August 28, 2013

Being Here But Not Here

I’ve heard this reference a couple of times in the last week or so which made me think of how many times I may be there in body, but not particularly there in mind. When I’m aware of what’s happening, sometimes my brain races looking for reasons that sent me to be in that state of mind and then I think, is it just me?

Is it my fault or is it technology’s fault?

I find it interesting that it used to be that in order to get news a person had to read the morning paper or stay up until late evening hours. Nowadays information is readily at my fingertips if I just want to search; then again there’s the option of getting blasted with texts, emails, alerts about things may happen all around me, perhaps even in my neighborhood, city, state, country or the other side of the world, is all of that too distracting for me to stay focused in the here and now at a given time?

Seems humans to yearn for connection while wanting to have all the conveniences of a modern world. I can call relatives on the other side of the country, check my bank account balance, purchase movie tickets on my phone all at the same time while possibly ignoring the person who met me at the movie theater to spend some time doing something fun. See the irony there? I consider myself to be a social & extrovert, and good at multitasking, but it may just be a cop out for bad behavior...

I seem to have no problem connecting with someone on another continent and share experiences, personal feelings down to intimate details yet I don’t know my own neighbors. I sit at work with open cubicles, navigate daily life on trains and city walks with my headphones on because, well--I don’t want to offend people with the music or podcasts I listen to, but is it really a ploy keep others away? Have I have turned my life into headphone city? When did that happen and why?

There are events, parties, social occasions to meet others face to face and interact with fellow human beings and yet it isn’t uncommon for two or three (or many) of us to whip out our mobile devices to text someone who is not there, chat with so and so 1 mile away or stay ‘in touch’ with a virtual world while the real world passes us by but hey, as long as everyone else is doing it it is okay for me to do it right? Isn’t that an interesting phenomenon? I’ve seen two people sitting in a restaurant across from each other (as in a possible dinner date?) and place their phones right by their silverware--is it because our virtual lives are THAT important? Some people some people might call it the 21st. Century--some might just call it right down disrespectful and rude,

Sure I live in what is turning to be a global community. I connect with people, information, science, sports, world events, politics, entertainment in many forms of  media, but I’m realizing that all of that noise may be keeping me away from real life itself. Is that a new level of social awareness? Is it healthy? For additional illustration purposes I tried expressed my thoughts in first person--hard exercise, and not just because how hard it is to own up to my own issues--but if any change may be needed it needs to start with me.

Any opinions/thoughts?

Can I have you ignore the real person in front of you, next to you or around you so you can address my virtual, random ponderings? :-)

August 08, 2013

How do I undo what’s been done?

Sorry this is long...

Background:  more than a few years ago when I first came out to my mother (I was still married, trying to make sense of what it all meant, how it affected me, my now ex-wife and children) mom came to see me from Texas at my request. I wasn’t sure how I needed her at the time, but asking her to “be there” was all I could think of. That request turned nightmarish, she projected the entire experience onto herself—she always loved making things about herself—and in true fashion before heading home and in a ditch effort to ‘rope me back in’ told me to leave everything, my wife/children and fully return to the LDS church, an ultimatum of sorts. 

I reacted the only way I could at the moment--that she had no right to ask me to do anything,  that she was a dangerous person, she always made things about her, manipulated people into doing what she wanted using whatever means and ways she could (there’s stories I don’t even want to write about). I told her I didn’t want her anywhere near my family, I wanted no contact until I felt it was safe for me to do that. It took a few months for me to feel comfortable talking to her again, slowly and very much at a distance. Additionally my ex and mom never really found any common ground, not having to deal with each other was/is probably 85% of my problems being solved so I don’t think my ex-wife really has many courteous things to say about my mom.
Coming out fully a few years ago, I explained to my mother that I wasn’t seeking any kind of approval or permission. While our relationship has sort of improved at a respectable level, I never supported any kind of reconnection with my two kids, in my mind I kept seeing her manipulative ways with some of my nephews and nieces so in sort of a selfish way, I protected them from her—I don’t know if cancer has made her reflect on a lot of things—maybe because I don’t see her every day, but she seems to have calmed her ways—perhaps not and it just seems like it to me. 

Recently my sister made mom a Facebook profile and requested to have my kids added as friends of hers. My kids’ reaction to that initially was “mmmh, not now” which I think is fair. I saw some of my son’s postings about it, he feels she has not made an effort to make contact, get to know them; she’s apparently kept in some kind of contact with the other grandchildren. Yes they’re resentful, but a big part of it was my doing—and I admit it is my fault—I don’t know that their relationship would have gone sour or improved had I not explicitly asked her not to contact them. She is not even on Facebook that much that I can tell, but I honestly don’t know what kinds of things reconnecting them would cause, positive/negative ones? She does ask me about the kids on our phone conversations and I talk in generalities to both.

Gaaaaah, this has gone too long already--if you're still reading: I’m a little torn, but I’m willing to accept my share of blame in causing much of this, I just don’t know if it is now too late to fix it. She is 71 so it isn’t like we have all the time in the world to see what happens in the future. It’s a mix of guilt and wanting to get this resolved ASAP. Maybe I’ll talk to the kids, do some explanations and see what evolves from that—the thought has been in my head for a few weeks. What if anything can be done at this point? Is it my job to intercede, explain, resolve? Do I drag the kids to Texas in person? Do I leave it alone? So much I don’t even know where to begin.... thoughts anyone?