I have this weird relationship with Facebook. But before those days of creating my profile there, I religiously and addictively (probably not a real word, there) used Myspace. Oh wow do you remember Myspace? It's like the floppy disk of social networking. I do miss it sometimes.. glitter images and all.
But there was something really incredible with Myspace that I will forever give Tom credit for.. I was immediately able to dive into a community that I had never known existed before- the Congenital Heart Defect community. A community, if I remember correctly, full of open arms and the sweetest, most intelligent people you could ever meet. I'm not just saying that. I was able to post almost daily about Natalie as a newborn with severe CHD.. I updated about her Glenn Shunt there, too. The support I started out with actually oozes into my Facebook account.
You see, back in 2009 I started to use Facebook more often than Myspace. Or maybe it was 2008? You know, it's just impossible to tell because the two sites overlapped. There was a point where I used both sites which was like having two full time jobs. But this is how I discovered Facebook from the beginning..I noticed the fast drop in Myspace users. I kept wondering, "where in the hell is everybody?"
That was until I started seeing the Myspace statuses appear.. "deleting this account and moving to Facebook.. find me there! MOOD: devilish" which I made me think.. "what the f is a face.. book?" A book on a face? A book with a face on it? No wait.. A tattoo of a book on a face? Letting it sink in that this is obviously another type of Myspace site.. I had to see what it was. As usual, my curiosity takes over.
Well anyway.. I'm kind of slow with these things. So, after signing up and then (slowly) sticking to using it I got caught up in trying to find those same people I had found through Myspace. Then, I made a decision to keep my Facebook CHD-related contacts to a minimum. I don't know what I was afraid of.
Did I just not want to keep in touch with these same people? No. That's the thing.. I wanted to. But to this day..to this very day I can admit that I've been very wishy-washy with Facebook. Sometimes I hate that I had to start finding contacts all over again. Then I find them and hate the fact that there are so many of us out there. I hate that my family has this in common with what looks like hundreds of thousands of other Facebook users. And that's just Facebook users! Sometimes, I have to navigate through so many CHD parents, grandparents, and survivors that I feel so overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with melancholy. To be totally honest. Then I find these people.. these beautiful people who just need support like I do. No matter how much I say that I don't because yes, Natalie is doing so well blah blah blah.. but I need to see more kids do well like my own child. Then I'll see drama begin in the community.. name-bashing.. oh wow.. there's stuff going on in cyberspace that boggles my brain.. and then what do I do?? I retract. I start deleting CHD contacts.. because I get so scared that I'll get deleted anyway..which actually has happened.. where I've gotten stuck in the middle of bullets flying right my by.. just standing there.. and then I become even more hell bent in avoiding the CHD community altogether. Then I watch my list get lower... 245, 188, 163, 118. I delete so many that I end up being the one deleting innocent bystanders who had zero to do with any negativity...all because I couldn't develop a thicker skin and stop being so scared to actually make new friends. You can tell I have issues. And then I tell myself that it's just Facebook. Because if you think about it.. it really is. It's just a huge network of people telling each other stuff about their day.. about their kids.. about their dogs and cats.. their favorite Youtube clips.. etc etc etc. But out of all of this it has ended up being what I originally came there for.. a huge network of CHD moms, dad, grandmas, grandpas, CHD survivors, writers, supporters, and so many others..that all just want to be heard. That all need to be heard. We.. all need to be heard. So, I am making a promise to get my head out of my ass and finally stop comparing it to Myspace and just use it for what it's worth. I only want to see my number climb so I can one day say that maybe I know every single CHD community member out there. Although, it does get tough to read updates on these people through Farmville requests and updates.. but I promise to dive into Facebook heart first.. head second.. but just as long as diving is allowed. My selfish fears, not allowed.