I have made the very big decision to deactivate my Facebook account.
While I deactivated my Instagram account at the beginning of the summer (to which I felt immediate relief), deactivating Facebook is an entirely different phenomenon. I have spent over 10 years honing and fine-tuning my Facebook page, getting it “just right”. And when I got it perfect, when I finally was virtually expressing myself as the well-rounded and loving individual who I have spent almost the past two decades trying to be, I realized I was still living in a façade.
Being introduced to the concept of a “second self” that we portray online was truly the beginning of the end of my Facebook love affair. I vehemently defended my authenticity online. I believed myself to be a fully integrated person and I figured it was my right to showcase that online, but in my recent come-to-Jesus moment this past weekend where I was caught between two worlds of joy and anguish, I had to face the harsh truth – I was still reeling from a shady past. Though I might not have been entirely sincere online, in this moment I was sincere in my heart: I had to concede that I am not the person I truly want to be, that I do not yet have the life I truly want to have. I realized that until I go dark online, a more intense darkness will remain in my heart.
It was in this space where I recognized perhaps for the first time in my recovery that I am still just trying to fake-it-till-I-make-it, still over 15 years after first being introduced to a form of yoga that practiced being light and bright, and then after that moving into hardline Christianity, I finally understood through and through that I will never “make it” when I am denying a monumental aspect of my character that I tried to leave behind in the shadows, not realizing that in doing so I was sabotaging my own healing journey, because I figured if I worked hard enough or consistently enough or long enough, I would blot out my own history.
Today I know I can’t just will or work this thorn out of my side: I must accept it as being an integral part of my garden and still find ways to flourish, even when I get pricked by it. I believe I nullified some of those ways through my use of social media. So the decision to delete my Facebook account came the day I realized that my lack of integrity and accountability had been almost entirely propagated, encouraged, and even generated though social media: first with MySpace, and then moving onto Facebook.
I would like to take this opportunity to note that I do believe there are ways to strategically use social media, such as for marketing or connecting with friends and family, but I was not using either Instagram or Facebook in healthy ways. While I was proud of certain elements of my social media pages, for the most part I was using those platforms in an unhealthy way. Either by creeping people on Instagram, or trying to be some constantly happy loving and positive person on Facebook, my habits were really not helping me reach my potential.
I can also see now how social media steals and uses our information for it’s own wealth, and how we mindlessly follow trends that can prove to be harmful. I can understand now how a person can be so easily manipulated and exploited online, and my ultimate purpose for closing my Facebook account was to get back to who I am as a person (my personality and what inspires me without the sway of social media), not who I am as a brand that only makes these tech giants even more rich, with me as the user spending more time feeding that beast instead of nourishing my own mind and talents.
And despite the misdirection taken through social media, I am very grateful for the growth that I have experienced online: I grew strong in polemics and theology, I got to share my writings with relatively large audiences, and I met some wonderful people whom I hope to remain in contact with. But I can see that my recovery is requiring another shedding of the layer, and I believe this layer now is Facebook. I have much to do, such as get really honest about a bitterness that still lurks within me, return to the poet who’s dreams were utterly wiped out almost a full generation ago, brainstorm my book that I am more convinced than ever needs to get written, and tend to my beautiful relationship that requires my attention.
While there is no doubt I will struggle at the beginning of closing my account (my online friend who stopped posting on Facebook two months ago and didn’t even close her account likened it to a grieving process), I am confident that if I stay true to myself this time around, I can mend some deep wounds that I didn’t know where festering. I believe that while I might still need the support of a professional on top of my peer-support groups and best friend, once I get to the bottom of this break from my background of melancholy that started online in the MySpace days, I will stop wondering how to navigate this strange space between dejection and alignment, because I will close that gap of dissonance.
2 thoughts on “Deleting Social Media”
Wonderful words and so true, Carly! I’m glad you’ve faced your own challenges and giving yourself freedom. It’s very hard to do, as many rely on social media, tremendously. I pray for your strength to continue this path! So happy for you. Take good care
Thanks Gary! Nice to see you 🙂