How writing changed my life, for better or worse

Anyone who knows me personally can tell you in an instant that the personality I project through writing is completely different from the one I project through actual conversation. On paper, or in this case, screen, I can confidently say things I would never say in person.

It’s relatively easy for me to write what I’m thinking. However, in conversation, the constant measures I take to edit and censor myself make me seem aloof, at best, and painfully awkward and shy at worst.

The reasons why I censor my speaking so much are numerous, but it really mostly comes down to how I was in my childhood.

When I was between the ages of 7 and 10 I often said things that most people wouldn’t. And while this behavior is sometimes perceived as cut before the age of five, after that cutoff, it just comes off as offensive an annoying. Often, after people discovered this little “quirk” of mine, they would stop talking to me altogether. So I developed a way to censor myself around the age of 10. This unfortunately, caused people to withdraw even further from me, an most kids saw me as oddly quiet.

After a few years of this, I decided to start writing, which, as I said before, helped my confidence immensely. When I found myself thinking something I thought would illicit a negative reaction from someone, I would write it down.

Soon, I started writing everything in a journal. My journal entries turned to poetry and stories, and thus, my love of writing was cemented.

But my increased interest in writing was detrimental to my social skills. I became increasingly more withdrawn as a teenager than I was as a child. This was something that kept me with only a select few friends, and with quite a few people seeing me as rude and off-putting.

Thankfully, these days, I’m seeing my social skills start to improve as I meet more people like me, and I’ve reconnected with some people from my past, especially since I started this little blog of mine.

My anxiety has gone down within the past year, and, while I wouldn’t say I have a thriving social life, I’m miles ahead of where I was just a few years ago. I’ve found that having someone listen to my weird little rants and thoughts every once in a while has helped me grow as a person.

And even if no one reads this, at least I’ve written it. This has the potential to reach a lot of people, and if I tried this in person, say through a vlog, I wouldn’t even be half as verbose a this. But that’s something that I’m working on. People respond well to me when I appear confident, and I’m slowly getting more sure of myself everyday. Which, like most things in life, is easier said than done.

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Mutual Acceptance

I’ve talked about the hypocrisy of the LGBT community before, but there’s so much more to say, it would probably cover many more posts so here I go again.

And yes again I consider myself an activist for this community, having volunteered for my local pride festival twice (and planning a third time), often publicly speaking out when I see intolerance. But at the same time, this community, like any other, is not without its faults.

First, I’ll talk about the problem with the concept of “tolerance” as opposed to “acceptance” as the aim for many LGBT organizations. Of course, 100% acceptance of any cause is highly unlikely, but it’s a better thing to aim for than tolerance. You tolerate a small child kicking your seat on an airplane, or a hair in your soup, but neither one of those things is a positive experience. Tolerance implies something inherently negative, and I believe that we should instead aim for acceptance.

Which brings me to my real topic. Someone wanting acceptance, or even tolerance, from others should pay the same respect for people who they don’t agree with. There is an inherent disrespect in the LGBT community toward Christianity. This is understandable, considering the stance that some Christians hold toward homosexuality. But this is a stance not taken by all Christians. And in fact, there are several Christian organizations that accept and welcome gay members of the church, and even gay pastors.

But still, mentions of Christianity in LGBT circles is met with at best, a roll of the eyes, and, at worst, outright contempt.

This is the worst hypocrisy I’ve seen from the LGBT community. Tolerance goes both ways (pun intended) and yes, even most Christians cannot stand the Westboro Baptist Church.

So, I you’re looking for someone to disrespect, choose the WBC. They’ll get the same level of respect they give everyone else, none. And when you see a church-run booth at your next pride festival, keep an open mind, thy go in knowing the level of disrespect that could come their way, and that takes an incredible amount o bravery.

Relationships

I recently found someone with whom I could possibly have a great connection with. we’ve found common ground on tons of things, have differences in opinion about others, and just generally have a nice time together. While it’s a bit too early to call what we have a relationship, I’d certainly want it to turn into one in the near future.

And I’m a nervous wreck.

I know I’m capable of staring a relationship with someone, I have in the past, it’s just that none of them have exactly been what someone would call successful. Which is why I have trouble connecting with people, and showing them my many (many) vulnerabilities.

I have a tendency of freezing up when people ask me about myself. In my head I’m listing traits that I know people will find interesting (writer, baker, feminist, aunt). But what comes out of my mouth is a nervous chuckle, accompanied by a blush and me quickly leaving the area.

On rare occasions, I’ll have a conversation that hits all the right notes at the right time, and attempts to recreate these occasions fail miserably.

And times where people ask me about my past, or why I am the way that I am, all bets are off. there’s just some things that leave scars I don’t want reopen, and I get intensely uncomfortable when people try. But that’s something I’m working on.

I know it’s something that’s essential to a relationship, but I’m terrified of opening up to someone in the fear that they will reject me.

It’s the same knee-jerk reaction I get when I write a deeply personal post like this one. it is easier to hide behind a keyboard and a screen, but not by much. I know that there’s potential for the whole world to see what I’ve written and that mortifies me.

which is why I have to remind myself to take a leap of faith and let go, and hit that little blue button. So, in a way, every post i’ve written has been a little leap of faith, and now I’m about to jump again.