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Life at № 42

Long Night’s Journey into Day

I’ve never used Facebook, not really. I’ve had an account for a few years, but it just sat there. Empty. My name incomplete. I’ve always thought Facebook blurs the lines. It doesn’t allow for proper compartmentalisation. The variety that has always been quite necessary to being me.

Everything has always been kept carefully separate. Night and day. Black and white. My first 20 years in a drawer. In the dark. Mostly forgotten. Well, there are flashes. Things that come back to me here and there. I prefer to only remember the better things. The beautiful things. Houses, boats, the views, the wonderfulness of being served. Sapore di mare.

The rest, better left untouched, I thought. But now, suddenly, I think that perhaps I’ve been wrong. That my impulses, the obsessions and compulsions, are all just an answer to the silences. My subconscious attempting to fix it. Angst, much angst. The perpetual search for beauty, for perfection. Painting after painting, vase after vase. More vases than you’d probably find in a shop that sells vases.

Vases and fear.

The horrendous fear of anything not being perfect. Of everything not having always been perfect. The fear of failure, of having failed, of not having been good enough. The fear of admitting to not having been loved. Of not being the good kind of animal. The kind that survives. The kind that’s wanted.

I decided to look up four names on Facebook. Only four names really came to mind. First two girls from school, perfectly benign. Then my first serious boyfriend, the Norwegian. He looks amazing, which is mildly annoying. I try to identify what he does and it seems he’s not career oriented in the way I’ve been. I smirk as I realise I might be considerably more successful. I immediately feel petty and cruel – still smirking though.

I get back to my initial quest. I search for LS. He was one of my first closer friends as a boy. Not close as in tied up in a sex dungeon close, we were little. Some of his pictures are a bit gay. Odd. No one ever thought he was gay. I certainly didn’t. I keep looking and the evidence mounts. I’m not sure what to do with this information. Did he know? When did he know? Did he think I…? What did he think? I try to think back; did he try to tell me once when we were a bit older? Maybe. Maybe it’s an invented memory. He probably didn’t. I was so focused on not even considering the possibility of homosexuality then, that if he had I would’ve told him he was mistaken. Yes, mistaken. Still, I have a lingering feeling.

What an unlikely turn of events.

I sent four friend requests. LS, the two girls and the Norwegian. They all accepted. One of the girls sends me a message saying it was outrageous of me to just disappear. It’s true, it was 1999 and I fell off the face of the earth. Twenty one years old, gone. I spent a lot of time in airports that year. JFK, O’Hare, Salvador, Rio, Honolulu, Charles de Gaulle, Newark (for a connection!), Madrid and finally Málaga. When I arrived in Málaga I knew I was home. Free. I could feel it in the air. I was also alone. Completely alone in the world.

LS doesn’t message me. I wait. Nothing. I wait. Nothing. I decide I must have misread the clues, he’s not gay. Any gay man would obviously click on my picture and send me a message. Immediately. Even if just out of curiosity. It’s late and I feel strange. I think about it and I feel for the first time, ever, someone might know what it felt like. What I felt. The weight of different-ness in an environment that was so unwelcoming to difference.

Mike keeps saying I have to have more friends, know more people. Only four potential Facebook friends probably proves him right. He worries if he’s ever not around I’ll be very alone in the world. He says things like that more these days. Probably something to do with the death of some of his former acting colleagues. Alan Rickman last year and Roger Rees the year before. Both in their late 60’s, just like Mike. I worry too. But mostly I try not to think too much about it.

I send LS a message. I try to make it amusing, he had great humour. It’s all a bit surreal. That both of us were living with something, hiding something, the same thing. For years. I wonder if the key is talking about it. If Edouard Louis and Abdellah Taïa are right? Is the right way to get something out of one’s system to put it all out there? To purge it? Reading both Louis and Taïa I held my breath at times at their bravery. I wasn’t brave – I’m not brave. No, my world has been one where I only allow pretty things. I don’t complain – I do drink. When someone writes down a bad experience, it seems that’s then theirs forever. I just don’t know if drinking and smiling isn’t the more suitable path. Can anything really be gained by self-flagellation?

