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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Facebook Facade

I'm working away at my last semester of school. I seriously doubt it will be my last semester ever, but for my MFA this is it. By working away I really mean procrastinating and farting around when I should be diligently working. The problem is I don't know if I even want to finish anymore.

During some of this 'farting around' time I find myself Facebook stalking friends and more often acquaintances. People I met at work or a bar once upon a time. The young woman who took over my job when I left the Marine Corps. A woman I met during my travels. Midshipmen who I trained at Quantico who are now officers in the fleet. The funny thing about Facebook pictures is nobody posts pictures of themselves on a bad day or mundane day. It's more like a place to brag about what you are doing or where you were. It's a memorial of how fun your life was at some point and how you have it all put together. Naturally, I get jealous when I see people who have traveled more than I have (which is most people). I am conceited when I see that someone from high school has gained weight. I feel free when I look at old classmates families. More often than any of that I look through the pictures of people laughing, smiling, traveling, at job promotions, family pics, kissing couples, babies crying and I ask myself is this what I am supposed to want? What is wrong with me that I don't want to get married to a nice man with a good career, work on my own career, have children, move into a bigger house, take vacations to fancy resorts, blah blah blah. It sounds nice. It really does and part of me is incredibly jealous of the people who live this happy dream because it is what they want. I click through more pictures wondering if they are really happy or live the life that was expected of them and are therefore happy because they fulfilled their end of the contract.

I look through pictures of Marines and Sailors in Iraq and Afghanistan and ask myself should I still be there? Did I quit? Is this what I was meant to do? Like most things in my life I got bored, now I wonder if I gave up to easily? Did I quit before the big pay off? Why couldn't I adjust to the military lifestyle? Why couldn't I just give up some of my innate stubbornness and force myself to conform for 8 hours a day?

I skip to the page of another "Friend" and another and another. I look at their happy profiles and ask myself what do you want, Libby? What do you want to do with your life now? I don't know. I simply do not know. Is it really as simple as people seem to make it on their profiles. Is my world full of random Facebook acquaintances who are really happy with their life? Am I just the odd man out who can't differentiate between what I want, what I'm supposed to want, what I'm expected to do, what I'm meant to do and what I'm doing. Shouldn't these things all line up?

I haven't had a job for a year now. Unemployment isn't going to last forever and the job search has been fruitless. What happens when the stimulus extensions run out? What happens in June when I won't be able to use school as an excuse for my immature aspirations. I emailed some people about going to Afghanistan. If I follow through with that it will postpone figuring things out for at least another 8 months plus post-deployment vacation time. Then what?

And in the meantime I post pictures from birthday parties, road trips, sunsets, finishing lines, dinner parties, etc. I wonder if someone I met once at some point in time is looking through my photos with the absurd belief that I have it all figured out and they're wrong. Is this what Facebook has done to our culture - created an emotional masquerade hiding our insecurities and failures as well as our greatest ambitions and hopes? Is it uniting us or creating acyberworld for us to hide?

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