Open Letters to People or Entities Who Are Unlikely to Respond
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An Open Letter to a Suicidal Friend, a Bulimic Friend, a Long Lost Aunt, and Stephanie, My New LinkedIn Connection.
BY RAE BRYANT
Dear Suicidal Friend, Bulimic Friend, Long Lost Aunt, and Stephanie -
What do you do when a good friend texts: “It’s bad again. I’m trying not to hurt myself. I love you”? Then another friend texts he’s anorexic/bulimic and sad? And a few minutes later the aunt you never knew looks you up on Facebook and sends you a message and asks if you have a problem with funeral pictures because your grandfather, who is dead now, took pictures of your father, who died when you were one year old, and she would like to show them to you if you don’t have a problem with funeral pictures? Yes, you think, I do have a problem with funeral pictures but I only have one picture of my father and should I deny myself more pictures of my father because he’s dead? Seconds later LinkedIn emails, “Congratulations, you and Stephanie are now connected. See what Stephanie has been up to.”
Is it okay to feel bad about not giving a fuck what Stephanie has been up to? Is it rational for your logical brain to say, Stephanie is now my LinkedIn connection. I have a responsibility, socially and professionally, to respond to my LinkedIn connections. I shouldn’t be rude? Stephanie doesn’t know I’ve just been handed the life and love of a good friend and the death pictures of my father. It’s not Stephanie’s fault. Stephanie is truly a very interesting gal. And Stephanie has responded to my Facebook updates about experiences I’ve added to my profile and maybe she was in the same situation then. Maybe she had just lost someone or faced a really tragic moment in her life and instead of ignoring my Facebook update, it was the one thing that saved her. Maybe she thought, Wow, I really needed that Facebook update on Rae’s new experiences at that very moment because I needed to leave my head for a while. I mean, Stephanie does all kinds of really cool and sexy New York shit and it’s been covered in the New York Times and the New Yorker and Time Out New York, so you wonder at that moment, if it’s okay if you don’t tap into Stephanie’s LinkedIn updates on a kismet and karmic level. You think, If I do this, Stephanie may not tap into mine. I may one day do something truly great and Stephanie will be the single most important LinkedIn connection who will appreciate and connect to my greatness, but it won’t matter because I ignored her important LinkedIn event and she’ll ignore mine. Then you wonder if posting on your Linkedin page would be appropriate. You could update your experiences to include your suicidal and bulimic friends, and your aunt and dead father’s Facebook funeral. You could say, “Listen, Stephanie and anyone else who plans on doing anything fantastic tonight or in the near future, I am not able to tap into your updates right now because my friends and my aunt and my father need me on a life and death level.”
I learned at a young age to live in the moment while thinking ahead. To remember life is what’s coming, not yesterday’s casket. But sometimes, the behind lays on your computer screen like a big pile of shit. And you can’t ignore the quality of it. No matter how much you try to be socially, presently relevant or to keep pace. So you try to multitask it. You think, I could be efficiently, digitally savvy. I could send personalized, online greeting cards, a bouquet of white roses with “I’m so sorry. Please feel better. Call me. xo” or “I’m so sorry, please eat something. Call me. xo.” I could magic wand/copy/paste the white roses onto the picture of my dead father, lay them one by one over his cold, clasped hands on his belly then add teardrops and a sad, smiley face. My aunt would probably really like that. She would probably really appreciate the sentiment and the time it took to magic wand each individual rose bud, placing each one perfectly so the bouquet is full and bouncy. I wouldn’t tell her I copy-pasted the original bouquet from a film trailer about a meth dealer’s funeral. Truly, think about it, my digital self could be my digital sociopath superhero, a better me like brain surgeon power. Who wants an emotionally connected brain surgeon? Who would want her brain surgeon bawling over her cut open scalp and wide open brain because it was just too personal and sad to see a head split open with scalpels and shit in it? I ask you, truly, what do you do when a friend texts and says, “It’s bad again. I’m trying not to hurt myself. I love you”?
Do you say, “I love you back”?
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