Posts Tagged ‘interconnectedness’

The world is not atomized

To be clear, I DID IT, TOO

Several years ago, I briefly joined a Facebook group for administrators of inspirational pages. I was deeply discomfited by the group, members of which spent much more time talking about how to get more page and post likes than how to inspire people. The proper formula at that time was just the right quote pasted on just the right pretty picture; many admins were perturbed when sharing algorithms changed so that Facebook began sharing fewer pictures.

Troubled, I wrote that I didn’t feel inspiration resided in the number of people able to see a post. Maybe one person who really needed to see a post would see it, and than an “unsuccessful” post would’ve made a world of difference to that one person. The good it worked on them would ripple outward in lovely ways, so that a post’s reach would go far beyond what some statistic on Facebook revealed.

Each post I read there left me more unnerved. I couldn’t articulate the feeling then, but it was a sensation like: We’re putting numbers over people. This technology is turning us into marketers and targets, not humans engaging with other humans.

I left the group. I eventually left Facebook, too, and found myself better able to see human beings in all their splendor after doing so.

I was on and off Twitter. I even ended up deleting my Instagram account last November, after realizing that, too, was somehow messing up how I perceived real people. In December, I wrote in “Sunlight & friends“:

Something delightful happened after I deleted my Instagram account last month: I stopped thinking of my friends as the two-dimensional representations they share there, and started remembering them as who my heart knows them to be.

I hadn’t even realized I’d been boiling them down to their most superficial selves until I was no longer doing it.

Reading a copy of Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business last week, I was floored to find old concerns addressed with such deference to history, present, and future. That’s to say, in 1985, a scholar I’d never heard of was publishing a book that’d help 2017 me begin to find words for things I felt silly for finding disturbing. Read more…


over my shoulder, smiling

every night,
i fall asleep
listening to
the same

everything must go,
a salesman has three
days (more or less)
to get rid of
he owns

the premise
makes it sound sad,
but it ends up being

a couple
of weeks ago,
i exclaimed to
my husband,
“oh! i just got
why i love
this movie
so much!” Read more…

Why I blog

We live in an amazing world. Everything is changing, and it is changing by the second.

More and more by the second, those with internet access have the ability to see what life is like for people around the world and in walks of life incredibly different from their own.

This is amazing, yes, but I think it can be terrifying, too. I see behind some fearful assertions questions like, “How the heck am I supposed to take in what someone else feels and believes if I don’t even know what I feel and believe yet? How am I supposed to answer questions today that couldn’t have existed outside science fiction a decade ago?”

I am exhilarated by the change. I’m thrilled to be living in this world where objective and subjective information is becoming ever more available, if I’m less thrilled by how easily the subjective is currently confused for the objective.

My fifteen-year-old self dialed up local bulletin boards in the early 1990s. She thought it was amazing to connect to dozens of strangers in her own community. After she created her own website in 1995, she was even more astonished when she began receiving emails from around the globe. She suddenly understood the world to be so much smaller than she’d realized!

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 9.44.59 PM

Fifteen-year-old me would be flabbergasted by 2016 reality, which is that people around the world will soon experience connectivity in ways we can’t fathom today. The horror lover in me finds this a little creepy, but most of me thinks the world will probably be less lonely and less exhausting as we learn to see the commonalities underlying all the apparent differences between people.  Read more…

Joyously, chapstick: a sonder file

January 10, 2016 Comments off

There’s this guy named Matt.

He and my favorite dino, Rarasaur, knew each other well before I knew either of them.

But then, as fate or the heavens or God or happenstance (or all of them put together) would have it, I met Matt and Ra the same day.

That meeting, just a couple of hours for me, changed my life in ways I wouldn’t understand for more than a year, when this tenuous early connection would shine out not as a standalone but a beginning.

But then, why should I tell you more about that–and Matt–here, when you can read all about it over at Ra’s place today?

Please check it out. Read about Ra’s Sonder Files, of which my post is just one small note.

Check out Matt’s blog, if you haven’t already, and remember that,

as far as I am concerned, Ra’s husband Dave is with us

for now and evermore.

On casting light and Christmas without her

On our first Christmas without her, one last Christmas tree at her house

On my first Christmas without Mom, one last Christmas tree at her house

I wrote “On your first Christmas without her” for a friend last year.

I was surprised when that post started turning up in searches more than a month ago. But Christmas is so far away!

As Christmas draws nearer, more and more people find that post with search terms like “first christmas without my mom” and “christmas without mom.” I’m no longer surprised that they’re searching now or that they were searching then, because … of course. This is the time of year when the resounding push toward collective joy can actually enhance the sense of isolation in grieving:

There they all are going about life as usual, expecting life to go on as usual, and here I am with no idea what “as usual” means anymore. 

I wrote last year’s post after a conversation with my then four-year-old son. This year, I see those search terms as the start of another conversation worth having a little earlier.

I’ve thought about grief a lot more since then. When my husband’s friend lost her baby a month ago, I thought about how people sometimes disappear from grievers’ lives after they realize they can’t fix grief. More than that, I thought about why. I finally understood that when people disappear during other’s grief, it usually reflects not callousness but a sense of powerlessness: Read more…

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