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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.