Recently, I made a decision to limit my time on Facebook and distance myself a bit from the shenanigans that go on there. It is baffling to me how brave people get behind a keyboard, how quickly insults fly, and even more sad...just how disposable cyber friendships really are.
Like many other moms, I joined quite a few chat groups in order to meet other moms, learn from those that have tried new things, and share the knowledge I have. Win-win, right? It started out that way, but for some reason, women feel compelled to beat each other down--something I have no patience for. In the groups, I am known for being a neutral but no-nonsense party. If someone has a problem with me, they can talk to me directly and we will try to solve it. No nasty private messages, nor hurt feelings after. I also don't hold grudges. I just don't have time for that. It makes a lot of the group members like me and a whole bunch not like me. It's the way of the world, right? Imagine my surprise, when one day, I found myself adopting the negativity and becoming that kind of person. I hated myself for it and decided to make the change ASAP.
Here's what prompted this change: there is a woman that is always complaining about her life. It happens several times a day, with every status update. I'm sure we all have one of those in our friend list. I began to resent these ramblings from her. Nothing in life is ever that bad to warrant an 'FML' post, right? (FML=f**k my life) That's the way I see it. It got so bad, that I cringed when I saw a post from her. Here's the rub, she has a great support group of friends, has the resources in her hands to handle whatever is thrown her way, and has been blessed with lots of good things. Why did she then have to post the 'FML' tirades? I just didn't see the sense in that. Know what I mean? Somehow, I felt like it hurt me personally to see her do this daily and began to coma ore myself to her--completely uncharacteristic of me. I was ashamed.
This was my 'mirror, mirror, on the wall' moment. Why was I resenting her this way? Was it because she was doing something I wanted to do? To vent, explode, rage against the cosmos? Was it because I felt like she was focusing to much on the bad, that she needed to wake up and savor life before it was over? Or was it because she was mourning the loss of her life prior to its daily complications, much like me? I sat down and just thought about it. 2013 has not been my year with the death of my father, moving twice, looking out for my mother, finding a diagnosis and resources for Banshee, school for Pixy, a baby that I didn't want to get too attached to in case we lost it.... but I told myself that focusing on the negatives would get me nowhere fast, that I need to find that damn silver lining in daily life or I would go mad. And, I did. Ferociously and in true Mama Wolf style. I hung onto the positives as if my life depended on it, and when necessary, defended this with teeth and claws. Maybe this friend was treading too close into territory I didn't want to explore. That part of the forest that is off-limits lest the beast that lives there finds you. I think I felt cornered. Wow.
After a thorough examination of myself, I decided that what I needed was a break. I needed to get away from the things that were not going to help me move forward right now. You see, it turns out, that the cave this friend is dwelling in right now, isn't really too different from my own. Maybe this was where my resentment and anger was coming from: while I chose to fight against the bad, I felt like she was embracing it. I didn't want her to. I wanted her to fight for those simple joys, those little moments that brought a smile even if the 2 hours after that, all you did was cry. I not only wanted her to do that...I needed her to do that. So I could breathe. Everyone deals witth life and it's intricacies in different ways, and I know that. I also know that sometimes you need to let a friend smack their head into the same wall, in order to figure out that they're the ones in the driver seat of their lives. I think this is why I chose to take a break. I'm in control of SOMEthing, right?
Anyway, I think I'm waiting for this friend to wake up, have her moment where she figures out that there are others in worse positions that handle life with grace and courage, who might rage momentarily but do look for that silver lining out there somewhere. When she does, I will be there to cheer her on, even more so than I did before because it means she chose to live life instead of being a negative observer from the sidelines. Here's hoping that meanwhile, she keeps her chin up and her moccasins always pointing forward.
Have you experienced a situation similar to this one? In real life or the Facebook universe? Let's talk about it.
Photo by AdamR courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net