And let’s not forget that I might be the world’s worst small talker. I like talking about death, and love, and bodily fluids. I want to talk about what failed and what was worth waiting and working for. I cannot tell you the number of horrified looks I have received by well-coiffed women at cocktail parties. (Heads up to fellow clue-bags: Don’t tell someone you just met about the existential angst you felt watching a heifer lick amniotic goo off her newborn calf.)
So, yeah, I didn’t want to get on Facebook. But when I joined the Patheos team, they highly encouraged us to enter the social networking world to promote our work. Ugh.
A year-and-a-half later, I have to admit that I was wrong. I still feel uncomfortable saying to all my friends, “Read me! Read me! And, pretty please, Share me!” And I was de-friended over a comment I made about Jeff. (Heads up to fellow clue-bags: Not everyone wants to hear about what you consider an endearing bathroom habit.) Still, there have been unexpected joys as well.
I reconnected with my best friend from high school – who, in the years since I last saw her, has somehow forgiven me for blowing off her wedding because I was pathetically chasing a man. I connected with a dozen high school friends, who all knew my father, and saw me with braces and that wannabe Farah Fawcett hair flip, and who stood by each other as we figured out what kind of people we wanted to be. And did I mention that they knew my daddy?
I reconnected with sorority sisters whom I haven’t seen in more than twenty years. Women with whom I lived and solved differential equations and learned how to be a woman in a community where we were outnumbered four to one. Women who held my hand when I had an abortion and with whom I sang REO Speedwagon songs at the top of our lungs. Women who didn’t make me stop singing even though I’m practically tone deaf.
Two days ago, one of my favorite students in the whole world found me on Facebook. She is one of a dozen students who taught me how to be a teacher, how to be a white woman loving non-white young people, and how to keep getting up in the morning when the world feels cold and cruel.
In the years since sharing my life with these people, I convinced myself that I had changed dramatically. That it would be awkward to connect with them again. That our lives would be so dramatically different that pretending to be friends would be painful. I’m a crazy Jesus-freak now – made new and all. Would they even recognize me?
It turns out that they do. Because I still flake out on people sometimes. And I still spend a lot of time rooting out vestiges of racism in my dark soul. My sexuality is still not whole. And I still sing off key. Way off. I am still broken. And, if I’m allowed to say it, I’m still funny and fun to be around. And I still like being in relationship with people who have been beaten up a bit by life, and triumphed as well, and are getting wrinkles, and growing in wisdom and humility. I have a tendency to see my life as a set of random short stories. Facebook reminds me that it is more like a novel.
To all of you who knew me when, thank you for knowing me now. Thank you for coming back into my life, even if it’s only over a few pictures of your kids at Disney on Ice. And thank you Mark Zuckerberg and all of the people at Facebook. I was wrong about you.