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I haven't been here in a long, LONG time. And I can't say that I am apologizing for that, because I think that the time away has been good--for me, and maybe a little for you, too.

I've been Facebooking a lot, and find that I am probably better taken in small doses--little snippets of life, updated in more manageable bites, about more mundane stuffage.

However...there have been things on my mind lately--things that demand a broader examination than a wall post or a tweet can handle. Whether you find it good for you to read or not is up to you--mostly, I'm writing for my own edification, and my own need to express some of the new things I'm thinking about. In itself, it is grotesquely self-indulgent.

But then again, what expression ISN'T self indulgent? ;-)

I've been thinking quite a bit lately about some of the things that have happened here, in the past, and how they continue to float, mostly unbidden, into my brain on occasion. Mostly what I think about is how completely and hugely they contrast with what I experience now. Over in my other space, I am surrounded mostly by family and friends from my younger days (some as far back as the age of three!), and I have come to realize how that kind of closeness, that way of being known, is a completely different animal from being known just as words on a screen, sprung fully formed from an online reputation and/or a series--sometimes a lengthy series--of postings which reveal and hide all at once.

I have never been flamed or have flamed there.

I have never been called a name, or called anyone else a name.

No one has ever felt the need to warn anyone away from me, nor have I felt the necessity to stay out of someone's space because of who they have on their friends list.

There has never been one single solitary speck of drama.

And I wonder--is it because I've grown up and into someone more mature, more adult, more reasonably advanced or enlightened?

That would be nice to think, wouldn't it? That I have EVOLVED in some way.

But is it really that? Or is it simply because these are the people who knew me before I became who I came to be known here?

Is it because I am older, or is it because the expectation is that I will continue to be who I was when I was a child?

And doesn't THAT give one pause...? Doesn't it give one pause to think that who you were in your tender years is someone more lovable and more pleasant to be around than who you believe you have grown up to be? Because, really--what is the point of growing up if growing up means that you have become someone you never wanted to be, or aspired to be, or believed it would be better to be?

What is the point of evolving into a pure pain in the ass?

All I know is that, whatever it is, whatever caused these things to happen, I like it. I really, really like it.

I go back and over some of the things that have happened here, in my journal and in the ones of others that pertain to their interactions with me, or back in the B'net days, and I think, Who IS that? I mean, really...who IS that? Who is that person who needs to be so RIGHT? Who is that person who is so angry and unhappy all the time--so much so that there was something in me that needed to make everyone around me angry and unhappy as well? Who IS she--and dear godz, how could you STAND her?

And, more humiliating, there is so much shit here about why I was that thoughtless and cruel, so much useless and ridiculous self-justification and so many non-apologies and foundationless defensiveness. I mean, really--what was that all about? Let me just say, here and now, that the reason I was the way I was was because I came to believe, probably because of the way I saw myself here, that I was the center of the universe. This universe--this tiny, insignificant world of ones and zeroes that swallowed me up whole and spat me out, into a person who would be unrecognizable to those who have known me all my life, and even to myself.

I was that deluded. I was that arrogant. I was that stupid.

So when I started Facebook, and started hanging out with the people I knew in elementary school and high school and college, it was really much more difficult to continue to believe that because, really...you can't fool those people. They knew you when. They knew you when you wore geeky clothes and ate peanut butter and jelly in the cafeteria and made an utter fool of yourself in algebra class. They saw you when you fell down the marble stairs and showed your underpants. They know all your teachers. They know all your other friends. To them, you are flesh and bone, and you have a past. You are not, fully formed, sprung from the head of Bill Gates or whoever else invented you the day you stepped a baby toe online and decided to be a firebreathing dragon.

Or a dybbuk. Or a gorgon.

And I'm not saying, by any stretch, that these relationships that you have with them are more real than the ones you find online, because, let's face it, I met my husband online, and it doesn't get more real than that. My relationships here are real to me.

But the thing is...with these people who know me in meat space, and have known me for about a million years, I am more real. I am realer than real. And while that means I can't get away with being the most fantastical creature you have ever known, as charming as all get out and of heroic proportions, neither can I be the kind of shit that I can be--and have been--in my relationships here.

They wouldn't buy it.

They wouldn't tolerate it.

They would probably laugh their butts off at me.

And can I just tell you what a RELIEF this has been? To know that there is no pressure, no drama, no expectation that someday someone is going to say something and Belle is just going to entertainingly DETONATE, creating a weeks-long flame war that makes everyone sick to their stomachs and makes their heads ache with the utter ridiculousness of it all?

And you know what?

It's self-perpetuating.

The more I am expected to be this real me, the more I am this real me, and it's pretty easy and fun and satisfying.

And I keep saying "real me", but I have to say that that can come off as some kind of massive justification as well. That the "real me" is not the drama queen I was around here, and not the dangerous person I was deemed to be. But that's not true, either--I still get angry. I still get annoyed. I still rant and rave and have a bad day from time to time. I can still be a drama queen. But for the most part, what I'm coming to realize is that, in the perspective of seeing myself as part of a whole, rather than as the center, those things are really trivialities. Really unimportant. When you're on Facebook, and on one hand you make this screaming post about how annoyed you are, and then talk about what's for dinner...well, it's kind of the great equalizer.

