Monday, September 24, 2012
My facebook Friends Saved My Sanity
Back before my medication kicked in I wanted to be numb. I would have gladly traded the good feelings if it meant I would be rid of the painful ones. It was a hard time, but I got through. I looked back over my shoulder at the past and that deep well of pain that I could not cap and I waited. I waited for the drugs to work. I waited for my mood to lift and I waited for something to catch my fancy. To rekindle my passion for life and for creating. I started hanging out on facebook. In one of those groups I had been invited into. I do not remember who suggested it to me, it was 2009 and I was looking for a distraction. It was a group of mothers and a scattered few fathers just to spice things up. People logged on to talk about their children, their significant others. Looking for advice or comfort or simply just to vent. I would read it all. It took me months to pipe in. I simply sat back and watched as sparks and witticisms flew. I slowly got drawn into other people's lives. I developed crushes on so many and started sending and accepting friend's requests. I felt so brave. So involved with something bigger than myself. I would pounce out of bed every morning and check in.
There were so many things happening at once. Babies were being born. First time mothers were at their wits end. People were falling in and out of love. Either trying to keep it together or to tear it apart. I began to care about these complete and total strangers. I hung on their words. I said prayers and typed out hope. It took my mind off me. I was so tired of me. I never shared anything about me in those first days. What would I have said? I could not dump out my life on a facebook page. I kept it all in. Slowly, I made friends. I would talk about my husband, my children. I carefully edited everything. A little nip here and a tuck in of the truth there. I folded facts over in on themselves. Trying to hide a truth I was ashamed of. I "met" so many dear people. There was the woman who started the group, I knew her first by her alter and then by group. She had a wonderful, snappy alter. Who was very good at expressing her real life issues and still make you laugh. But just as Facebook giveth, so it taketh away and it banished her alter. There was a whole slew of alters. I tried to keep them all straight. It was an exercise in memory and a challenge to piece each of them together.
At times my hard edges bumped into the unsuspecting souls who lived inside my laptop. It was usually not intentional. Someone would share something that hit my buttons. Mostly it was child related. I would type out a retort and then want to take it back. It is a tricky thing this cyber social experience. It is very easy to be too blunt, too truthful when there is no living breathing person in front of you. When people were boiled down to a few scattered letters and a thumb nail picture, which may or may not be them. They were all anonymous, which made talking to each other so easy. It also made catching cues and signals hard. I hated when I disagreed with someone. Hated the drama and the hard words. That doesn't mean that I was not the perpetrator of many a spat. I would stumble into some fray and say the wrong thing. I would read something that angered me and I would let fly my own sarcasm. It would ooze across the screen and after all the venom was out of me, I regretted my actions. I hadn't meant what I said.
I learned a lot in those early days. I figured out that my words had power. That I could choose to lift someone up or tear them down. Most of the skirmishes I got into were on someone else's behalf. I was always ready with my armor. I would pick up my shield and unleash the saber like tongue and feel the energy coarse through me as I waged a war of words. What was I doing? Beating others down with heavy accusations and judgments, rocks thrown at the wounded. And then, later that day or the next, I would reread my words and be miserable. I had failed. I had let that beast off it's leash and someone who had done little or nothing had paid the price. I backed away from the keyboard. I needed to learn to moderate myself. I found my words shameful, my motives suspect. I had to examine what set me off and how to reign in that viscous creature once again.
I started watching how others navigated this uncharted world. Some were so deft. A beautiful woman in California who always knew what to say. A lovely soul in Colorado whom you were sure to lose to in a game of "I never". A man who worked with fire equipment, I called him Olive. And when I first started writing all of this down, a beautiful angel from Canada, patiently talked me through the steps and then, because she is such a giving soul, she set up my blog. She kept it all together. There was another angel who helped those who were in a pain so deep pills could not reach them. It was her life's work to save all that came her way. When my dog passed away, a caring woman with a fetish involving Hello Kittie talked me through it. She sent me youtube videos and checked in on me for weeks after. If I went silent for too long, someone would reach out. I started looking forward to their thoughts and ideas. A very special woman in California, whom I met playing Slingo twelve years ago was such an inspiration. When we put out my blog, a whole new group of people became known to me. I had no idea how they found me, but I loved their words of support and praise. I would get PRAISE. I had never expected that. I did not know what I thought might happen, but surely not what did. Generous, kind souls passed on my words and asked me for more. I was shocked that people wanted my words. A woman in Russia messaged me and while all her words were spelled wrong, I got her meaning by sounding them out. She wrote MOAR, MOAR! And so I wrote her more. I came home one afternoon from a long day, checked in to say hello and within minutes I was inundated with messages. Olive, asked for another chapter. I looked at his message, struck dumb. It had never occurred to me that he would read my thoughts. But he did and he always had a kind word. There are some sweethearts in Texas who kept me laughing with them and sometimes at them. I suppose what I am saying is through this invisible world where all these new found souls lived, my facebook friends saved my sanity. And I hope they all know, each and everyone of them how important they were. The many people who edited for me, wrote when I could not or who helped me navigate the electronic world I was not accustom to. I am thankful to them all.
They waited on my words and I waited on their thoughts. I asked over and over, was it good? Was it enough? I asked that woman, the first one what she thought. I was so afraid to ask her. She was busy. She had a book deal...but I did anyway. I threw caution to the wind and asked her opinion. She said it was very well written. and then added I mean VERY well written. I printed her message out and so many others I look at them when I need a lift. Words have power. I am trying to use them to heal, both myself and, hope of all hope, others.
Posted by Chele at 6:59 PM