Thursday, June 25, 2015

Feeling My Age in the Blogging Community

feeling my age in the blogging community.

The great part about the blogging community and YA in general is that it’s accessible by people of all different ages and from all different backgrounds. I love that every day, I’m able to share my love for reading and chat with so many interesting people. It’s one of my favourite parts about blogging. But sometimes, there are moments when I just feel incredibly young.

Which I suppose I am. At 15, I’m definitely on the younger spectrum of book bloggers but a lot of times, it just doesn’t feel that way. Partly because I tend to think of myself as older than 15 (but also sometimes I feel like 5 so I don’t know, age is a very strange thing for me) and also partly because ANOTHER great part about this community is that age rarely plays a big factor into anything. I know for me at least, it’s not something that comes to mind when I’m tweeting someone or commenting on a blog (or at least NOT OFTEN but I will get into that more later). I don’t think “OH is this person older than 18 because then it’d be a little weird for me to tweet them” before I tweet someone. That’s just not something I think and I LOVE that. I love that I’m able to communicate with so many awesome people, many of whom I would probably not get a huge chance to talk to if I knew them in real life. So it’s pretty awesome that the community is so inclusive and embracing that even at 12, when I started blogging, I didn’t feel super overwhelmed by everyone because everyone’s just so nice.

But I’d also be lying if I said it didn’t sometimes bug me that I’m so much younger than a lot of other bloggers. It’s more a personal feeling that I get. I’ve never been that person who’s like super comfortable with parents or teachers and I just mean that in the sense that usually my conversations with a parent or a teacher lies in the “polite” realm. On the other hand, I do know a lot of people who are very personable all the time, whether they’re talking to a peer or someone older than them, and can make friends with anyone even if that someone is a teacher or a parent. And for me, that’s just not a quality of mine. It’s not that I’m scared of my teachers or parents of other people or that I ONLY talk to teenagers and everyone else is excluded. It’s just that for me, there’s always been somewhat of an uncomfortable barrier between me and then people that are technically my “authorities”. I mean, to clarify, OBVIOUSLY you’re not going to talk to your teachers the way you talk to your friends. Like you’re not going to swear in front of them (most of the time) or swear at them or do any of the other things you do with your friends that would be inappropriate to do with a teacher but in the realm of casual conversation, that’s something that is appropriate that I still feel uncomfortable with.

And I don’t know exactly why that is – I think I probably need more time to think it out – but maybe a little bit of it is just that I always feel like a dumb teenager because I feel like adults or people who aren’t teens always have a perception of teenagers being kinda careless and ignorant of others. Which is true to an extent I suppose. Your teen years are kinda the years when you’re hyper-focused on yourself and I do know / have seen teens be a public nuisance and I recognize that I am, at times, a nuisance myself though I try really hard not to be. But yeah, I would definitely say a part of that perception leaks into my actions as I try really hard to be the opposite of that. But it still leaves me all self-conscious and that often leaks into other parts of my life like blogging, for instance.

Like as an example, sometimes when I go to tweet something, if I think about it too hard, I get a little self-conscious. Like I kinda think all my tweets are incredibly inane anyway so when I think about it too hard, it’s like oh there are people who are following me who know a lot more than I do / have more experience / are more mature / are older / are wiser who probably just think this is so stupid, who think that I’m stupid and YES I PROBABLY SHOULD DELETE THAT TWEET RIGHT NOW BECAUSE NO ONE CARES.

Sometimes, I shy away from commenting on blogs too if I feel like it’s maybe a bit more directed to an adult audience. Like even if it’s still about YA books, a more adult-directed YA book blog? There are a couple that I really love but just seeing in the comments that there are a lot of adults, it kinda makes me cower into my corner a little and I don’t comment. It’s not ageism, I don’t only communicate with people my age, but something about being the one teenager amongst a sea of older, more mature and wiser adults makes me feel insecure about myself because I start thinking about how I stand out like even if the blogger didn’t know me beforehand, they’d surely be able to tell from the quality of my comment that I was a teen; my comment isn’t as valuable because I’m not as intelligent / experienced with life stuff; maybe the blogger would think it’s weird and think I’m a crazy stalker when they see a teenager reading their more adult-directed book blog.

IT’S SUPER RIDICULOUS I KNOW. Especially when all of the bloggers I have talked to have been so kind and friendly, regardless of their age. There have been amazing bloggers I’ve met younger than me, the same age as me (or roughly) and older than me – sometimes ten years, sometimes twenty years, sometimes more.

So yes I know it’s absolutely bizarre and ridiculous that I should feel this way especially when I have been given no reason to feel this way but anyway.

I guess there really isn’t a point to this post except to say that sometimes I feel out of place in this community because I’m really really young. And other times I feel young in this community, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Basically just file this under “random feelings Annie has about blogging / reading that are totally random and don’t end up actually having any importance or meaning”.

But I’m also curious: do any of you feel out of place in the community due to your age? Like now that you’ve heard my side of the story and my feelings, I’m wondering – am I the only one who feels this way? Like as if my age is almost a hindrance, if not in reality but personally, for me when I’m communicating with other people who are most of the time older than me. Whether you’re in your teens like me or in your twenties or your thirties or your forties or even if you’re in your hundreds (!!!), can you speak to this? Is this a common feeling for you as well? Or has this never occurred to you?

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