Picture This

For those swines amongst you that are too YOUNG to remember the 70s, you may still have heard the old sitcom jokes etc about holiday snaps and cine camera movies.  For those of you who have no idea what I’m rambling about, picture the scene.

It’s the 70s long hair on men, flairs and gatsby jumpers -( I tried in vain to get a picture of one, other than an old picture of my sister wearing one, which she would have crucified me for publishing I couldn’t find one).  Google The Bay City Rollers and you’ll get the idea.

Anyway most normal families didn’t have loads of cash to splash around and package holidays were almost exclusively reserved for the better off in society.  Your wannabee snob relatives or neighbour goes on said package holiday to the “exotic” beaches of Marbella or Benidorm.  Two weeks later they return home looking like a teak sideboard (another 1970s gem) your “poor” family get invited round for the evening.  You arrive to find bowls of nuts and glasses of sangria with tiny umbrellas for the adults.  Orange juice with tiny umbrellas for the children.  The host is wearing shorts, t-shirt and a sombrero.  An enormous stuffed donkey sits in the corner of the room, his wife is wearing a Flamenco style dress and there are pairs of castanets hung up on the walls.  The lights are dimmed and for the next 3 hours you are subjected to a torture not unlike A Clockwork Orange.  A full-blown two weeks worth of holiday snaps, transformed by the magic of Kodak into slides – hundreds of the buggers.  Mind numbingly boring slides of sand, of sea, of a man at a stall selling oranges (you are informed his name was Pedro and they bought oranges from him every day).  A road sign in Spanish, the airport, the plane, the inflight meal, the inflight magazine, the sign at the hotel, the coach etc etc etc.  You know what I’m talking about, hundreds and hundreds of slides that you just don’t want to look at, but you’re too polite to feign a headache and go home.

Jump forward to 2013 and we have come full circle, only now instead of slides, it’s digital, it’s social, it’s FACEBOOK!

Now this is where I may offend a few people, however, to me Facebook has become one enormous slide show.  I have a couple of friends in particular who I’m afraid my heart sinks when they appear on my newsfeed.  Because at least once a week they upload about 200 photographs of their child in very similar poses, just at slightly different angles.  Perhaps the child was doing something “cute” at the time, but by the time the shutter has closed the child has moved and all you’re left with is a close up of the middle parting of their hair – accompanied by a caption that means absolutely nothing to the viewer.  You feel obliged to click-through all 200 pictures hitting the “like” button, even though you don’t like about three-quarters of them, because they have somehow managed to make their normally cute child look like the Mekon.  Every single picture has a sick inducing caption or worse still a hashtag!  I don’t want to look anymore, I want to not like them, I want to ask them, would they print that picture out and put it in a frame on their mantlepiece, because if they wouldn’t, then WHY are your Facebook friends being forced to “like” it.

So come on own up, are you a prolific Facebook photo uploader? Do you just take the memory card from your camera and upload everything that’s on there, without looking at them yourself?  Do you inundate your friends with every tiny movement your children make?  Do you have friends that do it to you?  Do you “like” every single picture?  Or do you cheat and just look at the album cover picture and like the whole album without looking any further, leaving a comment on it saying “cute pictures”  Or do you hide them from your newsfeed and never see, like or comment on any of their snaps?

I will confess to hiding a couple of people from my newsfeed, or just ignoring the photos and not looking. When I feel that I really have to say something, I will cheat and just like the album cover, having looked no further.  I’m not a compete rotter though, I do look, like and comment on the pictures of friends who don’t bombard me constantly with huge albums.  Most of us realistically don’t have the time to scroll through 200 pictures.

So to “like” or not to “like” – that is the question?

What to do?

I have been a bit quiet since Christmas, despite saying I was back after the holidays, so I do apologise.  My only excuse is that I have been tired, really dog tired, more exhausted than I have ever been in my entire life.  I have been back and forth between my GP and the hospital having bloods taken, xrays and scans.  On top of that my blood pressure medication stopped working, so after much mucking around with daily blood pressure readings and testing different doses, I am now on a higher dose of one tablet and a new one added into my ever increasing daily pill popping! .  All I can say is that it completely wiped me out.  I have felt absolutely lousy for the last couple of weeks, to the point were I could barely keep my eyes open.  So writing blog posts and even reading posts has been a struggle. I seem to have turned the corner now with the medication and am feeling much more human again. It may still take a couple of weeks to settle, but the worst of that seems to be behind me now.    When I will get results of all the other tests – who knows!  However, for now I think “normal” service has resumed.  Of course my first proper post has to be a dilemma one :)

It concerns an internet “friend”  I’ll call her Grace for the sake of this post.  I began communicating with this girl just over 3 years ago, through a pregnancy and infant loss forum.  She lost her child at 8 months old in very tragic circumstances.  Naturally it hit her hard, very very hard and to be honest during the past 3 years, she hasn’t really come to terms with any of it.  Without going into too much detail, her daughter’s death could possibly have been prevented.  She didn’t do anything bad or wrong, there were just some preventative measures that she either wasn’t aware of or didn’t think of.  She did what a lot of parents do, but it ended tragically for her.

