Oh hey, Superopinionated.com is my tumblr now and my Wordpress installation is gone! How ‘bout that. I’ve felt a surge of “need to write stuff” recently, so I performed the long-overdue mystical incantations and now instead of ping-backs and bullshit, I have hearts and reblogs. (“But what if I need one of your old articles about Penny Arcade?” I am going to die one day, and so are you. Why do you keep talking to me about two scared white men on the internet? Please let’s be more interesting than that with what little time we have left together.)
Probably relatedly, back at the end of February I put my Twitter account on hiatus as an early birthday present to myself and unfollowed everyone except my favorite Twitter account (which is a bot, incidentally) “for a week” ...[cough] that’s been a long week so far, huh.
A flurry of Twitter subtweets about me happened toward the end of last year and I got my feelings hurt by people who were upset with me but didn’t care enough to actually talk to me about it (but they cared enough to name me without @-ing me? idek). With time, I have become grateful for being on the wrong side of that shitty clique, because it resulted in a wake-up call for me about who deserves my time and attention. (Obviously I have not reached full serenity or anything, because I can’t bring myself to pull the adjective “shitty” out of that sentence.)
I’ve been scrubbing through my life, cleaning house (metaphorically and literally). I hit a new-to-me peak of mental clarity and I realized that I’d been keeping a lot of physical things, fixating on them, as a way to distract from the more important personal work that needed doing. (“Things will be perfect once I find the right couch for our living room.” “My life will be great if I can figure out the best cocktail glasses.”) The acquisition of objects is not a path to happiness. (Obviously.) Exit lots of stuff from our house. Exit lots of clothes from my closet. Exit lots of apps from my phone. Etc. Once I started looking, I kept seeing more in my life that was there simply because it had persisted unexamined...but under examination it had no real business sticking around. Nothing that on its own felt major, but all these little objects and decisions that added up to huge spaces being freed up (again, metaphorically and literally).
Doing all of this (and a lot of other things beyond this) has taught me some new things about the way I think about choices. Over time I’ve noticed a pattern emerging when I have two choices. One choice will seem safe and known and probably a good bet while the other seems terrifying and hard and scary, a cliff jump of a feeling. Possibly obviously, I’m supposed to jump off the cliff, because the comforting good-sounding idea is actually going to keep damaging me.
And so I got rid of Twitter, because I had a passing thought about unfollowing everyone and never looking at it anymore and it made me panicky and sick to my stomach.
Also, if I may address a small but unfortunately memorable subset of my followers for a moment: I don’t owe you anything, and you demonstrably know shit about me. I say this with some confidence because every time I meet someone who is eager to talk to me about the fact that they follow me, they spend the rest of our meeting staring at me like I’m some zoo animal outside its cage and then they can’t manage to rumble up any conversational topics beyond “I really like reading your Twitter”. There seems to be some assumed level of familiarity between us that cannot exist (as we are strangers), and I always come away feelings like I never want to talk to anyone but my spouse ever again until I die.
Do I sound ungrateful? I am. I’m incredibly ungrateful for certain kinds of attention: people leaning over and creep-whispering “I follow you on Twitter” before they’ve even properly met me, people just repeating “I really like you” at me (when they actually mean “I like your writing”) while they clutch tightly at my hand...I don’t actually want to relive more examples in enough detail to describe them evocatively. In short: I am the wrong sort of person to have whatever sort of following I have. I much prefer being spoken to as if people think they have something of interest to say to me (being told I’m liked is fine but it doesn’t really carry a conversation). And much like when I realized I didn’t like what passed for “friends” in the Twitter community I was in, I don’t have control over the conduct of my “fans” either...but I do have control over my participation in the situation. And so I choose to not participate.
Also, despite what my ego was certain of while clicking “unfollow” over and over and deleting the Twitter app from my phone and the bookmark from my browser, the world has continued to turn and nobody actually needs me participating in the pale, mean substitute for human friendship that is my/our/your Twitter community.
Because that is what I have rediscovered through all the culling, the gaps, the gaping void -- my friendships. Unlike “social networks”, it turns out your real friends show up when you’re in trouble and love you and support you and do all kinds of amazing caring behaviors. I am so lucky to have people I trust and love in my life, some of whom have already seen me through some really ugly things before, and all of whom are seeing me through what is one of the flat out hardest periods in my life.
So that’s where I am: I’m doing a lot of difficult but rewarding work, and basically none of it will be performed in public for your consumption or commentary. But I’m also slowly writing again (writing while sober, a thing I last remember doing consistently in high school) and so that will get mixed in here, amidst all the reblogs, assuming the writing keeps happening. No promises.