I don’t want to write.
Maybe I want to write and I can’t find the words, or the time, or the energy to really form my thoughts. I have thoughts. I have a lot of thoughts. In fact, thinking thoughts is probably the number one use of my time at any given moment. Too many thoughts and I can’t land on anything. It’s becoming an issue.
I feel heavy. I feel like nothing fits with anything else. I am in a season of getting things done and making it to the end of each day. I am exhausted. I scan social media and read updates from people who are just sure they have the answers. They are so opinionated on right and wrong; outraged even. Outraged! Based on a few headlines and social awareness. Outraged based on personal experience or empathy or both. Staunchly on left or right and doing nothing but shouting down and name calling.
I am silenced.
I have thoughts. I have a lot of thoughts. But many of those thoughts are not fully formed. They are in different stages of being and I don’t know what to do with them. They sit inside me and fester and well up because I don’t know how to say what I want to say without inviting the fury of the angry-net.
I long for real conversations. I look for them. I can’t find them.
I am no martyr. I’m afraid of you. I’ve lost trust.
I don’t want my words to be twisted into something they are not or fail to type what I really mean and have them used against me. I talk about vacations and coffee and simply get by on the high moments, all the while being fed a steady diet of judgement and shaming from all sides.
Parent-shaming, political-shaming, race-shaming, status-shaming, cause-shaming. You name it, someone will shame it.
“You don’t have to read it.”
That’s true. I have the ability to close the window. I can shut down my computer – to a degree of course since my career is online and requires me to read at least some of these things.
I’m torn because there are so many things I love about the social space. I love that I can work from home and set my own schedule. I love that I can participate in my children’s school activities and attend their VBS productions.
I love hearing the perspectives from around the world because I have always believed that listening is better than being heard. But I think in all that listening, I have lost my voice. And I really don’t know how to find it.
Are you judging me or am I judging you?
This is a question I ask myself daily. As I read your opinions bold and strong and I feel negative, I wonder if I am reacting to a judgmental spirit or creating it. I have never been interested in debate for the sake of argument, so all it takes is a bad tone to set me on the wrong course. In that sense, I am judging you based on your presentation, not necessarily your words.
Or maybe you really flew off the handle about an issue you are passionate about and you said some things you wouldn’t say to my face. You said if anyone disagrees with me go ahead and unfriend me now! But I didn’t, because I know that’s not what you really wanted. At least, I hope a friendship is worth more than disagreement on a single issue.
No one can or should be surrounded by yes-(wo)men who only ever stand in agreement. I didn’t argue with you. I just silently waited until some common ground emerged so we could reconnect.
Where did the community go?
I’ve been “online” for a very long time. When my parents and I traveled to Israel in 1994, we had a computer set up at our church (using Prodigy, holla) so people could email us and we could respond. I am one of the earliest generations who really had a grasp on the worldwide web from the early days. I wasn’t using technology as young as my own children, but young enough to have found community online for most of my life.
When I needed to search for answers, find friends, laugh and joke around instead of study for college exams, I looked to my online community. When I had my children, I sought refuge with other pregnant mothers in an online birth club. I blogged, I connected, I liked photos and smiled and laughed at the craziness of it all.
I could share my voice and hear a lot of “me too!” responses. It was good and I felt free. I don’t know when the shift happened, but slowly over time shame seemed to replace the rallying crowds. The attitude shifted from wow this is so cool! to Eh, I saw that already. We went from “me too” to “me first” and suddenly the community became a competition.
I loved seeing what my friends were up to so I continued to like and comment and share what I loved. I saw friends “leave the internet” for whatever reason because they felt bad or less than or not Pinterest perfect. I wasn’t playing that game so I stayed, liked, clicked, shared. I still wanted the community. I wanted to fight for it.
Silence is being judged.
I don’t know what I am fighting for anymore. Now if you aren’t talking about THIS ISSUE you are a FILL IN THE BLANK. If you are fired up about THIS and not THAT, you have no values. Shaming, cause-bullying, assuming entire philosophies of someone based on what they DON’T publicly talk about is the status update du jour. Another tear in the fabric of the community I loved.
I don’t know where I fit anymore. I don’t want to judge you. I don’t want to argue with you. I don’t want to gossip about you. I don’t want to hold my picket sign and yell insults across pavement.
I want to stand in the common ground. I want to say, me too. I want to encourage you. I want to be encouraged.
I don’t know what to write.