Tuesday, April 24, 2018

how much Does family matter?

my mom sent me this meme yesterday, and I responded to it with "did you send this to [my brother]?  I don't know why you seem to think the onus of the emotional work is on me - I never kicked him out of my house, or forbid my kid from talking to him or his cousins."  which is what my brother did to me/my teen when the teen was just a little baby in diapers - threw us out of his house.  and later, when the teen was 6, and we moved an hour up the road, bro dismissed us with an 'I'll never come visit you', and forbid his kids to talk to mine, when they had had a close relationship, and caused much anguish, confusion, and tears for my young son.

Mom:  "Of course I did.  Please do not get your knickers in a twist.  I won’t send any more stuff like that. I have given up."  but she hasn't given up, and she won't give up.  she's in her 70's, now, and has decided that she doesn't want the next time my brother and I to see each other to be at her funeral.  she wants to see her remaining family (me, my bro, our kids) all together in one place before she dies.  I don't know why, it hardly matters to me at this point (though it would be nice if the cousins could have a connection), but it Does matter to her, so she will keep trying, though she says she won't.  I think she probably doesn't know how deep the wound goes - nor do I, for that matter - I mean, I know how deep it goes for me, but I don't think my brother particularly cares.  I may be wrong, and he may be deeply wounded, too, but not having spoken to him in the past 7 years (and not much before then, though we used to be good friends), I can't say.  he's changed quite a bit, in my opinion, while I have remained constant to who I've always been (also my opinion).

so, because I am, for better or worse, who I am, I sent a joint message to both my mom and my bro this morning, and now I'm going to share it here, for my readers, because I'm the sick bitch who likes to share my pain with friends and strangers equally:

me to them:  "as per the meme our mother sent to us, I replied 'did you send this to [my bro]?  I don't know why you seem to think the onus of the emotional work is on me - I never kicked him out of my house, or forbid my kid from talking to him or his cousins.'  to you [Bro], I am saying that for a long, loooong time, I have been the bigger person when it comes to the ways I have been treated by my 'family' - no matter how much abuse, prejudice, belittling, and legal action you all have visited upon me, I have risen above, and not treated you with similar hate or arrogance.  I have lived my life, away from you, for most of 30 years, as it has been made clear that I am not good enough, my opinions are not welcome, my intelligence has been insulted, my lifestyle scorned, my parenting called into question, and that is Not, in my opinion, how a family behaves.  as a brother, you used and abused me when you should have been protecting me, and chased me out when you should have been inviting me in.  I have decades of anger stored away that has never been vented to you (though it has been shared with others), and you have much to apologize for.  how would you feel if one of [your son's] friends shoved a stuffed Odie with his tongue out between [either of your daughters'] legs?  what would you do if [your son] held his sisters down so his friend could do that to them rather than punch his friend in the face?  there are countless incidents as such that occurred throughout our lives that I could point to where you treated me like 'less than', when I have never done a goddamned thing to you, and you have perpetuated the lie that there is something fundamentally wrong with me to many family and friends to protect yourself from the truths that I have had to live with my whole life.  it's taken a lot for me to not succumb to the shame and pain you have caused both me and my child, but we are strong, amazing souls, whom you have lost out on knowing for your arrogance and erasure.  so go ahead - I have once again extended my neck for you to chop off with your need to protect yourself from the mess you attempted to leave behind.  Mom wants us to reconcile?  great - it begins with you acknowledging your part in treating me like a pariah, and apologizing for it, sincerely.  and then an ugly conversation in which you apologize for every action that directly followed.  in the rare case that I have anything to apologize for, do please let me know, though as far as I can tell, I've never done or said anything to you, or any member of your family, that can be construed in the same light as the malicious ways in which you have attempted to assassinate my character.  you go on and have yourself a lovely day, though.

"Mom - there.  I took the first step.  I'm sure you will both have quite a bit to say about how I did it wrong, or how I should have done it differently, or whatever it is you two say about me to each other.  even though [Bro] has been the favored child all these years, judging by the shitty things you have said to me about him, I'm sure you say similar things to him about me.  if you want to see reconciliation between us, you need to be responsible for your part in that conversation.  and judging by the times I asked you to be responsible for your part in that conversation with me alone, and you have done everything in your power to deflect so as not to ever have that conversation, I don't see it happening.

