I'm pretty sure everyone has noticed, but I've kind of had a mind-blowing couple of (now) months.
Yes, I'm in a relationship … which is just … awesome … but it's more than that. All he did was remind me of things that I already knew, and give me someone to poke and ask to pull my finger on a quasi daily basis.
I knew this year was going to be a new chapter. I could FEEL it in.my.soul … but this? I did not expect. This isn't just a new chapter, it's an entirely new book.
Connections. Connections. Connections.
My life has been ruled by them. From the creeps of dial up (where it took 5 hours to load a SINGLE music video on Yahoo! but when you finally were able to make out the characters in the extremely buffered stream and couldn't BELIEVE YOUR EYES that you were watching a music video ON THE FREAKING COMPUTER) to the SHEER JOY that Cable and T1 and T2 connections brought.
The internet has been a blessing in that it has allowed us the opportunity to connect to more people on an extremely niche basis (how else was I going to find my smurf costume addiction support group?!? First step is admitting you have a problem, Friel.), but at what level are we truly, truly "connecting?"
I had no IRL friends growing up, all I had were chat rooms and actual "internet pen pals." I've already identified that I built a business around a coping mechanism, but what was I doing to make a change about it?
It started with the dating detox. Getting back to self, and stopping to "seek" was utterly mind blowing. Again, I had ABSOLUTELY no idea how much my dating fails were genuinely effecting my self esteem and the quality of all of my relationships in general. (Remember, not having intimacy as a child how the FUCK as an adult was I supposed to know what that shit looked like?!?!)
Because I was dating so much, I had no time to nurture friendships which resulted in feeling more lonely and wanting to seek out attention from men which resulted only in more frustration and emotional depravation.
It wasn't the men though, it was very obviously me. I was afraid to truly "connect" because every time I did as a child it resulted in a loss of some kind.
Friends, family … anyone I touched I lost, so why wouldn't I try as an adult to just stop "touching" and stop "connecting."
I ended up creating a very literal wall around myself and a digital wall between all of my intimate relationships.
Newsflash Friel, there is nothing intimate about publishing your entire life online.
::Sigh:: I can self deprecate, but it's not going to do any good. Even being my normally dry and witty self won't save me from my own awareness. I know what is there, and what I have to deal with.
Even just the visualization of it frightens me. It's this extremely murky water that's been stagnant for so long. It reminds me of this song (which is also why I am writing to it on repeat) …
"Welcome to the inner workings of my mind.
So dark and foul I can't disguise
Nights like this
I become afraid
Of the darkness in my heart
<tangent> This ENTIRE album bee tee dubs, is epic. Secondhand Rapture by MsMr. LIFE CHANGING!!! They have a similar sound to the XX with their haunting melodies, but the EXXXTREEMMMMMEEE passion of Florence and the Machines. </tangent>
If I don't stir up the gunk inside I'm going to be a very lonely, and sad human being for the rest of my life.
It's just SO HARD to learn to trust, and to reprogram my brain that it's not going to result in a loss of some sort again.
Even with my boyfriend, I've freaked a number of times wanting to push him away before he had the chance to push me away.
If I'm in control of the loss, it somehow logically made it easier for me. It wasn't the fact that they didn't love me, (which past loss tells me is true) it was the fact that I first got to throw them away. This resulted in numerous scenarios where I was defensive and at times downright abrasive.
Because of our extremely, extremely parallel life experiences however, he's recognized where I was coming from and called me out. Operating from a place of love, not sadness, he was able to push past all of my own bullshit and all of the walls I put up.
He too has always been very guarded, but in recent years has channeled it into a state of awareness that I admire greatly.
<tangent> I'm dating a mix between Buddha, Richard Branson, and Evil Knievel. He's less than 5 years older than me, but MAN have I won the life lottery in getting to spend so much time with that human being. I love him so dearly. He's my very best good friend and sometimes we even make out. WINNING!!! </tangent>
I can sanitize my life, and sanitize my existence but then what becomes of said existence? Am I actually living?Can a life be lost if it's never actually lived?
Woah, getting way too philosophical there for a hot minute. Bring it back down to reality … ::sings back to life … back to reality … ::
I've spoken SO passionately about social media, and defended it in a sacrificial way for years now … and after taking a step back, I'm not entirely sure how right I truly was.
