In an effort to annoy as many of my friends as possible, I deleted my facebook a few months ago. Okay, that's not precisely the truth, but it's about as valid as any other excuse. I suppose I just got tired of it. I got tired of everyone being able to know what I was up to, I got tired of wasting hours stalking my old roommate's brother's friend's cousin's grandmother just because I could. I lamented the fact that people wrote on my wall instead of calling, and I decided I wanted to go "off the grid" for a bit.
I never intended for it to be permanent, but the longer I went without my newsfeed, the freer I felt. Who cares if I look like an idiot at my friend's wedding? I can't be tagged in pictures! Oh, random people from high school got in a silly fight over a guy who wasn't worth it ten years ago? Doesn't matter to me! I don't have to see it! People I needed to talk to had my phone number, and everyone else faded into an obscure memory.
That's not to say I haven't missed my familiar old social network. In fact, it was actually the specific times I missed it that further convinced me that being disconnected was the healthiest choice for me. Nights when I'd come home from work much later than I should have, weekends when I didn't interact with anyone but the girl I accidentally bumped at the Redbox. Those were the times when I wanted to "just check"... just check if he's still dating that girl... just check if my friends had been to a noraebang recently... just check if everyone else's life was, as I suspected, significantly happier than my own. I was afraid of comparing myself, afraid of making myself believe I was inadequate and boring and unwanted. To be fair, I'm still afraid of those things.
But this weekend, I bought a pomegranate. I'd never bought one myself before, and the guy at the grocery store tried to talk me out of it since they require an inexplicable amount of effort to prepare for consumption. When I got it back to Lauren's house, I shook the seeds into a bowl of water, the way Deb used to do it in India. I thought about all those times Deb would bring in bowls of pomegranate seeds and let everyone eat them as though they took no more effort than a banana. Had I been the one to seed them, I'd have punched my friends in the face before I'd have let anyone else eat those precious little pains in the butt. As I sat on Lauren's couch (sharing the seeds, of course), I decided I really wanted to tell Deb how much I appreciated all those times she brought me pomegranate seeds.
There are probably a dozen different times throughout the day that I think of something I want to say to someone. Sure, I could use email or a carrier pigeon, but really the bottom line is that in order to protect myself from potential sadness, I isolated myself from the form of communication that kept me connected with so many people I care about.
So tonight, I logged into facebook for the first time in a few months. Now I'll be able to actually be invited to my own birthday party next weekend, and I can finally catch up on pictures of my nephew. However, I am still keenly aware of how easily "just checking" can turn me into a weepy, lonely mess, and I'm going to be overly cautious for a while. I don't have the app on my phone, and I won't allow myself to check it more than once a day for ten minutes. I'm not going to use the search function to find any exes (or their new girlfriends). I won't be posting status updates because, honestly, I care too much whether anyone finds them entertaining. If I find in a few days that I can't hold myself accountable to these new guidelines, away it goes. The last few months have shown me I need facebook about as much as I need Halloween Oreos. Sure, I like them. But if I start going overboard, I'll just throw them away and get on with my life.
Crap, now I'm going to go eat some Oreos. Stop judging me!