"I love you both very much, and have always remembered you in my prayers.  that does not mean that you deserve a place in my life, however.  seeing as how I'll be taking care of Mom after [Bro] moves away (which he absolutely Should do), I have no problem burying all animosity between she and I in order to help her get on with the business of living while she's still doing it.  I am happy to do the same for [Bro], if he deigns to take responsibility for his many cruel behaviors towards me, but I doubt there will ever be any real repair to our family unit that was torn asunder without [Dad] to hold it together.  too many years and too much bad blood - not to mention differing political views and socio-economic statuses - has passed between us, but I believe in Love, and have made it a point to only deal with those who show me love.  that is my opening statement.  Selah ~ "

I mean, you can see how that's an inappropriate thing for a teen-aged boy to do to his best friend's little sister, right?  and for my brother to not only Let him do it, but to Hold Me Down WHILE he did it, well...that's just a red flag for future behavior patterns unbecoming of a what I see as 'proper' big-brotherly conduct.

do you think my message was too harsh, on point, or not harsh enough?  do you think I should even have sent it?  should I have left the relationship to its death regardless of my mother's wishes?  do you have family members you have quarreled with and never spoken to again?  or family members you've reconciled with?  how has that come about, and how are those relationships functioning today?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Snoopy, Come Home? *content warning for childhood trauma

while checking the statistics on the differing popularity of my various posts, it becomes clear that you sick bastards that tend to read them prefer the ugly, sordid details to the positive, happy vibes I try to bring to my life, my writing, and the world.  so I'm going to indulge you with another story of personal trauma, because that's what you like - my pain and suffering.

enjoy ~

the summer I was 11 years old, I lived the popular joke at the time that 'our' parents would move away while 'we' were at sleep-away camp.  I'm not sure who started 'the joke', the kids or the parents, but I remember getting the letter from my mom that my parents had bought a new house, and we would be moving.  she drew me a sketch of the floor plan which didn't make any sense, and it occurred to me that I was living the nightmare of not actually knowing where I lived, now.  it was mostly just preteen melodrama, because of course we still lived where I had called home for the past 8 years, but the situation was a bit disconcerting, and I felt somewhat adrift amid the news (which of those rooms in my mom's sketch was 'mine'?).  at the end of the summer, my parents not only came to pick me up, they took me back to my room in our 'old' house, and all was well, though we must have been in 'moving mode', because we began living in the 'new' house sometime in December.

one of the cool things that came along with new house was that we teens got our own phone line, because my dad didn't want to have to compete with us to make and receive calls.  not much trauma so far, right?  I mean, my parents, who loved each other, were married - they not only owned a home, they sold it and bought a new one (it was probably mortgaged to the hilt, and they later lost it).  they also sent us to sleep-away camp, and all kinds of other good stuff.  none of my other friends had their own phone lines, I don't think - it was a long time ago, who remembers?  but we had our own line, and our own phones, in our own rooms, which were right next to each other - talk about luxury (we had our own bathroom, too, with two sinks).  as a teen, I definitely fit the stereotype of yakking away with my friends for hours on my Snoopy phone, so I guess my dad's foresight paid off for him, until...

the summer after 10th grade, I started dating a guy I met at the day camp we both worked at who had graduated from high school, and was going away to college.  after our amazing summer of falling in looove, we said 'goodbye' as he left for school, but decided to stay together as he was only going to be 3 hours away, and planned to come home frequently to visit, which he did.  while he was at school, though, we spent Hours on the phone.  HOURS.  half the time, I don't even think we talked, we just held the handsets to our ears and savored the connection between us.  the other students who lived in his dorm nicknamed him 'Pa Bell' as he could frequently be found tucked into the phone booth, listening to me breathe as I listened to him.  what the hell did we find to say to one another?  I guess that's just how it is when you're in love for the first time - no need to say anything, just being 'together' was enough.  I'm old and jaded, now, but I do remember how I lived to hear his voice, and how it felt to know he was as enamored of me as I was of him.  he did make some of the calls, but since he had to use a pay phone, the majority of them were billed to...my dad.