She split up with her husband before their daughter was born and pretty much raised her alone.  Since losing her daughter, she hasn’t met anyone else and has almost shut that side of her life down.  It’s a little like she’s punishing herself and won’t let herself have a relationship with anyone else, just in case they would get serious and she could end up pregnant.  She feels this would be a big betrayal to her daughter.

I’ve kept myself as available to her as I physically can, she texts, emails, we chat on Facebook etc and I totally understand when she hits a rough patch.  However, lately she seems to have become very bitter towards anyone on her Facebook page that has children, she hasn’t with me yet, but I’m sure it’s on the horizon.  Again, I understand that grief can take hold of her and cause her to be like this.  However, as horrible as this sounds, at times it feels as bit, like she’s milking sympathy from everyone and to a degree palming off her feelings of guilt onto everyone else - oh I know that sounds awful, I almost can’t believe I’ve said it.  Jeez, I miss my son every single day, I cry for him, I hurt about him, I want him back, but I never do and never did blame anyone else or be spiteful towards anyone else after his death.

I remember every time I opened Facebook I was confronted by scan pictures or birth announcements and even though I felt as though my heart was being ripped out, I swallowed the feelings, even the feelings of jealousy – yes pure jealousy and offered my congratulations to whoever it was.  When I read posts from friends moaning about pregnancy, I may have felt a bit miffed about it, but I never said anything.

Grace, however, has started to have scathing, really spiteful rants at anyone on her Facebook who remotely moans about their lives.  It has started to bother me, because I do think it’s a bit of a cry for attention, but the comments are becoming really atrocious.  After every nasty post, she then gets an outpouring of sympathy from people, everyone saying, you are right we shouldn’t moan blah blah.  No one has the nerve to tell her, that she is being aggressive and rude and just as she has the right to post a rude status, they have the right to post a moan.

The latest “attack” came on Thursday, a mutual Facebook friend I’ll call her Jayne, posted a status saying something like what a shit day, my online shopping is late and my kids are wrecking the house and tearing chunks out of each other – they are monsters, I want to run away, I didn’t sign up to this.  A harmless status really and one that any of us I’m sure could post.  Much as I am thankful every minute of every day for my girls and I’d die for them, some days they drive me insane, some days it’s hard, it’s hard to keep up with their demands, it’s hard to keep them from going completely crazy and just trashing the place!  I don’t usually take to Facebook to express that, I normally just collapse in a heap on the sofa once they’re in bed – but each to their own.

I believe that people have the right to moan about whatever they want and even if we don’t always agree with it, we can just stop reading or not respond.  However the response the mutual friend got was horrendous.  Grace decided to write her own status it went along the lines of this – these are her words not mine:

” All you moaning fuckers, moaning about your mundane lives and moaning about your children driving you mad.  Try fucking losing a child, try fucking living with that.  Shut up moaning about trivial shit and just hope that you don’t have to bury one of your children, like I had to, you ungrateful bastards!”  If you don’t like what I’ve said and feel hurt by it – then why not just fuck off!”

I was really shocked at this, it just seemed way too over the top a reaction.  Naturally Jayne, knew instantly it was directed at her and she did speak out.  She commented saying that she was entitled to have a crap day, no matter how trivial others thought it was and she could post about it on her Facebook wall if she so desired and then told her she would “fuck off” and would never be back.  She subsequently removed herself off Grace’s friends list.

The whole debacle didn’t stop there though.  Lots of people waded in and patted Grace on the head, telling her she was absolutely right, people shouldn’t be moaning blah, blah and then they began to tear Jayne apart, by saying she was nasty, she was callous, what kind of person was she for removing herself from the. friends list.  To be honest the whole thing was dirty, shallow and nasty and Jayne, is actually a lovely person, who rarely moans about anything.

So I find myself now no longer wanting to be “friends” with Grace.  I no longer want to tiptoe around her. I want to post pictures of my daughters on Facebook without feeling as though I shouldn’t, just in case she gets upset.  I’m so annoyed at her behaviour that I just want to remove myself without trying to explain myself to her.  If she contacts me and asks why, I’m more than prepared to tell her, but I feel like her behaviour doesn’t even warrant an explanation.

So that’s it, that’s my dilemma, so do I stay or do I go?  What would you do?  Would you remove yourself, or try to ride it out and see if things change?  I should add that this rude behaviour has been happening for a while now, she has lost a few “friends” over it, it hasn’t just deteriorated because of Christmas and New Year.  It has become a scenario whereby, if some of her friends don’t post a sympathetic post towards her every day, she then starts picking people off and rounding on them.

I’m actually finding myself wanting to post things on my Facebook wall to deliberately antagonise her, if you know what I mean.  I don’t like feeling that way.  I keep telling myself, don’t sweat the small stuff, but even that mantra is wearing thin!