On Being Yourself

I sat down this afternoon intending to prepare and schedule some Five on Friday posts, and if I was lucky, also aimed to catch up with some reviews. However one of the tweets I read this morning, and my response to it, got me thinking about what we post. It also picked up on a question that was posed on a Facebook page a while ago about making ‘personal’ posts on your Twitter page.

The tweet that made me think was from my friend and author Gina Kirkham who shared one of her blog posts yesterday to coincide with London Pride. It was a post about being supportive and inclusive of her own family members that are gay. However as a result she lost a lot of Twitter followers and had some offensive replies. Thankfully her response was to share it again and I was happy to Retweet in support. Whether that loses me any followers I don’t know and should I care?

The question that was posed on Facebook (which I can’t now find) related to the best of  my remembering about making non book related Twitter posts on your Twitter feed. My personal view is, it’s your Twitter feed, so it’s up to you what you post and share. For those whose blogs are entirely book related I can see that restricting your Twitter feed to bookish posts is entirely consistent, especially when it operates under a blog/author banner.

For others, like myself, who don’t restrict their blog to bookish topics, I will post whatever takes my fancy. Obviously because of my recent ‘dance’ with  cancer I have other followers with cancer and I will like, share and RT their posts. But I will also like, share and RT any other posts that take my fancy, irregardless of topic. When I first jumped into the wacky world of Twitter it was as Jill’s Book Cafe and I did for the most part restrict it to bookish posts. But a while ago I changed it to Jill @JillsBookCafe a subtle change, but I felt it was more me and allowed me to dive in to share whatever I wanted.

So back to the question, should I, just because I can? For me the answer is yes. The thing is I’ve never been good at keeping shtum. If you ask friends who know me, they would probably describe me as opinionated and gobby – and I can’t argue with that, I am. So passing by on Twitter isn’t easy for me. I will pass comment, I will share posts that I agree with and others might not, and that’s the issue that causes problems. As ever, its other people.

Should I consider ‘other people’ before I Tweet or Retweet. Clearly yes, in the sense that I would never intentionally post anything that was offensive. Of course, what is offensive is a minefield, but it seems to me that too many people take offence at anything that they don’t agree with. Before I start down the road of hypocrisy, in that I can say what I like, but no-one else can, let me try to clarify. For anyone who doesn’t know me, I am not particularly religious (more agnostic than atheist, with Buddhist leanings) and I have no issues whatsoever with other people’s religious leanings. I am heterosexual, but I have no problems with anyone who is isn’t. I’m white but I don’t have issues with anyone who isn’t. I’m British/English, but don’t have issues with anyone who isn’t. I think you get the message, just because I’m one thing, doesn’t mean that’s the ‘only’ thing. Essentially I try and live a “do as you would be done by” sort of life. So essentially, I try and treat people in the same way as I would like them to treat me. So the things I take offence at are the things that I, and I hope most right-minded people would take offence at, namely racism, homophobia, animal cruelty, poverty, greed and abuse of any description, I could go on (and frequently do as my OH will tell you). So those are the things that I might rail against on Twitter and yes at times it means it gets political. But that is how I feel, and I don’t feel I should censor myself on my page. Similarly I wouldn’t expect other people to either.

If people take offence at my views, then that is their choice and should they choose to unfollow, I’m happy for them to do so. When I started this blog it was to have a place to bring my reviews together. That people actually followed me, was a happy bonus. Over time, it has also became a place for me to share my views on other bookish things, and also more personal issues. So this blog is me, and by extension so is my Twitter page. For me, there is also an arrogance in assuming that what I say matters, if that makes sense. I’m not some boy band member that has to pretend to be single to avoid alienating fans. I’m not selling anything, I’m not looking to gain a following or readership, I’m simply sharing my opinions. If you don’t agree or don’t want to read them, then just pass on by, or if you feel the need, unfollow. But life is too short to spend it worrying about what other people think. There is a lovely quote that sums up my view and this is it,

Those who mind don't matter.png


  1. Well said Jill . The line between free speech and censorship is worryingly thin – witness the recent trend to ban or attempt to ban controversial speakers at some university campuses. Voltaire’s often misquoted declaration “I disapprove of what you say , but I will defend to the death you right to say it” has never been more relevant alongside his view that “the great consolation in life is to say what one thinks ” . Carry on saying what you think Jill – as you always have done

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  2. I’m very much like you in terms of sensibilities (dare I say ‘liberal’ sensibilities?). I.e. I don’t have anything against people who have a lifestyle different to my own, as long as it doesn’t infringe on someone else’s lifestyle. And if you choose to comment on issues that some might say are outside of your blog’s remit, I’d say that it’s your blog and you can write what you damn well please. I don’t think it’s for me though. In the sense that I would probably concentrate on topics within my remit when it comes to my blog and perhaps have a different handle for wider subjects. That’s not to say that what you do is wrong, it’s more a preference on my part (no matter how tempting it is to add my two cent’s worth).