that first month that my boyfriend was away at school, my dad called me into the kitchen one night to 'discuss' the phone bill.  it was $500.  $500!  what would You do if your teen racked up a $500 phone bill in one month?!  at 16/17, I was busy struggling with chemistry homework, making sure my double-spike-belt went with my parachute pants, having my driver's license suspended for speeding soon after I got it, and had no idea how much a local phone call cost, let alone a long distance one.  my dad was no Ward Cleaver - he was a child of the Holocaust, and an Israeli soldier - he demanded my phone, which I ran to my room to fetch, and placed on the kitchen table in front of him.  as I assume you can see from the pictures (and in case you can't, I'm about to describe it anyway), the Snoopy phone I had had a yellow handset that Snoopy held in his hand at the end of his outstretched arm.  well, my dad picked up that yellow handset, and used it to smash Snoopy's head into oblivion.  poor Snoopy...it wasn't his fault.

I'm sure I must have cried, and eventually managed to explain to my dad that I didn't know anything about local vs. long distance billing, or peak vs. off-peak calling times.  I'm sure he grounded me from phone use, specifically calls to my boyfriend...but I know he didn't make me pay the bill.  in fact, he even took me to the mall, with poor, beheaded Snoopy in a shopping bag, told the salespeople that the phone 'fell off my desk', and that he was looking to replace it.  sadly, Snoopy was a limited edition item, and I ended up getting a plain brown trimline to replace him.  the next month, the phone bill was only half of what it had been, but I was still called into the kitchen (where all family conferences took place) to explain myself.  I hadn't been on the phone because I was grounded, but there were still residual charges for calls that had been made before Snoopy's assassination that hadn't been billed yet, so I was let go without further punishment, but with another stern warning to mind my usage.

my boyfriend and I resorted to writing letters, which wasn't a bad thing, in retrospect, but I did write a good deal of those letters during school, when I should have been taking class notes and paying attention, I suppose.  I had a shoebox filled with his correspondence up on the shelf in my closet, which seems romantic in this age of texts and emojis, and I guess it is, in a sense, though our 'relationship' only lasted two years, as we broke up when I went away to college, in a town too far away from his college to easily visit each other.  in any case, I told this story of my father's violent nature (along with several others) to my teen at some point, as either an anecdote about the late grandfather he never knew, as a cautionary tale to avoid inciting my own rage-like anger, as an illustration of how much less trauma I try to inflict on him as a parent than my parents inflicted on me, or just because the memory struck me.  about a year or so ago, as we were browsing through a newer local shop that sells some vintage items, I was stopped dead in my tracks as I came face-to-face with a Snoopy phone they had on display, for sale at an exorbitant price.  my teen came up beside me, saw the phone, and asked if that was the same one I had had that my dad had smashed.  when the owner instinctively sidled up to me to try and make a sale, I heard my darling offspring volunteer that I used to have that very phone until my dad destroyed it because...I quickly slipped my hand over his mouth and hugged him to me while grinning at the owner that he had a way of not necessarily knowing what information was private, and inquiring after the price (as I said, way too much for my budget, but probably quite affordable for one of the tourists who vacations at the spa near where we live).

later, in the car driving home, the teen asked if I would really buy that phone if it was in my price range, and I said that I probably would.  I really liked that phone - it was cute, and fun, and though I'm not really into Snoopy or the Peanuts cartoon he came from, or 'branded' merchandise on the whole, I would have put that phone on my desk with a smile on my face, remembering the feeling of being in love for the first time, and being an entitled teen with not a thing in the world to worry my pretty, empty head about, and my dad, scary as he could sometimes be.  it would stand there as a testament to my having survived some of the harsher lessons of my youth, and a reminder to transcend the impulse to destroy my son's things when he uses them in ways that I find irresponsible or annoying, because I know how deeply that wound can cut, even though we know 'things' are just impermanent physical objects that are not necessary to our survival.  I'm anthropomorphising here, but it was shocking and brutalizing to watch Snoopy get his head smashed in for something I had done, and it gave me a real sense of my own responsibility towards others, and since then, I have never let another person take the blame for some wrong I had committed, even if it was as simple as accidentally ordering more apple pies from the bakery than we could sell at the farm market that week.

