. Instead, I let my desire to help others take over. I can’t help myself, but maybe I can prevent it from happening to one less person. So I wrote about it on Facebook, and I’m telling you about it here. Please don’t let it happen to you! Scammers are getting smarter, just like the rest of us. Check names and email addresses, and Google everything as a vetting process for legitimacy. But if it happens anyways, know that it’s all going to be okay, and you’re not dumb. We all make mistakes. If anything, you just earned smartie points from this “experience”.

Now to my final point. I’d like to think that in a pretty world, these people hiding behind computer screens using other people’s dreams against them need the money more than the dreamers. I don’t know what’s going on in their lives. Maybe a close friend or relative is dying from cancer and this is how they pay the medical bills. It doesn’t make it right, or fix the damage done, but it makes me think that perhaps they’re not completely selfish sociopaths. These people could also very well be millionaires that do this for fun, or for some extra drug money. Regardless of who they are or their intentions, for every twisted person that I’ve come across, I’ve met at least ten other good-hearted people. Traveling has taught me that.

So I will be cautious and protect myself as best as I can, but ultimately mistakes are made and bad things happen to good people. I just need to pick myself up and keep going, and not let a series of unfortunate events pull me into its world of pessimism.

And who knows, maybe my newfound knowledge and empathy for people who dubiously get screwed over will lead into a career in cyber law and security.

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