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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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right. five.
children of dune - leto 1
I remember five, but I want to reframe it.

5.) I have very little about my real life I'd be uncomfortable sharing with my flist under lock, and not that much that I don't have public. I honestly am that boring. But while I can work one way, bring my flist into my real life, I don't like doing it the other way around.

I think this reticence hit me as something I was doing consistently and by choice when the open source boob thing hit and I was with some people, still going over a post I'd read in my head, and someone asked me--you know, I don't even know, what was going on, blah blah blah. But I didn't even think to answer it with what had happened. I don't even know if I actually told something that could pass for being true.

I have absolutely no idea why that divide occurred; I didn't even know I was doing it.

My three oldest and closest friends don't have half the context for anything I do or say that a casual surfer into this lj would, and that's weird. There's also this really uncomfortable suspicion that I may actually act completely differently with them than I do with say, anyone I've met online as far as self-editing goes, because I lose a lot of normal interact filters with people who know I'm curious about how certain sexual positions work and inappropriate lube choices. I'm not even talking about performance art LJ--I mean, I wonder if I dragged any of them to a con with me, if we'd even be able to talk.

You know, this is really my own fault. I need more coffee. Existential identity crises do not occur when something with the word "mocha" in the name is being sipped.

I'm half wanting to ask if anyone else thinks about this, but I'm kind of worried about a resounding silence. That does, in fact, mean I would like validation, please. Thank you kindly.

Yes. This has been true for me for awhile. I have friends in RL that are into fandom, but they are few and far between.

I have a blog for one of my classes I've set up recently. I did not even imagine MENTIONING my fannish activity or this account, and in fact set it up on a different service so that it will not even accidentally intersect.

Mind you, adjectivegirl (high school friend) did say, when I mentioned it, that she didn't find anything "interesting about Supernatural except for the 'cest", but that's because she's awesome like that.

So, there's one or two people who know me in RL who are sympathetic, but not many. And in a way, that's appropriate. This is my... personal life. I mean. I was thinking about discussing it with a faculty member who's very into fannish stuff, and even then... I mean, I could talk about being into SPN, but not fanfiction, or fanfiction, but not slash, or slash, but god, not my username because someone who's my professor, reading the same pron as me and me knowing about it? GAH NO BRAINBLEACH PLEASE! Granted, I've had one or two really, really cool Profs I'd have been ok with it, but they were exceptions that prove the rule.

*nods* That makes so much sense.

I wonder if start value is the answer? IF you meet tehm online, ti's easier to translate into RL, but not the other way around. Which makes sense, actually.

(Deleted comment)
Heh. Yes. From online to IRL is so much easier than the reverse.

Dude. I am much the same, though my information membrane, as it were, is more impermeable both ways. I don't talk about work, I don't talk about really personal family stuff, etc., on the LJ. In turn, I have literally five friends/family members who know I've been to a con, and only my husband, very best friend in the world, and my also-fannish gym buddy know I write or even read fic. There is absolutely no crossover. I live in fear of crossover. I have three good friends - one who I knew from school, and we dragged each other into fandom by accident, and two others I met via fandom/LJ - that know everything about both, and I can talk to them about things I can't talk to *anyone* else about, except my husband (and I try to spare him, usually). Most of the reason those girls and I even started talking is because we're all lawyers/law students - we had a common RL thread.

Short rundown - this post pretty much describes my life. I do think I'm different with non-fannish people. I have no idea if I would get along IRL with fannish people - I suspect I might not, at least with some (just like in real life you don't get along with everyone). I have absolutely lied about why I'm upset when it's about fannish stuff, and absolutely will again. I am completely fine with that. We are all different in different situations and with different people; the fact that it's online doesn't, I think, make it weirder or any less human. I'd act differently around my sorority alumni group than I would around my church choir, which is different than I would act with my law school friends. People have lots of different personae - we all just happen to have online ones, too.

edited for, I hope, greater coherence
So yeah, validated. Me too.

Edited at 2008-09-02 06:17 pm (UTC)

Actually, true, I think--family, grandparents, coworkers, etc. That part I was totally with, but the friends thing did throw me since they aren't situational friends--hmm. Okay, I have no other word I can use there, but if I find one, I will, because that one isn't right.