so take my silly little trauma to heart - while I believe there should be consequences for our children's wrong actions, brutality shouldn't be one of them.  neither should violence.  my dad had some serious trauma of his own, and while he tried to keep it in check, he sometimes failed, and often made up for it by buying me things.  I hardly ever wanted the 'things' as much as I just wanted to be 'good enough', and I would have traded all the material objects for a few more hugs, and to be told that I was worthy of his love.  in the end, I understood that I was, and we managed to reconcile our relationship before he died, thank goodness, but it was a long road to get there, and many horrible things in my life could have been avoided as a result, but...selah.  here we are.  I'm a parent now, doing my best (and often failing) at treating my son how I wish I had been treated, but I'm doing it without a partner, and a lot less money, so the rules aren't quite the same.  the truth is, I have threatened to smash my son's (hand-me-down, outdated) iphone for something I can't even remember at this point, and that's not ok - but this blog is my way to work through my issues, so here I am reminding myself why that's not ok, and to find better solutions in the future.

have you passed any of your early traumas on to your children, or perpetuated any needlessly negative familial patterns in their lives?  have you corrected the situation?  how?

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Dream Lover

one night this past winter, when it was deadly cold, Blanche had an especially vivid dream of a particular kind, which she had had before.  in this one, she walked into the dream via a tent-like enclosure, curtained off from a larger, dome-like structure. the things she understood were that she was a member of a tribe or clan, that it was deep-winter, and this collective housing structure was how her village set up their seasonal lodging so as to maintain personal privacy while conserving resources for the wider community, such as a large fire pit in the center that kept the dome warm, and served to cook the meals.  they dressed in furs and wool, had dreadlocks, seemed to be hunter-gatherers, yet also agrarians.  the people seemed to have their own distinctive roles in this society, and the women did their work while the men took care of other responsibilities.

as a young and strong leader, she was returning to her village after having been 'out in the field' for some time (a week or so?), either scouting, taking part in some sacred feminine right-of-passage for the teen women, or both.  she was cold, dirty, and stiff from a long week of hard work away from the comforts of home, and treated herself to a luxuriously hot bath in the rudimentary bathhouse before returning to her personal enclosure within the communal space, and diving into her raised platform covered in wool and furs.  as her naked skin hit the cool furs, she shivered a bit and settled in for the kind of comfortable sleep she had missed while out on maneuvers.  then she was embraced from behind by a rather large man who had been sleeping on the pallet, and been awakened by her arrival under the furs.  "You have returned," he growled in his deep voice as he curled his large body around hers, and wrapped her up in his strong arms.  she smiled, and settled herself gratefully into his warmth as his hands moved along her clean skin, and he nuzzled his face in her hair.

this man was one of the tribe's best warriors, and a leader of men.  they were lovers, and though it was 'her enclosure', she had consented to allow him to stay in it while she was away.  she was so tired when she had come in seeking her bed that it had not occurred to her that her lover might be there under the covers, waiting to embrace her, but she was glad to share his warmth, and was happy for his company.  he asked after the women's ceremony, and she responded in the broadest of terms, as technically it was none of his business - if the village council had any need for information about any of the young women, it was the older, battle-tested, clan-mothers who answered on their behalf.  it was the same for the older men, being responsible for the younger men of an age when it was time for them to leave the relative safety of their mothers' sides, and grow together as a part of the larger community.

warmed by her lover's embrace, she turned onto her back, and stretched her whole body out in a way that indicated she was fully relaxed and happy, and his hands began to stroke her in a way that was more familiar.  her skin tingled, and she responded to his attentions by turning towards him in the bed, wrapping her arms and legs around the mass of him, and climbing atop him like he was her mountain.  as his pleasure had already begun to rise beneath her, they joined in each other's climax as will lovers who know each other well.  this was certainly the best of ways to return to her own bed, her lover, and her larger community. 

