mental health, trauma, drugs, state repression, suicide
my public image is a little misleading. always silly, always cheerful, a source of fun and positivity. im glad i get to appear like that, motivate other people and bringing joy to many. but it really doesn't represent at all who i am on the inside, even though it gives myself energy as well. so yea, let's dive a bit into the fucked up world that is my mind.
ok but maia, why would you even bring this up at all if you have such a well curated public image?
i feel like it's important to contrast how i (like to) appear, with what all the shit i've been through has actually done to me. i get lots of comments all the time about how impressive it is that im still so cheerful and seemingly okay after everything i've been through and it might give you the impression that all this shit isn't scary as fuck. i want people to at least know the psychological cost of doing the kind of things i do. this isn't really a call for sympathy or attention, but i felt like i should shed some light onto how im actually doing.
a little story
it's an early morning in early 2021 as i get woken up by my doorbell and three loud bangs on my apartment door. the whole week leading up to this friday has been a wild up and down of manic press communications about verkada and eventually forcing myself to sleep with a daily dose of diazepam sometime around 7am. i had only just flipped my sleep schedule back again, using yet again more benzos, when i was woken up by what i immediately knew was the cops in front of my door. i had been expecting this moment for like a month at this point.
i open the door, in underwear and still half asleep, next thing i know i am pinned to the adjacent wall by two masked police officers. "IS ANYONE ELSE HERE? IS ANYONE ELSE HERE?" they yell at me until i confirm im alone three times. "im assuming you know why we're here, right?", i am told by the cop who appears to be in charge. im still basically naked as they seat me on a chair in my kitchen. about 6 police officers enter my apartment, carrying multiple boxes and paperwork. it takes about 5 minutes until someone asks if i would maybe want to wear some clothes, i am not allowed to get them myself. the two masked officers bring me the first thing they can find in my wardrobe, extremely warm winter clothes, i guess i'll be forced to sweat my ass off for the next few hours.
i am informed that the US government has charged me for "conspiracy, wire fraud, and aggrevated identity theft" and that all my electronic devices are going to be confiscated. the local police doesn't actually have all that much info and they end up having to call the district attorney at multiple points during the raid to clarify certain things. for the next two hours i'm sitting in my kitchen, watching all my devices get put into boxes, and my PC getting ramdumped. in the end i have to sign a bunch of stuff, and the cops awkwardly leave, letting me know that usually they'd take me to the station with them, but since this is a weird international case they just wished me a good weekend (lmao) and left.
less than a week later i wake up to hundreds of dms and massive chaos on social media, i am once again going through a news cycle, the third time in just two weeks. my US indictment has been unsealed and there is a big press release on the justice.gov website.
A cyber-criminal could be anywhere in the world. Thanks to our foreign partnerships, international borders won't provide a haven for their illegal activities,” said Donald Voiret, FBI Special Agent in Charge, Seattle. “This indictment demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to working with our partners around the globe to disrupt and dismantle criminal enterprises that target Americans and their businesses.
i have been made an example.
the first thing i did at the time, within hours of getting raided, was talking to media, making sure i control the narrative, reconnecting with friends (i had thankfully written down some phone numbers physically a week earlier) and just meeting up with a good friend in person to wind down. to this day i am glad i pretty much immediately switched into communications mode and worked with press, it made sure the US didn't have much of a chance to completely turn the narrative against me. but what it also meant is that i never even really started to process what happened. i just did what i told myself i had to, kept resurfacing this trauma over and over again as i talked to press.
and so the problems begin
i had always been mentally ill and traumatized for as long as i can remember, it's probably a big part of what even lead me to this in the first place. but so much of what i still struggle with now, over two years later, just started in that week and the paranoid weeks leading up to it. i mostly don't remember anything from what happened in 2021, the things i do are all just little factoids i read about myself on the web or things i reconnected from stuff friends told me about. 2022 is honestly also not that much better, and to this day i can watch memories of moments fleeting away from me as i am making them. my memory recall ability has never been particularly great, so i honestly didn't really think about this too much as a trauma thing until recently.
i was having yet another breakdown over how i often just can't even remember the good memories anymore of things i know happened just a few days ago. everything is fleeting and my life just kinda moves past me. so yea by now im pretty sure i have some funky dissociative amnesia or something thanks to the US government, woooo! it's slowly getting better as my life overall is honestly going pretty great lately. but i bring this up first, before all the paranoia and flashbacks (and the fact that i cant travel), because it's honestly this that has made it the hardest to rebuild my life after 2021.
and yea, so, the paranoia. one of those things i thought i had mostly gotten over, but so once again 2023 rolls around. im finally motivated and energized enough to start doing some work again, somehow pretty much the first thing i find is the nofly list. a massive find, probably one of the biggest leaks of the year. at first im taking it well, im enjoying having done a thing again, im glad i finally found one of the things i have been looking for for 2 years (albeit by accident) and happy i get to make another impact. i of course also did enjoy the attention it got me personally, even though that wasn't ever really my goal and just happened because the internet decided to turn me into a meme.
but then it kept getting bigger, i was home alone, and the flashbacks for 2021 started coming in. what if this is it, what if i get raided again, what if they take all my shit again and i once again lose all my friendships to trauma. my days were once again full of lots of media work, answering hundreds of emails and dms a day, always appearing cheerful, my sleep schedule once again fully adjusted to the US. i also had panic attacks, lots of them, every single night. the benzos barely helped anymore, i probably have too much tolerance for them by now, what if i mix them with ambien as well, eh at least i can sleep this way. i slip back into alcoholism. on the outside this is where i am slowly turning into this cheery big online trans poster girl i am now, and hey like, in a way i was at my peak at the time. i did the work i enjoyed, it was fulfilling, i felt like i had a purpose. but also god those nights were awful. i realized just how much more trauma i still have to work through, and i feel like in a way even just the fact that nofly happened and im still fine now, helped a lot. i can do my work safely. i need to time it right, i need breaks, and i need a support network (which thankfully i have, i love you all <3). but i still have so so much work to do.
maia why the fuck do you keep going
honestly, i think the only reason i didn't just commit suicide after the raid and indictment in 2021 was spite. i can't let them win, i can't give in, i can't let them break me. i need to be here because others couldn't, i need to be here to tell the tale, i need to be here to keep fighting, i need to be here for my friends. why i keep going now, why i keep doing this work now? still a lot of spite, but it's also really fulfilling, i love being able to do the impactful work i do. i love being able to inspire people. and now that i have a bit of a platform to work with, get things out there, have them be heard, i only have to fight even more.
taking the world less and less seriously and just being silly and doing what i wanna do more and more has also just given me so much energy and hope, i enjoy my work! i enjoy what i do and why i do it, and im glad i get to spread the message of staying silly to other people. it's what keeps me sane.
i realize this post is very different from what i usually put up, and insanely venty and very incomplete (maybe there will be more of these in the future, who knows) but i just felt like now is the moment to start getting incredibly honest and personal and shed some light onto the parts of my life i barely ever talk about.
many many thanks to everyone around me, all my girlfriends, all my close friends and everyone who supports me in any other way, i couldn't be here without you and i hope we get to stay silly together for much longer <3