You guessed it. Today is my birthday and quite frankly, I am otherwise occupied having a blast. You can follow my exploits either on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I am using #TreatYoSelf. Come join the fun!
If you aren’t already aware – and I don’t know why you wouldn’t be – my BIRTHDAY is in two weeks. Did you hear that…TWO WEEKS. This is important information because I love my birthday. More than any grown up really should.
Yes, I will be 41. I don’t care. It’s my birthday. There will be cake/cupcakes – which I will eat. There will be presents. And most importantly, there will be Treat Yo Self Day.
Ross and I do this every year for my birthday. This usually involves a lot of eating out, some shopping, maybe and movie – I don’t know – and general shenanigans. Don’t worry, I make sure to include all of you in my shenaniganry each year with the hashtag #treatyoself
Last year we went to the Vegas for the whole week. I’ll be honest, that one is going to be hard to beat but we’ll give it a go.
So, I think we can all agree that high school is pretty horrible. It’s like an amalgamation of Lord of the Flies meets Mean Girls and I’m pretty sure the girls put the head on the spike in high school. Women are horrible to each other. I’m not sure why. Maybe it dates back to having to compete for the most virile male to breed with for shelter and protection or some ridiculous shit like that. I don’t know and don’t particularly care. The history of gender relations is not relevant to our topic today.
High School Trauma
During my high school years, I basically kept my head down and lived my life. I had friends and I participated in school activities but when I went home, that was it. I didn’t talk to anyone or hang out with people. I needed to decompress from the constant barrage of fuckary that occurred and does occur in any given high school on any given day. Every teen movie ever created has that stereotypical scene of the teen girl talking on the phone non-stop because she’s a girl and can’t help herself…right? Wrong! I locked myself in my room with a television and books and disappeared from the world. As I’ve discussed in previous blog posts, I’m an introverted extrovert which means that I’m comfortable with people I know but find new people, new situations, or just continued exposure to people exhausting. You can image how 8 hours a day of EXPOSURE and maneuvering like I was from House Lannister would wear on me.
During my teen years, especially in a high school as small as mine (my graduating class was 58 people) there wasn’t a lot of room for error. There were only so many people to be friends with and making enemies could destroy – not only your social standing but just your every day life until you graduated. Depending on what year you were, that could be a very long time.
I never pretended to be something I wasn’t. I just didn’t have the energy. I thought about the shit that came out of my mouth and how it might effect me with other people before I said it but that was about it. Also, i found being friends with boys much easier and more satisfying. You either love me or hate me and I don’t give a flying fuck either way. Guys get that and are more accepting of it. Women find it off-putting. I am a pragmatist and a realist but I also value myself. I understand completely where my strengths and faults lie. I am confident in myself and my capabilities. This unnerves some people, makes them uncomfortable, or even dislike me. That’s fine. Your issues are your issues.
On the other hand, for most of my life, I’ve struggled with my weight. Sure there were things about my body that I would have liked to change but I wasn’t going to exercise to do it (as we’ve previously discussed…I HATE EXERCISING!). What this meant was that when people called me fat, it didn’t really bother me. I understood that I was taller, heavier, and just larger than the other girls. It was simply a fact.
Here’s where this comes full circle.
When I was in high school, there was this one particular person – we’ll call her Lucy here – who was HORRIBLE to me. I mean actively shunning me, calling my names to my face (fat cow – you know the usual ones), or talking shit behind my back. For whatever reason – which I didn’t understand at the time – she couldn’t deal with me. She became my arch-nemesis. Quite frankly, I just liked the idea of having an ARCH-NEMESIS! I have problems. You see why I write urban fantasy…
And after high school was over and I moved on with my life, I still remembered how shitty Lucy was to me. It didn’t bother me so much anymore, I had friends. Real friends that I didn’t have to shield my thoughts, remarks, or comments. I could be myself which made all the difference in the world.
Then came facebook.
Facebook is the cesspool of humanity but it’s great for trolling people you used to know. Fast forward 20 years, Lucy and I are facebook friends, mostly because I’m nosy and I need to know everything about everyone.
