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09 March 2005 @ 11:07 am
some personal stuff I'm posting publically...  
I made a comment on someone's LJ, but it's a locked post, and after I wrote it, I decided to post here with some edits.

I got defriended about a year ago by someone I knew for a long time in fandom, because she didn't like reading about my alcoholic behaviors on LJ. I paraphrase slightly. She didn't tell me why until I wrote and asked her, and then she was offended that I'd asked. She didn't so much state her concern for me, as she "didn't want to lose respect for me" (somehow I think she meant "further respect for me") by exposing herself to my thoughts, etc. Ironically when I reviewed my posts for the month prior, they were pretty much all on fannish topics, with--I recall--nothing about drinking or related issues.

I've never really fully let go of my anger, even though it's her issue, not mine. It affected me: I dropped off of LJ for a bit. I questioned my assumptions, in a general way, of the goodwill and respect of people I'd known in fandom for years--*did* they like and respect me, or did they share these feelings about me? I filtered out tons of people from LJ that I liked reading simply because they often mentioned her name--I still do. I didn't go to Escapade these past two years, mostly for money reasons, but the risk of brushing up against her was also in the back of my mind. I also stopped posting about my drinking.

And I'm not sure that last one is entirely beneficial, because I'd heard from so many other people that it was helpful to read about my experiences, to find someone else talking about issues (substance abuse, depression) that they shared in some degree. So I'm still wondering if I should return to a greater level of disclosure, of publishing my thoughts. Whenever I contemplate the subject I think about the bravery of a writer like Anne Lamott, who puts it all out there and just blows me away with her honest humanity. I think on the one hand there's nothing wrong with wanting to be like her, as a writer and a person, but on the other hand, I ask myself: do I want to put it all out there on the Internet, not knowing who's reading it? I don't know.

There were some benefits to this--I think the experience factored into my decision to take a leave of absence from work, which was a good experience, and to begin therapy, and to work out again, this time with a trainer. I mean, these were definitely decisions with a wider basis of issues driving my actions, but there was this shadow lurking in the background that made me question things. Still. Anger is there too. I wish I could let go of it.

My thoughts for the day.

ETA: I don't really need people to comment about this other person's actions or issues. It's really "all about me" here. (It's possibly too often all about me, but that's another issue entirely.) This was just stuff I finally needed to get out, I guess, after not talking about it for so long.
LadyCatladycat777 on March 9th, 2005 07:18 pm (UTC)
*hugs you tightly*

So I'm still wondering if I should return to a greater level of disclosure, of publishing my thoughts.

You can do that on a limited basis, you know. Filters can be your friend until you're more comfortable with letting others in, again. But mostly, I'm sorry that someone hurt you that badly, over something that seems ... well, weird to me. And I'm sure it's more complicated, of course, but ...

*hugs you more*
E. Stardustemstardust on March 9th, 2005 07:22 pm (UTC)
Speaking for myself, as someone who has read your journal and was participating in your Yahoo group before it died, I do/did find it helpful to read about your experiences. On the other hand, I censor myself on those topics on LJ even though there are probably 2 people who read my journal, so I completely understand your reluctance to put the highly personal stuff out there.
Roquelaureroquelaure on March 9th, 2005 07:26 pm (UTC)
Wow. What a horrible thing for a friend to say to you. Well, I'm sure my sentiments on the matter will be echoed in comments to this post, but for the record: I think you should talk about what you like on your LJ, especially if you find it beneficial to your health or headspace.

Further, I have never lost one whit of respect for you due to you speaking about your trouble with drinking. If anything, my respect has been increased out of admiration for your bravery. Inasmuch as these things can be discerned online, I think you're a lovely person. Whatever your struggles with alcohol were/are, they don't affect my general opinion in the slightest.
kassrachel on March 9th, 2005 07:27 pm (UTC)
For what it's worth, I like reading what you have to say. I like getting a sense of my friends as whole people. I get why some of my friends only want to post fannish things on lj; disclosure is complicated, internet disclosure doubly so. But it always pleases me when some of my fannish friends want to share some of their inner monologues, the ins and outs of their daily lives, as well as their episode musings or fanfiction snippets. So I like reading whatever you have to say.

Reading about your struggles with alcohol didn't make me respect you less; on the contrary.

For my part, I seem to be in a space where I post fannish stuff publicly, and when I post about my family or my work I flock the posts, mostly because I fear the power of google. I guess that's a compromise you could consider. But I hope you won't allow these lingering frustrations or your continuing anger to shadow your interactions with fandom too darkly. I say, post what you want to post. I'll read it with interest, because I like you, and I find you interesting. Porny witterings, yes, but your life is interesting to me, too.
laurashapiro on March 9th, 2005 07:27 pm (UTC)
What a rotten thing to go through. ):

My feeling is, if someone drops me because they can't, for whatever reason, deal with what I'm posting? That has nothing whatever to do with me. That's their issue, not mine.

