JANUARY 20, 2011 8:07PM

What you see is what you get

Rate: 17 Flag


Deciding whether to respond to this open call has not been easy given my ongoing history of being cyber-stalked. A small part of me is afraid that by writing this post my stalkers will go into overkill on me again here and elsewhere. The larger part of me, the one that says I will write what I want, when I want, and how I want, online and elsewhere, wins out. To do otherwise makes me a lesser person. The worst kind of censorship is self-censorship. That doesn't mean that I haven't learned some basic cautionary lessons; lessons that I wish someone had told me about when I was an online neophyte. I have become familiar with the curious, sociopathic mentality of those who pounce on every revelation of someone else’s vulnerability and honesty to twist it to their own ends. 


As some of you know, I am blunt to a fault. I say what's on my mind, but rarely is it meant maliciously. I’m being honest, and more often than not, analytical. Only afterward do I stop to think that maybe I could have been more diplomatic and less truthful. But here's the weird thing. When I strive to be diplomatic -- and believe it or not I often do, being an educator has taught me that people respond better to encouragement -- I don’t always sound sincere. I don't lie well, not even when telling socially acceptable white lies. In fact, I'm such a terrible liar that people who know me usually grasp right away that I'm not telling the truth and I’m in even more hot water. Some people at OS have said that I hide behind a nom de plume because I would never say the things I do in person. These are people who do not know me at all because my friends know that I ALWAYS say what I think.


 Go figure


People who don't like hearing the truth almost never like me. That’s OK, because life online or off isn’t a popularity contest. I have enough friends and family who accept me the way I am that I’m finally learning to accept myself. Yet it's so much easier to be in denial and to go along with the flock that I've spent much of my lifetime wondering why I can't do that. I still don't have the answer; I just know it doesn’t work for me. One of the few good things that come with age is a small measure of self-knowledge. There is something in me that cannot be quieted when an injustice is done, or when I disagree about something important, or sometimes when I want a little spirited discussion. But for every time I respond, there are many more times when I don’t. Not all battles are worth fighting. I prefer to joust with people who can debate ideas or information without resorting to personal attacks, and that is rare in cyber space. Then there's my knack of saying what others say, but still attracting the torch and pitchfork crowd. Two extreme examples on OS were when I posted that I didn't care what stupid people thought -- the kind who think man walked with the dinosaurs -- and when I used a John Lennon song title to make a point about feminism. Other bloggers tackled similar topics, some more harshly than me, and received nary a peep of criticism. Go figure. 


When I joined OS two years ago I had no idea that I would post about my personal life. People have told me I’m crazy to reveal myself that way, and that I deserve everything that happens as a result, the lack of online civility being what it is. I don’t accept that people have the right to attack me, or my family, but I know that it happens. Exploring what makes me who I am is more important, and I will not be intimidated into silence. Yet I am much more careful now about what information I put out there, which goes against my basic truthful instincts, but is an essential online survival skill for someone of my open nature. 


What bothers me the most about my online life is that I do not feel safe enough to blog under my real name. Confession: before I made this emma peel 2 account today, I created another one with my real name. I doubt that I will ever use it. Not because of my cyber stalkers -- they already know my real name -- but because the risks aren't worth the rewards. Even so, what you see here on my blog is what you get, and it will never be sugar coated. 

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Don't ask me what's going on with the font size because I wasn't able to fix it.
this seems to be satire on the real "EP", but if it is, it seems kind of pointless.
No, it's not a satire. Just me. Sorry you think it's pointless, but to each their own.
Your font is all weird. OK, I'll finish reading now. vzn... while I'm finishing, get a life.
I know it's weird. I've just found out how to fix it.
Hey, so the font thing is not just happening to me.

