January 19, 2011

Generation Gap

Recently I was approached by someone who was…concerned about the things I “put out there”. I am reasonably candid about my life. I say “reasonably” because, although I’ve made a commitment to myself to blog honestly about my life, my feelings, thoughts, quirks, peeves and why yes my “mishaps” I do not want to, never intend to, try to avoid and sometimes fail, throwing my family {or friends} under the bus. For the most part, if it happens or I think it, or I screw it up, or on occasion, God forbid, get it right, you hear about it. “You” may actually be nobody at all and that, would be fine too… There is something cathartic about getting stuff off of your chest, off of your mind and simply putting it out there. Even if I am the only one who ever sees this. Although if I were the only one who ever saw this blog I would say a lot more; I would likely vent about a lot more. But, I am not Christina Crawford, nor do I want to be.

It was funny though, their….concern was not for anyone other than me. I hadn’t put my foot in my mouth about my hubby, family, friends or neighbors. I hadn’t impugned anyone’s character, I had simply admitted fault. “Mea Culpa.” I messed up, I’d failed, I said I wasn’t perfect and both knew enough to feel shame, and laugh, dust myself off, and say “Well folks, I never claimed to be perfect, I am a work in progress. Lesson Learned.” A ways back I had written this post and updated my Facebook status and Twitter feed to read “Mommy FAIL” and disclose that I messed up.

Let’s start here…. 95% of my “friends” on Facebook are actually my friends. They are people I grew up with, a few are people I’ve met along this journey called life but I have known most of them since I was little. Then there are family members both that I am truly close to or felt a sense of obligation to say yes to, but in any event they are, after-all, my ‘Family’. My Facebook friends list is comprised of people who supposedly care about me and a great number of them keep me sane. We joke about our lives, and children and husbands/wives. We support each other both in the good and the difficult times. It is really nice to know that I am not alone. I cannot tell you how nice it is to know I am not alone! I often read a status update and say “Oh, Thank God I am not the only one!” So in turn I share some pretty honest stuff.

Then there is my Twitter account and my blog. Again I either know who reads them, or I really do not know who reads them. There are no “acquaintances”-- It’s my friends, family or total strangers. So here’s my deal. Here is where my brother pointed out lies the “Generation Gap”. I am not consumed with what people think of me. I want to be liked, but I do not need to be liked. Your approval might feel good, it may very well be an ego boost, but your judgment will not break me or deter me. I am who I am and I honestly like who I am. YES, I am fully aware that Shelbi is a work in progress, but I will be a work in progress until the day I die. I am NOT a perfect mother, but the fact that I not only know that I am not a perfect mother, and the fact that I do not try to be a perfect mother makes me a pretty damn good one! Plus, I am positive that there is no such thing as a perfect mother. So, the people who are important in my life, know me, know my children and know how I am with them. If they find fault with how I handle a situation, they let me know {and then proceed to never let me live it down!} They don’t judge, they simply help me see a different side. And if someone reads my blog, or my Facebook status or my Twitter feed and finds themselves appalled… Well then they must not really know me. If they feel the need to tittle-tattle to others about the kind of wife or mother I am…. I am not really concerned.

I am told that my lack of concern for “those who mind” is a generational thing. That, our parents generation was raised to keep up appearances and my generation, while not really ‘raised’ in the era of social media, is embracing it in all its glory. In openly admitting fault or failure we find comfort and support. Rather than bearing a silent shame about our actions, mortified that someone might find out we are not perfect we let our freak flags fly. What a freeing and fabulous feeling to not have to appear perfect all the time. What an amazing thing it is to find solace, support and answers when you share your life openly. Sure some will judge. Heck some will take advantage of your honesty and find opportunity to be downright nasty. But if you let their words roll off you like water off a ducks ass, you will find someone willing to help you laugh and learn.

In my life it is extremely plausible will do something that I should be ashamed of. I am sure of that fact. Know this; my actions are not a reflection on my family. I was raised right; I know the difference between right and wrong. I grew up in a strict household and I judge myself harshly enough. But I refuse to live my life concerned about what others might think… Afraid to make a mistake or being "found out" for being the hot-mess that I am, always have been and always will be. And I ask no one to defend my actions. I am capable of taking my own lashes when necessary.

Maybe this is all thanks in part to the great Dr. Seuss….
 “Be Who You Are and Say What You Feel Because Those Who Mind Don't Matter and Those Who Matter Don't Mind.”


flipflopmama a.k.a. The SassMaster said...

The next time this person mentions their concern for what you're "putting out there," re-direct them to mY blog and make the very valid point that things could be so much worse. I like your freak flag. I like you. And what I like most about you is that you are who you are whether or not I do. I value real conversations with real people who have something to say. I value you and everything you "put out there." P.S. I clearly don't know who is so concerned for your virtue, but my two cents is that person's "concern" may have been a polite way to express his/her judgement. In which case, I would like to express my own concern for said individual: kindly suck it... but be careful not to choke.

Mel said...

I'm so not articulate this late in pregnancy so I'll keep it brief.....LOVE this post. Truly do. I love my mom for being of that generation yet TOTALLY open to change as she updates her FB status at 58 with little regard for judgement. She's come a long way with that and it's like watching someone literally lift the weight of the world off their shoulders! I live my life like an open book for the most part - may bite me at times but it's freeing and like you said - cathartic!

Wendy said...

I my world, social media plays a huge role in navigating life. It keeps me updated on advocacy efforts, congressional issues, and technology updates both nationally and globally. It also helps me stay connected with others who understand our challenges, and it allows me to seek opinions and answers to questions about things that I can't bounce of the Average Joe.

I can't imagine raising a child with diabetes without these incredible resources...and I'm so thankful I don't have to!

DarkTouch said...

In my time, I've actually been accused of emphasizing my freak flag. Rather than just putting it up there to be seen I apparently have been known to turn on the spot lights so there is no mistake.

I wonder how much of it comes from growing up where we did.

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