Do you feel like you need to be asked to join the conversation? Do you feel like you need (or want) to appear meek to be accepted in it? What parts of the conversation read as vital to to you and are there subjects and threads that strike you as irrelevant BS?What great questions!
There are a lot of dynamics behind the answers to these questions. A lot of my responses to online and face-to-face conversations are feelings and perceptions based on layers of internal and external dynamics. I can't express them coherently and objectively. I can only relate general impressions. So, please take what I say in that vein as I answer these questions.
Do you feel like you need to be asked to join the conversation?
The short answer: Yes.
Part of this is my being an introvert (in the Meyers-Briggs sense), and strongly so. Go here for more information about introversion to get a better idea of what it is.
The other part may bear explaining.
A lot of the guys (and they're overwhelmingly male) on the theater blogosphere are frankly brilliant. They have Very Big Thoughts about Very Important Things, and I often don't. Often, the theater blogosphere seems like a private conversation taking place in public. I generally don't get the impression that they think I have something to add to the conversation.
Also, the popular theater bloggers have rigorous intellects, and they express themselves clearly and forcefully. They often hone their ideas through debate. For me, debate is an emotional boxing match because I rarely talk at length about things that don't mean anything to me. (That's why I don't play Devil's Advocate, especially when dealing with substantial issues as opposed to passing fancies. To me, it's disrespectful to treat people's beliefs and experiences like toys.) Often I get the sense that these guys only respond to a challenge of some kind. I'm not knocking it. It's just how they usually make connections with ideas and each other. It's not that I don't have thoughts. I just don't think anyone would care, so why waste space to say something that no one will respond to?
Furthermore, I communicate in a very water-like way. My natural way of perceiving the world, understanding my experiences and expressing myself incorporates precision, depth, and subtlety. The English language is a cumbersome tool to do that. We don't have words like yugen that express an ethereal, complex idea in a concise way. So, it's often a struggle for me to express a question or idea in the way I conceived it.
Do you feel like you need (or want) to appear meek to be accepted in it?
Yes. But it's society in general, not theater blogosphere in particular, that does this. I don't compartmentalize my life, so a lot of that baggage goes from one public space into another.
I often feel like I have to accentuate being non-threatening. I'm not an aggressive person. I don't go out of my way to make people feel self-conscious. But let's be real. I'm a big, bald, Black woman. I'm threatening even if I'm sitting in a corner reading a book. People often assume I'm stupid and violent until I "prove" otherwise. The only way I can "prove" that to their satisfaction is to be as acquiescent as possible. So, if I give the tiniest criticism, if I feel less than eternally perky, if I set the smallest boundary, I'm no longer treated like person with her own preferences and experiences, but the Angry Black Bitch. Either these people have not met any genuinely nasty people, or they're only noticing "attitude problem" because I'm Black, and we all know that Black women have attitude problems. Nothing that anybody says or does has any effect on how we respond. No, Siree.
Excuse my while I roll my eyes and suck my teeth.
One of the things that is most exasperating for me to deal with is when people talk down to me when they clearly don't understand or haven't listened to what I'm saying. I have yet to master the art of hiding my irritation at this, so that means I'm "unfriendly."
What parts of the conversation read as vital to you and are there subjects and threads that strike you as irrelevant BS?
It's not the subject but the approach that can turn me on or off. I think my response to the first question applies here too.