Sunday 11 September 2016

Nerd Church - Behold My Selfish Kindness

This week, my dearest nerdlets, has been an... interesting... one in the online bookish community.

The centre of the interesting-ness is a video by a vlogger/booktuber who feels the need to rant for 20+ minutes about diversity being b*llsh**.

Some myths clearly still need to be dispelled. There is still so much ignorance around this topic.

There's also a lot of disagreement over how strongly people should speak/type/tweet/whatever when they have issues with someone.

I personally usually like to take the tack which focuses on the positives - supporting the good, while reasonably explaining why the bad is bad.

I know a lot of people take a more antagonistic approach, but this is the one which works for me.

Part of why I try so damned hard to keep to the positive - even when dealing with people who, in no uncertain terms, are bigots - is because I've had to learn to be selfish.

People often say that mental illness makes you selfish. In some ways that's true. But it's because you have to be.

You have to learn self-care. You have to learn to somehow put yourself before others. You have to learn that your opinions matter. Because you're never going to be able to help others unless you take care of yourself.

Part of why I don't swear and act aggressively to people who probably deserve it is because I am anxious about offending people. Yes, even people who deserve it.

I am terrified of saying something offensive to anyone.

It's part of the anxiety side of my illness - my hands start to shake and I can't breathe.

If you've never had an anxiety flare-up and/or a panic attack - imagine dying in slow motion while your body and brain are screaming at you to f**king run.

Of course, the depression side also chimes in: 'how dare you say something horrible? Yes, this person is the scum of the earth - but you're worse. You're nothing.'

I can't let either of those sides get too firm a hold of me again. I can't go back to the times where I hoped that I would die in my sleep.

This is the same reason I often won't get involved at all in heated online discussions. I'm sorry. I would love to help you. I have to be selfish. I'm finally in somewhat of a recovery period, and I can't jeopardise that.

But there are things I can do to help - I will promote the positives of diversity, I will support diverse books and diverse authors.

And I will kill trolls with kindness where possible - I like to refer to this as 'troll-hunting' ...turns out trolls get confused when you remain pleasant and logical. (They also fear the smiley face - little tip!)

I can't abide adding to the bad feeling and hatred in this world - there's enough of it without me.

No matter how horrible a person is, I can't hate them.  I hate what they stand for, but not them. They have been damaged by the hatred of the world. I pity them.

When you accuse people of cowardice or hypocrisy for not engaging in the Twitter melee, please spare a thought for the people like me, for those who have struggled and learned the hard way to put themselves first. And for those who just can't stand any more hatred in this world.

Please understand that hatred and anger can only go so far - even when justified. You need love, and pity.

Feel free to disagree with me, I'll still love you :)

Nerd Church is a weekly post where I try to make the world make sense. It doesn't seem to be going that well, but I'll keep trying!

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  1. I completely agree! I don't always participate in the drama on Twitter even if I really want to because I'm petrified of offending someone. It's only with this video where I was so outraged that I actually started talking about it.

    1. I'll often talk about things I don't agree with - but I can't take the antagonism and aggressive attitude that seems to be prevalent on the internet. So I take the decision to stay calm, logical, and friendly, even when putting someone right on heated topics :)

  2. There are two kinds of selfish - the good kind and the bad kind. I think your kind is definitely the good kind and you can go right ahead and be it <3 Because you're right, self care is important!

    1. Thank you! :) <3 I figure it's not the worst kind of selfish there is, and sometimes you just have to look at things and think, 'Is this going to harm me?' Sometimes you need to take a step back - like I said, you can't help anyone if you're not OK.

  3. For the same reasons as you, I try to avoid conflict. But that doesn't stop me from angrily typing out a response, full of expletives and 'how dare you' and holier than thou phrases. Then I realise what I'm doing and delete it before publishing, hands shaking and heart pounding. However, if it's something I truly feel passionate about and is one of my strongest opinions (such as romanticized abusive relationships in YA) I will speak up. But I'll be sure to censor myself a little beforehand, if only to save myself from the wrath of others.

    1. I've got nothing against expressing opinions - far from it! But I always try to stay calm and logical - it's less damaging to me, and leaves me with more control of the situation :)

    2. While I can stay logical I can't always stay calm - my anger is so volatile and relishes in online fights, even if the rest of me doesn't. Not what you need when you're mostly anxious!! You just have to do what's right for you, and sometimes not engaging is what's best.


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