perception & censorship

I’ve been thinking a bit about perception recently, both in the context of starting a new job in a new town, and in the context of online personas. I am rarely truly aware of how I am perceived by others, and often I move through life oblivious to how my words or actions might come across to someone who does not know me well.

New situations make me nervous, and when I’m nervous, I often find myself babbling inanely until someone more sociable is able to skillfully maneuver the conversation to something more suitable. I’m hyper-aware of this now that nearly every day presents a new situation, which makes me even more worried that I’ll say or do something stupid.

The thing is, I’m generally a good person. I try hard to find common ground with those around me, and I’m fairly open to criticism or “learning experiences.” I can also be cranky and a bit mouthy, but usually only when I’m frustrated or pushed over my tolerance limit. Long-time readers of this blog may have picked up on all of this, but there’s no way for me to know for sure. I just have to hope that as I have grown as a person over the past five years, so has the representation of me through my writing.

This brings me to the topic of censorship. I would like to state clearly, for the record, that I do not censor comments on my blog, unless they are spam or trackbacks from splogs. Those things are evil and should be destroyed. Comments that are not spam are freely posted, regardless of their content.

One of the reasons why I moved from the MovabeType blog software to WordPress was because I was getting 50+ spam comments an hour caught in the clunky spam filter used by MT. This made it a nightmare to check, and often I just deleted them all without making sure that no legitimate comments were accidentally marked as spam. Since I rarely get comments, I wasn’t too concerned with that, anyway.

However, several people have indicated that they thought I was censoring comments on this blog because I didn’t want anyone who disagrees with me to comment here. The folks who told me this are friends whom I trust, and it surprised me that they would make that sort of assumption. Again, this is a problem with perception verses reality.

Do I come across as someone who does not want criticism? I hope not. Sure, like anyone, I prefer to have constructive criticism, but that is a difficult thing to get in the virtual world where it’s much easier to make snarky comments or flame someone than to have a real conversation where everyone feels like their perspective is heard.

All this is to say, please, do comment here. If there is an old post that you’d like to comment on and you discover that commenting has been disabled for it (an old setting I used to limit spam), send me a note and I’ll open it up.

new town, new digs, new job

On Friday, the movers arrived early in the morning and loaded up most of my earthly possessions, leaving me with a suitcase, a “man bag,” two cats, and two pet carriers. I ran a few errands, but ended up sacking out for a few hours, completely exhausted from the week of packing and saying goodbye. Later that night, I sang my final concert with the Ellensburg Women’s Chorus, and in the morning, we headed off to the airport.

Alex went in with the cargo, and he arrived unscathed, if a bit irritated at all the changes. However, my boy can handle quite a bit of stress, and he was just fine after a few minutes of freedom from the carrier. Pesh, on the other hand, spent the day with me in the cabin and the terminals, and the little nervy furball still hasn’t quite recovered, although she is doing much better tonight than she had been.

I don’t have my own place yet, and my stuff is still in transition. It’s weird living out of a suitcase knowing that everything else you own is on a truck somewhere. I’m staying with a new colleague, who has graciously offered to let me continue to use her guest room for a couple of months so I can have more time to find a decent apartment/condo/townhouse/whatever I end up in. It’s mutually beneficial, as I can also serve as pet sitter (she has two cats) and house sitter when she is out of town. In addition to giving me more time, it’s given me tremendous peace of mind.

Today was my first day at the new place of employment, half of which was spent going through the endless HR paperwork and information sessions. Useful stuff, but too much to digest in one day. I have the next two weeks mapped out for me, for the most part, which is a good thing, actually. I handle stress much better if I know what’s happening next. In fact, the gaps between meetings over the next few days frighten me more than the meetings. It will be easier when I have projects and tasks to work on.

I had forgotten how hard it is to start over again in a new place. I’m dealing with a bit of depression, but I think I’ll be okay in the end. I’m glad that the holidays are coming soon and I can go to my parent’s house for a while. It’s not like being in my own home with all of my things where I want them to be, but it’s the closest I’m going to have to the familiar and stable for quite a while.