I knew it had been quite a while since I posted, but damn.
I'm only posting because I'm lazy. Makes perfect sense, right? Let me 'splain, Lucy: I decided a few days ago that it was time to take a break from social media. This morning, I locked down my Facebook account to restrict any activity on my page, sent a brief message to the group of people I interact with the most on that site, typed a one-word status update, "Sabbatical", and logged out. I also posted an update to my flickr page that I was taking a break. I then changed my "homepage" settings in my browser so that it no longer opened Facebook upon startup and created a folder on my iPod for all social media apps and moved it to the last screen (you know, that screen you put all those apps that you will never use but can't delete because Apple thinks you need a place to check your stocks and such).
True to form, two very good friends of mine sent me text messages to check on me and ask what's up. Cody also asked about it when he called at lunch. Realizing that there may be several people asking the very same question(s), I decided to post the most basic of answers here in order to prevent myself having to type it all out over and over. That's not to say I won't interact with anyone or answer questions about the subject, but if we're all at least in the same chapter, it will be much easier to get us on the same page.
That being said, something happened this week which gave me pause. I spoke to a group of people, and since it was recorded, I posted a link to it on my Facebook page, as did the person who recorded it. I also sent a link to my parents, who knew that I was planning to speak, and had expressed an interest in hearing it.
I can not possibly overstate the blessing it has been to hear the feedback of those who listened and then spoke to me or messaged me after. It truly has been an awesome, and in some ways challenging dialogue.
What gave me pause, however, is how deeply and viscerally the hurt felt when I realized that only one person outside of the group had clicked on that link and said anything about it. Even my parents have said absolutely nothing.
I did not speak to this group for my own pride or sense of self-importance. I did not go into the experience expecting anything, and I did not anticipate anything. I was so focused on what to say and how to say it that I really didn't have time to give voice to those possibilities. I even kept the plan to speak private, rather than advertise it. It may have been a selfish decision, but I knew that if I had shared that info with people and some of them showed up to hear me speak, I would have been unable to do what needed to be done.
That being said, once I realized just how hurt, confused, disappointed, etc. that I felt, I knew that I was entirely way too dependent upon others for my sense of self.
The voices reminding me of all those who didn't say anything were drowning out the voices of all those who did.
The negative feelings of not being heard were distracting me from the awesome feeling of the appreciation shown to me by those who did hear.
I began to realize that, not only was social media the vehicle which pointed all of this out to me, it is also the vehicle which gives me that false sense of connection with the world around me. And when push comes to shove, you're left staring at a cursor on a screen and a keyboard on your lap. That's where I invested a lot of my Self.
Not that it's all bad. I connect with friends and family, whom I love, and it allows me to be a part of their lives when time or distance would make that otherwise impossible.
Part of this, I admit, may be my tried-and-true way of dealing with situations I don't like: I just pretend everything is fine until I forget. But the bigger part, the more important part, is relishing what is real and focusing on what's important to me without the worry of whether others approve.