Rarely do I want to give the anonymous commenters on the internet the ardent satisfaction of calling me on my crap, but if enough people say it, it's time to stop deluding yourself. The thing is... I have some anger problems.
Not the kind of anger that triggers a 0-to-100 reaction of violence. Or the kind that leads me to take regrettable actions beyond making personal and unnecessary jabs, although some could argue the latter is up there with bullying. I'm talking about the kind of anger that results in going back and forth with someone who is A. Comfortable in their own aggressive ignorance, B. Misconstrues something I've said to the point where my message is distorted (Here's the deal: Don't preface your reply to me with "Are you trying to say that..." because I'll just tell you what I want to say), and C. My random need to make myself a victim after I've willing trolled someone who rightfully called me on it. I'm not proud of C, but I've done it... a lot.
I could make a lot of excuses for why I can lash out angrily when someone presses me, but truthfully, it comes from something I'm ashamed to admit: The internet gives me an outlet to be more outspoken with opinions I am sometimes afraid to share with those around me, if for no other reason than them shunning me. On the Internet, I'm Xan Milloh, aka Xzamilloh, aka Xzamilio (apparently, some sites don't like "Xzamilloh"... okay) an outspoken atheist LGBT advocate who is proud of who he is. In real life, I'm Laurence Holliman, a military vet looking for an IT job in a crappy part of Texas, not hiding his sexuality, but surely not broadcasting it.
It comes from growing up cripplingly shy after having every bit of opinion in my young head intimidated and abused out of him to the point where even when someone was blatantly taking advantage of me, I would let them, in some cases even encouraging it out of the hope that they would be friends with me. But, even a pushover like me had his limits, and sometimes, the backbone would stick out and just say "Enough, man. Calling out to Laurence's balls...he needs you two right now. Yes, you too, Lumpy Lefty."
So, then I found the internet, a bastion for geeks, nerds, whores, sports fanatics, and kids like me who could speak his mind without fear. Eventually, it becomes intoxicating, not only having your opinion validated with the number of thumbs up for original comments, but then for the witty retorts to others. However, there's the other side of it that I invited onto myself: The replies back to me.
You see, there are those who can dish but can't take it... to an extent, I'm one of those. I can give out some good zingers, and on some occasions will laugh at potshots at me (if they are good). Then, there are those times when the feels come out and I'm not in the mood for insults or jabs at my expense, so what do I do? Feign offense, make some angry response, and then mute the person, thinking that I've won the argument because I can't see their response. OR... just ignore them altogether, but have that gnawing feeling in my pit that longs to go back to the page and see what they said.
My anger comes from having dreams yet to be reached, and living in a world where I know what I want to do, but reality does not match up to that. To plan your life and envision where your life is, but to have others around you unaware of your aspirations, looking from the outside, looking at a nobody about to be 30 and nothing to show for it.
"You need to calm down, dude." "Why are you so angry, man?" Eventually, a pattern emerges here... you see it, you dismiss it, and then you keep going. I see it constantly though, and by this point, it becomes easy to sift through the genuinely angry comments I leave, and then the ones where I'm at DEFCON 1 in a DEFCON 5 situation. Let it be said, I have very little patience of willful ignorance; we're on the internet, so a lot of shit is just out there to learn, leaving little excuses for stupid, already-answered-ad nauseum questions. Empathy and a little basic self-awareness comes to mind, and it leads me to know when to apologize, when to stop commenting altogether, and when I know I need to take a break and slowly walk away before I become a troll, even though I admit that in some cases I troll with the sole intent of calling some people out.
I think this is something that people face when stepping out into the adult worlds, especially those of us who were bullied and abused: How do we wade the waters between having a voice and being a grade A dick; challenging an opinion or being a grade A dick; not taking crap from someone or being a grade A dick. Granted, my spiel is confined to the Internet. Two deployments, dealing with assholes of all walks of life and simply being too exhausted to pretend to care have all but killed that part of me that used to take guff from others in real life. Plus, if Twitter is any kind of indicator, the best of people can start conversations about Evolution the patriarchal structure of the male dominated politics in America, and have it devolve into "U mad, bro? Yeah, U mad, bro." I'm working on it... I promise
Okay, I'm done.