22 May 2012

"Ang buhay ay economics"

Before I start my already late-starting work day today, let me just dust off a few thoughts here.

I don't know about you but for the past few months since late last year, I've been growing tired of being on Facebook. As a media advocate, I find its usefulness, sure, but I also see where it fails sometimes. In the age of social networking, sometimes we also become anti-social at times, huddled over our tiny screens in order to look at things happening not in front or beside us but just right there, in front of that tiny screen, where hundreds of "friends" are connected to you on a daily basis. Sometimes you forget that one, two, three friends just with you at that moment, in the flesh; you'd rather stay online with the hundreds that couldn't provide you a hug when you need it most in an instant, but you share your current status with them anyway.

Of course, that's the exaggerated part. I like the immediacy of things when it comes to being in touch with my relatives, mostly those who are not in this country. Our connections are strengthened online sometimes, as it is very heartwarming to be in touch with them. I love it when I could see what's happening to my one and only sibling in California or my kooky relatives somewhere else in North America. That's when social should be social -- for keeping in touch with loved ones.

I am a fan of communication. Like my old beeper(!) message said, "Make contact. If not, it's an awful waste of space." Thank you Carl Sagan and Jodie Foster for that. :)

But also, there are friends, and even relatives, that you don't really care much about, let alone be curious enough to know their daily goings-on in their lives. But you still remain connected. Once in a while, silence online is also very appreciated, and I get that. This is also why I stopped sharing my info to everyone. I made stricter posting rules and only a select could see certain select material. This is tricky especially for someone like me who juggles many kinds of networks and different kinds of people in one lifetime. There are those who might be offended if I unleash my ex-Catholic schoolgirl angst so I tone it down with my banned super-personal list. There are those closeted homophobic people who treat me as a friend but I know when they turn their backs, they still wish I could be with a man instead of being that lesbian that they know, so I put posts in my banned LGBT mode sometimes. 

Of course it's a no-brainer to self-censor posts for underage people so I made a childproofing list as well which I discussed with some of their parents, to explain to their young ones why they can't see most of my posts (and awww this is heartwarming to me, to have such kiddies wanting to connect with me that much). 

There are also touchy ex-coworkers or colleagues that added you even if, offline, they don't really socialize with you outside. What's up with that, right? I appreciate more some whom I've met online but who sincerely put out a decent conversation than those offline posers; those online peeps I keep. And of course there are those idiots who get swayed to the dark side and see me with slanted eyes now even if I didn't do anything to them, just because some Darth Vader-ish entities influenced their force. For that, I like the FB restricted feature a lot. For the rest of the populace, there's the hide button to make them vanish from my feed.

Of course there are also those people that you just block outright, or you remove totally from your network even if they added you in the beginning of your naive FB starting days. Aside from the Voldemort-ish ones with the slew of dementors, I'm talking about exes, friends of exes, girlfriend/s of exes and psycho people who think you are/were after their exes or something and all other related entities. My very first girlfriend and her partner were the very first ones who added me on FB years ago when I was a newbie. My ex, having that sense of entitlement that I will just add her, didn't send a message of hello or whatever, after all these years -- more than a decade, even -- of non-communicating (thank goodness). Her partner was the one who had the decency of sending a short note, the gesture of which I truly appreciated but not the content (After years of silence, her note contains something like: "Hi! Nice to see you here on FB. Hey, I saw the pictures of what you've been doing for the past years. Glad you turned out fine."). Turned out fine? Condescending much? She was the reason my ex and I didn't work out and why I got dumped so what's a gal gotta do? In naive FB days, one just rolled her eyes, shrugged, and clicked "add friend" and that's it. And then click "hide." And oh, smile because, upon seeing their lives, it is quite dull compared to mine heheh. So maybe that's what she meant by me "turning out fine." Life is peachy, and karma's a bitch who's on my side haha!

Sometimes I think about these things and just contemplate on making things simple: just remove undesirables, period. Fallen friendships, relationships gone sour, throw, thrash, erase. But in this day and age of social computing, it doesn't add up to simply block, erase or delete a connection in cyberspace. Not that you are very concerned with what other people will say but sometimes there are repercussions that affect other repercussions, and the lesser of two evils is to just keep them there. But still, hide them. Or reclassify in partially blocked listings like what I do.

Who's in your food chain, really? [At the Mind Museum in Taguig / March 2012]

I started feeling iffy about FB late last year when I was waiting for someone to connect with me there. But then again, I also found it irritating when I see other undesirables connecting with her as well, in that space. More importantly, I found it doubly irritating when I know she is online yet she doesn't make an effort of communicating with me when we both know that we are expecting her to get in touch, because the last part of our conversation was always uttered by me. Taking turns, and waiting for replies to your messages, messages that are left unanswered for hours, days, and weeks. I am a fan of communication so this kind of silence? Yeah, it bothers me. A lot.

