Today marked the expiration of muting everyone I follow on Twitter. While I did cheat and peek at a few tweets this past month, the external trans volume was turned way, way down, (I don’t use any other social media other than blogging,) and I was able to hear myself a bit more clearly.
Besides the reasons I took the break in the first place, I came to a few conclusions by stepping back and reflecting on my participation online.
- I was lonely and I missed you. I had my good and bad moments this past month, and not sharing them with you left me feeling lonely. I also wondered what was going on in your life and how you were doing.
- The grass probably appears greener (and browner) that it really is on the other side of the screen. I no longer believe the fictions I created based on snippets from your lives. There is no such thing as a perfect or irredeemably flawed life.
- Group think and policing are rampant. I think this is part and parcel of every community off- and online, but it seems greater than the general mean for our community. From silly arguments over diction to pretty self-delusions, and from unfriendly cliquishness to heated sparring, shared emotions and experiences that are contrary to the generally accepted narratives are generally unwelcome.
- I’m more clear about me. Unplugging your never-ending stream of updates from around the world allowed me to put into better context my own triumphs and challenges. There was no measuring stick to measure myself against, and that felt good. It also made me more settled about my own choices so far about being trans – there wasn’t anyone I could live vicariously though and then second-guess why I wasn’t more like them. I would recommend a break to anyone who is feeling like they don’t measure up to the people they follow online.
- We are a minority and always will be, and we need to come to terms with that. That doesn’t mean we should stop fighting for social justice, but it does mean that when we do achieve it (and I do believe we will some day), many, many people will still hate us just for being who we are. We will gain more allies in the long run by smiling and being respectful than by shouting in anger and snarling over unintentional slights.
- Hardly anyone reads my blog. 🙂 I wrote a couple of posts this past month and traffic was anemic without the Twitter signal boost.
Each of us, from closeted to out and proud, are on our own journeys of unknowable distance. Thank you for sharing some of yours with mine.