Saturday, January 24, 2015

I had a dream...

Postcrossing has been very present in my life in the last year.  I got more involved, I've been sending more and receiving more as well.  I've attended and organized meetups, those meetings where we meet others nuts just like us about postcards.  We all have different reasons to start (and continue) this snail mail journey.  For some it is to meet new people, one postcard at the time, others it is because of a collection, for some it is their way to travel to see the world, but whatever the reason we love postcards.

Because I am the way I am, upon a suggestion, I created a group, for Canadian Postcrossing members on Bacefook.  There are a few groups for French speaking people and there is also one for Québécois,  so I thought having a place for us Canadians would be nice.  We could talk about our cards and our issues, etc. with other Canadians.  It is after all a bigger market than Québec alone.  It wasn't about swaps, or trading, but more a place to go and meet other crazies about cards that might end up being close to us.  It started out well.  I went on a crazy invite fest, basically emailing all Canadian persons I would come across on Postcrossing. I wanted it to work, to be alive!  I will say this, it is going.  We are close to 200 members and it's not been a year yet since I started it.  I've thought  of games to do, to get people involved, of a monthly draw, across Canada using our motto "A mari usque ad mare" as the name of it, I made it ours and shared with all.  I've had some rough times, and still do, when I have to refuse some because they were not Canadians.  I felt discriminatory, but at the same time my initial thought was "for and about Canadians".  I don't want to be closed minded;  I want to remain true to my vision. 

Like everything else in life, things change.  I'm good with that, and I welcome change, I think it keeps us on our toes.  Does that mean I want the purpose of the group to change?  Not really.  I still aim for a place where people will be comfortable enough to ask those "stupid" questions (I write "stupid" because often when we don't know something we think it's stupid), you know like how do I look for a specific user on Postcrossing or where can I get good cards in such a city, a place to share their stats with others about how many cards they have received in the month, or bitch about the price of stamps, etc.  I felt taken aback when some members would only post pictures of cards they wanted to trade, not ever writing a comment or anything just offering trades.  It started slow, once in a while, and then it got to more.  I had to intervene, since I didn't want that to be the only thing on the wall of the group.  Some people did complain about it, I'd say as many from those who wanted to trade as from those who didn't want to be bombarded with offers to trade.  I did try to go about it smoothly, offered other venues, like the Postcrossing Forum is a great place for such, suggested to do it by messages, etc.  It rocked the boat.  To be honest, my true nature (and if you know me IRL, you do know this) came rushing back and simply wanted to remove some from the group, but I also believe that this is now our group, so I tried different options - I wasn't about to become a dictator because of a few people, even if the urge was tickling me big time!

That died down some, but I have to keep reminding people every so often that trades should be made elsewhere. I don't like doing it, but like even less seeing those posts. But like many things in life, when it's not one thing it's another, right?  The past few weeks, actually even before Christmas, I saw some posts that made me wonder.  I know that some people have a visceral need to bitch and moan about nothing and everything.  They are simply miserable when things are smooth, they need commotion in order to feel alive or something.  I've reach a point in my life, where I try to avoid drama. Oh, don't get me wrong, I will not walk away from a good fight, if there is a need for me to fight.  Kumite is in me.  No doubts whatsoever about that! I'm confrontational and I totally assume it, but I will not provoke an argument for the sake of provoking.  I will ask questions, I will do perception check and ask why someone is being rude, or what the problem is, and if I'm attacked I will defend myself without hesitation.  Often my husband will tell me to drop it, whatever it may be, and I rarely do.  I will address the issue then move on. That is my way.  In every aspects of my life.

Because the group is getting bigger, the variety of it kicks in every so often.  Not everyone share the same opinions, and that's the part I enjoy, the differences, but I'm realizing that for some the difference of opinions means something more.  I agree that people can disagree, that one can't please everyone, that we're all entitled to our opinions, blah, blah, blah,  but it comes a time in ones life when one realizes that life is short and that we should enjoy it.  When I see people getting upset about futile things like a blank profile or a receiving a card that doesn't match their profile, I can't help and wonder the importance of Postcrossing in their lives.  When I get a blank profile I see it as an occasion to send any card I like or not.  When I get a card that I really don't understand why it was sent to me, since I don't care about dinosaurs (as an example), I'm thinking maybe the sender did really like dinosaurs and wanted to share his liking.  I will thank him the same way I would any other members.  Since I've started Postcrossing, I only got one "empty" message from someone on 365 cards registered, so overall I'd say members are quite polite ans respectful.  I've had more issues with some members of the group than on Postcrossing directly, granted with Postcrossing it is often limited to a one shot deal. I understand that we all have frustrations, and we all express them in different ways.  Some will take the direct approach and will voice their opinions, others will walk away without saying anything, and some will observe.

I believe that in everything we do we have a choice.  Unless you have a gun pressed against your head, you ALWAYS have a choice.  You may not have the guts to make that choice, you may not have the strength or the will to take that first step towards that choice, but we always have a choice.  When I felt that my parents rules were too much for me, I moved out.  When I felt that I wasn't having the same interest or passion about something, I've looked for something else.  When I thought that things weren't going the way I felt they should I did something about it.  I don't understand how someone can be unhappy, miserable or upset and choose to stay.  I've asked people to come aboard and never thought I've had to ask people to leave.  If you're not happy with what is being done in/for/with this group, then go.  Start your own group and stop bringing everyone down.  I've once told my mother who complained about my father's past behavior that the moment she decided to stay with him she relinquished her right to bitch about him.  She had made a choice, and now had to assume the consequences of her decision.  It's the same for this group.  You decided to become a member.  You don't like the way it's run, or the games we play, then leave.  I'm not holding anyone down.  I will not like to lose members, but if it is an unhappy member maybe it will be for the better of the group.

This group was created with good intentions, lots of ideas and expectations.  I'm proud of it and I truly enjoy it.  I don't want this to become a bore or even a chore.  There are some really cool people among the group and I truly wish that we find a middle path where we can shoot the shit about our empty mail boxes and not getting any rare countries in so long, and those damn expired cards, and not waste so much valuable time about piddly little things.  We should embrace our differences, and rejoice in the fact that we can send postcards to complete strangers who get a kick out of our card, or not, but no matter what it was fun...  'cause after all Postcrossing is:

The goal of this project is to allow people to receive postcards from all over the world, for free. Well, almost free! The main idea is that: if you send a postcard, you will receive one back from a random Postcrosser from somewhere in the world.
Why? Because, like the founder, there are lots of people who like to receive real mail.
The element of surprise of receiving postcards from different places in the world (many of which you probably have never heard of) can turn your mailbox into a box of surprises - and who wouldn't like that?

Something to remember on my way to get the mail, surprises are way better than bills any day of the week, right? Right! 

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