I admit, I love looking at and reading other people’s blogs with seemingly perfect lives. Everything is designed just right and they are ALWAYS happy. However, there is obviously a twinge of jealousy and the reality is that no one is perfect…and that is the thing that I have a problem with all these social networking sites and blogging. Tonight I had read a friend’s post about how a teacher got fired for posting some things that were calling her first grade students criminals. The school district claimed it to be racist and harmful towards the emotional development of students.
Well this got me thinking that, “Hey, maybe I should just get off Facebook as it seems I can no longer really post any of my true feelings on there (not that I ever really did)” Thus began the string of comments…drama! I mean DEBATE time! Haha. The thing that I pointed out was who is to say what we can or cannot post on FB? A friend replied that no one really wants to see the “sad, bad, and ugly” so to speak, and that it makes you look unstable…to go talk to your therapist because no one on your friend’s list wants to read that stuff. It makes me wonder what type of society I am really raising my children in? One where they cannot truly express how they feel in fear of being persecuted and viewed as unstable one day? Since when do we have to PAY to talk to someone about our feelings? Why is it that no one wants to hear how you truly feel? This makes me sad. VERY sad.
I am a very empathetic person and I like listening to people’s woes. It makes me feel better knowing that I have helped to make someone else feel better by just listening to them….whether it’s on FB or face to face. Real life is about love, happiness, sadness, anger, disappointment, success, and so on. It is a multitude of experiences and feelings that is a part of everyday life. I WANT my children to feel these things…yes, even disappointment. I believe that allowing my children to feel these things and to experience various hardships in life, while teaching them how to overcome them, will help them to become healthy, well-adjusted adults some day. I guess what got me about my friend’s comment was the fact that posting sad things make you look “unstable.” Since when is feeling sad unstable? Even people who have depression, bipolar, and other mental illnesses, are they to be shunned for that? Are they to be made to feel less and that it is not okay to have the feelings they have? Are we to continue to push our friends, children, and community upon “professionals” to help “fix” them? I guess this idea saddens me because I believe in having a community.
The idea that “it takes a village to raise a child,” is very profound and true, yet in our modern-day American society, it seems to be slipping. I can attest to this. Living 3,000 miles away from my family, I feel alone most of the time and disconnected from my community. It’s difficult for me to always feel like I belong here in Portland, because mostly I feel like a bit of an outsider. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE living here and the people I have met here are great, but many times, I don’t have that same type of community feeling I wish I could have for my children as I did growing up with my family. Indeed there are pros and cons to having family nearby, but overall, raising my children away from family, having little help, has been one of the most difficult things I have experienced. I’m not going to write my sob story here, but I have had more than my fair share of difficulties throughout my life, and recently, a lot since I’ve moved to Portland. I believe that having a community is so important, and that means that the community is there for you through good and bad.
However, our society seems to encourage our youth to be secluded inside their homes and “network” via the computer instead. This is something that I personally do NOT want for my children. In fact, I am considering just altogether abandoning my FB page…if people really want to get in touch with me, they can read this blog, email, text, or call. I don’t want to be on there to just get judged by people. My vision of community is one that supports each other, not downsize and diminish each other’s problems and feelings. I want to hear your sorrows and hold your hand, and hope that one day you would return me the favor. To care for your child as I would care for my own. What happened to that type of community? I’d really like to find it.
Perhaps I’m just an idealist. Even in my darkest times, I have found hope and have overcome all obstacles that I have been faced with. Life is not always pretty and easy, even though most of the time I may portray it as such. However, to me, life is full of all those good and bad moments. That is life. Why hide it? Why delude ourselves into thinking it is meant to “look perfect”, or avoiding it? I think one of the best lessons I can teach my children is that life is as such, and that they WILL overcome it. I want them to understand what resilience and perseverance is, and not to push it under the rug and pretend that they are always happy. I fully admit and tell my children that yes, I am mad at them sometimes because of some bad behavior they display…but that even though I am mad, I tell them that I will always love them. Hug. Kiss.
In the end remember, it’s okay to have feelings and to tell your friends…isn’t that what friends are for?