It is not you. It is me.
Social media is a way for people to connect without actually connecting. How glorious, right? (Seriously. I want to know if it is). I remember the first time I signed up for Facebook. It was my freshman year in college and everyone was doing it (talk about peer pressure). It was an upgrade from Myspace and thankfully, Zuckerberg was not trying to be my first friend (no offense, Tom). My first few friends were some other girls in my dorm and a few people I met in passing on campus. How fun and easy. Who else could I find? All was needed a name to search for, and voila! Now it was off to finding those people in high school that I barely associated with; however, I had no animosity toward (except Tierra. F*** YOU, TIERRA!). The craziest thing was that I was befriending people from my elementary school. Say what? These were people I haven’t seen since I was eleven in sixth grade at Daniel Barr’s pool party on the last day of school. For some odd reason, I was not able to find Daniel Barr. It all felt as though I was taking a nice little stroll down memory lane, and everyone knows how I hate taking strolls.
Hastily, I began the cyber-stalking of old friends to find out how their lives turned out without my presence. Conceited? Maybe. But what else did Facebook have to offer? Status updates, perhaps. I started off with baby steps: “B is cute”. “B is hungry”. “B is tired from class”. Basic stuff really and straight to the point. Now, it was the time for uploading pictures. Easy enough. I have done this rodeo before with my good friend’s Tom little social media invention. My photoshoot took place in my dorm room thanks to the help of my roommate and sometimes the timer on my cell phone when she was in class. My roommate, Kim, introduced me to makeup. I was a makeup virgin. The first and last time I wore makeup was at my senior prom, where this lady from the mall made me look like—in my own opinion—a cheap Tijuana prostitute. However, this time around was much more simple with only mascara and different colors of eye shadow. There were pictures on the bed, a few near the closet, and selfies before they were known as selfies. Selfies galore! Galore, I say!
Back then, I was adding just about anyone just so that I can say I had over 300 friends. I did not care and I was not selective. In my Oprah voice—you get accepted! You get accepted! Come one, come all! There I was, sitting on my bed with my laptop on my lap, staring at the screen like some mindless sheep as I scrolled through my timeline, trapped in the hypnotic trance that was social media, wanting to see what everyone was up and constantly hoping for a notification. The daily posting of weird statuses and photos. A little poking here and a little tagging there. Sharing and enjoying this social media bliss with 200 people I knew and the other 500 that I didn’t.
All of sudden, something changed. As many of you already know due to by previous posts, I was in the Navy. During my stint, I finished two deployments to the Gulf that were eight months each. That meant that majority of the time was spent without internet and television (THE HORROR!). I thought I would go insane, but when you are working 12-18 hour days, seven days a week, all you really worry about is getting some dang sleep. All there was to entertain people was the downloading and sharing movies with one another via hard drives. And if you were a guy—or a very horny girl—you would download lots and lots of porn (no shame in it). Time away from all the constant Facebook hoopla actually allowed my mind to reset. It didn’t go completely blank, but there was a few GBs that were deleted to give me more storage space. It was weird for what I thought was ok to do on Facebook now seemed stupid. I felt as if I could really think.
One of the things that really stuck out to me was the people who use Facebook as their own personal therapist. I’m not going to front as if I wasn’t venting on several occasions a few years back (as the “memories” portion loves to show me), but now I feel as though Zuckerberg should be charging for all this free couch time. It is freaking bananas (and yes, I did sing the Gwen Stefani song while typing that word). People would literally have arguments with family and friends online for all the world to see. Back and forth the arguments would continue and all I could think of was, “Did they not want to use the phone for this sort of thing?”. Sure it was entertaining, but it was also pretty dang sad. And what would really get me was when someone else would chime in, they would tell that person to stay out of their business. Well, dang it! Your business is all on my timeline!
Case in point: My younger cousin posted a status about fighting some girl who was talking to her boyfriend (you know; young people stuff). Blah, blah, blah. The comments went back and forth for some time, but that was not my problem. Honestly, I didn’t give two s***s…
I guess the girl wanted to meet up so they could fight…or dance (I don’t know what these kids are in to nowadays). And what did my cousin do? She posted her address… ONLINE! Talk about shaking my dang head! Here is the problem, my cousin and my aunt were staying with my mom during that time, and my mom was taking care of my daughter while I was deployed. At that moment, I wanted to fly in just to kick both of their butts. Why would you do such a stupid thing like that? Posting your address to everyone; to strangers? Don’t get me wrong, if you want to put all your business out there for all the World Wide Web to see, be my guest. However, consider your safety first. The internet is full of crazies. Protect yourself. Also, don’t RSVP people into the party that is your life only for you to take back the invitation (how rude).
