I FINALLY DID IT!
I kicked my unhealthy Facebook habit.
It’s going to be a struggle for me in the next couple of months, especially since my travels up along the West Coast this summer will leave me wanting to share my experiences minute by minute with online friends (and FB just makes it so easy and convenient, but at a price I am no longer able to pay).
(Teensy, relevant detour here)
Did you know I used to smoke?
Since I was 14 until the age of 24 I smoked 1/2 – 1 pack a day of Marlboro Reds, Then Marlboro Lights, then Camels to Camel Lights, and last to my own hand-rolled cigarettes which were expertly crafted from Lucky Leaf loose tobacco rolled in Zigglers or EZ rollers (I can’t tell you how many times passers-by thought I was rolling doobies…DOH). I kicked my smoking habit 5-7 times before I finally got it right. Over the years I’ve come down with 6 nasty cases of pneumonia (one of those was double pneumonia with scabs in my lungs that required medical intervention and special medication with nebulizers). And, did I mention I also have asthma?? The shining goal for my personal smoking cessation ‘program’ was to be smoke-free before starting my family, and of course, with the future health of my children at the forefront of my mind, I quit. Just like that. Cold turkey. Of course there are times where I still get cravings, but I’m able to brush them off, and in five minutes or less, they move right along to the distant plane and then altogether out of sight.
Facebook has been the other hard habit to kick.
I deactivated my account dozens of times since 2008. Each time I felt the need to regain my sanity as FB conversations never just stop when you’re offline. I’ve joked around with friends who have this happen, and it’s our inside joke about the ‘voices’ inside our heads. Ugh, those goddam voices! Their faces shift shape from memes to selfies billboarded to disembodied political tangents mistaken for the authentic mind of raw emotion and intuitive action– they’ll duke it out in the toilette bowl of cyberspace. The toilette bowl that NEVER FLUSHES!! So much stagnating bullshit, and it stinks up the inner mental space, it even fowls up dreams.
Some of you are familiar with this, if you’re not going through it yourself, you might have read up on it–some of you know about Facebook’s nasty history of exploiting bully-drama. Non-binary folks, trans folks, queer of color folks, disabled queer of color folks, folks whose identities exist at multiple intersections, are targets for oppressors who have joyrides, cyber lynching parties utilizing Facebook as their primary vehicle. Since so many of us rely on social media to network and connect over matters ranging from recreation, social justice to SURVIVAL, the near-total reign trolls are granted on Facebook is devastating! As too many of us know, cyber bullying is often an extension of abuse that occurs offline, which is why encroachment on our freedoms to congregate and form our communities utilizing the tool of social media is another form of violence.
But, there are ways around it, and there are safe spaces on cyberspace.
These spaces utilize stricter password protections and have more insular chatrooms that can’t be sought out by plugging an individual’s name into the search bar. It’s significantly more difficult for a cyber bully, cyber stalker, or a troll to infiltrate. And, because many of us who seek out our safe spaces are into thoughtful dialogue on our range of interests rather than keeping up an image or facade, these community rooms and cyber circles are as a consequence, highly intellectually stimulating. Note: I am well aware that there’s an exception to this…. ha! It is important to note that terminating Facebook won’t necessarily rid a person of a stalker or persistent bully or thwart an imminent act of [online or offline] violence against them. A predator can use Email, comment sections on public blogs— anywhere that leads them to the online whereabouts of their chosen target to do their pestering and terrorizing. There are stricter privacy settings on many of these public blogs and sites however, along with more diligent group moderators who do not stand for this bullying nonsense.
So, now that I’m off Facebook for good with no way to resurrect the accounts, what do I do? I’ve decluttered my head space, now I’m free to create unfettered and unafraid. There is a freedom in being off the mainstream social media radar of cyber stalker(s). There is a freedom in disengaging with a deep and terrifying nay-saying that adjusts its contents and ad material based on what its algorithm determines from the individual traumas and dislikes of its interweb tenants. There is freedom in searching for new ways of connecting with others at a time when the order of the current, increasingly less dominant status quo is cracking at its foundation.
Finally, there’s room to stretch out and unravel, and for the first time in what seems like forever, I’m able to say to myself–
“What do you want to do today, brain?”