Lion22 I have not been posting much.  Two reasons, I think.  One is I am working through some strong emotional storms.  This has gone well, which is one way of saying it really sucked until I learned some stuff.  New situations can touch old wounds; cornered, I feel really bad until I am forced to re-examine the old wound and then (sometimes) get help to heal it. This happened for me last week.  The stress of having two sprained ankles in the family, fighting my weight gain and finding it a very uphill battle, a difficult winter when I am sick of this climate, on top of the "everyday" stuff like failed cycles and all the rest.  I now feel a lot like a deep thorn was pulled out of my paw.  What a relief.  In a strange way the stress was a gift because it forced me forward.  You know, one of those gifts that suck.

Speaking of paws, the second reason is that I stumbled into some internet hate, also last week; you could say I put my head in the lion’s mouth.  It didn’t happen here.  You’re glad you missed it.  It was a complicated situation where I said something that wasn’t welcome, and I didn’t say it very well, and that was my mistake.  The unsettling part is how quickly disagreement can escalate when there are none of the normal "rules"; we are free to vent, and rage, and, well, hate, beyond what we could get away with in person.  Particularly in commenting, which is where this event took place, there is a herd effect that can happen.  Every person who comments feels the need to find a new way to challenge, disagree with, insult, and, well, hate that minority commenter who said the unpopular thing.   A remark or event doesn’t get said and resolved in real time; it goes on and on.

Some bloggers welcome debate or disagreement.  Some do not.  Some know that their receptiveness changes with the post and the day, and many of the more experienced bloggers I have read are adept at letting us know ahead of time what sort of challenge is or is not welcome. No approach is right or wrong.  I used to laugh when I would see this kind of conflict on other blogs, one lone commenter flattened under dozens of vituperative responses, but from under that pile it’s not as funny.  I’m having my own personal Rodney King moment.  Can’t we all just get along?  Can we disagree with more respect and less escalation and hate?

The answer may be no.  A lot of us are here to vent and rage and experience unconditional support.  If there are things we can’t say or do in "real life," then this may be place to say and do those things.  That can get dicey, since we want to vent and rage but we also crave community.  It’s hard to have community in the same space as unfettered venting without some casualties.  The casualties don’t matter much.  They’re just names, often not even real ones, on a screen.  Until they are you. 

I’m less a fan of venting than I used to be – my experience is that the rage and hate generally splash back onto me and I don’t always feel better when it’s done.   That’s just me.  Everyone is different.

Nevertheless, some of us are looking for input beyond unconditional support; some are not.  I pity the fool who gets it wrong.  I was that fool.  I’m taking a break from that particular blog for a while, and probably staying away from my own blog on some days too.  Still processing.