Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Grim Realities Welcome

I hammer a metaphorical wooden stake into my nonexistent front lawn, and nail a little ether sign to it:

Grim realities welcome here.

Some folks insist that the only content appropriate for sharing via social media is the upbeat, the amusing or the inspirational. One friend apologized for mentioning her father's death on Facebook: "I know this is not the place for such things, but..." She's someone I only see online these days. I never would have known of her father's passing and her need for condolence. I was grateful she shared the info and told her so.

Social media are the new town well, the plaza, the cafe or bar, the back fence. They're filling in for places we used to pause a moment to talk, about everything. Sure we shared a lot of jokes and congratulatory pats on the back, but of course we shared our tears as well. Naturally we confessed our fears, bemoaned our frailties, and leaned on one another as needed. Just because we're now chatting via the internet and not in person doesn't mean our chats have to stop being personal. 

This is especially valuable for thus folks shut in by chronic illness who can't get out to an actual cafe for a chat with a friend. When we get together online we often want to just be silly and have fun, but not always, and it's those other times when our internet connections are most vital. The value of sharing grim realities was born out by a friend's recent statuses on Facebook. 

One day my fellow ME sufferer Lilan Patri said:

"Spring hurts most of all. It's the darkest time for me. In the winter, I feel like one among many, we Berliners, hibernating from the cold and wet and heavy. Indoors so much cozier than out. It's almost like I belong. Then the frost melts. The first green butts its head through brown. The sun is pale and new, but it's trying hard. The sky shines. Suddenly everyone is busting outdoors. Everyone is awakening, falling in love, jumping on bicycles. Smiling. Blackbirds with tangerine beaks. Dandelions in the garden. And I am inside. Too sick even to lie out there, to listen to the wind, to watch the clouds spin. The planet rolls forward. I watch you all go. And I can't follow."

On the following day she was able to post:
"All of you, from all walks of life, who liked or commented on or shared my post the other day--I wish I could thank you each by name. Just to see your thumbnail faces, to read your words, to hear that I spoke for others like me--I was drowning, you guys, I couldn't breathe for the loss and the fear, and somehow you pulled me back to dry land. I am so grateful. Thank you."

Thank you Lilan, and thanks toyour friends and mine, for being brave enough to be real. You pull me back to dry land and place my feet on solid ground, when I'm only staying alive by keeping my head in the ether.

(sorry about that weird formatting - dunno wha happund, can't brain how to fix)