But, I lied to you, or misled all of you. I didn’t mean to, I swear it. But I did.
As I was writing out messages to each one of my facebook friends, it dawned on me that there may be a chance people will not feel as special because of the “everyone inclusion” I drew and it would put my intention into a different light. Sincerity transforms into a mass mailer. Read my blog! Check out me! I cringed. I am thankful that this did not occur to me until after I had over half my friend-list messaged, or I would have cancelled this “project” immediately. I thought about how to address this issue; perhaps highlight that I really did unfriend people who I did not have a sincere compliment for, or gratitude to share with. How arrogant is that… hey people left, feel the sincerity as I kept you around! Shit.
Then, one brave soul told me that upon learning of the everybody-gets-a-note rule he felt disappointed at first. And vulnerable.
Then it dawned on me… taking a compliment or a sentiment of gratitude can be just as vulnerable as giving one. Why had I never thought of this before? This project did not incorporate that concept in very well.
So, I have been sitting and thinking. Swirling the comment in my mind, my own feelings, and some of the other wonderful feedback as well.
I have come to two conclusions. I lied about what this project was about. And that I would share, in a way, what everyone was told on facebook so that there was hopefully no mistaking that what I said I meant.
I lied about what this project was about…
I have concluded that calling it a project was just my way of trying to give what I am doing some kind of legitimacy and ultimately trying to pawn off some of the vulnerability that comes with telling people how you feel about them. I had a few very sweet people ask about my art and how they would love to see it in responses to my messages, I just silently responded, “this is it everyone.”
Telling people how I like them and how they have affected me in some pretty great ways is my art.
It is also who I am, who I want to be, and what I would define as my activism. It doesn’t hang in a gallery and god knows I can’t sell it, but truly, this is it. By calling it a project it makes it an easier sell to myself, and others, that this is legitimately art. Or legitimately activism. But I have got to be honest, I don’t need those boundaries the further I dive in, it all blends together: who I am, my art, my activism, it is all one thing.
So, I tricked you and myself and tried to make this whole thing about bringing the humanity back to facebook… that may be happening a bit, but that is an over-intellectualization again to create a barrier between me and the vulnerability; another poor attempt at trying to legitimize and give a reason for doing this.
What this whole thing really was was me wanting to tell people who I like that I like them, people who I admire that I admire them, people who have brought me happiness that I am grateful, and that the people I know I am happy to know them. That is what I wanted to do and that is exactly what I did.
So easy to type, so much harder to fight through the layers of insecurity of wondering if people are going to think I am a total wacko. I might be, so I proceeded.
And let me tell you I am so glad I did.
Was your message a template…
I told the people I miss that I miss them. I told the parents I admire that I admire them. I shared a poem with someone who I thought of after I wrote it. I listed qualities I liked in a person. I shared my gratitude for a high school friend. I thanked people for sharing there happy families in pictures. I told the people that I wish I knew better that I wish I knew them better. I complimented the talents I admire in this overwhelmingly talented group. I told the people I deeply respected that I respected them. In my shortest message, I shared a few lines that were full of some of the most meaning. Others I took more space to explain their impact in my life. Others still I danced around with trying to not look or sound too crazy. A few people got the short-end of the messages as I am also sending them gratitude via Valentines and I did not want to overwhelm them with affection. I wrote a past teacher about how much they helped me. I told a Dad that I can see my husband being a father like him. I told a man that the way he treated and spoke of his wife touched my heart. I let people know that being who they are is wonderful and amazing. I told people I like that I like them. I told people I am happy to know that I am happy to know them.
And let me tell you, this was not hard. It took time, because I am a crappy typist, but each person I pulled up was easy to write about. What I wanted to say easily came out (it was the process of trying to not sound too far out there that caused me more strife than anything). I mean, I have a lot of really wonderful people on my friend list, so of course it was easy.
And the best part, I swear to you, was all the love I got back. I laughed and happy cried. I received the most thoughtful responses (I sincerely thought I might not get feedback at all, but that it was ok as that was not the point. I was just hoping I wouldn’t end up being blocked by 120+ people… I know, silly).
I even received the best gift I ever gotten. Ever. I swear it.
In the end I felt like I had just pulled off some kind of trickery; if I hadn’t known better I would have thought I constructed this to feel loved myself. However, it just ended up being this incredibly amazing byproduct. A couple of more quotes make a whole lot more sense (hey, this blog is called The Idealistic Sap, so sappiness is a part of the territory). But it is true people, I could never have imagined how true. I feel like I got so much more love back. Incredible.
So, I am hoping that clears some questions up.
I am learning on my feet, trying things out, and I will be the first to admit I am going to make a lot of mistakes along the way.
However, telling each person how I felt about them has not been one of them, even if I put a crappy frame on it at first.