It is easy for me to lay the blame for our society’s burgeoning lack of social graces on the burgeoning popularity of social media, but I do know better. Yes, as a whole it does appear as if we have all colluded to pretend we were not taught better than we are doing, but I am aware that all our access to and dependence on the media platforms do is afford us the stage to display said lacking behavior.
Know what else I find incredibly interesting? Our shirking of good manners is not dedicated solely to what we may post/tweet or IG. No, many are walking around flouting that behavior off the air waves. Which, when I think of it actually make sense, because to get it there, it needs to be manifested everywhere. Shame! So, this great Sunday morning that the Universe has seen fit for us to enjoy, I feel compelled to reintroduce some of you to what your parents may have neglected, but what I am sure your grandparents may have insisted on (and no, not these new-fangled spare-the-rod-spoil-the-child grandparents; I’m talking about the ole-school grannies and grand-pas!) – etiquette. Let’s address this…
Now, the reason I seemed to charge social media as an accessory to this offense is simple – they (social media platforms) have branded themselves so very well, it seems many of us are unable or unwilling to get through much of our days without checking in. We seem incapable of keeping our goings-on off the pages and as such, there is a tendency to over-dramatize, to sensationalize. Gossip has gotten to an all time high (or low, depending on perspective) and the need and freedom to invade the privacy of others are commonplace.
Let me make this personal – this blog notwithstanding, I am an incredibly private woman. And, because I protect myself and the people and things dear to me so very ferociously, I afford the same right to privacy to those around me. Because I consider it my right to determine when, where and how information that pertains to my life – the people in it, the actions, the reasons, the decisions – is disseminated, I reciprocate the same respect to others. What I am finding is that there is a culture that gives themselves permission to ignore social graces, to attempt to delve into the lives of others, for no other reason than nosiness and gossip. People asking for information that is sensitive, personal and quite frankly, none of their business!
Here’s the thing about me – I truly do not care about a lot. Okay, let me clarify – I care about too much; but there are certainly things that happen in others’ lives that are none of my business and garnering knowledge or details of it will not make it any more so. Shit… there are things in my god dammed life that are none of my business, much less yours! But it seems because we have settled into an existence that is constantly put on display (our own little brand of “celebrity”), we expect that everyone around us has tacitly agreed to lay bare theirs. We treat all conversations as Tweetable fodder and all actions as YouTubeable. Shame.
I have always insisted that my life is treated as private; as mine. I have never, nor will I ever acquiesce to the notion that because I step out into the public – whether physically or verbally – my right to privacy or choice is forfeited. I’m ole school – I believe that I can wear the short skirt without being raped! But what’s happening now is people are blurring the lines between their need for attention and sensationalism and my right to privacy. It seems as if the brilliance of social media has somehow convinced everyone that they now carry an “all access pass” into all arenas; at all times.
Let me wrap this up before I am tempted to take a selfie to document my sitting on my bed and exactly what I wear to write… as if you give a fuck!
What I’m saying is, we need to stop indulging in nonsensical conversations and gossip. We need to respect the privacy of others and allow them to determine what information they would like to share, how and when. We need to stop taking the choices away from people. We need to get better at differentiating those that are media-whores from those that are simply living their lives and their purpose. We need to allow folks their autonomy. We need to recognize that sitting in public does not translate to access from the public. We need to wait for those around us to volunteer the parts of their lives they may choose to share and stop attempting to delve.
Yes, this is important to me; in part because I have been falling prey to people’s uninvited intrusion into my life. Some have been mistaking my openness and honesty for an invitation to pry and have been lacking the respect to privacy that a woman my age and stage in life demands. They have been confusing the shortness of my skirts with permission to fondle.
Listen, I invite people into my life – I have invited you. I have embarked on a course of action, with this blog and certainly at many times throughout my day, that demands I leave a lot of my innards bare, lay it out for you. Not only do I enjoy it, it happens to be an integral part of who I am and what I know my destiny to be. But in spite of that… or perhaps because of that, it is necessary that I find pockets of spaces that are just mine, all mine – places and times that I can plug in to recharge – in an effort to ensure I can continue to get it up and put out. Spaces, public though they may be, that are respected as my right. Physical, verbal and emotional hiatuses…