I have a love hate relationship with social media. There. I said it. I can't be the only one. Or am I? I don't care if I am. Yes, I do. Ugh. Too much!
I remember when I first created a MySpace page (I'm certain it's still out there in MySpace land, but I don't ever log in or go look at it... and oh how young and stupid I was back then). I was meticulous about answering all of the profile questions: What's your favorite book? Favorite music? Favorite food? What religion are you? What is your philosophical views on life? Have you determined which came first the egg or the chicken? And why did it cross the road?
Ok, ok. I made some of those up. But, there were several "who am I" questions that I had never answered for myself. I HAD answered them for who I was hanging out with at that moment- a fact that did not occur to me until I had struck out on my own for the first time as a 30yo woman. Music? Well, it was metal when I was hanging out with one high school friend, country when I was with others... truthfully, I like them both... but I found these genre's because someone else loved them.
Then, I stumble across MySpace while sitting in a living room apartment while my barely 3yo boy slept in the other room. So, I questioned my answers. Why did I like the music I liked? For the same reason Julia Robert's character in The Runaway Bride liked her eggs? Why did I chose the things that defined me? Or was I even the one that chose them? I began to explore the world around me and make thoughtful decisions that I had never bothered to think through before. Turns out, I like folk and americana music the most (which, interestingly may have played into me shamelessly flirting with the man who would later become my husband- but that's a story for another time).
MySpace was usurped by Facebook. I think Facebook asked me some similar questions when I set it up, but I already had that mess figured out! People slowly started migrating to facebook posting pictures of themselves and their friends, pictures of their families going on vacations, pictures of the food they were eating, pictures of themselves in the mirror of a gym... "Look at me! I'm having fun and life is great!"
I don't know when it started to change. I know when I noticed it though. The election of 2016. People started posting about the things we don't talk about at parties. It was stuff that wasn't considered controversial because you kept it to yourself and your immediate friend/family group that agreed. But somehow posting about it on social media was freeing to some, so that's what they did. Arguments came. Division followed. Friendships got weird. Family reunions got weirder. And I no longer have any idea what Chelsea had for lunch last week and I have no idea how Chad's gym progress is coming.
There's so much division now, that I get on social media and no longer feel connected- but disconnected. The wonderful tool that helped me discover who I am at my core, was now a tool that was causing me to lose myself. ENTER: my dear friend. She has been on a mission to set goals for herself (difficult goals, if you ask me) and FOLLOW THROUGH. She decided this year, she was going to unplug from social media for 13 months. I'll let her tell you about it. Read it. It inspired me. I don't know if I can completely deactivate, but I know I have to do something to rediscover what I've lost. I'm trying to figure out what method will work for me. In the meantime, just know... I'm searching for my space in the world and will not be searching for them in the comments of facebook posts.