Your opinion is irrelevant, so just live.

So it’s been a couple weeks that I’ve been off Twitter now and it’s been interesting.

I’ve appreciated it. I’ve appreciated the peace. No more constant hammering in my skull like a woodpecker, telling me who, what and how I should be – that I am not worthy due to my thoughts and opinions.
I am glad to not have such an influence in my life. Maybe I shall return – maybe not.

Of course, I haven’t entirely left social media – I still have Facebook, which I find rather vital for keeping up with friends and family – however – even Facebook can be like this buzzing bee threatening to sting you. I’m considering nuking it from my phone ^_^;

I scroll through facebook and I see posts by people commenting on something I find interesting, or something I might disagree with – perhaps something regarding my faith, or Australia, or ethics, or writing or feminism, or identity politics – just something – and I sit for awhile contemplating the post and what I might say, or how I might respond.
And I’ve noticed a thought crossing through my mind more and more.
“Your opinion is irrelevant, so just live.”

Perhaps it’s because I liked a stupid meme (or something I considered stupid and irrelevant) that a friend told me I should never have liked – and then began to police me and everything I said, did, liked and enjoyed – which ended up ruining that friendship. Perhaps I feel like I am caged in, unable to say anything and therefore: “My opinion is irrelevant.”

And it isn’t that my opinion is actually irrelevant – it’s that I’ve sort of come to this realisation that the things I want are worth so much more. They’re outside of a digital realm, they’re outside of gaming, of anime, of fantasy and science fiction. They’re “reality”. And while I will always retain the heart of wonder, a heart that delights in the fantastical – I’ve “grown up”. I am Ariel stepping out of the ocean, without a voice, trying to find something on the land.

Am I ever going to find the ‘grown-up’ things I seek outside of the ocean that I loved? I don’t know. But I am willing to accept that I am on a road moving forward – there are going to be so many rough patches, but, I’ve made landfall. Maybe someday I’ll find my voice again.

A decision to leave, and to find myself again…

So this isn’t a decision I’m making lightly – indeed – it is something I have been pondering about for a long time, gradually building up to and finally feeling comfortable enough to do.

I have decided to leave Twitter – to find myself in the “real world”.
Honestly, I would leave Facebook as well – but – I don’t think I’m there yet – it is a vital clog in the machine of networking with friends and family, a social tool in our bustling world – however, I am going to be using it much less.

I’ve decided that if people truly desire to get in contact with me they can email me, or text me, or ring me.

I am going to focus on the meaningful relationships outside of cyber-space.
It is time to move on from the world wide web – and yes – I get the irony of saying that here on a website – but – meh – I am an author, I gotta write somewhere into the void.

I’ve just had enough of Twitter. I’ve had enough of the online world I’ve immersed myself in, I find it lonely, sad, depressing and it builds up such negativity in my life that it does far more harm than good. I know I am not welcome there, so, why stay somewhere I am not welcome – and – no one is going to miss me and those that do, well, they know where to find me.

They can find me here, they can find my Chronicles of the Children Facebook Page, and my email address. If, eventually, I do entirely rid myself of Facebook, Youtube and Instagram – which – is my hope someday – and to just fade away back into being an author that just writes for the joy of it – then – my email will always be open, just like it always has been.

So.

That’s been my decision.

To those of you who know me, fellow online author folk of Twitter, if you have books coming out and want me to read them and review them – please send me an email and let me know so I can buy the books when they come out.

Well, that’s it from me. I’m heading off into the real world to talk to people face to face again. Wish me luck!

Happy reading,
Happy writing,
KL

Are you unique enough?

I don’t know if other author’s experience this, but it is something I think about – especially after reading a lot of Tweets by agents and publishers that talk not about an author’s books or works but the author themselves.
One agent I happened across openly admitted that they where not seeking any type of unique work, they where seeking a unique type of person, and an author had to fit a mould. Is that my problem, I don’t fit a mould?

In today’s heavily visual, heavily marketing, heavily social media focused society I’m not surprised that publishers seek author’s who have a sell-able face, but not just a sell-able face, but a sell-able identity. Somehow, at some point, I blinked – and identity became this massive, important thing. What is your identity?
Are you unique enough to be an author?
It feels like, today, you have to have some sort of incredible personal uniqueness to win an agent, or a publisher – something that makes you stand out amongst the crowd – instead of your work.
But perhaps I only see one side of the publishing industry online, I would really love to speak to publishers and agents about this – because I find it utterly fascinating.

I am pretty sure it was how I was raised that instilled in me an ethic of believing that my work spoke for me. I didn’t want to be put on a pedestal, it was my work that I wanted to share – not me. I wanted my stories, my adventures, my worlds, my characters to shine for me.

The more I write, the more books I put into print, the more I have this intense desire to fade into the background and just let my world exist for me, to let my work be my voice.

