My Facebook Fast

I am no stranger to self-deprivation.  I’ve been on a variety of diets over the years (Scarsdale diet, cabbage soup diet, etc.) that not only deprived me of a vast amount of calories but also pleasure.  I rarely eat before a run and sometimes wait close to two hours before I eat after a run.  A little voice in my head continually tells me that I can burn just a few more calories before I eat that granola bar.  It’s absolutely ridiculous, I know.  In the past few months, I’ve been much better about eating and not starving myself. Trying not to *always* count calories, but eat “normally”—whatever the hell that means.

I’m also the person who will yearn for that cute jacket in the store window, but refuse to buy it. Always justifying purchases for my son and sometimes my husband, but never myself.  “It costs too much,” I’ll say. And when it goes on sale?   “I don’t need it,” I’ll say to anyone listening. But what I’m really saying in my head? “I don’t deserve it.”

This year, though, I’ve made many attempts to treat myself better.  I actually bought clothes for my vacation next week. I keep telling that bitch in my head to pipe down.  Nothing was particularly expensive.  I did, in fact, need summer clothes, and I fucking deserve to feel good and look good.

Then why give up Facebook? Everyone knows I love it.  It’s given me a chance to reconnect with a few people that I thought I’d never “see” again, it allows me to watch the children of my friends grow up (and they can watch my little guy sprout up to be a big guy), and most importantly for me, Facebook has allowed debates and conversations to take place between myself and my friends that never would have happened otherwise.  It’s created this lovely little community of people that I care about, all at my fingertips.

So….*why* did I give up Facebook?  Was it just to punish myself for buying those clothes or eating that extra lemon square?   No, I don’t think so.

Was it because I haven’t been able to run much and hate seeing everyone else run races all the time and be amazing when I’m feeling dumpy?  Believe it or not…no.  I’m still on and I see my friends doing what they do there.  I’m happy for people when they do awesome things.  I’m actually one of those folks, who after buying a lottery ticket, get super excited for the person who wins.  It’s never me but I can just imagine what they’re feeling, and how can you not be ecstatic for them? (If you don’t get this, it’s really ok. My husband doesn’t either.)

I think I needed a break from Facebook because of a few things. We all know FB is a major time waster. Even if you don’t play games on it (which I don’t), you could still scroll through your newsfeed for an hour to see what your friends are up to, but what else could you have done with that hour?  Work?  Spend face to face time with your kid? Read?

Yes. All of those things.

To go along with that, FB is a *huge* distraction for me. I know I don’t have to sign in to it, but just wondering what good things my friend Theresa has done this week or what amazing creations my friends Russ and Hazel have made or even what hilarious thing Sarah’s son will say today, all make me want to sign in and check on people.  It was becoming an addiction, and I do not need something that feels good and I think ultimately *is* good, to become bad for me.

But you know what really started to get to me?  All of the sarcasm and the snarky comments, some of which were my own.   Facebook started to bring out the worst in me, and no one needs that, especially  me.  I have fought the winter blues without much success this year and I need every positive thought I can get.  It’s easy to be a naysayer with everyone else, but I don’t want to be like that.  Life is just too short to be negative and ultimately unhappy.

And that’s what Facebook was making me. Unhappy. Or perhaps some of the people on my list were making me that way.   So just get rid of them! you may say.  And some I did, but others I just can’t, for various reasons.   So block them! you might say.  Perhaps. But we know that life is never quite as simple as we want it to be. Social interactions are vitally important in our work, our friendships and in our familial relationships.  Diplomacy is horribly underrated in life.  It’s necessary on so many levels, and I didn’t want to “fuck things up” so to speak.  So, like Rachel and Ross, I was on a break.

I’m back now, with a clear head and a slightly smaller friends list.  I’m sure I’ll still check Facebook every day but I have to place myself on some restrictions. I’m looking forward to seeing photos of Sonya’s new baby and Trish’s vacation pictures, but I don’t need to spend gobs of time doing quizzes or even scrolling through my news feed.   I got a lot of work done last week without having that temptation of “visiting” with my friends. I felt productive and worthy. But like everything else I fall in love with, I need to give myself a little distance and not let my affection become an infatuation.

Looking forward to “seeing” all of you again and hearing about all of the spectacular things you’ve been doing with your lives….or hearing what you made for dinner. 😉


One thought on “My Facebook Fast

  1. Holly, I totally get what you mean about the pull of Facebook and the problems with it all in one. I have quit Facebook before because it was a time suck and a downer! I read lots of negative things, posted lots of negative things, (both of which are far too easy to do with this faceless medium), and felt like a big looser “compared” to all of my “friends” posts about how smiley and happy they were and all of the fabulous activities they were doing…I was all “look how happy they are…I should be that happy” or “look at the amazing fun they are having I should have that much fun” or “look at the cool things they do with their kids I should do that cool thing with my kids” and it was all a game of comparisons. I hated feeling like I couldn’t keep up with The Jones-es and it was all online for Pete’s sake!!! …some, even most, of these people I didn’t even know anymore! Once I decided to come back after taking a break, I made Facebook a happier more fulfilling place to be. My people (I have kept in my news feed) must be positive or bring me joy in some way (such as humor, honesty, and genuineness. If the person or company creates too much “noise” in my space then I remove them from the feed. If it doesn’t feed my soul, inspire me, or make me laugh, I will likely remove it/un-friend it/un-follow them. Yes this is harder to do if it happens to be family or “friends” I may actually see on a semi-regular basis. I feel that my Facebook experience is a much more positive one this time around. However, the time I spend on it is not good. It’s too much…waaaaay too much! Outside of having to use it for my work with ThinkGood, I should be limiting my time on it! Although, I try to qualify my time on it by using it for Good. Meaning, if I can use it to bring more joy, happiness, and kindness into my community, then maybe it’s ok to be on it as much as I am…well, I guess I can’t honestly say that sounds right to me. I still need to cut back, unplug more, and tune in to my family, my books, or even (dare I say) exercise! It is a hard habit to break! I will, after reading this post, work on picking up a book instead of my phone or computer to hop on Facebook when I have a few free minutes. Great share, Holly!

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