Never one for social networks, or any kind of networks, I joined Facebook only a few years ago when I moved out of New York with my husband and children. I joined with reservations, at the request of one of my best girlfriends and bridesmaid, because I didn’t want to lose touch with my three special and longtime friends. I am the kind of person that loses touch, and if you don’t hound me, I will fade into a distant face that you had once known in your past. It’s not because I like to be chased or pursued, but because this is the only way I know how to live. I spent my childhood being passed around from home to home, from person to person, from country to country. Family came and went, as did friends and boyfriends. I have always been nomadic in nature, like the gypsy I detested in my childhood, but this is how I learned to survive. I grew up without roots, and I never learned to stay in one place and nurture a friendship through fights and disagreements.
Everything changed when I met my husband; he shared his roots with me, and I found a permanent home with him. Our children have solidified this sense of belonging that I had unknowingly sought, and I am the core of their roots as much as they are the heart of mine. This is the foundation of my existence; it is strong, sufficient and steady, and aside from my writing and my work, I need nothing more to fulfill me.
That said, Facebook has made it easy for me to hold onto treasured friends from NY that I didn’t want to lose touch with, but knew in my heart I would, since I am not a phone person. Facebook has hooked me up with friends that helped alleviate the chaos of my childhood; friends that only knew the light-hearted side of me, not because I was light-hearted – there was nothing light about me – but because being with them made me feel light and secure and happy when none of that existed for me outside of their presence. In middle school, when I was hiding in my mother’s bathroom with the tip of her cutting shears pressed heavily against the skin of my chest, Pinky shared her home and parents with me, and while we played dress-up in Indian saris, her mother and father fed me and showed me affection that my own mother would not surrender to me. She, Neny, and I became the Twisted Sisters with matching pink t-shirts, playing spin the bottle and slow dancing with (instead of kissing) our guy friends. Jody and Helaine exposed me to similar pure play, current music of the 80s and Madonna, and a close friendship between “good” girls.
In high school, Alexandra, was my best friend. She was my sister, witnessing the maternal coldness with which I lived, but showing me how to laugh at the world. She read my poems, and we took turns creating imaginary lives for one another by drafting love stories in which we were beautiful, sexy and strong heroines with volition and voice.
In College, when life with my mother was suffocating, I found asylum with Alan, Diana, Matt, Danielle, and so many other people from the Jewish Club at Queens College. They took me in like a stray cat and didn’t care that I was a shiksa. They offered me pure and wonderful friendship, and they looked out for me when I got drunk and slid down the wall in tears. Later on there was Chevy and Joe, who treated me like a guy, and despite their girlfriends and my ever-changing boyfriends, they were always there when I needed them, picking me up from my mother’s stifling home, and like true and worthy comrades, filling my loneliness with great adventures. And even later on, while in Grad school, Shirley, Diana, Helen, and Joyce introduced me to clubs and dancing, and the happiest days of my early twenties, which were otherwise framed with full-time school, full-time work, and full-time fights with my mom.
In a way they will never understand, these people, these great friends, saved me without meaning to, and without knowing the impact they had in my life. With them, I was myself as much as I could be, but more importantly, I felt free, unencumbered, and weightless. I felt loved, wanted, and cherished, and my connection to them alleviated the emotional strains and stains of my childhood and girlhood. And because of my sense of rootlessness, I faded away from most of these people, finding them twenty years later as strangers, married and with children. Facebook brought them back to me, and although our recollections are sparse and weak, and our connection to one another is minuscule compared to our present day families and friendships, I am glad to have them as my Facebook friends because there was a time when their presence in my life was soothing and pivotal. I only hope that I helped them as deeply as they helped me, and yet I don’t think I did.
My point is that Facebook is a special place for me; it keeps me close to the individuals that grounded me and helped me find my way in very unselfish ways. These people kept my secrets and taught me to love, laugh, and dance. Without them, my journey would have been very lonely and completely different.
A warmest and sincerest thank you to my childhood friends.
Copyright© 2010 by Marina DelVecchio. All Rights Reserved.