Another issue? Trolls. I’m not talking about those ugly motherfers that live under draw bridges and make you solve riddles. The trolls I’m talking about are the cyber gangsters using their keyboards as AK-47s. Words cannot describe how much I hate these guys. Their main objective is to comment stupid, ignorant crap in order to stir up drama. In my experience, it usually involves a big heaping pile of racism. During recent years, we have seen numerous accounts of police officers killing unarmed suspects; many of whom are minorities. Of course, there was racial tension in pure American fashion. On Facebook, I would read certain articles to get some more detailed information on story. There, I would see the comments. Some were utterly disgusting and vile. It felt as though I was back in 1952. I’m surprised they didn’t ask me for my freedom papers. There was a lot of “Monkey this” and “Ner that”. It felt as though I was playing Call of Duty with a bunch of twelve-year-olds (a bunch of vicious adolescents whose body parts have yet to descend).
Of course the crap was pissing me off. People justifying an unjustifiable death was sickening. Before I knew it, I was caught in heated debates with strangers online, going back and forth; getting notification after notification. And it would not just be a sentence here or there. I’m talking about full-on paragraphs. It was imperative to check the grammar and spelling because it didn’t matter how right you were; the Grammar Nazis would emerge with snide little comments. “The word is ‘you’re’.” Dude, I don’t give a rat’s a**! These people were making my blood boil. The sheer ignorance. The ignorance, I say! All of it was consuming me to a point where I could not take it anymore. Every time I would read these horrible comments, it would instantly affect me for the rest of the day. Ignorance is indeed bliss, and there are indeed a lot of blissful motherf***ers out there. What could I do to alleviate this problem? Stop looking at those dang comments, that’s what! However, it was easier said than done. If I was going to really prevent myself from clicking on the comment section, I have to have the will of Yaweh himself and be fully committed (not in an asylum). The best chance I had was to avoid all articles that could stir up some type of racial, homophobic, sexist controversy. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
Now what was I going to do about all these memes? Who came up with that term in the first place? Recently, I have become a part of a clique who would tag each other in the hilarious memes and viral videos that would find on the internet. And oh, were they funny! I was constantly receiving notification after notification about being tagged in a post. Like a moth to a flame, I would immediately stop what I was doing just to check it out. I stopped everything. How distracting! For the longest time, I was trying to push myself to start writing my book. All day long at work, I would psyche myself up for when I got home and placed the kids in bed that I would start the writing. Two hours a day was all I needed. But once that notification sound chimed, it was a done deal. Before I knew it, I was an hour in, scrolling down my timeline and laughing my butt off at a Drake meme (not literally). Pretty soon, I was too tired to even think of something to write. Damn you, Facebook! Even as I type this, I got distracted for a few minutes with one of those Tasty food videos. There was a voice in the back of my head telling me that I needed to get it together (I’m not crazy).
It was all daunting! One of the reasons being for the simple fact that despite the memes, I found myself looking through the lives of my former peers. All of their lives were being lived; living up to their potential. Many were married with kids, on their third degree, and having success in a career that they loved. Skimming down the timeline, I would catch a gallery of the vacations they would take to something tropical. I could not think of the last time I took a vacation, let alone plan one. On several occasions, I found myself comparing their lives to mine. If I can be frank, my life sucked in comparison. There I was, demeaning myself on the fact that I was not where I wanted or should be. I was not living up to my potential. One of the girls I graduated from high school with already had her own clothing line where she would design her own clothes. She was working for herself, working from home (my goals), travelling around the world, and making decent money. Then, look at me. Here I was working these s***ty customer service jobs with only dreams of how I wanted my life to be. My dreams consisted of being a well-established writer, writing books that would eventually be made into movies that would star the sexy Tom Hardy (I’m going to get him pregnant one day). The movie would be so good that it will nominated for an Oscar, and it would be then I would attend the award show with Idris Elba on my arm (God willing). But that was all it was—a dream.
It did not take me long to figure out that I was living my life or some type of life through this app on my phone. It was if Facebook was an excuse for me to not do what I needed to do. I needed to write. I needed to write my book. Doing that needed focus. How could I focus on that if I was so focused on who liked my pics or who commented on my status? How could I focus if I was worrying about what was happening in everyone’s else life? I needed to reset again and get back to me (whatever that means). Though I love the good aspects of this form of social media, it was taking me away from my own reality. No longer could I live my life vicariously through my former shipmates and former classmates. I needed to really start wiping away these dreams and start making them a reality.
This is not in any way a post trying to bash Facebook. It is merely me breaking up with it, or at least taking a break. It really isn’t you, Facebook. It is all me. I think we need some time apart to really think about what we want out of life. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you, Facebook. Don’t cry, all right? I hate it when you cry. In all honesty, I need to do what is best for me. I want to accomplish my goals without the sheer urge to have to post about it every day. Don’t tell me that you will change. When I tried to deactivate my account, you tried to give me every reason why I should not while giving me alternatives. You wore me down. I ended up just logging off. It is too much for me, Facebook. I’m over it. Maybe in the future, I can log back on you. But for now, you need to just let me go. Set me free!