Yesterday I had to take a day off to think. Normally I’d consider the issues of the previous 24 hours and write about them, but there was so much fucking wankery to deal with, that became largely impractical. More importantly, I got a very significant and desperately sad reality check. Sometimes, none of this online stuff matters one jot: a very good friend of mine lost someone that mattered to them, and nothing in the world is as horrendous as the sudden loss of a loved one. It was a sobering moment, and has given an interesting resonance to everything that’s transpired since Friday morning.
That’s the point to this post, at least in part, but I also need to include the following caveat:
There comes a point in your online life where you understand that some people simply can’t hear you. It does not matter how often you communicate, or how close you appear to become: without the benefit of actual physical contact, you lose a subtle empathy that often means that reality becomes both distorted and more prone to fracture. I’ve had numerous examples of this in the last week: where text is your only communication medium, and it is apparent the person you’re speaking to is intentionally holding things back? Friction becomes all the more possible. This is one of the reasons I try my utmost to be as honest and open as possible, and use the adage of ‘think before you speak’ as often as is feasible. Because that joke might seem really funny and clever when you say it in your head but more often than not you’re going to regret it when you see it in text format.
I can recall only too well an incident a few months ago where I thought I was being really enabling and positive and someone just bitchslapped me to the ground with the undeniable power of their own situation. No, you can’t dream to be whatever you want when it’s physically impractical to do just that, and being told by a random stranger on a day when that’s all you’d really like to do will undoubtedly result in a fight. Try as you might, it is impossible to be in everybody’s head, all the time, and that’s probably quite a dangerous situation to attempt. More importantly, you cannot change the world on the Internet. I’ll now wait for the pedants amongst you to roll up and contradict me with all manner of contrary positions, and then remind everyone just how long human beings have existed in this format on the history of the Planet.
Context is everything, people.
I understand the desire to damage another person’s existence by attempting to control their environment when you can’t affect them. I also understand only too well that the consequences of this mean that people get hurt, and it becomes really hard to feel you’re either safe or comfortable in virtual spaces when so much fucking stupid is thrown about. What is also abundantly apparent is that certain people have no idea they’ve done this to begin with. It could be an unwarranted outburst, or a planned rant. Mostly however, it is the truth that hurts most. If I look back on the last couple of months, in at least one case I was the engineer of my own demise simply by being honest. Yes, I could have kept my mouth shut, but would that have helped in the long term? No. At some point, I would have said something else yet eventually we would have parted company. I wasn’t friends with this person in the same manner they were with me, I believe. I could be wrong, but the manner in which they cut ties says that actually, there was fault on both sides to shoulder.
If I don’t like what you do? I’ll say something. Sorry, but that’s the way I am.
So, if I decide I disagree with a member of your family, or your Internet heroine, or indeed anybody else, I am well aware there will be consequences. I don’t do this to inflame anyone or to gain notoriety, I do it because that’s what I think, and I now understand only too well that this is the fuel that some require to remain both alive and relevant. This is the reason why others walk away from such situations, and don’t want to be involved with the direction certain social media platforms are moving. It also potentially dangerous, but my desire to keep talking largely outweighs those fears. However, I know what is out here, and what I’m up against. It doesn’t change anything, and it never will.
As long as you crave attention, I’ll be listening. If you people really want to make a difference? Shut up. Then I have nothing to talk about, and then I’ll be forced to go elsewhere.
I’m only reacting because you gave me a reason.