Take Back the Booksphere: How The Book Community is one of the Best on Earth

Posted February 4, 2015 by Lyn Kaye in Imaginative Discussions, Lyn / 11 Comments

Guess what happened at the start of the year? Drama. Guess what disrupted our lives and took over our conversations and our time? Drama. What happened last year? Drama drama drama.

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Book bloggers are getting some shade thrown in our direction due to some poor, immoral and illegal decisions made by others. When something new crops up, when another heated battle comes to a head, when another issue is taken out of context, the validity and reputation of bloggers and their websites are yet again shoved to the forefront of the argument.

Here is where I draw the line. I’m taking back my community, the place I love, and the place that made me who I am today.

Today, I am singing the praises and directly showing the world what the blogging community has done for me.

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Like a Boss.  I don’t often point out how I am a productive member of society. Overall, I fail my adulty responsibilities. However, prior to coming on board in the community, I failed even harder at acting like a mature individual. Some quick background information: I grew up in a small, religious-indoctrinated Texas town. I sadly believed that irrational arguments and subtle bullying was very acceptable to solve an argument.

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So the first few months on GR were not my best days. I was not the person Mr. Rogers believed I could be.

I lashed out at others, grew angry and confrontational over different opinions, and overall behaved in a way that was not good for myself or the community. Working closely with the YA world, I began to understand that we can have different and contrasting views and STILL LIKE ONE ANOTHER. This was the first time I have ever seen two people with alternate views transcend this and still hold respect for someone else’s opinion.

I’ve tried to go back and find as many threads as I could and apologize, and if I missed one, know that I am very sorry for how I acted at the start, and I now understand that it is okay if we don’t see eye to eye. I was way out of line.

 

My Personal Beliefs are Valid.  I had some issues growing up in my town. I never bought religion, but I tried to choke down the Kool-aid. As I grew up and started to work closer to the bigger cities, I slowly began to internally validate my feelings against organized religion. However, I was still too scared to say it out loud. As the receiver of bullying in school because I didn’t seem godly enough, I was still too afraid to let others know how I felt. This fear of rejection and harassment followed me into my 20s.

When I joined the community, I was shocked by the mix of religious and non-religious people, working side by side and respecting boundaries. More than that, I was surprised how people were not afraid to use the label atheist. I used agnostic for a while, but my transition was slow and painful. About a year ago, I was finally able to say it out loud, acknowledge who I was, and brush off the ignorance of others.

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This also occurred with feminism. I was point blank taught that the reason for troubled kids and inflation and other domestic and social issues stemmed ALL from feminism. For a community that did not value dainty or girly, it was still pounded into our heads that feminine equaled useless and evil. Sure, there were girly girls in our community, but you had to be popular and well-liked by peers and the church to even consider yourself acceptable to act like a girl.

My conversion to feminism was quicker than my religious standing. The YA community helped me understand that it is acceptable and downright necessary to keep fighting for equality.

 

No More Hate. Another side effect of God-fearing small town living – hate is like bread and water.  I was blinded to my own hateful ways and thinking. Bashing skinny pretty girls was justified. Slut shaming was just standard issue. Attacking others was just the norm for me.

Then I found all of you, slowly but surely, through the once-awesome Goodreads and various blogs. The people in the community, without attacking or shaming me, pointed out my own shortcomings and questioned my thinking. Why was it okay to bully other girls when their only fault is that they’re pretty? How is that right? How is shaming someone for the choices they make with their body any of your concern? It isn’t.

This thought process was so deeply ingrained that I ended up cutting out some cancerous thoughts and actions that were adopted at a younger age.

 

How to Fight the Fight. This one was one of the hardest lessons, ever. In the past, the way to win a fight was to be the loudest in an argument, or the most hurtful. I had to quickly alter this way of thinking. It was painful, but I appreciate all of you that called me out on this when I was brand new. It was some tough love, but I wouldn’t have ever matured emotionally if it wasn’t for your honesty and good intentions.

