Yeah, I’ve been quiet here of late. Because, I’ve been trying to be on my “best behavior.” You know, try not to stir controversy or rant or generally be myself. To avoid politics and religion and the things you don’t say at dinner. There are very good reasons to do so, as I’ve been told.
The trouble is, you know, you’re also told to be a brand, that brands aren’t people, that companies are people, that people are marketplaces… It’s all confusing and, frankly, illogical. Because, you avoid controversy to that you don’t anger potential readers or family or friends but you’re supposed to be social and interesting and…does anyone really want to read a blog post about my favorite color? (I sincerely hope the answer is no.) Without the bitey parts, people are boring. Of course, too many bitey parts and they’re shark-like caricatures. It’s a fine line.
Unless you look out into the internet these days and realize the fine line has been stomped into smithereens, that everything is ripe with potential controversy (if I say my favorite color is black, am I being morose? Blue is symbolic of my ball-breaking feminist agenda? Red might be the color of the secret society of barn-based terrorists this week). We’ve somehow reached a point where no one can say anything that isn’t some sort of anti-ist-ish unless it’s so plainly self-serving, egotistical, myopic and boring that it’s only interesting by the navel-gazing barometer of selfies and food pics and cats riding household appliances.
Except, that’s not fair to those things either. If we’re sharing our interests, our lives, with others — as a means to connect to communities we feel a part of, as a branding strategy, as a beacon like scrawling “i wuz here” on a bathroom stall that proclaims we existed to the universe –why do we only feel comfortable anymore sharing the best bits? If we only share selfies when our makeup is perfect, desk photos after we’re done organizing, lunch photos when we’re humble-bragging about the expensive lunch being bought for us…have we become more brand than person? Have we cultivated ourselves to remove our humanity?
Yet, shaming people for presenting exactly what they’ve been told by our culture to present is unfair, too. The television schedule is littered with “reality shows” edited to show what the producers want you to see: conflict, drama, “weirdos.” The producers are telling us simultaneously that these people we think are “so different” are just like us because they fight and struggle, yet emphasizing their differences to get us to tune in. Nothing is sacred. No one is safe. We’re all here to be judged. So, put on your best face and post that YouTube video for your promised fifteen minutes while we all sit and comment that you’re fat or skinny or ugly or hairy or old or liberal or conservative or dumb or does it matter? It can’t matter because no one can be all to everyone.
Which brings me back to politics and controversy. We can’t be all to everyone. And being silent is what my mother always told me to do in the South. I never listened to her before. Why would I start now? Granted, I’ve had to warn people that I’m a bit like a fungus; I grow on you.
But, let’s be honest. The character I’ve written most about is a former prostitute with a wretched snarky streak, a few PTSD issues she most assuredly will not be discussing with you because she’d rather prefer they don’t exist, and a regular urge to punch her problems that she mostly keeps under control. She’s held together by almost as many screws as the average piece of IKEA furniture and she flatly refuses to bother covering up her scars because it’s too damn hot in Florida to walk around in a full-length bodysuit and it’s not really anyone’s business anyway.
In other words, if someone’s put off by anything I say, they’re really not going to like Davis Groves all that much. Maybe they’d like Seth with the elusive last name? *goes off to find the right selfie filter*