I think what is really bothering me is that they *should* be at least exposed to overlap between the two, and it's not that I don't even mention it--I'm at least on some level consciously suppressing things, like freaking sudoku. Sudoku. It's like, something I do IRL ends up here if it's interesting, but I could literally write the great American novel and publish and not think to tell anyone that doesn't read my lj.

Oh my God, my LJ is Vegas. Or something.

Okay, I'm not sure that would happen, but it's a weird feeling to realize the amount of self-editing that goes through from what I talk about to what parts of my personality aren't--er, apparent.

I am a lot more shy or at least reserved in person than I am online; I was the woman (with red hair, blue outfit) who came in and sat down while you were discussing online matters with synecdochic on Friday evening during Contxt, but I never managed to summon the nerve to interrupt you long enough to introduce myself.

*winces hugely* God, I'm sorry. I can *really* overfocus sometimes and okay, I'm fairly reticent meeting someone new that I don't talk online with a lot. I'm sorry!

*facepalm* Ack. This is so embarrassing. I'm so sorry. If it's any consolation, twice so far in my RL con expereinces, I have wandered away from a conversation with someone because I had no idea they were talking to me directly and not like, the group. Both, luckily, thought it was deeply funny. In retrospect, it is deeply funny. But still. Embarrassing.

Nobody in my RL knows I'm a fanficcer or slasher. I can talk about lube choices and "those two guys are totally doing it" with many RL friends/family, and a few of them know I write as a hobby. But there's so much context that goes into fanfic. Mpreg, AMTDI, tentacle!fic ... I can shorthand all this with LJ friends and they know exactly where I'm coming from. I'd want to tell a RL friend to lurk on LJ for a few months before even getting into it, you know?

God, imagine that experiment. Vocabulary *alone* would be a few weeks. Not to mention livejournal versus mailing lists versus messageboards versus blogosphere and fandom-wank is at least a sixteen week class....

"Thank you kindly"? You're turning into Benton! Which is actually pretty cool - I have it on good authority that, personality-wise, I'm Buck Frobisher. Which is, you know, interesting. And horrifying.

Resounding "yes" here - I've met a few online people, and am more than willing to meet more, but I don't think any of my actual friends know about my fandom activities. My father is vaguely aware that I'm online participating in a "short-story exchange group," but that's it. I think he's proud that I'm working on my writing, and doesn't really want to know the details. If only he knew.

It's very much a -- I don't know, shame based? For me? I don't think any of my real-life friends would actually care, but there's something very, very nausea-making about even admitting that I write fanfic. It's kind of like writing in general, that old saying about how it's nothing to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterward.

I'd like to clarify that I don't think it *is* shameful - in fact, one of the hilarious things for me is that, after more than a year of reading almost only SGA fic (not even books), I'm now reading published stories and I'm a wee bit underwhelmed by their quality. I'm like, "Well, The Road was OK, but it wasn't nearly as good as And All the World Beneath or Sestinas" (and btw, there really needs to be more SGA-apocalypse fic). That, more than anything, has been a really great benefit of getting into this fandom so completely.

*poking in my nose* That whole thing about being underwhelmed by the quality of published works after reading fanfic? YES!

In middle school and high school I could easily read 50-100 books a year. Now? I'm lucky if I read 5 news ones, I'm not counting the ones I love and reread. I just get so frustrated with what looks, to me, to be big flaws whether in character development or plot development. *cuddles fandom close*

I've thought about it a bit, actually.

I was thinking about this sort of thing, actually, when I was talking with my husband about that "How well do you know your spouse" meme that went around last week.

Everyone with more than a casual relationship with me knows that I have an online journal. The difference is at which URL. 8-)

All the engineers at work have MySpace pages and a friend posted her wedding photos under private lock there, so I joined. Everyone who has that link assumes that's what I'm talking about and I've no reason to correct them. My Myspace has the goofy game applications and photos of us and is a little more...well...a little more mother-in-law and high school reunion appropriate. My "writing" there is stuff like the essays, not fiction. My boss can read my MySpace. I'm good with that, mostly because there is almost nothing there.

