Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Afternoon Upslide & Getting Personal on Facebook

"I'm stressed out and crying in a car (second appointment canceled today on me that I didn't know was canceled till I got there) in North Seattle. Anyone want to eat food or something? I feel very... sad. Don't want to be in my head."

That was the status update I posted yesterday at around 4:57 PM yesterday. I had just left home for the second time for a second appointment that I learned I didn't have... the second time I drove out of my way for something that wasn't. Driving is an energy-suck for me and I was frustrated.

For me, on a good day, I can deal pretty well with changes in plan on the fly but, in this case, I was still sort of on the edge and it didn't take much for my mind to go, "What is happening? But... but.. you said... the schedule!"

So I started to feel anxious and cry.
And I felt very stuck... so I jumped on Facebook.

I've been talking to folks, lately, about they use Facebook for. Some use it to share information, other to get people to affirm them, others to update folks on their lives.

Facebook is how I keep in contact with a lot of my friends and it's a way people support me.

I quickly posted that status update and within minutes, had a list of amazing, loving friends (like Sarah, Warren, and Lyssa) inviting me over. Lyssa was only seven minutes away so hat sounded like a good option. She was also 4 minutes from I-5, the road I would take later to my evening event (music making... post-rock).

She welcomed me oh, oh so graciously. She provided a fuzzy cat and delicious treats (fig bread and apples) and just walking into her home completely, totally changed my brain. Kiki's Delivery Service was playing in the background on the television which is the finest of movies - simply soothing.

Seeing Lyssa was just, just what I needed.

Facebook is such an interesting place.

There's part of me that feels like posting such a vulnerable status out in public for everyone to see is a bad idea. Logistically, it's something of a poor choice. However, there's quite the purpose that can be served when you're honest on the web - people were there for me. Within minutes, I was reminded that I had a support team there for me, friends who cared. And this wasn't just a "like" - these were tangible invitations to go spend time with real humans in real life.

I've been pretty honest on Facebook, lately. A quick browse through my statuses will tell you how I've been doing in Seattle.

I try not to post too frequently or use it as a means of complaining - I just find it a great way to mass communicate with friends and let them know where I'm at.

Part of this comes out of a frustration with how Facebook seems like such a mask. Facebook lets you choose how you let others perceive you - you get to edit out the good and show the bad. While I understand why you wouldn't want to put the bad eternally on the internet, and I'm not looking for specifically that, it seems to be a horrid way to feel like you're in touch with your friends.

I have a specific story about a super-dear friend of mine.

While I was struggling majorly, each time I glanced at their feed, I was bombed with images of how perfect, perfect their life was. Everything was put together and lovely and sunshine and rainbows and... and I couldn't handle it. Even though I love them immensely, in this time in my life, seeing that wasn't helping me because I couldn't relate to it and it made me feel even more alone and isolated. It's not that I didn't want to share in their joy, I did, but I didn't have the emotionally capacity to celebrate.

What I didn't realize was that that was just what they were showing and that there was a whole lot going on the flip-side - the part that isn't public on Facebook (which I respect completely). One day they messaged me a heartfelt note talking about their recent struggles and how they could relate to me.

I was taken aback.
I had no, no idea.
I was absolutely clueless what they were going through.

It made me a bit sad.

What a false image of intimacy Facebook can give us, at times.  Glancing at someone's Facebook page is considered "catching up," when, in reality, it rarely represents even a fraction of reality --- ok, it represents something of a fraction.

I'm honest on the internet because I want people to be able to read my blog and actually know how I'm doing, not just how I want to look. I've had a lot of people talk about how they connect with me through my blog. This is sometimes one-sided, they connect with me without me having a chance to connect with them - but on Facebook or with blog comments, it can be a dialogue. If they want to check up on me, which is why I started blogging, I want them to get an honest glimpse.

Part of this is because I don't feel like there's enough honesty with emotions and I think that can lead to loneliness and isolation. When you see everyone's perfect Facebook life, all you can do is reflect on your own with all the flaws sticking out awkwardly and painfully.

I've had a good number of people comment to me privately in letters, messages, and word that they appreciate the honesty and a majority of them have something personal to say in response in how they can relate. When they relate to me how they relate, then I can relate and I can go, "So I'm not the only one!" I want people to be able to read my words and think go, "I'm not alone in how I feel!" Knowing you're not alone is such a grounding feeling when things are a challenge.

Some, I suspect, think that bearing all on the internet is something I do carelessly and thoughtlessly and I'd like to assure them that it's not. There's a lot of thought that goes into the content I release and I very, very thoughtfully censor out a lot of it. There's a balance I seek and I try to be mindful of what I reveal. I don't claim to have extraordinary wisdom in my actions, but I do try to be aware and use what wisdom I have.

I'm truly grateful for the internet and off-internet community I have backing me, right now. I appreciate how quick they are to support and how real their love and support is. It's a steady constant for me and it's nice to be able to count on humans and not feel too jaded at the world.

Thank you.

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