Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I consider myself to be a social person.  I suppose I'm not overly social but I don't think I'm a recluse either.  I do like people, at least most of them most of the time.

My father was a brilliant man, but what I'll always remember about him is that his amazing intellect was offset by his profound sense of social awkwardness.  He was fine when he was around the family or other academics.  But place him in a situation where he had to apply some simple social skills and his discomfort would rush to the surface.  The first time I took him to meet my future in laws he honestly asked me if he could stay in the car while I went into the house.

Thankfully, I feel as though I've gotten the best traits from both my mother and my father in some unique blend and I don't feel that kind of anxiety.  There is a sense of shyness to me, although most don't see it because I control it pretty well.  But any situation that involves more than one person inherently becomes "social".

That said, I dislike social networks.  The unease that my father felt in simple social situations eventually got to a point where he resented being put into those kinds of situations in the first place.  I feel similarly of what has popularly become "social networking".  Yuck.

Don't get me wrong.  I've met some wonderful people on "social networks".  I've re-connected with friends and family, I've met some very nice people, and I've even met friends I made there in real life.  Let's be clear, though, that when I talk about social networks what I really mean is Facebook.

I don't do other social networks.  One is enough, or MORE than enough.  I don't connect thru LinkedIn.  I'm not on Google+.  When I look to download apps to my phone they're often part of some topic or theme based social network (photos, video, etc.) and I don't download those either.  I NEVER use my FB login to login to other apps.  As far as I'm concerned FB already knows far too much about me.  It doesn't need to know what songs I like or what restaurant I'm in.

I have lots of so-called "Friends" on FB.  Most of them are people I've never met.  But when they send me an email telling me that they've read my book and they've followed my website or my blog and found some kind of inspiration there I suppose we've already established some sort of a connection and I'm more than happy to make new friends.  But I'm very picky these days about adding new friends there so if I can't find a common thread among interests or activities we most probably don't need that connection.

I specifically go out of my way to avoid Friending good friends on FB.  It has proven problematic in the past and I just don't need that level of potential complication.  Somehow, though, Un-Friending people on FB (or not accepting Friend requests) has attained some level of social acceptance/rejection far beyond what it should and I'll admit to being on both sides of that equation.  And, in case you haven't noticed, there are LOTS of whack jobs out there.  I'm just saying.

Some seem to think of FB as a dating site.  I get those emails regularly and am sure that most people do.  But when a 20 year old tells me he digs older women and that he likes my eyes I assure you that there's no sense of satisfaction or validation there.  The creepiness meter is always on when I'm doing "stuff" online and it seems to me that it's simply being smart.

I've implemented a new FB feature known as "Timeline"....not because I really want to but because it seems as though it's inevitable and I really just don't care all that much.  I haven't actually "published" it yet so the only person who can see it is me, and truth be told I don't know that it improves functionality or clouds things.  Regardless, I wasn't involved in whatever focus groups they used to decide that this was a good idea so I'm resigned that I didn't get to vote about it.  I won't complain about it because it's just not worth the energy.

I NEED my energy.  Yesterday I worked from 7:30 until 5:30 straight through lunch then ran off for wrestling practice thru 8 something.  By the time I got home at 9 I had a bite to eat, a glass of wine, I caught up on a few things, and that was it.  Done.  Time for bed.  Sleep.  Unfortunately, I was up at 3:30 so today will be a 5-hour energy drink day because, as I said - I NEED my energy.  Today will be as full as  yesterday was.

I typically have lots of energy.  I like to think most if it is what I'd consider "positive" energy and I'm more than happy to lend that out.  It's when my energy levels get dangerously low that I realize that I've hit a wall.  That has happened a few times in recent years and I don't like it.  If I do something uncharacteristically "odd" - this from a 53-year old woman who wrestles against cadets at the local Military Academy (not for fun, but to actually train for competition) - it's often an energy thing.  I'm just sharing that.

Part of Timeline involves providing simple access to anything you've ever done on FB.  PLUS, anything anyone else has done that involves you.  That's there too.  As I looked back over some of what's there I can see my low energy times because even though I'm generally pretty careful about what I post there are still obvious signs.  It's like my life before transition...my wife hated it when I went on diets because it was typically accompanied by a cranky, unhappy disposition.  The thing she didn't realize that the disposition (and the diet) were often triggered by the waves of times when Donna ached for recognition - demanded attention - and my energies were focused on (a) forcing her back, (b) feeling mad at the world because I had to do that, and (c) a growing sense of desperation because I started to realize I couldn't do that forever.  Things are not always as they appear, and people often assign the wrong reasons to seemingly obvious symptoms.

Anyway, I 'm not sure why I've written all that except that sometimes I sit at the keyboard and the words just come.  The topics write themselves.  I've done it in the past and saved it to ponder until later - sometimes posting and sometimes not.  But in this case I'll just post it - a stream of consciousness after a sleep deprived night.

I'll end with a song I've been listening to over and over recently.  It's one of my training songs, and it just gets me going.

Some of the lyrics:

Whatsoever Ive feared has come to life
Whatsoever Ive fought off became my life
Just when everyday seemed to greet me with a smile
Sunspots have faded
And now Im doing time
Cause I fell on black days

Whomsoever Ive cured Ive sickened now
Whomsoever Ive cradled Ive put you down
Im a search light soul they say
But I cant see it in the night
Im only faking when I get it right
Cause I fell on black days
How would I know
That this could be my fate

* * *

.....I LOVE it .....

Now - it's time to go out and be.  Social.


Sophie Lynne said...

hmm... there are many, many words that describe you, but "Shy" is not one I would ever use.

This is a good thing.

I'm with you on the energy thing. I work 12 hour days then go home to a 4 year old. And this is with Sophie kicking and screaming for recognition inside as well. no wrestling any more for me though. You can go win for the both of us. :)

Caroline said...

Nice to see that I am not alone with my thoughts on fbook.

I was most reluctant to ask those like yourself to be "friends" and asked for reasons why those who requested wanted to be friends. I encountered many interesting people in my time there as I found when I spent an eternity editing my timeline before going into hospital for fear that it would just be posted in it's entirety...

The net result was that I decided to walk away and see if anyone missed me enough to seek me out and to see how life would change without it.

I miss the many positive interesting leads generated but I do not miss the freely displayed angst. On balance life is better without it and nobody has come looking...

I have regained a significant proportion of my time back and can't thank timeline enough!