And here’s a pretty painting as requested by Meeka

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39 comments on “Long Night’s Journey into Day

  1. Steve Ruis
    August 7, 2017

    One of the problems we have when we live in our heads a bit too much is we we become self absorbed. To counter that meditation is wonderful. The feeling sought is to simple be, to exist. By shunting aside all of the thoughts that are accustomed to rattling around in our heads, we find a quite peaceful state in which we exist as part of the world without qualifications.

    Facebook is a distraction, one that discourages such a state as described about, and doesn’t really lead anywhere. One can connect with old friends and lovers, but if they are at distance, what is said about relationships separated by space applies.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      August 7, 2017

      I try to ignore social-media as much as I can because it does look like a hamster wheel. But isn’t what we do here a variation of that? Are we not twitterers with larger vocabularies and more characters at our disposal?

      Liked by 6 people

      • Steve Ruis
        August 7, 2017

        Very much so, but it seems to be channeled into a number of dialogues. I feel as if I understand you more and more as time goes by. Maybe “understand” isn’t the right word. I certainly appreciate you more. You are, in my estimation, a brave person, who is contesting with some personal demons (aren’t we all) but you are willing to share those efforts with others, which many are unwilling or even unable to do.

        You also share your taste in lodging, decoration, and art which I find to be exquisite (I am basically a middle class person with middle class tastes, many of which I do not like but it is better to want what you have than have what you want, actually don’t have.)

        I have never written a tweet or contacted anyone on Facebook. My FB account was much like yours and I deleted it recently. I had a student who asked me to join LinkedIn, a site like Facebook, but connecting people by intellectual or business interest and I still play there a bit. I have made some very important connections through LI that I otherwise wouldn’t have made.

        Plus these “virtual” relationships allow people like you and me to connect even when separated by vast distances. I treasure a number of these relationships (you more and more, John Zande in Brazil, Hugh D.H. Soar in England, and a number of others). While the amount of substance is limited by the separation, there is also a little armor in that. You don’t have to worry me dropping in unannounced because I was in the neighborhood. (Egad!)

        Okay, try to tweet that, social media addicts!

        Liked by 6 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        August 7, 2017

        Very true. There is in fact meaningful interaction here in a way that’s not possible on FB or Twitter.
        And I accept and appreciate every single one of those compliments. They’re extremely helpful in maintaining my outward sense of superiority 😀

        Liked by 5 people

      • kjennings952
        August 8, 2017

        I’m about 10 days into using a new app–Headspace–for meditation. 3 min a day, and the consumer experience is exceptionally designed. The subscription service offers topic packs–like creativity and anxiety. You might check it out.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        August 8, 2017

        I will, thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. dpmonahan
    August 7, 2017

    I have never benefited from reaching out to people on facebook out of a feeling of need. For keeping in touch with relatives, classmates and old colleagues, it works fine; sometimes if only to remind me of why I avoid them at reunions. Feeling like I need a way to get closer with someone, no.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      August 7, 2017

      I’d never really paid much attention to it. But when I started looking at profiles, I found the concept fascinating.
      It’s an extraordinary exercise in self-categorisation. People announcing every single thing they like, music, television, sports – everything. All for the purpose of…? Finding matches? Asserting a position in a hierarchy? Strange indeed.

      Like

      • dpmonahan
        August 7, 2017

        All about using your innate desire to show off as a way for corporations to collect marketing data.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Diana MacPherson
    August 7, 2017

    I was very lonely until I found people on social media. It was hard for me to find others who like to talk about the things my virtual friends do and I don’t want to bother with superficial friendships.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      August 7, 2017

      You mean there were no rare aquarium fish groups where you grew up? I’m shocked! 😀
      Of course you’re right. I spent my first 20 years firmly believing there were *no people* either like me or interested in what I was interested in. That’s the point beyond loneliness.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Diana MacPherson
        August 7, 2017

        Haha. Groups like tha nicht be a bit too alpha male believe it or not. Even telescope groups.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. agrudzinsky
    August 7, 2017

    Since I live on the other side of the globe from nearly all my family and friends, without Facebook, I would have no connection with most of them. I like to read what these people are up to when they post their own pictures or write about something they do or interested in. What I loathe is the system of “shares” and “likes”. I have FB friends who make no personal posts but share 20 internet articles per day. Scrolling down through this irrelevant crap is a real time waster. FB “timeline” has no way of filtering stuff or marking posts as “read” so you end up seeing the same posts over and over again and they are shuffled all the time so that you lose track of what you have already seen. It’s a huge time waster, I am reluctant to delete my FB account because of the 1% of the content I do want to see. I’m still figuring out my relationship with FB.

