textualdeviance: (Can't Talk)
The Niblet hasn't yet decided to show up on his own, but there's an induction scheduled for tomorrow morning, so within the next ~24 hours or so, he'll finally be in my arms. Whoa.

I have a zillion and one feelings about this, of course, but the biggest is just being overwhelmed: So much to do, so much to learn, so much to think about now that I'm going to be responsible for the health and happiness of a tiny, helpless person. There's a chance that person may have some special needs down the road, too, so I need to be prepared for that as well (and am, mostly.) The house is close to baby-ready, the car seat is installed, we have plenty of supplies, and a go bag ready to take to the hospital. It's all going as it should. I think I can do this.

But one thing that's become clear in this is that the bandwidth I'm going to have available for anything other than my kid is going to be very, very small indeed for the foreseeable future. Obviously, M's going to be helping out early on, and the housekeeping and stuff will be managed. I also have some good local friends who can help in a pinch, and if all else fails, we'll find a way to afford a nanny or au pair to help here and there. But mentally and emotionally, my days of devoting a lot of energy to things outside my family are pretty much done for now. I'm going to keep writing, of course, and hope to find a way to sing again sometime, but most everything else will have to go by the wayside.

To that end, I've realized that I need to shrink my monkeysphere. It's something I've been thinking about for a while anyway, as I've felt increasingly overstretched, but now it's a lot more critical that I be careful about lending emotional energy to others when I'll have so little of it available.

FSM knows I love social media and fandom and knowing people all over the world, but one drawback to that is that I simply can't really be capital-F friends with all 200+ people I "know" from various places. I see their lives go past here or on FB, Tumblr or Twitter, and my instinct is to care about what's happening to them. The reality is that I can't, at least not in anything other than a truly superficial and therefore unsatisfying way. After years of trying to keep up, it's backfired: I now don't spend nearly enough energy on the people I'm closest to because it's getting sucked away by people I barely know. It's not a slight to those acquaintances, mind. They're perfectly nice people. But in order for me to be a good friend--and to have good friends of my own--I'm going to need to prune some folks from my everyday life.

This is frustrating, of course. I know so many lovely people I'd like to get to know better, but I'm just one person, with about 70% of the energy of an average one. I can't really keep up now. Keeping up when my life necessarily must revolve around my kid just isn't going to happen. I'm not, of course, going to be one of those diaper-brained Mommy sorts who has no life at all outside of her kid, but when I do have to make choices between him or other things, well, it's a damned easy choice to make.

So if I unfriend or stop following or don't acknowledge or respond to posts much for a while, please understand that it's not personal. Anyone who's kept up with me for long knows if I have a problem with someone, they hear about it. So it's not that at all. I just have to do some judicious editing in order to give the most important people and things in my life the attention they require. I'll still be posting somewhat here and there, of course. Hell, folks are probably going to get sick of my blathering on about my kid. But I'll basically be in broadcast mode, rather than interactive mode, except for the people I'm closest to. I need to focus on quality over quantity for now.

And mostly, I need to focus on my son, whom I am absolutely dying to finally meet.
Aug. 2nd, 2012 04:31 pm

Scattered

textualdeviance: (Recommended for the Internet)
After having a privacy scare on FB today, I'm questioning whether living so much of my daily online life there is wise. Obviously, it's where "everyone" is, and there are a lot of people I'd miss out on keeping up with if I wasn't there, but it's also a very mixed environment, and hard to really let go and be myself without risking some pretty icky blowback from time to time.

I think I've plugged the hole for now by unfriending most of the people I don't feel I can be open and honest with, and choosing to make most of my posts friends-only. Still, I think I may well back off of posting/interacting there as much as I have, simply because I dislike the eggshell-tiptoeing dance. Especially when it comes to issues of politics, gender, etc., my personal positions on these are very nuanced, and on the surface, very likely to piss off a lot of people who don't understand why and how I feel the way I feel. I don't think FB is the right venue for that. Though, really, neither are Twitter and Tumblr, and I still spew there, too.

If it were up to me, I'd drag people back here to LJ, because I strongly feel that its format and privacy controls are the most ideal I've seen of any social media out there. But it does seem to be dying, except for a contingent of fanfic-oriented folks, which is sad. So, because social media is supposed to be social, I do most of my "me" stuff on FB, most of my stream-of-consciousness politcs/chit-chatting with celebrities on Twitter, most of my fanthing squee on Tumblr, and most of my formal political/metacultural rambling on my "legit" blog. Because that's where the people I want to share those things with are. Not here, dangit.

Still, this is the one place I have where I feel like I can actually babble and bellyache to my heart's content. I'm not limited by space issues, nor by having an audience that wants me to shut up and post more pics of cute actors, nor by conservative old friends/distant relatives who think I'm going to hell because I'm a queer, atheist, feminist Obama supporter.

