I take a lot of liberties on this blog, dramatic license, if you will. Maybe I shouldn't tell you that, though, so as not to spoil your view of my views... But if I'm being honest, I like the conversation that sometimes gets sparked through my own worries and concerns, observations and opinions, no matter how
Take, for example (and I use this as an example in conversation often - it was a real eye-opener), my post about my anxiety over Samantha's use of public restrooms. I always felt like I needed to carry a veritable hazmat suit around in my purse for her before I'd let her actually sit on one of those toilets, before I'd let even one shred of her clothing touch even one square inch of the bowl, before I'd let her even reach for the flusher. A reader with Crohn's disease commented, humbled me, made me think again. I then wrote this post about my change of heart. I really learned from that initial discussion, and have really relaxed when it comes to public restrooms, pushed aside my fear in order to enable my daughter's independence.
I'm a bit of a chicken when it comes to real debate of issues, though. I've been known on Facebook from time to time to share an article or start a topic based on something in the news that ignites a fire in the argumentative, stand-on-your-soapbox, fight-the-point-at-all-cost nature of so many people, then bow out of the conversation and hide under a rock until it dies down, cowering at every glancing blow, cringing at every direct hit.
I'm sure it doesn't go un-noticed, either.
I get really anxious when my IRL friends, the people who know me, who I may have even grown up with, or who I know I will need to face on a regular basis at community events or at school (never at work, though - I don't FB-friend those people!), start to argue with my online "friends." The discussions go from urgent to heated to angry. I worry that people will judge me by the opinions of the company I keep on Facebook. It's silly, really. And I value each of my "friends" there, regardless of their opinions. I know that in order to accept humans and human nature, we're bound to come across differences of opinion. Granted, if someone were to come along and say it's okay to rape/pillage/murder/rob/inserthorriblecrimehere, I'd have to unfriend them.
Uh, or call the cops...
But so far, I guess I've been lucky not to have to resort to that drastic measure.
Where was I?
Oh, right...my anxiety born when worlds collide.
Yep. That's when I usually go into hiding. It's actually funny in a rather horrible, sick sort of way when I've started a topic like that in the morning before work. I'll comment on the back-and-forth a few times, then back out silently out when things start to get sticky. My phone will buzz non-stop all day at work as more and more people join the fray, hoping I won't get called out, hoping World War III isn't about to break out, hoping my IRL friends will forgive me. I check in from time to time, usually astounded that somehow 147 comments have unfurled that I'll need to read at some point, especially since at least one person has tagged me for comment along the way.
Thankfully that doesn't happen often. We all know the hot-trigger topics - abortion, gun control and politics are usually the top three. Seeing as I know absolutely nothing about politics, that topic never rears its ugly head on my wall. I won't even pretend to know anything about politics.
I'm not writing this post because I'm getting ready to start a controversy on my blog. I'm actually not writing this post for any reason whatsoever, other than it's just something I was thinking about today after having posted an article on Facebook about 3 teenagers killing a random passer-by in the mid-west. It was a horrible article, and sparked a quick, red-hot debate on gun control. I have my own opinions. I am not afraid to state them. I am afraid of people arguing with each other, getting mad at each other, getting mad at me for them. I know I should stick by my guns (haha, no pun intended!), hold my ground, stay present in the "conversation," but, as usual, I cave and disappear.
Facebook is a funny thing. Blogs, while similar in their ability to present opinions, to spark conversation and fuel debate, are different. They reach a smaller audience, a much better-defined audience of people who probably are of more like-mind. I think with a blog it's also easier to make my point, state my feelings, give a well-rounded opinion all at once, in one place, without the fracturing of comment after comment sparked on Facebook. I say what I'm going to say, and anyone who comments will not be part of an active, live debate.
Okay, I've said what I'm going to say today.
Now back to your regularly-scheduled silence.