28.2.12

23.2.12

I always feel like somebody's watching me...

Today's social media make it so much easier for people to stalk, don't they?  And are they stalking or checking up or staying in touch or not understanding the rules of social media or just being friendly?

Take blogging.  Most bloggers have stat counters to track traffic and can see where visitors are coming from.  That IP address that's clearly from within your workplace - is it the creepy guy in the corner cube or is it your workbff getting the news or worse, your boss (or a disgruntled colleague) looking to catch you doing or saying something?  Those hits from former workplaces - friends just catching up?  Or what about the ones from what can only be your former partner/friend?  Why are they still reading what you're blogging?  There are IP blockers out there that can help with that.

Or Facebook - is your ex still commenting on your wall?  checking out who you're with now?  making snide comments?  You can block them, you know.  I have one friend who found his ex-wife on-line and promptly blocked her from ever finding him, others immediately unfriend and block exs.  But what about the ones that you like, but who either comment on (or like) everything you do?  Don't they don't know that not everything is put up there for them to read??

You can have a private Twitter account and you can block people from following you, but that doesn't mean they won't see retweets of your comments.  Ditto FriendFeed.

The problem is that everything we do on-line is public, no matter how high our privacy settings.  It's so easy to stalk someone, or to accidentally cross that line from "friends" to "uncomfortably close".  There are times when I've had to block people or unfriend them - and there are some I wonder why they still want to, or think it's appropriate to, check my blog/tweets/etc..  When it's clear to me that our relationship has ended, I no longer find it necessary to keep up on what's new in their lives, and I'm careful to not over "like" or "favorite" others' tweets and posts.   It's a pity that so many out there don't feel the same.

(and if this post hits home for you, well, that's not a bad thing!)

21.2.12

I hate being manipulated

I just finished a book that deals with adoption and, well, grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

One of the three main characters is an adult adoptee, born in 1976.  When she becomes pregnant it's a prompt for her to start searching for her birth mother.  I'm ok with that.  What I'm not ok with is this idea (expressed by the detective helping her find her mother and by the author in the interview included with the book) that adoptees don't feel as though they fit in, that there's something missing.  Oprah has espoused this view, that somehow we're broken until we find this missing piece in our lives, and if we don't feel this way, well, we're in denial.

Oprah, denial is a river in Egypt and I live here in the US where I'm just fine not knowing about, or searching for, my birth family.

My sister, also adopted (and before anyone asks, chances are pretty slim that my Boston-based father in his 20s met her New Yorker teenaged mother, so no, we're not "related"), feels different.  Some years ago she put her name up on those websites that will match you with someone doing the search from the other side, and recently did more research and apparently found her mother's last name (a very common name, so not much help).

For me, well, I just don't care.  Never have.  Never will.  Do I think about it?  When I hear the nonsense about "you're repressing your need to find your family".  When I go to the doctor and have to fill out my family medical history - and then repeat that I have no idea what my family's experience with [disease] is to the doctor/nurse who are too lazy or illiterate to actually read my chart.  And when it's part of a book or movie.  As far as I'm concerned, there are four people equally important in making me the Lazygal that I am: two people without whom I physically would not be here, and two people without whom I wouldn't be Lazygal.  Those first two people?  Their job and contribution ended several decades ago.

That search?  It doesn't always go the way the Oprahs of the world want it to and portray it as being.  One side may not want to know about or acknowledge the other.  You might meet and realize it was a huge mistake.  Things could start well and end badly (one friend's birth mother sued for custody of her granddaughter because a lesbian mother couldn't possibly be a good parent).  It can cause pain for the people that raised you.  And if it doesn't go well?  How psychologically prepared are you for what (for many) will be a second rejection?

There's a scene in the movie The Magdalene Sisters where one of the unwed mothers "sends" a card to her daughter (given up for adoption) every year.  Now, I hope that the woman who gave me to my parents has not spent the past mumbleyears thinking about me. Since she was only 19 (I do know a few facts about her) I hope she went back to college, had a wonderful career or family or both, and that she's not looking backwards. She absolutely did the right thing and I have had an incredibly blessed life that she would never have been able to give me.  It was a life filled with good things and bad things, and any emotional problems I've had have not come from being adopted but from being human.  And you know something?  That's what's so wrong with this idea that something's missing: we want to be able to blame our adopted state for all the problems we've had as children, for all the ways in which we don't quite fit into our families.

Non-adoptees manage to find a way through all that.  So should adoptees.

Thus endeth the rant.

19.2.12

Quakers, Quakers Everywhere

Perhaps someone (or Someone) is trying to tell me something?  This past tenday's reading has been filled with references to people who are Friends.  For example:

I have no idea where this is leading (or Leading), but coincidence?  Methinks not.

