Sep 25, 2015

Everything is Facebook Fine....

Today, I want to write about my relationship with Facebook.  And its two faces.  For those of you who know me well, you already know that I am an Over-Poster.  And it was WAY worse a few years ago, judging from my TimeHop App.  I share a lot.  Strangely, it's how I keep my sanity.  I live so much inside of my head that sometimes it's helpful to know that people go through the same experiences.  Or, that I've made them laugh.  Or, that they are just there and listening.  A lot of my friends/family don't understand my oversharing, but I just feel that if I have no secrets, then I have no secrets.  Makes things easier for me.

One of my very favorite things about Facebook so far has been the ability to reconnect with fabulous people from my past.  People from my childhood.  My youth.  My first friends. People I knew when Atari was the latest and greatest. People who had Big Wheels and metal lunchboxes and polyester pants. People I had lost touch with long ago.  Facebook is great for that.  If not for Facebook, I would not be in touch with a ton of friends from my childhood.  Keyly, Andrea, Michael, Ellen, Kathleen, Cathleen, Jackie, Jon, the list goes on and on. These were the people whose yards I played in, whose Moms were my Brownie troop leaders, and with whom I disappeared for hours on end, much to my parents dismay/delight. (side note: did our parents really care if we disappeared to downtown Ridgewood or Citizens Park for like 8 hours? I think not).  I left the Ridgewood school system (and the folks above) after 8th grade. After 9 years of public school in a wonderful town, my parents decided that they should continue paying exorbitant taxes to live in Ridgewood, but all three of their kids should experience single-sex, Catholic High Schools.  Um, okay.  I just remember not really having a choice.  Off I went to the Academy of the Holy Angels. And I loved it. It was the best choice I never made. (see previous blog post about being a hot mess in 8th grade).  It was awesome, but slowly, I lost touch with pretty much every one of my Ridgewood friends.  Life marched on. High School friends. College Friends. The After College Move to NYC. The Parents Move Away. Marriages.  Divorces. Kids.  Each and every step (well aside from the last 3) took me further and further away from my roots.  So, I am eternally grateful that Facebook brought me back in touch with these wonderful people who are now scattered across the United States.  It's fun to be a little part of their lives.  And they still make me laugh.  And I view them as the people who probably knew the purest version of Lucy.  Before things like insecurities, the scratches and dings, the inevitable ups and downs of life, the good, the bad and the ugly--mold and fashion us in to slightly different versions of how we "were".

Three weeks ago, on September 5th, my friend Jon killed himself.

Forty-six years old. a wildly creative genius.  Funny, gifted, smart. I had known Jon for so long, I couldn't remember when we actually met. We went to Ridge School together.  Summer camps in Maine. Ski Camp in the winter.  GW Junior High.  And then poof. We go to new schools and completely lose touch. Maybe I saw him over some Thanksgiving breaks, drinking with our fake ID's, who knows.  It's a blur.  I reconnected with him several years ago on Facebook.  He was living in Austin, and we bantered about all things political, musical, etc.  Like all of those Ridgewood friends, I enjoyed having him back in my life, if only through Facebook.  It was comforting.  I knew that he and I shared a lot of memories, and both of us could recollect very few of them.  He was fun. I followed him on Facebook when he moved back home to Ridgewood to be with his dying father.  I followed him when he sold his father's house. And I followed him as he moved to Pittsburgh.

And this is where I press the new Facebook Dislike button.  I had no idea.  I had no idea about Jon's struggles with alcohol.  Addiction. NO IDEA.  And now I am really sad.  Could I have helped? Could I have made him laugh one more time?  Could I have made a difference? I feel like we all put out our lives to the Facebook masses, but only our carefully curated lives.  Not the, "Holy shit, I need help" lives.  And we all have those lives.  The "I hate my husband right now" lives.  The "I gained 100 pounds and feel like shit" lives. The "I'm broke" lives. The "What is wrong with me, I think I'm crazy" lives. Whatever lives you may experience. Nope. No, no no.  I am just as happy, if not happier, than you are. See?  Right here on Facebook---smiling away.  Hey, look at our family! Here we are on vacation! I'm in love! Look how cute my baby is! I just lost 85 pounds! Look at me laughing! No worries at this end. Everything in my life is, as they say, AWESOME.

You see what I'm saying and I know you know what I'm talking about.

Except it's not awesome. At least not all the time. All of us, at one time or another, are in deep pain. Things go wrong.  Bad things happen to good people. Doesn't mean we don't love our lives, but let's at least admit that sometimes life goes off the rails a little bit.  But hey, I don't want to be the only one who has relationship issues or the money problems.  You will never know that there are some days I can't get out of bed because of debilitating depression.  You will never see the insecurity and self-doubt. Because you don't have any of that, right? Exactly.  Neither do I.

So, before I see you all for the first time since 8th grade at the Memorial Service tomorrow, you should know that Facebook is a perfectly perfect picture of my life. I smile ALL the time.

Except, let's face it, truth be told, most of you already know there have been some scratches on the surface of Lucy. I don't think there are any people at my age who are in "Like New" condition. And maybe, just maybe, we should all be a little more honest about our scratches. They are a very real part of who we are. 

One of Jon's creations. He did this in High School. 

I can't even imagine how much pain Jon was in.  My heart is heavy thinking about him and his last moments.  Oh, I get it.  I totally get how you get to that place.  And I'm not angry at him.  Because it is not hard to get there. But even being out on the Facebook peripheral of Jon's life, I am terribly sad. Sad that such a bright light has been lost.  Such a funny, creative spirit. Lover of the LL Bean Norwegian sweater and the Grateful Dead. Apparently a big lover of the Kentucky Derby.

It gives me comfort that he is free from his pain. Because I can't even begin to imagine the pain he was in. It gives me comfort that he is with his sister, Betsy, and his father, Dave.  I feel for his brother, David, his sister-in-law Elisha, and his mom, Jane, left here on earth without him. I'm glad I had those few years of Facebook friendship with him.  Grateful that I could get to know him a little bit as an adult. Hoping that I made him laugh at some point through Facebook. Hoping that he knew that someone else struggles with things.  Everyone's struggle is different, but I just hope he knew he wasn't alone. And I hope he now knows just how many people cared about him. 

How I will always remember Jon.
You will be missed, Jon. Rest in Peace. 

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