I am an addict.

I discovered this on Tuesday as I walked barefoot and quietly along the shore of a reservoir in a soft rain, pretending I was walking on a faraway beach, trying to figure out what exactly was eating away at me. I sat down between two trees and prayed out loud for God to show me a sign; I wanted a big fat answer to plop down right in front of me so I would know. That doesn’t really happen, sadly. But as I walked back to my car I realized that I didn’t have anyone to really talk to, no one to really call me out on my shit. (Is that allowed? To use a naughty word in the same paragraph in which I’ve talked about God? Hmm.) Well. There was my husband. But quite frankly, I hate it when he calls me out on my shit. Too close. And it would take him years, because I’ve got a lot. 

I drove away. I drove towards home, knowing that I didn’t have any more answers than when I left earlier, so I started listening again to a book I had downloaded. It’s a book by Donald Miller – A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. To be honest, I’m not really sure why I downloaded it since I don’t care much for non-fiction, but I am enjoying it. I like his voice. He sounds a little like Seth Rogen, and Seth’s voice always makes me happy. I’m on chapter 17, a chapter about developing a story and what role the character plays. Donald has been working his way through how to make a book into a movie, and how an audience can’t read the thoughts of the character in the movie as they can in the book. Character is someone who does. Character is separate than what we think of ourselves; it’s what we’re doing. They can look very different.

Suddenly, I knew. And I was excited.

I pulled over and grabbed my phone, searching through my account for the right action.

I chose…

Deactivate my account.

It was my Facebook account, and I am an addict.

In the couple of short days since, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve wanted desperately to post something: A funny thing the boys said; how someone cut me off in traffic; something self-depracating. I’ve thought a lot about how passive-aggressive I am on social media, and I’ve been disappointed in that. It’s a weakness for me and I’ve fed it as fiercely as sugar feeds a yeast. I had no idea how dependent I’d become on that news feed. And I will miss terribly seeing the quirky things that my friend in Tulsa, Karen, posts about the most seemingly random things; my Australian girl, Shay, and her new pregnancy. I will miss seeing the day-to-day photos and funny things that people post about their kids or dogs or the weather. I will miss Doppleganger days and Talk Like A Pirate day and threads about new restaurants. But I will not miss that manic feeling of needing Facebook or craving Facebook or the regret of missing something in my own life because I was too busy posting the last thing. My own, personal response to Facebook has been a trip and at times I feel the jones, hard.

And it’s risky for me. I’ve built a business there, a following if you will. I’m planning to publish a book that I’ve been working on for over a year, and now I have to think of new ways to make it available. Will anyone be interested anymore? I don’t know. I’ll miss out on an important Photography Forum that has been a godsend to me. Will any of those girls notice I’m missing? I can’t know that, but it’s not the point. The point is this: Yesterday, my first day being deactivated, I had three phone calls with family, one with a friend (usually I shy away from my phone), one face-to-face conversation with a neighbor, and six text message conversations, and those were real. They were specific. They were doing relationship. I feel like I have been scrubbed clean and am stepping out of a too-tight skin. And when I admitted these things to my husband? He simply sat next to me and tenderly held my hand. When my 8yo overhead those things? He asked for confirmation and then gave me a huge smile.

I’m learning more about my own Character. I’m editing my Story.

I am Deactivated.



Comments (16)

  1. Hank Pantier

    i have no words, only this :)

    1. mary

      thanks baby. and thank you for holding my hand…always.

  2. JRod

    Good going, don’t lose track of us, we moved her JUST for you! heh…

    1. mary

      it’s the new hipster thing, jerrod. quitting facebook before people start quitting facebook. someone coined that recently…

  3. Adam B.

    Good for you Mary! How about a double-date, real-interaction soon?

    1. mary

      we LOVE double-date + real-interaction things!!! let’s do it.

  4. Ali

    I love you! I think this is awesome! I have had to restrict my usage on fb and have not allowed myself to join pinterest for some of the same reasons. And I loved talking to you on the phone yesterday…we should do that more, too bad I had to rudely get off since my baby was puking on me.

    1. mary

      oh i love you too, ali!!!! and you tell that little puke-monster to keep his veggie straws to himself. :)

  5. kim jones

    Proud of you! Way to go!!! I’ll miss you on ps31, too, but I know how to track you down, missy!!

    1. mary

      yes you do!!!! here’s to more coffee dates, kim! :)

  6. Amy

    Inspirational!! I can relate to all of what you said. I think about taking a “break”,but not leaving it forever. It is an addiction and I think I just desire an immediate response in a lot of situations and we can’t always get that from God. I use the excuse that God is using Facebook for good. I am able to share His word on fb and share my faith on this journey. You have made inspired me to pray more about that
    I love you Mary! I would notice right away that you were gone, bit this is a good choice! Xoxo

    1. mary

      oh amy!!!!! my precious girl. you were one of my very first thoughts when i decided this. you are an amazing inspiration to me and i love that you’re praying about this. xoxo!!!!

  7. carolyn

    Oh my, we need another coffee date SOON. You are awesome! I have been struggling with something lately and it came to me over the weekend that FB is feeding these feelings while it simultaneously distracts me. I decided this morning to deactivate, scrolled through my news feed one last time just now…and there was your post. Like a sign, affirming my decision. ;)

    1. mary

      OH MY GOODNESS!!! really?!?!? it’s a SIGN. i swear to you it’s a sign. i’ve been hearing weird thing after weird thing about rewriting your story in so many places – the last was this weekend on NPR about a Ted talk and branding. Crazy. COFFEE DATE. i’m emailing you.

  8. isa

    Good for you. I want to do that but I can’t, not only because of the addiction to social media, but also it’s how we communicate with the world. Too many family members and friends! Maybe one day I will! I will miss u!

    1. mary

      i will miss you too, isa! but now i can stalk you in person. :)

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