Taking My Heart Back
Taking My Heart Back

Taking My Heart Back

At the end of 2017, I essentially decided to say goodbye to social media. It was a sad moment, for so many reasons. The largest of which is you — yes, if you’re reading this, you’re likely one of the people who made social media awesome for me. I love interacting with readers, with fans, with friends and loved ones, with other creatives and colleagues, with thinkers and doers and lovers and fighters. I love reading people’s stories, hearing about their games or their writing or their pets or their joys. So much resistance and resilience in every post and picture, so much honesty and creativity and helping and healing. The community that lives in my corner of the internet is glorious and beautiful, and I already miss all of you so much just writing this that it makes my heart hurt.

But, I have to be honest: the other side of social media was killing me. You know the side–the people–I’m talking about. The ones who say you’re never good enough, no matter how much good you do. The ones to whom you’re just someone to shit on, or walk on, or shove down the stairs. Strangers who have no qualms about verbally punching you in the face, or in the heart, just because they can. It wasn’t just me, either. I couldn’t stand that people I love were being mistreated, harassed, and abused because they wrote a story with a gay character — or wrote a story without one. Because they loved Star Wars or were anti-war. Because they fought for their rights to live and love, or for others’ rights to do the same. Because they refused to be touched without consent. Because they dared to be a voice online, vulnerable and searching and yearning for something more.

It used to be when I started writing, haters had to write me a letter to yell at me. It took effort. Work. They really had to hate what I’d written to find their way to me — paper, a pen, buy a stamp, find my address. Once, a woman showed up on my front porch to tell me that I was going to hell for writing a lesbian sex scene. She scared the fuck out of me, but I respected the kind of gumption it took for her to find me and actually show up, face-to-face.

On social media, though, it doesn’t take any effort to destroy someone. Emotionally. Professionally. In other ways. There’s no risk in attacking someone because there are no repercussions for doing so. This year, I watched people’s reputations get ruined by misinformation and ire, by people who had no stake or knowledge in the matter at hand. I experienced and watched so much abuse and harassment online in the last half of 2017 that I essentially stopped creating. Stopped interacting with people. Stopped trusting my instincts. My heart hurt all the time. For myself. For others. For the world. Of course, none of this was solely due to social media–the world, as we all know, is a whole heartbreak in itself. But if the world was making the wounds, then social media was ripping them open with claw and fist every time they started to heal.

I might have allowed it to go on forever, but there was a moment, a flaying of my heart from a random stranger, that nearly felled me. The only thing that kept my upright was my anger that this complete stranger had nearly taken something so dear from me.

I realized I was opening my door to assholes and inviting them in every day because I didn’t want to shut that door on my friends and loved ones. Because I was afraid that I would lose those connections to the people I cared about. That without social media in my life, I would feel alone in fighting the world, and I would falter and lose my way.

But I was already losing my way. I knew something needed to change if I was going to survive this new year intact. If I was going to start creating and loving and living again. So. I closed my door and locked it and warded it to high hell. If a random person wants to poke holes in my heart, I’m going to make them fucking work for it. Hard. Because my heart — your heart, all of our hearts — deserve to heal and be whole. They deserve to be respected and honored. They deserve to not be touched–and certainly not ripped from our chests–without our explicit consent.

So about that door I closed? I made you a key. Come and join me here on the blog (or in email or in person) any time. You can subscribe over at the right hand side and get notified via email whenever I post. We can talk writing and gaming and reading and art and pets and love. Let’s create a community of kindness. I’m taking my heart and my life back for 2018. I hope you are too.

Live your joy,


  1. Pingback: What Now? When You “Fail” Your Goals.

  2. Sean Eustis

    Dear Shanna, You are worthy of every kindness you’ve given to come back bringing joy to you a thousand fold. Hoping you find the solace and time to heal, goddesses know how much you’ve helped others. Looking forward to the days you can shine brightly again!

  3. Hi Shanna! I met you a few years back and I just wanted to say you’re a huge inspiration to me as a content creator and writer. You’re a big part of the reason why I’m trying to get published and I’m so grateful for knowing you.

    Social media or not, I’ll always stick around. Definitely hitting the subscribe button! And I’d love to talk/meet up sometime!

  4. Brent Devos

    Thank you for this, Shanna. It’s got me thinking about what life might be like with less social media. Be well, Shanna. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to say hi at Origins in June.

  5. Scott Cahoon

    It has been a pleasure interacting with you on Twitter, and following you on Facebook, and I will miss seeing you in those places. But I will probably take you up on connecting through e-mail now and then. After all, I have to let you know what my daughter thinks of No Thank You Evil *somehow*. (Yes, even after a couple of months, we still haven’t had our first game, but today might finally be the day.)
    Take care of yourself, and take care of your heart.

  6. Rich

    I’m glad you were able to summon the strength to fight through the vitriol that plagues social media. Self-care is extremely important so we all understand your exit from that platform. Hopefully, the weight will lift and you’ll be able to enjoy the things you love again with renewed heart.

  7. Jason Youngdale

    You are strong and a lioness roaring from the top of the mountain. There are a few candles of kindness and justice left in the world. Light them and use them to wield words like we know you can. No one controls or conquers the Shanna we know. Rock on in 2018.

  8. Craig Stokes

    You have a kind soul and I’ll miss your social media posts. Maybe one day social media will change for the better and we’ll see you out and about again. Until then, I made sure to select the option to get notified of new posts. Oh. This reminded me that there’s a certain book written by you sitting on my nightstand that my girlfriend and I need to finish reading. 🙂

    Have a happy and loving 2018!

  9. Gregory Guldensupp

    Thank you for all that you are and all that you share. You are awesome. May you ever find joy and happiness.
    Thank you for showing us the Invisible Sun that shines within you

  10. Matt

    This seems like such a great idea. I think everyone can benefit from chats about writing and art and reading and pets. Those are easy ways to make smiles on someones face and spread love. I look forward to making it a habit to come back here often.

  11. Wendy Rasmussen

    I continue to be inspired by you. In the midst of a long crawl back to safety myself I appreciate the crumbs you are dropping to show me the way. So much love to you Shanna.

  12. Dominic

    I took the last couple weeks of December off social media. I totally get what you are saying. Been reducing my time over the last year, blocking pointless people. I can only take so much hurt, repeat the same arguments when those who inflict the hurt get joy from doing so. Easy for them to keep dishing out the pain since it gives them joy. That is not how i work. Even when I lose it and spew bile at someone it does not give me joy.

    Stay awesome.

  13. I have to echo that I will miss the massively positive impact you had on my feed and my mind. That being said, I’m glad you are able to sustain your happiness with people in other ways.

    I’ll have to make a new habit to stop by this domain so I can still feel the reverberation of your presence.

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