Something really hit me the other day. I wondered why people could find me so abrasive online but moderately pleasant, may I say it- or even pleasant in real life! Imagine what people decide to think about me without ever meeting me in person! There's nothing to lose exactly, unless the person cares to have a genuine perception of me.
Now that the marriage equality campaign has died down, I feel more open to talk about it in retrospect; from the angle of the emotional responses I got to my posts. My mind was wondering why so many people were misconstruing where I was coming from. I was making efforts to bring new things to the conversation from a blatant point of view of an adopted person who is also Christian. I would not call myself a holy roller, but I do stick to my beliefs whether or not people agree or approve. I don't expect others to join in... that was never my expectation.
Now- I am finishing a Literature class on campus and the professor is without being "open about it" lesbian and has been open about encouraging us to read materials with homosexual content. I wore my cross every class and was open about being Christian without preaching. Despite my awkwardness with this content, I took it in stride and tried to understand that perspective more. I also appreciated the fact that she wanted us to increase our awareness of sexual violence. I was respectful and gained her confidence in me as a honest to goodness person- even me in my full pregnant glory. She has made very pleasant comments like "I know you got this, Meredith" and I took her joking "Don't have the baby in my class, Meredith" in stride. I was even able to write a journal entry that disagreed with her prompt- but rather than negating her idea, I brought up that perhaps the bigger backdrop was of the drinking culture. I'd feel more than confident that this lesbian professor would write a great letter of recommendation for me if I asked her to.
On the other hand, there was another female student in front of me that said some very inappropriate things (I call them less offensive and more making her look like an ass) and she was brought to the college administrative council and kicked out of the class. I saw this particular student as invoking anger. She clearly did not shut her mouth at key times.
There is this illusion that the internet is sufficient, or second hand knowledge is sufficient to make our own decisions on other people. Perhaps that is why I usually refrain from getting involved with politics. There is the real person- then the "managed impression" of the person on the ballot. I am comfortable liking people that other people don't enjoy. I clearly had a different experience with that particular person... but I'm glad I didn't take someone's word for it.
Even in my online discussions for college, I tend to try to add some new thought to a debate or discussion; it doesn't necessarily mean that I'm more gungho on a topic but that I don't want to be redundant and want to broaden the conversation- for intellectual content. I'm not a "jump the bandwagon" person. I'm pretty confident that if you knew me in person or even in combination with online, you'd get the most genuine impression of me... take it or leave it. I actually enjoy our differences. =)