change · connection · disconnection · envy · friends · friendship · health · relationships · scarcity · self-care

The Facebooks.

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Yesterday, I saw another of those articles posted by a
friend on Facebook about the rose-colored facade that Facebook allows us to put out to the
world. About how we only see photos of grand trips and lattes with foam hearts drawn in
them and that uber cute one of you and your partner looking so darn happy.
This article and those I’ve seen like it tell one side of
the truth, but not all of it.
I didn’t comment on my friend’s article, as his friends were aggro-commenting about Falsebook and how pissed it makes them that we don’t see the “whole” picture of others’ lives. I didn’t want the agida
of the notifications if I put my thoughts there, so, I’ll “post” my comment here:
Facebook saves my life.
When I was first diagnosed with cancer in an ER and led
right upstairs to start intensive chemo treatment, there was no packing of
stuff, no notifying loved ones or having some hippie prayer circle. I called my
mom, and then I called one of my best friends and asked her to do the major
task of letting Facebook know, because that is – whatever feelings we all may
have about modernity, technology, and disconnection – where my friends “are.”
Because she did that for me, my friends knew where to find
me, and what to bring me, and how to get in touch with me.
A few weekends ago, an acquaintance – someone I’ve met only a
few times, someone I could say “hi” to “in real life” but
wouldn’t call “in real life,” aka a Facebook friend – put up a call to go to a local lake for a
lazy Sunday afternoon. I had no plans that day, I’d never been to that lake,
and I took a chance at spending time with someone I barely knew by letting her
know, via the Facebooks, that I would love to go with her.
We did, and I made other new (Facebook) friends. I had a
wonderful and, for me, an adventurous afternoon.
When I got frustrated with my job search recently, I threw my resume
up on my “wall,” and two people have given me actual live leads for work, and
two have contacted me to offer me help on my resume. I’ve looked at this thing
so many times, I see only dot matrix anymore.
When I couldn’t stand that I don’t know if I’ll get to go
camping this summer once rehearsals start, I let the Facebooks know I wanted to
go, and now will be going into the wilderness with “real” friends, having a respite from this
social network thing that brought this trip to fruition in the first place.
I get to see that my college roommates aren’t dead, what
state they live in, how many kids they have. I get to see friends from my high
school musical days launching and thriving in their artistic careers. I get to
read the witticisms, intrigues, and slush that my friends post, and I get to
feel that I know they’re safe.
I have learned about friends’ weddings, deaths, job changes,
moves, births, divorces, successes, struggles, and banalities. And they get to
learn about mine.
I won’t say Facebook is a benevolent entity, wanting us to
all feel connected in a disconnect era. I won’t say that this is the “best” way
of keeping in touch with people you’ve lost contact with, or moved a few zip
codes from. But it does work.
I can also see it from the side of the aggro-commenters, lambasting the system for creating a culture of constant “less than.”
I can admit that just the other day, I Facestalked a
crush’s ex, and felt the creeping compare/despair that I see so many of those
Facebook “expose” articles lament. But, what I did as I felt that gnaw of “not
as pretty, funky, cool, yoga-y, artistic, traveled, fun, witty” creep
up was not to skewer Facebook for allowing her to present an awesome and curated
face to the world. What I did was LEAVE HER PAGE.
For the love, peoples. It’s certainly not that I don’t also fall prey
to that depraved inclination and curiosity. I’ve Facestalked ex’s new
girlfriends (or wives), and I’ve Facestalked crushes exes. I’ve kept tabs on who’s “talking” to who and leaving little digital roses on one another’s doorstep. But, what I’ve
learned to do by now is to remember that a Facebook wall is NOT the whole story, but EVEN IF IT IS, it’s NOMB (none of my business).
Other people are allowed to have happy lives, curated,
sappy, enviable. And the choice I get to make is whether I want to engage with
envy, not with Facebook. 

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