 

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I Read What I Want. Finally! I met others online who loved YA books that were no longer young, but just simply adults!  I’m finally able to freely read what I want to read! I can take my books out in public without feeling ashamed!  I can read the books I want to, and not abandon them due to shame or humiliation! Thank you!!

 

You’re Okay. Alright, this point is more of a work in progress – understanding that I am okay. I am sure if you follow me on Twitter, you have already witnessed some emotional meltdowns and self-doubt vomit on my page.

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I’m still learning that I should stop comparing myself to others, and stop trying to match my Twitter followers with my co-bloggers. I am not a number. I am not my number of followers, or the number of books I read, or the number of ARCs I get or the number of comments. I hope to completely move past this point one day. The community has already helped me see my own major crippling faults, and the people who surround me have pushed me to be a better Lyn.

 Final Thoughts

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I still have a long way to go. I still get self conscious about my own social insecurities. Yes, I still get upset over some things. Yes, sometimes it spills over into my real life, and I have to step away for a while. Yes, I haven’t been the best co-blogger over the last few months, but I am in a better place than I use to be.

So for those who just want to throw their hands up and walk away, know this: You are making a positive impact on others. It might seem like it isn’t worth it, or that the community is brimming with nastiness and petty bickering, but I hope that there is a chance to look through all of this and really see what you ALL are doing for others. You’re making a difference, a good one, for others who have never connected to others in any place in their lives.

On a happy note: I just adore all of you. Each of you has given me something, and I have met more genuine, wonderful people than in any other community. You have cared for me more than I thought anyone could, and I thank each of you for that.

lyn

11 responses to “Take Back the Booksphere: How The Book Community is one of the Best on Earth

  1. Great post! I’m new to the online bookish community, but it’s been a great experience so far! Everyone is so kind and helpful 🙂 I love finding other adults who love the same books I do – especially most of the people in my real life enjoy different genres like non-fiction (blegh!). I’m quickly learning that people can have very different experiences with books. I used to think a good book was a good book was a good book, ya know? But there’s so much more too it than that!!
    Jade @ Bedtime Bookworm recently posted…ARC Review: The Glass Arrow by Kristen SimmonsMy Profile

  2. Jenny

    Very well put. That’s why I love books. They bring us together. Sure there are those that just don’t get it and think everyone needs to like and hate the same books they do but mostly I like our little community.

  3. Awesome post! It’s a shame that there are still other people out there that are harassing bloggers just for giving out their own opinions on a book they’ve read. It’s great that there are posts like this that are encouraging people to stay in the blogging community despite the many negative feedback that keeps appearing in the community.
    Ronyell (a.k.a Rabbitearsblog) recently posted…The Sunday Post Meme (17)My Profile

  4. Oh Lyn. Having lived in Texas for 10 years I can relate to this in a big big big way. I learned that it was better to hold my tongue on any topic that was the least bit controversial: religion, politics, abortion, feminism, etc. If I voiced my true opinion, I would get a shitstorm thrown at me because the people there just did not understand how to have a calm, rational discussion about opposing viewpoints.

    It’s haunted me to this day. I still find it extremely hard to speak up when I disagree with others. But like you, blogging has helped me a bunch in that sense, because I’ve grown to see that my opinion is valid, and that a lot of people actually value my input.

