It’s Not Worth It

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You complete me, http://inspirobot.me/

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The above image pretty much sums up my general mood lately.

I surprised myself today by impulsively taking Facebook off my phone. I’m finding myself listlessly scrolling through social media far too often, bored with my life, and seeking solace in dumb places.

Facebook is dumb. Yeah, I said it.

To be clear, I’ve made real connections with great people on Facebook. I’m in a private group, for example, with amazing, open-minded, intelligent women I adore. They’ve been a godsend, as I live in a state where the first question I’m asked by another mom on the playground is “Where do you go to church?” so I don’t really have many real life friends.

(No offense if church gives you peace, but I consider my spirituality a private thing not to be discussed with strangers I’ve known all of 15 minutes. Maybe learn my last name before we wax existential.)

I don’t go out much. I isolate myself on purpose. Having a child means I don’t often get invited to fun things. That’s being a parent: I know the rules. I signed up for this.

Regardless, I’m lonely as fuck. Yes, even for an introvert. We introverts still need friends. We like to do things, too–just not every day. There’s a difference between needing a break between doing things to recharge, and being antisocial. I’m not antisocial. Humanity has disappointed me from my biological father onward, but I still believe people are generally good, I promise.

I do.

It has occurred to me lately, however, that I probably could have written two books with the time I’ve lost commenting, reading linked articles, and mindlessly staring at random mental offerings on fucking Facebook.

What else could I have done with my time? All that precious time.

Social media in all forms is a time-suck, and Facebook is, for me, the biggest rabbit hole of them all.

I will scan Twitter for the latest shitty things happening in our country, and be burned out very quickly. We’re all shouting into a void together, watching the world burn in real time. Sarcastic thumbs up. I can take about 5 minutes of that shit. No addiction there.

Instagram is like looking through a photo album for a few minutes and done. I’m good. I can easily stop.

Pinterest bored me. I lasted about a year and deleted it when I got an email notice my account was hacked because I didn’t care. Bye-ee.

I feel too old for the app with all the cutesy animal and flower filters. Like I’m someone’s sad mom trying to wear Forever 21 clothes and go clubbing with my adult daughter. Can’t Snapchat without feeling self-conscious about my age.

Facebook, however, is a trap. It’s an addictive maze built by other people’s hopes, dreams, problems, angst, joy, vitriol, politics, and constant images to be wandered through lost, turning corners, desperately trying to find the way out of their heads. It’s like being smacked repeatedly in the face by hundreds of turbulent psyches at the same time. I find it entirely overwhelming.

I read my Facebook feed in a state of panic, sorting through the wreckage, looking for the happier thoughts to pull free and save–but I can never get to them all.

Sometimes the injustice of something horrible will compel me to share it, hoping to help in some small way, to shed light on the darkness. I almost always later delete these anger-shares, realizing I’m helping nothing. I’m spreading darkness, not awareness. No light there.

Sometimes I stumble across a happy story, like a shiny penny heads-up in a dirty parking lot, and I share it, desperately hoping to make someone else feel a lucky, rare moment of happiness, too.

Then I feel ashamed of my privilege because I can pretend the bad things aren’t happening if I look away–I have the luxury of only sharing happy, shiny things if I want–yet ignoring evil never helped anything change for the better.

So I freeze and share nothing. Or share it all. But no matter what, I always feel like I’m doing it wrong.

Facebook is a psychological disaster.

It’s too much. I’m a really sensitive person, but really, it’s too much for anyone. We weren’t built for this. It’s not supposed to be like this.

Yay! We’re so connected now! we crow triumphantly, ignoring all the ways “being connected” has torn us apart, and in many ways created more separation between humans than ever before.

And the stupid, stupid little high school drama fights. I usually delete argument-baiting comments from nitwits and move on, but recently engaged with one–and it was one of the most ridiculous interactions I’ve ever experienced. I felt my IQ drop 10 points for letting a pathetic troll goad me into responding. Never again.

I also feel like an idiot for not realizing how vulnerable to data theft we have all been because duh, as people have said since the inception of Facebook, WE are the product being sold. That’s why it’s free. (Because it’s not.)

I’m now considering shutting down my profile. I used to take breaks from Facebook, but I’ve seen so many snide memes and comments about people announcing that they’re leaving that I’ll probably quietly step away for real, rather than only taking a break.

Because I often have multiple private messages waiting on Facebook when I come back from a break, I used to post a comment that I was leaving for a bit because the thought of someone reaching out to me and not receiving an answer made me feel guilty. (I’m almost entirely motivated by guilt. It’s a living.)

Leaving a comment on my timeline as a “Taking a break, not ignoring you!” placeholder notice was never meant as a dramatic “Please beg me to stay/tell me you’ll miss me!” attention grab, as I didn’t say I wasn’t coming back–it was merely me trying to be polite and/or informative. Yet I see asshole-ish memes about doing this, implying I’m supposed to leave people hanging out in my inbox indefinitely, wondering why I’m not answering. (Yes, I’ve come back to “Did I piss you off? Why aren’t you answering?” messages.)

So I think the thing to do is to deactivate my profile without warning–except disappearing quietly from lives is now known to the exquisitely insecure among us as “ghosting,” and is a bad thing, according to the latest articles written by most-likely toxic people who get “ghosted” a lot and don’t want to accept responsibility for their crappy behavior.

(Because placing a boundary and walking away from someone who doesn’t treat you well without reaching out to make absolutely sure they know why they suck is “ghosting” and the kind thing to do? Ummm… yeah. Okay, butt-hurts. Keep telling yourselves that, but I promise you didn’t want to have that talk with me about your bullshit before I walked. It wasn’t going to be nicer than me stepping away quietly. Trust.)

So basically, I can’t win. I can either announce I’m taking a break or leaving for awhile so the snide people can feel superior, roll their eyes, and say, “Gosh, just leave, drama queen!” -OR- I can make myself go away without fuss, and then I’m a dick who’s “ghosting” everyone if I don’t send a personal message to each of the the hundreds of people I know, explaining kindly why I’m leaving them.

See? Dumb.

It’s all so dumb.

I have better things to do.

They might also be dumb, but at least they’ll be dumb for me.

(“Dumb for Me” would make a great memoir title. Dibs.)

I don’t want to think about dumb shit like this anymore. My brain is full of dumb social media things and I want it to be full of cool things.

I want to learn another language. Or two.

I bought art supplies and a stack of canvases two Christmases ago, and I have wanted to paint since, but haven’t done it. I want to try painting.

I have GarageBand and a son who’s a whiz with it who can help me record music, and I’ve been playing guitar. I want to do more of that. I want to write songs again.

I want my writing to mean something. So whenever I feel like writing, or venting, or babbling on Facebook, I’m going to come here instead to do it, because at least then my thoughts aren’t disappearing into the mind-numbing ether of a pointless timeline scroll. My words have a roof over their head here instead of limply trying to perform in Zuckerberg’s Unraveling Circus.

I want to do yoga again, in addition to strength training. I was meditating daily for a while with my son and we both loved it. I want to start doing that again, too.

We were having weekly board game night and stopped. I want to play board games and non-screen activities with my kid. I want to take walks.

More than anything, I want to stop catching myself staring down at my stupid smartphone like all the other zombies, mindlessly tapping and scrolling while our necks wrinkle in new and exciting ways, when I’m surrounded by living human beings I should be talking to in person.

It’s not worth it.

I want to feel again.

I want my life back.

 

 

 

 

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