Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I Regress

Can I just go back to my old tell-too-much self for a minute here? For some reason, this morning I have sat here feeling pretty neurotic about facebook. That usually (definitely) means that I need to stop checking it for a while. But there's the truth, so let's chat about it. I have never been one to care about who likes or doesn't like my posts on facebook. I share things that I think are funny, interesting, cute and I know that sometimes that will catch people's fancy and sometimes not. Nothing personal.

But. Then I started noticing that a family member was liking everyone else's posts except for mine. And at first I thought it was just a little thing that I noticed just once, and then it grew and I noticed it was for a slew of other family members, and almost never for me.

That's the part where I became neurotic. Of course I will never know why this person doesn't "like" my stuff. And this is once again one of those moments that I have to learn not to let other people's dislike of me not bother me. But in this case, when it is a family member and I don't know what happened, it hurts.

So in typical Jennifer fashion, my mind starts trying to come up with theories. Was it something I said? Did? Do they just not like me because of how I am? Someone recently mentioned to me that they could tell we were doing better because my posts on facebook have become more positive. I was a bit taken aback. Had I been posting really negative things to facebook? Maybe that was it?

I stopped posting to my blog for a while because there is a new trend out there to not share too much--ok, it's probably not a trend but a life lesson ha. Don't be too real. Don't show people your struggles and feelings because it makes you look reeeeally crazy. The phrase TMI (too much info) was coined during my lifetime, and I'm certain it's because of the advent of the internet, which has facilitated the ease of over-sharing. Suddenly, I realized that I often laid myself out on my blog and felt ashamed, like you feel when you're having a dream and suddenly realize that all during the dream you've been walking around naked. Suddenly you realize that people may have just been reading because you were embarrassingly transparent in what was going on in your life and it made for good reading like reality television makes for scintillating but not necessarily classy television.

So I retreated. I felt ashamed and exposed. I started to realize that the price of getting older is sometimes learning not only how much people disapprove of you, but that things you had been doing most of your life were considered gauche and naive.

And somewhere deep down, I began feeling like people might look at our family and think, well the young fun phase of their life is over. After finding out that we cannot have any other kids, I felt like the story was over, and the surprises were done.  Every year our christmas card would be the same cast of characters just getting older. There would never be another exciting announcement about due dates or gender. The crib was sold, the clothes that are grown out of are passed along. Somehow I am slowly coming to terms with it. But, I guess I never realized that with the end to my child-bearing era, I was also passing into a place where people may lose interest in you because you are also passing into older kids territory. And maybe that makes our family less exciting. Less facebook-likable?

Of course there is nothing we can do about other people's perceptions of us. Of course I know that the surprises in life are not done until you're dead. I still find immense fulfillment and joy in our family as it is. But I also realize that we are reaching milestones as a family much sooner than I had ever imagined we would. I find myself feeling older and drifting further away from that seemingly idyllic time of being a young mother with babies all around. It is the most bitter and most sweetly confusing thing. And all of this compounds into insecurity as I see one relative, that probably just doesn't like me, seem to lavish attention and praise on my younger relatives that are all going through these very phases of life.

So it seems like I've got more work to do on myself. Nothing new there. But it is a sad sweet moment for me to feel that an era that I wasn't ready to move past is doing so nonetheless.  And not only this, but to feel repressed in talking about my life. It's been a bit lonely, this transition to middle adulthood.


Anne Lake said...

As a good friend from the past, I appreciate you sharing "TMI" so I can know what is going on with you. Although you probably don't appreciate me not having a way to share with you, sorry. It is definitely interesting going through different adult phases of life and the emotions that they bring. I am sorry you are feeling a bit down and wish I could be there to give you a cookie ice cream sandwich. Love you!

Jodi Reeve said...

You know I enjoy the oversharing, as others like to call it, but I personally think it is a trait from being a yankee. We say what we think, and I love the feelings of truly coming to know someone because of it, but I too find myself having to close the window of openness to most people. We also live in a world where people do not tend to listen to one another, sadly. You are loved for who you are and if others choose not to care about you, then they are missing out. Love ya!

luvnmy10 said...

What I love most about you and your posts is that you are real, you so eloquently and honestly and sometimes in a very raw way express things I have felt all my life. Even this post, I, your 50 year old aunt, (favorite aunt, i am sure, HA) mother of 10, ages from 5 - 29, and a grandma of 6, can totally relate to your feelings. That is something, a gift, to be able to transcend times and ages, to be relatable. I am always afraid of exposing myself too much, yet I personally find much comfort in knowing that others, wonderful "normal" women, like you, and others who I "follow" can express their experiences, and I don't feel alone. This world can be a lonely place sometimes. It's funny, I was just telling a friend that I wish there was a support group for moms who mess up and for moms of kids who mess up and we could all go and support each other, but have it all be anonymous. I need anonymity…for the sake of my children, and for the sake of myself. thank you for not being afraid, for not being anonymous, for being a voice for the rest of us. I love you so much. I wish I could "love" all your posts and pics, not just like, LOVE!

Katamaran said...

