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Good Weird Bad Weird

All we do. Ways in which we need attention. Has Facebook affected the way we see ourselves? Is this a positive thing?

Today, I hear that the flag is at half-mast to honour the million dead from Covid-19. Who would ever have thought this pandemic would happen to the human race? We might wonder, "Will COVID ever go away?" And we might wonder how much of our realities have been affected.

Maybe this topic feels passe'. Fewer people wear masks, and you don't have to wear one on an airplane any more.

I will never reach the end of "Weird" within my mind. I can write on this word endlessly.

Maybe it is because I was raised to think of myself as "Weird." I have a name that is difficult to pronounce. Fjaere. What do you do with that "J?" Who would know that you pronounce this name like Sierra with an F? I am sure my parents thought that this name was a good weird. Different. Beautiful. Of course, they would not know that this name would torment me, and that , eventually, professionally, I would chop off most of the letters and call myself the nickname that other kids gave me when I was small: Feef.

Weird can be awkward. Weird demands you take a chance on something that might not be completely familiar. If you see a family restaurant, and it is Ethiopian, you might feel uncomfortable and strange, sitting on the floor, eating food with your fingers, with everyone else who is dining with you. You might want to head to the nearest Taco Bell or MacDonald's. You know what you are getting. And

you might even associate food poisoning with the family restaurant and not the franchise.

When the pandemic hit, it was take cover, shelter, and avoid others. Anything that might feel different, odd, involve risk had to be minimized. It felt like life itself depended on it.

There is a need to differentiate, to stand out, to be seen. And that might involve being just a little bit good weird.

But there is also the need to stick with those with whom you agree, avoid throwing yourself into some weird netherworld where you are out of control and exposed to bad weird. Bad weird can be people getting heated and emotional and mean, sarcastic, angry. Big opinions, conspiracies, accusations. Weird ideas about what truth is. So you stick out a bit, create a memorable image of who you might like to be seen as. But you don't push too hard into bad weird, because even worse can come from that.

Edging toward an identity that doesn't offend anyone. But is this being real?

I do like being thought of as young and cute, but this is only part of who I am. As a woman, of course, the thought of being attractive and nice is appealing. The thought of being bitchy, haggard, strange and bad weird is depressing.

This leads me to wonder if having a Facebook presence is really just more entertaining, or even people pleasing. Many of the people on my page, my friends, are also musicians. Constantly making music, and writing about what they do, what they make. Putting up pictures, recordings, releases. More creators maybe than even listeners. Everyone wants a listener, an audience, and everyone wants to be good weird. Just a wee bit different. Unique. Talented.

In the goldfish bowl of social media, failing, flailing, looking off, bad weird, is a turn-off. You don't get as many likes as when you put up a gorgeous photo of yourself. Everyone wants that.

A friend of mine said to me recently, "You know, those people on Facebook are not your real friends."

I had to think a couple of times. Have I kept myself entertained by watching good weird on Facebook, rather than being in the flesh with real people, who are so real they are sometimes uncomfortably weird to be with, and not always entertaining? Is Facebook fake friendship to an extent?

Maybe it is just limited.

Facebook friending is safer than friendship hangs with new folk. Anything on a computer is safer weird than what happens in your real neighborhood. Covid drove me to Facebook and Instagram.

Showing up creates a new category: the real weird. This is the being-there you-have-to-have-been-there kind of weird. And that is called living. Some say JUST UNPLUG. But I am still hooked up, emotionally comatose in ways with no DNR order. Some days I am not sure how alive I am. I am scared to find out. It is easier to sit here and type.

Will we ever meet, really? Have you read this far? I have no answers, but I have to end here. Or at least act like I have ended here.

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