I share an awful lot on Facebook. I share how funny I am, how smart I am, how socially aware, how much I’m awesome at life and conversely, how much I suck at it. I share my ups and downs, my heartbreak, my successes, and all the things that make up the online persona that is me (which is not unlike the real world persona, just clarifying).
There are those who criticise me for this, that I should perhaps not be so open so publicly (it’s a common criticism, as those who have read this blog will know). I get my back up about it for a number of reasons:
1. I don’t like being told what to do with regards to the way I choose to live my life, particularly by those significantly younger than me. I figure I’ve been around the block enough times to know how to life, and if I’m having trouble doing the life thing, I am self aware enough to acknowledge it and ask for advice.
2. I very rarely share about other people, and if I do, I don’t use names and I’m usually having a passive aggressive rant about a person who isn’t on Facebook anyway.
3. I am subconciously afraid that maybe these critics are right, maybe I do share too much. Why else would I get so defensive about it?
Look, there are times when I post and then realise seconds later that I perhaps shouldn’t have, so I delete it. Then there are times when I think I’ve overshared, but then the response to said share is one of recognition and gratitude that “someone else is as fucked up as I am!” I am not going to pretend that I’ve got my shit sorted, or that I’m never wrong, or that I’m always level-headed, so I’ll talk about my haemmorhoids and my sore boobs and how grumpy I feel ’cause I’ve got my period, and so on. I’m getting older, things are starting to fray at the edges. And I like to whinge occasionally.
Just yesterday I found out my cervical dysplasia is back. Cervical dysplasia is abnormal cell activity on the surface of the cervix, caused by the HPV virus, or by having multiple partners over an extended period of time, or having sex before the age of 18, or a combination of any of the above. I’ve dealt with it a number of times before, all with varying levels of seriousness, all successfully with surgery. It’s back again, however, and last night I was having a hard time coping with the idea that maybe my behaviour earlier in life (as the nasty voice in my head calls it, my “whoring around” – that voice is a bitch) has caused this. I know, in the cold light of day, that there is no point tearing myself up over something I can’t change, but at 11.30 at night, by myself in my room, it’s pretty overwhelming to deal with.
And that’s the point of this rant, really. I’m alone a lot of the time. I have one family member in this country and he lives an hour and a half drive away. He’s also 65 and incredibly busy and will probably be asleep at 11.30 at night, so won’t answer the phone. I no longer have a partner to look after me when I need it (not that the last one was very good at that, bless his cotton socks. Well, actually, that’s not fair, he was getting better at it. Then he dumped me), and my friends live away from me and have their own stuff to deal with. I guess I’m not the sort of person that a lot of people think needs taking care of (which is fine by me) or maybe there’s the assumption that I already have someone to look after me when I’m sick, sad, grieving, whatever. But I don’t. And that’s okay.
It’s okay, because that’s when I share on social media. I share because I need to tell someone I’m not doing great, but I know I’ll be fine eventually so I don’t necessarily need to have a three-hour long conversation to realise that. Just the knowledge that someone out there in cyber land is thinking of me and knows what’s going on is enough. When I do need to talk, I call my Dad in the daytime when I’m not going to sob in his ear and make him worry about me when I’m an hour and a half drive away, or I call my bestie, or talk to my older lady-boss. And I share because that’s what I do. No other reason, really. It’s just what I do.
So, to my detractors, thank you for your opinion. When you get to my age, maybe I’ll actually pay attention to you. In the meantime, go live your life, learn from it and then maybe even share it. Warts and all.