At the dawn of human language in the time of limited food resources, secrets were important for survival. (I hope it doesn’t come to that for the world again, but consider Haiti right now.) Of course I am not so foolish as to not believe, AS TO NOT BELIEVE, secrets remain important today, otherwise we would not have corporate secrets and trade secrets, gossip magazines would go bankrupt, et al., there would be no reason for those language stones in middle Georgia, and my first thought when I found out I had pulmonary hypertension would not have been to insist on the PROMISED destruction of all “incriminating emails and photographs” upon my “untimely frost”. But that’s another story for a different day. Remember, I write southern gothic fiction as a hobby, and darkly personal, unspoken secrets wreak havoc on the immortal souls of my characters as they struggle with their respective moral compasses. If there were no secrets, there would be no conflict, and no literature.
So why Facebook? My friend posted that message on her site this morning. I saw it as I opened her “In Box” to ask her PRIVATELY whether she ever knew anyone with pulmonary hypertension. You see, I have it. And if you have read this far and are wondering about Facebook sharing too, this message is for you and for her. I promised to write about Facebook sharing. Why do some of us share more of how we are feeling at sometimes than others? Is it really because of narcissism? Do we really BELIEVE that “our feelings” have the right to take up “more space” on the news feed lines than someone else’s feelings? No, self-aggrandizement is not the motivation.
I added a favorite quote on my page behind the one spoken by Merce Cunningham. We “share more” at some times than others because we as females know that friends do “multiply our joy and divide our pain” when we are able to share our joy and our pain. Day to day, our lives remove us from the physicality of one another. The lack of physicality does not mean that we do not love or want to know about one another. It is just our modern life.
I first joined Facebook because I wanted to know how my little grandson, who does not live with us, was doing. My daughter made the most incredibly courageous decision to gift him in adoption to the most unbelievably loving family on the planet earth, outside of my own biological family, when he was born. I did not believe I would be able to help her rear him to adulthood, and though I hope I did not verbalize those fears to her at the time, I knew I did not have a “normal” life expectancy.
One day I mentioned to Kathrine that I wanted to know how he was, but that I knew his mother was busy and I did not want to drive her crazy. I have an unhealthy case of “Survivor Syndrome” having buried my father and both my brothers prematurely. When I have trouble getting in touch with someone I love and think I should be able to get in touch with, I go nuts. I have planned and executed and experienced their funeral and am wondering how I can possible survive without them by the time they even have a hint that I have been concerned. Kathrine suggested Facebook.
Through the generosity and love of his parents, I have happily shared my biological grandson’s accomplishments and growth, through Facebook. I watched him do a cannon ball off a one meter board. I watched as he danced at a wedding. I saw his first piano recital. How remarkable is that? When Kathrine and Joe were in South America, I held my breath on Monte Pichu. How incredible is that? When Ricky met Adrienne, I was able to spend time getting to know her and my new little grandsons, Owen and Iven, through Facebook. How cool is that? When my remarkable New England family has an important event, even though our formal connection has been broken, I am able to know through Facebook. How wonderful is that?
When I first found an old high school buddy on Facebook, I was thrilled. I had run into her at a wedding two years previously, and though I know our lives are on different paths, those memories and friends from childhood and adolescence, like all true friendships, are irreplaceable. Through her and other connections in Roswell, I have recently been “found” by old friends of both of my brothers. I can’t wait to see them. One just had a new baby, and ya’ll know I am a sucker for babies. What a gift to me to know that my younger brothers were so highly regarded by their friends, that 35 and 30 years after their respective deaths, my brother’s friends remember me and want to share what they remember of my brothers with me? Impossible in this crazy “modern” life without Facebook.
Since I have connected with my cousins on Facebook, I am privileged to see how well their own grandchildren are growing. I am privileged to see how much my cousin’s children are like my own children in looks, artistic temperaments, adventuresome tendencies, and aspirations. Not possible, especially, given my life’s realities without Facebook.
But one of Facebook’s most important gifts to me occurred this past summer when one of my closest friends was experiencing the ultimate anguish of motherhood. I could not be there physically for her, for no matter how much as I wanted to crawl in her skin and take away her pain, I could not. I was, however, able to type in “XO” when I had not one word of wisdom or consolation for her. Every morning on Facebook, I could check her post, and through my finger tips, send her my love. XO. I LEARNED this from my daughter in law through Facebook, even though I had seen it before many times and over many years. I LEARNED IT on Facebook.
I admit that when a coworker first “friended” me on Facebook, I entered that arena with trepidation. And I did not hesitate to chastise her personally, but privately, when she posted a comment last March about “seeing me Chacha in a hot pink bikini”, after I deleted the post and blocked her comments for a while. That is why I told her that I did not feel Facebook was a good place for people who work together “to see one another” outside the work place. We SEE each other almost every day and sometimes not in the most flattering light. Even I don’t want to know what I look like in a hot pink bikini . . . not at the age of 56, and certainly not from the rear.
Now, however, Facebook keeps me in touch with people that I love and care about from that old workplace and one other. For me “No news is not really good news”. For me “no news is NO NEWS!!!!” If I don’t want to play any of the Facebook games, I remove the applications from my profile When I post a comment, I have made the message in my brain and transmitted that message to you through my fingertips. Our fingertips are some of the most sensitive parts of our bodies. I send a message out in the Ethernet through my fingertips to people I care about.
Recently, when I was extremely short of breath and just before this last hospitalization, and I NEEDED a lot of strength and love from my friends and family, far away and sometimes just across town, (and sometimes just across town is far away here in Atlanta), I posted that my feelings were hurting, and I needed some love. Guess what? I got it on Facebook from those who had the time to call or send an inbox message and those who were able to put in on my wall or send an email at the time. And I got it over the course of the next week through messages in lots of places that never existed when we were sending smoke signals.
Ah yes! That is how I promised to begin. I promised to share with you what I believe to be the survival value of Facebook. It is not a secret to be closely guarded, but it can be a secret for survival. It is the very simple secret Harlow sought with his monkeys. When we share photographs or “silly” posts on Facebook, we are hungry to connect. I think Facebook can provide any one who seeks to find it, irrespective of religious beliefs, political convictions, or anything that is given to divide us, food for our hungry souls through its powerful ability to connect us in times of joy and pain, and just plain everyday living.
There is only one center in the brain for pain. Emotional and physical both are equally received deeply within our brain. There is only one center in the brain for joy. Emotional and physical, both are equally received, deeply within our brain.
My friends and family on Facebook have multiplied my joy and divided my pain. I hope by sharing this with you this morning I have given you something of value. And if I haven’t, well, that’s okay too. Just delete the post.
“Friends multiply my joy and divide my pain.”
submit to you that what makes us