But that may be a key as to why I'm comfortable with the separation. I've always been closeted, to one level or another, because of my religion, and while yes, there has normally been someone at each workplace who knows that I return the "Merry Christmas" wishes with a patient "Happy Holidays" of my own, it's not the kind of thing that I have any intention of forcing HR's hand about.

I'm happy staying under the radar, thanks. So keeping my Jenna_Thorn face separate from my J_T face is second nature at this point. Jenna_Thorn is able to be a bit more honest about certain things, a bit more frivolous, quite a bit more fun.

There is some overlap, but really, not a lot.

I've known threnodyjones for nearly longer than I've known the internet, at least non-school usage. She's the one who put a name to the fic I had been writing (the ever-present "fan fic") and introduced me to all sort of sites and such. I have a couple really good friends who know me both here and in RL, but we met through RL fandom-type things in the first place, so I don't know if that changes things or not. There are things that I say/write/post here that I could never get away with in the "real" world and things I really don't think others would necessarily understand. It's like you can be freer, or more yourself, here than you can get away with in the outside world. Maybe it's the sense of being anonymous or maybe it's finding people with similar interests that you can't find anywhere else or maybe it's just knowing that, no matter how weird your own interests are, there is someone else out there that's even stranger and you know this because you found their site.

I do not have this problem nearly as much as most people, as most of my friends are from/went through ASU's science fiction and fantasy social club, THEM. They come/came pretty fannishly inclined in the first place and I take a cruel and evil glee in breaking the baby froshies' brains with, I don't know, not just slash but things like penile inversion. ...I'm making them better! Honest! After they can sit through a conversation with me, and not blink, they can sit through nearly anything. *grin*

But that said, I really, really do not want to bring some folks into my online world. My mother, for one, who continues to be savvier than she has any right to be and yet totally ignorant of the actual culture. She asked me if there was Narnia slash once because it would amuse her to have Lewis rolling in his grave over that. I went "...probably?" and wanted to cry in a corner for like an hour. I continue to assume she meant, like, Peter/Caspian because I DO NOT WANT TO THINK SHE MEANT THE 'CEST. WHICH IS POPULAR. ...WHICH I'VE WRITTEN. WHICH I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT WITH MY MOM, OKAY.

But not just that. Like, work? I do not admit to much of anything at work, actually. I'm not sure they've noticed I'm not straight, actually; it's not that I hide it because I said screw it to the closet years ago, it's just that it comes up surprisingly rarely and in professional contexts I pretty much don't talk about my sexuality at all. Because hi that would be inappropriate, IN A PROFESSIONAL CONTEXT. And similarly, it would be pretty inappropriate to start talking slash. It's hard enough to even just be a fan of a dramatic show at my work; they look at you a smidge funny. Oh, reality TV? Sure. Any and all reality TV is perfectly normal to watch regularly.

And -- yeah. I get that divide. It doesn't come up as *much* for me, but it comes up. I would fucking freak out if I learned that anyone at my work had found my LJ. My facebook, fine, whatever. I have that set up for networking and do not use it fannishly at all. My LJ? Oh, god, THIS IS WRONG. Even if *they* didn't freak out.

ETA: Also, huh. It's interesting to consider. While I do live with people who are just used to my fannish crap, including slash etc., and me being a lunatic writer, the woman I consider my braintwin I met online first and then found out she was local to me and eventually this lead to braintwinnage.

Edited at 2008-09-02 07:13 pm (UTC)

Well, I don't want the people I work with to know, but everybody else in my life does, to some degree or other. I mean, my parents get the blow-by-blow of whatever wank is occurring, or what my latest story is about (up to and including the sekrit incest baby and the Regency Winsister AU), and my dad only got cable internet (finally) because it made remix easier.

My siblings know but don't want to hear about it, though I could happily burble at them for hours, and it's the same for most of my friends who aren't involved in online media fandom. Most of them are fannish in some context or other (sports, mostly), so they get it, even if they don't really get it.