Sounds like that's true in spades for this woman.

If you feel like posting about drinking again, if you think it would be good for you, if you think there are people who would be helped by it -- then by god post about drinking, and let the squicked take care of themselves.

This message paid for in part by the It's Your Goddamned Journal Committee.
Destinadestina on March 9th, 2005 07:35 pm (UTC)
Ditto to everything Laura said. And a *hug* for good measure.
(no subject) - tazlet on March 10th, 2005 01:46 am (UTC) (Expand)
laurashapiro on March 9th, 2005 07:29 pm (UTC)
I should add:
Like Kass, reading about your challenges and the way you meet them only makes me respect you *more*. I'll be here for the long haul, whatever you want to talk about. Because I love you, and you're interesting.
Plin: dawn by monanotlisasuperplin on March 9th, 2005 07:36 pm (UTC)
I agree with others that the best part of LJ and other online journals, for me, is getting a sense of the entire person behind the words. I find it hard to understand someone who would lose respect for another because of talk of substance abuse, or depression, or sexual orientation, or what have you, but I guess there's no accounting for taste.

I do understand the feeling of vulnerability that comes with posting about sensitive issues, though. In the seven-odd years I've kept an online journal in some form or other, I've tried a variety of solutions. Unfortunately, I self-censor a lot these days, mainly because I don't want to deal with negative reactions to personal matters; I've had to defend some of my choices enough already, and I don't care to wage an ongoing battle. When I do post about more personal topics, I use (too many) filters: sometimes to protect people from subjects I think they may find dull, but also to limit the range of those who'll know a little more about me. The main reason I have gradually tapered off posting to my other sites and done so more on LJ is this ability to control readership to a pretty significant degree.

I think you need to do whatever you feel most comfortable with, but if you want to write about drinking or depression I think you should definitely do so, with filters if necessary. It's helpful to you, if writing helps you clarify your thoughts and feelings, helpful to those who may be experiencing similar situations, and interesting to those who want to get to know you better. Try not to let a closed-minded person cut you off from a useful outlet.
Bone: HP Comfortthisisbone on March 9th, 2005 07:37 pm (UTC)
It's your space; use it as you see fit. If others don't want to read what you write, there are a number of options available to them.

One of the true joys of LJ for me (who came to it kicking and screaming) is learning more about my fannish friends as people, human beings with good days, bad days, and everything in between. To me, it adds a body to the head. Fannish intersections only take me so far, then it's all about finding people with whom I can converse, commiserate, confide...it's social.

Filter or Flock, dip your toes back in or jump with both feet, just feel confident that there are people out here who listen to you, wait expectantly for your next dreamscape, and care about you, the person, not just the stories you write.

And now I'm shutting up.
Cesperanzacesperanza on March 9th, 2005 07:37 pm (UTC)
The thing is, Livejournal seems to be structured more or less to a simply positive response--right on! you go, girl! it's gonna be okay!--and alcohol and depression and genuine life issues are complex, nuanced things where, you know, it's not always a matter of "Right on!" I feel like I'm walking on glass even making this post, because I don't want to have this fucking conversation in public, but I'm doing it rather than emailing you to make the point, since it's public posts that are the subject of discussion here. And see, what it feels like to me is that affirmation is so much easier than dissent in this venue, that posting publicly feels like a search for affirmation rather than dissent, and then I feel manipulated because only one kind of response is possible: "Yeah, right on!" But is there any way to love you that's not on that model? And is that possible in public? And do friends have real, honest conversations about these things in the full view of any old wanker who surfs by? I don't think I could, and seriously, I love you more than salt, whether or not you know it.
Anna S.eliade on March 9th, 2005 08:46 pm (UTC)
The thing is, Livejournal seems to be structured more or less to a simply positive response--right on! you go, girl! it's gonna be okay!--

Yeah. I'm really ambivalent about that. When I see someone's post that's negative and everyone chimes in, it makes me uncomfortable. When people are affirming about something though, that's the flip side. This post wasn't to invite any supportive bashing, btw, not that you suggested that. I actually was focused entirely on the me, me, me aspects as I was writing that, despite my lingering anger. I hope it didn't come off otherwise.

But is there any way to love you that's not on that model? And is that possible in public? And do friends have real, honest conversations about these things in the full view of any old wanker who surfs by?

