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Same as You Are: Personalities Traits Online

i had myself a bit of a rant

I consider myself a fairly reasonable person. I want to understand both sides; it’s part of how I make sense of the world. If I enter an argument online I do it the same way. I don’t change a fundamental part of my nature because I become anonymous. I am the same.

I often hear, or read, that people online are so awful. I hear that anonymous users online say the worst things. They contribute in the nastiest battles. They terrorize. They group together to yell. They say things they would never say in real life. They’re worse humans. They look at filth; they are filth. But, this, is not so.

People do not suddenly change their compositions, their natures, because they’re in front of a keyboard. The same person who types from behind a wall of identity protection also speaks the same way in a bar. It is not two different people who sit down to type and sit down to eat with their families. Like in all things humans alter their course with circumstance, mood, attitude, and ambiance. But to say you’re not responsible for your actions online, or to say people are worse online, is ridiculous. It dodges the same moral responsibility as saying the drunkard bears no blame for his crimes or the angry for their words.

Those who are rude and belligerent online possess those same attributes offline as well. One might feel freer with one’s speech or actions. For the same reason flings seem easier on vacation. You know these people will disappear, and you don’t have to deal with immediate consequences on your immediate social circle. In the same way a casual comment about the vlog poster’s hideous shirt gets voiced. There can be no personal confrontational repercussions. There are rude people everywhere. The internet just keeps better track of them with the written word. Imagine if every bar fight was transcribed to a chatroom, there might be calls of indecency or rudeness, calls for bannings of bars.

Quit telling me people online are worse because they don’t have accountability, or they think they’re untouchable. If people act socially reprehensible online, it’s because they are acting socially reprehensible. They’re breaking the social guidelines of the website just like they would be breaking cultural norms if they were speaking their minds to their friends. The medium of the internet is their outlet. Those people get banned or called out, and rarely lauded, just like in normal crowd settings. The difference between the internet and face to face interaction is that anyone can see it, so it’s all up for grabs, instead of selective communities only hearing what their friends have to say.

I know this is an immensely complicated issue, because it deals with complex social-cultural interaction. I’m dealing with a small aspect. I’m just tired of hearing, the internet is a horrible place when I’m watching news video footage of bombings from all over the world.

10 Poems in 20 Minutes (Feb. 8th)

I Wrote 10 Poems in 20 Minutes
Day February 8th

Poem 1:
What is this thing over there?
I didn’t not want it there.
It should not be.
This won’t end well.
This new dog that follows me.
I like her. I shouldn’t.
I do not want to like her.
She is not the kind of dog I like,
Not fuzzy, or warm.
She’s skiddish and jumpy and fast.
I’ll do something wrong,
I’ll hurt her on accident.
She won’t like me best,
She’ll like the people that feed her.
I’m not getting attached.

Poem 2:
I hadn’t realized I’d heard it all before.
I’ll get better,
He says.
It’ll just be like this for a little while.
Just wait.
I don’t believe him.
I don’t want to believe him.
Because I told myself,
Stop changing people.
So I take them as they are,
I only sigh,
And try and decide to be calm.

Poem 3:
He makes a joke.
He waits for the laugh.
He says it again,
Maybe you didn’t hear him.
If they laugh this time,
He’ll save it,
He’ll use it later,
Because he made them laugh.
They look at him,
If he makes them laugh.

Poem 4:
I don’t want a child.
I don’t want what’s inside my head passed on.
The suicidal nature running along my family branches,
Maybe those can stop with me.
But I’ll wait for someone to change my mind,
I’ll wait for the swaying argument,
I can’t defend.
Because I think,
My brain will have nothing to do with the matter.

Poem 5:
Find me somewhere to go,
Where I can just sit.
I can wrap my arms around my knees,
And be given my coffee in peace.
They’ll know my name.

Poem 6:
Talk to me please.
I want to tell you everything,
But you,
You won’t listen,
And you’ll shrug me off,
And not hear.
I need the next person I tell me to,
To remember,
Like the rest forgot to.

