Here we are, thinking the hard things. It doesn’t seem to be hard for everyone, but for some reason it’s hard for me. I think I nailed it the other day as I was journaling in a diary I was meant to write my daily things into. I was waiting for the photocopier at work to do its thing, but the thing is this photocopier doesn’t like to be left alone. It throws a tantrum and then you’re left babysitting it even more, waiting for it to not eat its paper right so you can catch it and correct it. Silly machine… the noise it makes is horrible to and I want to base a dull grey cumbersome creative that eats people’s creativity when they hear its monotone irritating cry.
Back to the original point, though.
I am afraid of showing the digital world my real self for two reasons and both of them come under not wanting to be judged poorly.
The first reason is that I anticipate people’s needs in order to maintain harmony wherever I go. It’s a type of people pleasing, but it serves me well because people think of me as thoughtful, caring, and empathetic. It actually stems from having to decipher my mum and grandma’s constant passive and passive aggressive forms of communication so they wouldn’t get mad at me for what felt like no apparent reason.
But I can’t blame them. They taught me a valuable lesson in reading people, and in turn have taught me this lesson I’m talking to you about now. I also can’t blame them because they were products of their own environment. They had to constantly tip toe around the irrational, explosive men they lived with for fear of getting a physical, mental, or emotional beat down. I also can’t blame the men either though, as much as I want to, because they are products of mothers and fathers who gave them this sense of entitlement, yet also powerlessness and a poor image of women. And this can stem back and back and back until the very first man in my line thought it was suitable to explode with anger in order to control his family because he felt powerlessness somewhere out in the world and the family didn’t stand up to him.
So, branch one of why it’s hard for me to maintain consistent and authentic book promotions (Because life is about selling my books and growing a following so I can write full time and…. be myself…. huh… I guess this is more of a part of this process than I first thought…)
The second branch of this fear of judgement is simple this: The digital world is unnatural.
It’s a beast that we as humans created, then let loose, and now it’s cane toads in a foreign land. It’s feral cats in a national park. It’s wild boars in native scrublands. It’s brumbies and camels in Australia. they’ve done their damage and continue to do so unless thoroughly kept in their place, but we still have people who whinge and whine that it’s the way forward, that it is natural, that it isn’t causing as much harm as people say. These shitheads with a pristine social mask are selling you something. That’s it. They’re trying to make you love them, so you buy their stuff.
I look at myself and think, “Isn’t that what I’m doing? Isn’t that what I’m after? For people online, complete strangers, to love me and buy my stuff so I can live the life I want?”
Bluntly, yes. More complicatedly, no.
See, humans naturally existed in tribes of around one hundred and fifty. You can keep those relationships in good standing. You can care for one hundred and fifty people with all your heart and not feel burnt out if you’re living a natural lifestyle. I’ll find the article I read on it and put it in the resources. But nowadays we’re in a GLOBAL community. That’s nearly eight billion relationships. That’s all different nations, cultures, upbringings, ideologies, ages, everything is way too different. Now, I am an advocate for loving each other. For appreciating other cultures, for helping everyone in the world get a hand up. But the thing is, when we don’t have that circle of a tight hundred and fifty, we get stretched mentally and emotionally. We care what all the random soccer mums and incels think of us when they aren’t even in our country! They are not even within driving distance! There is no way you will ever touch that person’s energy and we argue with them about something we’re passionate about when they’re doing it to be a “troll”. We worry about what people from completely different backgrounds are judging us on when they have no comparison or self-reflective knowledge on why we or them may be acting the way we are.
This unnatural global tribe makes me frightened to be authentic. I get judged enough about how strange I am amongst my hundred and fifty (although the people within this number have circulated throughout my life). I don’t want to have bloody energy leeches latching on to my feminist, left wing, socialist ideals telling me I’m wrong or a monster because I think they’ll help make the world a safer, kinder, and more compassionate place. And that’s the thing, people say you need to get a thick skin. People say that those people’s opinions don’t matter, just ignore them, block them, hide away from them. But my people pleaser brain WANTS to give them space. It wants to understand them so I can learn and maybe we can see we’re on the same side, but we’re allowed to do different things. What if I can help them be a kinder, more compassionate, more harmonious person. What if people can be happier and a little four-year-old me will never sit rocking in her cupboard while the adults scream at each other like demons about things she could clearly see could be solved without getting mad if they’d just shut up and listen?
And so, my options are laid out before me thus:
1. Stay hidden. Let no one know you and never reach your dreams (Bad)
2. Be generic and fake and fumble around in the darkness of the internet, reaching your dreams only on a tiny level, still living in fear (Only slightly less bad)
3. Fight back, be argumentative and tell the haters to shove it. (Empowering, but also exhausting and doesn’t leave any space to learn and help others learn)
4. Be authentic and vulnerable, learn when to give space and when to just ignore them and block them, Learn what is genuine and what is sarcasm (This is supremely hard and although it would be the most rewarding, would also be exhausting and wounding, slowly teaching me to thicken my skin)
5. What would you suggest? I feel like I’m on the precipice of knowing and acting, but I would love to hear your thoughts on how to break through this final step before greatness?
But let me be honest for a moment. What do I want to give the world? What would I give the world if I knew with all certainty that it would be my best quality and people would love it?
I would give stories every damn day. Not always adventures, but reflections on life through the eyes of those in a fantasy setting. From the perspective of animals, plants, elements. I would write stories that help people think about what they can do to help live in harmony with the natural world. I would write stories that would set alight the virtues within people and help them smile, let them feel loved, let them feel powerful. I would write for what my inner child needed to hear from stories. I would write for men and women to be equal, for races and cultures to show respect to each other. I would write to make the world a kinder, more compassionate place where people feel safe and cared for.
I would draw beautiful, detailed images and learn more about art. I would make music to supplement my writing. I would give everyone a beautiful, detailed history of the world of Pelaia so they can find a space in it that they love and feel loved. I would write about the magic, the festivals, the people, the animals, and the plants. I would write about every tiny little inch of it and pour all my love into my words.
I would write tales of adventure and love. I would weave tales of kindness and how all tragedy can be healed with love. I would write every little bit of my idealistic heart out and bask in the happiness and sweetness it brings to the lives of those around me.
I would share my thoughts and what I think could be done to make the world a better place.
Because that scared little girl still shakes within me.
Listening to the screaming, the hatred, the intolerance, the racism, and the obtuse misunderstandings. Of the apathy that allows for evil to exist. Of the obsession with unwholesome undertakings. Of the arrogance of so many that claim to lead us. Of the greed that destroys us all.
She still hides in the cupboard blocking her ears, crying that there is nothing she can do to stop the glass being thrown against the wall. There’s nothing she can do to stop them from having another drink that’s going to lead to bitter tongues.
I write for her.
I write to create a safe place where she feels warm, loved, excited, and heard.
I want to give the world a safe space to feel loved, safe, and accepted. I’m afraid because those judgements still feel like those screaming adults, I have no persuasion over.
But eventually I’ll have to stand up and get out of the cupboard. I’ll have to grow up and tell the adults what they’re doing is unacceptable. I’ll have to grow up and make a safe place for that child myself.