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Publications
  • Still Points North: One Alaskan Childhood, One Grown-up World, One Long Journey Home
    Still Points North: One Alaskan Childhood, One Grown-up World, One Long Journey Home
    by Leigh Newman

    Can't wait! 

  • Einstein's God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit
    Einstein's God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit
    by Krista Tippett
  • The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone---Especially Ourselves
    The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone---Especially Ourselves
    by Dan Ariely
  • Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up
    Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up
    by Harriet Lerner
Publications
  • Rhythm And Repose
    Rhythm And Repose
    Anti/Epitaph

    Tender and beautiful. 

  • Boys & Girls
    Boys & Girls
    by Alabama Shakes

    Love this album! So happy when I saw BrainPicker post this on her site! 

  • City of Refuge
    City of Refuge
    by Abigail Washburn

    Pure magic!

  • Some Nights
    Some Nights
    by Fun.
  • She Ain't Me
    She Ain't Me
    by Carrie Rodriguez

    I'm such a fan. 

  • I'm Your Man
    I'm Your Man
    by Leonard Cohen

    Take this Waltz is on my top ten list of all songs!

  • Babel
    Babel
    by Mumford & Sons
Publications
  • Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey (Original UK Unedited Edition)
    Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey (Original UK Unedited Edition)
    PBS

    So totally addicted to this series! Absolutely amazing!

  • Zen: Vendetta / Cabal / Ratking [Blu-ray]
    Zen: Vendetta / Cabal / Ratking [Blu-ray]
    starring Rufus Sewell

    Based on your recommendations from a recent blog post! It's another wonderful BBC mystery series! 

  • The Good Wife: The First Season
    The Good Wife: The First Season
    starring Julianna Margulies, Chris Noth, Josh Charles, Matt Czuchry, Archie Panjabi

    One of the best shows on TV. Juiliana Marguiles is incredible. 

  • Doc Martin: Collection - Series 1-4
    Doc Martin: Collection - Series 1-4
    starring Martin Clunes, Caroline Catz, Lia Williams, Stephanie Cole, Ian McNeice
gifting
Tuesday
Feb102009

brené’s home for wayward girls


Diana, my breakdown spiritual awakening therapist, and I spent a lot of time talking about the Jungian concept of integration. Over the course of 2007, this Dianaism became a mantra for me: “Stop alternating and start integrating.”

Part of midlife is scooping up all the different versions of yourself that you’ve created to please folks, and integrating them into one whole, authentic person. This is tough work for me. I’m so good at assessing exactly who I need to be and when I need to be it. It’s really too bad that "alternating" eventually sucks your soul right out of your body.

In addition to curbing the chameleon action, the other part of integrating has been the very painful process of reconnecting with the parts of myself that I orphaned over the years. You know – the parts of ourselves that we abandon because they get in the way of who and what we need to be now.

In January, I started writing the chapter on this process for the new book. I thought I had a handle on it . . . right up until the horrifying moment when my past caught up with me on Facebook.

Here’s the thing – I reluctantly joined Facebook (then deleted my account, then started it again, then deleted my account, then started it again) to connect with the people in my life now. There was a small part of me that was willing to go back to 1995 – but NOTHING pre-'95.

A few weeks ago, the people from high school found me. Then, days later as I was still reeling from being detected by the Bearkats, I was pushed out of hiding by people who knew me when I was in my early 20’s.

I blame my parents. If you're going to saddle a kid with a weird name, you should be honest with them from the very start: “You can’t be too wild. You can’t be a shitty friend. Ever. You can’t make really bad decisions at closing time. And, you’ll never find a pencil with your name on it at Stuckeys.

I panicked as my email box started filling up with “hi there stranger” notes. I wanted to scream, “You can’t know me now! I won’t let you. You were part of the dark days and that Brené is gone. People like me now. I like me now. GET OUT!”

As much as I didn't want my new life contaminated by my old life, I also resented the idea of people from my past jumping on my blog and reading about my life. We (you and me) know that my life is messy and amazing and imperfect and complex and wonderful and full of midlife-midlove struggles, but THEY haven't earned the right to read about the quiet unravelings, the breakdowns, and the breakthroughs.