Talking About a Clementine Ford Article

Yesterday I was browsing Twitter, ignoring the mountain of work that I have to do. Twitter is an awful place. It really is – I find it’s like watching a disaster unfolding around me, and I cannot look away. I am utterly fascinated by the hatred I sense towards people like myself. People who have *gasp* different opinions. And yes, it is hatred. I have had to work hard on not feeling like I am a worthless, disgusting, awful person due to the things I read, hear and come by due to Twitter. It is like being slammed by a constant barrage of people screaming how much they hate your existence without even realising they’re doing it.
I came across a Tweet promoting an article written by Clementine Ford – “The men’s march organised by a woman” Now, I am terrified of Clementine Ford. She scares me, so much. Yeah, I’ll admit it – I am down right scared and intimidated by her. The values I uphold as an individual, she rips apart. (I’m sure she’s a really nice person IRL.)

Don’t get me wrong, she has VALID points to make – always. I am not here to argue over that. I was raised to not walk outside at particular times at night, I was raised to carry my key’s in my hand when I did. I never questioned why. Maybe I should have, but I didn’t. I just presumed everyone protected themselves. At my one and only self-defence course my male teacher took me aside and told me “Kylie, the first thing I am going to teach you is the first thing I teach every woman. How get out of a guy’s grip.” 
I never forgot what he taught me. He drilled it into me. Time, and time again, he made sure I knew it.

Okay. So. I’m going to all tell you the story of how I was almost kidnapped by a sex offender when I was fourteen. I have never shared this story, because, well, I don’t really have anything to back it up – but it’s life:

This was back in the day of MSN, Elfwood and dial up internet, before I was aware that there was strangers lurking on the web who meant harm. I was a very innocent, naive little girl. I was, frankly, stupid. I started talking with a guy online, had no idea who he was, but gradually, as time went on, he shared some photos and kept asking to meet. I was like, yeah, nah, I can’t, I don’t have that sort of freedom. Which I didn’t.
I was a very, very lonely, depressed girl – but I rarely stepped out of my comfort zone.
With my refusal to meet up, I thought, well, that was the end of that odd friendship.
Hm. No. It wasn’t.
I had a routine back then – due to everything that had happened to me at face-to-face school, I had started doing home-schooling, and I took walks to the local shops, pretty much everyday. I knew my area VERY well and if there was one thing I did pride myself on it was being very hyper-aware of my surrounds. I might have even stupid online, but I was hyper-aware in-real-life. Which is why, on one particular day as I was walking home from the shops, with the rain beginning to pick up, I sensed a large four-wheel-drive pull up.
A man wound down the passenger window, urging me to pause. “Hey, you live on ***** don’t you? How about you jump in and I’ll take you home, it’s raining.”
I froze. Dead on the spot. That wasn’t my street. That was a fake street I gave out to people who I didn’t trust (oh, did I forget to mention I did that? Yeah…)
This man looked like an ordinary man, in an ordinary car, but his fingers keep twitching on the wheel. I really didn’t like his hands. I had never seen him in the area before. I had never seen the car in the area, and I prided myself in knowing faces and cars from all my walks. I smiled. “No thanks. I like walking.”
With that, I turned away and continued walking.
Now, I bet you’re asking yourself “KYLIE, DID YOU GO TO THE POLICE?!”
No. Actually. I didn’t even tell my parents. I was fourteen…I just, sorta shrugged it off and never really thought about it again until I was in my early twenties and it hit me what could have happened that day.
There was another occasion in the city, after a friends birthday party. I was dressed up to the nine – in an outfit I would NEVER fit into anymore. I looked gorgeous. I wish I could tell twenty-one year old me she was beautiful…
Anyway…
I was standing on the curb waiting for my parents to pick me up, my friend had gone off to continue the night clubbing and I didn’t drink or club so, it was an early night for me.
A group of drunk men walked past. Stopped. And walked back. I could tell they had every intent of making a total scene and I – being the most inexperienced and sheltered person on the face of the planet – had no idea what to do. I kid you not, two police men took that moment to walk right across the road and plant themselves on either side of me like guards. They did not say anything to me, they just stood there. The drunk men walked away grumbling.
Those police men stayed with me until my parents came.
Heroes. They were my heroes.
The point I am trying to make is that if you dig deep enough, women have stories – women have lived life. So, I do understand where Clementine Ford comes from, I just do not understand her hatred and her viciousness. It is perhaps that misunderstanding that makes me fear her. I doubt she would be welcoming to my position either, after reading the above article and seeing how hostile she is with women who don’t toe-the-line. I mean, obviously I am not a Trump-Loving-Aussie (that’s a bit weird if you ask me) but I do wish we allowed for a little bit more leg-room and less mob-pitch-fork destroying in society.

