This will be the hardest, most humiliating part of sharing my whole 90 day Facebook-free journey….documenting my admission of just how yucky and bad my Facebook addiction was….but, I am gonna plow through it so I can answer your questions…and maybe help a few of you out who might somehow feel the way I used to feel.
This pretty picture is where I was last week when my 90 day Facebook break was over….in the middle of a quiet lake that no one else seemed to know about, on a houseboat, sleeping under the stars in a sleeping bag….where I had no cell service, no internet….and where I was having a fabulous week with a group of some of the dearest, most fun people in my life.
Facebook is something that 90 days ago, I didn’t think I could ever live without…the constant connection to everyone and everything….documenting and sharing every single little thing I was doing or thinking or seeing….and then waiting for feedback.
I spent the entire summer without it……
On this trip in these photos, no one with knew where I was…no one knew what I was doing. No one knew who I was with…or what we were eating…or what we were wearing….or how cool the wakeboard tricks were. No one could LIKE or COMMENT on any of it (except the precious, incredible, amazing people I was actually with, face to face)
It just so happens that when I started my break 90 days ago, I was on a dreamy quiet sleepy beach on the Oregon Coast…the sun was just rising it’s misty rise, and again, I was with a group of my dearest, most trusted girlfriends…different friends this time, all women, but the same kind of friends…. the peaceful people who make life beautiful. Again, we were unplugged….no internet….no social media. Essentially, those very friends are the friends who gave me the idea, then gave me the courage to spend the summer completely off of social media………….
….and that morning in May, on the beach in these photos…….I proclaimed my commitment in front of all of them and deleted Facebook from my phone….I called home and had some of my dearies change my password so I couldn’t log on again until it was time.
…and then I cried…a lot…and for a lot of days.
WHY, you ask???
Why did I decide to quit in the first place if it made me cry to do it?
Geez, this sounds so dramatic.
For me, it was dramatic…I do not like talking about this part very much because it sounds so dramatic, but I have to just own that it was a very very very huge dramatic deal for me…and after finishing up my 90 days off…I also have to admit that yes, I was very addicted to Facebook…..actually addicted to FEEDBACK to be exact….and that it got to the point in my life where I was choosing a virtual life over a real life. I was choosing pixels over people. I was choosing the number of LIKE’s I ‘earned’ over my husband’s opinion of me, or my children’s opinion….or God’s opinion. I was choosing hours in front of the computer over all of the beauty that life has to offer. Most days I was very aware that this was NOT how I wanted to spend my time, but somehow, I just couldn’t really make myself stop.
That is very humiliating to admit.
I really couldn’t make myself stop spending so much time doing it.
As I have thought about how I would share this journey with you…this image keeps coming to mind. I actually think about this little TRUTH CARD that I made all the time…it is one of the first I made when I started teaching my SOUL RESTORATION curriculum…and when I found this little vintage image of this little girl…..it spoke to me in such enormous ways…and it still does.
…that little girl looking over at all of the big girls is me.
….it is not just me when I was a little girl…it is me now.
When I was little, I always thought that when I was finally a grown up, I would stop feeling like everyone else had everything figured out….while I don’t yet. I always thought that I would stop feeling like a little girl dressed up in big girl clothes, doing big girl things…..and that I wouldn’t be scared anymore….because I would know exactly what to do and how to do it…………
I was sure that when you are a grown up, you have it all figured out and you don’t have to be scared of anything in life anymore….you don’t have to be scared of trying things, of dreaming things, of doing things…you don’t have to be scared that you won’t fit in, or that your clothes and hair are not just right….you won’t have to be scared of mean girls…you don’t have to be scared of being left behind or of not knowing enough or doing enough or being enough….because after all, YOU ARE A GROWN UP AND GROWN UPS KNOW EVERYTHING.
What does this have to do with my Facebook Addiction? Well……..first of all, it has nothing to do with Facebook and it has everything to do with me, I know that. Like I said in part 1, I don’t think Facebook is a bad thing at all…it is SO WONDERFUL if you use it to just communicate….
…it is when you start using it as a scale or a ruler to measure yourself by that it can start to control your life, destroy your spirit and steal your minutes, hours and days away from the beautiful, unique miracle that is you….and the beautiful, limitless, important and valuable life that is yours.
…that is what I learned….but it’s too soon to talk about that, I will talk about that later, in another post…..I want to share more with you about how I was feeling when I finally decided to try to live without any outside feedback for an entire summer.
I started to list out incessant, relentless questions, worries and thoughts that ran through my head once I deleted Facebook and stopped obsessively reading what everyone else was doing that I was NOT doing….what all of the big girls were doing….and what I need to do if I ever want to be a big girl….while I was watching life through a screen instead of living a life. Maybe some of these questions and worries will be familiar to you…I am guessing they will from the countless letters I have gotten about this subject…..nevertheless…here are mine…..
these are the things that ran over and over in my mind for at least the first few weeks after I quit….
holy moley this is so humiliating…here goes….
IF I QUIT FACEBOOK………
* what if I get left behind……..?
* who am I if I am not doing anything awesome every day?
* who will like me if I am not doing anything awesome?
* what will everyone think about me when they see that I am just a simple, ordinary girl?
* what if I LIKE being a simple, ordinary girl and I am tired of trying to be awesome?
* WHAT IF it turns out I don’t even want to do anything awesome ever again?
* what IF I really am just a girl who wants to walk in the forest in her bare feet?
* what IF I am really just a girl who will never be able to keep up with everyone else?
* what if I find out I don’t really even WANT to keep up with everyone else?
* what if everyone thinks I am a freak for doing this?
* am I a freak?
* what are people going to say about me?
* am I going to ruin everything if I do this?
* does this mean I am a coward?
