I was unfriended at Facebook about a month ago.
To be honest, I don’t remember adding the person to my friend list. I found her inclusion on my list a bit odd as she was someone from the widow board who basically disowned me during the little ruckus* I inadvertently caused last August.
Regardless, I checked in one morning and noted the loss of a friend and was puzzled. It took me a couple of scans through my friend’s list to figure out who was missing, so I guess that sums up how big a loss it really is. Rob thinks perhaps she left Facebook entirely and that it wasn’t simply a case of suddenly realizing she had added me as friend as a mistake.
And it could be.
Still, whether I care or not, being dumped off someone’s Facebook friend list, or their blogroll, without warning bothered me for reasons I was not able to put a full finger on and pin down.
Perhaps it goes back to high school. And here I must pause and wonder – yet again – why those god awful years cause such a life long hangover.
I was not popular, but a friend pointed out to me once after we were well into adulthood that this was only because I chose not to be. She insisted that I could have been a force to reckon with socially, had I been so inclined. It was flattering of her to say so, however I am doubtful.
I am an acquired taste and even people who have managed to learn me well enough to know me can still be amazed by the things I say, do or write.
Anyway, in high school I was not pretty. I did not belong to any organization, club or team that would arouse envy in others. I didn’t date, so there was no chance of anyone coveting my boyfriend. My family was dysfunctional, and well-known for it, so I am certain no one secretly wished to exchange lives with me either.
High school was something I endured and ultimately escaped. I think that is true for most people which always made me wonder, when I was a teacher, why there seemed to be such mystery surrounding the fact that teens seem to learn so little there. High school is like a minimally controlled Lord of the Flies environment. How can anything productive be expected to come out of it?
So my lack of popularity as a teen still stings me now and being cyber dumped dredges all that crap up. Whether it is Facebook or blogrolls or just post links. The motivation is probably nothing personal – but not knowing the motivation – one goes to all the dark deserted hallways of one’s inner high school and feels like the slighted fat girl all over again.
Worse, you feel stupid for caring. It’s not as if anyone on the other side of the screen really knows me, or I them for that matter. You read what they care to tell you and take a shot in the dark when you comment based on the accumulation of what amounts to random data.
But then I read a piece by my wise friend and fellow blogger, Marsha. She had a read a book detailing the friendship between an art dealer and a homeless man. She shared a bit of the story that summed up what I could not pin down:
Denver went on. “I just can’t figure it out. ‘Cause when colored folks go fishin, we really proud of what we catch, and we take it and show it off to everybody that’ll look. Then we eat what we catch…in other words, we use it to sustain us. So it really bothers me that white folks would go to all that trouble to catch a fish, then when they done caught it, just throw it back in the water.”
“So, Mr. Ron, it occurred to me: If you is fishin for a friend you just gon’ catch and release, then I ain’t got no desire to be your friend.”
“But if you is looking for a real friend, then I’ll be one. Forever.” (p107)**
I have been caught and released. But I am not a fish. I take it personally. Perhaps I shouldn’t. Some people are not meant to travel the entire journey but simply share roads – some major, some secondary and some will be the meandering little stretches of trail that give us time and opportunity to really connect.
When Will was sick I had a friend who thought she was doing her bit to support me by calling to check up on me every three months. Like clockwork. I had a much dearer friend who decided her church obligations on the Sunday morning before Will died were more important than coming to his hospice room and taking BabyDaughter so she wouldn’t have to witness the terrible struggle her father was in. Later she missed nearly all of his wake because one of her children had a volleyball game. Surprisingly I released the first person and kept the other. Mainly because I realized that the first was someone the circumstances that had linked us were no longer and our relationship road was now just a cul-de-sac we will stroll when we chance to meet up, circular and memory-based. The latter is like my sister – and we can’t choose our family – just forgive them for being as strong or weak as they are because for every instance they have let us down, so there is a matching one of our own failing.
As far as the blogosphere goes, in the future I think I will look more carefully at the circumstances and the level of acceptance before allowing myself to be “caught”. A true friend will accept me for who I am and forgive me for who I cannot be. And will let me know when our paths are diverging in a manner that is not intended to cause pain.
* I was unsympathetic “out loud” to widows who complained about non-widowed whiners when the widow in question whined pretty much about the exact same molehill things – not talking grief issues but just the everyday stuff that widowed think the un-so get too wrapped up in as if we didn’t before there were bigger fish catching fire around us. There is a lot of pot and kettle stuff on the board when it comes to the right to complain. I let myself get drawn in too often. My bad. Anyway, my comment was misconstrued, deliberately, by a woman there who never missed an opportunity to tell me I was horrid and shouldn’t be allowed to have an opinion about widowhood because I was such a lousy example of what a “good widow” is. Interestingly, I continue to have this problem. No one wants to ask you what you meant. People prefer to jump to conclusions and, in my case online, give the ultimate cyber-slap – unlinkage. My ever wise husband rolls his eyes at this point and reminds me that most of the people who have done this – never liked me anyway – but it is annoying when he gets linked and I don’t when he is even less sympathetic than I am. It’s also mean to unlink without acknowledgement of said fact, but it is meant that way. I always try to explain when I rearrange or drop links. Some people’s blogs don’t fit or deserve more privacy after all.
** From the novel “Same Kind of Different as Me: a modern-day slave, an international art dealer and the unlikely woman who bound them together” by Ton Hall and Denver Moore.