Growing Up Online – Part 1: I Was An Internet Scene Queen

**Please note this is not me trying to brag about the fact I was somewhat popular online because I promise you it is not as fun as it may seem. This will be a three part post. This is simply part one.**

Ever since I was in grade 4, I’ve had a more “alternative” style. Growing up listening to bands like Good Charlotte and Simple Plan, as well as Avril Lavigne, I grew up wearing studded belts & bracelets, wrist bands, rubber black “sex bracelets”, band shirts, Nightmare Before Christmas, even ties on occasion. That lasted up until right before grade 7 when I was introduced into a style I had never heard of before: scene.

Pictures vary from grade 4-6.

I don’t remember exactly when it was, I believe summer after grade 6, my cousin took me to my first ever local show. She is a bit older than me and had a bit of a scene style. She dressed me up in a striped sweater with a skirt and black leggings, and we went to a show in Brampton at a local church. We saw a band called Everlea, which to this day I still listen to, as well as some other bands. I met a ton of older people, including band members, which blew my mind at the time. Everyone had straightened hair, tight pants, even piercings. I loved every second of it and knew I wanted to look just like them.

Sadly most of my grade 7 pictures are non existent at this point.

While I was too young to really dye my hair, right before I started grade 7 my mom allowed me to get a drastic change: layers, and dark brown underneath which I learned to style with a straightener. I was the first person in my grade to wear skinny jeans (which I got a looot of rude comments about but within a month or two almost everyone would be wearing them) and always continued wearing my studded belts and bracelets and black rubber bands that I had already been rockin’ for 3 years. But it wasn’t until grade 8 when I really learned what scene was and knew that’s what I wanted to be.

Because then I got MySpace.

Hadn’t quite perfected the “scene pose” yet.

Ignore my shitty editing job.

Over contrasting, always.

From MySpace I found bands I’d grow to love like Sydney, Chiodos, Taking Back Sunday, and From First To Last. I would also find bands like The Millionaires, Hollywood Undead, The Medic Droid and Jeffree Star. Here I was in grade 8 singing lyrics from vulgar ass “MySpace songs” like Turn Off The Lights by Hollywood Undead (“don’t get mad if they suck my dick, and then make out with you after hoe” and “bitches get mad that I swallow more cum than they can”) as well as other songs that included a LOT of sex, drugs, and drinking. All shit I had obviously never done, but I had no problem yelling out the words to them. I also learned about being MySpace famous, who was considered MySpace famous and trying to find out how the hell I could become one of those popular “scene queens”.

I became friends with other scene kid hopefuls and while my mom wouldn’t allow me to dye my hair black or wear black eyeliner, I did as much as I could to look like all the girls in the pictures in hopes of being noticed. Wearing colourful skinny jeans, way too much hello kitty, hand teasing my hair because I had no clue what a teasing comb was, and over contrasting my “MySpace angle” pictures to upload to my Sarah$kellington page (which I won’t lie – I was hella good at html back in the day because of MySpace) I sent friend requests to everyone, became friends with other scene kids in Mississauga through the internet, and even found myself a cute scene boy to fall in love with online. (You can read about that here – although funny enough, we’re still friends now.) Sadly I quickly realized there was already a way more popular girl who used the name SarahSkellington, so I just settled with a name that I will probably be asked for the rest of my life if it’s actually my real name or my “scene name” – sarahvance, which turned into “sarahvancee” simply because just “sarahvance” looked boring and most urls of that had already been taken, and for the millionth time, yes Sarah Vance is my real name. I still get asked that to this fucking day.

Grade 9.

Sadly there was once a time when I only wore colourful skinny jeans.

End of grade 9 / start of grade 10.

By the time it was the end of grade 9 I had started wearing black eyeliner even though I don’t think my mom really approved of it, and she had let me dye my hair dark brown however I still wanted nothing more than huge, black hair and piercings. It totally blew my fucking mind when one day in Toronto my mom randomly asked me if I wanted to get a piercing – and let me get my lip pierced. I was SO happy. She also agreed to let me stretch my ears the tiniest amount – to a 14G, but overtime I sneakingly went bigger and bigger, always buying the exact same style of tapers until she finally confronted me about my larger earrings and agreed to let me stretch up to 00G. And a month or two into grade 10, she finally… FINALLY allowed me to dye my hair black and get extensions.

Some of my more “popular” photos from grade 10.

The higher the hair the closer to God, right?

Which turned into me finally getting noticed, in the best and worst ways.

To some people it probably seemed like I changed overnight, but I didn’t care. I finally was starting to look like how I had always wanted, and within a few more months I had gotten the other side of my lip pierced. I was getting more attention on MySpace, as well as Facebook since it was starting to become a thing, but I just wasn’t reaching the internet fame I had always wanted. And then I did some of the dumbest things I have probably ever done: I made a fake account of myself so I could post everywhere that I had a fake account, and I uploaded my own pictures onto Photo Bucket and Tiny Pic with tags like “scene queen” and “scene hair” and let me tell you, that did the fucking trick. Except my dumbass never put my MySpace ID on my pictures, so here I was with a growing list of fake accounts of me, yet no one knew they were fake because no one knew who the hell I was. A few pictures had my name watermarked on them, but without the ID, there was no way to know the source of the picture – the real account.

Honestly what the hell is this?

Who the fuck is Noel?

I was the one with the black & white picture.

It got to the point where I had a list of over 100 fake accounts with my pictures on it, some with different names, some in different languages, and some with some bizzare ass stories to go along with them. I even saw profiles of my fakes being faked. If you googled “scene hair” my picture would come up. It got to the point where I had to submit myself to “commonly faked” pages so they’d upload my pictures with all my real links so at least some people would actually know who I was. I loved it in a sense, because it was semi what I had always wanted, but shit also got really weird really fast. Sometimes the fakes would have more friends than me, find my profile, and people would accuse me of being fake, even report me. I would have people message me telling me they were in love with me just to find out they were talking to a fake account, and then expect me to talk to them. I’ve had my pictures uploaded and re-uploaded to too many sites to count. I’ve had people give me the fake profiles phone number and had friends call them to force them to delete the account, even pretending to be lawyers. I’ve had to make “proof videos” which I got made fun of for doing – hard. But the worst was that people in real life hated it about me. I got bullied pretty bad in high school because of this somewhat internet fame I had, although I’m going to save that for part 2 of this post.

Whooop there I am. (Not self submitted page.)

My first proof video I ever made.

Constantly having to prove myself to random people online wasn’t as fun as some people may think it seems. While flattering at times, there were also times it got annoying, weird, and slightly scary.

Example of messages I used to get up from people who had fallen for or talked to fakes of mine.

Some weird old man who used to send me strange messages and reupload my pictures with odd captions. What a dude.

To this day I still get the occasional message that someone had been talking to a fake of mine, however I don’t go looking for fake accounts of myself anymore. At this point they’re all using pictures that are mostly 6-8 or even close to 9 years old, and I just don’t care anymore. Honestly, at the time of my life that this was going on, people using my pictures was the least of my worries.

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