I mean, sometimes I do feel like laughing when a subject comes up that has fannish applications, but I had my dad announce to the assembled family that I write gay porn on the internet, so *shrug* I wouldn't really care if they read my LJ. None of them have any interest in it, though, funnily enough.

while I can work one way, bring my flist into my real life, I don't like doing it the other way around.

Totally. I'm always impressed when people can bring their rl into their fannish life. I'm all over taking fannish friends and making them rl friends. The reverse makes me want to run screaming into the night. I'm talking separation of church and state (if that were actually enforced), Berlin Wall kinda distinctions. My rl people don't know about my journal and hopefully never will.

There's also this really uncomfortable suspicion that I may actually act completely differently with them than I do with say, anyone I've met online

I do. Absolutely. Fandom is another culture entirely. If you want to bring your rl people into it - or even just introduce them - they're gonna have to go through a whole cultural literacy program. I mean, the jargon alone is intimidating. (And what's amusing is that we don't even realize how much jargon there really is, how many everyday things to us are purely fannish and would leave the uninitiated blinking in confusion).

As an aside, back in film school my Intro to TV prof did a section on slash as part of her 'fannish culture' segment of the class. The class had probably 300 people in it and I just laughed and LAUGHED at their reaction. It was complete blank-out. The prof actually did a really good job at defining slash and simplifying it for the everyday media consumer...and the reaction was still all twitters and confused expressions and 'wtf?'

It's a culture. It's like Americans getting dropped into England. Sure, we all speak the same language, but that doesn't mean we'll understand half the nuances of daily interaction.

There's a lot here that resonates for me. I first came into fandom via an RL friend -- sanj, who I've known for years, ever since college -- and for a long time, fandom was a thing that was part of our lives but not part of the lives of our other friends in our general tribal circle. This is a tribe of geeks, to be sure; many are gamers; many are fans of the various SF sorts of shows that often get fannishly adopted. But in my head, "fandom" was a different space on the Venn diagram of my life.

And then lj messed up all my neat boundaries. *g* My RL friends started getting on lj, and at first I had these weird sort of panic attacks every time one of them friended me. Like: were they going to see me differently, be uncomfortable around me, knowing that I write gay porn in my spare time? Over time I mellowed out about this, both because it became clear that some of my RL friends just weren't going to click on those cut-tags...while others were going to start reading, commenting, and diving into yuletide with glee and great abandon. :-)

I do still perceive some cultural differences in how my geek friends, and my fannish friends, use lj. (We're better at it. *g*) [ETA: "We" here meaning "fandom."] But on the whole, there's been a blurring of boundaries there thanks to lj, and that's turned out to be awesome.

(I also have a Professional Online Life which is entirely separate from all of this fannish stuff. I don't use the same email address, hell, I don't use the same browser for that part of my life! But that's a different issue for me altogether, having to do with separating my Work Life from Where I Go For Fun [tm].)

Edited at 2008-09-02 08:10 pm (UTC)

I think about LJ meta all the time, especially lately because I've made a lot of friends through LJ, some of whom are not particularly fannish people. I have multiple groups of readers, and I generally don't use filters. Any anonymity I may once have had, has generally degraded as I get to know more and more LJ people--the two worlds are intersecting more and more. The only exceptions are work people and family, but I suspect that may degrade over time as well.

There's also this really uncomfortable suspicion that I may actually act completely differently with them than I do with say, anyone I've met online as far as self-editing goes, because I lose a lot of normal interact filters with people who know I'm curious about how certain sexual positions work and inappropriate lube choices.

I share that fear, absolutely. I'm at the stage where almost all of my friends (apart from one met at work, and she's as much of a dork as me, so there's not a lot of filtering going on there) are fannish people i've met via LJ and types that, y'know, get the occasional urge to start thinking about gay porn positions and if John would conceivably be that flexible.

And i get not wanting Real Life to be invited into online life because... well, the fannish types you meet online? They know about these tendencies before you meet them and don't disagree with the whole porn thing (in fact, they'll encourage you. very vocally.). Real life people... might accept it, or might think you're a freak.

*doesn't read other comments*

I do the same thing. There is some filter both ways, though, so perhaps not as extreme...?