There’s something I really want to talk about, I’ve been thinking about it a lot. It’s about the way we live our lives and the things we take for granted that are around us all day long and how we don’t necessarily appreciate them or worse we construe them into something negative or something we shouldn’t be happy about or we shouldn’t be proud to be a part of. So I want to share a story that is very personal.
Earlier this year a very close friend of mine passed away suddenly, very unexpectedly, and many of you who are reading this know who I am talking about. They were a close friend and a mentor, I couldn’t have ever imagined how much pain that was going to be, I could never guess how much that was going to hurt. Since I was young when I’ve been sad, lonely, or depressed I’ve felt a great need to have people near me, I think most people have that need. For whatever reason inside of myself I’ve always told myself to hide from people because, I don’t know maybe I feel too needy or something. It’s been a bad that’s made sad times harder on me in the past.
When this happened I needed people so badly, I posted on Facebook what was going on and hundreds of people contacted me to give their condolences, to send their love, to just let me know that they cared. Even if they didn’t know what to say because who knows what to say in a situation like that? None of us really do. Everyone came to my aide consistently and friends were coming to my home to check on me and people were emailing and calling constantly. It helped so much. Knowing that so many people had me in their thoughts helped so much, it allowed me to get up in the morning every day and face the reality.
It was incredible and it made all of the difference in my life. I can’t imagine how I could have gotten through that without so many people being so loving. This is all because of social media, something that a lot of people claim is a waste of time or makes you more lonely. I just have to say I disagree very much. When I look at the landscape that’s by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all of the social media that is popular all I see is more connection. More human connection. I know there are negative things, I know there are negative threads, negative websites, of course there are. There are negative people and there are negative things in life but there is so much good.
If you use it wisely you can look at your Facebook feed and see nothing but a mirror into the beauty of the world, you can fill your Facebook page with funny stories, beautiful music, and pictures of your friend’s babies or you can fill it with hate and bigotry. That’s up to you but when people say that it’s a waste of time or that it’s not important I have got to take a bit of offense to that. I grew up a weird kid and I had a lot of interests that were unusual. This was before social media really, I had AOL instant messenger and even that allowed me to connect with people I would have never known existed in the world.
I felt so much less lonely growing up because of the internet. We have an entire generation of kids who are coming up and everyone is saying “oh well they’re glued to their cell phone the whole time” “Oh they’re too busy tweeting to pay attention to life” and maybe that’s somewhat true. All good things should be in moderation but you know what they are busy doing? They’re busy communicating, they’re busy establishing relationships, and just because we don’t understand those relationships, because they’re not tradition or a value that we understand from when we were growing up doesn’t make them less valuable. If anything they are much more valuable!
Can you imagine now growing up being gay in the middle of, I don’t know, Arkansas in a small town and you can watch television and get on the internet and see that there are people just like you and that it is not wrong and it’s not evil and that you have value. That’s the world we’re coming up in now, it’s incredible. It’s amazing and I feel that is something everyone should share in. Everyone of these pictures on your Facebook, not matter if it’s a picture of a dog or a still from a movie or it’s actually your friend’s face or other body part, every single one of them is a person. They have hopes and dreams, they love and laugh and have a mother and a father and if you wake up every day and choose to love them but more importantly to let them love you how is that hurting anything? How is that doing anything other than enriching your life? That’s what I want to know.
I hear a lot of people say negative things about social networking ironically on social networks but how can any of this be wrong? Human interaction and the way we express ourselves evolves along with us and I think it is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in my life. I love it. That’s why I sat down here and typing about the most painful moment in my life. Because I can share that with you, and you can share that with me. I appreciate it, I am so thankful to have this opportunity and I promise I’ll never take it for granted.
We’re not promised tomorrow, tomorrow never comes, we live today. I am so lucky to live today the way that we all get to live, loving everyone that I can every minute I can. If you get anything out of reading this I hope you realize how important that is. All this is, all of these series of cables and satellites and camera phones and youtube blogs, all they are at the end of the day is a way to exchange love. If you let it.