Private Eyes and Posted Lives

Yesterday, albeit a bit chilly, was glorious. I worked outside most of the day, prepping for winter, if winter ever comes. (I’m secretly channeling my inner Jon Snow: “Winter is coming”). I used my new self-propelled electric mower to give the yard one last pass for 2021 and raked leaves. I even built an illegal fire in my backyard to burn off some pieces of wood that had been piling up, proving once again that you can take the girl out of Webster county, but you can’t take Webster county out of the girl. But, hey, S’mores. Amiright?

All that activity, coupled with waking up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday, made me super tired, and I was sound asleep by 9:30 p.m. That’s the upside of hard labor. Unfortunately, it also meant I was wide awake at 2 a.m. on this fine Sunday morning, so I thought I get a jump on today’s blog. I see a nap in my future, and I don’t want to leave you hanging. After all, I promised you an explanation for why I canceled my Fakebook account, right?

So, grab a drink. Settle in. Let’s talk about anxiety, human interaction, and all the things social media means to a good little INTJ like myself, shall we?

First, let me say, if you are a social media horndog, I am not judging you. I get it; I really do. If you run a business, the world more or less demands that you be active on social media. Also, I’m not entirely truthful when I say that I canceled my Facebook account. I have one; I have to. The entire platform forces you to have a personal profile account if you want a public page (where I post about my writing). Also, as I mentioned in my last post, I’m the PTA president at my kid’s school, and I’m an admin for the PTA Facebook page. Can’t be an admin without a personal profile. It’s a tricky trickster, that Facebook. But we knew that already, did we not?

Anywho, all that said, I did cancel the account I’ve had for years, and my ‘newer’ one only has five friends: Two PTA board members and the three people in charge of all the stuff when I kick the bucket. In fact – proud boundary-honoring moment here – I received a friend request from someone I knew in high school and a few others recently, but I politely sent them each a message stating, “Hey, I received your friend request on Facebook, but due to the superficial nature of social media, I declined it. I am, however, open to conversation anytime.” I then gave each of them my phone number and my email. So far, only one has reached out – proving my point entirely.

Again, I’m not trying to convince you to cancel your profile here. But, because I promised, I will share a few reasons why I canceled mine, and none of it has to do with the inability of practically everyone on the planet to be bipartisan. It also had nothing to do with vaccination mandates, gas prices, or the fact that some people insist on pushing the latest MLM scheme – although all of those are excellent reasons to cancel an account. Nope, mine was more personal. Got that drink?

Photo credit: Keep It Glam

1) I’m not doing “pathetic and angry” anymore. The algorithms on that platform are designed so that they can remind you of ‘memories on this day’. Well, every day for the past six years had been shitty with very few exceptions. And I know that sounds negative – there were a few good days in there – but every damn day, I was reminded of something that happened one year, two years, three years (on and on) ago, and it would mentally set me back. At times it would bring up so much anxiety because of the past trauma that I couldn’t function. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve worked tremendously hard to dig myself out of that hole, and I’m finally back to feeling like myself again. I don’t want to look back. As cliche as it sounds, there is a reason the windshield of my car is bigger than the rearview mirror. I’m living life looking forward, not looking back.

2) I’m was tired of people lying. My favorite: The good Christian wife who posted daily about how her husband was such a godly man; a true spiritual leader of their family. I’m not going to go into any details here, but I will say this: he wasn’t so godly when he wasn’t home. End of discussion. Even the person I was dating would post conversations that led people to believe we (he & I) actually had them. We didn’t. The typed conversations between “Me” and “Her” were made up. But props to him for his creativity because those made-up Facebook conversations were sometimes better than the ones we were having for real.

3) I was tired of posing. People get a false sense of who you are when they only see what you post on social media. Around the time of my most recent birthday, I felt that I hadn’t branded myself well. For those not familiar with marketing terms, every company has a brand and works like hell to protect their brand. People have a brand, too; they just don’t always know it. Like companies have bad years, I had had a few bad years. I wanted to rebrand. And that rebranding started with me simply wanting to be more private. INTJs loathe the limelight; I’m no exception.

4) I long for intimacy. When I say “intimacy” I don’t necessarily mean physically (although, ahem…). I mean, I want to surround myself with people who want to get to know me and to understand me. I don’t want relationships where people halfway listen and then offer advice on what essential oil I need when that is not what I need at all. Someone said it best last week. “We all just want someone to listen to us, right? We don’t need advice all the time. Ultimately, we just want someone we can be ourselves around to share what’s on our minds.” Yes. That. My ‘tribe’ may be small, but it is mighty. I don’t have much in the way of family connections, and I’ve had to choose my family. When I die, the two people in charge of doing all the death-related shit don’t share a single drop of DNA with me. But they know me, and they love me anyway. Never once have they said or done anything to hurt me on purpose or lash out because they’ve had bad days. I trust them – literally and figuratively – with my life.

5) A minimal digital footprint makes stalking hard. I get it, there is this creepy online diary thing I do, but for the most part, I value my privacy. Hell, if given the opportunity, I’d change my full name and go off-grid. I live a pretty simple life here in SOMO. I’m definitely not Instagram-worthy, and I don’t want to be. I just want to live over here, quietly, with my one bag of facial products, four pieces of jewelry, and my little black dress. If someone dies in my life, I will notify the applicable people. If I get a new job, the essential people will celebrate with me. When I have a birthday, I’ve learned that the people I trust the most will be there. I’m not easily impressed, but I am certainly easily entertained. I no longer feel the need to ‘live my life out loud’. (Yes, Margo. I get the irony of this as I type this blog post).

So, there you have it. Nothing too earth-shattering. I probably could have summed it up with “I just got tired of everyone’s bullshit” and been done. But then I couldn’t leave you with this song and I would have been wide awake for nothing. So, it’s a win-win for both of us, wouldn’t you say?

If you want to dig in and find out how social media stresses people out and how Facebook, in general, is the devil, I’ve included some links here. I didn’t feel the need to rehash what you – the smart people – probably already know.

And, for those of you who do still have all the social media thingys…I appreciate the most recent shares. Please feel free to continue doing that. My numbers are up, and that’s a start. I heart you, big time, for the free promotion.

More reading for ya…
The Role Social Media Plays In Mental Health
Just How Harmful Is Social Media?

The Facebook Papers
Blogger Dean Smith says this about social media
Need a digital detox? Read Olivia’s blog.