Thursday, July 2, 2015

40 Days Off Facebook (Part 3 of 3)

Thoughts After 40 Days

For the first day or two it was a struggle but then I found myself keeping up with a few friends through e-mails, texts, or phone calls. Also, getting off Facebook gave me the space to think about what is important to me and I discovered it was connecting with people in-person, or at least though Skype or phone calls.

Still, our world of technology fights a lot against this; people are now far more comfortable e-mailing, texting, and "socializing" on Facebook. The problem is that Facebook isn't real, well in a sense at least. Facebook is what we post so others can know us, but I think we tend to filter out all the things we get with friends in real life, like tone of voice, body language, as well as the complexities of life; the good, the sad, and the funny.

I'm still going to be on Facebook on and off. I'm still going to write blogs, though I've chosen to remove a lot of recent posts/shares from my public blog and Facebook profile. As much as some like writing (and sharing on Facebook), I think people tend to have a sort of voyeur-like stance at times to reading my blogs, since I see many views yet normally no comments, perhaps a few "likes".

If I am honest, while my writings about faith seem to get comments and discussion, my personal writings about life, love, dating, being single, and friendship seem to give off the wrong impression. I had hoped writing some personal things would help people to open up, add discussion; instead I think it makes my life seem sad worth pity instead of as courageously honest. I read a book earlier this year, "Daring Greatly" by Brene Brown, in it, she writes about a man who spoke to her:

"[As men] we have shame. Deep shame. But when we reach out and share our stories, we get the emotional shit beat out of us.... [Women would] rather see me die on the top of my white horse than watch me fall of."

Then the author replies:

"[Women] ask [men] to be vulnerable, we beg them to let us in, and we plead with them to tell us when they're afraid, but the truth is that most women can't stomach it."

I think most men cannot handle it either.

Real honesty is tough and I think when people emotionally expose themselves, others tend to recoil, to feel sorry for them, to pity them. What they do not know is how to do is respond with them, to discuss, or to be vulnerable themselves (unless they can be anonymous it seems). I've wondered why men and women who struggle socially, emotionally, or with addictions always wait until long AFTER to write or speak of their experiences. It is because being that open and vulnerable hurts ones reputation. Basically, no one wants to be friends or socialize with people who they know are sad, suffering, hurting, or lonely; people want to be friends with people who are fun, adventurous, and funny. The reality is we are all of these, a few might admit it behind closed doors, but admit such things openly and you  commit social and professional suicide, especially if you are male.

Writing is tough, especially when your inspiration comes mostly from a vulnerable place. I've decided others don't need to see these vulnerable places, mostly because they are only part of who I am, and as I set out to make new friends and date, such honesty, such vulnerability does nothing for me personally. I will still write, (oh will I write!) but a lot less will be public.

Perhaps when I am old and grey, or at least married with kids and have a good social network, I can put my past writings out there. Maybe it will help others who are struggling themselves to know that there are others out there who feel the same, who are great people. Still, while the world can hold their interesting and fun self, it simply cannot bear to face vulnerability and doubt. In fact, the world will emotionally and socially drain and slay those who dare to be so open.

The only thing to do is chose to be open with a few close family and friends, those people who have earned the right to see my struggles, my darkness because they also see my light and reciprocate sharing their light and darkness, their ups and downs, their joys and struggles as well.

It is sad but right decision. The game of life is that, we put on a show, we set up an image to others, performing on a stage - and only those worthy should ever be given the time and space to see the whole of who we are, behind the set, and as far as I am concerned the others are simply not worth my time or attention. I refuse feed their voyeur-like interest in me or to be pitied by them. I am worth more. I am more.

They would know if they were willing and put forth effort.
I now know though, most simply will not.

~ Single Me


  1. I agree. A lot of people like to sit back and watch the train wreck, instead of rushing to help those in need. I never share when I am hurting, because the important people know. The ones who can stomach it can see it in my face when we meet. I think seeing anyone suffering is difficult for most people. That's why we turn the channel when we see the starving kids in Africa commercials, or the wounded animals. Heck, even the Farmers Only dating site commercials. It's strange to accept vulnerabilities after seeing only strength from people. I also think that the people who read without commenting simply don't know how to respond. It's a delicate situation and to me, saying simply that I will say a prayer for your healing sounds so empty compared to something that might actually be able to help you.

    1. I tried to reply to this at work on my break and the blocker blocked my comment and I didn't save it, so here is another attempt, lol

      Yeah, I figure maybe with friends in person, you know who your true friends are by who is with you through the struggle and through the joys. I suppose it is good to remember there are levels to friendship and, to me, most "friends" on Facebook are not very deep. I guess the impression when you see thier pictures, joys, and status updates is that you both know eachother and I think this lends one to expect more out of the friendship than what is there. Even then, I try to remember that one is proved by their actions and not their words, so when people say they want to be friends but make no effort, my effort should be the same towards them. I just hate investing in people, then feeling like it meant nothing when effort is not reciprocated anymore.

