This is an open to letter to all the folks whom I have written off over the years (and who have written me off), both online and in person, but mostly online. This is to all those people with whom I’ve had arguments, disagreements, spats, shouting matches, differences of opinion, different politics, knockdown drag out fights, twitter wars and general fallouts due to drama – you know who you are, though it’s doubtful you’ll read this. I just want to say one thing: it’s not that serious. Really.
Let me rewind a bit.
See, back when I first started getting into social media, I was like a rabid attack dog. Some of you may remember that period. I would go after people like sharks after chum. If there was blood in the water, I was on it. It became a thing. I have “trophies” from that era, aka screenshots, which is petty, I realize.
It was both fun and entertaining…for others to watch. I became a spectacle of sorts, only I was too naïve to realize that many folks only liked the drama, not me. What else is the internet good for if not good old-fashioned drama, right? Right.
One thing I noticed about doing that, however, is that most folks only liked to watch, not participate. So I often found myself alone, waging this private war from my desk, and with a crowd, egging me on – though, truthfully, most of them egged me on privately.
That was always funny to me. I would get these private messages from people – many of them social media “famous,” and much more popular than myself – telling me how much they liked when I called out X. Or how they really enjoyed when I dragged X through the shit, because they felt the same way. Thing is, these people were too scared to do that themselves. They had their online reputations to consider and blah, blah, blah. Whatever.
Now, all these years later, I find myself surrounded by mounds of ashes from bridges burned down and nary any of the cheerleaders are still around. Go figure.
So what, exactly, did I accomplish with all that nonsense?
You might ask yourself why I am writing this, why now? Am I apologizing? No, not really, but I’ve come to realize a few nuggets of wisdom in the past couple of years and feel the need to clear the air and or get these things off my chest – both for my own peace of mind and maybe yours too.
One thing I’ve watched over the past few years is the evolution of social media. I remarked the other day, how just a few years ago, the unity I and others experienced online was remarkable. Now, just a few years later, the division and bitterness are palpable. Why?
We all drew lines in the sand.
Now, let me be clear here – I say that I’m not apologizing but honestly, in many of these things, I was at fault. On many occasions I went looking for fights and found them, easily, much to the chagrin of my so-called audience. This amounted to a lot of chest thumping and name calling. In those instances I can truly say: my bad.
But other times, it wasn’t my fault. Shit happens.
What I once thought was a “cause” and a rallying call for whatever we thought was the “revolution” was just bullshit. It was theater. And if all the world’s a stage, then I was a clown for a while.
Look, you can’t live in the past. I think that’s a hard lesson for many to learn – too many! I know because I lived in the past for a long time and still struggle to stay focused on the now instead. Evolution is normal…you’re supposed to change! If you’re not, well, you’re living in the past.
I think the politics of victimization, which has been sold wholesale for years now, took hold like a virus and perverted a lot of good people’s minds and turned many others against each other. It wasn’t long before we all found ourselves at each other’s throats, for one reason or another.
I think things are so fucked up now that many people don’t even know why they’re mad anymore, only that they’re supposed to play that role.
And that’s the thing – I’m guilty of all of that. I was the first one to cut people off for violating whatever rudimentary rule I thought was life and death.
Some people I feel bad about having a falling out with, others not so much. We’re all supposed to grow and to move on, and to a large extent, I have. Hey, I try. People change – that’s life. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know already but my point is this:
Many of us allowed social media and the politics of victimization to make us look past what’s important in exchange for an audience, and maybe a few extra “likes.” Things became personal when they didn’t need to be and we did it all for an audience. How dumb.
For all the boogeymen I fought over the past decade, not many turned out to be real and about the only thing I find as a result is a bunch of bitter people…
…and lots of silence.
People just stop talking to each other one day over petty shit online and then leave this awkward silence behind. I don’t believe many of us would act the same way were all of these relationships in person and day to day. I know for a fact that people play a role online, but being online allows us to cut people off instantly, it’s unique that way.
If I had a dollar for every person who I just stopped talking to one day – or who abruptly stopped talking to me – I’d have a wad of cash.We all do it. It’s the nature of the beast.
What’s my goddamn point? Just that I dislike baggage and so I strive to free myself of it when I can. That’s easier said than done but that’s all this is.
Up until recently I used to harbor these bitter feelings and hatred for folks I never met in person, which is just stupid. What’s the point? As the saying goes, hate is baggage and I’m tired of lugging it around. I don’t want to be a “hater” any more.
I’m also letting go of the all the ill feelings for those folks who I actually have met in person and had a falling out with for one reason or another. It sucks, and if I broke bread with you and considered you a friend, it’s shitty (and ridiculous) that we let social media fuck that up. But it is what it is, life goes on. I get it and no longer want to dwell on it.
I just want you to know that it’s not that serious and that I don’t harbor any bad feelings against any of you. Quite the contrary, which I realize is maybe hard to believe. I wish you all the best, even if you hate my guts. 🙂
I’ve appreciated all the discussions over the years, even when they were heated, and have tried to learn from each experience as best I can, even if it was a bitter one.
Though I’ve softened up a bit over the years I’ve also refined who I am and I still consider myself that weirdo who would rather walk out of the pep rally than participate. I’m still just a stranger in a strange land, a wallflower, an outsider and a doofus, but I’m learning to let go of my anger, one day at a time. This is part of that.
I no longer want to draw lines in the sand.
I’ve said this before but it bears repeating: I don’t care about your politics or your religion. I wish others felt the same but I realize everyone grows in their own way. Boy how we have allowed the politics of past few years to fuck all of our heads up! Seriously, folks, there’s more to life than being mad online all the time and fucking up personal relationships over petty stuff. Trust me, I learned this the hard way.
Anyway, I’m rambling. Let me just say that however you may feel about me now, all these years later and after all the bullshit, I ain’t mad atcha, not any more. Truly I have embraced the zen of not giving a fuck. Ignorance might be bliss but apathy is a close second.
I’m just trying to survive here, one day at a time, and letting go is helping me do that.
Thanks for reading. Also…