Some days I think people will say anything to get me involved in a conversation.
I understand the predilection with controversy online, and I have been accused on several occasions of being ‘deliberately provocative’ in my approach to certain topics. I can’t help but laugh at this whenever it is levelled in my direction. No, I’m not a shy and retiring type, and I never have been. But I know when to keep my mouth shut. That’s something I doubt most people even consider in these situations, they simply assume that by standing up and challenging a presented belief that I am somehow being flagrant, and this means that whenever some nugget of controversy drops from the ether there are those like me who’ll be all over it like a rash.
My basic problem is that I can’t abide stupid.
For me, that inevitably means someone deciding that their opinion is the only one that matters, when clearly this is never the case. On the flip side, when I choose an opinion to write around, voicing it becomes absolutely stuffed full of potential pitfalls. What occasionally, and mistakenly occurs when I write is that certain individuals grasp something in the words and construe a meaning that I’d never actually intended. That can conceivably be attributed to my bad technique and should be fixable if I learn my craft better. However, there is another side to my personality that some dislike, and this will come out in my pursuit of understanding particular motivation. I tend to target narrow-mindedness as a fault in others, the fact that some will fixate on a particular concept as being unacceptable to them when I (and normally others) grasp its relevance. Then, I get accused of being mean, of arrogance, and of taking the mickey out of people who don’t ‘understand’ why the concept is, as it stands, completely justifiable. There can even be irrefutable evidence to explain why this set of circumstances is as it is, but it doesn’t matter. I am wrong, they are right, and never the twain shall meet.
This, I suppose, is an inevitable consequence of not wanting to lie any more.
I was a compulsive liar for many, many years. It came close to totally destroying everything I held dear. It severely damaged pretty much every friendship I had, and only my husband’s continued and much-appreciated humanity saved me from myself in the end. Knowing you are basically being a fraud is something I’m betting a lot of people love to play with online, as if being ‘someone else’ is a great way of releasing yourself from the mundane experience that reality often presents. I can tell you from long and bitter experience that if you really want ANYTHING worthwhile from your time on the Planet, you’ve gotta be true to what you are. Since my kids were born I’ve realised a great many things about myself that only could have come from the time I was pretty much forced to confront my own psyche, in the darkness of early morning breastfeeding and the terror of understanding that other lives depend on you for pretty much everything in their existence. Too often people don’t consider how they act and how that will affect the world around them, they just do whatever the fuck they want and never consider a consequence.
Those people I see and recognise a lot online. I know what that is like, and now I try my best never to be that person ever again.
There are a lot of things I regret, over the years, but I also know that these need to remain a small part of what you are, or else you effectively fail to function. All these things have to balance, disparate moments together, shifting and forming the basis of what you are. The trick then is to know how everything fits and when there’s a trauma and the puzzle gets thrown into the air, it is how quickly you can sit down and reconstruct the picture that matters more. After a while you’ll become sanguine if the odd piece vanishes into the Dyson or gets lost down the back of the sofa. You still know what you’re looking at, and it remains relevant. Over time maybe you’ll find different pieces to change the picture completely. This is where my bad metaphor breaks down, as is often the case with life.
What I am never rests. I am perpetually in mental motion. That’s probably why I get as tired some days as I do.