Happy birthday blythely! I look forward to celebrating with you this w/e. *SMOOCH*
It's been a strange week for me. I've actually had a lot of trouble unwinding and falling asleep at night, and a lot of that has to do with my recent post on sexuality in fandom and the discussion it generated.
I'll never stop talking about contentious issues in my journal because I'm not just opinionated, I'm emotional and outspoken. And I genuinely enjoy hosting discussions of that nature (as well as discussions about silly things, of course). I'm no academic, but I'm intuitive and I'm friendly, and I think those things help make me a pretty decent host.
But I was feeling so tense last night that I thought it might actually help me to talk a little bit about the experience of being a host to meta-discussion from an emotional perspective.
It can be fun. But it can also be scary. And stressful.
Kalpurna's post had an overwhelmingly positive response. It got fawned over by lots and lots of fangirls, some of whom I know personally because they're on my flist, some of whom I know of due to their BNF status or because we have friends in common. To post a response challenging her opinions was both exhilarating and terrifying. What if I piss off all the people who agree with her?
I'm not shy about speaking my mind and bitching about things in fandom that annoy me. But that doesn't come without a price. I will often worry afterwards about how the things I said have been perceived. If someone didn't respond to my post, does that mean they disagree with me? Did I offend them? Have I just alienated myself from people I want to like me?
Being liked is important, isn't it? I go out of my way to be nice to everyone and treat them the way I want to be treated (unless they upset me, but I'll always apologise if I was unnecessarily rude to someone). I try to respond to all comments, for instance, because when people I don't know (either well or at all) don't respond to me, I often figure they must dislike me. Why else would they ignore me? It must be a deliberate snub!
Intellectually I know that it's far more likely something else. But then I think back on all the "meta" I've written, which is often litigious, and I start to stress out and I start asking all those unanswerable, unknowable questions: What if they read a post of mine and it angered them to the point where they decided they could never be friends with me? What if I said *one thing wrong* and they will never forgive me for it? What if *all* of my opinions piss them off? What if it's not my opinions that they hate, but the fact that I can't keep my damn mouth shut?
You post an opinion on a complex subject and obviously you haven't got it all figured out; what would be the point of discussion otherwise? But then you worry about the things you said. Did you contradict yourself at any point? Did you say something stupid? Offensive? Were you misunderstood because you didn't explain yourself properly? Did you forget to say that One Thing that would have won you the argument? Were you not as polite or welcoming to a commenter as you should have been? Is that the reason they didn't continue speaking with you? Or is it just because they think you're stupid? I could go on.
And you know, I'm not even a neurotic person.
I wonder if these fears I sometimes have stop other people from speaking out about certain issues, or if they're why people often preface their bitching with the ol' "Unpopular Opinion" disclaimer. I wonder if people who are as outspoken (or more outspoken) than I am ever feel this stuff.
There are a number of people you see regularly pop up in meta discussions and they genuinely seem to not give a flying fuck whether people like them. It's not that they're always *rude* per se, but if they disagree with someone they will argue their point until they're *heard* goddamit. You know the type. (I, on the other hand, generally keep my opinions in my own journal and very rarely comment on meta elsewhere.)
So that's me. Soul laid bare.