Following the little Twitter reaction from my last update, I decided to put myself through something a little uncomfortable today. Not walking over hot coals, not admitting some horrible trauma or social issue, but something that just I haven’t liked to do.
I don’t know what to ‘do’ online anymore.
If you’re bothered enough to read this written form of my internal dilemma, then be prepared for some possible self-indulgence and/or unchecked (or already self-aware) privilege. Still, continue if you dare.
There was a time when I wrote almost daily. I had a blog that somehow got nominated a few times for an Irish Blog Award, wrote from everything from a day out with friends to hard-hitting articles on LGBT issues to Irish-language debates. Those topics once defined me, I pinned my identity to them, and I guess I got noticed as a result.
That started when I was a teenager; I started Dialann Scott as a way to practice my Irish writing outside of the typical school homework tasks. Fast forward a few years, and I mixed my writing with my interest in the media to appear in various Irish-language newspapers and on some radio shows. I had the free time and energy to be creative, but with no regular job, I still lived at home. While I was hoping to be found and made into some D-list Irish celebrity (without knowing exactly what I’d be a celebrity for), my peers were moving on with their new careers, moving out of home, and getting out into the real world.
Once I caught up, the blogging started to die off. I managed to keep up the poetry, which thankfully eventually culminated in the publication of Fás | Growth, but that took ten years of the occasional poem. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still proud of it and The Irish Outlander, but I’m aware that the drive to blog is no longer there, now that I’ve started my thirties, complete with day job, live-in boyfriend, and new home in a different city.
So, in that sense, you’d think that I’ve loads to write about. Maybe I do, but if I were to be completely honest (and here come’s the uncomfortable part), I think I don’t blog because I don’t care. About anything, really, anymore.
I have my life, my friends, my happiness, my man, and I’m happy. Genuinely happy, more than I have been in years, if not ever. If I can take a Queer Eye style moment of self-appreciation, I love who I’ve become and how I’ve learned from the trials and tribulations of my twenties to come through stronger, wiser, and hopefully a little better as a person. Despite all that, however, I rarely think of anything important or moving enough in my life to write/blog about.
Also, maybe this is an Irish thing, but I no longer think I’m important enough to be blathering about my life; who really cares about some gay guy who writes a bit and used to be on the radio?
And therein lies the dilemma; part of me misses having an active platform, and a brand associated with it (despite that brand always being a little rough around the edges). The other part of me thinks I should’ve left the stage ages ago, and crept away into the darkness, like some anonymous online comments used to suggest.
One programme I’ve really loved lately is Queer Eye, which reminds us all to love who we are, what our natural talents are, and to put our best foot forward as much as we can, both for the sake of ourselves, and our loved ones. It’s advice that we all know, on the surface, but somehow find difficult to internalise. I’ve definitely tried to pick up some styling tips, and carry myself (hopefully) well enough during my day-to-day business, but I’ve noticed that online, I don’t know who I am, or who I’m supposed to be.
Part of me still wants to be that respected figure of being a writer/journalist/former broadcaster (complete with a no-foul-language approach to their tweets), but part of me wants to be one of those ‘Twitter gays’; the kind that curse online, post selfies of gym progress (yes, I realise I’d have to go to a gym for that first, shut up) and throw shade like it’s a native language.
I’m kind of jealous of those guys, and yet, I know well that I’m not ‘that’ guy. I’m the guy next door who waters his neighbour’s plants, because she’s 84 and does the same for us when we go away for the weekend. I’m the kind of guy who would rather enjoy a trip away with my fella, than annoy him by pushing a camera in his face. I’m the guy who left the chaotic world of media because he was sick of living with Mammy and Daddy, and knew marketing was a more stable option. I’m the guy who says he doesn’t miss invites to media screenings for films, but notices when he doesn’t get an invite from a PR company for events.
I’m 30 years old and feel like a has-been, and yet I once thought I ‘knew’ how to brand myself. The fact is, I haven’t accepted yet that having a normal life doesn’t need a brand.