Hey! I’ve quit Facebook! Which is quite ironic, given that you were probably led here by Facebook. So yeah, I’ve quit Facebook, but that doesn’t mean you should. You should stay on Facebook, if only to follow my page, and maybe a select handful of others.
Also, when I say I’ve quit Facebook, I don’t exactly mean that I’ve QUIT FACEBOOK. Given that my job revolves around Facebook, and that my blog is also primarily Facebook based, and that my best friends in the WORLD exist in virtual Facebook groups, it’s probably fair to say that I have NOT quit Facebook. That’d be like saying that I’m a mother who’s quit kids (well actually…). Rather, I’ve dramatically cut down on my Facebook usage. By which I mean, I’ve stopped scrolling.
It was the festive period that did it. The smug Christmas and New Year updates. The #blessed bullshit. Let me be the first to say that I’m as guilty of this as the next person, and I’m not #proud … but I’m not #blessed, either.
I’d started feeling an intense anxiety leading up to Christmas. I dunno why. Taking on too much, maybe, and setting my standards too high, and knowing that I was inevitably going to let people down. It all got a bit too much, if the truth be told, and I collapsed into a bit of a metaphorical heap.
At some point in the midst of this metaphorical breakdown, I realised that my anxiety intensified when I scrolled through my Facebook feed. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I felt, like, an actual sense of dread opening my Facebook newsfeed. WHAT WAS I DOING WRONG NOW? Which friends were having fun without me? Which mum had made a better yule log? Which toddlers were personally inscribing the family Christmas cards with heartfelt notes of peace and goodwill? Whose pre-teens were winning community spirit awards from school for helping the homeless and donating their Christmas presents to those less fortunate (not fucking mine). It was a curious mix of jealousy and regret and self-loathing and intense inferiority. Quite simply: I was shit, and everyone else was good.
And I mean, yeah, I have my faults, certainly, but I’m not THAT shit, and everyone else is not THAT good. RATIONALLY, I know this, but in a weakened, vulnerable and really fucking tired state I became quite, quite irrational and sad.
So, I stopped scrolling.
Here’s the thing: I still get pings of notification when I’m tagged in shit, or when someone posts in a group that I’m particularly partial to. That’s okay. Look at this way: even a crack head going cold turkey needs a little summin’ summin’ to soften the blow of sobriety.
And I’ll tell you what: I feel BETTER. I don’t mind that an entire mother’s group of which I was once the epicentre went out on the razz without me – for the simple reason that I didn’t know about it. (Okay, I did, ‘cos old habits die hard and I accidentally started scrolling when I woke up this morning, and got all sad, and Paul said WELL WOULD YOU HAVE GONE? And I was, like, FUCK NO! And he shook his head at me, but he’s MISSING THE POINT.) THAT ASIDE, I feel much better. I’m a bit worried that I’m going to miss out on important news like people having babies, but then I figure – if they’re people who I actually give a shit about, then it’s likely they’ll be sharing their breeding habits with me personally, am I right? Like, by text, or messenger, or even – WAIT FOR IT – in person.
There’s a lot to be said for real, human interactions. If I have to have a single new year’s resolution – apart from learning how to do eye-makeup – then it is to see more of the people who matter.
You know the American president? The good one, not the really shit, scary one? Yeah, that one. He was talking to Prince Harry the other day – as you do – and he was all, like, yeah, social media’s alright and shit, but you need to hang with your homies more, because it’s not fucking healthy to conduct all your relationships online. They may or may not have been his ACTUAL WORDS, I dunno, but it was definitely the gist of it.
I’m with Obama on this one, and I’m going to really, really try to exist more in the real world in 2018, and worry less about the fake lives online. Because I know, and you know, and you know that I know, but we’re all going to pretend that we don’t know that it’s all #bullshit, anyway, and you’re crying in the pantry just as much as me.