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Denver, Colorado, United States

Friday, January 25, 2013

Reality Check

"We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality."---Seneca

I read an article the other day that kind of hit home.  It was in on www.huffingtonpost.com by Wendy Sachs titled Facebook Envy: How Cruising Can Kill Self Esteem.  A lot of what the article said I had felt myself at one time or another.  I have had my feelings hurt more on Facebook than I have in face to face encounters. Many times, I'm sure, it has nothing to do with me but I "suffer more from imagination than from reality".   Face to face encounters give you so much more to work with...you see what's going on behind the words. I can usually tell if someone is being honest, I can feel if they are sincere, and if they are just teasing...a smile usually gives it away. Online, you see the words...a posed picture...and your imagination does the rest.

My first experience with Facebook was when my daughter was in high school.  She was going through chemo and was home schooled which really only took up a few hours each day.  The rest of the time she was on Facebook.  I would come home from work and see her sitting at the computer.  "Have you been on all day!" I would say and she always responded "No!" (but from all the heat coming off the computer, I knew better).  I had a hard time scolding her too much about it.  She never learned to drive, her friends were at school, and she spent most of her time in the hospital or with me.  I wanted her to have contact with friends to make her life more like that of a "normal" teenager.  There were times though I regretted that decision.  She called me at work, more than once, crying over something that was said about one of her friends.  She was very sensitive about things like that.  On one call she was crying about something that was said about someone she didn't even know.  A University of South Florida student had committed suicide and everyone was giving there opinions of the situation.  Sara was hurt by the number of people saying horrible things about the boy and his family. 

When Sara passed away I kept her Facebook page open.  I like to read the comments her friends would leave on her wall...it's nice to know she's still remembered.  I did, however, nearly close it when shortly after she passed away someone got on her page (signed in as her) and was attacking her father and his family...something Sara nor I would have ever done.

With the exception of occasionally reading her page (I could hear her voice in so many of those posts and her "About Me") I refused to break down and start one of my own...until I moved to Colorado.  I justified it as a way to keep in touch with family and friends. 

Two years later and I'm sad to say I'm slightly addicted. Admit it...we all are.  For me, it's about being     "out there"...like the pathetic little kid jumping up and down saying "look at me, look at me" AND did you "like" what I posted?????  Ooops, there goes that self esteem.  Hey, at least I'm honest!  :)

                                           (Look At Me, Look At Me)

Lately, what has been getting to me though (and not just on Facebook but life in general) is that we have all these "friends" and "relationships" but no personal contact with any of them .  I could write a whole post on 3 hours of texting each night..."Oh, you don't have time to go out but you can text me for 3 hours?" Seriously!  When was the last time you (if ever) talked to them on the phone?  Do you even know what their voice sounds like?  Seen them in person?  Given them a hug?  Personal contact has been erased...it's messy...it's uncomfortable.  What if they find out I'm not as perfect as I make myself up to be? 

                                                (Facebook Relationship)

SCREW IT...I'm to the point where I'd rather have a REAL...messy...uncomfortable...imperfect friend or relationship WAY MORE than an imaginary one with a computer screen.  WOW, that may have sounded a little harsh.  It is definitely not meant that way, in fact, it's quite the opposite.  I don't indiscriminately make people my "friend" just so I can say "Ooh, I have 943 friends"...you, my friends, are all there for a reason...I want you there. 

Here lies my problem.  I also want someone here.  That's the point of my little experiment.  One week (beginning midnight tonight) no Facebook.  I'm already having withdrawal symptoms but I've got to do it for several reasons.  #1:  I'm tired of doing things alone and posting it on Facebook because I have no one else  to tell.  #2:  I want to see how much time I free up to do other things.  #3:  I want to spend time with friends without constantly checking on my phone to see what other people are doing.  The people with me cared enough to be there...I should respect that.  #4: (and least likely, so I've been told) I'm hoping that others are feeling the same way or will at least think about it a little more.  We all crave a personal touch.

