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Growing up, we were dirt poor. We were the kids on the block who everyone loved to shun, ostracize, make fun and leave out. Socially, we tried like hell to be accepted and invited to our neighbor’s house just to play with them or experience what it was like to play in a clean house. We were willing to be bullied, ridiculed and be treated downright cruel…just so we could say we had friends.

Fast forward to high school: what a blur, seriously. I loved school because it challenged my brain and gave me a chance to get away from my home life, however socially I thought people my age were pretty pathetic. Girls crying over boys who wanted nothing more than to get in their pants. Cliques, groups, teams…sides of all kinds…you had to find your place among the endless angst of insecurity, popularity, competition and social gatherings structured so that those who were too poor to afford it, or were perhaps were socially awkward, dare not attend. I was a huge rebel and disliked authority but that didn’t mean I showed disrespect or acted out. I truly loved learning, I loved poetry, art, science, music, performing, friends, etc…I just grew out of childish things and high school concerns long before I was entrenched in the arena. I challenged what my teachers taught consistently and always made a stand against snobs and socialites preying upon the insecurity of others. I knew then that high school…much like all “institutions” were there to indoctrinate and program little people to conform…which I did not.

I went on to junior college and life threw more shit at me then I could handle…so I dropped out and got a job. Loved it. I was working and had freedom. I had money and I had friends…Then came the loneliness…

I never felt more alone, then I did once I was making some money. Yeah it provided for my needs and entertainment. It paid the bills. I would meet up with friends and go out drinking, karaoke…all empty shit. I tried to fill my emptiness with people. I look back now and realize that the void I felt was spiritual, but I kept trying to fill it up with people. I had some codependency issues and fear of rejection and it led me down a road of meaningless dating and into friendships that were very much one sided: my side was the one always initiating and investing.

Through this I would attract some serious narcissist’s into my social network. People who fed off my pathetic naivete. My open and generous nature backfired countless times. I would think I made a friend, and I would be too eager or too happy or too friendly…and that was my downfall. I would set up ladies nights, buy wine, snacks and sit and wonder why everyone who has RSVP’d just a few days prior…didn’t even call me the night of the event. I was hurt and pissed off. What is wrong with people just not showing up? “Fuck em! Looks like it’s me night instead!” I would say.  Questions would go through my mind “Am I too eager?” “Did I say something on Facebook that offended them?” “What’s wrong with me?” Eventually I would bounce back and get right back out there!

The truth of the matter is we are living in a society that believes if you are on Facebook or Twitter, then that’s friendship. It’s a saturation of narcissistic disconnect. Am I saying everyone is like this! Not at all…but for the majority…it’s pretty common this day in age.

Don’t get me wrong…I have a few friends I have known since childhood, people that understand me, where I come from and love me, who I can confide in no matter what. No judgement, only advice and good times…they have all moved out of state or live several hours away. Why do the good one’s always have to be so far away?

Why is it so hard to make these friendships and connections the older we get with age?

As a married woman now. A mother of a strong and loving 4 year old and one due in July, I can honestly say…it’s a blessing to have a few friends. Quality over quantity. This last year has really helped me to grow stronger and not be so needy to fill the void with “friends”. It’s helped me to really learn how to grow a new friendship, to take time and get to know a person before calling them a friend. To stop always investing everything, all the time and receiving nothing in return. I’ve matured a bit and I thank God for that.

I’ve been able to find out about myself and what I like, the types of people I want to surround myself with and to stop attracting people who are only interested in being the center of attention, doted on and chased after.

It’s quite lovely.

A great friend is someone who puts in equal effort to get together, to ask you about yourself, who takes the time to listen and above all who understands that life requires investment: outside of the internet and text message arena!

If you find yourself in a similar predicament, get out of the common culture of narcissism, get off facebook or instagram and stop texting! Call someone and talk! Keep your commitments. Show up and above all: Don’t settle for any less then you invest.

Don’t forget the most important thing: take some time to be with God. You are loved, you are valuable and you are not alone. The world tells us to fill our lives up with friends, material possessions, with entertainment…yet we are so hungry for more. We ultimately need time with our Creator. Pray. Invest in others. Take your time getting to know people. Be choosy with those you call friends and remember: quality over quantity!

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This idea that we are all connected on the internet is true. We can say hello anytime we like and with the effort of the click of the mouse. We can plan event’s and invite everyone on facebook, we can tweet about the most recent article we read or petition we currently support. We can text, call, even skype at a moment’s notice. Yet, people avoid one another like the plague! 

Of course, with any new generation, things change. However, with the different mechanisms we use to stay “connected” I find a disturbing disconnect from the ability to engage in thoughtful, objective, critical and real life conversations. Perhaps it’s due to the ever increasing inability for people to have spare time and money to engage in social event’s. Or perhaps with the economy and many people working several jobs, perhaps there is a desire to stay at home and relax with the few hours they do get now. 

Either way, I don’t want to be a part of it anymore. The questions I ask, the discussions I attempt to bring forward and engage others in feel useless. With information and humanity all so close that we can contact one another in varying degree’s. Yet we are lonely. We are divided. We are distracted. We are misinformed. We don’t reach out. Our children now stare into the empty face of a cell phone, or computer, psp, ipod and we miss out on all the humanness that surrounds us, held captive by our toy’s. 

It’s all so disturbing to me. The superficiality of it all. I don’t get it. I never will.Image