FB used to be a space we mocked but we also fancied a bit because, whether we liked it or not, we were communicating really well in that space. Until she failed to communicate, with me, I should add. And I didn't know how to handle such silence because it deeply affected my psychological well-being at that time. I'm not so sure but maybe it still does affect me sometimes to this day. I don't know. She has long apologized about this but to take her that long, like really long, to realize that she hurt someone with this silence is something that should make me wake up and click some buttons. Delete? No, not that harsh. Removed her already from my list of close friends, people who mean so much to me that I don't mind seeing their every online move. But not hers, not anymore. I've already assigned her to the usual news feed scroll, something which I don't really check on a regular basis anymore except for the latest news, translating to me not totally knowing what's up with her on a regular basis anymore (as I also am not in the habit of checking out people's spaces and lingering there). But the times that I do chance upon her on my list, I don't know, it reminds me more of how our friendship turned a bit sour because of her silence. And I don't think I like rekindling that taste. So yes, click hide, on her.

I had two interesting conversations with good friends lately about this. One of my bffs assessed that I am not over some people I've severed ties with in the past, she says, that's why I am still affected by them. I asked her to clarify what "not yet over" meant because I certainly have no hang-ups about those past relationships anymore, meaning a severed friendship remains severed and never to be repaired, and a shattered love will happily remain shattered and not to be recycled even in cases of emergencies and such. In short, I don't feel for these people anymore yet the pain that our pasts brought upon me sometimes still make me wince upon remembering. And that's all. Because perhaps I am a sensitive person that sometimes I flashback vividly to bygone times or hurtful times upon the touch of a remembrance.  And that's my curse -- I remember things too much, vividly, because this damn brain doesn't have an off-switch. And that's just that. But my bff, she says I have to admit that I am not over these people, and she says that is that. 

But another friend clarified that analysis brightly for me. Ang buhay ay economics, Libay. Lahat kasi 'yan may silbi pa sa atin, she said. To equate everything in life as something economically useful was something new to me. But maybe not, just paraphrased. My academic theory-head friends used to discuss this thing called capital -- cultural capital, academic capital, social capital, whatever. Meaning people use certain things for certain gains, hence capital. But perhaps more clearly, people hold on to things involuntarily or voluntarily because of some economic gain they will get out of it. I asked my friend -- who is a bad-ass statistician on the side, by the way, and an astrologer hehe -- to explain in economic terms this "probably I'm not yet over my exes" thing my bff concluded. She just simply asked: What's in it for you if you still remember the pain of the past? I told her that sometimes, it makes me write things, write deeper, more heartfelt material, if I tap into the inkwell of my past hurts. And she merely shrugged: Economics. That's your creative capital. So that string you still keep that ties to them is merely for that. It doesn't mean you still love them or want them back. Kumbaga, may silbi lang kasi 'yun sa iyo. Economics nga. Life is a bunch of economics. Life is economics!

Did I say she could also become a modern-day philosopher? Hehe I love my queered friends. To death!

Ang buhay ay economics. Latest truth unraveled. [Butter Diner QC / May 2012]

So yeah, to assess this whole FB business and seeing that girl I used to have relations with, especially "seeing" her being silent, is definitely something that doesn't make me calculate for a clearer picture. I've actually seen that a long time ago, even before this year started, actually. My friends have seen it, too. Sure, like the rest, we keep them there, because in the grand scheme of things, it is more economical to just let them be. For those I can't afford anymore, severed! Already cut ties. Once in a while, I will dip into the economics of things again with her, and maybe that's what I'm doing here now. Who knows?  

My girlfriend also knows about this as she simply stated: Writer ka, e. You feel things. But also, you're more of a thinking person. You think about these things a lot. Plus she added You are a thinking person, and I am more of a feeling person. Kaya bagay tayo. We complement each other.

PAK! Need I say more? I am a lucky person to have found someone who understands, who feels, and who thinks -- and who communicates that to me. On a regular basis. FB or no FB, yes, we are connected. Indeed. And actually, to tell you the truth, aside from my relatives and close friends, she is one big reason why I am still on FB. Even if Twitter is more our thing, well, one can't have too many social networks to link with each other when you're in a long distance relationship. Whatever works, man. Whatever works.

good morning skyping [May 2012]


Ang buhay ay economics indeed. May silbi ang bawa't tawag, bawa't connection, bawa't text, bawa't message. Sa ngayon, ang pinaka may silbi na lang ang pinagtutuunan ko talaga. Because in the end, economics also translates to choosing your emotional baggage well. And since this year, you know I decided to travel light, but meaningfully. 

So yes, that's still the plan, Stan. As for FB, bah, yeah, hide button, U I like. But if you really want to know what I think, it will be on Twitter. :) 



  1. Libay, is it just the way I set my pc or is your post font size really small? Love reading your posts but if it's long and the fonts are small I get a little dizzy (arte ko!). I have this thing called internet zen and FB is out of the pic. Somebody stalked me for months, turned out to be the psycho ex of my then gf-now-ex. Scared the crap outta me, so there. On getting 'hung up' on certain people and circumstances, i don't think there's such a thing as getting over someone or something, sorrows are for keeps and maybe these are here for reasons that build on our judgment of today. And for us writers, pretty good writing material.

  2. True that. Everything is material indeed. Love that internet zen. Maybe it's time I practiced that. We'll see.

    Hm about the font size, I just use the usual size before I changed the layout. Hm I hope the new layout's not affecting it upon posting. Let me know in future posts if the problem remains ha. I'll also check it in other PCs as well. Hehe in the meantime lakihan mo na lang view font size mo :)

  3. Oopsie! Sorry, prof -- it's my PC settings pala [facepalm] :p

  4. Ah ok haha wagi lang teh :)