My Dear Fellow Bloggers,
In this post-Charity world, both old and new bloggers seem to be more cautious than ever before. I believe that there has been a shift in perspective which sometimes takes the form of suspicion that was not as prevalent pre-Charity as it is now. I am not excluded from this wave of vigilance and now feel hyper-aware of the words and actions of the members and observers of our community, and I still believe that it is vital to our existence as bloggers and as people to speak for ourselves, have respect for ourselves, and think for ourselves. I had not anticipated being this personally or emotionally effected by the events that took place a few weeks ago, though I certainly had my opinions about all of it and shared them whenever I felt it necessary. I tried to support my dear friend, Upsi, in whatever way I could, in the hopes that I could lessen some of the emotional fallout of the Charity-Bomber. I have likened Charity to an act of terrorism on our Blogger World because the long-term emotional effects of her attack and then her subsequent departure have been deep and widespread. I feel that things are different now, but I am not convinced that they are different in a bad way.
What I see is a community that may be stronger and individuals who used Charity's attack, as well as recent events, as an opportunity for self-reflection and personal growth. I am proud to be a part of this community, still, though we have lost some and may lose more of our members. I think the people left standing are the ones who are still fighting; still learning; still interested in having a dialog in the name of truth.
And I want to do my part in self-reflecting, especially in light of the role I played in our most recent battle in this War of the Worlds. I know that Upsi has written a new post and I have purposely stayed away from reading it until I could post my own thoughts because some of the allegations that have sprung up recently seemed to imply that myself and some of my friends are unable to think for ourselves; that we have started blogging simply as a means to collect allies who will fight for us blindly. But that is simply not true, and it's my hope that sharing some of my own inner-dialog will provide more insight in that regard. I've had several moments of self-doubt along this recent journey, in which I had to ask myself, "Am I really nothing more than a bully?" I know that I have come across sounding angry, demanding, and harsh; not just in the case of my knock-down, drag-out fight with Caliban's Sister, but in general. I've talked now with several friends and bloggers who have pointed out how intimidating my use of swear-words can be, and that my message may get lost to some who hear the cussing and tune out. I have name-called in this fight, I have dug in my heels in some instances and refused to budge in my opinions, and I have tried to push some people into having conversations when it's been pretty apparent that they weren't interested in communicating with me. These are things that I own and things that I believe I can work more on in the future so that I don't merely intimidate or provoke people into arguing with me.
I have got to be real with myself and with anyone reading this: I entered a battle that began weeks ago, which seemed to be waning by the time I entered, because of one moment. In that moment, I felt angry because it solidified my theory that Cal's Sis was maintaining a position of Martyrdom and Dishonesty. I believed and still believe that she has spent much of her recent time provoking the bloggers she saw as adversaries, providing amnesty to abusers, and manipulating still more into seeing her as a savior, of sorts. I started asking questions on her blog because I saw things I didn't like and I wanted to understand what was happening. I was angry because I perceived a threat to the integrity of my community, myself and people that I care about. I was angry because my questions weren't being answered. I was angry because my comments were being deleted. I was angry because I felt that Cal was setting herself up as the leader of what amounted to a camp to oppose ours - the same one that she had joined and become a part of on her own accord. I don't like to admit it friends, but here it is: I was disappointed that anyone might seek to destroy the camaraderie of our clan, and afraid for myself and my friends.
I am happy I spoke my truths and stood up for my friends that I saw being attacked. I am happy with my analysis of Cal's behaviors. I am satisfied with how I handled my interactions with Trisha, even if my attempts at mature discourse with her were rebuked and discarded. But it saddens me to think that some people have been turned away from having a dialog with me because they see me as a bully or as someone perhaps too bull-headed to communicate with. I would like to address some of the issues that a few of my fellow-bloggers and friends have brought up. In her very insightful post, Pronioa Agape wrote this about her feelings (bolding for emphasis, mine):
I'm just going to come out and say it: Jonsi sometimes scares the hell
out of me! Her occasionally snarky, incisive, cursing posts and comments
are often way out of my comfort zone. Sometimes I feel she accuses
people of infractions too easily - for instance, Caliban's Sister really
could have deleted those replies by mistake - it's conceivable. I've
tested it on my blog. We can never know what was in her mind when those
comments disappeared. But I have grown to trust Jonsi's honesty and her instincts. If I needed
someone to assess whether a person was trustworthy, honest, and real,
I'd take her as my personal investigator and buy her a beer or three for
her trouble. And if I translate what she says into more polite discourse, I get very
useful and trustworthy information. For instance, "narc" or "bitch,"
translated into "this person is narcissistically defended to the point
where it might not be wise to trust him/her, or impossible to engage
them in authentic conversation" are helpful and usually rather accurate...I also deleted them to see what would happen to the rest of the thread,
and I tested this on my blog, too. When the author of a blog decides to
delete a comment, the replies to this comment disappear as well, and the
author is only informed of this in small letters at the bottom of the
page. It is conceivable that CS's deletion of Jonsi's comments was an
accident...Some people, I suppose, felt their parents' rages when they read Jonsi's
aggressive comments. Quite honestly, Jonsi's comments shocked me too.
I'm glad that PA found the courage it had to take to publish her thoughts, in part because in our discussion together in the comments, she said she realized that "Real PA is actually not scared of [Jonsi]," but also because I think it's so important for all of us to speak our truths (as long as we feel like talking). And what she had to say made me take a second and third and fourth look at myself: I've been described as scary once before when NMIL admitted to DH that she was afraid of me. My mother and I have had conversations about how each of our individual demeanors could be intimidating to others; in some cases because those people don't have self-esteem, in other cases because they don't like that we set boundaries, and sometimes (this is the hard part to admit) because we're just too damn harsh. There are softer ways of saying things that I just don't always think about. Sometimes it doesn't occur to me that what I'm saying may be harsh and that there could be a softer way of saying it. And that's the part of this that I want to own: that it's not always the other person who is the reason for their fear of me. Sometimes, it really is me.
It is also not new to me that I am sometimes too quick to accuse people of wrong-doing and that I can be very demanding. I've heard this from family members and loved ones, as it is not just a challenge that I face in the Blog-o-sphere, but one that I face in my everyday life. And for me, perhaps worst of all, is the one aspect of my nature that I've been battling for so long: My need for control. It's hard to admit to that and it's not something I am ready to address one hundred percent in this post, if only for the detail I feel that needs to be discussed. But I feel that sometimes I'm willing to fight these types of battles because I don't like the way I feel when the thread-ball of love I'm holding close to my chest starts to come unravel. It's like I'm always standing here, holding onto everything and everyone I love so tightly that they aren't free to experience the natural consequences of life. Control, for me, is holding onto my ideals and my passions, my friends and my family, my morals and my values. I don't like the way it feels when someone comes along and threatens those things. I don't like the way it feels when I start to lose my grip. I don't like the way it feels when the ends start to unravel, so I reach out, quick and grab them back up and stuff them back in and hold on tighter.
But the thing is that control, even in the name of love, is never a good thing. I don't want to enter a situation or join a conversation if my goal is to control it. I'd rather be able to ask my questions and to let go if the other person isn't answering. I'd rather feel secure in saying my piece, strongly and confidently, don't get me wrong, but be able to walk away from the fight and not feel like I lost just because the other person didn't give in. It's something I'm working on. I'm not there yet. Even Jonsies have struggles. And some of what has happened recently made me think even harder about them.
I'll never be done fighting. But I'm trying to walk the fine line (for me) between Preservation and Control.