12.2.12

Notable Quotes

I believe, thinking about it now, that he was a man who felt it was important to do 'the done thing'. He skied at St. Moritz and summered at the family estate in Prussia; he read the current books, precisely because they were current.  For Uncle Erwin, there was a curriculum for living in which the things to do had been set down by others.  The satisfactions and pleasures of life consisted less in doing them than in having ticked them off the list.
Anna Funder, All That I Am

10.2.12

Got nothin' to prove

I've been thinking about the question of proving myself as I read different blogs.  Some of the ones I read are simply informational or news-oriented, extensions of an organization's outreach, which are neutral; more and more it's the ones that are individual blogs that I've been thinking about.

Several of them appear to be not simply concerned with sharing information or thoughts but of proving the author's worth as a parent, child, reader, [insert type of professional practice] or person.  It's as though the driving goal is to say "hey!  I'm actually good at ---! I've got worth and watch me prove it!"

Sigh.

At first I thought I was simply too old to care about proving myself to others, but then I realized that some of these bloggers were my age (or thereabouts).  A couple are even older.  Isn't that sad?  How do we end up, approaching or in our second half-century, doubting that we have worth and value and needing to prove it over and over again?  And then there's the corollary question: is it possible to get that using all these Neat! New! social networking tools?  Methinks it's not: this is something that comes from within and no matter how much you blog, you'll never feel worthy.  Honestly, though, I'm tired of reading those blogs, the "woe is me" posts or the "lookit me" posts don't convince me - and clearly they're not convincing anyone else because these people keep blogging in the same vein.

Now, I'm not suggesting that I'm perfect - not by any stretch of the imagination am I perfect! I'm aware of my flaws (no, I'm not going to go into them here, although the discerning reader will probably have already figured them out) and yes, I'm working to correct them with the goal of being a better friend, daughter, employer, employee, librarian, reader, blogger, etc..  But I don't feel that I have to prove that I'm a good [insert above list], particularly not to a bunch of virtual strangers; those I know in real life already know that I have that worth... or they don't care/don't agree and nothing I am doing or can do will ever change that.

Having said that, it's not easy.  There's someone in my life - tangentially now, but moreso years ago - who didn't think I had worth as a friend, or even as a person.  It took me years to realize that that's his problem, not mine and I've been able to move beyond that need to say "hey! your life is better with me in it!!"  Years.  Those former employers who made my life miserable? Their problem.  Ditto those colleagues who didn't appreciate me when we worked together, or who didn't want to stay in touch after we stopped working together.  Ditto those people who don't want to be friends on Facebook... or Goodreads... or who don't follow me on Twitter... or (even more important) in real life.  It's their problem, not mine.

Here's a mantra for all those questioning: I ain't got nothin' to prove.  Next step: stop acting as though you do.  Trust me, your life will a lot better.

4.2.12

The Joys of the Shared Bed

One of the things I'm not good at is sharing, particularly my personal space.  Surprisingly I've never had to share a bedroom beyond 6-7 weeks at summer camp (and then it wasn't a bedroom, it was a bunk with a number of others) - not in prep school or college, and certainly not as an adult.  However one could argue that I share my life, including my bedroom and my bed, and have done for the past 25 years.

In December/January 1987/8 I was asked to sit for Chaser (soon to be renamed Howard) and he decided that sleeping in my bed was where he wanted to be.  Here's the problem: I had a twin bed, bought when I moved to NYC after college.  When he permanently joined my household later in 1988, I still had that twin bed.  Howard didn't understand that we needed to share that bed, or, more accurately, he didn't understand that he couldn't have the majority of the bed.  In 1990-ish, I needed to buy a new mattress and my parents very kindly offered to help.

This time I decided to be smart and purchase a full-size bed, much to their dismay.  A full-size bed is to be shared, not appropriate for a young, unmarried woman.  Still, I prevailed and Howard and I settled into a (slightly) more comfortable arrangement.  Then my parents visited and at one point my mother decided to take a nap.  Howard, a champion napper himself, decided to join her... and when she came into the living room after she woke up, she suggested that perhaps a queen-size bed would have been a better choice!

So for the past 24 years I've shared my bed with varying members of The Herd, with varying degrees of comfort.  Why do I do it?

  • the warm, purring presence
  • living toe-warmers
  • more fun to cuddle than a teddy bear
  • there's nothing like falling asleep holding paws
  • the purring
Of course, it's a mixed blessing:
Overall, I'm glad I share my space with The Herd.  And my bed.  Despite the snoring.