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Currently Browsing: Daily Shalagh

My Face Revisited : The Story of My Journey Onto Facebook

When I forget what I’ve been up and how much I appreciate my writing, I end up reading something and remembering.

I felt very privileged to have written this piece entitled My Face for the Talbotspy.org here. In honor of its three-year anniversary, I’m republishing it on my blog. Enjoy the fun read.

If you met me at a party, you’d notice my laugh is the loudest. I’m extremely social. Yet this fun time Charlotte has had a whole lotta nada for the social networking. I figured Twittling and My-facing were perfect ways of busily avoiding intimacy like the plague. I wanted no part of that universe made of desperate ego maniacs with short attention spans. The over reaction gave away the doubt beneath.

Like so many people of a certain age, I defensively declared I had no need for this Facebook phenomenon. Perhaps this was a knee jerk reaction to new-fangled technology making me feel stupid. Both fear of the unknown or of assimilation by the Borg are still fears. I have heard many fearful declarations to this specific anti-alliance. And sometimes we encounter our destiny on the way to avoiding it.

I was writing and publishing articles online and chose to rise to a new terrifying challenge of creating my blog. I fully understood I needed to socially network for this cause. And I was anxious. This was the ego-maniacal unnecessary and unacceptable activity. And my precious privacy was hard-earned. But I was seduced by the ability to pontificate to an enraptured audience. My ego “liked” this. Therein lay the carrot.

I asked my (very popular on Facebook) friend to convince me to join Facebook. She said flatly, “Three years from now, Social networking will be a given and this conversation would be ludicrous.” Just do it. Everybody’s doing it. She reassured me no one could see or speak with me there without my permission. Vampires need an invitation to come in.

So my angst and I joined the Facebook extravaganza on Friday May 20th, 2011, at around 2PM. I was typing away about my fab self in my profile when, Wham! , I get a friend request… from an ex-boyfriend?  One of these search buttons must be for all the people you’ve schtooped.  I don’t hate this guy but I had no plans to ‘party hardy’ ever again in a tavern of his choice. I rode out the panic and nausea and you know what I did then? I “friended” him. Because that was what this exercise in mass marketing and conquering fears was all about.

I returned to the FB flame on Saturday, finally found the link back in my spam folder, and, Wham! , it happened again. My all-time biggest crush ever from long ago and far away was requesting my friendship. My present husband was the long awaited exception to this boy who gave me hope when I wanted to give up on men altogether. I felt guilty for even reading the benign message from crush-man. In a ten minute span, I went from stunned to giddy to devastated. Of course he was married and had two beautiful children. I shut the computer down. Either these Facebook people were a specific kind of crazy or I was missing something.

I queried fellow members about the true meaning of the Facebook “friend”. Die hard FBers were bewildered by my bewilderment. It was a true friend who said she too had been freaked out initially when she joined. Now it’s her nighttime ritual. She kindly added that, in an ideal world, I would be allowed my fantasy crush forever. So it’s still me, I thought. I endeavored to try again and to pursue this friend-making thing with zeal.

After a month, crush-man became a human being. As his real life continually popped up on my news feed, I was able to release him from my heart to his happiness. Simultaneously and slowly, I sent “friend requests” to people from schools, social gatherings, neighborhoods, and workplaces of my past and present. As I connected with more people, I began to see my real deal.

This precious privacy I’d clung to and coddled was also known as isolation with a capital ‘I’.  I‘d chosen to hide my life, ashamed for growing old and fat because, you know, I was the only one getting old and fat. Who’s crazy enough to deliver themselves on a silver platter for the judgment of the free world? Apparently me.

I had worried about dredging up past resentments with this reconnection with people from my past. Instead, I found myself cheered by them. Our lives connected in unexpected ways. I caught important news I would have missed, like the birth of one friend’s twins and the loss of a beloved old cat for another. Snail mail cards went out immediately. I saw that Facebook is friendship “light”, a safe way of sharing without having to invest much. Showing up outside of this medium is how you solidify the “real” friendships.

As similar pieces of a larger machine, we need to connect to fellow human beings. I recognized how it’s not always about me as the interconnected web of humanity was scrolling up my screen. This online community cleverly coaxes people out of dark corners, away from the whisper of past shames, to a place where they are empowered to speak and be heard. I was blown away by the hope this deceivingly simplistic medium brought into my life.

