All good ‘Finish the Sentence Friday’ posts tend to start with, well…a sentence you have to finish.
Except in this case I can’t, which is an indictment of my skill as a writer, or a comment on my experience. I rather think it’s the latter.
The sentence to consider boiled down to ‘The Blogosphere is a lot like high school – discuss…’, which I suppose for some people might be the case. For me it’s absolutely the very furthest thing at all EVER from high school (which, for one thing, I didn’t go to, being English (though apparently now it’s becoming a ‘thing’ there, and I’ve seen one or two in the neighbourhood (a fact which presents me with some acceptance issues, after all WHAT NEXT?!))).
I can kinda sorta see where the sentence is going, in a ballparkish way. There are cliques, make no bones about it.
I’ve seen/heard of/been part of/been part of and left/was never invited to/never wanted to be one of the mommy bloggers, poets, fanfic set, affiliated up the whazoo, storytellers, authors with platforms, world-savers, social activists, so yes, there are groups of people who can get a bit, hmmm, territorial at times, but that hasn’t hugely impacted me.
Maybe because I’ve never really belonged properly to any of them (okay, THERE’S my ‘yeah, it’s the same’ moment). I’ve always felt pretty peripheral, mixing with all sorts and happy to knock along with anyone as long as they were friendly and I could stand to read their posts (never said I didn’t have my own brand of snobbery). I’m the kind of person who needed very little encouragement to decide that someone’s a person I’d like to get along with, then bug them and flood their posts with comments and likes and shares until they gave up and let me hang out with them.Yaknow, way back when the Blogosphere was a bit more vibrant/populated/involved than it is now. In my corner, anyway.
Life changes, and thank goodness it does.
In school, we didn’t have the same cliques as American high schools. There were no such things as cheerleaders, jocks, geeks, princesses, or whatever elses. We had people who played sports, people who were smart, people who were time-wasters, people who were popular, people who played musical instruments, people who were into art or drama…and losers. All the groups, however undefined and amoebic could agree on that last one. Losers – the ones who didn’t fit in, weren’t worthy; were awkward, unfortunate-looking dorks with the personalities of freshly hocked phlegm.
The one thing all the losers in my school could agree on (despite their disaparate and widely varied qualification for being losers) was this – I was utterly beneath them.
I could sit and go through the hundreds of ways the consensus of my unworthiness was hammered home day after day after day, but the TL;DR version is ‘abuse sucks; bullies suck; school really sucked.’ The longer version you can catch never, or possibly piecemeal, in person.
My point is this – the Blogosphere has been (for me) a magical wonderland of the very antithesis of my school experience.
I’ve made friends, been included, had my experiences not only acknowledged, but accepted and related to. I’ve written my way into (whom I would consider) the upper echelons of fabulous writers, and largely feel that my place amongst those stars is validated by their insistence that I absolutely belong there. I’ve been complimented and complemented by fellow writers. I’ve had opportunities made available to me thanks to the way the Blogosphere levels the playing field: any member of society can belong…as long as they can write.
Is that the killer? Is that the thing which makes us remote and incomprehensible? Non-writers, people who aren’t into social media, people with busy lives, would probably struggle to comprehend the good in spilling your deepest darkest minutae over the internet. To actually take the pieces of your life and render them readable by strangers is anathema to a goodly number. On one hand I kinda get it, because the world (and especially the internet) can be a terrible place. On the other hand, the world (and the internet) is chock-full of really, amazingly wonderful human beings, and the chance to connect, in a very measured and cherry-picked kind of way with people who (in spite of their unfortunate geography) are your people.
We’re human. We’re tribal. And in a world where the busyness of each day seems to be actively trying to stop us building relationships with those around us, the Blogosphere enables connection in a deep, immediate, and intimate manner, with strangers who become friends. Those people become stalwart members of your life, and the fact you carry them around in your pocket on your phone, or only see them onscreen, makes no difference. Once you’ve hardwired your heart, it’s easy for people to plug in, reach into your world, and become functional, important factors.
If school was one of the things which broke me most, the Blogosphere is one of the things which has healed me most. It has connected me to people I’ve learned so much from, lived through so much with, and have loved. Still love. I’ve even met lots of them in person. I have plans to meet more. My life has been wonderously and irrevocably changed, and (because life is a series of stepping stones, and we only get to who and how we are now by going through all the things which went before) I am so very thankful for all the crap, and for wandering lost for so many years, because what has happened to me via the Blogosphere is absolutely and in every way COMPLETELY WORTH IT.
And really, that’s it – we write our souls onto the pages in hope that somewhere along the way, someone will read it, understand, and we will be found.
And FYI those two ^^^ made BIG, very real differences (in different ways). I’ve met them both. I love them both.