The cyber leveler.

I don't know...in some ways, it has been really healthy to trivialize myself. To shove my life into little posts, some about absolutely nothing. There are some who would probably despair of the fact that it seems that I've lost my passion or something. But I haven't--I still feel just as passionately about a lot of the same things as I always have. I just don't feel the need to foist that off on other people anymore. And most of the time, it's pretty funny about 15 minutes after I just let it go and stop being such an arrogant jerk. In the grander scheme, it works out a lot better to realize that I'm really not THAT important, and that I'm still capable of falling down the stairs so that everyone can see my underpants...but really, how often do you want to do that?

I'm embarrassed by a lot of the stuff I've written here. I'm sorry for a lot of the trouble I caused, and know that I will probably never know forgiveness for it. That's OK--I don't know if I deserve forgiveness (and really--what do any of us "deserve"? Forgiveness is a gift, and an act of grace.) But the truth of it is...while some of it still stings, what stings me now is not some of the things that have been said about me, but the kind of me that I was when I was having those things said. Because, really--there is no excuse. Not one. Not a single thing. And I have my old friends to thank for bringing that to my attention--not my old friends from 10 or 15 years ago, but my old friends from 30 and 40 and even 50 years ago.

Because they don't let me get away with a thing. And because, really...if someone can love you when you're in high school, they're probably going to love you forever, and believe in you, and, most important of all, see how far you've come, while at the same time still seeing that scared kid staring out of the corner of your eyes. The one who just wants to fit in. And in their enormous generosity....

they let you.


( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 9th, 2012 10:15 pm (UTC)
Not only have I missed you like woa, but hey. Jeff and I separated a year and a alf ago and I live with friends on 3 acres in the high desert of Northern Nevada, raising goats and chickens. See what happens when you vanis? :)
Mar. 9th, 2012 10:15 pm (UTC)
Oh, and I think there's some goat poop under my phone's "H" key.
Mar. 10th, 2012 12:29 pm (UTC)
Only you...;-)
Mar. 9th, 2012 10:37 pm (UTC)
How nice to see you again! What an unexpected pleasure! We don't live in Pennsylvania any more. I don't know if you even remember me--I'm the one Franklin brought over to your house for a lovely evening one time. And then we both blogged, briefly, at a place that shall remain nameless. I concluded it was not a good place for me, so I don't hang out there any more either. Still here, though. ; )
Mar. 10th, 2012 12:27 pm (UTC)
Of COURSE I remember you! I've been thinking about you a lot, in fact!

I don't think it was a good place for me, either--I got kicked out twice just because I felt it was wiser to shut up than it was to speak, which seems like a fairly silly reason to get kicked out! To get an F for non-participation, especially when participation probably would have caused more harm than good...because some of those people are whack!

But I'm glad you're here!
Mar. 9th, 2012 11:08 pm (UTC)
I've taken some time away from here, mainly because I didn't have anything postworthy, but I'm back!!!
Mar. 10th, 2012 12:29 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you didn't get sucked up by a twister...:D
Mar. 10th, 2012 12:57 pm (UTC)
We were going to go tour the Maker's Mark distillery, but couldn't make it there on time for the last tour so we went on into Louisville. If we had made the tour we would have gotten out about the time the storm would have been moving through the Loretto area.
Mar. 9th, 2012 11:26 pm (UTC)
you've always been a real flesh and blood person to me, even when we met on usenet.

that doesn't mean I don't like the person I know on FB, but I do feel I only get to skim the surface there - here I get the deeper meanings, because there's more room to expand on a thought.
Mar. 10th, 2012 12:21 am (UTC)
yes. This.
Mar. 10th, 2012 12:28 pm (UTC)
I get that. But I think I needed a rest, you know? This can be a very heavy place, and I don't know if all the smoke has cleared yet. It's been nice to be somewhere where I didn't have to worry about the smoke at all!
Mar. 10th, 2012 12:26 am (UTC)
Mar. 10th, 2012 12:13 pm (UTC)
Hi, you! I've missed you!
Mar. 10th, 2012 01:10 am (UTC)
Having heard of some of the Facebook dramas that do go on for my work colleagues (seriously if you are going to cheat on your girlfriend don't brag about it on Facebook to her nearest and Dearest.) I think you are more fortunate in your choice of friends on Facebook.