Gratefully, I reconnected with the used-to-be-me, one person at a time in a memory lane parade of where I’ve been and who I’ve become. I missed the girl these people seemed to still think well of, or at least didn’t dislike. Today, I’m still timid at requesting the friendships of complete strangers but I’m gaining courage. Remember, I have a baby blog I have to feed.

When the next ex-boyfriend found me, I was ready. I asked why he had friended me and he professed he wanted to see if I was doing well. I sensed he also wanted to show me how well he was doing. Maybe, when they put my name in that search box, my ex-boyfriends sought the closure and self-forgiveness I had yet to seek. Or maybe I was a good schtooper. I am good with either possibility.

Getting Out Of My Way Again

My life’s forest has always been invisible but for my own trees. I’ve always known I can’t see me but now I believe I’ve blocked my view. I need to get the heck out of my way. Maybe you knew this about me and I thank you for keeping it on the down low until I figured it out. I can tell you I have stood at the edge staring at where I thought my forest was for a long while. But there’s no chance to appreciate the beautiful forest if it’s invisible.

I feel like I’ve been waiting for others to tell me what I have that is of worth. To tell me what’s interesting about me. As Po’s Dad in Kung Fu Panda said, to tell me what my “secret ingredient” is. But what I really have craved is my recognition. My affirmation of me and that internal faith that whatever “it” is, it’s there.

Like the child who is so desperate for her parent to like her and pay attention to her. “Please, Mama, can you tell me what you like about me. Tell me what I’m good at.” As Supertramp sang, “please tell me who I am.” Whether you have kids or not, you are your own parent for the rest of your life. And that parenting includes giving yourself the recognition you crave.

Hansel and Gretel in the forest in Shalavee.com

I have often felt so impatient about my blog, my writing, and finding my purpose. I wanted to hire someone to help me get on with it. Hurry up and become already. And then it began to happen. I started to hear what people were saying, what they enjoyed, and which things inspired them. And slowly, the person that I already am, that I want to be, that I want to work hard to become better at being, is emerging. She’s just been hiding among the trees in the invisible forest.

It’s dawning on me that I’m not too sucky. And I may have a talent or two that are slightly impressive. If I step back and give myself the time and space to see it, I just may see the forest for how really beautiful it is. Purpose and positivity only help when you recognize and value them.

I find danger to my self-esteem comes when I’ve compared myself to others who are in another league. For example, in the design world, people who constantly devote their lives, money, and extreme experience to design are going to have great spaces. And of course stuff done on the fly cheaply is going to look sucky compared to people with a lot of money, experience, and taste. So I think I can’t even stick my pinky toe into that stream of water with those people. And it’s such a good excuse to avoid doing this kind of work or anything that you love.

more of my forest on shalavee.com

Yet my vision and creations are good, just practiced in a smaller league way. Experienced blogger and coach Kathleen Shannon points out that we’re all at different levels of doing, blogging, or writing. I’m a B girl looking up to the A girls who don’t really see me because they’re looking upwards to their A girls. Kinda like it was in high school when you admired your upperclassmen and they didn’t know you existed. But I can shine if I hang with other B girls and I look pretty kickin’ to the C girls. It’s me comparing my Bananas to their Apples that’s freaking me out.

Who cares what anyone thinks really. If it’s crap, it’s still my crap to be proud of. And I suddenly felt a bit better when I realized all of this. And I’m ready to put that part of myself out for review. Because not only is everybody doing it, but I’m an original. I’d like to give myself a hard time for having to do everything so differently but that is what keeps my style so interesting and endearing. Did you catch Fiona’s bedroom makeover? Stay tuned for more design fun.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Attend My Blogging Workshop

Due to the very stubborn insistence of a very nice old man, I’m teaching a blogging workshop on the “art” of blogging on April 18th , 2015, at the Evergreen Cove in Easton, Maryland. Presented by the Eastern Shore Writers Association, for which the stubborn old man named Gerry is the President, this is a 2 ½ hour workshop that will run from 9:30 am to Noon on that Saturday with a little break at around 11am. And I’d love for you to attend.

I titled it “The Why is the How: Intentional Blogging 101” because I truly believe that the Why will get you to the How and the how is somewhat superfluous when you are committing yourself to the size of a project like blogging or marriage. Commitment is half the battle to making it work.

According to the summary of this workshop, I’ll be defining the concept of “blog”, discussing social media usage and branding, addressing technology phobias, and answering the question,”How do you make money blogging?”

snapshot of myself staring at a computer screen on Shalavee.com

As usual, I will tell you like I see it as I only have my perspective to draw from. But I will guarantee that you will come away having formed a supportive community for your blogging endeavors. And that is more precious than knowing how to blog.

