Updated: Sep 7
It's my party and I will cry if I want to.......
I started writing this blog a few months ago, but cruelly abandoned it to the draft draw for a while. Oddly, I rarely have anything in drafts, its the ex civil servant in me, those in-trays get emptied regularly and the trash thrown out pronto!
I've just re jigged it to make some sense, I hope.
After Christmas 2021, I realised that I needed to cut back my interaction online and more importantly, my support of some people that didn't have my back. It was a long time coming, much needed. If I get in touch with, or interact with you, well done! You survived my cull. Lucky you and lucky me!
So, I'm picking this blog up again after the summer, because I wanted to tell you the outcome of my social community withdrawal and it's mostly good.
The first thing to say, is that I did feel like a victim in the end, its true, but I've since realised that I let it happen and ultimately I only have myself to blame. People only treat someone badly because the person accepts it, right?
Once I brought the shutters down on the online communities and the magazine, it was quiet, so very quiet at first. It all felt a bit odd and I often slipped back into the same online behaviour, but I have to say that I've finally turned a corner. I can really feel the change settling in now and whilst It really tough it was all worth the angst. We really don't need lots of friends, we just need those few that have our back and really love us.
For a while, I missed the daily interaction and also I didn't know how to just be me! I had to learn to both fill my day differently and learn to relax! After over a decade of concentrating on 'community', I was more than a little lost. There was definitely a kind of grief to it all, it's been a tough process, but I now know with some certainty, that it was the right thing to do, the only thing to do and this time next year, this awful process will be a distant memory. The most surprising thing of all is that the changes I have made to my online life filtered into my real life. I've made many changes there too.
One of the biggest issues that comes from dancing to other peoples tune for years, is the lack of time for self. Also the lack of really good, uninterrupted holiday. Every time I tried to have time off, someone filled my diary for me. There was always a drama and consequently, I always had a screen in my hands. I guess in the end this alone kick started my anxiety. My life felt very robotic, chaotic and I very much lacked control over my next move. It's funny, but before my platforms were hijacked to start a magazine, I had already planned my exit. The magazine just put it off for a few months.
Of course I've still got online friends, they know who they are and they don't need their name in lights, I rather like it that way. They've collectively had my back and mine theirs beyond the community I built.
There absolutely are really good people out there, of course there are and there was no one more surprised than me, that my new blog was supported very well by old and new friends. I really had believed that most people had decided I was a bad egg, why wouldn't they? I'm very grateful for everyones support going forward. Thank you. Unfortunately, there were also many chancers that believe sincerely that they owned me. Watch out!
It took quite a while for me to breathe again, but I did. Lots of tough lessons learnt and I am still busy 're finding' myself, still healing, but I don't think I will ever community build again. I left myself so far behind that I really didn't know who I was anymore. Of course I'm still grateful to those that honestly gave their time and talent to the community and for helping us all through the Covid years. That was definitely how I saw this all going in the first place, a welcoming place to go to find friendship and support. That was the gold.
Regrets? Not really. There were years were what I did really worked and I connected like minded people. I will never regret supporting talent, or women in general. How can I? I do think I should have been choosier, but I was very much a give anyone a go, give everyone a fighting chance no matter what. I'm still that person, only now I know not to jump in fully loaded without protection.
I've never wanted to look aloof, stand off ish or indeed be better than. I'm not. I just need to learn to protect myself from people that have an opposing agenda! Online, one is often socialising with people that seem really lovely in the beginning, but when you get to know them, you soon realise you wouldn't be friends with them if they lived next door. There a couple I should definitely have run from!
The problem is, online we make dangerous liaisons instantly, without the safety catch on! We don't really know these people and the chances of meeting them in real time is often a long shot. I know that we used to have pen pals back in the day. I met mine, a dutch girl, she was great, but it can easily go so very wrong and more so with screen friendships which are often highly edited.
I also lost the support of a few good people along the way and sadly I can totally understand why. My name became synonymous with drama. Most people really don't want that nonsense, I didn't either. The mistake I made was forging forward no matter what, glossing over the latest public spats. I ousted many people over the years for good reason and of course they went on to shout victim. However, time always outs them in the end, doesn't it? I no longer worry too much about any of it, because I'm really only living online for the now and to suit me.
I've also found that my writing style was both confused and dulled down after years of slogging it out online. It's one thing writing for a magazine, quick social post, but writing a blog or a work piece and beyond, required something rather more considered. It's taken a while for my confidence to come back. I can write and I love writing. The beat goes on. That fight they didn't win.
Have I stopped changing? Probably not! That would be boring! I just know now, that with time and care, I will find my way back in the end. Finally, I can absolutely see the wood for the trees.
Love and gumption.