When I first started interacting online using Social Media… I was terrified.
I was terrified mainly because… I’m a natural lurker.
Lurkers don’t like to expose themselves in any way, shape or form.
Yes, we know someone is always watching… we hope we’re too insignificant to be worth being watched too closely by those who watch everyone. If we pop up on their radar, we hope their radar goes into a technical coma glitch.
Lurkers aren’t like other internet shadow figures. We’re not secretly wishing to expose ourselves, we’re not dreaming of being in the limelight one day, we’re not waiting for our moment in the spotlight… sometimes we do… we’re human… but we’re not after the power of being seen, we’re into the power of never being seen… dreaming of being seen, standing out… yes, we get that, but the lure of it isn’t as strong as the terror of it.
Pain versus pleasure… sometimes it is hard to know which is which, or what hurts more or less, or…
We sometimes dream of being seen… and wake up from those dreams as though from a nightmare.
Or something like that…
When I saw ‘we’… I use ‘we’ to hide ‘me’ in a crowd, because the best place to hide is in a crowd. That crowd is bound to have at least one or two attention seekers who will drown me out and make me anonymous.
But I do blog publicly, so… I’m not as much of a lurker as I used to be, I’m really not an outsider in the way that I used to be or as I used to see myself.
I have an excuse for that… reasons to do with seasons of life…
The last few years seem to have been all about making myself manifest. This shit has been seriously weird. My certainty in my invisibility has been shattered repeatedly, not by myself but by others, circumstances and… I’m kind of liking this which is weirding me out.
I have pretty much lived my entire life on the fringe.
A ghost without a footprint.
Being an outsider…
That’s too familiar, comfortable… and sometimes life throws a spanner in the works… as uncomfortable as that is, sometimes that’s what needs to happen, and sometimes it’s a thrillingly chilling challenge to go with it.
If you can relate to being an outsider, and you haven’t yet read – The Outsider by Colin Wilson – then… maybe give it a go because it’s a fascinating story told by someone who understands what it is like to be an outsider, who wrote a book about it… which made them suddenly and unexpectedly an outsider who was very popular and therefore an outsider no more in certain ways which were rather confusing for him.
At heart… I’ll always be an outsider…
When you’ve identified yourself as an outsider… that becomes somethign which has soulful, heartfelt, meaning to you.
It also becomes your social identity.
Whether you’re an outsider or not – if you think you are, then you are.
… don’t expect to be accepted by others… by other outsiders, and definitely not by insiders. There is power in that which is intangible yet tangible.
When someone else does accept you… you worry. You worry more than you do about not being accepted, because not being accepted is normal, being accepted is… unsettling.
It’s unsettling for many reasons.
One of which is that you’re never sure if you’re being accepted as you are or … as others need you to be for them. This is a complex layer upon other layers of being.
People don’t always see you as you see yourself… even if you tell them exactly how you see yourself. If how you see yourself doesn’t work with how they see you, they may decide you don’t know yourself as well as they know you even if they’ve only known you for a few minutes…
Maybe they’re not listening…
Maybe they just don’t believe you, maybe they see themselves as an exception…
Maybe they are an exception. But even those who are an exception have expectations about what it means for them to be the exception, and those rules don’t always accept exceptions to their rules of being an exception.
Some people make you an outsider so that they can become an exception… because that’s the kind of outsider they want to be.
Human stuff is the stuff of dreams and nightmare all rolled into one messy package (batteries not included unless otherwise stated and shit like that).
That’s normal for all humans with other humans, whether you’re a confirmed outsider or not.
And most outsiders, especially those who know they are on the outside from an early age, tend to cover their ‘outsiderness’ with a veneer of insider ‘normalcy’ for the sake of others and for themselves.
Natural outsiders like to don camouflage so as not to draw too much attention to how odd we actually are, because mostly we just want to be left alone. We’re desperately trying to appear ordinary, normal, invisible, not worth a second glance… please ignore me. Holding our breath as you walk on by… hope you didn’t hear me breathing.
But people always hear us breathing… even when they don’t want to…
Because even insiders have an outsider side to them… and outsiders have an insider side to them.
We feel each other’s presence because there is a connection there whether we want it or not, especially the presence of pain.
Those people who loudly advertise their Outsider status, and draw attention to themselves for being eccentric, strange, different, outside of the mainstream, standing out from the crowd because of their crazy…
(shit, I’m one of them now!)
Some of them are real outsiders (this bit was added for my benefit) who have given up hiding because it’s very tiring to do that… and as outsiders get older they’re a bit more reckless.
But some of those… they’re not real outsiders, never were or have been, they’re insiders who think it’s cool to be an outsider.
I’ve met some of those insiders pretending to be outsiders, and they’re rather sweet, but… they really don’t get it.
They don’t know the pain of being a genuine outsider who longs to be an insider but just can’t be one…
But we don’t get it either…
We don’t know their pain of being a genuine insider who longs to be an outsider but just can’t be one…
Humans… outsider, insider, whatever shades of grey in between the two we are… we are human, longing to be a different kind of human because we always think the skin is greener on the other side of the fence which keeps us in and keeps others out… what’s over there, is it better than what’s over here?
We long to explore beyond our confines, and yet… it frightens us because… it is unknown. If we risk what we know, risk losing it… for what we don’t know… what then?
Do we gain more or lose everything we have… even if all we have is a little, it still means a lot to us.
Of all the words in the world at this time… LIKE… is the one which puzzles, perplexes and sometimes disturbs me. I wouldn’t want to remove it, and yet…
I don’t expect you to LIKE me…
… it worries me when you do, even if I appreciate it when you do… my appreciation of it worries me… it’s so easy to lose who we are because of how others see us, how we perceive others seeing us, what we’re willing to do to get… LIKED… whether we’re an insider or outsider or whatever we are…
Be yourself… be authentic… easier said than… LIKED.