Monday, August 31, 2015

Offline vs Online; Words and Actions

Before I begin, let me say that the friends mentioned in the first part of this blog post are friends I know in my "real" world, offline.

I'm a boring introvert with an odd sense of humor. That's okay. I like my boring self. My extroverted friends love my boringness. Some have said it balances them out. I agree since they also pull me out of my shell sometimes, when it's necessary.

I don't drink nor do I smoke. Never have and probably never will. I have friends who do one or both. I adore them whether they do or don't. They just don't smoke around me and I'm the designated driver when necessary.

I don't cuss. Okay, scratch that. It takes a lot for me to accidentally slip up and cuss. I have friends who swear like sailors. Some apologize after cussing (because they know I don't do it), others don't. I love them all the same and I don't judge them for it.

I consider myself on the conservative side of politics. Some of my oldest friends are diehard liberals. We often find ourselves on opposite sides of issues such as abortion, gay marriage, gun control, immigration, etc. We are still able to push those issues to the side when one of us needs the other.

I consider myself very religious. I have friends who range from even more religious than I am to having no religion nor believing in the existence of God. I veil. I like going to confession. I like Gregorian chant. I love the Mass. I love the Rosary. Some of them don't get it but don't feel the need to question what I choose to believe... or they ask me why Catholics do certain things, but always in a polite, genuinely curious manner. Likewise, I don't sit around and judge them for what they choose to believe or not believe.

I'm not married nor am I in a relationship. I don't have kids. The majority of my friends are married and/or have kids. Very few of us (with most of us in our late 20s to mid-30s) are single. We support each other and don't make the others feel terrible for their vocation or lack-of (for the time being). The singles pray for the married with children and vice versa.

Then we have my online life...

I'm boring. I get called on my being "serious business" and get told to "lighten up" when I don't find something particular funny.

I don't drink or smoke. I get asked what's wrong with me.

I don't cuss. I'm made to feel like there's something wrong with and, erroneously, get accused of judging others for swearing.

I consider myself conservative. I'm not conservative enough for some. I'm too conservative for others.

I'm religious. I veil and therefore I think of myself more pious and superior to others... or so the subtweets say after I post a pro-veiling article. I'm also not religious enough for some. I'm a modernist. Others argue that I'm too religious. I'm a dangerous "trad."

I'm single. Some say I'm single by choice, that I'm a typical Millennial who is selfish and doesn't want to settle down. Others pity me for being over 25 and still single. "Poor, poor girl... it's so hard now that you're 30," they say.

Now, let me ask you a couple of questions: if you had to deal with this on an almost daily basis, which would you prefer? Your offline life or your online life? Probably offline, right? What if your work and education was mostly online? What if you were one of the last of your core group of friends who is still living in California because everyone has moved away... and the internet and social media were one of the best ways you could keep in touch? What if you got online, when you tried to talk to friends you miss seeing, and all you saw were comments about how you're wrong, you're too this, you're not enough that, etc.?

Can I be bold enough to ask everyone to consider my suggestions? Can we all try to be more careful with our words online, especially on social media? Can we all make the effort to cut back on the subtweeting and on judgmental comments? Can we pray for others instead of attacking them?

For the record, this is not me shaming anyone. This is me expressing my thoughts on a trend I've noticed in the past couple of months... not just with myself but with others. It hurts me to see others being hurt by words. You don't have to agree with what I said... but it needed to be said.