My inner life feels calm and at ease since leaving Facebook on New Year’s Day 2016. I don’t know why we allow social media to impact us as much as it does. There’s online dating, an experiment in social media I participated in in my past, and I’ve heard of catfishing cases so extreme that the fallout is years of mental havoc. But now that I’ve lived the past four months free of social media (outside this blog), it seems a subconscious element is at play that impacts our sense of self.
Do they like me? Ta da, check out what I did today! Ooh, what I ate for lunch! Doesn’t it look pretty? Does this one-inch photo enhance my double chins? Single chin in this lighting, right? Look who loves me now.
Perhaps I am jaded because I spend way too much time working in front of a screen to pay bills, but I reached a point where the lines between what is “authentic life” and what is not felt blurred. Even as I blog my heart out and support my family via the internet, I reminisce about time on the planet when social media was asking a friend if they wanted to go to the local park. You knew a friend was someone who would listen to you or walk home from school with you or work on some project together.
In that ancient time, I would keep a written journal, but it was without musical recordings, YouTube slide shows of my photography and Android phone images. It was words for the privacy of my paper and my eyeballs. Might be nice if my inner Like button were pressed, but not necessary. Judgment-free journaling.
Remember in kindergarten, 1st or 2nd grade when show and tell happened? We all sat around in a circle on the floor or in our desks in rows waiting for the next young person to stand up in front and tell a story about something special to them. You could always pass if you didn’t feel comfortable sharing, and you were encouraged to listen attentively to each sharer. I wonder what would happen if my classroom kids were allowed to throw “Thumb Up” or “Thumb Down” flags at the show and teller? How would that shape us?
The day I brought my runt-of-the-litter golden hamster Henry to school for show and tell would never have happened. I would never have the memory of my awesome 4th grade teacher, Mr. Winchell, making a splint out of a tongue depressor from the school nurse’s station for Henry’s broken leg when the little guy fell (full disclosure: was accidentally dropped) on the playground onto cement. And I would never have heard the ka-chunk, ka-chunk, ka-chunk as he ran on his little hamster wheel over the ensuing week.
Just to be hypocritical, I now present my current show & tell of my nonartistic creations in this space to the five members of my blog audience now that I am no longer linked to Facebook. I say nonartistic creations because they represent following a pattern of stitches like a robot and are what people made by hand before you could order a piece of clothing from Amazon the company, not the river, online made in Taiwan. Comes in handy if you don’t have electricity and you want to remain warm.