37 Days, Facebook, and the "Real" Me

Humorous Pictures

Hi. So, it's uh, been a while since I posted here. I'm quite good at ignoring things that come up, until I can't ignore them any more, so I didn't even realize that something had come up until last week, in a conversation with a friend.

Here's what I came to realize: I'm on facebook, and I have been *loving* that site. I had been invited to join before, but it took Patti Digh starting a group for 37 Days to actually get me on there. I was a member for a while before I started looking for friends and being active, and now that I am - I love it! Unschoolers are a very spread out lot, we have friends from all over the country - the world! - and facebook allows these luscious glimpses into what they're up to. It's a wonderful way to connect. I rarely do any of the applications, like throw stuff, send gifts, etc. I use it to post updates, and read others' pages. I've gotten to know some people better, and have even made new friends! I know it's not hip to say - but it's really cool! After I'd been on there a while, a cousin found me. My maternal grandmother had 15 kids, so just on that side of the family I have 51 cousins. I hadn't even thought about family! So, add a few of the cousins. Just recently, I was contacted by people from high school; they're planning a 26th reunion and are finding people. I have mixed feelings about that, school as a whole was tough for me - but sure, I'll add ya. Through that, I was contacted by folks from elementary school. Now that felt really weird, thinking about that time in my life. They posted some pics from back in the day, and I e-mailed the link to my sisters, who are not on facebook, but one of my brothers-in-law is, so we became facebook friends...

It started to feel weird, to have all these pieces of my life in one place. I'm OK with it, it's just... OK, here's the thing. I honestly don't know who I was in elementary school. Or, really, junior high or high school, either. I mostly felt lost and alone. I was very school smart, and had a desire to please, so I made good grades (until I sabotaged that sometimes). I was nerdy and socially awkward. My family didn't have much money, so I dressed funny - which I was totally unaware of. I just remember feeling separate from most things, feeling that everyone besides me had gotten some kind of handbook for living that I somehow got skipped over for. How did people have so many friends? How did they know what to say, and what not to say? How did they know what was IN, and be doing that very thing? I was clueless.

Man, seeing those elementary pictures was weird. It brought all those feelings up. I have no idea how people perceived me back then. I know I was laughed at - a lot. I also know a few years ago, I saw someone from high school, and I said something about how odd and awkward I felt back then, and she was surprised! She said, "Oh, my gosh, I always thought you were so stuck up! You were SO smart!" Huh? Me? Stuck up? I was... nothing. What did I have to be stuck up about?

So, anyway - all of these "me"s, all together in one place. Several years ago, my goal was to be myself no matter who I was with - I wasn't going to be one person at work, another person at home, still another with friends. I'm me! And I think I'm kinda okay, so I wanted to be ME. For years, like every area was separate. And I used to lie! Wow, I hadn't thought about that in a long time. I used to lie, used to hide pieces of myself from people. I haven't done that in AGES. I am me, wholly and completely, wherever I go. But - back when some of these people knew me, I wasn't.

And I remembered that I link to this blog on facebook, so it's possible some of those people could click over and read here... (eek!) I thought about deleting the link, but that goes against the whole being me thing. So I just didn't post. After I friended (? how do you say that?) my brother-in-law, I went back and read or skimmed over everything I had written on here. That helped me realize - I don't have anything to hide! This place where I reveal the true me and my thoughts is revealing someone I like a lot and I think is a pretty fine woman. The not-posting wasn't done consciously, I just kept finding other things to do. Until last week, and the realization that what I was doing was hiding.

So, here I am! And in a nice bit of timing, Patti Digh is asking people to commit to doing one thing every day for 37 Days, starting today. From her book, Life is a Verb:

Perhaps it’s something simple like cleaning out one drawer every day in your house for thirty-seven days. Perhaps writing one Haiku every day for thirty-seven days would break old patterns and help you see more. Or eating five fruits and vegetables a day or writing for ten minutes each day or walking for ten minutes a day or writing a postcard to a friend each week. Or pick one of the 37days Do it Now Challenges at the close of each of these stories and do it for thirty-seven days. Whatever it is, however small, do it. Just for thirty-seven days.