I was so angry as I thought about them infiltrating my life. I kept looking at the old pictures that classmates were posting. When I saw myself there was a part of me that thought, “I hate that girl. She’s not part of me.”

Then anger gave way to grief. She was me. And, more importantly, she still is a part of me. And so are the unravelings, the breakdowns, and the breakthroughs.

In my heart, I knew that I had to be a safe place for this wayward girl – the one who was scared, alone, and confused. She was ashamed of everything because she compared her realities to the fantasies that she had about other peoples’ lives (everyone else is having a great time, other people’s parents don’t fight, no one but me is afraid, everyone else knows all about bodies and sex and love and belonging and friendship).

She deserved to be treated with kindness and compassion. I couldn’t give it to her back then, but I can now.

Just as my lost and lonely high school Brené was starting to make her way back home, I got a message from a friend who knew me from my early-twenties-self-destruct phase. “Damn girl! You did good. Who would’ve guessed?”

I thought, “Seriously. There are no more rooms at the Integration Inn.”

Luckily, this is the wild young woman who I began to reclaim in 2007 (and started writing about in early January). In the book I write about a terrifying moment when I saw my Ann Taylor self holding a gun to the head of my Hard-Living-Hard-Partying self and saying, “You’ve got to go. You’re going to blow my cover. I teach Sunday school now. No one can know about you.”

The rest of their conversation was as painful as integration gets for me. Writing about it has helped (and I’m sure that sharing it here is part of the process). I'm not really Ann Taylor - that was yet another cover. Granted, I may not completely be the big-haired, bad-ass, hard-rocking girl either, but I assure you that she's alive and well (and God did I miss her).

Maybe it’s good that I’ve facebooked my fears. Now that my heart has opened up a home for all of these girls, I’m even having a good time reconnecting. I promised myself that I would practice authenticity with the new/old friends. I wouldn’t shrink or puff up. I’d just be me. All of me.

One of the beautiful, popular girls from high school sent me a message on Facebook, “What do you think about all of us getting back in touch?” I responded, “It’s a little tough – high school wasn’t my best period.” Her response surprised me: “I know. It was so lonely and miserable. But we made it.”

My wayward girls and I had a good laugh - then I looked on with envy as the wild one snuck out for a cigarette.

Anyone else reclaiming or reuniting out there?

« everyone is beautiful celebration + giveaway | Main | head down. inspiration up. »

Reader Comments (91)

You cracked me up with the wild one sneaking out for a cigarette. It's so hard to reveal your authentic self - but I imagine it is very freeing, too. And isn't it amazing to hear how that 'popular' girl found that period difficult as well? Keep this up -
02.10.2009 | Unregistered CommenterKathy
I love how this post totally summed up my experiences:: not only on Facebook, but as a young woman! I have made peace with that young girl- and actually, seeing all these old people on facebook has just reminded me that we all have this story, and that everyone was struggling with something. thanks again for the awesome writing! {i think i will have to work a while on that integration thing!}
02.10.2009 | Unregistered CommenterEmily Perry
yes, facebook has me sometimes out of sorts. some of my favorite people are surfacing, and other heartbreaking friendships are coming in as well. part of me is thankful. part of me is confused. i'm in a big place of remembrance as the old photos of highschool and college come pouring in....tricky.
xxoo
loving this post. you always inspire me to be better.
02.11.2009 | Unregistered Commenterkelly rae
Oh, man. I still resist facebook. You are a much braver woman than I. This is wonderful writing.
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterWanda
Oh, Brene, this SO resonated with me. The change from alternating to integrating is so tricky for me. I've set up shop as so many different identities and done such a great job, as you say, being who I needed to be when I needed to be it, but never letting any of those roles overlap or even converse. Chameleon is one of my greatest talents! Thank you for the reminder, so well put.

