At the ripe young age of 28 my marriage was heavily on the rocks. Not just waves breaking at the shore, more like icebergs to the Titanic. Our ship was sinking, we each had one foot out of the boat. Not fully committed to making our marriage work and swimming towards opposite shores, struggling with the loss of identity as new parents, and only been married six years. Each of us was toxic for the other where even the smallest of discussions turned into a catastrophic argument just for argument sake. Continue reading “Get In the Boat”
I began this post a year ago to the day. The genesis came from a call to my brother after visiting my Dad; at that moment my brother was on my mind and I wanted to say hello to him. I felt in my heart to reach out to my brother based on a chapter in his life, a chapter I had once visited and today find myself still in the process of writing. On our call he mentioned that he was short of calling me at the same moment as he received a package I sent him along with my handwritten letter. We laughed at the fact people never write letters anymore, just emails. I rather enjoy the catharsis in writing letters, something very intimate about pen to paper. Call the letter an emotional investment of time, efforts, love. Continue reading “Emotional Investments”
What Divorce Taught Me About Marriage
Today would have marked my parent’s fortieth (40) wedding anniversary. I am in awe because they have been divorced longer than they were ever married. I was inspired to write this post because of an interaction by proxy of both of my parents. Feeling like a gossip as I held these secrets between each of my parents in separate conversations. During those conversations I learned what their divorce taught me about marriage, my marriage. Continue reading “What Divorce Taught Me About Marriage”
Has Social Media Become Anti Social Media
A friend of mine posted the other day about how Facebook has turned into a feed of others posting videos they have seen and no longer a forum for conversation. His comment was profound to say the least.
“Do people still actually post things here or is just a forum to share videos you found on the internet?”
Our social media venues have become more of the anti social media as we fail to engage one another. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) seem to have transformed into venues of mental masturbation to help pass the minutes as we exercise, exercise bowel movements and or exercise our lack of effort into our careers and selves.
Many a late nights I used to delve into Twitter and Facebook. Twitter especially, as I engaged on many a conversations, albeit some superficial “mom talk,” as my twins were much younger and I found an online community of other women who had the same subscription of life. Bantering, high level disagreements and even some catty non-sense. However, the result was all the same. Conversation.
Today I see Twitter as a monologue, at best. Almost like a telemarketing convention where all of the sellers are dialing out to potential consumers with their tweets in hopes someone will buy their sales pitch. I was saddened to see my own church guilty of the same actions. Services were provided with a hashtag to “join the conversation.” Really? Who would we be conversing with? Other members I suppose, but I found that to be very anti social as well with other members tweeting, never actually engaging in a dialogue.
Facebook has transformed itself into much of the same fashion…coupled with the sisterhood of Instagram. Timelines are littered with selfies and no longer original and or beautiful content. I have watched these two venues turn into a cesspool of narcissism interlaced into being “social.” Social would be how many likes you received for your newest photo and nothing really ever of a conversation.
Have we let our new technology and new forms of communication dilute, if not totally eliminate, any true forms of communication or dialogue? Or is this the way we communicate now these days with pictures, videos, selfies and emoticons? How do we begin to converse with one another again?
With advancements of technology and forms of communication have we catapulted ourselves into the age of anti social media? Recalling an email I received from my dad about 10 years ago, he provided me his new phone number when he was living in Iowa and said, “text me if you want to talk.” I replied and guffawed at such a request, “I don’t text Dad.” Was I flippant, naive, optimistic that communication would remain status-quo? Maybe a combination of all three, never in my wildest dreams would I consider communicating with my parents, let alone my friends in such a fashion. Never would I have imagined creating a blog when just six months pregnant to detail the chronology of my twins in utero, their lives thereafter, our lives in their entirety as a collective over the past eight years.
I suppose since our lives are so busy, social media helps to keep us abreast of all of friends goings-on. Maybe we help show them our interests with the different shares and social likes through Facebook and Twitter. Social media has helped us connect with one another instantly and receive updates on breaking events in the blink of an eye as opposed to waiting for the following day or the late evening newscast. Yet, we seem to be more anti social because we have updates so frequently, so immediate that we can even sever friendships with the click of a button, block the information we receive, filter our lives to seem, feel and look perfect.
Have these “social” venues created an opportunity of anti social behavior?
Social media has allowed us to avoid having meaningful and legitimate dialogues with the click of a button, removing people from our lives when conversations become crucial. While we can connect immediately, we can disconnect just as easily. As opposed to having a healthy dialogue, we just shut the conversation down with block, delete, un-follow, unlike. We can avoid sharing how our lives are imperfect by sharing some of the best photos of the day when the picture behind the camera would suggest normal humanity, beautifully broken. Suddenly we have keyboard muscles that we exert as our form of exercise, because to exercise our mental capacity to accept diversity that something is less than perfect or a comment is less than favorable we remove the threat. Our behavior on social media is dramatically different that in person, acting as if we lack any inhibition to hurting another because we may not actually have real life interaction with people.
Have you found yourself in the vortex of anti social media? Have you found you are only sharing videos and other posts and never really engaging in real, healthy conversations or dialogues? Has your social media become a monologue and not a dialogue?
The Bonds of Trust
Skeletons in our closet can often become our undoing. We hold these deep dark arcanums dear to prevent hurting others and or to prevent unraveling of our relationships or the outward image we portray. Are secrets ever healthy? Can we have healthy secrets for the sake of protection not for ourselves but for others?Â Should secrets ever be shared for the sake of transparency, as to eliminate any insecurities regarding hidden truths. What happens when the bond of trust is broken for the sake of transparency?