That’s doable. Decide on It, the Thing You Will Do. And then, do it.

Perhaps it is something you will stop doing for thirty-seven days. Stop hiding, stop spending, stop smoking, stop making excuses, stop blaming or judging, stop eating Raspberry Frosted Pop-Tarts® with Sprinkles (purely hypothetical example).

So, my thing I'm going to do for 37 Days? I'm going to reveal one thing about myself on here, on my blog, for 37 days, posting every day, starting today. Not exactly secrets, because some people know as much about me as it's possible for another person to know... just 37 things, about me. Revealing myself. Being me, wherever I go, including the wilds of facebook.

Thing about me #1 - (OK, I need to find a catchier way to phrase that if I'm gonna be doing this for 37 days!) What I revealed above. That my school years were awkward and scary much of the time, that I felt lost, that I felt alone and unseen, that I was laughed at. I don't talk about that much, and my facebook experience let me know there's still some healing to allow. So - now you know something about me you might not have known before!

I'm also going to be doing something else for these 37 Days, a more action-oriented thing. I'll tell ya about that later.

It's nice to be back.


pattidigh said...

beautiful, caren. just beautiful. i went to my 30th high school reunion recently and was struck senseless by the gaps between the stories of how people saw themselves in high school and how i saw them - the insecurities of the cool crowd, for instance, the cheerleader with the lousy home life - things we never revealed then. i look forward to your 37 day journey to you.

Funky Kim said...

I have yet to be bitten by the Facebook bug. Even the 37 Days group temptation didn't make the cut. I'm just not sure I want to be found.

Carolynn said...

Nice to meet you. I'm joining you, Patti, and the others in the 37 Day Challenge too.

I'm on Facebook too, but I don't do all the applications, either. I just enjoy being connected.

It will be nice getting to know you!

Here's to DAY ONE!

Ronnie said...

I could have written some of what you wrote about joining Facebook and being found and ending up with all these different people in one place. Odd indeed. And yes, it's forcing me to figure out Who I Am when everybody is watching. What's really cool is, that Who turns out to be the person I am when I'm with unschoolers. Imagine that! :-)

Hugs to you! I'm looking forward to your 37.

carri said...

Okay, this is the THIRD time this morning that I have come across a mention of 37 days. I think I need to give this some serious consideration.

I love facebook too! I really didn't think I would, but well...

I'm not as nice as you though. I tend to ignore all those requests from those people in school who I didn't feel close to. But now I'm kinda rethinking that. hmmm...

Cynthia said...

You are so brave! I have never gone to a highschool reunion and I doubt anyone there would remember me. I was painfully invisible. still am, I think.

I am going to keep checking in to learn more about you. Looking back on a couple of things that you posted before today, I see we have somethings in common.

Evie.E said...

I was interested by what you said about being lots of "yous" wherever you are. I have a consciously separate, anonymous me for blogging and other such things. And then I have my facebook me where people know who I am. The two never connect.

But the other day I went through my blog and, like you, realised that I have nothing to hide... I've since begun to bridge the gap between the mes.

I'll be very interested to see how you progress through the next 35 days!

piscesgrrl said...

I had the exact same feelings about Facebook - the misgivings, the weirdness of mixing my groups, the sudden realization that they can find my blog, wondering if I should really accept some of those requests or just ignore them. Turns out, I've decided I'm fine, too, with them seeing it all. It's actually a relief to feel that people will see the real me as I am today - not as I was in 1985. I think your 37days idea is amazing! And brave! I can't wait to keep reading.

gail said...

hi caren! I'm not sure how I got to your blog but I'm so glad I did. I've been thinking about so many of these same things. I love 37 days and was so thrilled to meet Patti Digh at ARGH. Thanks for making that happen...