As for Facebook, I'm with you there. It's been both wonderful and scary. For a good laugh you MUST see this BBC skit about Facebook in real life (and as coincidence would have it, I posted it on my blog yesterday):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrlSkU0TFLs
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie BW
Great post, Brene. I can't wait to read this new book! I never knew the official psychological terms for alternating vs. integration, but have certainly done my fair share over the years. It can be a challenging process on the one hand, but so comforting once you gain that sense of unification by reclaiming all these different pieces of you. (I don't know if you're a Tori Amos fan or not, but this is a recurring theme in much of her music as well as her autobiography "Piece by Piece".)

Facebook is a weird and tricky thing. I liked the end of your post when you mention your conversation with the pretty/popular girl from High School -- how she was also lonely and miserable back then. I find it a very weird sensation to look back at those years -- a time when I felt so left out, strange, out of the ordinary from everyone else. I felt SO certain that I was the only one on the outside looking in and feeling like this while all those pretty/popular folks were having the time of their lives.

On a tangentially related note - I've listened to your parenting series CDs (and really enjoyed them by the way). Do you have advice on how to help our kids as they begin to encounter this teenage angst?
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
This is exactly why I've been avoiding Facebook like the plague. I've definitely been alternating--thank you for this conversation about integration. Now I know where to go next.
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterJen Lee
And, damn--I love you!
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterJen Lee
Excellent post. I have been avoiding/ignoring all those "Friend" requests from classmates for this very reason. Just this morning I was worrying about the possibility of getting "tagged" in some photo I don't remember being taken, or worse, the photos that I know exist. . .
You've got your finger on the pulse, Brene.
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterKathy WB
Man, I love your voice. You can write! How much time do you spend editing your pieces?
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterErica
Oh, my goodness....do you KNOW me? Are you FOLLOWING ME AROUND writing down MY life? :-) I think you just might be...and I think there are an awful lot of "wayward girls" out there in all of our lives...I'm stunned...seriously. I thought I was the only one with 5 of Lord-knows-how-many lives behind me, safely tucked into back closets and behind locked doors.
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterFelecia
i wouldn't go back to high school for all the coffee in the world... and i love coffee!

as i started to read this it reminded me of one of my first days on FB... i cried... deep pit stomach tears... there was too much coming up at once. i remember calling my sister & freaking out... i could call her... she knows all my junk! i am even "friends" with the sister (she REALLY is a true friend) of the guy i dated for five years was engaged to and walked away right before the wedding! i HAVE enjoyed connecting with many people on FB though... once i got over the initial temporary shock! :D

i have so many regrets from my single days... so many hurts from my impressionable years. actually this year one of my focus words is "light"... i need light to go ahead & shine on that stuff... face it... yell at it... and move on embracing the gal i am becoming TODAY!

i love this post Brene... so many of us can relate in one way or another!

oh... btw... could your new layout... look be any better... NO!!!!!
i flipping love it!
miss awsome shawn has been working on a new look for me... i think i am making the Squarespace move too! :D
02.11.2009 | Unregistered Commentercarissa
Quite possibly my favorite post yet. So good- it gave me a stomache ache as it brought up all that old high school anx. Even as you were describing your old highschool self (the one Ms. Taylor had at gunpoint), I thought she was someone I would like to be friedns with. One nice thing I recently figured out on FB is that you can "untag" your self from pics other people posts- I find this to be a highpoint of the FB technology.
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAVZC
I just recently braved the waters of Facebook and immediately revisited the fish out of water feeling from high school. (Thanks for being one of my first Facebook friends.)

The thing that has amazed me as I've reconnected with people from my twenties is that they almost all remember me as a very nice, kind person. I seem to be the only one who remembers the selfish, thoughtless things I did.

I'd like to reclaim that girl I used to be - maybe she wasn't as bad as I've thought all these years.
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Other Laura
This is an incredible post: I love when you write my life, it makes me feel like I'm not alone.

