I've been off-line for the past twenty-four hours or so, trying to process a few things. I made a comment on Twitter/Facebook that some people were critical of, and I'll admit the criticisms surprised me. What troubled me is that I thought people who have been part of my online world for the past few years would take what they knew about me and assume that I'm someone who tries to do the best I can to treat people respectfully and that I really try to do my job well. Instead, I encountered some assumptions that I was missing something, that I was in the wrong; therefore, I needed to be told what people assumed I was missing or wrong about. I thought people who did not know the specifics would give me the benefit of the doubt based on the history of what I have written here and elsewhere.
I often question what I post online just like I tell my students they shold be doing. In thinking about that particular comment, I knew how it could be read, but I really did tell myself, "the people who know you online know you get it and that this isn't about you." But that wasn't really the case. In a short time frame, I encountered several criticisms every time I clicked a link to go from Facebook to Twitter to email to elsewhere, and the collective effect stung.
It was probably pretty naive to think that specifics weren't necessary for those who have known me online for a few years to have shot me a "hang in there" or something. And many people did do that. I've tried to let the collective effect of the support outshine the collective effect of the criticisms, but that's hard for me. As I wrote in yesterday's entry, I have long been known as a highly sensitive person. I used to feel ashamed of that. One of the reasons I went into therapy in 2005 was to get a better handle on my emotions and how hard things can hit me. When I ended therapy a few months ago, I had actually learned to celebrate that sensitivity because it has helped lead me to a pretty good place in life.
This entry is not directed at anyone in particular, so I hope no one looks at any comments they might have seen in a specific space and think it's about them. No one has seen it all since no one has read my email. As I said, there were several criticisms that ran the gamut from minor to, frankly, direct and extreme. This entry is just meant to explain what I've been thinking for the past day and why I wrote yesterday's entry, which I've received a couple of kind, concerned questions about. I realized today how it might come across as passive-aggressive, and I didn't mean for that. I thought some clarification was in order.