"because life online or off isn’t a popularity contest"
Hear, hear.
Oops, apparently I spoke too soon.
Mrs. Peel, as long as you're mouthing off in determined fashion about something interesting (and as long as you have those marvelous leather pants handy!) I'm delighted to read you.

tr ig, I need to get a life, too. Where can I find one? Is there a queue somewhere I can join?
Cripes Emma.. "Some people at OS have said that I hide behind a nom de plume because I would never say the things I do in person."
I never thought that. Is using your real name the only way to show 'bravery?' Bonnie Russell seems to think so. I don't give a flying fuck what she says. Man Talk Now.. I presume this is not his name, that or he's Chinese. I'd say two thirds to seven eighths of us here don't use our given names. Who cares.. seriously? Who cares about who cares?
Why do people pick you out and 'pick on you?' Well (laughing to self slightly) you have a certain way about ya! Very few contributors and commenters do that to me. If they do I squelch their asses with uber-hillbilly logic, or make friends with them. Usually the former. You are awesome just as you are, excepting your argument style which needs a tune up IMHO. That said, no doubt in the world, you are super talented. Write and rise above? Hell I dunno Emma. I like ya when you're not hatin' on me!
Note: this comment above written BEFORE MTN's was posted... Strange world. Strange life. Strange web site!
@tr ig: No, that's my real name. It's a rare mashup of surnames Scottish, Welsh, Irish, Antarctic and Freedonian.
@Scarlett: I'd be lying if I said that I didn't prefer to be popular, but I'm actually OK with people not liking me. It's a myth that everybody has to be "nice" and like everybody else. Human nature doesn't work that way. I prefer to think that you have to be civil to people even if you don't like them, but that's as far as it goes. And yeah, the font thing is beyond weird.

@Man Talk Now: I quite like leather pants in real life too.

@tr ig: Nope, I don't care if people use their real names or not as long as they are consistent and have something worth saying at least some of the time. Not going to get into my "argument style" with you, but thanks for the compliments. Let's just say I can be a little hotheaded sometimes. It happens when you're a double fire sign.
@tr ig: That might be because I was trying to fix the font and you might have posted during that time.
Listening to Ziggy Stardust and laughing.. mostly at the multi-cultured MTN. Emma.. (Suffragette City playing now) ... your argument style sucks, but I'm thinking that and the screwed up font is not your fault. Maybe a north of the fortyeighth thing.
@Mrs. Peel: That's awesome! I've always imagined you as a sassy wit who flatters tight clothing. ;) Sadly, you're Canadian, and I also imagine you wearing a half dozen layers of sensible winter outerwear on top of the tight clothing. On the other hand, Vancouver is rather Pacific and balmy, isn't it?
You're too old to lose it, too young to choose it
And the clocks waits so patiently on your song
You walk past a cafe but you don't eat when you've lived too long
Oh, no, no, no, you're a rock 'n' roll suicide

Chev brakes are snarling as you stumble across the road
But the day breaks instead so you hurry home
Don't let the sun blast your shadow
Don't let the milk float ride your mind
You're so natural - religiously unkind

Oh no love! you're not alone
You're watching yourself but you're too unfair
You got your head all tangled up but if I could only
make you care
Oh no love! you're not alone
No matter what or who you've been
No matter when or where you've seen
All the knives seem to lacerate your brain
I've had my share, I'll help you with the pain
You're not alone!
Emma: Many things I could've said after reading this but I'm short on words these days. Regarding popularity I've always looked at it as ... I'm not running for office. Without being cliche (it's hard to avoid sometimes) ... better to be true to yourself, was my point.
@Love Suffragette City. My argument style does not suck! So there. We're pretty diverse up here so not sure it's that. I was raised in a prairie family where we were encouraged to give opinions frequently and directly so maybe that's it.
@MTN: It's cold and snowy here today but it will be wet and mild again tomorrow so the layers will come off again. I've always been a hothouse flower.
@Scarlett: Exactly. None of us is running for office. We can't please everyone, so we may as well please ourselves.

@tr ig: Are those the lyrics to Sufragette City? It's been a long time since I heard it.
ROCK'NROLL SUICIDE! If it's been a while I suggest you and snobby Scarlett REVISIT!
@tr ig: I love rock 'n roll, not so big on suicide, and very curious about what kind of "revisit" you're suggesting Mrs. Peel and Scarlett engage in. (Fingers crossed!)
I am going to love you regardless of the name you use. So there.
On Ziggy Stardust and the S[iders from Mars, Suffragette City is the track right before Rock & Roll Suicide, so confusing the two is natural.

Emma, haven't you noticed by now that people don't like honesty? For shame!
Thanks, Dorinda. The feeling is mutual.

