Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Appearances- A Vent

There is a chance that I'm going to sound very judgemental with this post. I thought about trying to explain away the judginess. I thought about trying to excuse or explain what I was feeling in such a way that I would feel better about it. But a vent is a vent is a vent. And this one has been building up inside of me for a while. Appearances. Sometimes my jaw drops at the appearance that people choose to put out into the public eye. I'm not talking about what people choose to wear. Not that kind of appearance. Instead, I'm talking about the image that people build of themselves. The stories they tell, the pictures they share, and the way they present who they are to the rest of the world. I have friends on Facebook who are young. Friends who are in college or even high school. I have to admit that those college kids... I'm not surprised if I see pictures or read posts on their wall that might be a little embarassing. Maybe that's wrong of me. But I admit that I'm a bit more forgiving if I read about a late night party, drinking at a concert, sneaking out to some frat something or whatever. Let's say that I have a friend that I know in "real life" but primarily know through Facebook or Twitter or blogs. Let's say this friend loves to be social. Loves having a tight group of friends but also loves having a large circle of connections. This friend has a very busy social life. She frequently goes out with the girls, out to concerts at venues big and small, throwing and attending parties. She talks of her fun. She shares a lot of pictures of her fun. She lives a life that seems pretty wild- most of the stories and pictures include a lot of alcohol. What if my friend was a college age girl? That could have been me at some stages of college. What if my friend is a mom? With older kids? Does that make a difference? For me, yes, it does. I'm not saying moms can't or shouldn't have fun. I love to go out and have fun! I go out for sushi and wine and hang at a local pub with good friends. I'm hoping to eventually plan a weekend getaway with Christy where we visit several wineries. I like to have fun with my friends. I like to have fun with my husband. I might share a pic of my drinks. I might post about letting loose. But you can be guaranteed that I'm not making an ass of myself. That my neighbors aren't embarassed to see me in front of my house. That my husband isn't worrying about who I'm meeting and what I'm doing. That my kids have no reason to be embarassed about what mom is doing now. I have to admit that I lose respect for people when it seems that all I see or hear is about this night out and this much to drink and sneaking alcohol in here or there and how many stupid things were done and... I start to lose respect when I know that the kids in the family are seeing it and hearing it, too. When they aren't seeing the example set in how to party and how to cut loose with friends in a responsible way. Teagan knows I drink wine and beer. She knows wine and beer are adult drinks. She knows I go out with Christy and other friends sometimes. Zach, of course, knows the same thing. My friends on Facebook have seen pictures of my food, a glass of wine, a flight of martinis. I talk about a night where I get to go out and have fun. But my husband will never worry about where I am and what I'm doing and who I'm with. My kids don't have to worry that their friends might see my pictures on their moms' Facebook pages of me half dressed, drunk, and running around with my friends. I live my life as who I am. And maybe that's what really bothers me. Maybe I have friends who are also living as who they truly are- and who they are is a hot mess. And they seem to be content with that- as long as they are considered a hot something. I'm all for letting loose and having fun. I'm even more in favor of being known as the best wife Jeff could have, the mom best Teagan could have, the best mom Zach could have, the best friend Christy or Jim or Ashli could have, the best employee 3M could have, the best daughter my mom could have and so on. And I'm not going to accomplish any of that if my focus is on getting drunk, being hot, hanging on strange men, being identified as a MILF and making an ass of myself in public. I'm also thinking of implementing a hard and fast rule. If you post sexually suggestive, half dressed, strutting around pictures of yourself, the friend will be automatically deleted or at least hidden. I really have a problem with parents being sexually suggestive online- when they are friends with their kids and connected to friends of their children. My husband should be the only person in my home who sees me as a sexual creature. My children and their friends should witness the emotional intimacy and simple signs of affection- holding hands, a kiss, a hug- between my husband and me. But beyond that, I really feel like it is inappopriate to be showing off your, um, alleged assets for your children and your children's peer group to witness. Vent over. Photobucket

13 comments:

Lola said...

I agree with you 100%. It amazes me what grown adults will post on their Facebook or Twitter accounts with little regard to who all can see it.

I saw a facebook page (not of a friend of mine, but a friend of a friend) who had posted sexually explicit pics of herself on her page - covered but still not tasteful. The worst part (in my opinion) was that she took them while seated on one of her children's toy chairs surrounded by all her young child's toys. Boy, that is Klassy (misspell on purpose).

I use a rule of "Is this something I would want my mom/dad/boss to see/read?" If the answer is no or maybe-not, then it doesn't get posted- period. And for me- that's more of a "does anyone really care" reality-check rather than a "is this appropriate?" check.

kbiermom said...

Yeah. I know that I'm only seeing a snippet of that person's life, so I just make the assumption that the person has more balance in their own life than what I happen to see.

But I do find myself concerned if a kid is growing up thinking that having fun always involves a lot of alcohol. Even if a grownup knows his/her own limits, etc -- teens will try to party like that, and can quickly get into situations that are deadly. Think of the IU student who recently died @ Ball State. :(

Eternal Lizdom said...

