Saturday, June 19, 2010

Keep In Touch

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(Kacie Waits, 2010)

Though I consider myself to be a caring person and a decent friend, I will freely admit to being horrible about keeping in touch with people that I don't deal with in my daily life. It is a struggle that I have to actively work at, making little reminders to myself in order to let those that I care about in different states and countries know that I am thinking of them. To put it a simpler way, the phrase I've unintentionally subscribed to my whole life is "out of sight, out of mind," and I don't like it.

We've all had people come in and out of our lives, some of whom have names we can't remember, while others have names we wish we could forget. At some point you will run into these people again, whether at the store, on vacation, or dating your sister. So often I've had to be momentarily polite and then avoid their desire to reconnect as quickly as possible, never once feeling bad about not sharing their interests in rekindling our association.

To be even more blunt, I've never understood how having a shared experience with someone for a brief period, such as an academic class or working together at a part-time job, allows that person to pretend that they have a close relationship with you years later. Now that's not to say that people whose social lives revolve around work, school, or some other organization is a bad thing, because it isn't. However, if that's the only thing you have in common, I think it might be a bit silly to want to stay in contact to share stories of your grandkids thirty years later.

We've all lived diverse chapters in our lives, from attending schools in different states, working in many different job fields, and traveling in ever-changing social circles. There are a lot of great people that I always wished I could stay connected to, and there are three times as many that I wish I could avoid indefinitely.

So, with the dawn of life-consuming social networking sites, my fear of this "keep in touch" phenomenon has only been heightened. For a long time I was apprehensive about becoming fully engaged in sites like Facebook and MySpace, fearing that the only people that would find me were my disgruntled ex-girlfriends or the jealous boyfriends of past models. Surprisingly, I have been excited and inspired by finding people from my past who I truly enjoyed knowing back then or have sincerely missed from my life.

In the last three years, I've found people I've been searching for or have been thinking of for years. We've had dinners, worked on projects together, and, at the very least, been able to stay in touch with the aid of all of this amazing modern technology. Just today I shot family portraits for an old boy scout and high school friend who, up until two years ago, I hadn't heard from in over fifteen years. I've been lucky enough to see his son grow and change every time they come back to visit our home town. Even though we weren't and aren't the closest of friends, having that small piece of my past life, which I practically ignore and rarely think about, makes me feel more complete in a way I never knew was lacking. That is just one of at least a dozen examples I could cite, and I am curiously optimistic about who else might come out of the ether.

At best, maybe I'm becoming more mature and am able to handle more complex friendships and relationships than I ever have before. At worst, I've become nostalgic and am perhaps glossing over the past. Either way, I can't deny that it feels right.


  1. Yhea... Great writing! You seem like such a genuine guy, Mark! This really made me think.


  2. Though our lives crossed only briefly you quickly became someone I am proud to say my friend. And you had the same profound affect on my brother and Mike Hensley as well as others in the area. Your personality and genuine openness is something that West Virginians cherish. We may at times seem a bit backwards and back woods but we are strong in family, friendship and spirit. It is something that I take great pride in. You have all these traits. Open, honest, kind hearted, and ready to put your fiends before your self.

    So I now bestow upon you Mr. Mark Velasquez the Honorary status of a West Virginia Mountaineer. All the privileges and rights (Thought I am not quite sure what they are if any) . Though you have never lived here and only visited for a short time you had a profound impact on many of out citizens lives. I now say you are one of us. From the highest mountains of Dolly Sods, to the flats of Cannan, to the Ohio River Valley you are always welcome to return to your second home. Stop by anytime, we’ll leave the lights on for ya!

  3. I'm glad you were able to reconnect with your past. And I hope we can be friends (virtual ones at least) in the future! Even if you did have to withdraw from the Facebook forum posted by the smARTteacher. ;P I'm still rootin' for ya on the show!

  4. You think you feel bad! I haven't wrote my sister and she has sent me things in the mail and even promised to come and visit me. Unfortunately I am homeless person in the CASS Shelter in Phoenix Az visiting my girlfriend. It's not easy to stay in touch the way I would like to. If you're reading this ever, shout out to Lilly Hernandez of Cedar Rapids Iowa. Eric Hernandez of Phoenix Az It fells like a loss of Faith but it's not. It's just regrettable slacking that we all need to put some effort into avoiding. Not just you. Thanks Mark.

  5. Me too! It's Irish Spring, picka pen up please do!

  6. Mark, I don't normally read blogs but I'm glad that tonight, even though it's late and I have a full day on tomorrow, I decided to go from your flickr page seeking more insight into what kind of person you might be to get your models so seemingly comfortable and expressive in your photos.

    It was a real pleasure to read a number of entries going back a way (I'm unfortunately too tired to keep going). There were certainly things to smile about and be sad about, and the honesty and quality of thought is much appreciated.

    It reminded me of a time when I used to think more. To actually write in my diary and dwell over thoughtful letters to penpals overseas as a way of figuring out my own life and direction. A time when I used to call distant friends as I travelled for work, just to stay in touch and remind myself that friends were only ever a phonecall away.

    Your writing is in stark contrast to the 'communication' of today. Facebook. Twitter. Inane, pointless proclamations lacking any real thought or desire for deep and meaningful response. 'Friending' with a horde of people you are never likely to meet or even speak to. 'lol' indeed. Well done internet ... wiping out meaningful, artful written expression in a single generation.

    Back to the point. I didn't find what I was expecting but I found an answer nonetheless. Thank you and good night.

  7. Gallo says:

    It’s great that everything is moving forward. The pain is the problemw. I had necrotize faciitis. It’s 13the months now for me and I still have pain. It is not severe. I found the supports is big help. She is getting alot of it. Keep in touch.

    Keeping In Touch