The workshop is open to the public. The cost is $25.00 for ESWA and Evergreen members and $35.00 for non-members. Registration is available at www.evergreeneaston.org or call 410-819-3395. Seating is limited. I am hoping to fill the room. Tell your friends.

Low Self-Esteem !?

I have a new talking doctor. My previous gal Courtenay got a real job in the big city. Glad for her, sad for me. And I asked to have the right person replace her. And boy howdy, I got her.

I’m still surprised by how many people think therapy is only for the ‘Not OK’ people in the world. Don’t stand next to me because you might catch “it”. Because you’re just fine. Nothing to see or fix here, move along. The facility I visit has a new slogan, “It’s OK to be not OK”. But that was me too.

I had a pretty rude awakening about 3 years ago when I was informed by an earlier therapist that, much to my ever-loving surprise, I had low self-esteem. Fiona with a smooshed face on the monkey bars

Not ME!

And then I raged and I fumed at the insulting change being made to my self-definition until I began to see that knowing this didn’t make me deformed or lacking but rather it gave me a place to start. To draw a line from and to move on from. Why is it such a taboo to be not OK? If you feel unhappy more than happy and have a lot of negative thoughts in a day about yourself, hate to say it but you’ve got this too.

Not claiming it had me perpetually stuck trying to “fix” others. I was freed to see no one needed “fixing”. Acceptance and expectation adjustments are an ongoing process. But at least I’m in process.Fiona and her kitty on Shalavee.com

I have Low Self-esteem and I have worked really really hard to raise it. And happily, I’ve made progress. Seems that the esteem is here, I just need to uncover it. Like a bed you’ve thrown all sorts of clothing and stuff on. You need to pick up all the stuff, make decisions on that stuff about where it should go (trash or closet or give away) and gradually you’ll uncover you. And every step that you take and commend yourself for makes more of the bed top visible.

I’ve also notice that I can not ever see what anyone is talking about when they compliment me. I’m like what? And then that positive thought disappears. I tend to not risk anything too big that may disprove what I think I know about myself ;  that I’m a little fish in a large pond. Everyone else does everything better than me. neigh neighs in love on Shalavee.com

And in my recent reading, I discovered you can’t get esteem from beauty, fame, money, or prestige. So if you were thinking that pricey make-up, stardom, winning lottery ticket, or fame for that You Tube video that goes viral will get you more self-esteem, you’d be mistaken.

So I’ll be sharing my esteem progress reports in the future. Plus my methods for counteracting this self-defeating inner beast. If this makes you uncomfortable, I’d suggest there’s a reason. And I’d offer up, there’s always hope. I have been prescribed a really cool book to read by my talking doctor.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

My First Time

I was 12 when I had my first date with a boyfriend. This “relationship” lasted a memorable week. We walked to the movies to see Urban Cowboy. He shoved his tongue down my throat. The End. Less than two years later, I was then willing to give my best and most special gift away to my boyfriend because I could. My first time was mine to give. Because no one could tell me otherwise.

I watched this same situation happen with the daughter of some former friends of ours. And I knew exactly what she was going to go do and why. Her body was hers to do with what she wanted and the more her mother begged her not to, the more she knew it was her decision to make against her mother’s wishes. Her and my destiny were based on doing the opposite of what we were told to do. And that made us feel more powerful.

As lost young women, we then quickly discerned our value to society. It was our bodies that held value. Whether we were putting on string bikinis and watching the boys watch us. Or dressing up to the nines to go out in a Saturday night clubbing, we liked being liked this way. And when I got a little hit of esteem juice from this, from the interaction and power I had just for being a beautiful girl, I wanted more.

Shalagh at 16 riding in cars with boys from My First Time on Shalavee.com

My sexual power was all that I perceived I had from age 14 on. My parents had lost me in their battle to divorce. And I had found something that I was clearly in control of. And I used it. College was a blur of one night stands and bad relationships. And although I would become monogamous when I got married, I had lived a lifetime of promiscuity by then.

That fateful moment, in my boyfriends attic room with a Natty Boh and a Marlboro in my hands, I was the biggest bravest girl ever. With magazine ad pictures of Lamborghinis and Ferraris taped over the bed, my intention to follow through was unfailing. My tiny Gloria Vanderbilt jeans and blue Oxford shirt came off. And I would only vaguely remember the surprise that this wasn’t really what I had in mind when I’d agreed to this fateful night. And later I would find out that I wasn’t his first.

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