Honestly, I hate feeling so compartmentalized and scattered, though. I would love to be able to be all of who I am whereever I go--online or off--and not have to worry about icky potential consequences (or just annoying the crap out of people.) I frankly hate being closeted, which is what a lot of this really is, but I do feel like I don't have much choice. Of course, true friends will accept everything I am, but that doesn't mean that everyone I want to interact with is up for the whole enchilada. I'll always have to hold some things back to keep the peace or make sure I'm employable, or not bore the shit out of fellow fans with my unrelated babble when they'd rather talk fandom. And I always feel I have to hold back some things just to avoid the raging mobs of people who think it's OK to stalk and harass (and worse) people they disagree with. I still bear the scars of Fandom Wank. Not interested in attracting that kind of Mean Girl mob.

If I were braver, I'd just be myself anyway, and if people don't like it, they're entitled to skip the post, unfriend, stop following, move on, blah blah blah. But I'm also aware of context-appropriate behavior and communication. Spamming my RL FB friends with my fanthing squee would probably irritate the daylights out of them. Spamming my fandom friends with my political rants probably irritates them, too. I'd rather not hide who I am and what I think and like to do from certain groups of people, but that doesn't necessarily mean that exercising each aspect to its fullest extent is going to be appropriate in all fora.

But yeah. LJ is definitely the one place that comes damned close to being appropriate for all of this. There are enough personal friends here to warrant my maudlin navel-gazing babble and stupid pics of my cats; enough like-minded political and feminist sorts to feel free to be open about that; and certainly plenty of fandom folks who get my need to squee (and, much to my great delight, there are people here who fall into all three categories.) Just a pity that it's not as populated as it was 10 years ago.
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textualdeviance: (Default)
LJ is awfully quiet these days. Figured I'd fire up an account over here to see if it's more lively. Holla if there's folks/comms you think I should friend here.
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textualdeviance: (XKCD Complicated)
Just had a moment of shaking my head sadly at something Elijah (yes, that one) retweeted. And in the middle of responding to him about it, I kinda lit on a little epiphany. Mostly about politics, but it can apply to other things, too. In a nutshell: when you're young and have a crapload of energy, a year seems like forever. And when you're righteously indignated by something, you tend to spend every ounce of that energy trying to correct it RIGHT NOW, DAMMIT.

But then--and this is the sad/frustrating part--eventually it becomes clear that revolutions don't usually create results, and definitely not overnight. You look at all the energy you spent trying to fix things, and look at how little seemed to have been changed in (what seems to you like) a very long time, and you get dejected. And then apathetic.

In the worst cases, people then decide that if all their effort was for (seemingly) naught, then there's no point in expending any effort at all. They end up like those sad, bitter people who sit in front of their TVs and bitch about poor sports refereeing, and never bother to vote because they think it's a waste of time.

In the REALLY worst cases, people end up as nihilists, and start merrily destroying everyone else's lives just because their own didn't come with sparkles and porn stars by the time they were 25. If they didn't get what they "deserved" and "worked for", then dammit, no one else should get anything, either. Gnarrh!

The problem with this, of course, is that it's not just sad to see people wasting a perfectly good life being bitter and hateful, but the ripple effect of their go-eat-worms tantrums actually makes it worse for everyone else, and even harder for the rest of us to work within existing structures to create lasting, sustainable change that benefits everyone.

There's always a moment of awakening when you're young. When you're old enough to get your family blinders off and see the world for what it really is, but young enough to still feel relatively powerless to create change, there's a serious shock to the system. Depending on where you are at the time and what personal injustices you've suffered, the next step is usually going completely apeshit on whatever group or system you've decided is ultimately repsonsible.

What influences you get around this time can shape your politics for years to come. Read Ayn Rand? You're going to assume that you're one of the Special People who are being beaten down by the drooling masses, and either go full-on misanthrope, doing your best to make everyone else's life miserable, or drop out of the system, thinking that, as you're so incredibly special, your absence will undoubtedly make a statement. (Hint: you're not, and it doesn't.) If you're poor, the overall political landscape where you're at will lead you to either blame government or blame capitalism. (Rarely, some folks learn to blame both, and even more rarely, a few very bright people figure out that the real problem is the marriage of capitalism and government, which should be separated as cleanly as church and state.) If you're in a marginalized group, you can easily end up angry at and suspicious of anyone who even remotely resembles those who have oppressed your people, and end up isolating yourself.

Whatever your particular quirk, though, personal injustice + charismatic cult leader = rageflail. And, when the rageflail has spent itself, and one sees so little change, the disillusionment sets in. Next thing you know, midlife crisis, substance abuse, your kids think you're messed up, blah blah.

The moral of this story is probably something along the lines of tortoise and hare, but I don't necessarily agree that's the only way to create lasting change. Personally, I've found it most effective to do life in a series of hardcore sprints, with long rest periods in between. That may be my ADD talking, but hey, it works for me. Whichever method works best for an individual, though, the principle is the same: don't burn yourself out expecting to create large-scale change overnight. If you keep working at it in useful, practical ways, either slow and steady, or in bursts, or whatever, change WILL happen eventually. Eventually, you'll turn 40, look back at where you came from, and say, "Whoa. Holy shit. Nine years ago, having gay sex in Idaho could get you life in prison, and now same-sex couples are getting married in several states. Who knew?"

