Fear

fear

This blog is almost four years old.

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.

31 thoughts on “Fear

  1. I’m judging you. I judge you to be a very strong woman whom I admire. And I’m glad your urge to write is stronger than the fear. Carry on, Whiskey <3

  2. I hereby validate you, and your comments. Your posting are more human and true than any that I think I’ve ever read anywhere else. There is only one person who can judge you for them and that is you. If you are happy with them, you feel they are accurate and honest, and they have reached one other person who understands them, then you have succeeded. And the reality is you have succeeded tremendously. As Leanna said (and I only just now realized she has read this too): Carry on, Whiskey. Don’t change a thing, and for Pete’s sake, don’t stop. Sharing some <3 too.

  3. For a moment I forgot about my sadness and stopped crying just to see your words, I am very jealous of your talent to use words and I can’t wait to see another written post. Fear it’s very dangeouros because it stops your path. Don’t let fear to stop you no matter what !

  4. I love reading your posts and so good to see your words on the page again! You have the most amazing strength and endurance and have such great courage in sharing your world. BIG hugs to you – Anna

  5. You aren’t the only one who stopped blogging for similar reasons. I was getting caught up in virtual politics, which was not my aim (I have enough places to deal with that). I took John Lennon’s advice: “No longer riding on the merry-go-round; I just had to let it go.

    Good on you for stepping once more into the breach.

  6. ^^^ ALLA THAT UP THERE ^^^

    And if you ever need self-validation, just meet me in the alley by the railway station. ;)

  7. I have been reading you for at least a couple years, Whiskey. I am always amazed at your insight, art, sensitivity, and real intellectual thought about the relationship between our avatar selves and our flesh selves. I admire your bold ideas that are so succinctly put into beautiful pixels, I often gasp at some of the images you have posted. I don’t blog much (only for my own record) or plurk (sounds like one slam session after another), or even want to look at the drama crap that can surface in blogs. Much of the drama that people throw out in conversations about second life in the blog-o-spheres, sounds like the s**t I help kids deal with everyday at the high school where I work. It is sooo adolescent, I don’t want to to spend my time reading that sort of crap, so I have never seen the posts that have hurt you..I don’t think we have a bunch of teenagers in commentary, but we have many narcissistic, immature persons who use social media to smear others to get their jollies. It is a form of bullying. So, please, Whiskey, just ignore that bulls**t. Maybe more of us who read wonderful bloggers like you, should comment, instead of quietly enjoying.

  8. Marx, when you meet Whiskey in the alley, lemme know and I’ll bring the camcorder. Gotta record it for posterior. I mean posterity. I mean for hysterical porpoises. Historical purposes. Whatever!

  9. To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.

    In other clichéd words: sail on, sail on!

    I just stopped checking the user stats on my bloggy a couple weeks ago, in the end they don’t matter. Just like you said we’re blogging for ourselves first and foremost. It was a great feeling of freedom I gained by admitting that my own little blog is pure self-indulgence. Eventhough it’s not intellectual, only marginal political, my english skills stink, but mostly just daily life stupidities it’s a part of me, a part I wouldn’t wanna miss anymore.

  10. I’ve only recently started following you, but I find your voice to be powerful and valuable. You should be heard by more people. That being said, given the wide ranging audience the internet provides, it is certain that some people will not understand what you say. Please always remember that this is not a reflection on your ability to express yourself. It is a reflection on their ability to understand.

    Thank you for coming back. You were very missed.

  11. Never fear dearest Whiskey. The day you become a black hearted, buttock clenched sneering arsehole with delusions of grandeur and an ego to match I promise to be surreptitiously judgemental and unfollow, block and generally ignore you.

    But until the twelfth of never comes round I’ll settle for being pleased that you’ve found your writing mojo and your inner strength again. x

  12. Oh yes, in all the talk about mememe I completely forgot to mention that I was actually a bit woried about you. Your blog is in my sidebar as part of my daily dawn patrol and it was kinda frustrating to see such a long, and competely unannounced, absence. Good to see you found your inner strength back and are motivated to lay bare your soul for us again. And not only to put in in strong words but in wondrous photos as well.

  13. i’ve always been of the opinion that those who comment and have clearly misunderstood don’t have the wit to appreciate their own ignorance; those who twist words and misconstrue don’t have the guts to speak for themselves; those who snipe and comment out of malice simply show themselves in their true light. None of this is a reflection of the writer, but speaks volumes about those who respond.

    Keep doing what you do, in the way that you must – and thank you for all that you write.

    s. x

  14. My friend –

    * “I fear being judged, and I fear being misunderstood. And I have no control over either of those.”

    * “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 your outreach grows, there will be more and more people that dislike what you are doing. They have their own reasons that mostly don’t make any sense. More and more these people will try to find any apparent weakness or mistake and pick at it, hoping to make it bleed.