What I came to realize through Lucy’s many many MANY posts about herself, her depression, her lack of self-worth, and her self-image issues was that it was never about ME. She was a horrible shit to me and possibly others, because of HER issues and no one else’s.
As her daily outpouring of her fragility and the leading questions/posts hoping that others will tell her how great she is or how good she looks populate my feed, I can’t feel anything but sad. I don’t have the energy to hate her anymore. I’m glad that she’s found a way not to hate herself and instead is investing in her own well-being but something about this rankles. There’s no 12 step program for this. There are have been no apologies to the people you’ve hurt and possibly damaged along the way to your enlightenment. I’m glad that you feel better about your self-worth but I think you really need to take a hard look at yourself as a person and realize that you were shitty to people. Maybe that’s what you should be worrying about instead of how your boobs look in a sport’s bra.
I have come to the realization that I can’t ever have a birthday party for Scarlett where other kids are invited. This may sound like a strange statement but I’ve come to understand my limitations or – maybe the more appropriate categorization of what I suffer from is bat-shit-craziness.
As an example, we had to get valentines for her class. Sounds simple right? Just go to the store buy a box of valentines and you’re done. No. I bought packs of skittles and fruit snacks in addition packaged and wrapped 24 individual gift bags with tiny gifts, valentines, and temporary tattoos…because I am THAT mom. For her birthday, I ordered invitations and decorations for a party that is going to consist of 7 people (us and our parents…that’s it).
I once made a castle out of a cardboard box for fuck’s sake. There was no reason. There was a box. We made a special trip to target (the devil’s own store) to get the materials. This was just for shits and giggles…cause I didn’t have enough to do that day. That’s right. That thing had a fucking drawbridge.
Below was her second birthday party and there were only 10 people there – only family. I have a problem. I cut out all those mickey heads and strung them up. They were all over the house.
I imagine having a birthday party with all Scarlett’s friends playing in the overly elaborate party decorations while the mom’s huddle together in the corner with wide eyes as they realize that I am, in fact, a crazy person. Then this snowballs into Scarlett not being invited anywhere because her mother is a crazy person. Then she hates me because she doesn’t get invited anywhere and it becomes a thing.
You might suggest that I just curb my crazy. You would be right. That’s a wonderful idea and I wish it was that simple. It should be…but it isn’t. Here’s the thing though, even when I think I have curbed it, its still extra – the theme, the decorations, the presents, the cake, the gift bags. It’s all still over the top, just not as over the top as before. We’re talking shades of gray here. There’s a spectrum between normal mom and a weird Pintrest-obsessed mom. I’m somewhere toward the latter but closer to the middle than some. Not so far toward the end of the spectrum as the people who hire professionals but just short of making my own giant ice cream cones out of cardboard and paper mache.
I mean, I could do that…I would have to get the materials and…NO!
An added problem is that I can’t reuse any of the decorations. II could, realistically, through another Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Party, she wouldn’t mind, but my crazy won’t let me. So, I’m sitting on all of this stuff that will never get used again. I might start a party decor swap thing on my neighborhood Facebook page. At least someone would get some usage out of it. Then again, I don’t know that I could use someone else’s decorations. That would weird me out.
Yep, I have a problem.
This year’s theme is Care Bears. I’ll put up pictures after the party. Promise!
This week is the RWA (Romance Writers of America) national conference. I stopped going to this years ago. The longer I went, the more I discovered that the panels and discussions were the same, repackaged and updated but the same every year nonetheless. Each year, I had a hard time finding new things to interest me and it began an endless cycle of business panels about marketing and brand building that I could get on YouTube for free instead of the cost of registration, travel, and just eating. As a not very successful author, I have limited funds for this type of thing.
Also, every year, I realized more and more how I am not a romance writer. I don’t miss sitting through endless panels that didn’t apply to me and trying desperately to gleam some bit of useful information from them. Also, sitting through presentations and awards that I never qualify for because I don’t fit into their box was frustrating.