    It’s important that we don’t lose sight of how the community has helped shape us into better people in these ways. *hugs*
    Debby (Snuggly Oranges) recently posted…2014 FavoritesMy Profile

  5. Lyn, this is a great post and I wholeheartedly agree with you. There is just far too much drama right now. It sometimes makes me ashamed to admit I’m a book blogger. I feel like due to all the drama our credibility and what we stand for has been drug through the mud. I wanted to be a book blogger not only to talk about the books I love but to give some unknown authors, who don’t have a big publishing company backing them up, a moment to shine and get their name out there. I applaud you for coming out with this post and talking about some things that may be difficult for you. I think all of us are a little soft spoken in the real world and find our blogs as an outlet to talk about the things we love and connect with others. I’m hoping one day the dust settles down and we can all coexist peacefully again because this is an amazing community when we are not arguing about trivial things.
    Kristin recently posted…Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie RutkoskiMy Profile

  6. Love this post!

    I think that without the blogging community, I would’ve ended up becoming an entirely different person. I joined blogging when I was rock bottom [which is sad because I was only like 12/13] I was feeling so bad for whatever reason and blogging kind of saved me. I met a whole bunch of amazing people who accepted me despie my [many] flaws and mistakes. I know I’ve done a lot of bad things, said a bunch of disrespectful/ignorant things that I now regret but the best part of the blogging community is that I know that they’ll always have my back to help me learn from my mistakes and no hold it against me.
    Nova @ Out of Time recently posted…Mandatory Rules On: Writing ReviewsMy Profile

  7. Aww what a great and honest post! I love being a part of this community and I never thought I’d meet so many people who I genuinely LIKED! I love that we all have the same passion for reading and books and fictional boyfriends! I love that we can agree to disagree on books (even if it’s hard sometimes lol!), I love that we stick together and don’t let the bad apples bring us down. I think everyone has some learning curves to go through at first, we’ve all made mistakes, we all get jealous in one way or another – stats, followers, someone else getting an ARC you wanted etc – I’m sure of it, but how we react and learn from them is the most important part. Ignoring the drama blahs, being a blogger and making all these blogging friends has rocked my life, and I’m happy you (all the bloggers on this blog, too) are a part of it! 🙂 Even if I’m not on Twitter to chat with you guys as much as I used to be (work and a 4yo keeping me busy) I still consider you some of my closest blogging friends! 🙂

    MUAH!!
    Giselle recently posted…Review: The Glass Arrow by Kristen SimmonsMy Profile

  8. This is such a great post. Thank you so much! I grew up in a very religious town in Georgia, and yet I am an atheist. I understand what you mean completely. Of course even though I label myself as an atheist, I still sometimes shy away from it in public spaces. Maybe I am afraid of people distancing themselves from me because of it? Recently, I reviewed a book on my blog (Vivian Apple at the end of the world) with some religion in it. When I was discussing it on the blog, I said “I am not a religious person.” I am not sure why I didn’t just come out and call myself an atheist. Weird. I love your post. 🙂
    Cynthia recently posted…BOOK REVIEW: I’ll Meet You There By Heather DemetriosMy Profile

  9. Wonderful topic and thanks for sharing your pastime. I’ve actually dealt with bullying while growing up but I was the shy silent type so unless it was being seen no one knew except my parents. I haven’t really pointed out to the world that I really do wear my friendship on my sleeve and sometimes that friendship is used in the wrong way. I cut off an friendship tie of nearly 7 years when I was in my early year of college in fact I rarely kept in contact and then within the year I cut off all ties. I didn’t want that negatively around and I was happy with the new crowd and reunited with really old friends that I stray away for so many years.
    And then that group sort of fell apart with one creating such drama and I was growing close to her until she tried to commit suicide(my previous friendship I mention above also tried to do it as well because she was so negative about everything in life and was friends with the wrong crowd) I couldn’t understand it she said that it was because of the pressure of being skinny or whatever and I just couldn’t be around that for someone that wasn’t happy about themselves and was so focus on what others were saying about her.
    You truly know who your real friends are when they stick with you through highs and lows and don’t judge you. I rarely judge people, I’m typically a people reader and can get a sense of how good or how bad they are.
    My blogging community is amazing! I love following everyone and interacting online with them including authors. I’m glad that I jump to the blogging community when I started college because it makes you giddy when someone is talking about a certain book you read and love or want to read.
    SassyCat’s Reviews recently posted…Hide & Seek: Lion’s ShareMy Profile

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