    I see your words here echo my own thoughts. I’m there with you, I have the same fears. However, slowly over time they’ve been fading. I’ve realized that the minority of people that want to try and destroy something will fail because those of us building something great have far more tenacity. We fight until the end, and NO ONE will tear us down. In the end, those that destroy are left with nothing. They’ve torn it all down. Burned all the bridges. Exposed themselves to the world as what they really are.

    Those that create are left with the bridges they’ve built. Left with the people that have crossed over them. Left with the lives they have enriched.

    – David

  15. Dear Whiskey

    I never really met you, and doubt that you remember me, we chatted a bit in Twitter a year or so ago when I was in SL, but I left SL and my SL Twitter account because I was struggling with RL personal issues which needed to be sorted out; pretty sure I never met you inworld.

    But of course, like most of your followers I had been struck by your combination of excellent writing, both long-form and a quite remarkable ability to compress meaning into 140 characters, and after a few weeks (probably missing SL, it’s difficult to leave) it occurred to me to see what you were up to on Twitter/your blog. I laughed at your wry humour, winced and sympathised at some of the bullets life was throwing at you, hoped your family were okay and winced again at your niece’s trombone playing (something I particularly empathise with as I grew up with two younger sisters whose attempts at mastering the recorder and violin still make me shudder). Every few weeks, I’d remember to catch up with your posts, because I enjoyed your writing (both your prose and the way you way you discussed issues), while hoping that your sister wasn’t in too much pain, laughing at some of the banter and your adventures, and I suppose like everyone else you know, above all hoping that you would get some of the breaks in real life you so very much deserve.

    It was no surprise to find out you are also very talented at photography, but I always preferred your writing. It seemed a cathartic process for you and a way for you of gaining release by expressing your thoughts and working through issues, gaining insight by writing. And writing is a craft, a skill learned by years of practice and I admire how good you are at it. So it was somewhat of a shock to log on a few weeks ago and discover that you had stopped. And even more of a shock to discover the reason: that one of your blog posts had been misinterpreted and your meaning manipulated; something that is especially incomprehensible because in addition to the perceptiveness and intellectual honesty of your discussion of a topic (and the fact that you can be very, very funny), it is specifically your precise expression of nuance of meaning and accurate articulation of shades of feeling as you work through issues that makes your writing so good, and which makes the process of reading your blogs so insightful. You take the reader in new and interesting directions through these nuances in an exploration of your thoughts; this process simply would not work if you were not precise and accurate in expressing exactly what you are trying to say. Your post above is in fact a good example of this; the thing you were afraid you cannot do is actually something you are quite exceptional at (or at least so it seems to me).

    I had to read back through your blog to work out which post had caused such a furore, and now I have worked it out it seems even more utterly bizarre because what you are saying is quite clear. It’s obvious how this experience would have been particularly hurtful to you though, especially on such a difficult and sensitive subject.

    So it was great when I decided to check your blog on the off-chance last night and read this; because above all the core purpose of your writing always seemed to be for you to express yourself and arrive at some sort of resolution of the issue through the articulation of your thoughts, and it is very good news that you have not given in and stopped. Good news for you because as you say writing is clearly very important to you, and good news for your readers because it is also clear that many of us find reading your writing a rewarding and enriching experience, and which one gives the reader fresh insight and perspective. Exactly what good writing should do.

    It could be that with your recent rise to SL fame (congrats! :P), and consequently with many new visitors to your blog, that it is practical to protect yourself a bit more (such is life, I’m told, for the glitterati =D), but with a bit of luck and skill it may still be possible for you to find a middle ground where you do that and are still able to use your writing to express and work through your thoughts and feelings in a way that is helpful and cathartic and insightful. I hope so.

    In any case, good luck, and my very best wishes,

    Jack Arnica.

  16. Rembember your InWorldz Blogger Challenge #4 ?
    …often, people start a blog and then it sits all sad and neglected. Maybe they get writer’s block. Maybe they get shy. Perhaps they need inspiration.
    (these were your introduction words for the blog challenge).

    Now a few years later you can add on that list :
    they got afraid, fear of hard reactions, ugly words written, misunderstandings of the real intentions,feeling manipulated,lived, attacted and hurt !
    I think first of all you have to love writing, having inspiration about anything that occupies you, being inspired by others, having time to spent on blogging and most of all being consequent in what you stand for.
    Blogging requires passion and authority. Wich leaves out most people !
    So in my opinion, blogging is for the brave, consistant, inspired people who love to express themselves and don’t give a damn who is reading it or not.
    If readers react badly, well so be it, your are entitled to have your own opinion.
    Writing is a talent an addiction and passion, all those wonderful things you have Whiskey !
    I’m pleased to see you back :-) I love your words and pictures !

    • Bekidarling! We were wondering what had happened to you. Still sore about being outed as a shameless art thief, I see. That’s such a pity.

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