Social media. I don’t tweet but I do (did) Facebook. Here I engage my fluffy face. I paste on layers of ‘likes’ and ‘interests’ and pretty frock pictures and chitter about on the Spin Doctor / The Gothic Shop / Kate’s Clothing pages. It’s completely superficial and yet it gives me pleasure. I post retro videos and comment on books. I discuss nail polish and eyeliner and why the Illamasqua sale is, like, the best thing EVER. I geek over Gaiman, Whedon and The Hobbit. I post sweet pics of family events and days gone by. I celebrate my friends achievements and milestones.
And I am never – ever – nasty to anyone. I am never cruel. I sometimes have joking conversations, the odd bit snark and spar with the folks I know can handle it, and believe me they give as good as they get.
So I forget the bad side. I forget that people only see a slice of me (and not a Gunter Von Hagans slice either…). They get the cupcake me. Sunny side up. Even when things are bad I try not to allude to them publicly, though I may tell those closest to me who I don’t see on a daily basis what’s happening via the message service.
And I have to admit that it is a pretty superficial face. It’s relentlessly chirpy and posts pictures of itself all prettied up and in nice clothing. It shows me going through the looking glass and avoiding reality. It was brought home to me today when I left an old friend a fairly innocuous comment regarding a music magazine that has been getting rather repetitive of late. Indeed, it still thinks the Brit Pop wars are happening. Bands are cover rotated every six months. My comment was basically that it no longer catered to my needs and I couldn’t find another magazine that did.
I didn’t quite expect a sudden outpouring of bile. Apparently I am not qualified to comment as I resemble ‘a Laura Ashley cut out paper doll dress pattern‘ of superficiality when online. Specifically Facebook. It hurt. I wish it didn’t but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. The person involved is not a ‘bosom buddy’ friend, he’s an old uni course mate. However, we were very close at the time, went on holidays as a group and shared some pretty big events when younger. I like him. I liked him. I don’t quite know how I feel about him anymore.
Is this his face? Grump old gadgee from Galashiels? Or is it really him? I can’t tell and I don’t like the muddied waters. OK, I invited them by having a public profile and glossy face. I don’t make it public that in actual fact life is pretty stressful right now and that I need superficiality to take me away from the grief and the exhaustion that’s just about smacking me round the head daily at the moment.
If I need somewhere to vent, it’s here. My non publicised blog where half of what I write is marked ‘Private’ and available only to me for consumption. It’s in the stories I write about the lost and the dispossessed. Another slice of me. And then are many others – the work slice, the parental face slice, the book consumer slice.
So I took the maudlin slice for a walk. Useless slice forgot umbrella and got soaked. Then useful slice hoovered the house and did the washing. You get the gist.
The face may be superficial. The whole is much more complex and not necessarily public. As The Cure say, ‘No one ever knows or loves another’.