Saturday, September 19, 2015

"It's not you, it's me," (My Facebook Break-Up)

Dear Facebook,

You always ask me what's on my mind. So, after months of holding back, here's the answer.

Oh honey, you're great. You have so many qualities I admire. You are always there when I need you. You are constant and predictable. When I leave for a while, you always take me back. You are persistent, hard-working (I mean, who else is open for business 24/7 without running out of steam?), easy on the eyes, and always finding ways to improve. You never forget my anniversary, my birthday, or any other important date in my life. We've had a good time. We have some great memories together (which you remind me of every day!)

I once had a boyfriend like you. When I was with him, I was so happy. We had oodles of fun together, we never ran out of things to talk about, and he was very attractive. Man was he distracting. When I wasn't with him, I could hardly keep my mind off of him. He was exciting! But also, when I wasn't with him, I had this nagging little feeling that something wasn't quite right. That we weren't right. That my future happiness depended on us parting ways. Turns out, he felt the same way. It just took us a long time to finally confess that to each other.

 I didn't think I would make the same mistake twice, but here I am, realizing I've had that nagging feeling for quite some time now, and I've been ignoring it. Facebook, something's not quite right. We aren't right. And my future happiness depends on us parting ways, at least for now.

Let me explain:

1. My anxiety increases in direct correlation with the amount of time I spend with you. There. I said it. The articles about parenting, public education, diet, the end of the world; the videos about all the same things; the passive-aggressive posts that ALWAYS make me wonder if they're about me; the bickering I try to avoid at all costs. It's all just too much for me.

2. I don't like feeling misunderstood. It's inevitable with you. I post something, comment on something, LIKE something, and other people are always seeing it. Lots of people understand where I'm coming from and what I mean when I say things, but sometimes people don't. This is totally not your fault, FB. It's my thing. But it's a big thing for me these days. It's connected to the anxiety. In fact, it's one of my biggest triggers. I made a decision several months ago that I was going to spend less time explaining myself, and more time being ok with myself and not worrying about what other people might think (except in the case that I KNOW the misunderstanding has led to someone taking offense, then I will apologize and clarify). In other words, I decided I needed to be secure in my own skin, and not put as much weight on how other people saw me. Facebook, you are a minefield of opportunities to be misunderstood. I'm not putting myself through that anymore. Not for now.

3. I HATE POLITICS. Okay, I don't hate politics. I actually find them mildly interesting. And I have some pretty strong opinions about several political issues. But I hate political banter (aka people basically telling other people they're stupid/dumb/ignorant/uneducated/not Christian/not patriotic/[insert any negative adjective here] because they believe a certain way or like a certain candidate). And my newsfeed is exploding with it these days. It makes me want to run away screaming! I need a break.

4. I can't leave you alone. My brain and my fingers have been programmed to check you when there is a lull. I open my laptop to search a recipe, and before I realize what I'm doing, I have typed "facebook" in the search bar and hit enter. And on bad days, I forget why I even opened the computer in the first place. And on REALLY bad days, I figure that since I'm already here at the computer with you pulled up on my screen, I might as well just check what's new. This happens even more when I'm especially tired, decreasing my productivity exponentially, and increasing my anxiety even more (see #1).

5. I have a comparison problem. Facebook, you provide the perfect opportunity for me to pool all of the best traits and life events and hobbies of all of my friends and then compare myself as an individual to that collective greatness, as if one person embodied it all and was better than me. One moment I'm thrilled to be living in this duplex on a quiet street, married to a teacher who gets awesome benefits and has awesome hours, with two of the cutest kids on earth. The next moment, I feel cramped in my tiny two bedroom duplex, I wish my husband's job paid at least double, I need to work out a little more, we're never going to make that dream trip to Hawaii, and I'm such a bad parent I should probably put my kids up for adoption. It literally takes two minutes to go from point A to point B for me. Not. Healthy.

6. I don't like your "parties." I try not to really spend money on much of anything these days. I'm a simpleton. Make-up that draws any attention or fingernails that are bright make me feel like a clown (and I will clarify here that I don't think other people look like clowns...I just feel totally out of my element there). As much as I obsess over kitchen gadgets, they're not really in the get-out-of-debt budget. With the exception of my pearl earrings, jewelry drives me NUTS. If I am going to spend money on something like that, I have usually been thinking about it for quite some time, done some shopping around, read reviews, and found a product I feel really good about spending money on. But mostly, I just take hand-me-downs, wear Cover Girl, and leave my nails in their natural state :-) So the parties just don't do it for me. It's nothing personal, REALLY. I love the people who invite me to parties. But I do feel guilty every time I remove myself from a party group, or "unfollow" the party, or decline to attend, or anything related to me having to reject someone else. That's just too much unnecessary stress for me.

7. I am happier without you. Every time we've put our relationship on hold, I've started to feel better. I feel this freedom I can hardly even put my finger on. I spend more time fully engaging with my children, I feel content in my current life situation, I am more productive, I read more scriptures and listen to more conference talks, and I feel more satisfied in general with myself. That's pretty awesome. I'll take that.

So, Facebook, I just want to say "Thank you." Thanks for the great relationship we've had. Thanks for helping me connect with people I love. Thanks for the good times and the bad times. (Actually, just thanks for the good times. The bad times weren't that great, even in hindsight.) Maybe our paths will cross again, when I'm in a better spot and I'm ready for a relationship again. Only time will tell. But for now, I'm outta here.