"what a lovely dream!" thought Blanche, when she woke. 

as it so happened, Blanche came down with flu that same winter, and while she was sick, her fever-dreams returned her to this peaceful little village for some traditional healing.  this time, she awoke on her pallet-bed, sweating under layers of wool blankets and furs, with several other women in attendance.  there was the Eldest - an old, white-haired grandmother who was the main source of information when it came to matters of health and wellness, and her 'daughter' who may not have been a biological child so much as an apprentice to the craft, who was closer in age to Blanche's own mother.  there were others attending to her, holding as she did an esteemed place in the tribe, but these were the two by her bedside.  there were both cool and warm cloths alternately placed on her aching head, there was hearty soup spooned into her, there were hot baths, thick robes, and lots of sweaty sleep in her furnace of a bed, in her personal enclosure.  her lover was obviously elsewhere, probably in the separate tent the men kept, for the duration of her illness, or out hunting.  either way, he wasn't much on her mind, until she heard his low voice in hushed conversation with the medicine women.

she gathered that he was wondering how close she was to death, and if he needed to inform her son (who had been fathered by a previous lover that had met his death at the end of an enemy spear).  while she had raised her boy to an age where it was now the responsibility of the elder tribesmen to teach him the ways of the men, they had remained close after he moved from her enclosure to one of those the young men his age shared.  everyone was worried about her, and pulling for her return to good health.  morale was low, and a lot was riding on her recovery, so her lover was seeing what the best course of action was for him to take in order to best prepare for what might come next.  he was informed that she was still in her prime, and there was no need to worry anyone - especially her son - over her little illness.  the healers had every reason to believe she would be restored to full health in good time, she just needed her rest, that he should tend to his business, and let them tend to theirs.  Blanche rolled over in her dream-bed, and fell back to sleep.

when she woke next, she could tell it was night by the sounds in the larger tent - the remains of the evening meals being cleaned up, children being put to bed, adults stretching out around the main fire for a bit of relaxation and socializing before tucking in themselves.  she wanted to get out from under her covers and wrap up in a thick robe to join them; she was so tired of lying down and sleeping, but she still felt too weak to even throw the blankets back.  then she heard her lover arguing with the Eldest - the medicine woman was telling him to go sleep in the men's tent and leave 'Blanche' alone. he was insisting that he had bathed the hunt off of him, was scrubbed and clean beneath a clean robe, and planned on sleeping under the furs with his woman, no matter what the Eldest thought about it.  he decided that whatever risk it was to his own health to bed with her while she was still ill, she needed his strength near to draw from in order to heal herself.  she grunted at him disapprovingly, but stepped aside and let him through the curtain when she realized he was not so much arguing with her as he was informing her of his plan.

she managed to open her aching eyes long enough to see him toss his robe on top of the pile of blankets already weighing her down, his skin scrubbed so clean it shone, before he climbed under the furs next to her, and gathered her shivering body into his powerful embrace, tucking her head under his chin as he hugged her tight.  she curled into him, and whimpered despite herself.  he rocked her gently, and whispered soft endearments in her ear, while she let herself be comforted by his warmth, and his gentle care for her momentary fragility.  there's nothing quite so sweet as a big bear of a man who can be sensitive and kind when that is what's called for, she thought.  he held her through the night, and the warmth of his body drew the chill from hers.  in the morning, when he saw her smile up at him from beneath the covers, he asked if her body was sore, and skillfully massaged her muscles until she was limp with relief, and then transitioned to a more sensual kind of touch.

as he slid his hands over her pliant flesh, the Eldest poked her head in the curtain to ask how 'Blanche' was doing, and if she was ready to bathe or eat.  he growled at the old woman to leave them be, and she scolded him for being selfish with his lover's body when she was too weak to resist his advances, but she managed to cut them both off with a command of her own that she was resting comfortably with her lover, and would let the Eldest know when she was ready for the older woman's deft administrations.  settling back down under the covers, she sighed at the effort that small act took, and looked to her man to snuggle up with her again, and lend her some more of his abundant strength.  it didn't take long before they were back to arousing each other, and as the heat built up between them, her lover asked if she was sure she was ready for him, and suggested they love each other in such a way that would allow her to rest comfortably and take her pleasure without having to exert herself in any way.  she purred beneath him as she positioned herself in the way he suggested, and was rewarded with a long, slow, ride that left him breathless and spent, while she felt exhilarated and energized.

