Thursday, February 2, 2012

It's good to be me.

It's been said - quite recently actually - that maybe I shouldn't put my personal information out for the world to read.  An interesting thought I guess.  Let's look at it for a minute.

I live a very transient life.  In the past 20 years I have lived in seven different states and three different countries.  In those 20 years I have met a lot of people that I want to stay in touch with.  In 1992, staying in touch meant actually writing letters, but that was ok.  I was willing to take that time so as not to lose touch with the people who were important to me.  In 2012, however, it is much easier.  As much as I complain about it, Facebook is a great place to stay in touch, especially now that I live half way around the world.  I use it to keep in touch with family, friends from high school, college, the Army, and past places we have lived.  But a major part of my friend community there are other mothers of children with cancer.

During the time that Keeghan was in cancer treatment - from 2006 to when he died in 2008 - my "support" community consisted almost exclusively of family members and close friends.  I made a few acquaintances at the hospitals where he was treated, but they weren't part of my support team so much because they were going through their own cancer nightmare.  After Keeghan died, I floundered for a while.  A lot of our family were having their own hard time dealing with his death and were unable to be fully there for me.  I get that.  Everyone was hit in their own unique way by his loss.

Then I found 46 Mommas.  Joining that team of other cancer moms was probably the best thing I could have done for myself because it gave me a community of people to talk to about cancer, people who didn't shy away from the subject.  They didn't refer to it as "the c-word."  I could say whatever was on my mind to them and know that they would speak when I needed words, and just listen when I didn't need words.

The problem with the 46 Mommas is that they are spread out all over the United States.  While there are some of them that I know I can pick up the phone and call at any time, I can't do that with all of them.  So I use Facebook.  That means that all of my other, non-cancer friends see those conversations.  I don't mind that though.  I realize I could filter those posts, but if you are my friend, I don't care if you see my cancer-related discussions, and honestly, if they bother the non-cancer friends, they can hide those posts.

So what has brought about this topic anyway?  Someone in my family who I love very dearly called me today to say she is being sent for tests because the doctors think she might have cancer.  I was very upset by this news (understatement of the year).  So I posted on Facebook because I wanted . . . needed . . . to talk about it.  I needed to unload.  I did filter the post though because I had not had a chance to talk to my daughter about it, and she deserved to not find out that news from her Facebook News Feed.  I asked people not to say anything to her yet also.

Someone who I had forgotten was even on my friend list on Facebook decided she had the right to criticize me for putting personal information out for "the whole world" to read.  Of course, this person doesn't have the brain cells to realize that "the whole world" I told was no more than my own small group of friends.  A group that she had not earned the right to be included in, but I did include her because she sleeps with my half-devil-spawn of a brother, who also really never earned the right to be included in my "friend" list.  I've since remedied that problem though and removed the cancer that is them from my virtual world.  And by comparison, the number of people I received support from - which is really all I was looking for today - far outnumbers the douchebag and her false-sense of superiority (for the record, I thought about looking up a more mature word than "douchebag" but sometimes douchebag just . . . fits).

Here's the thing though . . . why do people feel they have the right to criticize what others do online anyway?  As a means of keeping in touch with a lot of people quickly and easily, Facebook is a great tool.  But there is always that one person who is not happy unless they are stirring the proverbial shit pot.  The person who thinks they are so far above everyone else that they have the right to pass judgement.  It taints the whole potential-goodness of a social community.  The only thing I can think in situations such as this is that that person must not have very much love in their life, that they must be SO unloved that they cannot stand seeing someone else who is loved.  It must be sad to be so jealous of someone else that they have to lash out like that.  Methinks they must have lacked the motherly love that I had as a child.  But I really have only one reaction to it.

Sucks to be them, and it's good to be me.