    For some people, FB is a valuable professional tool. My wife is a Zumba instructor, and FB is the primary way of finding a job. Most of the classes she teaches were found through announcements on FB.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      August 7, 2017

      You’ve just stuck your finger into my ignorant wound. Is an FB announcement an advertisement, like at the bottom of wordpress posts?

      Like

      • agrudzinsky
        August 7, 2017

        In my understanding, a “like” is a way of showing someone that I have read what they said. I don’t want to inform all my friends about all my likes. Neither do I want all my friends to be aware of all my conversations under other people’s posts. Yet, “xyz liked this” and “xyz commented on this” make up most of the content on the FB timeline. Mindless shares are another bane. Many people don’t realize that clicking the FB “thumbs up” icon under an internet article automatically shares the article on their FB timeline. The article publisher needs it, but I or my friends don’t. Mindful likes, comments, and shares have their purpose. I think WP uses them correctly, but FB abuses them badly.

        On the other hand, thanks to FB, I stay in touch with people who I have not seen for decades. This connection may seem superficial, but if these are the people with whom I grew up and spent 10 years of my life in the same classroom, even exchanging an occasional “like” or photo is meaningful.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Carmen
    August 7, 2017

    I really enjoy Noseybook for the same reason as agrudzinsky – in fact, I was just ‘talking’ to my daughter in Australia this morning. It’s also interesting to keep track of many of the students I’ve taught; I’m surprised (and pleased!) by the number of those who write to me.
    Of course, I’d be thrilled to meet every one of the people I interact with online and have met several over the last few years. Even the ones I get into heated exchanges with I’d be keen to meet ‘up close and personal’. On second thought, there are a couple I’d have to keep a close eye on as they’d probably want to clobber me with something. . . 😉

    Liked by 4 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      August 8, 2017

      I doubt there’s anyone who’d really want to clobber you, Carmen. You’re one of the kindest, most considerate people around!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Carmen
        August 8, 2017

        . . .which is why I appreciate my online friends so much, Mr. M. They don’t know me. Oh, and you might want to run that ‘kind, considerate’ comment by John Branyan or Silence of Mind . . . ahem. . .

        Liked by 2 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        August 8, 2017

        and if I say they deserve it…? 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Carmen
        August 8, 2017

        Well, you know how highly I value your opinion! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. appletonavenue
    August 7, 2017

    Your prose is so beautiful! My therapist would say that we each deal with our past in a way that works for us. Drinking, for example.

    As to FB, I have found only one friend from school who is interested in keeping up with me. No one else I sent a request to responded. That reopened some painful memories. (Those things are everywhere.) I now have a number of FB Friends I’ve never met, but feel very comfortable ‘talking’ to them. Maybe it’s just easier to unburden yourself to a stranger than to a friend?

    Sorry, rambling. I don’t know if you need more friends in your life. But when I look at all the people who follow/comment on your posts here, I’d say you had plenty of friends! And why not, you are a beautiful and kind person.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      August 7, 2017

      Yes, I’m incredibly prosaic 😀
      Also, yes, I’m thankful to all of you for the interaction, for the exchange of ideas, and for the company – in and of itself.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Bela Johnson
    August 8, 2017

    Well. There are several things here I could respond to (no need to ask, you know I will 😉 ) . From a depth psychology perspective, what you push away and back and deny comes up as Shadow. Which definitely contributes heavily to the Fear. Because. There it is, threatening to take you over when you least expect it. From a Buddhist(?) perspective, what we resist, persists. There’s a reason for this. Just think on that, no easy answers.