Glad to to know you are still alive!
Mar. 10th, 2012 12:12 pm (UTC)
I suppose that if you go looking for it, you can find drama anywhere...but I definitely haven't found it on FB. And I wonder if it's because I don't go looking for it, or if it has to do with those pesky expectations. I think there are a lot of people here who expect me to come unglued from time to time, so they look for it, with a great deal of trepidation. But I honestly haven't done that, at least not so spectacularly, in YEARS. So waiting for it, even here? It's going to be a long wait. I'm past that now, I think--I don't WANT it.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 10th, 2012 12:01 pm (UTC)
Vickie, I know that you are one of the people I hurt here, with my overflowing and enormous drama, and the intense importance I put on things that happened here. I know that you are too sweet a soul for that. And I am so grateful that you reached out through your wariness and connected with me again, on FB and on here, and I appreciate so much the ability to let you know that I'm not scary and I won't hurt you again. That means a lot, that second chance...
Mar. 10th, 2012 06:23 am (UTC)
FB is a lot easier . Less drama because there is less intensity of feeling. I have many (too many?) of my sister's in-laws on my FB Flist and find myself self-censoring all the time in my own updates. In fact, most of my activity and passion is expressed as comments to other people's updates, or other communities' updates. Only have one person on my FB Flist who remembers me from when I was a little girl. There is no one else alive who remembers me, or my parents from those days, not even my sister. I love her, but she was born in June of the year I went off to university. We have our own little generation gap between us.
I guess you are lucky, Belle, to find comfort in your roots. If that's where you need to be, and you now feel LJ was a mistake, so be it.
I will miss the person you were when you were here.
Mar. 10th, 2012 12:23 pm (UTC)
Oh, I don't think it was a mistake! And I think that I may just be ready to come back a little more. But no, I have to say, I'm not going to miss the person I was here--and I hope you don't, either, because I have to tell you, she was one unhappy woman. I don't want to be that unhappy again. I don't want to lie awake at night and replay those painful exchanges over and over and over again. I don't want that reputation. I don't want anyone, ever again, to feel like they have to take it upon themselves to outline my sins and my foibles and the hurt I cause in order to protect people from me. I can't begin to tell you how humiliating that was for me. That doesn't feel good, Margo, and I think the thing I like best about hanging out in Facebook is that no one is scared of me. That's not going to happen again, because I'm just not important enough for it to happen. No one is intimidated by me. I am seen in perspective, and those folks are grown up enough to know that I can't hurt them...and if I do hurt them, it's probably an accident.

I don't like being held up in the public square as a bad example. I actually don't much care to be held up in the public square at ALL, for good OR ill. I just like being seen as someone who makes a positive contribution, right along with everyone else. And I can do that here, I suppose, on a larger scale than in the confines of Facebook...but I wonder, now, if I really CAN, because of all the ways I shot myself in the foot before. The internet never forgets, and I wonder if there will always be SOMEONE around who will remember that person, no matter how much I change or evolve or whatever it is that happened to me. I wonder about that.

I guess only time will tell. But I'll give it another whack, at least from time to time--promise!
Mar. 10th, 2012 04:31 pm (UTC)
Like Sy says in his comment below, I didn't find you to be a fire-breather either. If people were ever afraid of you, it was probably because they did not want to see in themselves the things you made plain. That's not so bad a reputation to have, IMO.
OTOH, I'm glad that you feel comfortable and accepted amongst the family and friends of your youth and you seem to find nothing but positives in it. I can't help wonder though, how much of yourself you have to squelch in order to fit in. Y'see I tried that route long ago and it almost destroyed me and everything that mattered to me. And it was 99% my fault because I was desperate to finally find a "home", not realizing that I already had one and carried it within and beside me. (Hmmm, is that melodramatic enough? {;>))

I'm quite sure there are many people who think I'm a terrible person too, but **shrug** you can't please everyone and it would drive me mad to try...It reminds me of the period you went through when we all "knew" you had real concerns in your life, but you posted all that pollyanna upbeat stuff for weeks! Eventually, I'm happy to say, you came to your senses and you were just *you* again. That *you* is an inspiration to me because of your clarity and honesty and courage, even when we disagreed, which we did sometimes.
It's been a long time since events came together so we could see each other IRL, and see how we've evolved. But I'll be happy to see you here or on FB, as the time unfolds...
Mar. 10th, 2012 12:40 pm (UTC)
Good to see you back, and funnily enough, I didn't find you to be that much of a fire-breather here..

Way I figure it, we behave differently in different situations. Your 'at work' persona isn't quite the same as you at home etc... So how we behave online, and in different places online, will vary.

This is no big deal.. because all those masks are aspects of the real 3D person. [which like any object with depth you can't see all of at the same time.] Who you are at the core, that's the important part... and that's usually what you were when you were young and running around 'naked' without any masks.

Hence, I guess, your experience on FB. Because if we wear a mask for too long, we can forget who we really are.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 11th, 2012 02:57 am (UTC)
Welcome back; I must havemissed all that drama, but I have really missed you!
Mar. 11th, 2012 12:32 pm (UTC)
I pop in from time to time myself. I like both your personas and I'm glad to see you back here too. I like facebook for keeping me on the high level handshake good-to-see-you-how-are-your-kids kind of stuff, but I like being here for the opportunity to open up my angsty woe-is-me-my-life-is-teh-suckage Pandora's box and, as Sy said, let that dimension of me come out.

I've missed you over here too.

And occasionally I miss those angsty flame days too. Even though they were high drama, it was amazing to feel that connected to people across the miles. And even though it could be argued it wasn't real, look at the number of people who have answered this post to say welcome back and tell me we aren't real.

( 23 comments — Leave a comment )



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