I'm in the process of "integrating" though I did not realize there was a term for it. I've been on facebook - mostly to keep up with my children and what they're up to, but got sucked in just the same. I have found the process of meeting my younger self both frightening and rewarding. Funny what people remember. Turns out, I was far harder on myself than anyone else was and that realization has given me pause to be far kinder to the girl I used to be, a long, long time ago during my bad years: 1979 - 1999 (I'm a slow learner).

I'm having a far harder time dealing with those women in their mid-40s who are still in high school!
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterLee
Thank you for this post. It is funny how it seems the whole world is on FB at the same time. It is almost like a new discovery. It gave me great angst, I didn't want to friend people from past,... I still don't know what to say to most of them. Through this I discovered I need to find my center again. Need to be reminded who I am, how much I have grown and I think it is Alessandra de Souza's writing helping me.
you do enough
you are enough
you are loved
just as you are
For sure need to work on integration more.
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterUrsa
This part of your post really caught my attention: "She was ashamed of everything because she compared her realities to the fantasies that she had about other peoples’ lives."

Wow. That was, maybe still is a little, SO me! I'm going to think about it, mull over it, write about it.

Thank you for the inspiration!
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa LaFavers
I love your ability to write in ways that resonate so deeply for me Brené. At a retreat I attended back in November there was talk of the shadow and Alanis Morrisette's song, Everything. It's so incredibly appropriate. To be seen so deeply, to be so vulnerable, it's scary, but I'm finding it absolutely necessary. This is my ringtone now and is a great frequent reminder to me to accept myself, my whole self, even the dark, ugly parts.

You see everything, you see every part
You see all my light and you love my dark
You dig everything of which I'm ashamed
There's not anything to which you can't relate
And you're still here
-Everything, Alanis Morissette


Namasté,
Carmen
02.11.2009 | Unregistered Commentercarmen torbus
I just started a letter to myself...to post on the blog...on the occasion of my upcoming 39th. It's a coincidence (or is it?) how I re-lived (in my mind) all that I am now compared to how I used to me.

But, embracing the "me" that I so dearly love now means that I MUST embrace who I was. For that past of mine...tainted and dark as it has been...brought me to this place.

Ok. Gotta go wipe the tears now...

Great post. We're so on the same wavelength right now.

Can't wait to see you and (hear you) on Monday!!!!!!!!!!!!
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterJen A.
Get out of my brain! The whole FB thing is the same for me and so many others - healing, freaky, disconcerting. Who knows how it will all end? I find it interesting that my memory of my past personas is so much harsher than others remember, and that people still loved me, as bad ass as I was, am still. Thanks so much!
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterShannon B.
Wow. Thank you for this post!
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterChristie
Brene,

One of your gifts is putting into words the feelings, fears and internal demons that we all struggle with but can't put into words. You have encapsulated what I struggle with on facebook: the COMPLETE BRAIN overide that occurs when we see people from our past, be it junior high, high school, college. It lands us smack dab in the middle of those icky "do I belong or not", "where do I fit" conversations, the ones that we vowed never ever to revist.

So though there may be some warm fuzzies from seeing dear friends from our youth, we are also dealing with all of those painfully unpleasant tapes/internal conversations that we lived with at that time. I often wonder if Facebook isn't the closest thing to a time machine, because it takes us right back to those feelings of the past, like it or not.

As always thank you for sharing this,

Veronique
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterVeronique
your second paragraph put into words how i have felt but was never able to articulate. thank you.
02.11.2009 | Unregistered Commenterangie
Your book finallly arrived this week and is like a cool glass of water in the desert. Love it.

I've joined and quit Facebook within a matter of minutes a few times...for similar reasons.

I was the Talbot/Goodie-Two-Shoes girl in high school, and I have great affection for all her intentions but she was just as much a role I played to cope as Wild Girl might have been.

Integration...fascinating idea. I want to know more. Lately I struggle with knowing all too well the right thing to say depending on my audience but I betray myself. I have friends who are much more mainstream/consumer culture than our family and around them I sometimes feel like a hippy-freak. We have just as many friends who are much more green and alternative than we are, and around them I feel like a capitalist-mall shopper. Probably neither group are judging as much as I am in my head.

