I want to start embracing “The Blog” as my safe space. I think we all struggle to find the right places to be fully ourselves. Most people struggle to do so even in the privacy of their own brain, let alone in social spaces. The internet is an extension of this, but the social spaces have become much larger.
I feel this struggle just a tiny bit more acutely than a lot of people, I think, because I have a deadly combination of being a little TOO fully myself in the privacy of my own brain, and a faulty/inconsistent barometer for what’s appropriate in different social settings.
It’s been on my mind a lot lately, because I’ve been trying to learn how to teach preschoolers, which is a very different social space than I’m used to, and I have to try and learn a whole new way of communicating, you know? Luckily, I already try and speak in a way that anyone can understand as much as possible, so it’s not as difficult as I was worried it would be… I think? I don’t know, maybe I’m doing a terrible job, on the other hand, who knows – the point is, I have a catch-22 of being a very good communicator with myself but an alternatingly uncertain or oversharing communicator with literally everyone else.
I let fear get the better of me a lot of the time, despite what it may sometimes look like. I know that I CAN be incredibly reckless as well, but to me it often feels more like I’m still trying to disappear, to hide myself away from the realities of the social world. And to be honest with you, a lot of that is probably because of trauma: one of the core struggles I have with every social interaction is worrying that I might be unsafe, or being lied to, or judged, or looked down on, but even those worries pale in comparison to the worry that someone might be seeing me as a sexual object. And it isn’t because I think I’m so attractive, in fact I think that if anything, I try to make myself ugly a lot of the time, which probably shows, according to certain commenters on my videos (thank you so much for your feedback, by the way).
But it’s been my experience in the past that people will objectify me in a sexual way regardless of what I think I look like, and regardless of whether I’m even aware that the person sees me that way. A lot of the time, I haven’t even noticed until it was too late, which by the way is very tragic. Not to sound course, but if you’re going to get to the point of assaulting someone, you definitely should have asked them out first, that just seems… anyway… See, I say that I try to communicate in a way that anyone could understand, but I really doubt how effective I am, sometimes… anyway… back on track, here… different social spaces have different rules.
That’s why I deleted facebook. The rules were incompatible with the way my brain works. Honestly, I don’t think facebook works well for anyone, right? It’s been a while, but the idea of taking people who meet by happenstance rather than by a common interest or belief system, and bringing them all together in this town hall type space where everyone’s thoughts are visible to everyone else is insane. The idea of letting strangers watch me hump a teddy bear is so much more normal to me than the idea of my coworkers commenting on my selfies. You know what I mean?
Anyway, I’ve been struggling with figuring out what spaces are still safe for me. YouTube is a big fat no, twitter is a no, but the blog. The blog might still be safe. Because only the people who actually care bother to read a blog, one assumes. Only the people who can actually read, at least, which sort of helps, to be honest with you, but beyond that, only the people who care the most will actually read this weird rambling kind of stuff, which is really great. And the other thing I’m realizing is I can bury videos in here, too, videos that might not be the kind I want just anyone to find, or that I only want certain people to see, I can plop in the blog, or on Patreon, or something, so I shouldn’t be limiting what kinds of stuff I let myself make just because of concerns about how “shareable” they are. Everything is shareable, it just has to be shared in the correct spaces.
All of that said, I still sometimes wonder what the point is. Who my audience is. But I think the truth is that I’m my own audience, and this is my sandbox. If friends want to come play in it with me, that’s awesome, but maybe that isn’t even the part that’s important. At least, it doesn’t have to be.
NOW. Speaking of safe spaces, I want to show you a little tribute I made that I don’t feel comfortable sharing in a facebook type way, because it isn’t my place and also I’m too weird and offputting – BUT – I can share it here. With you. Whoever you are, my imaginary audience who’s interested in reading my silly words about safe spaces. For no other reason than that it matters to me to keep a record of how much this person meant to me, even if sometimes I fail to verbalize the same things in the situations that I ought to.
I just want to add one thing – I made a very similar video when my grandma died, but it wasn’t shareable for a variety of reasons. Neither is this one, but it’s at least a safe one to share in this context, I hope. But… even though I struggle, sometimes, with giving a voice to my feelings, or giving voice to them in the right places or to the right people, that doesn’t mean they aren’t there, or that I’m not trying, it’s just that I haven’t figured out how, yet. Maybe because the feeling is too big for me to know what to do with it, or maybe just because it’s scary to be vulnerable, and I often feel the way I can only imagine a heart feels in the middle of a surgical operation.
I don’t think I’ll ever fully figure it out because the social world is FRIGGING confusing, but one thing my grandma said that sticks out as important to mention was that when she died, she wanted people to know that she had a beautiful life. And she did. She was my first safe space, and she made me who I am, and I will think of her every day for the rest of my life. I just don’t have all the right words to articulate what she meant to me, yet. But the love is still there, and it always will be.