Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May 3- To live at the risk of not being seen...

I came out on Sunday and announced to the world (at least to my little corner of it) that I was going to start writing. I have a book in me, I said. I am going to write every day, I told friends.  Several people encouraged me, telling me they wanted to read what I wrote, and buoyed by their encouragement, I wrote a really silly and fun blog post yesterday.

"Oooh," I thought, "I can't wait to hear what everyone thinks!"

I posted the blog link to my group, to my friends, and to other writers. I checked my post again and again. I wondered if my post actually went through. I bemoaned the techbunnies. I cursed social media algorithms.

And then, the self-doubt got me.  Why couldn't anyone see me? I just wanted everyone to laugh and tell me how cute my mouse story was. 

I felt unseen.

Please don't feel like this is a self-pitying post, or feel obliged to comment on this, past, or future posts, I'm just telling you how I felt....

This is not a rare phenomenon.  I have recently talked to several separate people who feel unseen, disconnected, unsupported and even ignored.  How can that be?

Well, one thing to keep in mind that if you use any type of social media to connect with others, you are subject to the algorithms of that platform.  If you feel unseen by people IRL, you might be out of sync with their current schedules.  

The internet is a wide beautiful place.  It gives us a false sense of closeness, and can skew our world perceptions because we join groups that are likely populated by similarly minded folk.  For instance, if I were to look at my facebook feed, I would assume that at least half of the world's population is vegan, because I make connections with vegans.  Looking at my instagram, one might guess that all of my friends were lithe and limber yogis, when in reality, most of the yogis I know would cringe to be photograph in bikinis.  Honestly, I have been surprised at the current state of American politics, because no-one I know is excited about the direction the primaries are headed. Clearly, my social circles, both on and off the internet, are biased in one way or another.

Like the internet, the human race is a varied population much bigger than we could ever imagine.

Sometimes it is hard to remember that just by shouting into the void, we are not always going to be heard.

Even when we share ourselves with those we love, we may not get the feedback we are looking for.  I asked Rob last night if he'd enjoyed my blog about the mice, and he confessed that he hadn't read it because he had too much work to do. I understand that. There have been days I've been remiss about emailing him because I've felt swamped at work.  Life happens.

But- what do we do? Is it worth it to live at the risk of not being seen? Do we just give up and stop sharing?

We can't. We just can't. Sharing ourselves is what makes us human. Whether we do so in person, or virtually via the interwebs, we must share.  And we must understand that sometimes we will be seen.

And sometimes we won't.

And we keep going. I will keep writing.

One of my favorite musicians, Amanda Palmer, has a lyric that I've incorporated into my motto lately.

"Stop Pretending Art is Hard."

Is it hard not to be seen? Sure. But harder yet is not to speak.

So, I have a favor to ask of you- if you read this, take a moment and make someone feel seen.  (Not me- I'm a big girl, I can take your silence.) Seriously, though, I implore you to tell someone who may feel under-appreciated that you see and respect them.


1 comment:

  1. I love that you're writing and I love that you're writing about this specific topic today. Lately, I've been sending out my writing to various lit magazines looking to be published somewhere; I've only gotten rejections so far, but somehow I keep trying. I won't lie, sometimes it gets me really down, but at the same time I realize that it isn't always a reflection on me or my writing. Sometimes it is just that what I've written doesn't fit that publication's current needs. I'm continuing to "sound my barbaric yawp." <3