My grandmother has been staying with me for several weeks while having radiotherapy for breast cancer. During this time, we’ve had many discussions about what life was like back in her day. When I was a little girl, one my earliest memories of my Grandmother was of her reading me feminist literature. I basically learnt about feminism and the Suffragette Movement from my Grandmother.  Frankly, women today have little concept (I feel) of what living under a patriarchy means. The stories my grandmother has to tell from just her lifetime is chilling, and that’s not even mentioning the stories of my great-grandmother. We have come so far in just several generations, these are things to be celebrated and yet, all I see is a continuous tearing down. However, perhaps this is just because I have always been overly sensitive – I don’t like to see people hurting.
I was once told that I saw things in black and white because I only saw the pain people were in and I wanted to instantly help those people. I thought it was an interesting observation to be given.

Anyway.
It’s always interesting to see how the world keeps rolling on, how the internet is causing us to pull further and further apart and form ever more increasingly hostile sides.
I am gradually becoming more inclined towards the idea of leaving it all behind to become an author who just sits quietly in the shadows, watching everything pass on by.
It sounds much more peaceful.

Keep well,
KL

 

Tolerance

Tolerance fascinates me.
What tolerance has morphed into fascinates me, it also frightens me a little, but mostly, I am fascinated by things. As an author I tend to be very fascinated by changing cultures, by the world in general. I really enjoy thinking…a lot…I can just sit and spend time thinking in silence.
Thinking is a lot of fun.

Anyway.
Tolerance.

What does that word evoke in you?

For me, it used to mean two people of differing opinions having a level-headed discussion. It means respect no matter who you are. It means treating another person as you, yourself, desire being treated. It is acceptance on both sides, despite each others differences. We learn this – or should have learnt this – from a very early age, within kindergarten, play school and eventually high school. But, I don’t know, maybe I was lucky in living in an environment where I did learn it.
Tolerance is a foundation stone for a multi-cultural society.

Tolerance of today has become something vastly different than what it was. It is now far less of a respect now, it has become a demand, and it is a lopsided demand. There is no equality to the tolerance of today – there is inequality – we are wanting a society that desires more equality, but we are losing our tolerance.

I want to be tolerated again. If my opinion is different, ask me why, let me explain, I will have a reason – I think a lot – and if you don’t like my reason – that should be okay – I am neither going to harm you with my thoughts, my words or my rationality.
But then I remember – we live in a society today where apparently words are as sharp as swords, and someone can find themselves facing a prison sentence for saying something that might be deemed as “hate speech” so – perhaps – my fears are just. Maybe I should just continue to pretend to be who I am not, for I know that the courtesy of tolerance is not returned – that though I accept, respect and listen to everyone I come in contact with, even if they are saying things that scare me, goes entirely against everything I uphold, that tolerance would not be returned in the slightest.
So instead I wear a mask. I feel like I end up lying, and I hate lying.
What then, I am left wondering, is worse?
Being unable to voice my true opinions to people who I wish would accept me as I accept them, or lying to keep myself safe.

Have I become part of the problem?

Maybe this all come out of me thinking to much. I do have a lot of time to think. However, it really does fascinate me.

 

That Gift is Gone

It might surprise people who I interact with online to realise that I actually have very strong opinions about a lot of things, but that I silence myself – I suppose the saying would be I ‘self-censor’. I don’t say what I want to say because I am afraid – I am afraid of today’s society, the mob mentality that has been created due to social media, and because of friends that I love and respect. I would much rather let myself be told I cannot say something, cannot be someone, than loose friends – at least – that is what I keep telling myself.

Because. Well. I highly value the people around me. I consider everyone I communicate with as incredible – because you all are. Humans are incredible. Guys. We made it to the Moon, we have a Space Station, Elon Musk shot a freaking car into space. I can’t wait to see what we get up too.

Frankly, I hate hurting people. I always want to stand beside someone and offer support and be the best friend I can be – I was raised in a family of supporters and listeners and taught to *always* put the ‘other’ first, but this does have a negative, as we have discovered growing into our adulthood, we tend to get trodden on and walked over. We avoid conflict.

I avoid conflict.

I will choose words to make someone happy, to calm a situation, to appease people, to make sure they know they’re important.

It doesn’t help that I am very, very shy, so IRL situations are very rare. If you are one of the few people to have ever spoken to me IRL, congratulations on that achievement of a lifetime.

My mother once called us – my siblings and I – Peacekeepers.

But I don’t feel like I keep peace anymore. I feel like I hide. I hide my true-self behind a mask of smiles and flowery words on a screen, frightened of a world that would turn against me at a moments notice. If I tweet one wrong tweet, retweet one wrong person, if I write a character wrong or NOT include the right-type of character, use a culture wrongly in a book, say anything about my faith – I don’t know – ANYTHING – could get me in trouble. I have no idea anymore – and that is what frightens me.

I am a writer, and I want to write, I want to say things, I want the freedom to use my words and honestly I feel like that gift is gone.

I realise this is a really silly thing to worry about – but – it’s choked me up for a long time now, and I really wonder if the only way to get away from the worry of it all is to just delete Twitter, abandoned Facebook – other than for adorable pictures of nephews – and live free of those shackles?

Does anyone else feel this way, or am I just weirdly paranoid? I hope so. Then maybe I can just get over it and move forward. 😀