I took a Facebook break and this is what happened
It wasn't political. Let me just say, I have NO interest in engaging in political debates. To each their own. I don't care who you vote for. I don't care to debate it. Especially on Facebook.
Who enjoys debating on Facebook over politics?! Do people just like to fight? Or do they think they can actually change someone's mind?
Anyway, I'll just be over here petting a puppy, humming 'Let it Be' by the Beatles.
My article was only meant to discuss human decency and respect. In it, I shared a personal story about an attempted rape I experienced as a teenager. Something I never told anyone for over 10 years. Not my mom, not my sister, not even my husband. After that night, I shoved it deep down the "I'm going to forget that ever happened" ditch and buried it alive.
But after hearing inappropriate remark after remark from Mr. Trump, and the nonchalant reaction from people, I wanted to speak up. I didn't intend to change the minds of voters. I simply wanted to share what I consider unacceptable behavior towards women and maybe, just maybe, cause a few people to think before they act. That's all.
But of course, as always, there's that ONE person who comments. Ready to debate.
Hold up. Did you dare say something negative about Trump? OH NO, I BETTER ARGUE WITH YOU. I don't care that you just poured your heart out. I don't care that you said NOTHING about politics or voting. I don't care that maybe I should keep scrolling and bite my tongue out of, you know, RESPECT. I don't care that you're family and maybe this isn't the time or place for a debate.
There really needs to be a social etiquette on social media course.
FYI: When a girl opens up about a sexual assault, don't argue with her about how her feelings aren't valid. Also, please don't say the problem is provocative clothing. The problem is rape.
Or maybe there isn't a problem at all. Maybe this whole sexual assault and rape thing isn't that big of a deal and the statistics are inflated. Maybe a lot of women just lie about it. Yeah, that's what someone else posted.
My head EXPLODED.
Almost every woman I know has experienced some form of sexual assault. In fact, I believe the stats are higher, because of how many women never speak up out of shame, embarrassment and trauma.
My fragile heart couldn't handle the hate. I broke down in tears on the way home from work on Friday afternoon.
When I got home, I ate a cookie and pulled myself together. I took a deep breath and reopened Facebook on my phone. I scrolled through, seeing all of the political posts and articles. All of the debates between people. All of the hate. All of the noise.
Suddenly, I just wanted silence. And it hit me. I needed to get off of Facebook.
It wasn't making me feel better about myself or the people in my life. In fact, it was making me hate everyone. It wasn't bringing me happiness or joy. It was a blood sucking waste of my time that was causing distress, anger and anxiety.
And I'm actually a pretty emotionally stable person (I think). But this presidential election is bringing out the ugly in people. It's divisive and mean-spirited and tearing the country apart.
So with that, I deactivated my account. Friday, October 15, 2016, I parted ways with Facebook.
And this is what happened:
I inform my husband that I deactivated my account. He looks at me in disbelief. I have him test it out on his phone by looking up my name. He says I still come up as an active user. GREAT. JUST GREAT. Thanks for holding me virtually hostage, Facebook. I go to bed annoyed.
I have brunch with a group of friends. One guy asks if I'm on Facebook. I say yes and he hands me his phone, so I can look up my profile. I type in my name and nothing comes up. Hmm... why would that be? I sat puzzled for a few moments. WAIT! I DELETED FACEBOOK!!! Crap. What do I do now? Maybe I'll give you my email? Are you on Instagram? Not having Facebook is kinda hard.
One of the people who upset me on Facebook calls over FaceTime. I said some things I shouldn't have said over text message too. Instead of arguing back and forth on social media, we work it out face to face (well, virtual face to face). We reach a better understanding of each other and learn what we can do to make our relationship better.
Mom calls. She wants to tag me in something and doesn't understand why I'm not coming up. I tell her I deactivated my account and she's sad. I tell her it will be okay.
I'm not missing Facebook. I thought I would have FOMO (that means fear of missing out, mom), but it turns out, life goes on. Even without Facebook.
Mom tells me about a political article someone posted. Kind of defeats the purpose but thanks, mom. Also, maybe I'll start using snapchat now? Eh. Maybe not.
Mom says she wants me back on Facebook, so I can see her "stuff" and like it. She hands me her phone to look at something she posted and I creep around for a few minutes. It feels dirty.
My mother-in-law says I need to send her my blog posts, since I'm off Facebook now. A friend texts me that it feels like I've fallen off the Earth.
Mom says it's someone's birthday and I should tell them happy birthday on Facebook. I remind her that I don't have it. But maybe she's right. I download Facebook but don't reactivate it yet. A few hours later, I remember I need to post on my business page. No problem. Surely, I can post without logging into my personal account. Oh, just kidding. No, I can't. Facebook tells me I have to reactivate my personal account to use my business page. Game over. You win, Zuckerberg. I have to reactivate my Facebook.
(clearly the biggest development from my hiatus was that only my mom cared)
Anyway, one full week off of Facebook and now I'm back.
Only one week?! Are you kidding me? I know what you're thinking. It seems so insignificant. But I promise you, it wasn't.
I desperately needed a break. I needed to drown the noise and swim in silence. And now, I am happier, refreshed and less addicted to checking my phone.
But I can't completely quit it. BOTH of my granny's are on Facebook. So many friends, old and new. My family that lives on the other side of the country. And yes, my mother. I would miss out on too much.
But it's also important to create a healthy balance. I don't want to neglect the life happening in front of me, because I'm too busy living life behind a screen. And for that reason, I have a feeling this won't be the last Facebook hiatus I take.
But don't worry, mom. I'm back for now. I see your posts and promise to like them all.
P.S. Is the presidential election over yet?