I have to admit that I am grateful for social media outlets like facebook and even twitter. Made some new friends through these even if I will never meet these people in person. For the first few years of being active on social media, I felt some sadness in finding out that there were lots of people scattered all over the world who shared my passions, interests, and mental pursuits but none of them lived within driving distance of me. My closest friends to me now live in Omaha. Most of my really good confidants live out of state. And many of my newer friends live in other countries. It is bittersweet in knowing that I am not as abnormal or damaged as I feared in my younger years. Besides the few years I was in college, I have never fit in with the people I lived near. There’s nothing bad or good in that either way, it just is a fact. It has caused me much grief over the years knowing that I would never have the same interests or pursuits as most people nearing in my hometown or even my own family. I didn’t have many friends as a kid, but that forced me to develop my own interests and ways of keeping myself occupied. Had I been Mr. Popular in my teenage years, I may have never developed my mental muscles to the extent that I did. I certainly wouldn’t be as self reliant or resourceful or resilient. All of these attributes have helped me immensely in my life as a mentally ill man.
As an adult, I have been able to expand my social circles even though I don’t have a regular job. This is because of facebook and twitter. Sure I have had to deal with jerks and irritable people online. But at least online, I have the unfollow and block buttons. I don’t have such near God like powers in person. If I have nosy neighbors or annoying people I see everyday, I just have to deal with it and smile. If someone is giving me static online, I send them to the unfollow and block list. It’s my personal version of digital purgatory I suppose. Facebook has actually made me more social than I was as a child before internet. It has also shown me that I am not the only person out there who feels isolated and alone because he/she doesn’t conform to the norms of his location. And now that I have filtered out the garbage that can come through social media, it is a social bonanza for me that I have never experienced in the real world. It’s rather amazing.