* am I just hiding out and running away?
* what does all of this mean about me?
* what if I am just too tired and I can’t perform anymore? * what if I just want to rest?
* what am I going to miss out on?
* what if I am not valuable as a person anymore if I do this?
* would anyone remember me if I needed to rest and then came back later?
* will anyone even care?
* does anyone really even care about me right now?
* what will it mean about me if everyone is having fun on facebook together and I am here by myself * not joining in the fun?
*what if everyone forgets about me?
*do I even exist if I am not on Facebook?
Gosh those are yucky memories…but I sure remember feeling like that….sometimes those questions still creep up…but I know what to do to feel better now…and I will tell you about that later, too.
So anyway… I STOPPED and got QUIET. (in the next part of this “series” I will tell you about the conversations I had with my soulsisterfriends that led to this decision) When I STOPPED and decided to listen to my own self….my own breath…my own truth… Something pretty incredible happened. When you finally stop all of the noise and ask the quiet for answers….the answers come….and they don’t just come from your deepest wisdom, they come from the source of everything good and true….from your own Truthteller….mine came straight from a very loving God who I believe with everything in me loves all of us more than we can imagine, wants us to be happy and successful….and wants us to LIVE a real life, not a virtual one.
I promise not to get preachy where it concerns my relationship with God……but I will tell you that my life has been changed because of this time I spent in quiet…..and it is because I made sure things got quiet enough to hear Him and that I worked very very very hard to shut out every other voice, opinion, comment, concern or rating that was directed at me…..
….for me, that is what Facebook and other social media had become….a barometer, a meter, a scale, a contest, a judge………..by my own actions and choices, I let it become the place that decided who I was, how I was, what I was and what I had the potential to become.
this sounds so dumb now….seriously, this is so embarrassing….but, it’s real.
So back to this image……….
and about being a “young spirit” ….. I know for sure that I am not the only girl in the world who feels like everyone else is a grown up……wanting desperately to finally know what everyone else knows…
So when you are a young spirit trying to finally be grown up….you do what you think you are supposed to do…and sometimes you are wrong….right? Then you learn better things, so then you do better things…and that is the beauty of life.
My big wrong thing was that I was constantly indulging in information that did nothing to nourish my soul. 90 days ago I was sick sick sick sick sick and emotionally and spiritually malnourished because all I ate was the equivalent of eating a diet of only COOL WHIP…..as you see in the video I posted in PART ONE.
(by the way, I really did not eat ANY CoolWhip….and again, I don’t hate CoolWhip…I just think you gotta limit how much of it you eat…that it is meant to enhance REAL food, and that you can not live on it….it is a perfect analogy for living your life virtually instead of for real….watch the video if you want to see what I mean…)
I know not everyone has a problem with getting addicted to things they shouldn’t get addicted to……there are lots of people who don’t get addicted to stuff and just have totally fabulous discipline and perspective where all of this is concerned…I am envious of you!!!……..I had to learn it…..
I also know there are lots of you who ARE addicted to Facebook, to reading blogs, to comparing your life with every other ‘virtual’ life out there……it doesn’t feel good, does it?
Facebook didn’t start out as anything but wonderful for me….it just grew to this crazy, confusing addiction somehow….an addiction to watching what everyone is doing and then feeling bad that I will never be able to do all of those things….an addiction to saying HERE I AM, PLEASE DON’T FORGET ABOUT ME!!!! or LOOK, I CAN BE A BIG COOL GIRL LIKE YOU, PLEASE LIKE ME!!!!! (again…the dorky, awkward little girl in a room full of big girls)
So…..after many long discussions with loving friends and family who were watching my light get dimmer and dimmer and dimmer every day because I felt so inadequate, so confused and so YUCK…………………
….and seeing that I was wasting many hours a day eating COOL WHIP that could be spent doing nourishing things that I love like painting, writing, resting, reading, playing my guitar, hanging out with friends, thinking, being alone, praying, taking photos, going on drives, helping others, walking in the forest, going to the bookstore, thrifting, calling friends, decorating my house, going on road trips, going to the lake, having art parties, sewing clothes, learning to play tennis, learning to longboard, learning to surf, going to Zumba, writing my dreams and goals, cleaning my house, spending time with my children, writing love notes to my husband, visiting my parents…………………………after talking about how I didn’t have time anymore for the people and the activities that I love….
I knew that quitting Facebook for a while might just help.
…and it did.
…I can’t wait to tell you in another post just how I spent my summer. I did all of the things listed above plus a whole lot more. I had forgotten how I really wanted to spend my time, and how fulfilling life can feel when you do take back control of your time.
Well, my friends…. there’s SO MUCH MORE TO SAY…but today I just wanted to tell you WHY I did it…and that is enough for today.
NEXT I will tell you about the conversations with my friends, with my husband, with my kids and with my sisters that led to all of this.
Hope this helps someone somewhere, because I sure just bore my soul and a lot of this is pretty raw and humiliating to me….but I am owning it, baby! I want you to know that I have learned what is true now, that I am still learning, but that I have learned so much…that this whole thing was REALLY HARD hard first but once I decided to do it, it got really easy within a few weeks. I want you to know too, that I feel so healed from the crazy mixed up feelings I had…but I also know I gotta be careful not to get sucked back in….and that’s why I am limited to only Facebook Friday now……..I will make sure and tell you how that is going….there’s lots more to come about my 90 day journey though.
This is the bracelet I made when I started really living my life……….I love that I mean this, I believe this, and I work EVERY day to make sure it stays true:
Sending lots of love….if you are where I was……..just keep reading, friend. It can all get better, I promise. If you wanna take a break, you can….and it will be ok….it really will.
More to come…thanks for stickin’ with me.