Virtual Lives and Virtual Emotions

After writing on Popularity, and then reading Web Worker Daily’s post on Our Emotional Lives in Social Media, I began reflecting on this subject. How do our real emotions differ from the emotions our virtual identities appear to have? How much do we show, and how much is good to show?

Living on the Webz

Running a blog and an online store has put me in a perfect position to develop my virtual life to an extent which it has never before seen. In many ways, my virtual life is a reflection of my real life: On Twitter and Facebook, I talk about what happens in my day-to-day real life as well as what I do on the computer and internet. I think the distinction between my two lives comes from what is left out of the virtual one.

It’s not always done on purpose. There’s just not time to include every part of my life in my Facebook status updates, and the character limits on my Tweets makes me condense even more. Besides, there are things that I feel are too private to share – or too uninteresting. Part of this group of “things not shared” happens to be a good portion of my emotions.

Thinking Too Hard

As Hubby and I consider whether to start a video blog, or vlog, I had to assess my virtual-emotional outlets again. I’ve settled into a routine of posting my problogs here, my daily life updates there, and my emotions in my private blog. I write and write and write, basically. I Tweet, Facebook, blog, blog again, and then write at 750words.com.

But what, I thought, if I start a vlog with my husband? I don’t want to have too many emotional outbursts on YouTube for all the world to see, and you don’t want that either. I don’t want them on my problog, and I don’t want them on my social media. But! I could drop my private blog and let vlogging take the place of that, and let 750words.com become my emotional-ranting-place. *pants*

I had to put all that thought into the issue of where it was okay to show my emotions!

Virtual Emotions

My negative virtual emotions are much more subdued than the emotions that come out in my real life. My positive virtual emotions are sometimes magnified. My anger is virtually shrugged off, and my jealousy virtually (ha, I can use two definitions of the word in one!) hidden. Thus my virtual persona has an appearance that differs from me, the real me.

It’s all about acceptance and reputation. When it comes to our virtual lives we have to consider the balance of what is seen and shown.

  • Do I appear to be always unhappy, always happy, or in between?
  • Who am I going to upset, and who is going to worry about me?
  • Who is going to look down on me, and who is going to be driven away from my store/whatever because of the image they see?

In other words, how is my reputation going to be affected by my virtual persona?

I like how Aliza Sherman was able to look at the situation. She allows herself to be bathed in the support of her virtual peers, and she chooses not to worry about the effect on her reputation. More precisely, she believes that the impact on her reputation will be mostly positive, as we are drawn to people with whom we can relate. I, on the other hand, cannot shake the mentality that there has to be some regulating done.

What do you show, and what do you hide? Where do you vent your emotions, if anywhere?

Oh, and most importantly, should Hubby and I make a Vlog? 😛

Ready, and……discuss!

Recipe: Michy’s Baked Flounder Surprise

Let me preface this recipe with the fact that neither Hubby nor I really like flounder. Of all the fish in the sea, flounder is one we would usually pass by. It’s just not our preference. (Salmon, please?) But we did enjoy this preparation of flounder enough to record it. And if we end up with flounder in the freezer again, we’ll probably eat it this way. So, onward, to the deliciously unhealthy recipe!

Ingredients

  • 4 flounder filets
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¼-½ cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp. seasoned salt
  • a pinch of Savory
  • ½-1 tsp. ground red pepper
  • ½ cup fine bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp. butter or margarine
  • 4 strips bacon (secret ingredient!)

Directions

1. I skipped this step, but I would recommend that you do not. Ever so slightly fry the bacon on the stove, not enough to cook through, but just enough to get it started and drain off some of the oil.

2. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Very lightly grease the bottom of your baking dish. I would recommend a metal baking dish rather than a glass casserole dish. Line the bottom of the dish with your strips of bacon. Arrange flounder filets on top as your second layer.

3. Stir salt, spices, and cheese into the sour cream and spread the mixture over the fish so that all surfaces are covered. Top with bread crumbs and dot with the margarine.

4. Bake uncovered for 30 min. Stick a fork underneath and lift up to see that the bacon is finished before serving! Raw bacon = bad. Otherwise, enjoy! We served this with peas and mashed potatoes, and to serve I actually cut sideways through the bacon, making small squares, rather than trying to get a full strip of bacon in each serving. My husband didn’t know the bacon was underneath, and it turned out to be a nice, tasty surprise. Serves 4-6 people. Enjoy!

Interview On Army Wives’ Lives

Last Wednesday Ocipura.com and I were featured in an interview on Army Wives’ Lives. They blog about things that are related to the goings-on in the life of an Army wife, such as facing deployments and frequent moves, how to deal with it all, and so on. I appreciated the opportunity to do the interview and be featured on such a website because, for one thing, I don’t write about Army wife life quite as frequently as some other blogs. I only write about it occasionally, as it is not the main focus of Ocipura.com. And my other reason for being grateful is that the interview is helping give me the chance to meet other Army wives! I’ve already come in contact with two or three that I might not have met otherwise. If you’re interested, take a look at Army Wives’ Lives blog and my interview!

I Has a Fort

tumbles has a fort 2

We were catching up on some cleaning today, including Hubby washing a bunch of clothes that were still packed up from the barracks. Tumbles really enjoyed it.

Info For New Army Wives

Whether you’re just getting married to a soldier, or whether you’re already married to a man who is just becoming a soldier, you’ll be a new Army wife. There are a few things, from one new Army wife to another, that I’d like to share. I don’t know it all, by any means, but I’ve probably got a leg up on you. If not, maybe you can share your advice in the comments section.

