The problem with social media is that people you know in real life start following you on your accounts on various websites. Pinterest, tumblr, twitter, facebook, youtube, deviantart... the list goes on.
Although, fun at first (oh wow, my real life friend is on here too, this is sooo cool we can do art things together!), it really stifled my creativity. With every person that started to follow me, it was like an increasing weight on me to perform. Recently lots of people I know have started following me on Pinterest, and every time someone does I just inwardly groan and cringe. I just hate the feeling like I'm being watched. I suffer with it daily. "Should I say this? Because such and such will see it. They'll think I'm weird." I rarely say what I want to say because I have a terrible fear of being rejected. So, whereas I used to be myself online, now I'm constantly hiding myself. I rarely feel free to just be me.
At times I'm tempted to start new accounts, fresh, so nobody I know will find me so I can be me again, but that sort of thing is difficult to keep secret. And that would be cowardly.
People I know in real life in the past made serious pokes at me for drawing picture after picture of cats. It was stupid to them, and it made me feel stupid. I became this girl who was obsessed with cats to them and the butt end of a lot of mean jokes. Crazy cat lady etc. What is wrong with her? Its a childrens book series. Aren't you a bit old for it? Oh you're that girl who draws nothing but cats! So, do you like, have *snicker* 14 cats? I don't get it, its just cats, surely you have better things to do. And so I eventually gave up. It wasn't worth the teasing.
I don't know. You're told that you shouldn't care what people think, but I do. The things people say to me stick and I replay them over and over in my head for sometimes years at a time. Maybe I'm too sensitive, but equally some people say some really hurtful things that have lasting consequences.
The feeling watched and judged for doing something you enjoyed really put me off. And for a long time, I didn't draw any art and became really depressed. I felt like I wasn't allowed to create anything that I actually wanted to create, because what I wanted to draw was stupid. I obviously was wrong to enjoy it because it was childish thing and I was an adult. For a while I felt like I never wanted to create anything again. I'd lost all my inspiration, nothing excited me to create. All my joy just was sucked out of me.
Its taken me a long long time to get to the stage where I want to make anything again.
But I've come to realise that I shouldn't feel ashamed anymore. Since joining tumblr earlier this year and seeing the sheer amount of people obsessing over certain fandoms, I don't feel so stupid anymore for loving something a bit different. After meeting my new boyfriend, he's 33 and he has the most wonderful geeky friends many of whom play pokemon. Seriously, his pokemon collection is incredible. I've never met another adult (who wasn't in my university animation course- they're all just awesome anyway, but I don't take them to be an average slice of population for their interests/hobbies) who liked pokemon -another thing I felt guilty about still loving- and still played the games as they came out.
I stumbled across this thing a few months ago. Wil Wheaton said the most beautiful thing in a speech he made to a newborn baby girl about what it is to be a nerd, recorded at a convention. This is the speech, its really good, go watch it. It brought tears to my eyes at the time because it just reassured me so much that it was okay to be me.
"So, there’s going to be a thing in your life that you love. I don’t know what that’s going to be … and it doesn’t matter what it is. The way you love that, and the way that you find other people who love it the way you do is what makes you a nerd. The defining characteristic of [being a nerd] is that we love things. Some of us love Firefly and some of us love Game of Thrones, or Star Trek, or Star Wars, or anime, or games, or fantasy, or science fiction. Some of us love completely different things. But we all love those things SO much that we travel for thousands of miles … we come from all over the world, so that we can be around people who love the things the way that we love them.
That’s why being a nerd is awesome. And don’t let anyone tell you that that thing that you love is a thing that you can’t love. Don’t anyone ever tell you that you can’t love that, that’s for boys … you find the things that you love, and you love them the most that you can."
Anyone who has the time of day to make a fool of someone for doing what they love can really go #### themselves. Its bullying. Pure and simple. And likewise, if I ever made anyone feel that way about anything (and I know I have and I feel terrible about it), I'm truly sorry. I wish I'd seen that speech years ago.
So. I'm going to promise myself something. I'm not going to let other people make me into feel guilty to do what makes me happy again.
So when I'm next home, I'm going to gather together my old books and regeek out on the things I love. . And through writing this out, I hope if anyone else has been struggling with something similar, you feel better too.
a recovering people pleaser
Now I'm going to be brave and post this before I get scared and delete it all. GAAAH POST!! CLICK!!
with love ♥