“And during the few moments that we have left, we want to talk, right down to
earth, in a language that everybody here can easily understand.”
- Malcolm X (sampled in Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality”)
I’m just a woman. With a couple of kids, a job that pays the bills, a Hyundai with butterfly doors and a keyboard. And I want to be heard. I want to speak plainly, directly, and be understood. Judging by the hundreds of millions of people who divide their time between Twitter and Facebook, I’m not alone.
My desire to be heard is the reason I established my small presence on social media. What I enjoy most about it is the fact that I’m seriously an every day girl who has bits of awesome. It makes me think that the woman next to me on the train or the dude hooking up my latte might have a hidden awesome story of their own. Stay online long enough, and people assign certain characteristics to your “persona.” Or sometimes, we assign those characteristics to ourselves.
For the most part, people see me as a nerdy/funny girl/ranting maniac. I’m also very open about my stance and experiences with domestic violence, life as an expatriated New Orleanian, and struggles as a mother, who is also single and black. Being frank, but (hopefully) friendly is my calling card. I try not to treat subjects as taboo, but rather, get them out in the open.
When you’ve been around enough, certain things become running jokes (like me with “your dad,” and one of my very young friends being credited with creating the universe). Other times, people just sort of assign labels to you, which can at times be annoying and counter-productive if you’re attempting to establish discourse. Frankly, it’s just all part of the “cult.” Because for the most part, not even half of these people know you – a large percentage of the other half only KIND of know you.*
So when it comes to my personal relationships, I am fiercely private. I respect my privacy as well as the other person’s. I have three blood sisters who are on Twitter, and I don’t follow any of them. We have discussed our reasons for that, and mutually respect one another’s wishes. Though I occasionally use my children’s real names, I’m far more likely to use nicknames. While I may laugh at an innocuous funny or generic issue, I keep most challenges with them private.
That spills over into my dating life as well. I’m very hesitant to discuss who I’m seeing. It takes me a while to divulge whether I’m seeing anyone at all. Even one of my best friends gives me the side eye when she doesn’t hear about a fella until after we’re kaput. I’ve always been that way, if for no other reason than because it don’t have a damn thing to do with yall. I don’t think that people would single me out and attempt to torpedo my relationship. Quite frankly, I doubt THAT many people care about my romantic maneuvers one way or the other. But I care, and I care enough to guard my relationships with people.
I’ve developed friendships and relationships with people that I have met through social networking sites. When that happens, our friendship and interaction typically goes off grid. If I see a person as a confidante, then I like to keep a certain level of confidence. Not everyone will rock that way, and that’s understandable. But as much as I enjoy being heard, how I connect with my folk is something I like to keep very quiet.
*Sure, there are people who get on Twitter or Facebook and give the cheat codes to their entire existence. I’m not referring to them.