The Army Owns Him

I heard my husband say this before we were married, and I think I vaguely understood the idea. But not really. What it boils down to is that the Army can do anything they want with their soldiers. The soldiers don’t have to be allowed to sleep or eat for what we might see as unreasonable amounts of time. The soldiers obviously have to be in very good physical shape, and they can be punished for falling short of standards.

In fact, they can be punished for anything their command doesn’t like, even if it’s not in the rules! The Army can jerk the soldiers around every which way and change plans at the last possible minute, and there is not really any system to hold them accountable because, well…

I think the reason is that whoever is in charge is only worried about the greater goals and accomplishments, and they aren’t concerned with who is stepped on to get there. Anyone who is low enough in the chain of command to care usually doesn’t have any power to change things.

Will you be owned by the Army when you marry in? Personally, I don’t think so, and I don’t consider myself to be owned by the Army. But I might as well be. Everything the Army does that affects my husband, affects me as well. They can mess up my plans by messing up his and affect my quality of life by affecting his. It seems unfair because, truly, it is. Life is unfair, Army life even more so.

There is Compensation

Before you start getting down or thinking that it’s all bad, I would remind you that there is compensation for the crap. You may or may not think that it is enough compensation.

  • Money – His paycheck comes on the same days of each month, without fail. The amount is plenty for us to live on if we’re smart about our spending. It will not be different from month to month because he is on salary, and no matter how much or how little he works in a given pay-period, his pay will be the same. Even though it can seem upsetting that he doesn’t get paid extra for working late (every day for the past two months…), I see this as a good thing. If he gets sick and cannot work, if we take a vacation, or if there are a number of holidays close together, the outcome is the same, and so is his pay.
  • Time Off – Admittedly, it is a hassle sometimes to get leave scheduled. As I mentioned in another post, sometimes leave packets get lost. Sometimes they get denied for silly reasons, too. But overall, it is, I think, easier to get extended periods of time off with the Army than with a civilian job. At least, it is for enlisted soldiers. I have no idea how it works for NCOs and Officers. If a civilian job would hesitate to let you take a week or two of paid vacation because there might be no one else to do your job for that time, the Army doesn’t seem to mind letting soldiers go because, well, there are several more guys in his squad that can usually cover any slack. If they’re not busy or doing training, that is.
  • Health Care – My husband and I will always get the healthcare we need. The system is not perfect by any means, and the waits are sometimes long for non-emergency medical situations, but that does not change the fact that whatever we need will be provided at little to no cost. After spending about four years of my adult life without medical insurance, this has meant a lot to me. It gives you peace of mind to know that you can get the medical care that you need.

Commonalities

As you go to FRG meetings and meet your husband’s friends along with their wives, you will find that you have a lot in common with the other military families.

Maybe, in another life, you wouldn’t have become friends with that other Army wife. Maybe your differences would have separated you. But in this life, you’re brought together by what you have in common. And there is a lot to have in common when your day-to-day life is in the hands of the Army. I have found that it doesn’t even matter if you’re shy, or if you have a hard time making friends. That camaraderie is still there. You can even tap into the support network through online communities and blogs, if you’re having trouble meeting people.

Support

Support your soldier! I’m grateful that my husband told me flat-out how much he covets my support as a wife. Not all men can speak their needs in such a way, but it meant a lot to hear that come directly from the horse’s mouth. If your husband doesn’t know how to say it, I’ll say it for him. He needs your support. Remember that the scheduling (and other) issues are not his fault, so make sure that you face the problems with him.

Take his side. Encourage him through the rough patches. Remember that his job is very, very important for our country.

I would suggest that you become familiar with his reasons for joining the military. You can use this knowledge to try to find the best ways to encourage and support him. It will help you understand him, and sometimes you may have to remind him of those reasons.

What You’ve Already Heard

You probably already know that you should memorize your husband’s social security number, as you will need it frequently. You may have figured out how common acronyms are in the military. I’ve only used two in this post. That probably goes to show how new I am! FRG stands for Family Readiness Group, and NCO stands for Non-Commissioned Officer. There are many, many more acronyms that you will, in time, become familiar with.

As this is not a comprehensive list, I’d be very happy to hear what else you think should be included. What other information would you give to a new Army wife?

The Most Illustrious Order of St. Patrick

It is one of three orders of chivalry that, rather than encompassing the entire UK, pertains only to one constituent nation: Ireland. The other two are The Most Noble Order of the Garter, which is England’s equivalent, and The Most Ancient and Noble Order of the Thistle, which pertains to Scotland.

Saint Patrick came to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland by the eighth century. He was a Christian missionary to Ireland, and, according to Irish folklore, taught the Irish about the Holy Trinity by using the shamrock. March 17 is believed to have been the date on which he died, and it is the date celebrated as his feast day (St. Patrick’s Day).

While historically Saint Patrick’s blue was considered symbolic of Ireland, the national color is now green. Wearing a shamrock in one’s lapel to honor the day was a common practice as early as the seventeenth century, and it has grown since then to wearing green garments as well. (Video here)

It is believed that the tradition of drinking on St. Patrick’s Day came from its having served as a one-day break during the forty days of Lent.

These are just some interesting facts I found on Wikipedia. I’ve never really celebrated St. Patrick’s Day outside of wearing green so that I don’t get pinched. 🙂 Maybe I should, though. I’m glad I looked into it!