(c) visual_dichotomy - flickr creative commons

I had an interesting conversation on Facebook this evening. After finishing, “The Constant Gardener,” (for about the 5th time,) my brain won an internal struggle and I spent no less than an hour googling, copying, pasting and cataloging links to various pharmaceutical trials that have happened in the developing world without the patients’ consent. It just so happened that an acquaintance checked in, mid-work while I was giddily fired up. She asked how I was feeling and I said that the only thing keeping me sane lately was adding to the editorial calendar. I know when baby arrives, I’ll be in a more difficult position to write at first. She mentioned, “all I know about current affairs is what I read on celebrity gossip,” and I mentioned a few sites she could keep up with. She seemed concerned and I asked her why. It became clear that my passion for spreading the bits of information that affected me, or that I was excited about, annoyed her greatly.

There are different types of individuals in the world, but even at 30, I sometimes forget that the things that tug at my heartstrings aren’t another’s cup of Facebook tea. I often post controversial issues and ask questions because I genuinely care about the debate. (Care, is possibly an understatement. I’m utterly and hopelessly lost in research during my small bits of free time.) Lately, with the birth of Daniel and watching my little girl grow to be almost 7, I’m thinking more and more of the legacy I leave behind. I read the articles about environmental changes, post parenting bites and even sometimes, rage about the inequalities around us. (Sometimes, may also be an understatement.) I feel what I read and I desperately want to help others connect as well.

Ty King said it best:

“Passion, it lies in all of us, sleeping… waiting… and though unwanted… unbidden… it will stir… open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us… guides us… passion rules us all, and we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love… the clarity of hatred… and the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion maybe we’d know some kind of peace… but we would be hollow… Empty rooms shuttered and dank. Without passion we’d be truly dead.”

This sums up my soul the ache I feel to learn as much as I can, as fast as I can. To not read the news, or feel what’s going on would be to ignore one of my greatest passions- staying informed and helping others be informed. This is why, when my acquaintance mentioned that if I kept caring at this rate, “the news articles would eat me alive.” I sat stunned for a while on Facebook, wondering if this was all it was about. She ended the conversation with, “so, for now I’m going to unfriend you because your status updates about the news stress me out.” Good for her for making a choice, I figured. (There are moments I want to do the same thing- albeit for different reasons, but I have a hard time pressing that button and tonight, I did.) Someone once told me, “Kate, if you’re making people react? You’re doing something right.” I’ve never met her in real life, nor have I connected with her over the phone. It’s still a loss and one I took to heart in thinking about how I could have changed the situation. But ultimately, I realized, this Facebook wall isn’t for others as much as it’s for me.

Truth is, I love the debate. Jezebel, Fark, Christian Science Monitor and even the Huffington Post are a goldmine simply for the comments. Facebook, is where I start my small fires, It’s where I learn more about where my friends stand on certain issues and also truthfully, where I learn more about myself.

Facebook, it’s a conundrum, isn’t it? We invite people into our online homes, where we decorate walls with quotes, articles or games and we hope that they”like” what we’re posting. For me, some of my favorite posts haven’t received a “like” at all. I treat my Facebook profile as an online diary: “This is what I care about today,” or, “This made me laugh so hard I need a change of clothes.”  I often tell people that if they could see my real house and Facebook home, side by side- there would be no doubt I am who I am. Quotes adorn my brick and mortar walls, article clippings are often left out, or up on my desktop; MSNBC, CNN and Headline news dot my television screen.

Every once in a while my daughter will come home from school or an event and talk about how someone didn’t want to play with her. As a mom, I find that heartbreaking, because I’ve been there, (even at 30.) Sometimes, the best thing you can say is, “try again tomorrow. Be who you are and your friends will find you.” …even on Facebook.