Jan 30, 2016

This isn't a lifestyle, it is a life

As many of you may or may not know, my husband is in the hospital.
If you know this, you probably know many of the details around it, many of the very specific medical details. You may have even learned some new jargon and more about general surgical procedures than you ever thought you might.

Because if you know my husband is in the hospital, you may have read about it on facebook. And if you read about it on facebook, it was because of him, and his decision.

I have noted a variety of reactions to his very open and clear sharing of the experience during the last few days: relief, alarm, and a certain annoyance or discomfort with such an open and detailed declaration of his situation. I have also had people applaud this openess, even thank him for being so open and brave.

In an attempt to not make anyone uncomfortable by describing my reaction to every and any reaction, I just want to say something:

His posts about this experience, his choice to share any and most (believe me, not all) of the details of this ordeal has made me love and admire him all the more.

Facebook, is such a ridiculous experience, such a spin doctor of life. Everyone is loving eachother on beaches and hiking and biking and clocking their nike miles. Everyone is brave even in bad experiencing, vaguebooking at a possible calamity and coming out on top. It gives you the sense that you are getting a chance to know your 365 friends so much better, but usually you are getting the highlights or the crazy drama or the hints and wisps or things gone awry. You are getting an advertisement for your life in crazy snippets, and if not quite the national inquirer, the fox news equivalent of what is really reality.

Not I am not saying that every Facebook post should be a detailed description of what is totally and truly real, that is what phone calls and late night hangouts are for, but I am just suggesting that our need to gloss over life and technicolor in one of our most frequently used mediums might be depriving of us of the actually real opportunity for intimacy.

But there is more than that, more than the need to be real, and the pride I feel that Jason chose to authentic and honest when so many choose to be prideful or overly dramatic.

It is that sharing that was also brave: and that has something to do with the general shame many of us feel around "weakness": illness, mental or physical, is such an obscured and shadowed portion of our lives. We live very carefully shielding everyone from the reality that we bleed, that we poop, that we cry, that we spent the day or the week in our pajamas, or cursed those we love the best or just did something really really stupid. Our weaknesses are awkward and embarrassing, but covering them up just sends everyone the message that they should do the same, and that, friends, is the real  downward spiral. That is the loneliest and scariest part of all.

There we all sit, online, trading quips for conversation, trading in a chance at love for a moment of admiration.

And then there is this final thing, and this is a selfish one: going through this, through all of it, has been one of the most exhausting, draining, and lonely things I have ever done. And no, it is not all about me, but it has to do with me, as it is our life. And somehow making the details of it more public has curiously lessened the burden, because secrets are heavy, and at the very least, I don't have to pretend we are all having a great weekend, or act normal if I run into someone, or apologize for not calling someone back. Jason has turned our slick city of facebook into smalltown for a moment, where there are no secrets, and sometimes that is a relief, not a burden.

Or maybe not, I don't know. I know Facebook isn't real life, but doesn't need to battle with reality if you use it as it could be used: as a method to spread real information, true feelings and open discourse.

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