Poem 7:
No matter who I’m talking to,
I imagine it’s you.
And I feel safer.

Poem 8:
He’s going to be telling me
For the rest of my life,
The same things he says now,
Every week,
He’ll tell me how to improve.
And I can’t stop it.
I’ll always need to be fixed.

Poem 9:
They want their ashes –
Comingled –
After they die.
I couldn’t stop laughing.
What if someone’s femur is in there on accident too?

Poem 10:
I loved it when it rained.
Now it makes me sad.
When I don’t have a home,
I’ll get wet and cold,
And have nowhere to go.

10 Poems in 20 Minutes (Day Forty)

I’ve been doing this for forty days in a row. The flood waters have stopped raining. Four hundred poems in forty days. Goodness me.

I Wrote 10 Poems in 20 Minutes
Day 40

Poem 1:
Kim, they adored
Manicured makeup and bouncing
Steered without morals
Told us
She drove on the highway
Straight as far as she could
Eyes closed
See how long she lasted
Forty seconds
Smiling, they thought, cool

Poem 2:
You think you’re alone?
Any feeling you’ve felt
Someone has held before
I worry it’s too easy to manipulate
Especially the uneducated unlearned
Who can’t tell the difference
Between opinion and thought
There we are same.

Poem 3:
Walked while they ran
On this trail between houses
Paved with gravel and ducks and geese
A homeowner left out a bench
Weary resters welcome
A place to sit for the moving
Right alongside the cars
Even the muddy water
Right along

Poem 4:
Girls in yoga pants, tie up boots and long tees
Took me aback and back
Your shoes are scuffed
No one notices a shabby girl
We who don’t buy on sale

Poem 5:
Early memories trace to
Why I think I do this’s
I popped a grand biscuit in half
Buttered it with the right knife
Stabbed it back in the pot
They laughed at me
Drugged out one sitting cattycorner
Called out butternose
I ran upstairs crying in the bathroom
Only unshared room
They all had to apologize
I said little so they couldn’t laugh again
For something I didn’t know yet
I should

Poem 6:
He told us
I bet you all think you’re morbid
All thought about your own deaths
Who’d be at your funeral if you died like
Right now
He had us then
Because he spoke truth
To those who’d never heard it
Applied to them

Poem 7:
No teacher singled me out
To say
Look how great you are
Not a one
I under-radared
Not the smartest, nor the f
Spoke when asked
Quiet when should
The celebrated

Poem 8:
I thought when I got to school
Oh all these smart people
Who wouldn’t laugh at reading
Would have backed up opinions
Suave smart
But instead
They were louder
I just accidentally agreed with them more often
Louder now there were more of them
Who had something to say

Poem 9:
Don’t tell me to calm down
You won’t excuse my anger
On a phrase
For what you did to cause it

Poem 10:
If they could take my shoes
To say
Where she’s been
Walked one thousand four hundred seventy one steps
On her way from home to the car
She moved three miles on swing set
She chased after you in yards
And years
Hoping for the next corner
To stop
Then I could measure how long I’ve wasted
And finally have a good reason to cry

10 Poems in 20 Minutes (Day Thirty)

I’ve written ten poems in twenty minutes for thirty days in a row. That means I’ve written three hundred poems. It seems impossible. Points to anyone who’s read them all.