      Essentially, I am having to learn to care less, to invest in myself first and then into others who truly do things to reciprocate friendship and getting to know me as a whole person.

      Thanks for the comment Tiffany!
      ~ Single Me

  2. This is a very good post, because we all struggle with it. Vulnerability is a courageous step. It's easy to be brash and closed off, but vulnerability is terribly hard. So many people admire veneers over reality, we even start to believe veneers are reality. Not being vulnerable protects us, but being vulnerable frees us. I totally understand not wanting to post writings. That is the most naked you can possibly be. I've been naked in front of hundreds of people by now, but I still won't even let my therapist read what I write without much distress.

    1. I know who you are Nataly! ;) :)

      I want to believe vulnerability is courageous, it just never ends up feeling that way (same things for bravery), most it feels more like a weight... unless someone reciprocates what you say or do in some way. To me, I feel often (besides comments to this post) vulnerability is ignored, pitied, or people find is cause for grave concern. Sometimes it might be but other times I think it should be valued, and the hope is that others might reciprocate so we can all just be more of are authentic selves. I feel like there is a lot people have to hide in order to be "acceptable" in our culture and in our world.

      Well, I always enjoyed your writings. I'd say I could relate but to be honest, I've never been seen naked by a female nor seen a woman naked in person myself. And in some ways I think its good I haven't put myself out there, or guarded myself, in that respect emotionally (physically and spiritually as well) while other times it feels like waiting "for the right person" for so long gets terribly frustrating. I find I keep asking God for good friends and a relationship (future wife) but for the most part these things keep getting denied.

      All the friends I do have that seem to care about my life are online or in Texas. I am grateful for these friends but it is difficult with distance. But, as Ive been pretty busy with work lately, Ive decided to cut back on dating and putting so much effort into making new friends. Perhaps it would benefit me more to invest in those friends I already have, even though they might be far away and spend my free time relaxing and working on myself.

      Thanks for much for reading and commenting Nataly,
      More blogs to come! :)

      ~ Single Me

  3. Long time no talk/comment. :)

    I'm glad you read the book and hoped it was helpful for you brother. A few random thoughts for my response..

    You're writing online is courageous; however blogs/FB/Tweeter are wasted spaces for affirmation, which is what I often seek when sharing on these. Great verse for me to remember before I share -

    “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

    2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

    But then, you knew that : )

    I was visiting my folks this past weekend in Katy and I heard someone call it Fake Book. I do admit I only post happy thoughts (Happy Gilmore) online, but did open a little bit more once I started blogging. Of course its only the good stuff, but I think my friend's sentiment is one possibly grounded in bitterness and not being able to celebrate for others.

    The white horse quote from Brene Brown was my favorite and I used it when talking about marriage, dating and pornography to friends of mine.

    Online tools (not me) should only help strengthen your day-to-day, face-to-face relationships. Maybe they can help keep you connected to friends from your past, and this is no commentary on our relationship, but I have let go of many "old" friendships so I can develop new ones.

    I look forward to more of your story. Keep sharing friend.

    1. Indeed, I dont want an audience to be thought of as great but moreso just to maybe be heard, understood, for others to say "hey, me too". I hear similar stories from others but they are hidden behind the veils everyone puts on and its hard to get behind the curtain of others. People are (over)protective and I feel myself getting that way too. I hate small talk but the deep thoughts I have right now arent really how you start a friendship.

      Honestly, I feel I have been trying way to hard. I've been looking back on some friendships and realize I was always the one initiating things. It has become exhausting to me, especially now having two jobs. Trying to keep up with everyone is crazy. I'm sad I haven't kept up with you as much as I want or others. I dont think it is that I want to throw old friends away because of distance but that I want friendships with people I can see and hang out with in-person. It's just that most of my attempts at friendships or dating have flopped and after spending so much energy, FB or off-line, I am just tired. I am still going to put myself out there some but might get back into reading more. I do have a huge stack I want to get through. Maybe I need that time away. Maybe I need to let others have the time to contact me, instead of always contacting them. I have more on my next blog I plan to post here soon. I think the last few months my trying so hard and not getting results sent me to a dark place and I am trying to relax and hopefully start to pull myself back out. and I will readily admit some of me is pretty pissed, ticked off, and bitter towards God. I feel like I follow God and some things work out, like me getting a job in this state far from home but then I've been here for two years and dont have any best friends (almost had one but he got married and they hang out with couples now), or even really good friends. Perhaps there is something to be said for letting go, to stop trying sop hard all the time... and then maybe find balance between not trying at all and wearing myself out. I dont think God is ignoring me or I "should" get something for following him but after trying for so long, it just makes is very difficult and it is hard to express those thoughts and feelings to others, especially if I dont want them running way.

      Thanks for your comment Nathan!
      ~Single Me