Perhaps there comes a time in every bloggers life where she needs to sit back and have a long, hard think about what she is writing and who she is writing for. I know I reached that point this past week.
I’ve said before that I don’t care about my audience, that I write for me and that still holds true. I say nothing on this blog that I wouldn’t say to someone’s face if I had to. What you read is what you get in any world, real or virtual (online I’m minus my planet-sized insecurity, but I have a crew of people offline doing their best to cure me of that).
And now I feel I have to hold my tongue.
I guess it had to happen. You get a readership that spans everyone from your father, your colleagues, your friends, to people you went to primary school with and others you have never even met, with a minister thrown in for good measure, not to mention everyone in between – commonsense dictates that you should pull a few punches. Not step outside the bounds too much. Play it nice.
Simply put, I’ve got to face the fact a fair few of the people who might end up reading Bright Meadow are going to think I’m a heathen sinner on the fast track to a firey place where all the sunblock in creation ain’t gonna help me.
Which actually is ok in a bizarre kind of way. So I’d rather not end up in whichever Circle is reserved for infidel bloggers, but I’ll accept I could be way off base with my lifestyle. I’m not going to call people on what they believe just so long as they return the courtesy and don’t outright preach to my face.
(If you just can’t restrain yourself on that score, please take it to email and not the comments – some things should be personal and telling me the way I live my life is wrong? That’s personal).
It doesn’t help that people who say I rock also think I’m going straight to hell, however they’ve made their choices along the way, same as I’ve made mine, and who is to say they are wrong? I try to live my life the best way I can just as they are living theirs. We’re just working off a different script is all.
But just because I don’t talk about my beliefs that often, it doesn’t mean I don’t have them. And at times it doesn’t mean I don’t want to reach into the computer screen and wrap my fingers round the throats of some patronising bigots who’s words I read.
But I don’t say anything.
Because I’m the friendly one.
There are times I am sickened by the people I am involved with, the people I spend time with and the things they say and do behind closed web-doors.
But I don’t say anything.
Because I’m the nice one.
My boss said it true when we were giving a presentation the other day about the work we do: it’s not the situations that get us down – it is the people who disappoint us. The narrow minded, the self absorbed and the ignorant.
Is it wrong for me to want at my little piece of the internet to be friendly, warm, welcoming, peaceful? To be a place where it doesn’t matter if you’re gay, straight, bi or interested in aliens covered in purple polka dots? Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Haven’t-Got-a-Clue, Couldn’t-Care-Less? Black, White, Purple-Polka-Dotted-Alien?
I really don’t care. Just so long as you have a nice word to say to your fellow readers, you are welcome. From the bottom of my heart I mean it. I truly cannot comprehend people who say hurtful things because they can. It escapes me. It depresses me.
Why it should be that the insignificant minority can trample my soul into the dust I do not know. The good should outweigh the bad, but it is the bad that keeps me up at night. I try to surround myself with people who make me soar and somehow the demons keep shouting down my better angels.
And I do not say anything. I do not rock boats. I sensor my own words that are screaming inside my heart because… It is who I am.
But I think there are times I should say things and I don’t because now Bright Meadow is what it is. It isn’t the place to unleash the sarcastic, vitriolic, seething beast within me. I don’t know where that place is, or even if it should exist at all, but I know it isn’t here. And just occasionally I wish that right here, right now, I could say some of the words I have bubbling up inside me.
I want to be able to fight back – to say I feel insulted, hurt, betrayed. Or to call people out for the horrendous things they say to other people – to say no, it’s not alright to say that, being a self-proclaimed cocky bastard is not clever, funny, or sexy. I want not to have to clothe my words in passive/aggressive ramblings written late at night when something has pushed me over the edge. I want not to try and say something nice about someone only to have it thrown back in my face twenty times over by the trolling element.
I want not to be in the situation where I type a response to something someone has said then hesitate over the ‘post’ button, and more often than not reach for the ‘delete’ button. Cas and Bright Meadow have built up a reputation, for better or worse and I don’t want to bring it all tumbling down around my ears because of something I said in an unguarded moment.
But why should I have to be the one who puts a gag on my tongue and my website?
We all choose our words for our audiences and the stages we talk from. It is part of being an adult and part of living in a society. Whilst I truly wouldn’t want it any other way, to borrow words from someone I’ve adored for a long time now – it’s my headspace people and I’m just letting you camp here a while. Just because I’m not saying something it doesn’t mean I’m not thinking it. And if I can restrain myself and refrain from ripping you a new one, why can’t you do the same?