I used to never use the block function on Twitter. People who block were always criticized for not listening to the other side of issues. If you block you’re accused of not being able to back up your argument and sometimes much worse. People who get blocked can get abusive and cruel – you blocked them because you didn’t want to hear the truth etc.
But in the past year or so I’ve come to the realization that my timelines is mine. I am open to disagreements, I’ve been a part of lively debates. But there are people who seem to seek out opinions they disagree with and @ you just to let you know they think you’re wrong. All the while using some choice language and insults.
Like the guy who I don’t follow, who doesn’t follow me, who thinks that Equal Voice is stupid because the best candidate should always win. “Period.”
Dude. Nobody asked you. I don’t disagree that the best candidate should win, but I also know the statistics about encouraging women to run and how women can effect change. That fact is that women can be the best candidates but right now the whole system is set up for them to fail. But I don’t need to have the conversation with you now or ever.
The guy who decided that I needed to know that my views on how the legal system works and what’s wrong with the way it treats victims is “childish.”
Blocked because I don’t know you and I don’t care what you think. I disagree with you wholeheartedly and I don’t need to waste my time engaging you and hearing all about why you think I’m wrong.
I have my own shit to deal with.
So this whole ‘doing my Master’s while working an election campaign and working two other contracts, sometimes three right after my father died’ thing is a bit overwhelming. Add to the pile end of term assignments and a sick little girl and that changes to really fucking hard.
I knew when I started this journey almost two years ago that it wouldn’t be easy, probably in the best of times. Now nearing the end of it all I am rapidly approaching my breaking point.
In fact, today might have been my breaking point. Something that might have been a panic attack after my six year old was sent for a chest x-ray, which was then followed by a minor car accident led to me becoming a weeping mess for a little while tonight.
It’s not just the school work. It’s not just weekly discussions of scheduling to make sure the kid is taken care of at all times. It’s not just that she always seems to be unable to go to school when my husband is also unable to stay home from work. And today when I was literally on my way to class when things went sideways.
I have been letting things pile up on top of me. Letting myself eat my feelings and spend time just sitting when I could have gone for a walk and improved my mood. I have been making mistakes that I know are mistakes. Compounding my problems instead of taking them one at a time.
And I see myself doing it.
And I wonder if I’m asking too much of myself to create changes while everything else is going on or if that’s just another excuse. Because if I was making those changes wouldn’t it all feel easier.
But all the time spent thinking is such a waste. If I could just do.
People tell me I’m brave, I’m strong, they’re proud of me or amazed by what I’m doing. I don’t feel brave or strong. I will feel proud, I think, when I’m done. Even though I know that I’m doing well. I’m succeeding.
Frankly I’m kicking a little bit of ass.
I know that I’m good at what I do. I’m afraid that I will never get the opportunity to really demonstrate that. I’m worried that, despite all evidence, I don’t have what it takes.
Sure, I could remind myself of all the things that I’ve faced down in the past. Including myself. Sure, I could decide to just believe in myself and my abilities. Sure, I could look at all the women that I know are great who also struggled to admit that about themselves.
Maybe soon I will.
I had the opportunity to attend the Manning Centre Conference in Ottawa last weekend. A conference like this is a great opportunity to sit back and listen to how others approach certain issues. A bit of opposition research if you will.
The first and possibly most interesting session was a journalist panel that touched on lessons that communications officials could learn from the previous government.
The Harper government tended to see the media as the enemy. They developed an issues management structure where top stories were treated as crises. Mercedes Stephenson, from CTV’s Parliamentary bureau, said that young Conservative staffers would rarely contact the media while other parties were reaching out. She pointed out the importance of the relationships being built by other staffers while Tory staffers only reached out when there were problems.
By not talking to the media when the media needed them, the Conservatives made it much less likely that the media would listen when Tory staffers needed them to.
In fact, the whole panel touched on building relationships and telling positive stories.
Anthony Furey raised another important point – when you want to talk to the media about your issue, you need to have a story to tell. You need to be prepared to explain what you mean and why it’s important.
That, of course, is excellent advice for anyone in any kind of communications trying to get across any kind of message.