10 Poems in 20 Minutes
Day 30

Poem 1:
To find a place to sit
Answer to no one
Rock in a chair
Feel less constant guilt

Poem 2:
When he or she is goodmooded
I sneer
Waiting for the anger to return
Because the happy makes the mad worse
I know it’s there waiting

Poem 3:
She said how are you
For just a second I thought
Maybe she cared
Duty to ask
Dutiful answer

Poem 4:
She was the envy of the other housewives
Not because she had no husband
But because his sorry-death money
Meant she didn’t have to work

Poem 5:
I use to yell at myself
When I change my mind
When I sit and stare
When I don’t know
Not good enough

Poem 6:
It’s all going to go like this
Forever I’ll be waiting for next
And these same fears will stick with me
Problems now, issues later
I’m never going to resolve
Just end
I’d like to exchange my fears and hopes for someone else’s cards
Just to try them out
See if their hand gives me more peace of mind

Poem 7:
If I had my confidence now
When I sat down at the new lunch table
I would have sauntered
Made friends
Not sat with my plastic bag
And ants

Poem 8:
Threadbare doesn’t make sense to you
Until you’ve felt it on your skin
Then the wind

Poem 9:
That damn stupid dog
She can’t stand to eat now
Her paw curls under
Broken neurons or whatever
Bone and brain cancer maybe
She’s doped up
She cried on the floor of the kitchen in front of her food
Stop watching me wait for her to die

Poem 10:
I dip my hand in my head. Pull up a memory.
It’s a good one, I remember.
Grandpa convinced me that watermelon seeds would grow in my belly.
I got so nervous, but no one would tell me truth, they just laughed.
And I was still so careful to avoid the black pellets, in case.
The tablecloth was blue and stained, my bowl with the heart and dot print.
I remember all the times I’ve pulleyed this one to the surface.
Each time with a grim sort of smile.
First realizing he was teasing.
Next figuring out many people tease children.
Then seeing I was pretty little.
Hearing the myth about seeds growing many times.
Knowing in class that seeds don’t grow in bellies, acid.
Understanding that teasing, for him, showed caring.
Missing relatives.
As if the memory is less important than all the times I’ve remembered it.
I follow my thoughts, grow with my stomach size.

10 Poems in 20 Minutes (Day Twenty-Eight)

Here I am twenty-eight days later no closer to solving my problems, but still writing sillies.

10 Poems in 20 Minutes
Day 28

Poem 1:
It’s coming back I think
That’s what really scares
Because I went through it before
I don’t want it back
What keeps you from getting awake

Poem 2:
Last night it rained
Shook the house
The whole house
I put my hand on the wall to feel the shudders
I smiled and curled in the corner

Poem 3:
I want to say oh god I need a drink
But the thought stays where it is
All my bottles stand half empty in a cupboard
Drunk from some boy from some party
Because I’m scared if I listen this once
I won’t have a choice next time

Poem 4:
Sex ed taught in a Christian school
Our Bible teacher asked who’d started
Miss fishface with golden hair
Everybody raised their hands
Not me and Caitlin
They drew attention to us
These outcasts, for our bodies not working right yet
Next year, when her hand went up my hand did too
I screamed at my body what’s wrong with you

Poem 5:
I’m just putting off the conversation
To have with myself
It says
Here’s what you need to do
I just keep drifting without leaving the house

Poem 6:
He sent me a letter with the money
Look at all the strings
He told me in form all the wrongs and rights ahead
He got the right name and not my sisters
He wrote with pastor voice
Saying you must and why aren’t you
I twindled it up and set it on fire in my kitchen sink
No confrontation just ignorance

Poem 7:
I ate honeyed cheerios with a black plastic spork
The dying dog howeled early and woke me
Sleep evaded
So I balmed myself with grains and oats
Soothed with food
Because that’ll do

Poem 8:
He told our mother he’d buy us new dresses
2nd hand, off hand
I wore it, stained with brown spots on the curled up white thick lace collar
They all told us how pretty we looked
I learned, good people lie

Poem 9:
She dismissed me out of hand from her presence
Because he was from West Virginia
Saying go make your own friends
How do I do that
No one told me
Why can’t I stay with you safe
She laughed down at me
Turned my shoulders
And sent me down

Poem 10:
Car drives one hour and fifteen minutes
One house to the other
NPR rattled
I stared out the windows
She read in the back
Or talked to dad about
Oh you wouldn’t understand yet

10 Poems in 20 Minutes (Day Twenty-One)

Twenty one days, if my days were years, my poems-a-day could officially drink.

