Wednesday, November 30, 2016

You are not alone (11/30/2016)

It sometime takes strange circumstances to realize things in life.  After "unfriending" someone in Facebook (I'll write about him a bit later), getting a text from a friend, and listening to the radio on my drive back home, I realized something during my meditation session in yoga: "I am not alone." 

I have been interested by that concept of being alone in the world for a long time; as a young boy my favorite book was "Nobody's Boy" by Hector Malot (free download on Kindle). The title in Dutch is "Alone in the world" and in it's original French is "Without a family".  You get the drift, I remember reading the book over and over and sitting there crying over the pages.  I read a few disappointing reviews on English translation, but others say it is still worth the read.

As a teen I have felt alone in this world.  It was a combination of circumstances, doing a lot of moving as a child, having parents who did not seem to care about us children, being shipped off away from the family for a half year to a different culture, getting to a high school where everyone had their own established groups and clicks, you name it.  I felt different and alone.  I mentioned it before, as a young budding photographer, my favorite hobby was taking pictures of empty park benches.  About a year ago I heard the same thing from an old friend who I grew up with on the islands in the Caribbean.  She felt different and alone as well after being transplanted to Switzerland.  
The latest empty park bench picture I took (yes I still take them).  I took this one May 19, 2016 in the Norfolk Botanical Gardens when I visited it with my wife and daughter.  So no I was not alone and I did not feel alone!  I liked the composition.
So here we are at a time in our culture that we surround ourselves with artificial friends on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter (I do not have a Twitter account), and many more, but you get it.  I have written before about on how I rely on them during my travels <here> and <here>.  But it really hit home during this past year during the elections.  I have my political preferences, and I started wondering why I put up with the crap put up by the people that were opposing my candidate.  But I let it slide, I believe in the first amendment, right?  OK, my candidate lost, and I am part of the sore loser crowd.  I have a right to complain.  That's fine.  But the guy I unfriended, now more than a month later, is still trying to bash my candidate.  He is like a sore winner, get over it dude, your candidate won.  For one, he is just a distant acquaintance, a guy I supervised nine years ago, and then I have to look at that crap he keeps posting?  He should be celebrating that his candidate won, and not still try to trash my candidate.  It was then that I decided that I needed to surround myself with my true friends and not with fake friends.  Why anger myself over something like this?  At the end of the day those fake friends make you actually feel that you are alone, they are not there for you, they are there for themselves to accumulate friends and to aggrandize themselves; they are not worth your attention.

This realization together with a text message exchange with a true friend and lunch with another, culminated in that realization that I am not alone, but that I need to make a concerted effort to purge myself from the negative people that surround me (sorry Bob ... nah, not really sorry at all ... good riddance) and cultivate my current friendships and enjoy the people who have the political, cultural and social values that I have.  I know I have started this process in the past and will continue to do so (and at times when I let those toxic people back into my life, they turned toxic again; it is just a matter of time).  I am not purging myself from people who think different but only from those who are obnoxious about it and toxic, we need a healthy discourse and friendship.

These are my baby steps to my independence from toxic people around me and embracing of friends and like minded people. (Photo taken on 11/29/2016 at the Virginia Arboretum during one of my favorite things to do: a walk in nature). 

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