@tr ig: I haven't heard this song in ages either. It must be time to dust off my turntable and unpack those boxes of records in the garage.
That's "Spiders from Mars" not "S[iders." They put the P too close to the [, dammit.
@nanatehay: Yeah, I've noticed. But I keep hoping.
@tr ig: Why am i so snobby? ... becuz I like black olives? I'll have you know after reading the lyrics here I did revist Ziggy on YouTube. In my fifteenth year just so happens I was in Clearwater, British Columbia for the summer and discovered the Spiders from Mars on my (kind of) cousin's turn table. Have never looked back.

Hey Man, now leave me alone, hey man a when I get off the phone ... Wham Bam thank you Ma'am. G'night. :)
@Scarlett: I know when I've been told off deftly. ;)
I like black olives too, Scarlett, so we can be snobs together. Come to think of it, I've never met an olive I didn't like.
YOU'RE ALL A BUNCH OF OLIVE SNOBS! Though I don't know what taramasalata is, I love olives myself, and I'm deeply offended that you'd presume that you're all better than me. I found an olive in the pocket of my hoodie last week so y'all can just stuff it.
See what I did there? Stuff it? You know, like a stuffed olive. God I'm hilarious.
I'm thinking I could fly you girls in to KC tomorrow for some snow shoveling and Bowie lessons this weekend. More the scarier, I mean merrier! Youtube is FREE Emma!
Emma2, although we haven't had very much interaction, I've always enjoyed your writing and I admire the bluntness. Perhaps I'd feel otherwise had I been on its receiving end and if and when...

Can't blame you one bit for the pseudonym. I have reasons for not using my real name as I'm sure most of us do. Looking forward to more from you.
@nanatehay: Olives are fine, hoodie-found or otherwise, but I'm better than you. Because I know what taramasalata is.

What the Hell is wrong with you? Never dated a Greek girl? Once you shave their upper lips, they're often very pretty.
@nanatehay: You found an olive in your hoodie pocket? I don't want to know what debauchery you were up to when that happened.

@tr ig: Sorry, got plans with the hubby this weekend. Plus, I know all about YouTube. Honest.
I will not be mocked! My next post is gonna be titled "The Ugly Truth About the OS Olive Cabal: Taramasalata is Not a Hand Cream" and then you'll all rue the day. Oh yeah, you'll RUE it.
@nanatehay: You bastard. etc, etc...

Don't rush to judgment about taramasalata not being hand cream. I mean, don't knock it until you've "knocked it". The fish eggs have a nice *pop*.

Just so you understand, talking to you, as well as this entire conversational thread, is beneath me. And I'm not above much. ;)

However, I do admire the way you stand up for yourself and demean me. It smells like... justice.
@abrawang: I don't go after people indiscriminately, so you're safe!

@iq: Thank you. I have a talent for making life difficult for myself, but it's slowly easing off.

@Man Talk Now: It's been a long time since I've eaten taramasalata, much less used it as body cream. That would be a waste. :)
I fell in love with your point of view and critical thinking at the onset. Your avatar is perfectly chosen and I hope you continue to live up to the ideals of Agent Peel as admirably as you have done thus far. Please do not apologize for things you should be proud.
What is this 'life' and do I really want one?

Probably not. Sounds like too much upkeep!! PFFFFFT!!!
"People who don't like hearing the truth almost never like me"

I use to dispatch the "truth" often...as well. But the older I got, I realized that there is no truth, only my opinion. Now people seem to like me more.
I've got a sneaking suspicion who this is, and if I'm right, please PM me so I don't accidentally divulge your real identity.
Motorcycle Man
Good for you, Emma ;) Peel? A name by any other name is just a name. Glad to see you here regardless of the nom du plume. The avatar is catchy too. Lots going on here, so jump on board, grab a paddle and let her rip! Cheers!
I like your strength, your willingness to question the tiny laws that imprison us and the chain-gang conformity that social arrangements tend to situate us in. Say it loud, say it clear, as the song by Mike and the Mechanics advises. Oh--strongly written, too, quite strongly written.
Rock on. The world is full of puppies, kitten and rainbows. Being popular is for sissies. Take it from me, darlin'!