Social Media can be an amazing thing. It can also take your breath away, especially when someone has been removed from your life for one reason or another.
Facebook has this feature called “On This Day”. I have a love/hate relationship with this. There have been times that memories have popped up that made me smile and laugh. But more often than not, they’ve made me tear up or just get down right angry. Other times, I’ve sat back and cried like a baby.
Why? Because sometimes, the people featured in those memories are no longer in my life.
Now, 99% of the time, the adults in those situations NEED to be gone. In fact, I am usually the one who walked away. In the past few years, I have been working on myself, which includes removing as much negativity from my life as possible. This means people as well. I have left an abusive husband, made new friends (and realized they weren’t really good people), lost said friends, met the true love of my life, and removed a person I thought was one of the best friends I ever had.
But there are also situations where I’ve lost people, for good. To suicide, death in general, things like that. And “On This Day” has no chill. It doesn’t care that there may be sore spots coming up. It doesn’t care that there were innocent children involved, that I miss dearly. And it certainly doesn’t care that even though those people, the ones who are still alive and kicking, turned out to be more negative than positive, there were still things that were good, and that I am human and become nostalgic at times.
What happens when someone is no longer in your life? I wonder this often. I am not a vengeful person and I do the best that I can not to think negatively about people, even if they hurt me. I don’t wish ill will towards people. So, I don’t sit around thinking, gee I hope so and so is getting what’s coming to them since they screwed me over, asshole.
But I do sometimes wonder, when those same memories that they are also tagged in, come up in their “On This Day”, do they get nostalgic, or are they wishing harmful/nasty things about me? I know I shouldn’t care, but at times, I do.
Because I am human.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want these people back in my life. I removed them for a reason. I am just a thoughtful person. When things pop up, I tend to analyze (probably overly so) and wonder about it.
Thanks to the power of social media, and mutual friends, I know my last ex husband is now a father, something he always wanted, and never could have with me. I wish him well, and hope he finally got the mental health aid that he so desperately needed and is able to be a good father to his child and a good partner to his girlfriend. I don’t wish ill-will towards him at all. What he did to me is in the past. It taught me a valuable lesson. It proved to me that I was stronger than I gave myself credit for, that I was able to stand up for myself, even when I thought I couldn’t, and that I would not allow myself to be abused again.
But is that power something we need? There are days I think not. When I was a kid, if you wanted to know something about someone, you went to that person. If you were no longer connected, in real life, then you just weren’t connected. If you moved away or they did, then unless you kept in touch via snail mail or phone calls, the connection was over. You didn’t get real-time updates via the touch of a button.
There are some circumstances where this can be amazing. My best friend lives in Staten Island, 900 miles away. She is the mother of six of my nieces and nephews. I am thankful each day that I get to see them via videos and photos on social media, Snapchat, and video chat. They used to live with me, so having this connection is crucial to me. I miss them being right next to me. I helped raise them all for 6 years. They are like my own children.
But on the other hand, it can also be devastating. Until recently, my youngest bio son had not heard from his father in over two years. His father has all the same access to the internet, social media, etc as most Americans, yet, he chooses not to reach out, not even a simple one sentence text message. This breaks my heart. I don’t understand not communicating with your child, or anyone you love. I am the person who texts my son “good morning” from across the house. I am the person who texts my husband “good morning, handsome. I hope you have a wonderful day” 5 minutes after he leaves the house.
Connections are important, and I think we just have to be careful with our use of all the technology afforded to us and be consistent. It can be a wonderful tool to stay in touch, as long as we don’t allow it to suck the life, out of our lives.