At Arm’s Length

I’ve come to the difficult realisation recently that I tend to live life at arm’s length. Even the people I care for most tell me I can feel decidedly distant from them at times, disconnected and detached, and however uncomfortable it is for me to accept, sometimes I feel it in myself too and know they are right.

In holding on so tight, so carefully to the fragile core that feels essentially me, I inadvertently create protective barriers in my heart. These barriers may well prevent further hurt from entering, but to a certain extent they also act as a shield to deflect the full force of the love that is on offer from others, and stop me from fully returning it too.

I engage cautiously with life, but do not fully commit to immersing myself in it. I remain forever stranded on the shore, wading dejectedly in the shallows and the shadows, existing in the imagined safety of a kind of liminal space where I am neither out nor in, hedging my bets, sitting on the fence, and feeling dismally alone.

My aloneness hurts, but deep down it feels better than the risk of rejection. But I’ve had enough of paddling perpetually on the periphery, restricting myself to always appearing reserved and remote. I want to learn to trust in myself to trust others, to trust in life itself, and move forward to a new level of involvement where I can feel truly comfortable to give life and love my all, come what may…

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Comfortable


Frustrated and Furious with Facebook…

I used to have a Facebook account – over the ten years I stuck with Facebook I went from initially finding it a fun way to keep in touch with friends and family, through beginning to feel it was all getting a bit out of hand after it was first floated on the stock market with a pushy newsfeed prioritising annoying adverts and other marketing over personal content, to finally finding it so overly manipulative and intrusive data-wise it became impossible for me to put up with personally. So earlier this year I requested deletion of my account – not just deactivated, but deleted entirely.

Except… last week I suddenly received an email from Facebook out of the blue with ‘friend suggestions’ for an apparently new Facebook account, not actually in my own name but clearly linked to my email address, that I knew absolutely nothing about. When I tried to click on the ‘Not you? Let us know’ link on the email it eventually took me to the actual Facebook account in question, and immediately I received another email from Facebook saying ‘Welcome to Facebook, your account has been created’. WTF?

Frustrated, I tried to think creatively and used the account Facebook had linked me to in order to access their support page, where I sent them an online query explaining that I did not actually have a Facebook account at all, never mind this one, and asking why my personal email address was apparently linked to someone else’s account – or if not to someone else’s account, linked to a bogus account that I had definitely not asked to set up. And soon I received the following reply: –

‘Hi Ruth,

Thanks for writing in. Unfortunately, we don’t currently have an account associated with this email. If you’re trying to create a new Facebook account, you’ll need to sign up again.

If you’d like to add this email address to an existing account, you can learn how in the Help Center.’

Um… seriously? That’s it for helpful suggestions from Facebook support? I only found out about this bogus account in the first place because of an email sent to me from Facebook, yet they claim not to have an account linked to my email address? And to add insult to injury, the emails with ‘friend suggestions’ just kept on coming. What’s almost worse is that many of the names on these ‘friend suggestions’ emails are actually my real life friends and family who were all on my original friends list on my original Facebook account.

Hmmm… seriously not impressed, Facebook. Just how ‘permanantly deleted’ WAS my original account for all these people to turn up linked to my personal email address that had indeed previously been linked to my old account?  And for that matter how is it possible for Facebook, long after my apparent account deletion, to still have access to my email address to be emailing me in the first place, then apparently denying all knowledge of it?

Since then I’ve tried multiple convoluted ways to contact Facebook myself to (1) try to find out what the hell is going on and (2) find out how to get rid of this bogus account, but frustratingly have had no success. And even more frustratingly I found that after several of those abortive attempts to rid myself of this fledgling Facebook account I didn’t even ask for, due to ‘suspicious activity’ on the account I was suddenly no longer able to access anything to send any more messages without first logging in.

But of course as I had not personally set the account up, I had no idea what the log-in password might be. However, I remembered one of the emails I had received earlier in this Facebook fiasco had said: –

‘Hi Ruth,

We’ve noticed that you’re having trouble with logging in to your account. If you need help, click the button below and we’ll log you in.’

At the time the email turned up I was so furious at Facebook that I yelled at my computer and called the company a whole varied selection of choice expletives. But this morning I thought – fuck it, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em – literally. So I clicked on the link in the email, found myself once more on the dodgy account, went straight to ‘Manage Account’ and requested deletion. Nope, apparently not possible without entering my log-in details. FFS!

So I clicked on the ‘Forgotten your password?’ link and was immediately sent an email code to be able to re-set the password. Eureka! I reset the password for the Facebook account that is NOT mine and apparently is NOT officially linked to my email address, returned to ‘Delete account’, typed in the new log-in password and hey presto, the account is finally scheduled for deletion, whatever level of dodginess that means in Facebook-speak. Hopefully that will be an end to it.

But for me there are serious questions that remain unanswered. Why have I been receiving any emails at all from Facebook? Why do they still have my email address? Why did they not seriously try to help me out properly with my query when I first contacted them? Is this genuinely Facebook or is it Russian hackers in the background manipulating data again? Fat kid in his bedroom with a chip on his shoulder? Who knows? Who cares? Not Facebook, that’s for sure.

But there is one thing I DO know.  If this is how Facebook as a company respond to issues flagged that may relate to potential identity theft and data fraud, especially in this current social-media-data-manipulation climate and with all the bad press they’ve received over the last few months, I know I never want to be associated with them again in the future, no matter what.


Just for the record, here is my up-to-date email trail from Facebook, who apparently claim they have no account linked to my email address… OK guys, if you say so… you’re the big data company after all, and I’m just a very disgruntled little ex-customer with a genuine complaint, and my legitimate concerns clearly don’t count as important enough for you to even bother to care about…

Poor, poor show, Facebook: Fail all round… 😦

Share Your World: 23 July 2018

What is your choice of puzzle – jigsaw, crossword, wordsearch, mazes, logic or numeric puzzles, something else, or nothing?

I used to try to do the three sudoku puzzles printed in the Metro (daily free newpaper given out at London tube stations) on my half-hour-or-so-each-way commute to and from work – they were labelled ‘easy’, ‘moderate’ and ‘difficult’. I usually (but not always) managed the easy one, generally struggled partially through the moderate one, and rarely even got started on the difficult one. However once (and only once, it was never to be repeated) I actually managed to complete all three in the one day – result!

List at least five favourite treats (and it doesn’t have to be food)?

A long, uninterrupted soak in a hot bath – long ago, as a young mum of three children born with 12 months between the first two and 15 months between the second and third, the peace and quiet of relaxing in the bath in the evening after they were all tucked up in bed soon became an absolute luxury I’ve never lost the feeling for.

Spending time with my much-loved children and grandchildren, who at the moment I’m unable to see as often as I would like ❤

Expensive perfume – not because it’s expensive, but just because those particular perfume scents I seem to prefer tend to be expensive.

Good quality milk chocolate, creamy and smooth and melt-in-the-mouth… mmmmm…!

Having books to read to feed my curiosity and imagination – whether fiction or non-fiction, words digested in silence and solitude have always opened up the world for me.

What is your favourite type of dog?

As a family we had two labradors while I was growing up, first a golden lab and then a black one, so I suppose I’ll always have a bit of a soft spot in my heart for that particular breed.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this week?

Seeing a grainy grey ultrasound scan image of grandbaby number six, who is due to be born early in the new year… 🙂

Cee’s Share Your World