Kris, I try to do the same, And in some of these situations, I know there is more to that mom or person than meets the internet's eye. But that also adds to my frustration that a quality person is building an online reputation that doesn't showcase their true assets, you know?

Lola- you mentioning Twitter reminds me of the recent bikini thingee with those 2 actresses- who was it? What's her name from Desperate Housewives and what's her name that was on Dancing with the Stars and some soap opera? Right?

Just for kicks... I had Christy, who isn't on Facebook, come and look at a couple of the people I'm talking about. I'll let her comment on what she thought of what I showed her...

kbiermom said...

Yeah, I know what you mean. I don't know why people would want to emphasize their wild side online, for the whole world to see. I won't try to speculate on someone else's motivation for anything. I just hope they think about, "what if that was my dd/ds/dh in that pic instead of me?"

Shell said...

It's one thing to post about having fun, another to post things that make someone seem irresponsible. I've seen drunken facebook posts from grown women and I don't approve.

Yes, I know I sound tottally judgemental. I'm sure that I've posted things that people don't approve of, either- maybe for different reasons, but we all have our lines that we don't want crossed.

Anne K. said...

Liz, I'm right there with you. I used to be a co-leader of an interracial family group where I live and was really good friends with the other leader. Then, I realized that she was kind of a chameleon and changed to be like whoever she was with. When around me, she was the crunchy, responsible, liberal, spiritual mom. But, she also joined a group that was actually *called* MILF something or other. Anyway, they just partied and partied and went out to clubs and acted like a bunch of college kids -- not so cute when you're in your 30's, married and have kids. I worried about her kids. I worried about her husband and how he felt about her behavior. She stopped coming to the iterracial group activities and eventually the group dissolved. She remained on my facebook page and I just couldn't take it anymore, you know? I don't really care if I sound judgmental. I know that I am. But, I really do believe that a certain level of responsibility, maturity and stability is necessary for healthfully raising children.

Fiorella said...

Some people are just not comfortable in their own skin, and the only way to for them to feel valued is to play a part of someone they wish they were, in this case, a sex kitten. Its too bad that being an adult is not considered "fun"... I feel like I have lots of fun, and I hardly drink at all!

Flartus said...

The key is age...yes, in our society, it's acceptable to act irresponsible in college. But by your 30s, it's understood that your priorities have shifted toward becoming a productive, supportive and somewhat wiser member of society.

Lola's comment reminds me of an internet rule of thumb I read probably 15 years ago: Don't put anything on the web that you wouldn't want your mom to see.

Of course, with the moms you're describing, that may not be such good advice any more! :P

Katherine said...

I completely agree with you. I also don't think it's appropriate to be posting those regardless of your age...not with future employers using Facebook and other social networking sites to evaluate future employees.

Jason, as himself said...

Okay, I'll stop doing that.

Just kidding. I don't do that. Usually. Well, maybe once or twice. But then I deleted them. Especially the one where I was pretending to eat a huge glob of mayonnaise off of my finger.

Lori Grace said...

I have to admit I was a bit surprised by this post. But I get what you're saying and I'm glad you refuse to let what others might think of your opinion cloud your desire and ability to vent on your own blog.

That said, I almost thought you were writing about me, LOL. I might be a hot mess, but I agree that it's one thing to share your social life with the world but another thing entirely to show off what the Good Lord gave you.

Bottom line is that I try to post only what I worry could some day be used against me. I've already been burned from sharing my heart in a blog too deeply. I'd hate to have my fanny burned all over the place too :)

(I sooo need to get back to reading your daily writings! Sorry!)

Eternal Lizdom said...

I've missed you Lori! And I promise- I've never seen you post anything on Facebook or your blog that has left me feeling uncomortable or like I'm peeping through your window.

Now Jason with that mayo, on the other hand...

;-)

c3 said...

OK. I told you I might not respond in comments, but since I'm here...

I'm not a Facebook-er, so sometimes I don't understand the intricacies/options of the way it works. I mention that to say that maybe there's some block or something that's being used but that I don't know about.

However, I don't understand anyone of any age making public things that they wouldn't want made public. I have trouble believing that if the Indy Star were publishing the pictures, or Nuvo (a local free rag with an undertimed readership), that these people would be submitting the photos. Maybe I'm wrong.

I know that on Facebook you have options to limit access. I know that you can (and I think the photos I saw were) limit things to only your friends. But most people I know include as friends a circle wide enough to encompass several areas of their lives. I'm old-fashioned enough (or maybe just practical enough) to think that you don't post pictures that are going make it look like your life's focus is partying and/or sex. Those are great recreations, don't get me wrong, but if you're going to publish just a part of your life, publish the part that will make your friends, even just your Facebook friends, proud they know you. Publish the part that will make your kids (albeit secretly, they're kids after all), want to emulate you and make you proud. Publish the part that helps you be the person you want to be.

Maybe you want to be a sexy partier and think that's the way your kids should grow up. It's possible. But most people I know, and most that I think Liz 'friends', want to be productive, generous, inspiring people, who sometimes party in celebration, but whose focus is accomplishing their goals and helping others do the same. And the pictures should reflect that.