Even looking back at the last few years, my head was down and I was responding to tweets, emails, and comments in real time while living said life. I became the PERSONIFICATION of the digital realm from a connection/ connectivity perspective, but what was I actually doing? And who was I doing it all for?
I kept saying over and over how important it was for people to be able to connect with one another to not feel so lonely, but the very act of social media causes a literal disconnect in peer to peer communication. We are now on computers and phones; our heads are down, and our "connections" are causing a physical disconnection. We focus so much on likes and RTs saving all of our witty shit for posts just so we can get validation on who we are as people. I do it too!! Trust, TOTALLY not pointing a finger, but calling out my own ass for this gnarly path we are walking down.
I used/ still use all of that as an emotional crutch to avoid the murky water below.
Is social media really allowing us to connect or is it all just a coping mechanism?
The more validation a hollow soul receives the more it wants & craves, eventually getting to a place where nothing is ever enough and the jarring nature of nothingness rears its ugly head.
Yeah. Fucking. Mind-blowing.
I thought this was all going to fill me in some way, and clear out all of the murky water. As a lover of shiny things, it felt SUPER plausible to just place glitter and flash in front of me to hold interest … yet, over and over, I was still bored. I had created my own life EXACTLY how I wanted, and it still wasn't enough; I was still hollow.
I wanted intimacy, and I wanted connection yet I was buffering like a mofo and angry at how much longer load time was expected for enlightenment. I sought it in books, a shaman, and even my own life experience through a series of "just saying yes" and letting the world take control and show me what it had to offer.
None of this came directly from me, however. I was so willing to just hand over my own power and connectivity to this belief that something greater was going to come.
Yes, something great did come along, but it was simply the awakening of the beast inside of me that wants to just clear out all of the dark and truly shine some light on this water, and all of these things that I haven't dealt with ... ever.
I have to deal with my own value, my own worth, and my own water.
All I know is that in the process a LOT is going to change.
I don't want to exploit - especially since I honestly had no idea I was even doing that in the first place. In my head, the transparency was actually freeing and I was operating from a place of hopefully inspiring someone one day. By focusing so much on others however, I lost perspective of the entire picture and the entire reason why I was even on this journey in the first place.
I had already been to the place where I had actually received everything I was after, yet I felt worse. The anticipation of what was to come was met with the reality that it couldn't provide.
Tech is good for shit like that. It's a constant stream of opportunity, and newness. We are all the creators of our own success and over night we ALL have the chance to go from a "zero to a hero."
The only problem is, that way of thinking is similar to someone looking to pay rent via a poker table.
It's all a crap shoot, and yes, some do "win" in the land of popularity, public opinion, or even extreme monetary success … but again, what does it all mean in the end? And who are we all doing this for?
I, Jen Friel, have felt very unworthy my entire life. I then went on this adventure where I became a very valuable human being in a monetary perspective as far as what I was able to do and accomplish. The problem with that though, is everything in my life suffered because of it. I barely saw my family, again, had very few intimate relationships … everyone in my life was involved in this website in one way or another. I allowed myself to be bought in exchange for understanding my own value.
I'm not sure how kosher that is for passover anymore.
I'm going to figure out my own price point, and my own value.
I am in charge of my own destiny, in charge of my own happiness, and am going to place higher value on true, true connectivity.
I've spoken more to and seen my parents in these last two months than I have in the last three years.
That's not okay in my book.
I haven't heard my mom this happy in over ELEVEN years, and it's not just because of my boyfriend it's because I am valuing things differently.
I can't begin to tell you how many times I've had to cancel trips to head back east to see them because of work. Where is the quality of life when my family … the ONE THING I value the most is left out in the rain like that?!?!
Not cool. Not fucking cool.
(I love you Mom & Dad!! =)
The shiny things became the focus, and these connections became priority. I was operating at 1,000 mph and forgetting to even look up.
In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller ...
I'm extremely, extremely excited to share all of this with you claro que si.
Awareness has kicked my ASS, man. I wanted to Miyagi the shit out of my life, but what I ended up with was a different bonsai tree (and I'm trying to process).
It's a new beginning. New chapter. New direction.
Not to be confused with One Direction because those are some seriously annoying punks.
They're just too "pretty" for my taste. If a guy takes longer than me to get ready, it's just not cool.
Wait, I think this is a tangent. Is that a squirrel? Oh look, a plane wonder if there is peanut butter on board.
MMMM peanut bbuutttteerrrr.
I go now.