Just about five months ago, while scrolling through Facebook on my phone, I deleted the app in anger. And then, not only did the world not end, it felt like it improved.
The actual world, well, that has been getting progressively worse since June. I mean, of course, I still follow the news and cringe through each new embarrassment my national government heaps upon itself, but I cringe through it on my own terms. This came in really handy during the Brett Kavanaugh Confirmation Shit Show. As a member of Gen X, I don’t readily believe in trigger warnings, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get triggered. The fight or flight (or in my case really it’s more a freeze) response came on strong, so having some control of where I would encounter the newest travesty and my rage response was really important.
To clarify, most of the things that could potentially tip me over the edge weren’t coming from those with opposing political views. Way before Trump was even elected, I shut that part of my feed down. Filtering was done as an act of love — for myself. I refused to flog my teeny tiny idealistic inner child over feeling bad that I couldn’t change another person’s stupidity, greed, hate, bigotry, etc. FUCK ‘EM!
Or more accurately: La la la la la, I’m forgetting that you and your black heart exist. La la la la la la…I live in California! La la la la la….confrontation feels more uncomfortable than being right feels good.
(When I mentioned that freeze was my go-to defense strategy, I really meant sleep, power-down, ignore it to death, sing loud to drown it all out).
This, then, leaves me with a feed of friends with the same core values. Friends who are equally as pissed off. Friends who are reposting and venting and stirring up thoughts and emotions via memes, memes, and more memes. It was bumming me out, dude. Preaching to the choir was just percolating my acrimony. It wasn’t just those social justice warriors I count amongst my nearest and dearest either. It was all y’all just wanting a better life for yourself, for your kids, for your adorable pets. I wanted to rally, I truly did. But the urge to fight faded fast into the need to nap.
That doesn’t mean I never fought though. I had my fair share of pissing matches with the douche canoe friends of my friends. I would be angry at some comment and then angrier at myself for responding. Unfortunately that anger never completely vanished once I looked up from my phone and resumed my day.
So with Facebook off my phone, I freed myself from…well, myself. At least when I was out in the world. Or on my bed. Or on the couch watching TV. Once I kicked my mobile Facebook habit, my phone stopped being as important. I would leave it the other room, in the car, in other people’s cars.
Eventually I forgot why Facebook had been so important to me. I would sit at my laptop and type in Facebook out of habit and then wonder what I was there for. Did I really truly care what was going on every day in every friend’s life? No, because as I started to realize, most of the updates were just noise. The same noise day after day. Real life updates, hot gossip about people we actually know, interesting stories, personal promotion, reviews and/or recommendations, pictures of your family, cute animals, a new pair of shoes, things that make me laugh — they are few and far between. It’s a lot of boring-ass, complaining bullshit noise (& bitches shilling Rodan & Fields). Sorry, not sorry, friends.
But I’m as guilty as you. And while I still haven’t kicked the Facebook habit completely, I have made two observations over the last month:
1) My friends take a lot of selfies.
Yes, you look good, but unless you have a witty AF caption, are someplace exciting, are with other people, or modeling a new or spectacular look, I am not sure why, as a person in your 40’s, you need to post so many pictures of yourself.
2) I am on really not on Facebook to keep up with the lives of my friends, but to post about my own.
When I’m not actively posting, I’m not that into Facebook. Yeah, I am super self-absorbed (this whole column is me writing about me, after all), but I think the actual point of Facebook is “Let’s talk about me— and maybe scroll through stuff about you, so I can comment something about me.” And as we all know, some of friends take this to a dark place, but most of us don’t maliciously post about ourselves to make others feel inferior, we just post about ourselves to make ourselves feel significant.
Saved from the burden of thinking about what I would say about the thing I’m doing, I actually started just living in the moment.
Then again my Bejeweled scores have also really improved and I’m really making headway in my Podcast queue — because the moment is sometimes excruciatingly boring and I’m uneasy about being alone in my own headspace for too long.