At work I am asked quite often if I’m on Facebook. Co-workers and even a few customers I’ve become friendly with have asked to friend me. My answer is always the same, “Yes I’m on Facebook but I’m only FB friends with people I cannot see in person easily.” Most accept this and understand when I elaborate for me FB is where I get to hang with the dear ones that geography makes imposs to see in the flesh. Which is most certainly true, but it’s not the whole story. Not by a long shot.
I have exactly ONE work friend I see in what I call my ‘real life’. Dar is an empathic, touch healing, Bugs Bunny and Augie Doggie quoting, kids 13 years apart soul sister. The first time our eyes met we knew we were kin. I ‘saw’ her and she ‘saw’ me and our friendship was cemented before we’d learned each other’s last names. We’re so connected we’re not even spooked by how much our lives run parallel. That’s simply how it is when you meet a member of your tribe.
As for the other great folk at work? I like them. A lot. But they live in the part of my life where I wear an ugly shirt and a name tag. This doesn’t mean I care less for them than I do my other friends, only that there’s a necessary boundary. Necessary for my comfort and to feel safe. Y’all get how vital feeling safe is for me. I don’t care to invest the energy or open my backstory enough to share with my co-workers. Nor do I care to have their business all up in mine when I’m off the clock. Took a long time for me to get the confidence to compartmentalize my life. Doormats feel like they owe everyone everything. Feh. So saying, “No” was/is an act of courage.
Besides I mean what I say, my online life is (to make a dated pun)…MYspace.
I’m rolling up on almost two decades of having a pixel life. I found out later that Alex hated it, but Sebastian knows no other way and to him my online circle is simply a bunch of aunts, uncles, and cousins he doesn’t get to see at holidays. Your names are as familiar as his actual blood rellies and he likes you quite a bit more. He’s pleased and proud when you “ooo!” and “ahh!” over his pics and milestones. I probably overshared in the beginning (hence the Alex hate) but Sebastian is a true Millennial and posts pics of himself pumping gas into his truck and what he’s having for breakfast, sharing himself online is his normal.
I, on the other hand, have curated my virtual life. At least once I was finished barfing up all the hateful dirty emotional water I was drowning in. Oy, my old journal was rough. From 2001 to 2007 reading my diary was to risk emotional flash burns. Taylor Negron had a routine involving going out for pie and the waitress unloading a big upchuck of her personal problems before taking his order and his response was, “Ow! That left an emotional skidmark! All I wanted was something lemony.”
Reading my D-Land diary was like that. Come for meringue, leave with scorch marks.
Anyway, the main gist of this post is to define how I’m doing this blog and FB these days. I’ve gotten more than a few snarky jabs at how little I comment on the news since the election. Intellectually I understand I don’t owe any justifications but it hurts anyhow. To be thought a slacker and a do-nothing really, really smarts. Not the shit from haters but the snark and pointed remarks from friends has finally driven me to say something.
#1- I live in New York. A state that went solidly for Hillary. My senators are both Democrats and are the sponsors and/or loud supporters of all things decent and humane in the Senate right now. Schumer and Gillibrand are awesome. My Congressional representative is Sean Patrick Mahoney. An openly gay lawyer who’s an adoptive parent to three children. Randy Florke, Sean’s husband, is someone I’ve met several times during my more active days as a clean water advocate. Randy and Sean are both great dads and genuinely nice guys. I send my rep and senators regular mail both snail and electronic. I contribute to their campaigns. My state’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, is also a Democrat. He’s the son of Mario Cuomo, another Democrat. I live in a sanctuary state and one of the first to reject Trump’s dopey withdrawal and independently re-upped with the Paris Climate Agreement. What, exactly, should I be excoriating my elected reps for? They, and I, are doing the Right Things.
#2- My FB friends list is really, really short. 62, as a matter of fact, and 5 of those people are dead. (I cannot bear to delete them.) My FB friends are truly friends. My gang, posse, tribe. Should I be near enough in geographical space I could call any one of them and we’d be hugging in no time. Grabbing a coffee, sharing a meal, and in most cases being tucked up in their guest room or on the couch in the den without a qualm and zero weirdness over making the transition from pixel to physical. Except maybe to marvel how great it was to actually hear their voice in person. (I’ve been told many times when making the leap from screen to flesh that I sound EXACTLY like I write. It’s true. My New Yawk accent isn’t as juicy as Bugs Bunny’s but I sure as hell wouldn’t ever be mistaken for a Minnesotan or a southerner.) Anyhoodle, those 50+ dear ones sprinkled around the globe are real friends and as such we share most of the same values and concerns. Posting news, especially about the political outrages, is to be preaching to the choir. We ALL care about the same things from mostly the same perspective. The people I love are doing their bit as am I. It’s not that I am ignoring the larger sphere, only that I feel it’s unnecessary to harp on it. In my tiny and very, very personal corner of FB it’s about the individual accomplishments and troubles. Book reviews, birthdays, soliciting sponsors for charity 5Ks and silent auctions. It’s about wedding anniversaries and backyard garden harvests. It’s pics of the grandkids and my friends’ latest work-in-progress.
So no. I do NOT feel compelled to hector, chide, shout, and rage all the damn time. In fact I’d appreciate it if the twitting and snarky shit toward me stopped on my FB feed. I understand the frustration and sorrow, believe me, the world’s shitstorm hurts me too. I do not forget injustice as I drive my unremarkable momsy crossover late-model Rogue with my white middle-aged female self to my union protected job at the regularly Health Department inspected grocery store. Nor do I fail to appreciate my little grandma house with its working heat/central air and its clean well water and wholly functioning appliances. I understand that not all mothers have reasonable assurance their sons will come out of a traffic stop alive. I work and write and vote and even intervene where I can to ensure the safety of ALL the sons. And the daughters.
You never have to remind me. For all of my life’s sorrows I never, ever, ever forget how good I have it. And I never stop learning and growing so my eye becomes ever more inclusive and sees where I can be of use. Until the day you can honestly say I am an uncaring, know-nothing noogie….
Thanks. Needed to get this off my chest. ~LA