Chapter 26: Building Brave Spaces
I'm not entitled to anything, in fact, I genuinely am surprised when I receive any engagement or interaction. I didn't grow up with a beautiful backstory, in fact, I grew up surviving. It puts an edge on your socializing without you even noticing. I started changing the way I interact with people because between 2015-2017 I experienced the worst amount of isolation through a hard time. I realized that it did matter, that being alone during difficult periods is emotionally harmful, and can scar you in unseen ways.
With that said online to in person, transitions can be startling. While I am my authentic self, some things that don't translate across social media are those emotional scars that make me tense or seem unapproachable. There is for some reason, a projected confidence that I feel I don't actually have. A perception that I cannot break, despite the vulnerability of my writing. Anyway, all of this is to say being my friend can take patience, and I appreciate those who can give me a little bit of that. I'm often juggling a lot of things that aren't on social media that can make me seem a bit sour. A bad day doesn't take away the fact that I care, that im passionate about advocacy, and offer a listening ear when in need. I've been writing a lot on community because I know how important that is, and feeling so isolated from many of them can take its toll. I go back and forth on believing im not good enough, nor worth the time of anyone frequently. Mentally I like to think I’m a tank, but im more of fire mage just waiting to burn out. It takes patience to form friendships with me and I appreciate those who understand that about me and respect that I am so heavily invested in my writing that I need a nudge to just be myself and socialize. - Written 10/04/2018
I wrote this, posted it on facebook, and thought what about me felt it necessary to explain the need for patience in being my friend. Part of it felt like an apology, while another part felt like me trying to express a side of me that I felt people miss in my presence on social media. I like to think I'm past the point of explaining myself to the masses, and that there is a sense of decency to how we interact with one another and understand each other. Incorrect to assume, or arrogant of me to presume? Either way something about how we handle social media presence and our perpetuating need to place perception at the forefront bothers me. I wrote passionately about the importance of social media breaks and facebooks preference in silencing minorities. What I haven't written about is the pressure of maintaining a presence on social media.
There is something to be desired about maintaining an active self over social media. Most of my presence is for marketing my writing, my style, and my lifestyle of being a magical girl. I also use social media to throw some positivity, activism, and art into the feeds of those who are interested in my content. Building a platform takes work, and it's easy to get swept up in producing the best content you can. Often I find myself frustrated cause it feels like if the content I produce is less than happy it's not worth sharing. I realized I started to say that its okay to emote. It's okay to be emotional and to experience things loudly. It's okay to need a space to just be.
In the past episode of Ambiguous Anthology, we converse about the difference between a "Safe Space" and "Brave Space". I highly recommend listening to it to get a better grasp of the difference. I realized that I haven't been creating safe spaces online, instead, I'm creating brave spaces. A space to emote and be safe during that expression. I am weary of censoring my feelings, my expression, my grief in order for someone who does not understand my circumstances to feel better while I feel worse. In general, I quit, I took my pink energy and left social circles and online communities that censored emotional expression. Why? Cause its a lot of bull, if a community promising safety and a safe space refuses the person who need to emote for the sake of whoever. Emotions do not need to be aesthetically pleasing or beautiful. Let them be raw, and exist at the moment you experience them. It is exhausting to censor how I feel in spaces that promised a safety to just exist. This is why I am so adamant about community, mental health, and emotional expression. It makes a difference if your community is accepting of emotions that don't range in positivity, so until then its okay to create your own Brave Space. It takes courage to emote. It takes courage to share. I will never turn away from people sharing their feelings or brush them aside. I hope that you reader, will keep that idea in mind as you navigate your community and social spaces.
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