    As to Facebook, sigh. I’ve been on it for years. I was quite ‘out there’ in New England professionally for many years. FB keeps me in touch with those peeps. Then there are those I’ve met in the past dozen years on the islands, or those who have reconnected w/me via FB. We don’t ‘go out’ much. So people on island, for example, can reach me on FB in a visual way. And it’s good professionally – people do respond to my posts, should I wish them to (not my shared blog posts, oddly – could be the time of day and/or the fact that FB is rigged so what you post is either seen and commented on immediately or it falls rapidly down the feed to oblivion, as far as others’ eyes are concerned. For me it’s a touchstone. And in that is the rub. Facebook is all about showing yourself to the world in a specific way – 20 years younger, for starts. (So don’t be too envious of your metrosexual friend.) Happy, Happy, Happy, Positive! Positive! My photos and responses are real. But Jesus H. Christ, some of my high school classmates (whom I wish I’d never reconnected with, in many cases – all nouveau riche Republicans) just look odd. Likely due to being in Southern California, land of too much plastic surgery. And then some look like train wrecks. Yikes. Facebook can be absolutely the most shallow, hollow place to (re) connect. “Oh, you look fabulous! Just lovely! You haven’t aged a day since we last saw one another 40 years ago!” What utter crap! Besides, am I going to tell the truth and say Jesus, what HAPPENED to you?! Life or what?! Of course I’m not. Or, “Oh hell no, what did you do to your FACE?” Or they’re in stage 4 cancer, or they’ve got 50 grandchildren they are SO proud of (and these eyes have seen far too acutely the result of overpopulation on the planet) … Gosh. Then there is the TMI syndrome – always giving too much bloody information about the latest health issue or showing photos of their 64 year-old naked self on a trip to the Bahamas. Yikes. So Facebook away – I am who I am, if you want to find me (and though I’m in great shape for my age, you will NOT be seeing any photos of me in a bikini).

    Good news is you can be ‘on FB’ as much or as little as you wish. I’m on ‘as little.’ I much prefer WordPress where people seem real. Or most of those in my own network, that is. Cheerio!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. acflory
    August 8, 2017

    Thanks for the pic of the painting, Pinky! It’s lovely and yet those masks[?] add a disturbing element. Is it just Carnivale? Or do some of the masks hide a less pleasure-oriented intent?
    Clearly, I know nothing about the painting so any info would be appreciated. 🙂
    As for the mask you wore back ‘then’, maybe it too needs to come off.
    I won’t go into psycho babble, but I grew up in a very, shall we say, inhibited family. Sex was never spoken about, in any context, and my Catholic upbringing reinforced all those inhibitions. The result was that I had one particular nightmare for years – I’d be out in public somewhere and then I’d look down and suddenly realise I was stark naked. Nobody else seemed to notice, so what would follow would be my increasingly desperate attempts to either ‘cover up’ or escape to somewhere out of the public eye where my nakedness wouldn’t be visible. My efforts always failed and I’d wake in terror as all eyes turned towards me.
    I had that nightmare, periodically, until my early twenties when it stopped for good. What stopped it? I believe it was my decision to go with a friend to a nudist beach and go skinny dipping in broad daylight.
    I didn’t do it to stop my nightmare. I didn’t associate the two until much later, after I suddenly realised that I hadn’t had the nightmare for years. Nevertheless, my subconscious must have been pushing me in the right direction for a long time.
    I believe your subconscious is pushing you to exorcise your demons too. You’re so much stronger now than you were. Perhaps you’ll find that once you see those demons again, they’re no longer as big as they used to be. Reality is not always as bad as we fear.
    -massive hugs-

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Diana MacPherson
    August 8, 2017

    The one in the lower right in the painting knows something & so do you, the watcher.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. coteetcampagne
    August 8, 2017

    I am still resistant to social media, even though I know that’s how most people to business now. Yet where we are here in France plenty of artisans and dealers DON’T have a website or a Facebook profile and they survive?
    Trev set up a Facebook profile for the furniture relooking but he never reads it and has not had a single order through that portal.
    My day job renders a Facebook page inappropriate ( in my opinion) so I will remain a limited SM collaborator and stay stubborn.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Arkenaten
    August 8, 2017

    The great thing about WordPress, and I guess it is the same with similar platforms, is it is like having a global electronic penpal network.
    And communication is almost instant, depending on the time zone.
    And one can search for the type of people one would like to develop a relationship without hardly any of the standard social protocol and awkwardness one normally goes through.
    Thus one develops a circle of acquaintances? Friends? that have been nurtured over time.
    And one can effectively fade into the background if it is not as you expected, and no one – as far as I have experienced -gets overly upset

    And it’s a blast!
    I never knew anyone who’d even heard of Castres or Labrugierre before I met you.