Good questions. I'm honestly not sure if I want to wrangle on LJ about my more personal issues--I have a therapist for that. (Thank god. *g* When I finally got her, I was like: now I have a venue for venting that *isn't* LJ and maybe that'll save me from some excesses of navel-gazing.) Does that make sense? I like having LJ as a comfort zone, and I like affirmations not so much as an ego thing as an emotion thing, and most people's positive comments tend to be thoughtful and not knee-jerk-miniony. You know? But I get what you're saying.

and seriously, I love you more than salt, whether or not you know it.

You're sweet. I love you too, wench. I wish I could hang out in chat without it becoming an addictive, time-sucking, and stressing thing, which is pretty much why I stopped. :>P But I miss you like crazy.
(no subject) - laurashapiro on March 10th, 2005 06:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - cesperanza on March 10th, 2005 07:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - laurashapiro on March 10th, 2005 07:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
take to the sky: tattoo anklejezebelz on March 9th, 2005 07:40 pm (UTC)
One of the things I like about your journal is that it seems unfiltered, relatively. It seems like the inside of someone's head, and how neat is that? I'm still too paranoid to go public with most of my ramblings, but I love it when other writers do. People are always going to take issue with something. This is because people suck. But I suspect that the vast majority of us are encouraged by the fact that you write what you feel.
Herself_nycherself_nyc on March 9th, 2005 07:41 pm (UTC)
Filters, yeah.

I like it when you talk about your real stuff, positive or negative. I like the people I care about to be real when they want to be.
WesleysGirl: Xanderwesleysgirl on March 9th, 2005 08:07 pm (UTC)
Yup. What herself_nyc said.
The Prettiest. No really, I am.: mean girlssaucy_wench on March 9th, 2005 07:42 pm (UTC)
I understand about censoring yourself, and just not posting things that really do matter.

I had been to rehab twice before I was 16 (I'm 20 now) and I feel as though I need to write about it, and how difficult it was, and how happy I was that I'm drug free and have been since I was 16. But I feel like I can't write about it, I can't talk about my past with substance abuse because of my friends list. All of whom I trust with all my heart, but I feel like they'll judge me, think that I'm a terrible person and so on.

My main concern is that I'm a parent. And I get crazy when parents do drugs, and if I post about doing drugs before I had my son, would I look like a hipocrit? It's all very complicated.

I believe that it all comes down to peoples compulsion to be liked.
all work and no playhesychasm on March 9th, 2005 07:42 pm (UTC)
Everyone's said very smart things, but what it comes down to for me is this: everything you write is brilliant and visceral and more, more, MORE than desired on my friendslist. Even the difficult stuff. You know how to bring things home to people. And because of that, I couldn't lose any respect for you even if you were just posting your grocery list everyday.
Vonnie: Studiousvonniek on March 9th, 2005 07:45 pm (UTC)
I'd heard from so many other people that it was helpful to read about my experiences, to find someone else talking about issues (substance abuse, depression) that they shared in some degree.

I've seen similar types of posts shared in LJ, and by and large, they appear to be positive experiences both for the writers and the readers, whereby LJ Flist functions as a network of social support. I could sort of understand how some people may have discomfort with very personal issues--I had once taken off someone (of a very short acquaintance) off my reading list because I was just too uncomfortable reading the posts on her personal sexuality in explicit detail.

I think F-locking the more personal posts is generally a good idea (despite the whole friendlitto brouhala) even though it may feel limiting, since you really never know who would come across your LJ. If you think there may be people on you Flist who may not want to read such posts, one way to get around it is to set up a filter for those who would. At least, I've seen this done frequently, and it seems to work well for most of the journalers.

Ultimately though, when it comes down to it, it's your journal to use as you see fit. Personally, I'm always interested in what you have to say no matter which topic, even though our fannish interests have diverged.
Killa: dmembracekillabeez on March 9th, 2005 08:00 pm (UTC)
A number of people here have expressed my thoughts about this kind of stuff, especially Bone, who said it better than I could have. I'm surprised at your friend's choices there, but I think it probably says a lot more about her and the personal triggers/issues she has than about you and what you choose to write about -- which many people, me included, find stimulating and interesting and engaging.

I can sort of relate, because honestly, the whole "House" craze has actually made me feel uncomfortable and afraid of reading my f-list sometimes, because I have such strong issues with the medical system and doctors who abuse their power. That says absolutely nothing about the show or the people who like it -- and the bottom line is, that's what filters are there for, as far as I'm concerned.

Er, I'm wandering now. What I really want to say is that I've always found your writing to be valuable and inspiring to me, and I'm sorry that you felt so badly about what happened with your friend that it's affected your enjoyment of fandom and LJ. If it helps, the more I get to "know" you through LJ, the more I respect you, and that covers all topics. :-)