I deleted my Facebook account yesterday. It’s bittersweet, but I feel light and airy. Like a prisoner fresh out the pen, with nothing but the open road before me. I taste freedom for the first time in a long time and imagine all the possibilities. Okay, that’s dramatic, but seriously, the spirits of procratination, comparison and voyeuristic gratification have lifted and I feel eerily light. For those who dare take the leap, the recidivism rate is high, but I’m unafraid of swimming against the tide.
Facebook is a great. I’ve been on it since junior year in college; when it was just for college students. Even then I was leery of this website that required me to log in, upload, and connect with loose acquaintances called friends. My BFF Antoinette signed me up.
My reasons for quitting Facebook are not lame ones like, “Facebook was taking up all my time,” or “my baby fell and broke her ankle because I couldn’t pull myself away from the blue and white screen.” No, my reasons are purely selfish. Most of my acquaintances on Facebook are in the same phase of life as I am, and its impossible not to look on and compare myself to others. When I got married, 500 others did too. When I had my first baby those same 500 people were in labor too, and while some might feel comraderie, I don’t. I like to be the star of my own show, and being bombarded with cute picures of friends’ catered baby showers, Potterybarn-type photos of gorgeously dressed kids, and glowing pregnant mothers make me feel inadequate, sometimes, but for the most part it chips away at the presence I should have with my own path, in this season of my life. Facebook has the weird ability to make my journey seem inauthentic (yes, my journey is not unique by any means, but it’s special to me, dammit) and I don’t like that. I like to feel in control of my decisions as a woman, a wife, a mother; guided by my own sense of values and experiences that make me feel good as I manage my family.
A tiny part of me worries that I’ll lose touch with “friends” and far-flung family. However the reality is there isn’t any connectedness with 90% of the friends on my account. I haven’t uploaded a new picture in months so I seriously doubt people are checking for me like that anyway. In fact, five months ago when I prematurely announced I was getting off Facebook, I deleted 20 of my 22 albums. I suspect I’m not the only one who feels this way, so why do we keep sacrificing simplicity for social norms? Why strive to maintain a social network for the sake of old highschool mates, college buddies and far removed family? Psyche! Hand me the scissors I’m trimming the fat!
Simplicity works everytime in obtaining clarity. This time is no different. The social pressure to perform (and document my performance) has been cut out of my life.