Real Talk Time: get a cuppa.
Don’t worry, I’m not about to do one of those posts. Other people can sort their own fucking lives out perfectly well: deity knows most of you now possess plenty of time to take a cold, hard look at yourselves and work out where the issues are. Normally, in situations like this of protracted high stress, that’s exactly when those epiphanies happen. In fiction certainly, it’s a great moment to get your protagonist to grasp where he’s been going wrong all these years.
I’ve always done my best to listen to those I interact with online, but there are failures in the process. That’s the problem with time-zones and language issues: text based media can be incredibly easy to misinterpret. Even when your Prime Minister tells everybody to stay at home like it’s 1941, what that practically means will take days to finally work out. Humanity, amazingly, is quite smart, and needs more than just one instruction to function.
The Internet made everybody an expert, when all that means is that we have experience that often overlaps that of others. The reality is often a lot less secure when actual experts turn up and tell us our fortunes, and here is where there is still an unbelievable amount to learn. It’s okay to be wrong. When that changes is the millisecond after someone tells you that and you react badly. That’s me, that is.
I am absolutely awful at admitting fault: I know why this is, and it is utterly and totally rooted in trauma so painfully wound that it has taken four decades to even begin. When the problem is utterly and undeniably you, it takes a bit of strength to be able to go back and look at the previous mistakes made with a measure of objectivity. However, when you do? An awful lot of things become clearer and easier to grasp.
You are not always perfect. Never forget this.
Over time, when I’ve written posts previously like this, people have decided that it isn’t a personal revelation, but some kind of sly, sneaky dig at them. The first time it happened was back on my gaming blog, when I called a particular in-game item ridiculous because its name made no sense to me. Little did I know it had been named after someone quite beloved in another community, whose friends turned up to attack me for my lack of comprehension. It remains an honest mistake, nothing more.
I carry that guilt around with me to this day, with a warning: you don’t ever know everything. However much you may think you’ve sussed life, it rarely is. I’m not just taking casual racism, cultural appropriation, minority bashing, fear of differing sexualities, disability abuse… all those are the top of an iceberg that reaches so far down into the water there are prehistoric fish living down there too. You know nothing. Don’t @ me with a counter, it is a FACT.
Stray into someone else’s world without a map and an escape route at your peril.
I owe that group of people, on reflection, a debt of gratitude. They made me realise that their World wasn’t one I would ever really succeed in at the capacity with which I aimed for. Nothing much has changed in that capacity either: there is still this blind, almost fanatical devotion in so many who feel that there is only one path, and any criticism of that is unacceptable. I am still schooled on that daily.
The difference between then and now, of course, are the people who allow me the benefit of the doubt, who support the way I do things not as wrong, but different. If I had existed in a US High School (an analogy I know many people like to use for Social media) it wouldn’t be a simple case of pointing at the Plastics, Jocks or Geeks and saying ‘this is my tribe’ either. I have travelled largely alone, in that regard, for my entire adult life.
Finding people who accept that has been virtually impossible on a social network.
All the rest of you are far more comfortable with labels than I will ever be. I need to be seperate, unreachable, not because I’m being fucking mysterious or unattainable, seriously fuck off all you people who think this is a Thing. To survive, as the person I am, I stopped being social at a crucial point in my life. It’s nothing to do with anybody else here. This, like it or not, is the inevitable consequence of childhood trauma.
It made me this person, and for decades I had no ability to separate out what really happened. Now there is the means by which those moment can be rationalised. I did that yesterday. I’ll do it again today, and for every day until I die. Nobody cures me, this never goes away. It just gets easier. Simultaneously the capacity to understand everything and nothing at all is but an exhale away.
Pick every action you undertake with the greatest care.