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.
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.