10 Poems in 20 Minutes
Day 21

Poem 1:
I know
For sure
One thing and that’s it
And on every other day, I doubt I know that

Poem 2:
Six lanes of us all glided at the same speed
Our gilded cars together made something beautiful
We all swam together
We created a moving along congruously
For today, for now, we knew who was there
And we took for granted we all existed

Poem 3:
One Cajun place has the best bread
It’s got some sort of orange oil and spices
I don’t even think they make the bread there
But it’s good bread
I’d buy just the bread
I’d bring it to parties and be famous

Poem 4:
She spoke from Spain
Asking me to check her English
How do you correct a person a head of you

Poem 5:
We sat around a make shift circle on the short fuzzy gray carpet
Playing cards
With a dozen or so, double decked, decked out with colored vodka
I looked up and figured out that I was having a nice time
And couldn’t concentrate the rest of the night

Poem 6:
I told him my story
As succinctly as I could
He said, and I quote
I’m sad for you

Poem 7:
Let’s record me
So that records people in a hundred years can watch and catalogue us
So someone else can see my face
Then see my face looks just like

Poem 8:
They don’t tell you when you’ve done something uncouth
They stop talking to you and look away
And move their jaws like dog’s with peanut butter
Why didn’t someone tell me not to use that phrase or say
That’s an odd thing to do, people will look at you funny
It would have made me better

Poem 9:
Point where I can’t move
Frozen from guilt, shame, fear, paranoia, embarrassment, aghast
My eyes bug out
I have to say it’s ok to myself
And count the number of fingers connected to my palm
Then I can go back to more eyes and ears stuff

Poem 10:
The old boss man guy who was in charge of my work
Asked if I might drive him down to pick up his car it was
Only a few blocks down
And I stepped into the car
After meeting someone I knew and he didn’t
To drive the feet
I had to hike the beige pencil skirt so I could steer right
He looked at my leg. I saw him look. He saw me see him.
So I turned to drive.

My Mom

i wrote this raw in about three minutes flat. i thought you should know.

I’ve had a realization, I have
My mother isn’t a supremely good mother
The problem is that she’s always said she’s a good mother
But really, one the face of the thing
She never made time for us
And it makes a certain amount of sense
Her mother would say to them
Do you know what I’ve given up for you kids
And my mother determined to never do that
So she hasn’t
Instead she’s been absent
That’s all right
But it’s not good
And she insists that she is good and all she does is good
But really, not really
She wasn’t there
And I can’t tell her that because she’ll feel guilty
And I hate when she feels guilty because it comes out as anger toward the person she’s near
That person would be me
And I don’t want her continual anger over a long period of time
You cannot correct her
You live with her ways or you mutter silently and keep your head

I needed more time
She gave me light and water and food but no presence
And left me alone
I’m no good alone
But now I’m used to alone
So I’m accustomed to being miserable and there’s no way around it
I have to get out of this house.

She will berate you
Then tell you to talk
Then criticize what you say
Then argue with you that what you said was wrong
Then tell you what you should have said instead
Then get mad at you for not speaking
So I try not to talk
And get yelled at for being taciturn
I’m building a nest of venom in my mouth
And I’m worried that what I’m holding back will turn into normality and I won’t be able to speak my mind articulately ever again
She doesn’t notice what people need or remember that she did indeed have three children. You do not make time for me at the end of your day.
I give you time. Freely. I am not an obligation.
To be made to feel as though seeing me is another thing on a checklist is degrading.
It’s saying I don’t want to see you for you
I want to see you because I must.
I have a duty to fulfill and you’re it.
I have to get out of here.

That’s what she wants from you a remission of guilt
Indebted to her
So that you wait for her
And she gets to hold all your strings
And pulls whichever one will get her what she needs at exactly the right moment
If you don’t, well, then, of course that’s fine
Of course