I just came back from BlogHer 16, which was a fantastic experience. I won Voices of The Year, and was able to read my blog post about being disabled in front of a largely supportive group of my peers. That was a fantastic experience. However, I won’t pretend that my interactions with everyone at the conference were full of rainbows and happiness. I am a mostly friendly person, who is overly anxious and enthusiastic about life. I talk to everyone and have no filter. I’m aware that my personality doesn’t go with everyone’s, but I make a concerted effort to be understanding and nice to the people around me hoping against hope that they like me.
That being said, when I compliment someone on their outfit and they have no visible emotion on their face when they say “thank you” and they cannot make eye contact with me, it feels like they are dissing me. When I try to talk to you, and you give me monosyllabic answers and look at your shoes, I’m going to go ahead and assume that you hate my guts, which reminds me so much of my high school experience. I’m not cool, I’ll never be cool and that’s what makes me, me. I hide in bathrooms when I’ve been around people for too long, which is a change from the pile of coats I used to bury myself under as a child. I don’t ever want to be afraid to sit at someone’s lunch table. Maybe I’m socially inept, but I would like to believe that we could at least try to be kind to each other. It doesn’t take a lot to say “thank you” to another human and perhaps engage them in conversation about something else. You never know what you might learn about your fellow human if you gave her a chance.
The funny thing is, the more that person ignores me, the harder I try to get them to like me and recognize my awesomeness. It’s counterintuitive, because obviously this individual doesn’t give a shit about me or my overly anxious nature. He/she doesn’t care that I want them to like me. I care too much, and it’s hurting my brain.
These interactions that I’m speaking to are in person. When people slight each other online it takes an entirely different form. I post a Facebook comment on your status and you intentionally ignore me, but respond to other people. Ouch, that hurts. I’m certainly guilty of not being meticulous about getting back to every single person on social media, but it’s relatively obvious when someone is intentionally ignoring you.
Similar to high school, the Internet has cliques and I try hard to just be a person and talk to everyone. The funny thing is that people want to pretend that there are no inner circles, but let’s cut the shit. There are those things and I want to break them down and make trapezoids out of them.
I couldn’t care less about who’s who in Internet land, just like I didn’t care about popularity in high school. I like people that I can have deep conversations with. I enjoy lack of small talk and an influx of real talk. So let’s stop being dicks and be nice to each other. We are all breathing the same oxygen and releasing the same carbon dioxide. Most of us wear shoes when we go outside, and a lot of us eat broccoli. I know we can find some things to talk about if we try hard.
I’m not better than you, and you’re not better than me. We are humans; humans that exist in the computer and also we walk around in the world. Before you write a sarcastic response to someone on the Internet, remember that they are a person with feelings. They have the capacity to feel anger and hurt. Be careful with your words before you make word salad.
I’m not sure how to end this thing, because I am extremely jet lagged. Keep being yourself and if someone is mean to you, give them a hug. If you’re scared to give them a hug, then smile at them. Wait until they look at you before you smile at them. You want the person that you are smiling at to remember that you smiled at them.