I don’t miss the throng of people. As we’ve discussed previously, people exhaust me. I am not the extrovert to go out there and just be. One of the reasons I love writing is because it’s a solitary occupation. I can get in my own head and play around in there for a while. That is very appealing to me. I think it’s appealing to quite a few writers.
This week I’ve been watching the pictures of all my friends on Facebook who are at RWA in Denver this week and feeling a bit . . . nostalgic maybe. I’ve met some amazing people at conferences. But I also have friends that I haven’t seen since Scarlett was born because, you know – baby/toddler. There they are at RWA having a blast. There’s a part of me that is jealous that they’re having all the fun and I’m not. There’s another part of me that understands, I would not have been having that fun with them. I probably would’ve been hiding in my room, recouping from exposure.
So there you have it, a mixed bag of emotions and kinda regret but not really.
Let’s face it, the only reason anyone is on facebook is to troll other people (maybe that’s just me). Especially, people you really don’t talk to anymore, aka from High School or College. Social media is a weird thing though. You expose so much of yourself without really thinking about it. And then sometimes, you expose a shit ton of yourself intentionally.
There are people that I HATED. People that were so incredibly nasty to me while I was growing up that the mention of their name would make me boil inside. People that made going to middle school and high school painful and agonizing. You know those people. The ones that their mere presence changes your mood or the ones that try to tear you down and make you feel bad about yourself.
I get it if you don’t like someone. Hell, I don’t like a lot of people. I mean…a lot. However, I don’t go out of my way to marginalize those people. I can be civil. Actually, civil is a stretch for my normal personality, so quiet. I can be quiet.
Why am I friends on facebook with these people – you might ask? Trolling and the need to compare success vs. failure against others. I might be a little competitive.
Let me just say this, there is a point where you have disclosed WAY too much on social media. And of course, I read these posts. It’s like a slow moving train wreck. I can’t turn away. It’s the same reason why the Kardashians have so much money. We just eat that shit up.
Here’s where things get tricky and emotionally murky. When you disclose that much about yourself on social media, I begin to realize just how FUCKED UP you are. I realize that all of those times you were hateful and mean, were because of you and not me. Don’t get me wrong; I not the prettiest, the smartest, the thinnest, definitely not the nicest but I’m okay with that. I’ve always been just fine with who I am and comfortable in my own skin. So, if that’s the part that bothered you, I won’t apologize for it. I am confident in who I am and what I do.
Here’s the murky part. I can’t hate you now. All I have left is some mangled ball of pity and loss because I liked hating you. I had an arch-nemesis. And now…I don’t.
I’m working on finding another one though. Keep faith that I will find another person to fill that slot. Every hero/villain needs an arch-nemesis. I’ll leave it to your discretion to figure out which one I am.
There are a couple of things that I like.
1. I like to eat. I like food. Simple. Complicated. It doesn’t matter. Hence, the post on Wednesday about working out. I’m about 1 for 1 on that front, by the way. Not good.
2. I like Disney. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who has seen my blog posts in the past. I actually post a lot about Disney which is probably sad but I don’t care. I love it.
3. I like weird random countdown lists. It doesn’t matter what they’re about, I will click on them.
“How 24 TV shows cleverly handled their stars’ real-life pregnancies”
“15 of the best #momconfessoins” – This one was particularly funny. I could relate. Especially about eating snacks in the bathroom so their children wouldn’t steal it. Yesterday, Scarlett (who is two, by the way) ate my SALAD instead of the macaroni and cheese she had in front of her. The day before, she ate all my strawberries and whipped cream. Then she wanted the popcorn Ross was eating. Ross just doesn’t eat until he drops her off at daycare in the morning because she eats all of his cereal.
Back to the point.
I understand these lists are nothing but clickbait. I KNOW IT! But I can’t stop myself. I then get annoyed when it takes too long to flip through the pages and really only make it about halfway through any list. I rarely make it to the end. I lack patience.
Plus, now that I’ve stopped following basically all people on Facebook, all that’s left are posts from recipe sites which means I see nothing but food every time I log in. So, I’m basically hungry all day. Disney World posts that are amazing but make me judge myself about why I’m not going to Disney World more regularly. And then finally, the clickbait. These are good for a momentary laugh but I know I’m downloading some horrible malware on my machine. I’m basically playing Russian Roulette with my devices each time I click on one.
