the backstage epiphany

where reality is so subjective it's entirely optional

Monthly Archives: November 2010

The Curse of Facebook

20 Facebook Personalities You Love to HateCLEO Magazine, November 2010

I miss the old Facebook. When I say ‘old’, I mean old; like back in 2004 when it was confined to only a selected number of U.S. universities (the University at Buffalo included), and we all had to use our [insert university name].edu email addresses to sign up for it. Photos were limited to only one — the profile picture — per user, and the Wall was this big yawning space where people could write above or below other people’s messages. Applications, Pages and the Like button were nonexistent.

Today, Facebook has become the new MySpace: far too public and teeming with stalkers. It has opened the floodgates for the repressed narcissists to make known everything that’s going on in their lives — from what they are currently eating to how they are currently feeling (most of the time they would be ‘bored’) — and brought out the narcissistic side of many others who never even knew they had one.

So when I came across this in the November 2010 issue of CLEO — a magazine I would normally never pick up unless I’m getting my nails or hair done (it was nails on that particular Sunday morning) — I was so tickled by it I had to post it here.

Not a single person reading this will be able to say they can’t relate to at least three of the Facebook personalities shown below, and every single person reading this will feel the horror of recognizing themselves in at least one of them.


Humbled this Thanksgiving

“The theme is the theme of humiliation, which is the square root of sin, as opposed to the freedom from humiliation, and love, which is the square root of wonderful.” – Carson McCullers

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I am reminded once again that nothing is ever about me, that I am what I am today because of a series of people and events that have cropped up in my life. I am reminded that, for good or bad, I should be thankful for all of them, for it is because, and in spite, of them that I am still standing, still alive, still hopeful. And of all the things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, I am most thankful for You.

I know that everything that has transpired this year, especially over the past month, has been Your way of teaching me a lesson. But in that lesson, I have been given a glimpse of Your infinite mercy, because You have finally accepted that I am not perfect — that I am, in fact, severely, unforgivably flawed — and You chose to take this mess away from me, rather than watch me try and subsequently fail to dig myself out of it.

And so I thank You, for saving me from making this mistake over and over again, for reminding me that I must always put others’ happiness before my own, and for giving me another chance this time around to do the right thing.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Perceptual selectivity: A choice among no other choice

t”It is only after you have lost everything that you will be free to do anything.”@czyhzd

I hate my job. It’s something I’ve become very open about this year, because I figured there would be no point in pretending I love it when everyone who knows me well enough can see right through it. The reason I hate my job will be revealed at a later, and more opportune, time, but right now, I do hate it. And when people realize that I hate my job, their immediate — almost instinctive — response is “Well, why don’t you get another one?”

All — or throughout most of — our lives, we have been spoilt for choice. When we were younger, it was a question of which toy to get: the dancing dinosaur or the sneezing helicopter. As we grew older, it became a question of which school to go to: a painfully small private school where everyone knew your business or an overpopulated public school where nobody could know you. And then it got to a stage where we had to decide what we wanted to do for a living and if we wanted to rearrange our lives a little bit in order to make room for one more person.

The problem with these choices is that once we made them, all the other options never quite went away, but instead hung around, silently taunting us with their presence and reminding us that it was solely our  own — or our parents’, depending on how old we were at the time — decisions that left us where we currently were. And, in the midst of all that silence, were the constantly whispered words: You still have a choice…

Do we, though? When we get to a certain point in our lives, are we as free to make those choices as we were, say, ten years ago? We may be stuck in a job we despise, but if it pays the bills and takes care of our responsibilities, we know it’s probably better to just grit our teeth, take many deep breaths and brave it. If our relationship has hit a brick wall, but we’re so grateful that someone is actually willing to put up with us, we know we should put aside our doubts and insecurities and focus on making it work. Because, deep down, we know that once we make the decision to change our circumstances in life, the nature of that change is thrown completely to the wind.

In other words, we are cowards for not wanting to risk being worse off, and give ourselves a chance, if even a very small one, to be better off. The bizarrely ironic thing about this form of perceptual selectivity is that we only tend to think we have to make these choices because it starts to look as though we have no other choice.

I thought I had come beyond the point of being afraid, despite having my heart broken as badly as I did two years ago, despite thinking I had finally developed a new lease on love, despite realizing that underneath the glittery façade of a job I had once loved lay a monstrous foundation. But now that it feels as though I’m waking up from a coma, I know that the fear has never gone away, and everything that has transpired over the last year and a half was merely a Band-Aid, not a solution, for the pain.

So now I have to make that choice: to stay in this comfort zone that is in and of itself an oxymoron, or take the leap of faith that could result in an all-out crash-and-burn. Either way, with nothing ever having changed and nothing ever likely to change, there can be no other direction to go but up from here.