April 1, 2013 by Katia
The realization that the world may not think I’m the greatest thing since sliced bread came to me as a huge shock around my eighteenth birthday when a much older man, a customer I was servicing as part of my government job at the time, was yelling at me, waving his arms around and getting all red in the face. Realizing that the world most DEFINITELY doesn’t think I am the greatest thing since sliced bread came to me when I moved continents at the age of thirty and realized that Canada hadn’t been expecting me and was not as ecstatic about my arrival as my mom would expect it to be. Not only was there no red carpet rolled out when our plane landed but my husband and I got slapped with a formal neighbour complaint about our dog barking when on our first day in the new country we had to leave our pet for a few hours to go furniture shopping. Don’t get me wrong I personally never thought I was all that great. I am self-doubt-ridden, painfully self-conscious and constantly feel like I am doing and saying the wrong thing and being judged on that. It takes me forever to feel comfortable around new people. So yeah, I’m not that big on me at all, except my mom programmed me to believe that by and large the world is not with me on that one.
The first time World finally got on board with my mom and behaved the way she would expect it to was when I was pregnant for the first time and started showing. People greeted me and smiled everywhere I went, complimented me and gave up their seats on the subway. And so from across the ocean bridging over a seven hour gap my mom would surface in that subway car every time and remind me how blind and blinding her all encompassing love was. With the sheer power of her love she managed to instill a sense in me that I was a gift. That I could do anything. ANYTHING and the world would stand up and cheer. But was this ultimately a constructive or a destructive notion?
When I started my second maternity leave and my blog I really got into Twitter. Any beginner knows that much like in real life, people will inevitably unfollow you on social media, with the only exception that it’ll be much less gradual and more noticeable on the latter. Yet despite expecting it to happen and accepting that it comes with the territory, unfollows somehow feel a lot more personal on Twitter than anywhere else. It’s not Facebook that your “unfollower” rejects, it’s not the fact that you haven’t been in each other’s lives for ages or that you never really knew each other all that well to begin with, it’s you, encapsulated in 140 characters, that they are no longer interested in. It’s you. And contrary to anything my mom ever taught me it is, in fact, possible that someone somewhere in this world is just not that into me. As I was contemplating unfollows, I once tweeted that the best way to teach your child that the world may not always agree with you, was to put them on Twitter. I was only partially kidding. While I don’t plan to be making social media decisions for my 3 year old and 7 month old anytime soon, I do think that they should know they won’t always be embraced by everyone around them nor should they strive to please all. When 3 Year Old wears his brand new Batman shirt to nursery school and tells me that “everyone will cheer” as much as my heart prays for that scenario to materialize itself, I tell him that some may not like his shirt. It may not be everyone’s taste, but the important thing is that he likes it. Twitter and blogging taught me self-acceptance and validation. At the tender age of thirty something.
How do you feel about Twitter?