Tonight on Twitter I encountered a soul who was asking for validation of some kind: feedback in the form of a retweet or even negative criticism. The danger of a sentence limited to one hundred forty characters is that there is so little context it’s next to impossible to determine if a person is being genuine, facetious, sarcastic or what have you. I have no idea what the gent truly meant; what he was actually feeling when he wrote the tweet. Me being the person I am, I attempted to think of something smart-alecky or mock critical to say. Instead I chose to simply retweet him and remove the possibility of saying something potentially hurtful or insulting.
Hours later he would thank me for this. Still, without the benefit of context I have no idea what the true meaning was behind exchange. He used a famous line from, “A Streetcar Named Desire” in his thank you tweet. My initial response was simply the title of this blog (“STELLA!”). I then realized that my response could be seen as dismissive at best and insulting at worst so I followed it up with an explanation of my sincerity and then I tweeted a #FF directed at his Twitter handle, citing his initial tweet requesting feedback as an attempt to connect with others.
I first joined Twitter to share my political views only to realize I didn’t yet, fully know what I believed. I attempted again to create an internet persona through which I could become what I thought of as “internet famous”, which I soon realized doesn’t actually work. Finally I just decided to be myself and let it happen, rather ass-backwardly discovering a community of which i was already a member had a Twitter presence and becoming a mild case of internet famous for being a “racing llama breeder” (jokingly, of course), just by being myself. Not that any of this is important to this story I suppose but it gives some background. When I finally just reached earnestly into the Twitter-sphere, I realized there were people there doing the same and connections were being made naturally all the time! So in this particular case where it seemed someone else was reaching just like me, the worst thing I could do was slap away his hand.
In the last year I’ve grown so much as a person I sometimes don’t recognize myself from a year ago and yet, I’m still the same person I’ve always been, perhaps now just a bit wiser. It then occurs to me that my only exposure to “A Streetcar Named Desire” is an early Simpsons episode where Marge plays Blanche in a stage musical adaptation. At first I feel ashamed at that fact but that feeling is at odds with my new philosophy so I quickly changed my perspective. I can be a child of pop-culture who tries (laughably) too hard to be funny in an attempt to become internet famous, or I can be someone who uses those little bits of exposure to real art to expand my view and widen my horizons, always learning and forming new connections as I reach out, as myself, becoming a better version of myself along the way.
In truth, my initial response was the most sincere response because it was so specifically something I would do and I’m grateful for every one of my followers on Twitter as they have all helped me grow as a person.