loneliness, relationships, and disconnection from my [supposedly] social generation
2011 January 30 § 2 Comments
I keep a lot of the important parts of my life private, but I also keep a lot of those important parts segmented from each other, for various reasons. It’s easy to be a part of all of these spheres that I exist in when I’m feeling well and feeling healthy, and I actually have energy and hours during each of my days to float through school, a social life, my ‘persona’ in my writing forum, and sometimes talk to my mom on the phone or my brother on some form of instant messaging…
When I got sick with the flu roughly ten, eleven days ago, I managed a semblance of normalcy in my academic life and extracurricular activities for about two days (I vaguely remember not feeling well on Wednesday, and then only feeling well enough to tutor in the morning, crashing at home, then studying for a vocabulary text on Thursday) before being completely unable to function for the following week-and-a-half.
Given my attitude towards social networks and the likes of Facebook and Twitter, nobody who I hadn’t told personally that I’d gotten sick knew that I’d actually been sick until somebody else told them – and I don’t think many people knew to what extent I’d actually been floored by the demon, influenza.
It’s given me a lot of time to ponder the meaning of loneliness, and to think about who I value in in my life, and who values me.
For a little bit in the beginning, it made me a little sad to think about how disconnected people have really become from each other. If you take away the insta-access to Facebook, to Twitter, and to whatever, how connected are people to each other, really? If I choose not to participate in the social networking sites of my generation, does that mean I’m not compromising on the relationship values that are important to me, or does it mean I just get left out of the loop?
But one of my closest friends asked me out of the blue how I was after I told him that I couldn’t make lunch after all, and after finding out I was sick, he dropped by later with magical soup.
Another friend invited me over – not because I was sick, just because – for food, and even though I was feeling incredibly under the weather, I still enjoyed myself and enjoyed the delicious food.
And then one of my closest girl friends texted me after she found out I was sick, and after a few exchanges, she brought over some home-made soup at my request.
A friend who was long distance sent me her healing mist over the internet, which made me smile. I’ve had a dearth of smiles for the past ten days.
It makes me realize how easy it is to look at your life in terms of how many ‘friends’ or ‘connections’ or ‘how popular [I] am’ on Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr/the-social-site-of-the-day. When you have time for people, they have time for you – and when you disappear for whatever reason, how many people will actually notice?
While bedridden with the demon, one thing I missed the most was having someone take care of me. Despite living with two housemates and rooming with one of them, it was hard to ask for something without feeling like I was automatically obligating them because I was sick (I mean, what kind of mean and bitter person would you have to be to say ‘no’ to someone who was clearly not feeling well, right?). I missed having my boyfriend to make me comfortable and give me a glass of water in the middle of the night, I missed having my mom make me delicious, comforting porridge when I feel well…
Sure, I had the comfort of my Yoshis and my various stuffed animals (as well as my growing mountain of laundry), but it just wasn’t the same.
Thank you to those of you who cared, and brought moments of healing into my life.