You are such a beautiful and amazing person Jen. I read your blog because it's real. Because I can relate to the very normal ups and downs of life. If we all hide the negatives and pretend they never happen it just makes the negatives feel even worse. There is nothing wrong or shameful in having a bad stretch. It's therapeutic to put it in writing, it feels good to have others say "been there too" or "I'm here for you". I think the biggest and hardest lesson to learn growing up, is learning not to care what others think. Your life is your own. There are some people who need to be grumpy in order to feel satisfied, sad huh? I'm a SUPER nice person, I love everyone with out condition, so when someone doesn't like me back it rocks me to my core. I don't understand why, I take it too personally. When you what? It's their loss Jen, we are great women, we have big gracious hearts, and if someone can't accept us, flaws and all, then they aren't worth our time and emotions, because there are a dozen others who are ;) xoxo you beautiful girl

RaeLynn said...

Okay, holy cow. I have a family member who does the SAME thing! In fact, I have a friend who does that too. Likes everybody else's posts but not mine. EVER. It's so weird. Once I asked them about it and for the next week they "liked" everything I posted (prob just to be obnoxious) but now it's back to never. It's the strangest thing. I have to fight the urge to think it's something wrong with me. Clearly, it's something wrong with them. Who does that on purpose and what is their problem? I say, let's just keep being our awesome selves and let the whiners, be unhappy by finding fault in everyone and everything around them. I'm kind of tired of tiptoeing around people who I think don't like me or who I think are judging me. It's too exhausting. I'm doing my best to be a good person and if people don't like me for who I am--there's nothing I can do about it. I'm not about to pay 'em. Aint nobody got money for that. ;) Love you Jenn.

Emily Foley said...

I know this isn't really what your post is about but man this transition to middle adulthood? It's seriously hard! Why are there no books about this stage of life? There are so many helps for people with young kids and for people with teenagers but what about those of us who aren't in either stage? The decision to not have any more kids is a very very hard one to make (except when it's not your decision at all...but that doesn't make it any easier). It is super tricky to navigate. I loved this video of a blogger I follow that teaches at BYU: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGc8-oFwVAU&list=PL5oPQWgVdsDk_CP8DlHKz9UJJVr4ctZuZ&index=12

I think FB is...tricky. There is always some scandal in my ward over facebook--a teenage girl in our ward recently announced her pregnancy there...yikes. I think sometimes we get oversensitive about things that are unintentional. One time a mom in my ward posted "A child needs our presence, not our presents." and I commented "I know an 8-year-old (my Isaac) that would disagree." It was supposed to be funny but her mom attacked me and they both blocked me and it was this whole thing. Holy cow are some people stupid. So, this family member may hate you. Or maybe her feed doesn't show up in her news feed because facebook keeps changing everything. Or maybe she doesn't like what you like? Who knows. All I know is sometimes it causes more problems than it's worth, especially if it causes you to question. You are awesome and amazing and funny and fun, and I don't even really know you. Keep doing what you're doing, we want to know. :)

Emily Foley said...

I meant "Or maybe YOUR feed doesn't show up in her news feed because facebook keeps changing everything."

maugers said...

I understand this, especially the "exciting" part of my life (babies) is done. But, now I realize how much I want to know from people with older children… like schools, helps, when to tell them to use deodorant…etc. I don't follow the little baby families nearly as much anymore because I'm looking for help in other places. You're still valuable… probably because we will pretty much always be in the same stage :)… maybe your Facebook family member is just looking for things in a different stage? I love your blog no matter what.

Cheryl B. said...

I follow a number of blogs. I've been tied up in 'life' and currently have 457 posts to read through. As I skip past ones that I think aren't interesting, I stop at yours. Why? Because you lay your guts out there. You risk showing your hurt and there are very few who risk it. Keep doing what your doing. As to the next phase of your life, embrace it. You will find you will come to love the next stage of your life as much as you have loved being a Mom with babies. I have a 23 yr. old who is moving several states away in a week. I have an 18 yr. old who will be a sophomore in college. I have to redefine myself all over again and it's scary, but I wouldn't change any of the journey.

Lori said...

I love your blog. I think your ability to share how you are feeling is a gift. As some of the other comments have said, it makes me feel like I relate to you in my struggles. I've never read anything of yours and thought "Wow, TMI!" You have a way of expressing your feelings, and maybe showing some vulnerability, without it feeling like your journal.
Honestly, I wish I could write like you do. I recently caught up with an old friends of mine and she thought one thing about my life, from reading my blog, and found out that one aspect of my life is completely different than I let on in the blog. I wish I could have a blog where I could write truthfully about my feelings and not worry about offending this family member or that family member.(I guess I could...)

One reason I also love reading your posts that are like this one, is because it makes me reflect and really think.

I personally look forward to seeing your family as they grow because you are one or two stepping stones ahead of me, and it's nice to see what's ahead for Parker with school. Maddy seems like such a fun personality, and if I was near I would be begging to babysit :) The fairy garden, that was so cute!

Jason's 3rd and 4th years are probably in NY or NJ so maybe I will actually get together with you on one of these days. I have no sense of east coast distance, but there's a chance :)