Keeping your spirits up when the inevitable setbacks occur is hard, definitely. But if you factor that in, and also factor in your own rest periods to rebuild your strength, eventually, you'll get there. Two steps forward and one step back is still a step forward. I truly believe that, outside of a few true sociopaths (many of whom have disproportionate political and/or economic power, dammit) most people really do want to see the world become a better place. Not just for them, but for everyone. Where the problem comes in is if, in our frustration at that not happening how and when we want it to, we either stop making any effort, or start throwing our anger and frustration into destruction.

Which, of course, will just end up disillusioning more energetic kids down the road.
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textualdeviance: (Default)
Naturally, when I should be in bed, I'm ruminating about stereotyping, marginalization, tokening, stock characters, archetypes, blah blah.

All because I've found it annoying that metacultural representations of geeks tend to go with shorthand based on Star Wars, Star Trek, vampires, zombies, superheroes and, if they're trying to aim in a slightly more hipster direction, Whedon (for UKers: Add Who.) And also because I'm feeling rather marginalized these days because I'm not really into any of those things, and therefore I'm apparently not really a geek, depending on whom one asks.

Big fandoms are big. They are not the only ones. Nor is everyone in them the same. )

We geeks are no longer few and dispersed. We can afford to ignore or even complain about things aimed at us that don't ring true. And we should. We are a force to be reckoned with, after all. Making us angry would be highly illogical, because we are subtle and quick to anger and use our braaains. Shiny? Then don't panic, allons-y and let's avada kedavra these lazy fraks.
textualdeviance: (Default)
LJ seems to be dying down in the last couple of years now that people are getting more into short-form stuff like FB and Twitter. Which probably means there aren't a lot of people actually reading this journal anymore, even if they still have it friended. Fair enough.

It also, however, means a lot of my own day-to-day babble is going elsewhere, too (both for format reasons and to try to reach a larger audience), which means most of what's going here is the long-form personal stuff that doesn't fit somewhere else.

Which probably means I'm boring the crap out of the people who actually are still reading it.

Ehm. Sorreh?

I spose it's kinda funny, though. Because I use different spaces for different things, exactly what picture one gets of me is going to depend a great deal on which of my online presences one sees the most:

If you only read here, you'd probably think I'm a navel-gazing whiner with a slight obsession with politics and social activism. If you only read my other journal, you's probably think I'm a mentally masturbating pervert. If you only read my Twitter feed, you'd probably think I'm a pop culture obsessive who never strays far from her TV or computer. If you only look at my Flickr account, you probably think I'm a globe-trotting travel fiend with a sideline in birding. If you only read my comments on political news articles, you'd probably think I'm a sign-wielding activist firebrand. And FSM only knows what you think if you're only reading the totally random crap I post on FB.

And if you never read anything I write online at all, you probably know next to nothing about who I am. ;)

Seriously, though....

It does kinda bug me that the more in-depth communication possible in this format seems to be a dying art. I "know" more people than I ever have before thanks to the shorter-form stuff, but my own personal monkeysphere can't accomodate deeper communication with everyone I contact, even if I want to (really, really want to, in some cases.) Trying to have a moment of human bonding in 140 characters with 213 people just isn't really possible.

The death of human contact predicted by technophobes when we first started toying with Usenet and IRC never really came true, because people were using it as a means of reaching people beyond their immediate neighborhoods, and thus making deeper connections than mere physical proximity can allow.

But I do wonder if we have started edging that direction, now. The means of in-depth, meaningful contact online still exist and always have, but people are using them a lot more rarely, now. Whether that's because we're pushing the limits of our monkeyspheres too hard or because we just don't give a shit anymore, I don't know, but it is kind of worrisome. Technology itself is not a barrier to human bonding, and can in fact be a facilitator for it. But only if we're actually using it for that purpose. If we're moving toward seeing other people online as just NPCs in some giant MMO, we're losing out.
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Aug. 8th, 2010 07:45 am

Yeesh

textualdeviance: (skwirls)
Just realized that about 75% of my posts here in the past few months have been verbose bellyaching and navel-gazing.

Ehm...

Granted, this is basically the only place I do that sort of venting/dumping, and doing it in writing like this is how I keep those sorts of issues from eating me alive, but dang.... Y'all must be thinking I'm a whiny, self-absorbed mess. ;)

I've always bellyached here a lot, but I think it's been overwhelming of late because most of my non-bellyaching stuff is in other spaces: Twitter, FB, [livejournal.com profile] fanbitch, etc. I don't really do a lot of the ongoing-life-update stuff I used to here, because I have other resources for that sort of short-form updating.

Wonder if I should make a separate journal just for the Dear Diary stuff, though. I use this account for most of my LJ-land interaction (and this is the account I use for flist reading), so most folks who find me here will find this account first.

Or I could just do those posts only on my personal filter, like I should be in the first place, so I don't keep spamming everyone who has me friended with my existential-crisis-of-the-day. ;)
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