I’m starting to cool down on my Facebook journey. It was very fun and I loved seeing all the people that I hadn’t had around me in so long but a few things happened that made me feel a little Big Brotherish. One is that I realized there are people who check for you just because you are linked to someone else. That creeps me out. There was a time when a girl could just do a little three way call to her current/ex, having her girl just talk to him to find out details about what he was up to (guilty of that one in high school). And that was fine. There was a harmless air of mystery to it and you went on your merry way. Or, if there was a family member that was particularly, um, sketchy, you could just unlist your phone number and life was wonderful. You could even write one of your homegirls off for something she’d done that was unforgivable and the only contact she had with you was through your mutual girls, whom you could shut down easily. But Facebook has changed all that. Now, ex girlfriends can look at your man’s pictures. Family members can read your blogs (family members you didn’t even think knew how to operate a computer!). Folks you don’t acquaint yourself with, for whatever reason, can do internet mind games on you or be passive aggressive. It’s kind of scary.
I’m trying to think if I preferred keeping my memories of people where they were: compartmentalized in a little attic of my brain, pulling them out and dusting them off when I wanted. Maybe I preferred thinking that the one who was particularly awful to me at one point would just be the person they were instead of finding out they had a come to Jesus and turned their lives around. Or maybe I’m happy that they did. Can I be happy they did and not really want to know anything else? Perhaps there are old teachers I don’t really want to hear from anymore seeing as how all we had in common was my 8th grade science project. Normally I’m a very good small talker. As a playwright, I can pull some words together like nobody’s business. But this new forum is a little daunting. What is internet small talk? When somebody from third grade asks what you’ve been up to, how do you sum up twenty five years? When I try, I start to sound like my parents did when they ran into low level acquaintances at the bank. “I’m hanging in there.” “Keep on keeping on.” “Ain’t nothing going on but the rent.” I’m not even trying to be cool and bring back retro slang. I just don’t know what else to say. I’m working on a book about some parts of my life and when that’s finished I can say, “Read the book!” But what do I do in the meantime?
All this time we thought time travel would come in some kind of tube with some Bill and Ted type gadgets. Who knew that we could be present and in the past at the same time?
As I get older, I realize that having attachments to some ideas really makes you unavailable for outcomes you couldn’t have possibly imagined for yourself. Yes, this is simple. But do we get it? It’s as if my old mentor, Sekou Sundiata, just whomped me on the head with his “leave room for the ghost.” Recently, I’ve evolved a lot. I’ve changed my hair which I didn’t know if I ever would do. One day I just got the urge to have fun with it. To not listen to those who say your hair should or shouldn’t be one way or the other. I just told myself, no “creamy crack” on my scalp. Everything else is fair game. Now I can have fun like my mom used to (afro wigs, pageant pieces, etc) and her mom before her (Barbara Winfrey was a looker in her beehive and fur stoles). When I had this revelations, I realized maybe Erykah Badu beat me to it but, hey, I’m regular so I think I’m pioneering for myself.
Perhaps this is the year to jump out of the boxes we put around ourselves, or the ones others put around us. At some point I think it infultrate our brains that we should go ahead and do the “adult thing” and settle down, cease having fun, cease thinking that we can still grow as people. We are never too old to grow.
In an effort to not sound cliche, I fear that I am but I am just realizing that what we take for granted is sometimes the most profound life lesson one can imagine.