                                          (Real Relationship)

I made it...started to think I wouldn't get this post done in time.  The experiment starts in 46 minutes.  I'll miss my morning coffee and eclectic mix of perverted and inspirational "shares".  Hopefully I'll have something to report back to you next week besides "OMG, I was so bored...please POKE me." 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Birthday Lessons From A Five Year Old

"The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want.”---Ben Stein

I has taken me 47 years to figure this one out.  In the beginning it was simple...I wanted to be a Princess, I wanted to live in a castle with land all around it, I wanted to marry a Prince, and I wanted to have a horse.  That was it!  Oh, to be five again...

In my pre-teen years I wanted to be a singer and marry one of the Osmond brothers.  I used to watch the Donny & Marie Show and fantasize about standing with them all at the end when they'd wave and say, with their huge, toothy grins "G'nite everybody!"  There's a reason they call the the "awkward age".  I had a hard time even admitting that one.

High school was all about glamour, excitement, and money.  It was the 80's...that's what it was all about.
I remember one "spirit week" (or some other dorky high school excuse to get out of the Catholic School uniform) there was one day we were supposed to dress for the career we wanted.  I wore this white jumpsuit with a popped collar and had a 35mm camera hanging around my neck.  I was a National Geographic Photographer.  A worldly traveler who went to exotic places and made piles of cash (or so I thought).

College, as usual, is when you get creative.  Again...hey, it was the 80's.  I was going to be an Artist, and not just any Artist...one that would be remembered as someone truly unique a la Andy Warhol or Salvador Dali.  In high school I had the usual 80's blond, feathered, big hair and preppy ensembles but towards the end of my senior year I morphed into an artistic, punk rock look, that got me A LOT of attention during my freshman year of college.  Big hair was replaced by a 'Til Tuesday look.  Short blond hair with a long rat tail, sweatshirts with the collar cut out (think Flashdance), army fatigue pants, white leather ankle boots, handcuffs for a low hanging belt, a big ol' Swatch watch with a swatch guard, and safety pins in place of earrings.  AGAIN, have a hard time admitting that one...  I was remembered though!  One of my first A's was in my painting class.  I took off my top, painted myself with swirls of color, and layed down on the paper making a "bust" of myself.  It was a hit with the class and my professor!  (Oh, BTW...I did it in my dorm bathroom NOT in the classroom.  Just wanted to clarify that.)

Junior year of college I was forced to make a BIG, rather unexpected, decision.   I was pregnant and I had to choose between being a mom or giving her up to continue my career path to becoming a starving, although memorable, artist.  The first ultrasound made that decision for me...I heard her heartbeat and I saw her tiny foot...I wanted to be a mom.  I spent the next 19 years doing exactly what I wanted.  I was poor, it wasn't glamorous, it was difficult, and it was AMAZING!  We were so close that it was almost scary ;)  She was my "Mini Me".  When she passed away, for three years I really struggled, I felt like part of me went with her.  She was my life and once she was gone I didn't know what to do with myself. 

Once again...I had to decide what I wanted.  It wasn't that hard to do once I got past the grief.  "Mini Me" was my inspiration. 

You all know the story from "New Beginning", my very first post, (if you're new...check it out...it explains a lot) about my whole Wyoming Adventure/Dream and Santa Sara Ranch.  The dream we shared together has changed a little, for example, I threw in a Prince for myself (she'd understand...she didn't want to leave me alone).  What I never realized, however, until I began writing this post, is how similar the dream is to what I wanted as a 5 year old.  OK, maybe the Princess part is a stretch, the castle has become a cabin with land all around it, the Prince is just someone fun who would treat me like a Princess, and the horse...well...that is non-negotiable.  Every Princess needs a horse.

The lesson it took me 47 years to learn?  When trying to decide what you want more than anything...think about what you wanted as a child before there was anyone around to tell you it's impossible.  I bet you'll find your answers there.