Warning: This one is going to be long. It's kind of a rant because it takes a rant for me to arrive at what I'm trying to say. You'll feel like smashing your head against your screen at times while screaming at me to "GET TO THE POINT ALREADY YOU CRAZY WOMAAN!" but please, PLEASE try to stick around till the end.
Now, to rant.
I wish I knew how people perceive me when they read my blog, or meet me in person. But for the most part, I think it won't come as a shock when I say that I'm not the friendliest, most out-going person in the room. In any room. It's very relative and completely depends on the kind of people I am with because I can either get really comfortable, friendly and talkative really fast, or I can completely withdraw into my shell and make "HAAAAAGH-HAAAAAAAIGH" noises when you attempt to talk to me. Sometimes I just refuse to socialise even when I'm surrounded by people who are walking energy packs. You know the kind. They're always in high spirits, talking to everyone in the room, being confident and loud and happy and bubbly and oh-my-god-stop-me-I-could-do-this-all-day. Yeah, I end up in the same room as those people very rarely but when I do, my resting bitch-face will tell you that I'm pissed off and that is because I am most likely pissed off. My friend Punchy was telling me the other day that some of her friends at her University told her that after reading my blog, they felt like they wanted to meet me in person. I thought that was a brilliant idea and told her that the next time I go to London, I would LOVE to meet them all. To which she said, "Really? That's so not you. You don't do so well when you meet new people". That got me thinking because when a true friend bitch-slaps you with an honest remark, you shut up and think about it yourself. And that's what made me realize that I don't have a problem with walking energy packs. I don't have a problem with people in general. It's not their fault at all because they're all normal, regular people. The problem lies with me. I know I sound like I'm breaking up with all of humanity in the lamest way possible by saying things like. "It's not you, it's me." but that's my only explanation for this kind of behaviour.
For the longest time (read seven years), the same applied to my social media interactions as well. I was that crazy person who created a list of people on Facebook who could see me online because I did not want to chat with random people. There was a time on Facebook when people actually tried to talk to each other and used the platform for what it was meant to do - connect people from all over. So old acquaintances and classmates were always trying to reconnect. I didn't want that, and my explanation for not wanting that is "It's not you, it's me". That will have to do for now. So I created "the list" and only the people on my list could see me online. Those were the handful of people I regularly kept in touch with and talked to. Or to be more honest, those were the people I didn't mind talking to every single time I logged into my Facebook account.
Ever since we started dating, The Husband has been advising me against the list because let's face it, I started talking to him on a very sad day when I was so fed up with everything that I opened up my chat to everyone on my friends list. I thought that talking to someone I hadn't even thought of in years would distract me from my foul mood. Luckily for me, he was the one who approached me that day to strike up a conversation. I remember how he asked me whether I'd be attending a school reunion that he was helping to organise and fortunately for us, I was pissed enough to engage in a conversation with "that guy from school who was always good at the computer shit". 4 years later, we got married. But despite the amazing turn my life took because of one day of disabling "the list", I simply could not come to a point where I didn't need it. In fact, I still have the list enabled on my profile as we speak.
One might wonder what someone with such an aversion to interpersonal-interaction is doing writing a blog. I do too, sometimes. But the point of the blog primarily was to write. It's all about the writing which is what I LOVE doing. Someone asked me recently what I did in my free time and I said, "I write for my blog".
"But that is your job!"
"Only after my hobby miraculously got turned into a job."
I have been lucky. Incredibly so, and I cannot begin to thank all the little things that added up to make this a reality for me. But ever since this hobby started to grow in ways that I never anticipated, I have had to do something that I never thought I would do. I have had to talk and interact with my readers, many of whom were complete strangers to me. And when that happened, I just couldn't believe how much fun it was. Because I was already replying to every single comment and e-mail I received and that part was easy. I did it automatically because a) I felt grateful for the fact that someone took the time to read something I wrote and b) responding to their kindness was the least I could do to show how grateful I was. Like I said, that part was easy and came very naturally to me. The part that made me crap my pants however, was the live chatting that I've had to do with some of you who sent me direct messages on Facebook and Instagram. I don't know how to explain this, but the fact that someone could "see" whether or not I had opened a message, made me very nervous. I didn't know if I could ignore a message for the time being and respond later. I didn't know if I'd offend someone by taking my own sweet time to respond. I didn't know what I could possibly say to someone as means of conversation. Because I was JUST not used to conversation. I'd never done the casual chat thing with complete strangers (or even acquaintances) before. I just didn't know how to deal with it. But I took the leap and made the decision to talk to every single person who sent me a message. I could be in the middle of typing out a post (or cooking or cleaning or having dinner or in extreme cases, sleeping), but the minute I got a notification that someone was messaging me, I'd stop everything else to give my everything to that conversation. There have been times when people had no idea who I was, and sent messages because they saw my profile picture and "liked what I (they) saw". There have been times when people asked, "Do you speak (insert foreign language)" in said foreign language. One time, someone thought my name was "Nalson" and that I was 22 years old. That dude also wanted to marry me and all his messages were in all-caps. "NALSON REPLY PLEASE!". Fun times.
But the times I hold very close to my heart are those when I managed to make some incredible friends along the way. The times when I talked to some of you for hours! I wish I had that kind of free time now, but I will always cherish those conversations. Hell, with the confidence I gained by talking to some of you who were complete strangers to me, I ended up on a public chat platform where I talked to a random Canadian boy who told me all about Canadian bagels. I guess what I'm trying to say is THANK YOU. To each and every one of you who took the time to comment on my posts or to send me an e-mail or a personal message to let me know that you were reading my blog, or that you liked a particular story, or that you wanted to share your own personal experiences with me. You have been so very kind. Thank you for pulling me out of my shell. Thank you for giving me something I never thought I could have. Thank you for making me a part of your life as I try to share mine with you.
And you know what? I think it's time to disable "the list" now. And that's a HUGE step for me. But you made it happen, and I want to thank you for bringing me this far and for helping me to start my Monday morning on such a positive note. I hope you have a happy week ahead :)