For the first time since the creation of my MySpace account in my early 20s, I am taking a sabbatical from social networking. It was something I had been thinking about for some time, but recent events in my life, combined with the New Year, gave me that final push to disconnect.
I deactivated my Facebook first, on New Year’s Eve. It was half-NYE resolution, half self-preservation. I couldn’t bear seeing everyone happy when I was going through such a difficult time. Further than that, I didn’t want to become That Girl. You know what I mean, the girl who shovels her pain and dumps it all over Facebook. I know myself too well, and have a proclivity toward that style of post-relationship exploits. Further, I knew I would constantly check the newsfeed of my brand new former boyfriend, as well as post things to get his attention. “I wonder what he will think when he sees THIS!” is generally how that kind of things goes. It takes me to levels of wretchedness that are entirely unbecoming.
So instead of Facebook becoming a dumpster for my emotional turmoil, I dumped Facebook, and it has been an easier adjustment than I thought. I don’t miss it, and only occasionally do I long to poke my head around that door to see what everyone is up to. For the most part, I feel like it has been a load off my back. My self-esteem isn’t taking a beating by seeing my pregnant friends, baby pictures, new engagements, new jobs, and other fabulous things going on in (what feels like) everyone’s life but mine. Knowing that I can return at any time is nice, but I have no currently plans to do so.
At the time of the Great Facebook Dumpage, I decided I would keep my Twitter account, as that feels much more anonymous and less “Look at meeeeee” I should have known that I would end up doing exactly on my Twitter what I knew I would do on my Facebook. I tweeted sad things about breakups and miscarriages. I liked and re-tweeted things on relationships. I posted pictures and other “look at what I’m doing!” updates. I thought it would be therapeutic, but it was only more damaging. I was constantly scanning his Twitterfeed, and wondering if he was scanning mine as well. I was making an online spectacle of myself. It was absolutely ridiculous.
So, in the spirit of self-care, I deactivated Twitter as well. I have 30 days before Twitter deletes all of my online content. I put a notice in my phone to remind me to reactivate if I don’t want to lose my account. The only thing I have kept is my Instagram. It turns out you cannot deactivate IG, you can only delete it. Since IG is just photos, I decided it would be the one thing I would continue to look at, but in keeping with my deactivation plan, I don’t post pictures. It is my one little connection to social media, and it was only slightly painful last night seeing my ex’s photo at the Blazer game. I don’t have the heart or desire to stop following him. So I put on my big girl pants, “liked” his photo, marinated in a few minutes of gut-wrenching sadness and regret, and then moved on with my evening.
My only remaining online social outlet is WordPress, which no one reads except the dear souls who have decided to follow me. I can say whatever I want and it doesn’t matter. It’s mostly anonymous, it’s no longer linked to any social media outlet, and I know he doesn’t read it anymore. So this is my emotional dumping ground. I would apologize, but you are reading this willingly, so the blame is on you, dear reader.
So, what is this deactivation doing for me, aside from keeping me from continuing my decent into a Scout Badge-worthy, Lifetime Movie of the Week-quality ex-boyfriend stalker? (For the record, I have not driven past, or parked near, his house again. That one shameful, ego-razing time was quite enough.) Well, it is forcing me to find other valuable things to do with my time. I am reading again, I am writing on a daily basis (it ain’t Shakespeare, but it’s my writing nonetheless), I scored a cheap monthly membership to a yoga studio and have my second class tonight, and hopefully I begin spending more time with my friends. Real face time, not that phony online persona BS “connection.”
Not to get all philosophical or idealistic on anyone, but the truth is this: I only have one life to live. I don’t want to spend it pouring over the online content of my social networks. My ex and I would sit together at a bar and just stare at our phones between brief snippets of conversation. Now when I am out with friends, I don’t have anything to look at but them. When I want to know how they are doing, I don’t check their Facebook page or Twitter feed, I just straight up ask them.
My social media sabbatical has has also required me to take hard look inward at my mistakes and the follies of my life. More to come on that in another future post. I have no doubt, dear reader, that you are on the edge of your seat to read more about my inner-musings, self-reflection, and time in therapy. (Legit time in therapy, not booze-induced therapy. Although I participate in that as well.)
Until next time ~ B