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    • And that’s what life should be about. Making our own choices and doing our own thing. What’s right for me isn’t necessarily right for you, and vice versa, but we’re adult enough to acknowledge it’s not an issue, it’s simply a choice.

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  3. BRAVO, Jill, I stand up and applaud you! I adore your blog so much because it is so diversified, which is exactly what your speaking or writing about, and I adore you and the blog. I have noticed, over time, that since cancer sadly made its way into your life, your blogging has changed enormously; I believe it occurred when you finally came forward and decided to write about it.; to open up and share, and it is really true, so many of my close friends have had to deal this and each and every person’s experience has been different. We are alike in many ways, too. I know we would be fast friends if we ever met. A little about me: I am an American and have always lived in one of the 13 colonies ( looking fast to relocate out West). I am the daughter of Immigrants; my people came from Ukraine; my mother’s family came from the Carpathian Mt. region ( Carpathy) and my maternal grandmother looked 100% Asian. I was raised to be open-minded; my parents were close friends with a gay couple—-sculptors, and being a retired college professor, of course, many of my students were from the LGBT community, and I am a Roman Catholic, as well, and even Pope Francis has accepted the gay community; everyone has the right to love whom they want; period.
    For those of you not in the States, I know the televised news programs depict us as a raving march of racism, but that is very untrue; I am against all kinds of racism and, of course animal cruelty, and cruelty of every kind.
    Thank you for being so bold; people are who they are; it’s how they treat one another that counts. Many religious people I know pay lip homage, but that’s it; It isn’t about religion, it’s about spirituality, and last night’s Homily from Jorge ( Columbian Pries) and one of the priests in my parish, really set me free. He discussed the Gospel reading and said this…..;if anyone rejects you, just walk away.” I have been constantly in the mode of forgiveness ( against my nature) and this made me see the light. Thank you for posting this, Jill, and keep on posting this wonderful bits.
    BTW, I have studied, practiced yoga and meditation for over 40 years; recently a friend of mine—a former Catholic and now an evangelist/Born Again Christian told me I was engaging in Satan’s work. Ahhhh, it takes all kinds, I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Skye, for your kind words and for sharing. I have always been quite a vocal person with friends and family, but you’re probably right about the cancer. It does change you, maybe not always consciously, but it makes you ‘re-evaluate or confirm the things that really matter in life. My OH is the son of Irish immigrants, while the Irish are seemingly integrated now, they came to England when lodging houses would commonly state, No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs. We are also mixed religion in that he was raised a Roman Catholic. There has been much damage and bloodshed caused in the name of religion, when in reality its used as an excuse for those in charge to maintain power and control. I no more blame all Muslims for acts carried out by rogue Muslims, than I would consider all men potential rapists. We are all human, we are all individual and is it so hard to accept our differences. I don’t have to like everyone I meet, but I don’t have to persecute them either. Live and let live. As for your Born again friend, I guess you’ll have to turn the other cheek. I ‘d certainly be Satanist in their book with some of my alternative health practices. xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jill, I suspect we have a lot in common~ I live and let live. My husband ( now deceased) was very dissimilar: his family must have come over on the Mayflower: Irish, English, and German Protestants; however, they were not at all religious or spiritual, and always adhered to the notion if one can touch it or see it, it doesn’t exist. I feel like you about Muslims and all other faiths. My daughter-in-law was born and raised in Vietnam; she is an active Buddhist; my daughter also adopted Buddhism ( not sure if she has returned to the Church or not, but her husband is half Cuban, raised very Catholic.

        About my friend, she is a Good Reads novelist, and I turned the other cheek a very long time ago. Our friendship is very strong.

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    • You might be interested to know that I met Linda when we both worked together. It turned out we have exactly the same birthday, but I’m about 6 hours older. We have spookily similar traits at times. You can see why we became friends.


    • People get very brave/cowardly from behind the anonymity of a keyboard. If you wouldn’t say it someone’s face, don’t say it online. It’s too easy to become rude and entitled.


  4. I can’t imagine anyone in their right mind could disagree with a word of that. Then again, when we look at the state of the world, it’s easy to remember that there are enough people out there that aren’t in their right minds…

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