Sunday, May 31, 2009

Facebook Folly

I had originally intended for my brain-dumping on this blog to be more frequent and on a somewhat regular basis. But I got a bit side tracked. Not in the way that is usually thought of where life gets complicated and work gets busy and all of that. It's all true but I still had plenty of time to write and I didn't.

Through the course of the weeks since my last post, I noticed that my journaling had become erratic and often times it didn't contain much more than a date at the top of the page. I would sit down at my computer intending to do it but I never got past opening up Word to a blank page before distracting myself with something mindless. I kept avoiding it. I thought that I really had nothing to say and yet I was spending a lot of my waking time in a state of emotional crabbiness.

My mind, so I thought, had no need of dumping. Sure I had moments of venting but it was on forums where the other people were anonymous strangers without dissenting opinions. In other words, I was only posting to "safe spaces" but because my venting was in the heat of the discussion, it was only within the context of the dialog so it wasn't something I could make a blog post out of. Perhaps later I will when I really get my ideas in check.

I also stopped posting pro-gay marriage stuff on Facebook too and that ultimately was the real kicker. It wasn't a "safe space". Every time I wanted to post something or comment on someone else's post, I would stop short and tell myself that what I had to say was unimportant or that it would irritate someone. I was especially afraid of what my Mormon friends and family would think, even some of my co-workers as well. I was essentially starting to push myself back into the closet again. Avoid drawing attention to myself by not talking about it. Letting it all pass by as if I hadn't noticed anything was going on, hoping that someone else will address it so I don't have to look like the angry-gay-activist-enemy-dude etc.

Incidentally, also over the course of the weeks since my last post, several old friends found me on Facebook. Some of them actually talked to me to catch up on things, clear the air about the past, or just say hello. Unfortunately, I also had a few un-friend me during that time too. And I will probably never know why. I could assume that it was the gay thing as that does bother a few of the really religious types but I honestly think that most of them just ignore me or disable the notices. Admittedly, I've done that to a few of my friends but it was to curtail having to sift through all useless spam generated by those stupid games they were playing all damn day.

But, with the un-friending, I know I can't really know anything for sure. And I'm just too chicken to ask. Besides, if I know what it was, it would probably make me hate them even more. Especially when one of them also un-friended my brother but didn't un-friend all the friends we had in common. They were just eliminating my family from their friend list. Do I want to know? Well, yes, but I'm not going to ask. They are gone and I'm sure it will be a better world without them.

What gets me about the un-friending is the audacity of it in the first place. For someone to friend me, even chat with me and post comments to my wall or photo gallery and then one day decide that it was time to cut it off is just really odd. To me, friending someone is to say, "I want to link my page to yours and be associated with you." But, to un-friend seems to do more than just say, "I don't wish to link my page with yours anymore", it also tells the world that "We are no longer friends in real life." Clearly this doesn't apply to the friends who are total strangers to me in real life. It's the ones that I have known personally throughout the years and we have a history together. It's rejection, simple as that.

I hate rejection. It's still my weak spot. It fucking hurts and I fucking hate it. And then to have it happen several times in a series of a few weeks is earth shattering for me. It's odd how a simple little act where someone makes and breaks a friendship on Facebook can trigger depression. But that's what it did. After a few rounds of un-friending, I found myself getting cautious. I started to regress. Go and hide. Don't make waves. Don't say anything that might drive any more people away, especially my friends who hadn't been paying attention recently and noticed that I'd decided to become a flaming homosexual.

Yes, rejection is something that I have always been hyper sensitive to. It is partly the reason it took me so damned long to deal with being gay in the first place. So every time I notice that someone has left, I feel utter terror inside. "What the fuck did I do now?"

Depression has a way of slowly creeping up on me so it took me awhile to realize what was going on. I had essentially revoked my own permission to express myself at all, no matter what it was. I had regressed to the old, emotionless, robotic, overly self-censored thinking from my past. And I resented it. I stopped doing any writing. I didn't want to talk to people about the things going on in my life. It was affecting my social life, my interaction with people at work, my family, everything. I didn't want to risk doing or saying anything that might express my true self in fear that it was something about me that pushed people away. Ironically, my anger, frustration and bitterness did it anyway.

Of course I was blaming everyone else for feeling like I needed to censor myself. After all, I grew up believing that it was my responsibility to do whatever it took to make sure that other people were happy. And no matter what, I would invariably fail resulting in getting horribly criticized for it. So it used to be that any little bit of criticism would push my self-censor buttons.

But this was different. I wasn't getting any criticism. I was just loosing people with no reason as to why they were leaving. They weren't sticking around to criticize. The ones that did stick around to criticize didn't bother me. I found that I was now comfortable enough with myself to brush it off. But I didn't know how to deal with the ones who just up and walked out without saying a dammed thing. That was a new one on me.

I realize that spending all of my time trying to figure out why people end a relationship is a waste of precious time that I could be using to make new friends. I'm still in a transitional time in my life where my social links are realigning. As I grow into a new and complete gay man, sure of who I am and unwilling to pretend to be what other people want me to be, I'm going to be making new friendships, adjusting existing ones and ending others. It's just the way it is. Yet, it's still hard and it's not without some hurt feelings. And quite honestly, there are a few people that, had things been different, I would never have been their friends to begin with.

I'm trying to keep in mind that, for many of those people, I'm no longer the same person they got to know years ago. Many of them, including my family, don't really know the real me. They don't know my real interests or any of my religious or political views let alone my philosophical views about life, love and sex. They think they know because I never corrected them when they made assumptions. Instead, I just pretended to take an interest in their interests and pretend to agree with their opinions. After all, I just wanted to fit in. I needed to hide myself and everyone else from that evil scary gay thing inside. So ultimately, the person they all got to know was a complex shell they helped create for me and I accommodated them by making sure I wore it full time. In many ways I even believed some of that shell was the true me.

But that shell is gone now. Quickly and violently ripped away. So much so that I'm still trying to sort out what is real and what isn't, what matters and what doesn't, who cares and who doesn't and where my spot will be in all of this. And I still wonder why the fuck it couldn't have been different.

3 comments :

  1. I hear you. I have friends, family, co-workers and people I know from MCC all on Facebook. I have set up some filters so as to not antagonize my TBM acquaintences. A lot of people who I knew back when I was in one of many bishoprics friend me. I don't pretend that I still am active LDS and I don't see where I have any obligation to explain why I go to another church.

    I have to admit that I don't monitor my friends list, I am not even sure how to determine if someone has unfriended me or not. I suspect a few of my Nazi Mormon in-laws have at least blocked my posts. Ignorance truly is bliss.

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  2. I no longer filter my content for specific people on Facebook any more.

    I think for the most part I'm past trying to protect the world view of my TBM friends.

    And I'm actually looking forward to some future un-friending.

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  3. I got annoyed last week because someone unsubscribed to my blog--all I could think about was wondering what I wrote that made them decide that they no longer wanted to read it.

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