Getting Over My Fear of the Internet Shut-Up

Mel at Stirrup Queens had a great post on what she calls the “Internet Shut-Up,” a comment on a post, status update or Tweet whose sole purpose is to tell you that you have no right to feel the way you are feeling and please stop writing about it and wonders how those comments contribute to how we express ourselves.

I’ve never received an Internet Shut-Up though I have sort of received a gentle  Twitter “be quiet” and a Facebook “I see your status update and raise you mine b/c my life is harder.”   Mel’s post really resonated with me because I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my blogging identity – maybe my social media identity in general.   I haven’t gotten to the point of needing to worry about receiving an actual Internet Shut-Up, but I’m afraid of a passive Internet Shut-Up in that no one wants to know what I have to say or think period.

I love blogging even though I haven’t been very consistent with it.  I’ve always been a diarist in some way or shape and needed to write to clear my brain and figure out things. My life the last 5 years has been pretty hectic thanks to grad school, working full time, infertility diagnosis and treatment, new parenthood and now I feel like I have a tiny bit of free time since I have graduated (though I’m still waiting on my diploma, UNC!) and now that Daniel is older.

So now I’m coming out of a cave and looking around and wondering where I go and who I am and what I write about.  I am infertile.  I had a child via surrogacy.  I still feel very connected to the IF community and feel like I belong (despite having a child, I am still very much infertile), but that’s not all I am.    I am a mommy, but when I try to read other mom bloggers, I don’t feel like I fit in. I feel like a fraud despite being a mother too.  I follow a lot of NC bloggers but in comparison to what they are doing, I feel like such a newbie.  I  used to have a book blog, but I still don’t have much time to read.

I think what I’m trying to say is that I’m afraid of the Internet Shut-Up.  I’m afraid.  I worry about whether I’m posting too much on surrogacy or boring posts about my son that are of no interest to anyone but our family.  I worry about the need to think and write something profound; as a result, I seem to be constantly editing myself.

I think part of my self-censoring is that when I started blogging in 2007, I was blogging under a pseudonym b/c I was blogging about our infertility, and my blog was a place for me to rant and say all the dark, bitter thoughts I had.  I had no desire to be public, and I think as a rule, IF bloggers tend to use more pseudonyms or nom de plumes because when your body or your partner’s body is broken, that isn’t something you necessarily want your coworkers to know about from your blog.  Things have changed in the blogosphere since 2007, and I’m struggling with putting back together all those pieces of myself that I sliced off before. 

On the other hand, I’ve always worried about what others thought.  Too much most likely.  It’s gotten better as I’ve gotten older, but that anxiety likely carries over to my social media interactions.

I don’t want to edit myself.  This is my blog, my space.  I need to stop fearing the Internet Shut-Up and post what I want whether I have 1 reader or thousands.  My thoughts and feelings are valid, and I have every right to express them.  If you don’t like what I say, then I guess it’s up to you whether you want to continue reading or move on. 

And that’s ok. Really.

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10 comments

  1. SUCH a good post. I love the points you make about the passive shut-up, which is the Internet Ignore. And how does that shape our words, how we express ourselves? Does it seep into the face-to-face world too?

    1. Thank you for coming by! I’ve been thinking about whether it seeps into the face-to-face world, and in some ways I think it does. I find it far easier to write than to speak, and I think it would make me even less eloquent face-to-face.

  2. Really well written post! I really connected to what you wrote. Even though I am parenting after infertility, I still feel disconnected from all worlds: IF, non-IF, parents, child free – and its easy to loose your voice when you don’t know where you fit.
    Here from the Roundup.

  3. I’m here from Mel’s Roundup.
    I do a lot of self censoring and trying to get a ‘just perfect (for me)’ blog post. I think part of it comes from reading so many blogs where I think the writers are amazing with their words and I want to emulate them and knowing that I’m just not like them. *grin* I also worry about boring people with my rambling posts, but at the same time I am writing for me (and hoping others will read it).
    In any case, thank you for your post. I understand and feel it too.

  4. Here’s the thing – I think it never works if you try to write solely to please an audience. Of course, you should consider your audience. Of course, if you wax on and on about the new tshirt you bought, you might find that no one cares. But I think if you write from the heart about something that is important to you, the readers will find you. Because sincerity and believability are very important attributes in writing.

    The internet ignore is not a small thing. Feedback is important. But so is practice. So keep writing – don’t let perceived lack of response keep you from doing it.

    Here from the Roundup…

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