I started blogging to share my experiences in InWorldz. I’d left Second Life and I was enjoying a new virtual world. I wasn’t afraid to blog, not even controversial topics. I blogged because I loved writing. I blogged for me.
I don’t know what happened between then and now to make me so goddamn fragile. I mean, I know what’s happened in my world since then, and it’s a LOT. But in the rest of my life I’m strong and confident and don’t give a flying fuck if Joe Blow and Jane Insane don’t care for me. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, and they’re not mine. I don’t lose sleep over this.
But I’ve stopped writing here, and if I’m honest with myself (and I try to be honest with me above all others) it’s because I’m afraid. It’s fear that keeps me quiet.
It’d be easy to say that fear has no place in my decision making process but hey, some fears are legitimate and prevent Bad Things. My fear of spiders is a good, valid fear that keeps me from getting eaten by the little demons, just as my fear of basements keeps me from being consumed by the undead. No one could argue that these are irrational fears.
I’ve been trying to flesh out what it is that I fear so much about writing here. I don’t have a fear of someone disagreeing with me. By all means, disagree! I’ve learned a lot from people who disagree with me, and since I have an open mind, sometimes I’ve even changed my thinking after hearing them out. There’s nothing to fear about a difference of opinion.
I don’t fear criticism. Real, genuine criticism is invaluable. Thoughtful feedback helps me; I’m not afraid of it.
I don’t fear comments, readers or discussion. I welcome those.
I hate to think of myself as common, but I think my fears are common ones. I fear being judged, and I fear being misunderstood. And I have no control over either of those.
In the grand scheme of things, this blog is very little. If you’re reading this, you’re part of a very small minority. Personal Blogs just aren’t all that. And one written by an anonymous avatar carries even less weight. So what am I afraid of?
Recently I posted a blog about a sensitive topic. I carefully expressed my personal opinion without attacking anyone and I thought I did a good job of qualifying it as my own personal opinion. To my surprise, my post provoked responses that twisted my words into things I never said or even insinuated. My post was misconstrued and my words were used out of context to turn them into something completely different. I was judged, and my words were misunderstood.
As dozens and dozens of comments were left here, I became furious. My first instinct was to fire back a scathing response and explain my position with a few insults about manipulating my words to really drive it home.
But I didn’t; I resisted the temptation. I never responded here, nor on the several other blogs that took my words and used them in a way I never intended. I never once spoke again about the topic. And the truth is, no one asked me to. It took me a while to realize it, but what was written in the comments and other blogs wasn’t about my opinion. It was someone else’s view of my opinion–through their own filters and perspective. It had nothing to do with me or even what I said.
Had I tried to explain my position further, they would’ve still picked on what they wanted to hear and not necessarily what I wanted to say.
I felt angry that I was misunderstood.
After more time, I realized that my feelings of anger and not wanting to be misunderstood were based in fear. I felt afraid that I was perceived as not smart enough, rational enough or informed enough to present my own personal opinion.
Reflecting on my fears, I realized that being understood, to me, means being appreciated or at least accepted. I wanted validation- and seeking validation is a dangerous path. The more you seek it, the harder it is to find.
I also know that that my feelings about being misunderstood came from wanting to control the way my opinion is perceived. I expected my readers to understand my words the way I conveyed them and not the way they perceived them. And this too can be a dangerous thing for a writer.
And so I shut down. I stopped sharing here, from fear of my words being misunderstood or misused again.
Shame on me.
I don’t blog for you. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that you’re reading this, and I appreciate you. But I blog for me, because expressing myself in written words is the most natural thing in the world to me. I write because I need the release, and not because I need the validation.
It took me a while to remember that. I’m glad I did. I still have that fear of being misunderstood or judged, but the fear is smaller than the urge to write.
If you’re reading this, thank you. If you’re judging me, keep it to yourself.
Real life woman. Virtual World avatar. Likes top shelf vodka, dominant men, blues, sunsets and playing darts. Dislikes insecurity, rap, small children and clowns. I'm either behind the bar or under it.