Monday, December 8, 2014

Three or four months ago, I deactivated my Facebook account.

In case you're wondering, here is what happens when you click on "deactivate my account:"

- a screen pops up asking ARE YOU SURE? at the top

- beneath the ARE YOU SURE? is written "Your friends will miss you..." and beneath this are random pictures of some of your Facebook friends. Just that last ditch effort to convince you, the de-activator, to stay. Because these randomly selected friends will miss you.

- if you are still sure, Facebook will then ask you why you are leaving. There are a few options to pick from, and then a blank box where you can type in your "other" answer. Important to note here that you, the de-activator, cannot continue unless you select one of the choices, and if you select other, then you must put something in that blank box(I was personally so annoyed at this point in deactivation that I stomp-typed "because I fucking want to" into the box, clicked ok, and never looked back).

That process alone lends good reason to getting rid of it altogether.

Getting rid of the book-of-face was a very good thing for me. Most of it had to do with my own personal growth--separating the healthy from unhealthy and limiting amounts of the latter as much as possible. At some point Facebook wasn't fun anymore. It grew into something other than staying in touch with friends. Every time I scrolled through it, I felt like each post was a person yelling until all the voices grew into one ugly mass of noise. People reposting articles they didn't even read past the headline. Realizing it was becoming difficult to converse in person without hearing "oh wait yeah I read about that on your Facebook" and somehow thinking that statement alone was enough to cover it. Or god forbid you missed something. Then the settings on the actual site itself would change every 30 days without warning. Things private were no longer private(though what really is if you're using the format to begin with). And gosh forbid you get curious about someone you kind of remember from 5th grade--you'll end up sucked into an hour long trail of who's-who from your past. Many things that bothered me about Facebook were restraint-related--I simply didn't have it. I found myself wanting to read all the opinions, especially the ones I didn't agree with. My lowest moment was when my abusive ex tried to friend me(I declined it, but not before seeing his face) and felt all that old hurt/fear/anger rise up in me again. Here again is the issue of restraint. It is unhealthy to identify the things that make you feel rotten yet continue to seek them out, as if being the cause somehow validates the rotten feeling. That can get very ugly rather quickly.

It was tough to let go of it, especially after leaving Pittsburgh. I knew shutting down my Facebook would mean losing touch with a lot of people, but I sent messages to just about everyone listing all methods by which they could find me and I felt like that was enough. Luckily there's email and I have friends that like to write letters. I have a box full of correspondence that I've added to for years and it's one of my most favorite things. These connections are becoming more and more precious to me, especially as I transition to a life overseas. That's the other nice thing about letting go of Facebook--I pick up a pen or the phone much more often(granted, it's still probably not often enough). I've found an unexpected bit of peace for myself. I'm more present in life and much less a voyeur.

2 comments:

  1. Good for you.

    I admire you for being able to delete. FB is often a hazard for me, too, especially because even when you block someone who gives you those hurt feelings they still somehow pop up on your dashboard when you least expect them... I never really get sucked in, though. On average I probably only spend 2-10 minutes checking my notifications then off I go.

    But, still, I hope one day to have the chutzpah to delete.

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  2. Oh Jenny thank you for commenting! I was hoping you're still following along. :) I miss your words(and baked goods!).

    My thing with Facebook...it was turning into something unhealthy for me. I was surprised by it, when I stepped back and really noticed how much it was bothering me. I wish it was something more positive, because I do miss out on a lot of updates/news from people I care about. There was that, and also opting for a "lower profile" b/c of my personal life/my partner/etc. I feel much more in control here on my own website too, which is nice.

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