Tell us more about this integration process...
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterDeirdre
beautifully written...and i loved this "Part of midlife is scooping up all the different versions of yourself that you’ve created to please folks, and integrating them into one whole, authentic person." omg -- it truly hit home. :)
02.11.2009 | Unregistered Commentersperlygirl
OMG... I just got on FB, too. It has been overwhelming, exciting, annoying, fun & scary all at the very same time. You have so summed it up for me! Some days I am so thrilled to write a friend from a former life and some days I just have to ignore them. It is crazy stuff! I have allowed myself to just do whatever I want regarding connecting and communicating... what I want. Not what I think anyone else wants. That has been liberating. Authenticity--Bravo!
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterJoan
Two thoughts....
1. I struggle so, so much with alternating vs. integrating. Integrating is scary- I find myself fearing that people who are used to me alternating into a different self won't know what to do with those facets they've not yet encountered. I know there's a "middle way" out there. That middle way, though, is a challenge.

2. Finding those old friends (and boyfriends!) on Facebook has been intriguing. My reservation in reconnecting hasn't been that I didn't love my 17-year-old self; in fact, she was pretty awesome and I threw her over for a while in my 20s and early 30s. My reservation has been, simply, that I hated high school and felt like it offered little to me. Those reconnections, though, have proven to be positive in many ways. The one night that one of my best friends from MYF sent me a message complimenting me for what my life is and saying, "You were always the smartest of all of us" meant a lot.
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmalia
Something to that Jungian stuff - I tell you. Integration hurts like hell. But until we can own all of who we are - the good and the bad, the light and the dark, we can't be authentic and real and we just end up with our stuff spewing around hurting people. Deep deep deep in the process of owning all of me at the moment - so I feel the pain.
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterRenae C
I am so, so glad that you posted this right now. I am another midlife Facebook newbie who has suddenly walked right smack into her former selves and doesn't quite know how to handle that. Integration. Wow. That is exactly what I need to be focusing on. I have enjoyed lurking on your blog for several months now, but this just spoke to me so directly that I had to speak up and thank you.
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterChristy
if i had a dime....

i have had so many 'off the record' conversations about facebook. conversations just like this saying 'is it me or is facebook bringing up some old shit?'.

this is a great post.
02.11.2009 | Unregistered Commenterkatie
Still LMAO about the yout ube thing Annie put in her comment. Perfect video and perfect post...I am very glad to see you back on Facebook too :)
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterFarrah Braniff
okay....4 readings later.....i'm actually listening to what your saying.....and getting it.
thank you for being you. and anytime you wanna bring that bad ass rocker out....CALL ME! ;)
02.11.2009 | Unregistered Commenterkrista
You are one courageous woman...Facebook still makes me want to run and hide in a corner. I'm just not ready for that level of integration. I am still working on embracing who I know myself to be...the light, the dark and the shadows of me. I guess I'm just not ready to integrate who others believe(d) me to be, yet. I hope I find that strength some day.