    And the fact that you share your home etc with us is, as Steve notes, is pretty damn cool. And educational. And fun.
    Yes, it is vicarious, but then so was having a long distance pen pal and nobody thought any less of a person for this.

    I have seen more of England through the camera lens of bloggers than I ever did while living there.
    Facebook is marvelous to check in with old friends and relatives, some of whom I had not even spoken to since I was a kid, and I now exchange a word or two on a regular basis.
    I have a cousin who is a luthier! He makes awesome guitars and I never knew until a couple of years ago.
    Another cousin emigrated to the West Indies and owns a nursery!
    What would be the chances of seeing his place without Facebook or something similar? Very limited.

    And for those people who are not mobile I would venture that for them, this is a window to the world!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Tish Farrell
    August 8, 2017

    It takes courage to admit one’s failings, and especially in public. It’s also popped into my mind that you could revisit your past, which sounds to be rich territory – reveal what has been forgotten/ too painful to be recalled, and so be done with it, if you wrote it down/dictated all as a piece of fiction – either as a created persona in the first person, or more distanced third person narrative. You could even set it up as a blog, but keep it private. It could be like a journey/ travelogue. And it wouldn’t need to be perfect. As you you’ve intimated, seeking perfection can kill creativity, while at the same time soothing the senses marvellously, if passingly. Cracks in everything as Leonard Cohen sang – let the light in 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      August 8, 2017

      I think you’re right, it’s time. At last 😉

      Liked by 3 people

      • Tish Farrell
        August 8, 2017

        YES!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Judy
        August 8, 2017

        Exactly what I was going to suggest: write it out as it was (or as you recall it), don’t worry about showing it to anyone, just get all the megrims out.
        If you’re bothered about a ‘what if’ event that never became more, try this–write the “what if–” into a literary reality. How would you see it playing out? How would it finally end? I’ve done this twice, and once it was out in Word, and then corrected, I realized I wasn’t bothered by it nearly as much. it’s as if the What if had been played out, and finished.

        Great minds, Tish

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        August 8, 2017

        And what about the risk that it happened as it mathematically should have happened?

        Like

  13. Carmen
    August 8, 2017

    You can also start a new blog and invite people to it. . that way you can regulate the commenters. I believe you’ll need to give out a password for that sort of thing. (just an idea)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hariod Brawn
    August 9, 2017

    The good thing about vases is . . .

    . . . they don’t offer advice. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  15. theoccasionalman
    August 16, 2017

    I have to say, that writing down bad experiences to remember them is, for me, not a type of self-flagellation. It’s a way of understanding them, understanding the self I was then, the lies that people told me about myself, and the less-than-optimal ways I reacted because I wasn’t accepting truth. Remembering reminds me how much I’ve changed, and how much good I have in my life now.

    And if you want facebook friends, you’re welcome to have me. I’m listed under R– B–.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. “The horrendous fear of anything not being perfect.”

    The operative word here is obviously “anything.” Yes we stubborn ppl do tend to strive for perfection in things we put our mind to, but well adjusted people are able to live happy satisfied rewarding lives when some things are perfect, but other things are decidedly less so. Isn’t it exhausting to be continually striving to have “everything” perfect all the time?

    I’m on Facebook just to keep up with adult friends and family. It never occurred to me to look up people from grade school or high school on Facebook. I hardly ever post on Facebook, well truthfully I actually mainly like it because my daughter posts pictures of my grandchildren on Facebook and the are precious to me and I so enjoy seeing them in pictures.

    We live a great distance away but have always skyped every Sunday morning since they were infants. Our grand kids love to Facetime with us except when they have friends who have slept over. When they were learning to read they would read us books on Facetime, and when they would stumble on a word they would hold the book up to the camera and we would help them. I like video chatting like Facetime or Skype much much more than Facebook. I know the day is probably coming when they are a bit older that Facetime on Sunday morning with grandma and grandpa will elicit probably a groan on their part, so I am enjoying it to the max now.

    Like

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This entry was posted on August 7, 2017 by in thinking aloud and tagged , , , , , , .
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