One of the things I love about the internet, that I have loved since I discovered Usenet way back in the early 90’s, is meeting new people I never would have gotten to know otherwise. Not just because I’m terminally sarcastic and shy in real life, but also because these amazing people live all over the world.
It’s also easier for me to find groups of people who want to hear what I have to say, and who have things to say that I want to hear. This isn’t even because the lot of us tend to be writers and readers. It’s the way social media works.
If you have news, whether it’s good, bad, glorious, or horrific, it’s okay to share it online. A lot of it is stuff you wouldn’t tell the people you know in real life. I wouldn’t walk into the office, where all my co-workers sat, heads-down, tapping away at their code, and shout I wrote twenty-five hundred words today for NaNo. I’m out of the slump, and back in the groove, bitches! (Though, I’ll be honest, now that I say it, the thought makes me giggle a little).
But if I do that online, people react with cheer, and congratulations, and all sorts of warm fuzzies. Likewise, if I mourn, the world, so to speak, mourns with me. The support structure is phenomenal.
However, sometimes I wonder if we lose our sense of reality in it. In real life, we don’t just cope with super highs and super lows. There’s a whole butt-ton of in-between as well. Normal, regular, every day dull stuff.
The kind of stuff that doesn’t make for good social media interaction. For most people, anyway. Slept average last night. As I have for the past month. Bought coffee and juice at the store. Going to work next, which will be average. Maybe I’ll write, maybe I’ll delete half of it, maybe I won’t.
That’s our day, and then we grab our phone or laptop, bring up Facebook, and see a string of:
I made a best seller list!
It rained so hard my basement flooded. All our memories are ruined!
I wrote fifteen thousand words today. New record!
I lost my job, my husband is sick, and we’re losing our house.
And I think we forget, all those people have lots of boring bits in their lives too. We surround ourselves so much with the emotions of others, the extreme highs and lows, we forget everyone lives in the in-between spaces 99% of the time.
Suddenly, the little things you’re proud of in your own life, feel either insignificant compared to everyone else, or just as tragically so, too good or bad to talk about right now.
Who cares that you finally finished that book that’s been in your head for years, when the next person over wrote theirs in a day? No one wants to listen to you brag that you were recognized at work for outstanding achievements when the person across the way is broke and destitute.
Well, I care. And I want to hear it. Tragedy and joy are all around us, on a small scale, on an epic scale, on global scale. No one should have to compare theirs to someone else’s to decide if it’s worth celebrating or mourning their own lives.
Don’t lose yourself, the things that make you laugh and weep and cheer and sob, because you feel it’s not as good or bad as someone else’s personal story.
This is your forum today. Tell me, what’s up? Really and sincerely, what has you happy, sad, stressed, gleeful, or just grateful today is average. Use the comments, don’t be shy. Go on.