Thank you for sharing your journey and offering so much for me to think about on my own.
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterJammie
I think I was more myself then than I am now which is a weird, hurtful twist. Completely avoid Facebook though. Some of my friends started a group to try to coerce me into it but I really just cannot do it. No interest.
Kelly
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterKelly
I have been thinking about this a lot recently because after friending so many people on fb it feels as though i have more friends in my hometown than i do here in houston, except that I havent seen many of them in more than 20 years.
I have had a slightly different experience with the process of getting back in touch with people from the past.. I feel like I have so much more confidence and like myself so much more today than i did either as a young girl or teen, or even well into my 20's. My assumption growing up was that i was somehow defective and unlovable. so at times i do look back on myself in the past and recoil in shame and embarrassment. But i think that our world is colored by how we feel at any particular point in time. I can understand that I felt invisible to others because of how i felt about myself. My first grade crush friended me and said some very nice things about me and the pictures of my family. It was touching in a weird way (omg I exist in his mind!). I felt comforted by the idea that people actually did like me and have affection for me, even when i felt the most invisible and cast off. I wish that i could take myself back to that time armed with the confidence I have today. but i guess that is why im 40 and not 13.
I'm glad you're blogging about this. I'd be interested in your thoughts on the 25 random things note that is going around. If you havent gottn it, i will tag you in mine
02.11.2009 | Unregistered CommenterMaria
I so related to your post, I have been experiencing the same thing for the past few months. I had signed up for Facebook a while back and at the time it seemed the only people on there that I knew were from my engineering college, geeks who I happen to be very comfortable with! lol As I fit in to that crowd. But when the high school people started appearing I actually ignored a lot of them in the beginning, since they weren't really friends of mine, just people from high school, and I didn't really want to remember high school. But then actual high school friends who I haven't talked to in a long time appeared, and I couldn't say no. I'm happy that I didn't. It was nice to be reminded of the true friends that I had there. I think I am still very much like the girl I was in high school, I didn't do crazy things, I was nerdy, I wore glasses and I was chubby, and I still pretty much fit that description. lol But at least now I know to be those things isn't so bad! :)
02.12.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
I love what you're doing here on this blog. I can relate to alot of it. i'm really glad I happened by.
02.12.2009 | Unregistered Commentermaggie rose
You said it, sister. This is exactly the reason I never joined MySpace and why it took me so long to join Facebook. For me, looking back, high school was a nightmare, full of fear, self-doubt, low self-esteem and stupid mistakes. Plus, it was full of heartbreak from severed relationships with friends I really loved, but somehow had to lose touch with to grow and become who I am today. I still haven't connected with a lot of people from the past, but for those with whome I have, it's been a joyful reunion. I didn't realize how much I missed those people and how much they missed me. It's a healing process and part of our growth.
02.12.2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenny
Gulp...I am not even done reading (1/2 through) and already I am welling up with tears (eyes already puffy from a day of tear stifling) because I am going through the SAME thing!!! So strange that before I read this post (or the first half I should say) I was feeling like I was falling backwards - and reconnecting with old friends and FACEBOOK is a part of that! Anyway, thanks for what I have read so far. I had to write this while it was fresh. Now I'll keep reading and you keep writing :)
02.12.2009 | Unregistered Commentermichelle
Done. Got it...and my heart is holding up a leetle "open" sign, letting my girls know that we are here and ready for them to come on in and get cozy.
Just can't get over the timing on all this. Literally had dinner with dear friends last night from high school and college and as wonderful as it was, my gremlins were taking just a little too much inventory on ME vs. them!
Thanks again!
02.12.2009 | Unregistered Commentermichelle
you just illustrated, much better than I ever could, exactly why I have utterly refused to join Facebook. Can't do it. Don't want to find those old "friends" who weren't really my friends. Don't want to try to live up to anybody else's expectations of me. I don't go to High School reunions. Ak! Please don't tell me I have to join facebook to come to grips with who I am now. I'm turning 30 in a few weeks and already having a mid-life crisis as it is. :)
02.12.2009 | Unregistered CommenterNicole
41 comments Brene? Holy smokes! Congratulations on touching so many lives. :-)

I graduated in '97, and two years ago was my 10 year anniversary. I was invited, but I declined. I didn't want to have anything to do with them. Many of those people treated me like I was beneath them.

