Friday afternoon, I had a Google Hangout meeting with various and sundry about a project we’re all jointly working on when it came to light one of the members of the group, whom I had been pretty friendly with up until that point, revealed the reason for her sudden turn of taste in me. What that revelation boiled down to was I am not letting others shine in the project. But she couldn’t really clarify what that meant but that her only recourse was to remove herself from within my company. In addition, friends of hers were apparently upset her name wasn’t credited on my professional website where I gave a brief summary on said project, as in my list of names, I list those I recalled at the time of the writing as a beginning contributor and as there were so many, threw the rest under “all the other awesome people who were there” list because I honestly could not remember everyone who was involved.
At least, I think that’s why she was upset because I never really got the gist for her sudden cold shoulder to me. She even acknowledge she couldn’t really articulate it, so I’m piecing together what I pulled from that conversation. When I finished the call, TheHusband, who heard the entire exchange from his office, restated my summary in much the same language. He said if he were me that he would have told her to grow a pair and if she wanted to get credit to actually start becoming the face herself of the work we’re doing if she’s so damned concerned with recognition. I just shrugged, rewrote the pages in more neutral language, and emailed her the updates.
When TheHusband and I were out running errands later that night, I was gripped with a wave of depression so heavy I stumbled in my tracks when I realised what was happening. A fairly painless event of grocery shopping took on the guise of fight or flight, of which I desperately trying not to abandon our cart in the middle of the aisle and get the fuck home so I could surround myself with things that could not hurt me. We had to do this thing, it had to be done this night, and if I could make it through the rest of the trip, I had an entire week where I had almost no responsibility with anything and I could start to protect what was becoming a very vulnerable self.
Sleep did not come easy Friday night as my mind running in a million paces.
Saturday morning woke up very cold and very bright. TheHusband and I had plans to finish some of the major house cleaning that was still hanging around our necks that morning and relaxing before the Doctor Who 50th anniversary party I was planning for a group of local friends. When 2PM came and went, three of the twelve invited showed up, two had declined and the rest never bothered to tell me either way. And if there is anything that can make one feel incredibly unloved and alone is when hardly anyone shows up to your party or even bothered to let you know they were not coming.
So you can imagine, coupled with the events from previous day which I had not quite shaken off, where this is going.
After the guests had left several hours later, and I did have fun with the people who were here, I made the mistake of checking various social networks and seeing huge Doctor Who themed parties being thrown over the world. At that point, as I flipped through the images of happy faces across the globe, I felt the loneliest I’ve felt in a very long time.
I spend a lot of time, too much probably, thinking about my relationships with people. To some, like TheHusband who constantly marvels I know people around the globe, when I say that save for him, how lonely I am at times, he doesn’t quite get the grasp of the depth of that loneliness. When we moved back to Grand Rapids, I told him that those who were my very best of friends when I moved away several years prior were no longer, he thought I was being some kind of cynical fool. But many of those friendships were formed in specific cultures and when the structure of that culture is taken away, the relationships often do not stand. I’m not saying all of those people I’ve met have disappeared, but a good many have gone on with their lives such as I’ve gone on with mine. Cycles happen and I’ve long accepted with the exception of very few, no matter how hard I try to make some of these relationships work, they are all really transitory.
The story that opened this piece was told not to shame the person whose concerns to her were very real, but because I needed a concrete example of something that happens on a fairly regularly basis with me. Much as I said to the male friend who was standing next to me while I was being sexually harassed, “Now you know.” I said the exact same thing to TheHusband when the meeting ended on Friday to illustrate the kind of behaviour I often deal with from others. It was not that he never believed me, he knows who he is married to, but again just as with my loneliness, he hadn’t grasped the extent of what people expect from me versus what they want from me.
Let’s be clear on something here: I do not think I’m some kind of special snowflake deserving of special treatment. What I do think is that I’m a pretty self-actualized human being who happens to be bold. Boldness comes in a variety of flavors and my particular strength is that I have zero problems being upfront with you, shooting directly from the hip, making a lot of noise when I need to, or calling you out on your foolishness. It is surprising the number of people who would rather have you tell petty lies to make them feel good then tell them the truth. It is also a flabbergast of moments to realise the level of superficiality of many in the human race and their entire existence is based upon the one they have concocted to make themselves feel good. Additionally, I have zero political prowess and that fact alone has hurt me many, many times as I refuse to play reindeer games to soothe various beasts.
I often tell people I am not everyone’s cup of tea, and I’ve long came to that realization in my early 20s and for my entire adult life, that’s the code I’ve lived by. I’m not here to please you and I am also not here to be your personal bitch, to be called upon when you need that bold voice only to be thrown back into the dark when you’re done with them. As this has become a reoccurring event as of late, of that too, I am done.
People who are like me – there is a high price to pay for our boldness and while we are often publicly lauded for being the face of the cause, we’re privately punished for being ourselves. I cannot tell you how many times I have been told to change or tweak my personality because I did not “fit in” with a culture or a group, that it would better serve those around me if I toned it down a bit, or if I was not so blunt or some other attempt to turn me something I am not under the auspice of fake helpfulness. I’m not saying I’m above change or that I am perfect, I am saying I am done with society’s expectation that as I walk to the beat of my own drummer, I need to move my round peg ass into the square hole.
Here’s the thing most do not understand – bold people are often the most fragile and their boldness is a protective measure. Many bold people I have met, in addition to myself, find it natural to be the bull in the china shop as it is who they are, but that energy required to be who they are drains them. Not only do we tend to be more fragile, but we’re almost the most in the need of support. Being bold can quickly weaken you if you’re not careful, and drain you if you are careless.
If we’re friends on Facebook, as of this writing, I’ve deactivated my account. I have a private account I’m using to manage pages since several projects require it, and if we were friends on that particular account, I’ve unfriended you and made it as private as Facebook possible. This has not been something done in haste, but the events from the last couple of days finalized the long thought reasons for me to finally acknowledge the account needed to go. Frankly I’m tired of putting myself out there only to be rejected by the same people who expect me to continually support them or be the face of a particular cause because no one else wants to do it. I’m also very angry that a group of people whom were to be my allies, in the month since my I was publicly sexually harassed, 90% of them didn’t bother asking me if I was okay. And when you know at least half of them read your site, to me that’s telling of who you really are. Whether that’s your intention or not, your actions speak much louder than any words you could possibly have to say to me. I did not want to do a flounce, but I do think a brief reason was necessary if you went looking for me and saw I was no longer there on why I left.
If you want to stalk something on Facebook, this site has its own page.
For most of you, much this won’t affect how you read or see me on site. I’m still going to be on Twitter, but perhaps just not as much. I’m still going to be writing here just as often. But there is an intimacy associated with Facebook that isn’t even available anywhere else, regardless of how many layers I peel back as I write on this site. I need to reign in the control of what the world can see and Facebook was the first to go. At least here, in my sandbox, I’m forcing you to come to me and not the other way around.
I’ve also decided I’m shutting down publicly and openly discussing my projects, librarianship or otherwise, until they are finalized or complete. There have been too many recorded instances of my work being lifted and passed off as someone elses or lifted and touted that it’s open source therefore a free for all or lifted and not even giving me AND the people who worked with me credit.
I’m done being bullied by you Internet, go pick on someone your own size.