In all its wisdom - and we know its wisdom to be vast because stuff you googled in private, like "Converse running shoes" or "chocolate fountains", shows up there for days after - Facebook kindly generated “iconic” personal images to represent each of our 2014.
These little pics were surrounded by IMH(but-unsavvy-design)O silly little festive ticker-tapey graphics that evoke a circa 1972 Playboy cartoon New Year’s Eve party. (Yes, I was “reading” Playboy in 1972. One of the families whose kids I used to babysit had them stacked, so to speak, in the master bedroom. I’ll always be grateful.)
I’m going on memory because it’s not worth my time to go find them, but I swear every one of the Facebook year-end photos that rolled by me had the caption 2014 was a great year, so glad you could be there with me!! I know, painful right? And because we, the collective borg-ish We, like to do and like what FB tells us to do and like, many posted their thoughtfully selected pics while others dutifully liked them. But I didn’t like any photos. Maybe if my year hadn’t been so chemo-soaked I might have posted my pix but I doubt it.
The picture FB chose in my case was of me smiling in my chemo chair. I mean, what could be fucking happier than chillin' with cancer and chemicals? I'm sure it was an algorithm that picked it, not some sadistic FB staffer. But still. It was a trigger.
It’ll take me a while - like, the rest of my life - to weigh in on 2014. It was actually 2013 that humbled - like, fucked with - me completely and tore down my precarious yet solid sense of who I was in the world. 2014 only dragged me through hell then pulled me out, only to pull in people I love. Like some screwed up relay race in which I was given no choice but to pass on the cancer baton, multiple times.
I won’t name names or offer any descriptors. People must choose for themselves whether they want a Penthouse-style spread all over social media, as I did. But I will say that 2014 has left me with an obscene abundance of people in my life who have cancer. Close friends. Not just friends I made through cancer networking. It’s shocking and incomprehensible. People say to me that this is the way it will go as we all get older, but that seems akin to the response we cancer peeps get when we express our fears of death and dying: None of us knows what’s coming. I could get hit by a bus tomorrow.
True, but in all likelihood you don’t walk around every day thinking about that bus, worrying about it, planning for it, crying in bed at night about it. I have cancer AND I could get hit by that bus. I know it’s not a competition, but I kind of win.
All that being said: Happy New Year. I mean it truly, because hoping, aiming and planning for happiness is the only way to live. And by the way while it might not have been a great year, I am glad you were there with me. FB didn’t get it all wrong.