But then there is the best one of all when they converge into a single amalgamation of bliss.
“The 15 best foods to eat as Disney World”
WARNING: This is a rant so be prepared.
I am really REALLY tired of the facebook shaming. I know you’ve seen them. At least two of your facebook friends post these on a weekly basis.
You know exactly what I mean:
Share if you agree,
I know most of you don’t have the nerve to post this, but…
If you’re my real friend, you’ll copy and paste this to a post.
Let’s see who’s brave enough to post this…
NO! Maybe I agree with you and your post and maybe I don’t. However, you don’t get to try and shame me into sharing your agenda with MY friends. My facebook and twitter pages are mine. For my purposes. Not yours. Just because I don’t share, like, or post to my page doesn’t mean that – somehow – I’m a horrible person. I could have a 100 reasons why I choose not to participate in your shenanigans.
So. Take your memes and posts and shove ’em cause I’m unfollowing and deleting by the day. I lived just fine before facebook and twitter. If it comes to it, I can again.
Facebook used to be my way of keeping up with people without having to talk to them. As an extroverted introvert (and yes, that’s a real thing – find signs of an extroverted introvert at the link above), this was the ideal situation for me. I knew what people were doing without having to actually interact with them.
I, personally, find social interactions exhausting and stressful. I have to mentally prepare to leave the house and I don’t deal with changes of plans well. In a crowd, I find it hard to engage with others. It’s easier for me to fade into the background and not be noticed. Even though I may seem to be loud and rambunctious, that’s me trying to be what I think you want me to be. In this state, sometimes things come out of my mouth and I know they’re on the verge of crossing a line or over that line entirely and I can’t seem to stop it. If I feel comfortable with you, you probably notice a marked difference between the times I’m interacting with just you and when I’m in a group. This is me overcompensating for my lack of social engagement.
Over the course of the last six months, I’ve un-followed people on Facebook that I didn’t know who kept showing up on my feed, people who I couldn’t stand the constant political statements and links to unsubstantiated news reports (this includes family members), and people who I just didn’t like and couldn’t figure out why they were on my friends list anyway. This left very few people left that i did follow.
Some of the people that I follow, I don’t know where the hell their posts are ending up but it sure as shit isn’t on my feed. When I look at Facebook now, all I find is postings from Delish – which is okay, I get some decent recipes from there; click-bait postings and I’m not going to lie to you, I go through those lists sometimes; posts from friends who “liked” something else. I scroll through my feed staring at a bunch of posts from people I don’t know and I’m like, who the fuck are you and why do I care?!? Finally, there are the blatant advertisements.
You may say, Suzanne – that’s the way of the world now. Well, I don’t like it.
This has forced me to call, text, and email people. This has caused me to schedule actual in-person gatherings to keep in touch and know what’s happening in the lives of others.
Anyone reading this who knows me and takes this as – well, she doesn’t want to talk to us so why am I wasting my time? Don’t. That’s not true. I value you and your friendship, I just find social interactions hard. I’m not a person who “chats”. I don’t care about the weather or those little conversations that people have to fill time. I don’t have the patience for that or the social skills to do it well. I want to know about you. I want to have a real conversation and talk about real issues. Most people don’t have time for in-depth conversations and especially in a group, those conversations are personal and inappropriate.
I’m getting off track.
You may not realize this, but if you’re active on Facebook, you inevitably reveal who you really are. People are so free on social media that they sometimes forget that other people are watching. This is why I loved Facebook. I could get a glimpse of who you were without the stress and anxiety of the social interaction. Now, my Facebook feed is filled with shit that I don’t care about and useless pictures that range from everything from cats to beer cans. As you can imagine, that’s a pretty wide range. I would say that I could start following people again, now that the election is over, but I’ve seen that my hope in that realm have already been dashed. People are more divisive and aggressive than ever.
Facebook and I may have to part ways. I don’t know yet. I’ll have to see what 2017 brings.