It hasn't stopped me from reconnecting with some of my high school friends though. I choose to be friends with those that touched my heart in some way.
02.12.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAyprel
I'm glad I'm not the only one who is feeling a little unnerved with the can of worms that was opened by Facebook and reconnecting with friends from high school!
02.12.2009 | Unregistered Commenterkimberly
You are so good at naming things, Brene! Integration is a great word. Hmm. Facebook seems to really affect everyone in various ways... Always stirs up a good conversation! At first I was concerned of coming public with my "new life" so to speak. But I must say that very quickly I let go of that! I realized now after reading your post, that Integration helped me claim my authenticity. No more of that business of molding myself to each environment. Only one full self. I like that. thanks for enlightening me as always ;)
02.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterGypsyAlex
Thanks Brene,
Yep, you hit the nail on the head again and thanks for clarifying it all! I've got my 25th reunion and will go having skipped the 20th as I was in the midst of the ivf years and not willing to be so public/honest/authentic about it all. I called it self-preservation. Just like how my Facebook page has my married name and only one person has found me so far... that was enought to think about cancelling it altogether. I alternately like and don't like it... should we be giving time to those we didn't have a connection with to begin with? Thanks for giving me another way to think about that teenage life!
02.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterCate
Brene, your post this week inspired me in many ways. The FB issue is a real one for those of us who didn't particularly feel that great about high school. I was just recently cajoled into joining because of high school friends wanted to stay in touch. Many people are surfacing who I didn't know that well. I will say I always felt kind of invisible for the most part, not really a nerd, not a smarty, not popular, just not really anything. So this week a note was going around where you answered a bunch of questions about your high school experience and posted it. In my desire to be authentic and live my real self, I decided to do just that in my answers. I mentioned feeling invisible and other honest feelings. I had a slight panic attack before I hit the post button. Then, of course, I couldn't sleep that night worried about what people would think (I'm still working on letting that stuff go). I ended up having a few nice comments back and posted a little bit more about why I felt that way. For me, it was a huge step in acknowleding that time in my life as good and bad publicly. Thank you for giving me the courage.
02.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterSammy
I did the FB thing too not really wanting to reconnect with some of my HS and university "feelings" and people. And yet, I did. At first, I thought I have a lot of people to apologize to or just plain yell at. And then I just let it go....didn't care. I know I'm over it and that's what matters most. I try not to spend too much time on it though...I like the present:)
02.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterBeth Fuller
I also have been a reluctant participator on Facebook. This has been such a source of concern for me that I actually put it into my "16 Things About Me" list that you turned me onto last month. Many of my friends who are currently very close to me are on it, so I feel like I will miss out on things that are happening in their lives if I am not on it. I really didn't really want to use it to reconnect with people from the past, but they started to find me after time. I have been ignoring most of them. My problem is the opposite of yours though. In high school, I had it "all together," so to speak. I was valedictorian of my class, I was confident, I thought I knew exactly what I was doing in life. In many ways, I feel like my life has gone downhill since then, and I am ashamed for my old friends to know about what has been going on with me. I have gotten divorced, gained a lot of weight, and haven't been able to find a career that really works for me. It's so hard for me to admit that, but it's the truth. It is strange how something as seemingly insignificant as FB has really made me have to face the fact that I don't currently love myself the way that I should. Still don't know if I will start talking to those old friends, but I love your post, and it is comforting to know that I am not the only one in this boat!!!
02.13.2009 | Unregistered CommenterTricia
Comment to Tricia - post on 02-13-09 - THANK YOU sooooo very much for putting into words your feelings about FB. You caputred exactly how I feel...and still do feel about FB....connecting with past friends. I really wanted to write a comment on the blog but I just couldn't articulate my feelings. When I read your post it felt like you were describing me! Not the divorce part... but for the most part you captured the feelings/issues I have been experiencing since several "past" freinds have popped up on my FB page. Thank you for expressing something that until recently I have not been able to do. I am grateful for your words and I appreciate your honesty...makes me want to look at some issues that I have been cleverly hiding.
MUCH OF WHAT WE'RE DISCUSSING HERE IS A COMMON RESPONSE TO SHAME -- IT'S THAT PAINFUL REACTION TO SHAME WHERE WE WANT TO HIDE, RUN AWAY OR HOPE FOR THE EARTH TO OPEN UP AND SWALLOW US.


THE ANTIDOTE IS TO TOLERATE THE SHAME LONG ENOUGH TO SEE THAT 1.) WE CAN SURVIVE IT AND, 2.) WE CAN RECONNECT WITH OTHERS IN A WAY THAT IS NEW - NOT BASED ON OUR OLD SELF-CONCEPT OF INADEQUACY.
02.14.2009 | Unregistered CommenterL.A.J.

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