A Childhood Lesson From Twitter

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August 13, 2013 by Katia

Hi guys. Remember how I wasn’t here on Monday if you checked in with me? Still not here. I’m visiting with my mom who’s the lady in the photograph below. This picture was taken during my last visit, back in 2010. I’m coming back on the 20th with some new posts shortly after but in the meantime, here’s a piece dedicated to my obsession, Twitter.

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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?

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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.

@KatiaDBE

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How do you feel about Twitter?

12 thoughts on “A Childhood Lesson From Twitter

  1. jojoka1963 says:

    I’m very new to Twitter and still don’t get it to be honest! I think I just need more input time, and perhaps be brave and jump in and ‘tweet’ more often, especially to other people.

    • Katia says:

      It’ very overwhelming at first and I found it to be not very user friendly, but once you get used to the pace and format and it’s pretty awesome.🙂

  2. “realized that Canada hadn’t been expecting me and was not as ecstatic about my arrival as my mom would expect it to be.” You are so witty when you speak the truth.🙂 I loved this post, truly, and wish we could sit down and have a long conversation over a cup of tea. xo

  3. Oh bless you Katia! And yet I suspect your ego isn’t half so fragile with IRL relationships. It’s funny how this blogging world can get us right between the eyes and render us vulnerable. And I’m sure it’s to do with what you say about the writing – it’s not US, it’s our souls, put into pixels and laid bare. And when they’re rejected, it hurts.

    But should it? Because, after all, it’s ‘only the internet’.

  4. TK says:

    Oh, this is such an important lesson to teach our kids. Of course, your mom did the right thing by instilling self-confidence in you. As for Twitter, I don’t keep track of who unfollows because its depressing!

  5. Jean says:

    I’ve played twitter for 8 months now and I’m finally over the unfollow thing. I’m not over the obligation to follow others though and part of that is from the memory of how it stings to feel rejected, even on something so crapfun as twitter. Katia, I promise I’ll never unfollow you🙂

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Tired. Going from 10 months of staying at home with the kids to full time work is disorienting.  I have to redefine what my involvement in their lives looks like. I have to go dig for my creativity, it's not readily available. I have to make room for friendships that were already pushed to the outskirts of my mommy life. What was previously inaccessible, existing in the "so near yet so far" category - books, blazers and heels - became a staple in this old new reality in a matter of days. Tired and disoriented but also content, supported and appreciative. #momsofinstagram #random #randomthoughts #changes #workingmom #tired #tgif
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