It is remarkable the clutter one’s mind can hold; how quickly it can fall upon you, invade, stretch its legs out, and then make its self so comfortable it’s as though you never existed without it. The experience of separating myself from THE social network has been an amazing journey I’m not quite done with yet. Within a few days of not posting I felt… liberated. The compulsion to comment and respond, the drive to participate in debates, to clarify my position, to rail against the logic fails I would take as a personal affront wasn’t present. My smart phone was left in my back pack in the trunk during outings. A quest for approval I had inadvertently embarked upon when signing up for facebook seemed to run out of steam.
Every night I was besieged by the news on my feed; article after article presented to me and threads to which I felt compelled to respond. And with all this time during which the kids slept I never felt rested, replenished, or even relaxed or productive. It was frustration and hostility – feeding mostly the negative things that reside within. The absolute, in the doldrums, intensely negative self outlook. There was always someone who was accomplishing more than me, certainly more of the things viewed by society as valuable and as actual achievements, and this sent me on a bit of a downward spiral. I even mis-attributed some of that to being burnt out; that being the primary care giver of my two children, one teething and crawling while the other has extraordinary dietary restrictions, time while my husband worked his ass off in getting a new business launched while furthering the success of the existing one. A few days of no posting, a few painful days of cringing every time I had the thought “this is what I should post as my status”, was all I needed to realize how easy it was to let the single most precious thing in life slip through my fingers. Time.
Facebook, or so it seems to me, is the new soma. It lures you in with the promising glitter of “keeping in touch”, then of being “better than” those people from high school/co-workers/family members, and then it suddenly switches this thing that simply keeps you busy. That whiling away hours upon it “keeping up” with people or “sharing ideas” life was simply disappearing like water down a clean as a whistle drain even as the sensation of beautiful and precious moments became the noise and interruptions of my cyber drug. My anesthetization to them had been complete. But reversible.
The communications I had on facebook were, upon occasion, very meaningful to me. Some even made me feel powerful. But by and large the vicarious nature of the network its self left me with less power, less words, through the perpetuation of a myth of productivity. My writing, even my desire to do it, left me for a time. It was EASIER to fill my head and expend my energy on the false premise my arguing with someone would change their belief when I knew damn well that certainly wasn’t going to be the case in the reverse. There’s always that hope of those with strong beliefs, myself certainly not an exception to this, that a person might become converted to my way of thinking, of seeing things. It is not acceptance. It is not peace. It is not playing with my children. It is not a hug. It is not even tending to a relationship of value. I would contend that if people assert this to be the case (again – myself as recent as a month ago is counted in this) then what is worth valuing has been missed.
A hand written letter is what I crave doing most for my friends these days. A phone conversation or text. Even an email. Something that is quieter and allows for the more tender and subtle emotions to be spoken without the violent screams of so many others to clutter up the works. And so I write again. Articles, essays, and a break through on a manuscript I still hold so very dear in addition to the letters and emails to those I’m grateful to call friends.
The blog… I think I’m coming back to it as well.