Just so you know

All right. I have ideas. I think about stuff. So here is the spot for stuff I'm thinking about and want to be able to share more broadly and possibly promote. Like I have time for this.

Everything is provisional at this point and subject to change in the future - as far as the blog is concerned. In real life some things will remain unchanged.

Also, our children are not really named Lenny and Linus. We are not that cool.

Feel free to share, rant, disagree, but please remember that I'm an actual person who tries to be respectful. I'd love it if you are and do to.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Twitter and Moving as Emotional Metaphors

Context.  Not just what you are experiencing at this moment, but what surrounds the moment.  The bigger picture.  Connecting the dots.  Filling in the spaces.

I got thinking about this because of Twitter.

I love Facebook.  I have been on it for about five years and it helped me reconnect with friends from all over the world.  People I thought I had lost touch with forever.  People who were part of a life that is sometimes hard to even imagine in my current reality.  I see pictures, read articles, have conversations.  I keep in touch with family members.  I find out who's sick and who has had a baby.  I've even made new friends - people I have something in common with but don't have the chance to spend face to face time with.  We look at pictures of each others children.  We share frustrations and achievements.  It adds context to my life.

But not Twitter.  I just recently started an account because I am hoping to use it to promote this blog.  But I had one follower.  Someone I know through online interaction and feel a strong connection with, but who is not actually active on Twitter.  So I started "following" people - bloggers I already follow on Facebook, and then people they follow.  Christian bloggers, mommy bloggers, christian mommy bloggers....  I followed a few big pages just to see what they do.  I found a few people I have actually met IRL (in real life.)  I now have eleven followers.  When I post a link to my blog (I think) I get a few hits.

But when I read the Twitter feed I feel sort of like I'm floating.  Maybe it's the sleep deprivation, which makes me feel a little like that most of the time, but I cannot connect all of those 140 character or less snippets to... ....the rest of the world.  It's like all these people, most of them complete strangers, file in front of a blank screen, talk for thirty seconds, and move on.  I can respond, sure - anything I can say in 140 characters.  But I've never been good at small talk.  I want to go deeper.  I need to know what's going on around that little snippet of thought.

Maybe it's because I'm an introvert.  I think I've always craved deep, well-filled-in relationships.  I like being with people who know that I was a bald baby who didn't learn to crawl.  Or a sensitive, imaginative preschooler who cried when my meat was cut because I felt sorry for it... ...a school girl who loved stories but not sports.... ....a Midwestern girl who grew up in Asia... idealistic young adult who wanted to help others but got trapped by a body that couldn't cope with the world... ...a mom who wants to be in the moment and raise kids who know that they have been known.

I tell myself not to read too much into Twitter.  It's just a tool - one type of communication.  It could be combined with other ways of knowing and be part of real, meaningful relationships.  I tell myself to give it time.  That it will probably become something different for me than what it is right now.

But right now, it is a metaphor for the times and relationships when I was not known - all the times when I was out of context.  Which has been pretty often in my life.  Sometimes it feels like almost always.  When I try to trace back to the time before changes started coming into my life I realize that I don't even know what apartment or house my parents were living in when I was born.  Within a year we were living in a different country  - Canada, but still, pretty far from where I was born.

My immediate family provided me with context - a sense of who I was.  And where ever I was became part of the scene of my life.  We were in the Philippines, but we were us.  The Philippines became part of us.  But being in boarding school was just me.  Without context or with a context that other people assumed and sometimes got tragically wrong.  I had an urgent (and sometimes probably annoying to other people) need to explain myself.  I sometimes felt like I was on Twitter - throwing out 140 character blurbs and hoping that someone would read it and respond.

This is not about blame.  It's not about what should have happened or how it could have been different.  It's just about understanding what did happen.  The last time we were preparing to move I went into the basement and started to sort through a stack of musty boxes that had been quickly packed and labeled.  Some of what was inside was literally trash.  It could just be thrown away.  We didn't need to cart it to the next location.  But I ran out of time and energy and some of it just got put back in boxes and tossed in the truck.  Some of the boxes never got opened at all.  They are currently in the attic - making sure the roof doesn't pop off, I guess.

My emotional life is a little like that.  Sometimes I can stash the boxes in the attic and pretend they aren't there.  But unlike the physical stuff the emotional stuff doesn't stay out of the way like I wish it would.  It shuffles around and ends up in the middle of the hallway - on the way to the bathroom - at two in the morning.  I trip.  I try to unpack the box and get rid of the junk.

So today the box had Twitter on the outside and a seven-year-old girl with Australian "dorm parents" who want her to hold her knife and fork a funny way on the inside.  I didn't actually know that when I started this post.  And now I'm sitting at the computer with tears running down my face and Lenny just went from hiding under his desk to hiding under the kitchen table and I probably should check on him.  And the baby is getting tired of bouncing up and down and once again I will probably gather up some scraps and toss them back in the box - trying to shuffle it into a less inconvenient spot.

But I started this post with an idea about how we really do connect with people.  So maybe tomorrow, or later today, I can use those thoughts to try to redeem the musty bits in the boxes and find out what they are useful for.

photo credit: swanksalot via photopin cc


  1. "But unlike the physical stuff the emotional stuff doesn't stay out of the way like I wish it would. It shuffles around and ends up in the middle of the hallway - on the way to the bathroom - at two in the morning. I trip. I try to unpack the box and get rid of the junk."

    Love the metaphor!

    And loved reading this whole's like a snapshot of the narrator's emotional and mental and physical life... a landscape..and in the spaces are connections on all sorts of levels.

    Social media is an interesting experiment. I joined Twitter back in 2008(?)...not long after it launched. [I had a different Twitter account then; I deleted it in 2012(?).]

    I liked Twitter more back then; it seems it was more personable...but maybe that perception is just where my head was at the time. (I made some connections back then with folks who I've since met face to face.) Then, for me, Twitter became more like promotions rather than dialog. can't dialog much in 140 anyway. (There is something called twitlonger which I used to use regularly in some of my Twitter discussions.)

    And now, that's how I view Twitter...more like promotional snippets. And that's okay, of course. :-) Sometimes I do like the challenge of 140.

    Thanks for connecting with me over on Tweetsville. *thumbsup*

    1. Thanks! This post kind of got away from me. And it's not the most popular type, but I keep wrestling with wanting to write as a way to think and grow and also wanting to have people read what I write. Otherwise I could just keep a journal, right?

      I wonder if Twitter made more sense when bandwidth was more of an issue - or for people using phones instead of laptops. I do everything from my laptop, so character limits don't make much sense. I'm hopeful that over time it will expose me to some new ideas and people. I've learned a lot already.

      Thanks for reading!