Does Fan equal Friend? Usually…Not Always

And what a delight to make friends with someone you have despised!~~ Colette

  
Facebook makes it so easy to keep track of the happenings going on with the people we care for who might be outside our inner circle. I’ve reconnected with a lot of people I lost touch with. Absolutely priceless gifts. I made new, real friends online, too. People I share common interests with that I never would have met without social media. Truly unexpected blessings. Among the greatest blessings has to be when I connect with someone that I didn’t care for back in the day but find that I genuinely care for them now. Life is full of growth and second chances. 

It all has helped me realize a few things…

That perspective is reality. I was hurt, damaged and suffering years ago. I saw the world and everyone in it through those eyes. Older, wiser and liking myself better now, I realize all of us were fumbling our way through, figuring out who we were while trying to look cool. We failed a lot. We were assholes very often because of it.  Myself included.  Big time. But that’s all part of our rites of passage, isn’t it? I find it comforting that so many of us made it to where we are today and that I can have “new old friendships.” Plus those awkward times make for killer tales now. What made us cry then often makes us laugh today. 

That you can go home again. As we all grew out of the drama of teen angst, we became the adults in charge. With that came very real life challenges to face, often with others relying on our decisions. It’s stressful. It’s scary. Sometimes even life-or-death. Life somehow got very real. Nostalgia provides relief. Incredibly powerful relief from the daunting grownup issues of today — mundane and profound varieties alike. Looking at old photos of ticket stubs from when The Ramones played Our Lady of Lords (I still have a few of my actual stubs) or Alley Pond Park and Creedmoor then engaging in “remember that time when…” stories with others about them. And if you are incredibly blessed like I am to have friends “who knew you when” to lean on and who can lean on you when life has its way with you…well every conversation is the safety of homecoming. That warm energy deep within generated by the past helps me smile and say I got this today. 

  
That not everyone on your “friends” list is actually your friend. Just as each of us has a brightside, we each have a darkside, too. The stealth nature of social media lends itself well to feeding that darkness. It’s why some of my friends take breaks from it here and there. I get that…even though I can’t wait to see them return. What I don’t get is what the point is in befriending someone you dislike because you dislike them in order to keep track of them and continue to dislike them. I’ve even known people who have gone so far as to create online aliases to continue to do so after the person they dislike blocked them. If you did this in outside life, you’d be called a nutcase, deemed a stalker and depending on how invasive you are, you might be subject to arrest. Why then would anyone think this is appropriate behavior online? Sanity aside…who has that kind of time on their hands? I struggle to stretch the day long enough to include all I need to and want to do in my professional, personal and community life. Even if I wanted to, it would be impossible to give time to stalk someone I dislike without taking it away from someone or something that brings me joy. How can that be worth it? Even more mind boggling is that I found that there are some who even stalk by proxy. Sadly it has recently come to my attention that some of my “friends” have given information to others I blocked. Not only is this a betrayal of trust but it potentially puts me and my family in harms way. Uncool. There are very real reasons why people get blocked. Respect that. You rarely know the whole backstory. 

While we all need alone time, we are not designed to be solitary beings. When we connect with one another, we fulfill what we are destined to do. We reach our full potential. We help others reach theirs. Be the rain that grows the garden…not the storm that spoils the parade. 

Namaste. 

Facebook and Life…as Real as It Gets

Facebook is an incredible thing.  Since I opened my account, I’ve reconnected with people I thought I’d lost forever.  I disconnected with people I should have a long time before.  And I’ve made many wonderful connections I would never have been able to had it not been for Facebook.  One of these connections is with Bill Murray III.  Not the Ghostbuster and SNL alum…although he does have a great sense of humor and his mission is to help people exorcise demons; the demons that haunt the victims and survivors of child abuse through the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (http://www.naasca.org/).

Bill and I haven’t ever met outside the virtual world.  We have a friend in common who posted a personal achievement.  There was something about Bill’s comment that intrigued me.  I clicked on his name, saw a little bit more about him and requested his friendship.  When he graciously accepted, I sent him a message thanking him and for doing the important work he does at NAASCA.  I told him that I am a survivor of a variety of forms of childhood abuse.  He told me that he is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse as well.  And a kinship was formed.

This is me around the time I talk about on the show.
This is me around the time I talk about on the show.

From there, we got to chatting about our paths toward recovery.  It’s rarely a straight line and it certainly hasn’t been in my case.  But it’s worth it.  So much has happened in the past few years, even more in the last few months to impact my recovery process.  I could have viewed these events as crippling…and at first they were.  instead, I chose to turn them into catalysts in my metamorphosis from victim to survivor.  Life is still hard and bad things are inevitable but now more than ever, I believe that life is worth living.  Despite my past, I am worthy of happiness in the present and future.  It’s there for me, too.  Bill asked me to be the special guest speaker on NAASCA’s internet radio show called BlogTalkRadio Stop Child Abuse now (SCAN).  Because I’ve found catharsis in shedding the shame attached to the abuse I endured and in my disclosure, other survivors found the courage to share their stories and get the help they’ve needed for so long, I said “yes.”  Without hesitation.  Without even thinking about it…that’s right, Judy the Over-Thinker said “yes” without giving it any thought.

So that’s how I spent 90 minutes of my Friday night last night; talking about my experience, strength and hope to help myself and other adult survivors of child abuse.  The link below will bring you to the entire 90 minute show.  Listen if you like.  Understandable if you don’t.  I didn’t get very graphic but anytime anyone recounts incidents of child abuse, it can be disturbing.  Plus…you might not want to know THAT much about me.  But you’re welcome to.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bill-murray/2014/05/31/stop-child-abuse-now-scan–845

If you or anyone you know is an adult survivor of child abuse and want an empathetic person to talk to about it, any of the residual effects or to find out where to get help, please contact me.  We’re in this life together.

Thank you Facebook for making the world a little smaller and life a lot better.

Namaste.