Saturday night I fell down a Syrian orphan black hole that started on Facebook. It pretty much ruined the next 48 hours of my life. (Which, if we’re being honest, is deserved. If children are drowning while trying to paddle inflatable rafts to 3rd world living conditions, I can have a bad day after looking at pictures of the whole ordeal from my air conditioned condo…) It’s not Facebook’s fault that the Syrian children are slipping into oblivion. It’s not Facebook’s fault that they don’t have access to housing, food, education, or medical care. But increasingly I realize that the only reason I am so inundated with all the terrible, bad shit that is happening in the world is because of Facebook. It’s also the reason I’m starting to dislike actual friends of mine OUTSIDE of Facebook. There are things I can’t unsee (your support for Trump) or get over (the STARK difference in opinion we have about #blacklivesmatter and what someone should or should not have to do during the National Anthem).
Now, we can argue reasonably that I need to stay on Facebook because I need to be subjected to this kind of thing. But here’s the thing: no. I don’t. Because there’s a tipping point. There’s a point at which the focus is so much on the horrible tragedies that I feel hopeless. I am no longer inspired by what I can do; I am defeated by what I can’t do. I also need to stop listening to the opinions of every person with a keyboard and focus my attention on finding information myself. I need to care about the sources of my content. I’m not even sure where people find accurate, unbiased content any more. Unless it’s content about pandas eating popsicles. That I can find.
Also, people are absurd and I’m tired of their bullshit. So there’s that.
I decided to deactivate my Facebook account for 60 days. It coincides with my need to cleanse and reset other parts of my life, as well. The holidays are coming and I need to take some time to be present for the next few months of my life. You know, be a fucking grown up.
Don’t misunderstand me, though. I love Facebook. I’m not one of those people who walks away with two middle fingers up, yelling about how Facebook is just a bunch of petty fucks and obnoxious stay at home moms justifying their days. (Sidenote: quit doing that. I don’t justify what I do all day, you don’t have to either.) Unlike people who get down on themselves because of the rampant visual success of their friends and high school classmates, I own it. I own that my life is at least 60% worse than my Facebook friend set. And I’m okay with that. Facebook is a curation. You actually get to decide what to show people. If you don’t like what you’re presenting, I’d suggest changing it. (If I think you’re a hot mess, it’s likely because you’re posting a lot of hot mess-ishness. STOP.) I like creating a caricature of myself that I get to feed with posts and comments. For these next 60 days, my blog is going to be like the tree that fell in the woods. Nearly 70% of my blog traffic comes from Facebook referrals. This decision takes me from relative obscurity to complete obscurity. It’s an unexpected blow to my self esteem.
At 11:30am I deactivated. Head’s up, Facebook makes it REALLY hard to deactivate. So hard. They have all sorts of pop ups explaining why your decision is a bad one. (If you have a weak will, you won’t make it to the end.) One of them is that you should not actually deactivate. Thanks, FB. You should just log out. Wha? Then all I have to do is log back in. They also remind you that you won’t be connected to all these amazing people. And then they tell you who they are and give you examples of the prime content you’re missing. Look what Erin is doing RIGHT NOW that you will miss if you leave! They really lay it on thick. Just getting to the actual deactivation is an act of god.
By 11:36am I felt the huge, social media-sized hole in my life. I felt like I’d quit smoking. WHAT WAS I GOING TO DO WHEN I WAS BORED? Be bored, apparently. Wonder what that’s going to be like. (I’m also currently between episodes on Candy Crush, so I don’t even have that to occupy me. I cannot do anything in the bathroom at work right now except for pee. It’s like freshman year of high school. Only without copying Jenni’s calculus homework in the handicapped stall.)
At 12:24pm I got a text of a horrifying looking featherless bird that was trending. Apparently I was missing some BIG SHIT on Facebook. Thank god for friends.
At least 16 times between 11:30 and 1:30 I thought of something hilarious that I wanted to post. Because obviously those things would make people LIKE ME MORE. But I couldn’t. I had to just think my funny thoughts and keep them in my head. Where they will likely fester and then cause me an aneurism.
Then I checked Candy Crush. Confirming that I still have 33 hours before the next level unlocks.
Then I thought about how much more present and thoughtful I am going to have to be. I’m going to have to put effort into making the people in my physical life connect with me. I don’t have an online alter-ego where people will always talk and respond and gratify me. OH SWEET CHRIST.
Wonder if my cell phone battery will last longer?
Lunch helped distract me for a bit. I’ll probably need to call my therapist by EOD tomorrow to get more Xanax to cope with how many events I’m missing because I just don’t know about them.
What if no one ever invites me to anything again?
Are other people as upset about the weather today? Or is there actually bad weather where they are?
Who am I?
What is the meaning of life?
59.5 days to go…