she called softly to her women (whom she knew were nearby) to help her out of bed while her lover slept, and she let them hold her up for the dizziness of her long week in bed, while she slipped into a robe and was helped to the baths, cleaned up, and enjoyed some more of the healers' delicious and fortifying soup.  with the help of her beloved Elder, she strolled slowly through the smaller herb gardens that would soon need to be tilled for spring planting, and as they looked up at the noise of a group of youths running and shouting in the distance, they saw her son pause in his revelry to acknowledge that it was his dear mother that he saw standing up and walking around, then waved vigorously before running off again with the rest of the young men.  she was definitely feeling better.  weak and tired, but better, thanks again to her dream-lover for sharing his warmth and affection with her.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

kicking the social validation feedback loop

so I got really mad at facebook recently, and decided to cut the cord.  I joined Mastodon and MeWe, but there's only three people I know on either of those platform who came over from 'fakebook', but aren't really being active on the newer boards.  I unfriended a bunch of people, too - I only had 231 friends, but I cut it down to 162, which still seems like a lot.  or maybe not, I don't know.  some people have thousands of online friends.  I feel like I should get off social media completely, not necessarily join two more platforms, but it is nice to keep in touch with people far away.  I just want to do it somewhere else, now.  if I can't move my physical location, why not my online one...and my inner location, as well.  where do I need to be?

I know where I don't need to be - around people who question my values, or insult my choices, or people who can't seem to honor the Sacred in me.  I don't want to be in a place where people are overly concerned with their own egos, make a grand big deal out of every little move they make, or hold themselves up as some kind of authority figure based on falsehoods.  I have absolutely no tolerance for racism, bigotry, prejudice, xenophobia, ethnocentrism, androcentrism, misogyny, or poor manners (among other things).  am I perfect?  hell no.  do I screw up?  definitely.  do I correct myself when I make mistakes?  damn straight I do.  one of my biggest pet peeves is people who don't immediately apologize when their poor behavior in relation to the previously mentioned issues is pointed out - you know, those folks who say things like, "well, I didn't mean it like that", or "I didn't mean you", when they should be saying, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt your feelings", or "my understanding of that issues is obviously incomplete, and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn more about how to address it better".

I guess I just want to live in a liberal utopia where I don't have to put up with people with opinions so very different from mine, and I guess I tried to make fakebook that kind of online oasis for myself.  for the most part, I managed it pretty well, because when a glitch did happen to appear, all I had to do was click on that 'unfollow' button, and in extreme cases, the 'unfriend' button.  given the world we live in - or rather, the world I live in - it's good to have a place where you can connect with other folx like you who understand the particular implications of moving through the world with the same identifiers/generational traumas/genetic memories/oppressions as you.  it makes things easier when you don't have to explain why 'this thing that someone said or did made you feel a certain way', and to be supported through unpacking whatever it was that messed up that moment of your day, or changed your relationship, or made you have to decide to speak your truth, or stay silent to keep your job.  if anyone reading this has lived with the privilege of never having to deal with anything like that, I think it would be nice if you sent all the money in your wallet to your local homeless shelter, or to me personally (leave a comment, and I'll happily share my PayPal).

so what's got me all in a twist this time?  if you pay attention to the news at all, you can't really have missed the stories about the 'social media giant's' latest scandal involving not just data harvesting, but the illegal use and manipulation of said data to affect outcomes on the 'world stage' of deep politics, the workings of which are barely even known by the majority of the population.  influencing election results?  breaking up the European Union?  tracking immigrants for deportation?  multiple legal violations?  spreading hate and unrest towards refugees fleeing war-torn countries?  what business do they have, as corporations, in any of this (guns)?  more billionaires, protecting their billions while exploiting the masses (weapons of mass destruction).  but everyone is So addicted to their 'dopamine-likes', they don't even care to see the larger implications past their kids' photos and info being 'harvested' along with their stupid check-in to the local latte shop.  again, egoists - it's about More than just your silly little life, So much more, and many can't even see past the end of their own noses to bother being bothered.  I find that attitude reprehensible, and personally unacceptable.