One late evening several months ago The Chad and I were laying restless in bed and we began to have a very raw conversation about secrets. We discussed some details of our secrets that we held to ourselves, the details held no benefit to the other. For some reason at that moment we felt enough trust and security in our marriage to discuss these particulars, sans judgment and bias. After 14 years of marriage we felt we have experienced a great deal together that nothing could break this bond.
However, I struggled with this conversation. I felt as if I was invaded. My secrets are mine. Not that I was proud of these personal mysteries that are a dark part of me, of which I have accepted and have shaped who I am today. Yet these details are nothing I felt needed to be shared aloud, they were particularly crude to relive. The Chad knew of my disfavor after I distributed the details my secrets, explaining some things do not need to be said.
But to what end do we determine what secrets and unknowns to share with our spouse? Our friends? Confidants?
For the last year or so that I have been serving with ministry I have been learning about secrets, self identity. As I have matured as a woman, mother, human, my understanding of secrets has greatly evolved. I used to keep secrets because of my own personal insecurities and damning actions. Something I held to myself that would greatly hurt others because my actions, beliefs, knowledge of this secret could or would cause irreparable pain. Secrets formerly meant something sinister was afoot, a wrong doing of sorts. Now my secrets are not to protect myself, as a “save my own ass from implicative actions”, but to protect others, to protect their identity. I keep secrets to protect the vulnerability of others, albeit a paladin to the dark part of themselves that they accept are part of their fiber as mortals but no longer entertain the dooming actions or way of life.
I am humbled to be entrusted with these people in my life, whether directly or indirectly, and their secrets. Humbled because they felt my love was genuine and strong enough to withstand their naked truths. I am also taken aback by those who lack the maturity, application and mutual respect to hold my naked truths.
A recent road trip proved to release an unnecessary pink elephant that The Chad and I weren’t interested in conversing over with almost total strangers. Crucial conversations happen all the time in our home. I am no stranger to confronting conflict like a freight train, straight at the situation without stopping. However, possessing enough emotional intelligence to gauge the venue of which to have those conversations is cardinal for a productive outcome. Sadly, the venue presented itself when our opinion of one of our friend’s brother was shared openly, at a celebration of life (funeral).
Aghast at the confrontation of our secret. All I could do was to remain calm in the face of the girlfriend (the confronter) to the brother whom which we carried a secret. Reassuring her that the details, of our secret, were taken out of context. In an effort to thwart what could be an escalating situation, I flatly explained our entitlement to our opinion without malice and the conversation was had in confidence. At the same time I found the “tattle tale” style blathering to be abhorrent. An assumed, confidential conversation, in which we shared a bold, albeit distasteful, opinion of this brother. The actions were intolerable, childish at best. I could only speculate what would behoove our closest friends to break our covenant of trust. Or maybe we made an assumption that something, this “secret” of our opinion, such as this just didn’t need to be said or shared and they would mutually respect and acknowledge this view. Better, maybe we could have kept our big mouths shut…either way…losing battle.
Maybe we overestimated the assumption of emotional intelligence, respect, and confidence. Even with something as trivial as mentioning to your best friend that his brother is an asshat.
How do you overcome a broken bond of trust?
As I mentioned, ministry has assisted my transformation regarding personal confidence. Maturity helps in this aspect as well; recognizing and respecting that not all information is to be freely shared, no matter how anonymous. Our same road trip, The Chad and I discussed his recent mentoring group. The thought is thrilling for me to watch him be a part of a revolutionary group of men that allow him to be beautifully raw and unadulterated in his views, opinions, to be open in the haven of other mutually respecting men. In the midst of our discussion I was intrigued as to the breadth of their conversations, while he was very high level, I used deductive reasoning. Segue into the confidentiality agreement and covenant he is required to sign and the clause that he cannot share details with me. Considering I had already read and signed the agreement before he did, I was grinning ear-to-ear like the Cheshire cat noshing the canary at the sheer pleasure.
Quieting my joy, I listened as The Chad began to detail the reason for the covenant, of which I already knew the reasoning, but hearing the details aloud are always helpful. He mentioned that secrets, stories, moments in our lives do not always paint us in the perfect light. (Preaching to the choir) Sadly, not everyone has the maturity, awareness or where with all to accept we are all broken. If details were to be shared outside of their fraternity, this could then be sideways into gossip…even trivial details. Especially since a portion of the men in his group have crossed my path directly or indirectly as well as their wives of whom I am friends with. All tangled together in this small world of ours. Additionally, some details are not theirs to share with others, but to take in as listening and self reflection.
A part of me only wished that our friends knew and acknowledged these same contractual bonds. No anger or ill will is felt, but definitely a sense of mistrust and the overall lacking of security to disclose in a way confidants would normally. More so I am saddened that our level of friendship has been impacted.
As for my marriage. I enjoy that he and I have separate parts of our lives that we do not share with one another. Actually I revel in the fact that I can enjoy a part of me aside from him. From our children. From our friends. Even though we are married and even though we have deep relations with one another, with friends.
I suppose with any relationship, albeit casual and or professional, boundaries need to be set in order to determine clear lines. Boundaries could be the cornerstone to convalescing broken bonds of trust. But how does one repair even the most trivial levels of trust? When loyalty, trust and respect are so highly valued in any relationship, how can anyone shrug off a simple betrayal? Maybe I am looking at this too intently, but I would hate to trust someone with something more sensitive, high valued, precious, only to be betrayed again. How do you deal with betrayal? Even betrayal on the most juvenile level?