Archive for August, 2011
the importance? pretty important.
but part of this project, part of my experiment in online existence at all, is to figure out what is guarded and why, and the differences people have for their guarding. i tend to be an open book because there’s less to ferret out that way. and in general, i’ve found that people who have honest public presences can help others who are afraid of bits of themselves. but i guess for me, part of me holds a little bit of a grudge against “keeping personal things private.” we tend to hide so much from each other each day, and so taboo subjects stay taboo. of course, there are professional reasons to keep things quiet, though, and that makes sense. i googled myself today and think things are looking pretty okay– mostly my names come up with regional weather or sports topics.
i’ve discovered that many people find writing much more difficult than talking. this has lead to a tiny bit of soul searching as i discover that i actually think of writing as basically “talking, permanently, with my hands.” i talk like i write and was accused of being a walking dictionary in high school, and i write like i talk which means it’s pretty casual, unedited, and honest. actually, there’s a slight difference in the writing, because it takes just a little bit longer so i can be artfully cutesy and clever.
this project has a lot of intentions, some i’ve figured out and some i haven’t. one is one that i’ve talked about a few times here– exploring online existence and how others do it. and then there’s the aspect of celebrating my friends. in that, there’s a little bit of a “i want to look like the most popular boy in the school” and that’s something i need to keep a handle on, but mostly it’s just me gleefully getting to tell all y’all about how lucky i feel and how wonderful all these people are.
but there’s this whole other thing that’s been coming up. based on people’s suggestions, i’m going to people first to ask their permission to post about them. there’s a standardish message i send out, explaining how i know this whole thing is odd, but i wrote about them, and would they give me permission and should i use a name and/or picture or not. some people respond right away, some people haven’t responded after multiple weeks, one person wants to meet up with me in person. but my plan with the project is to give a me-filtered snapshot of each friend. and that means that maybe for the first time, some things are being said. i am honest and positive, but sometimes a little confessional. past crushes and awkwardnesses are coming out. every profile is first a private moment and then a public one, basically winding up with me posting naked pictures of my friends on the internet– except i’m the naked one, not them.
one more thing– i’ve had people ask about doing something like this, and i had a mini possessive freak-out. but really, if you want to do this project, you should. but i will warn you, it has the potential for some exceptionally awkward moments in your life. be warned.
friend twelve and i met working together at a high school. we were both new teachers, him going from a business background into a new gen ed teaching career, me moving from an elementary school special ed aide to a high school special ed teacher. we were both overwhelmed and confused, trying to meet our students and their diverse needs that were always more intense than we expected, with grace and respect. we both had really hard jobs.
and if i thought i had it bad, he was out there not only teaching like crazy, but also raising two kids. some days he’d bike miles and miles to work, on other days he’d bring in his ancient car filled with toys, unafraid of any breakins due to the shabbiness. any time i felt sorry for myself, i thought about all the hard work he was doing and realized i didn’t have it very bad.
and the thing is, amidst all of the ridiculousness that comes with the territory of working at an underfunded urban public school, he always met things with humor and a smile, even if he then promptly ate a handful of almonds and put his head on his desk with exhaustion.
the crew at the school were partiers. in retrospect, i realized our relationships to each other were like people in a war together. it was a difficult job and it built deep bonds and a deep love of the drink. we always tried to get him to come out with us on friday nights, but he rarely would because of all of the other things on his plate. but his presence was always one that made the night extra fun, when he did come.
friend twelve is just one of the world’s genuinely sweet guys. tall, geeky and tattooed, he’s a joy to be around, and when we realized that we lived quasi-near each other, he would sometimes give me a ride, dropping me off at the amazing farmer’s market that we both loved as he went to pick up his boys. i enjoyed the rides with him not so much because it shortened my commute, but because we always had good talks. i don’t live in that neighborhood anymore, or teach at that school anymore, but i wish i was making more time to see friend twelve.
surprise! i am employed and shockingly this means i have found like i have less time to write. the kids haven’t even arrived yet. watch out!
also, i’ve got a small queue of people who i’m waiting to hear back from, and the next people in line to be written about are all people who are more on the private side of things, personality-wise, so i am doubtful i’ll hear back from them quickly and so that adds to how long it’s taking me to write about them.
so i will ask another question, since that last one was such a hit:
tell me about how you view yourself as a public or private person. how much do you feel comfortable “putting out there?” or just talk about public and private personae in general, if that’s too personal.
this project makes me a feel a little bit like a gushy, loosy-goosy victorian girl, clutching each of you to my chest, crowing in effusive italics.
so i’m curious, what makes a close friendship for you? how do you define it? how many do you have? how many do you think it’s possible to have?
and the eternal question– does the internet bring us closer together or farther apart?
i loved getting people out of the woodwork with my last question. join them! answer this one! or go back and answer that one! or comment on another post!
i have two superstrong memories of friend seven, aimee sometimes.
1) eighth grade. somehow able to hilariously do an impression of a gnu as ace ventura: pet detective. (she doesn’t remember this.)
2) high school. junior or senior year. singing epically beautiful harmonies of simon and garfunkel songs with a friend.
and… that’s about it.
and… that’s mostly the fault of my self-loathing shyness at that time. we probably all had it, but friend seven was really good at shoving past that and showing us all that man, she had talent.
more recently, we’ve been in touch. i think we could actually be decent friends if we lived near each other, because i’m no longer an adolescent and can recognize that someone can be fantastically talented and that we can still meet each other as equals. that’s pretty nice. as it is, she’s busy living her life, i’m busy living mine, and that’s cool, too. but i really like that she’s out there, even if i actually have no idea if she still does impressions or sings.
once upon a time, there was this college student. this college student was trying to figure out who they were and what the world was and what their place in the world was. so they turned to livejournal.
this person had read lots of gender theory and lots of zines about gender, but didn’t know anybody in real life who they felt they could talk to about gender. but on livejournal, this person found somebody. waaaaaay north from where they lived. this person was living the dream.
wow that was awkward to write. that whole pronoun thing. how my pronouns were different then and how i was exploring different pronouns and what should i call myself from that period in my life. i want to use something gender neutral but i’m not using gender neutral pronouns now so instead in this post, i am apparently going for the gender avoidant. anyway!
like i said, this person, friend nine, or let’s call zir alex, was up north living the genderqueer dream. ze was smart, open, thoughtful, kind, silly, and lots of fun. and ze showed to this college student, me, that you could actually live a fabulous genderqueer life, be in a good relationship, and have lots of fun. man, did i have a giant crush!
years later, we finally met. i was living in seattle, and ze was there for work. the crush was mutual and we had a fun time exploring the city together. etc.
a few years ago, ze moved out here. but by then i had nested into my cozy domestic life. and both of our quietish homebody lives have not led us to the kind of “hang out all the time!” friendship that one might expect after all of that. we’ve had some game nights (or one), i’ve eaten produce from zir garden (and stepped on some of zir baby plants!), & we’ve marvelled at the… interesting driving skills of people in the bay area. and i think we still like each other quite a bit, despite our lack of interaction. ze did just recently offer to help me prep for the gre.