I type facebook like this: lower case f, then acebook. At some point, autocorrect started changing facebook, and I learned just now, acebook, to Facebook. This sneaky normalization creeps me out, and today, I deleted my facebook account.
Like other jumps I’ve made in the last two years, it feels uncomfortable AND important. For context, I’ve stepped back from alcohol, now a rare guest. I’m eating vegetarian meals more often, and not strictly by any means. I’m making serious changes to the stress palate in my life, including the professional shifts I’ve been writing about.
I could pretend these were not hard decisions for me, because that would mean something socially glorious. It is more accurate to admit it’s been hard. And it feels important to emphasize that I’m not a hater. I don’t find it useful to manualize my own choices as an answer for others. I don’t expect to someday preside over a posse of mostly sober, mostly vegetarian, social media-free justice fighters. (But in writing that, I admit I kinda need to reserve the right to change my mind later…)
In fact, I can clearly see Facebook’s usefulness, I love cocktails, and the food thing is just hard for everyone on at least some level. Yesterday I actually drank some fireball whiskey and ate sausage hot wing meatballs my husband made for the Super Bowl (also autocorrected to a proper noun, incidentally), and I feel really good about all of that.
So, why the changes?
In all honesty, I finally deleted my account because I also had to have a breast mass biopsy today. (**It’s a simple fibrous lump. The pathology will be normal, though there is now a little titanium clip on that sucker.)
It was the proverbial straw. Over the past two years, I’ve spent as much money on medical bills and supplements as anything else in my budget, aside from my mortgage – despite having really good healthcare insurance. I do this because I care about my body, and my body is a normal and quirky human body.
At the same time, I’m rarely, if ever, outside if it’s not either A) sunny and water is involved or B) snowy and skiing is involved. It’s been a bad year for B, so you’ll understand where that leaves things.
My body is aging, yet I am still young. I am tired, overwhelmed, and sore.
Last, and underlying all of this, I am sometimes lonely, despite being well loved and surrounded by people I adore. There are times when I am uncomfortable in the world.
It’s easy, for me as well as others, to make excuses and stories about these things. It’s very easy to make harsh assumptions about these things. It’s easier yet to keep looking for little sparks of connection on facebook. But what’s harder than undoing autocorrect enough times to reset my computer’s auto behavior? Resetting my own auto behavior.
I am certain, more than ever, that if I don’t stop leaning on facebook, pinterest, and my smart phone, that I will continue to be lonely, tired, and unhealthy for more of my life than I care to waste. I will continue to doubt that I possess the creativity to make my own way in this life, the exuberance to enjoy it thoroughly, and the ability to heal my body’s many little quirks it is working through.
I will continue to feel that I need approval as if it were oxygen, that I am supposed to be better at social games I am horrible at, and I will keep looking for reassurance that I am doing it all ever so correctly. Which, in today’s world looks like this:
being perfectly imperfect,
giving no f’s,
while still being kind,
and a part of the community,
but not needing anyone in any certain way that is awkward or too needy (**wait, see perfectly imperfect – because if you show up needy or awkward you may be fulfilling that, and therefore off the hook).
Despite my age, experience, and confidence, this constant comparison we’ve perpetuated leaves me confused about where I stand – many times a week. I don’t know what this is all supposed to look like if it’s not what we’re all doing already. I’m pretty sure we’re all doing just fine, yet few of us feel that way.
Did anything happen on facebook to deserve this breakup? No. Nothing happened. Rather, I have enjoyed using facebook to share posts about justice and equality, my musings, Maria Montessori, and the joy of children. I’ve looked at the profiles of people I love and miss, when I’m missing them and it’s late at night and I can’t call, or when they are busy with the churn of their own lives and not available.
I’ve stared at pictures of my sisters’ babies, who I rarely get to see, and retraced the features of their beautiful faces so I can feel I know them a little better. I’ve read amazing articles posted by my friend who is a biologist, fellow mental health workers, and advocates for children. I’ve stayed in the loop about world events, both beautiful and atrocious. I’ve loved all my time on facebook. It’s helped me focus on what I am about, what my “likes” are, and how I enjoy my people.
It’s simply time for me to be out in the hot tub at night, looking at the stars, and painting, writing, and sketching. I want to swim in the evenings, and the running season (for we part timers) is just around the corner – a half marathon in May, a relay in July. I want to travel, learn Spanish, and music. When my friends call, or my children approach, I want to be available. I want to continue to dig more deeply into my community here, without knowing more than I should about its members. I want my anonymity back.
But mostly, at the end of my day, and at the end of my life, I want to know that I ate what I wanted to, drank what I wanted to, and played how I wanted to. I want to say, and believe, that I wasn’t insidiously shaped by the act of sitting on my ass, every night, looking at social media. I want a break from the unintentional charming and entrapment we play against one another, and the methods by which we pull ourselves far from our own, secure hubs – be they ever so increasingly vulnerable.