as a result of this latest social media circus, I decided I needed to move to a 'decentralized federation of independently operated servers running free software', and I did just that.  never mind that I don't 'know' anyone over there, or that the few of my friends who came with me aren't even trying to make it work, or promoting the use of these alternative spaces, OR (and this is a big one) that any of the supposed 162 'friends' I have on fakebook don't even notice I'm gone, or care to connect via other means.  given that realization, I am happy to have committed the modern equivalent to 'social seppuku', because fuck people to whom I am only a number, or a 'follower', or some kind of ego-boost in the form of inflated self-worth connected to arbitrary numbers on a website.  sure, I could go around and 'friend' every shmuck on the internet, too, but I care less for quantity, and a great deal about quality when it comes to interpersonal connections.  I don't need followers; I like to have people willing to engage in deep and meaningful conversations with me, actively involved in my life 'in real time', and forming true community. 

while I am rather disappointed that more people in my carefully curated online sanctuary haven't chosen to make a larger collective statement about how much bullshit they are willing to overlook for the sake of their quizzes and memes, what pisses me off more are those who cynically say 'crab in the bucket' type nonsense like "you'll be back in a week."  like the globe will stop spinning for me because I'm not on fakebook anymore?  like I have nothing to do with my life but sit around and digest the content of others non-stop or cease to exist?  by god, I didn't 'check in' anywhere this week - I Must be Dead!  again, I'm pretty sure the people who say those things are the larger part of the 'out of sight, out of mind' contingent on my own 'friend' list.  the people who are just there to pay service to a past they are unwilling to let go, even though the relationship has no significance to their current life, and wouldn't piss on me if I were on fire.  what investment could they possibly have in my being nebulously connected to them online when they wouldn't make the effort to get in touch with me if they were 300 feet from me, rather than our usual 3000 miles apart?  to me, honoring the friendship we once shared looks like 'I live in the East, you live in the West, but I'm out West, so I not only let you know I'm in your vicinity, I call you to make plans to share physical space while I'm close.'  guess what?  I have Real friends who Actually do that - and I love them deeply for it.  true friendship and connection...a special kind of blessing.

while it may be hard to quit social media, so was quitting smoking cigarettes, and I managed that 7 years ago, so there's no reason to think I can't do this, too.  it may take some time, as there are people who Don't actually check in every day, and I do want to take the time to get alternate contact info for the folks I Do want to stay in touch with, as well as try and convince a few more folx to join me elsewhere on the interwebs, if they can see their way to 'what's next' rather than 'what we're used to'.  one of my friends described me as a pioneer almost 20 years ago because I make a habit of going where I want, when I want, for reasons all my own, which is something he seemed to think most people don't  do, choosing instead to settle into a location, and put roots down there.  I laughed it off as he described me as someone who seemed to him fearless and intrepid, adventuresome and dynamic, who could adapt myself easily to different cultures and climates, and as such, had opportunities to interact with a wider variety of people than the average American (I was never an average American, from the moment of my conception in the Middle-East, to my first trans-Atlantic flight in-utero that brought me to be raised in this country where I've never felt fully at one with the descendants of the white people who colonized it long ago).  in any case, I've made my decision, my proverbial bags are packed, and I'm making a change in my life that may seem drastic to some (like I care), but is of great importance to my personal development during the coming year.  

for my fakebook 'friends' who are reading this, do join me on Mastodon or MeWe - it will be nice to connect with you in a different online forum than the one I was so reluctant to join in the first place.  I knew it was a bad idea to get involved with it when I signed on, but over the years, I grew complacent as well.  no more of that.  time to pay the piper, and check out 'what comes next'.  much like our political system, we've been deceived into believing our choices are much more limited than they are - it turns out, they are not.  we have options.  let's make it a point to explore the other games in town.

what are your thoughts and feelings about this so-called scandal?  how did you feel when you heard the news?  did you make any choices or decisions based on the information you learned?  how do you stay in touch with people near and dear to your heart that are physically far removed from your main locale?