I had an old friend ask to be my Facebook friend this week. I haven’t talked to her in twenty years. My very first thought: “What is she selling?”
I’m wary of social media these days. It’s exhausting.
Facebook keeps us connected. But it also divides us.
I’m grateful I can share photos of my kids with their grandparents who live out of state. My kids’ great-aunt can keep connected. I can see photos of the lives of my old college roommates from decades long gone.
However, today it feels more like an enemy. I hesitate to open it, knowing I will feel its daggers and arrows.
2020 has us all on edge. We’ve all been sitting home, connected only to the outside world largely through social media. It’s our outlet. For some people, their only outlet. So, that’s where they share and vent and read and get all their news. I’m just as guilty.
But I’m about done.
Race arguments, mask arguments, quarantine divides… I’m sick of it.
When I put my phone down and I am still affected, it may be time to quit picking it up.
I have tried to post pictures of my children and my family and keep all my posts neutral. As someone that God made to be passionate and opinionated, that’s hard to do for long. Something in me this week snapped. ENOUGH. Why can’t my thoughts be expressed to? I’m tired of being berated for who I am and how I live my life. Then I quickly retreat when I realize I really don’t want to be in the battle. It leaves me weary and tired when I exit it. My life is already a battle. I am fighting for my kid’s childhood and their memories every day. I’m fighting a house that stays dirty. I fight weariness from multiple jobs. I don’t have the energy to fight *all* the battles. I have to learn to pick them.
You’ll never win on social media. Never ever. You know why? Because we all log in with our minds already set on whatever the issue of the moment might be. I do it too. We all fill our brains with articles that support what we already believe. We “like” posts and friends who align with our way of thinking. And when one person opposes that, I am armed with my “knowledge” and my “virtual support.” I have surrounded myself with the idea that I. am. right.
Yet you have done the same. I am not going to change you. You are not going to change me.
I know this, and yet I still engage. I feel so passionately about what I believe. I need you to know that you are not the only one with an opinion on the subject. I can’t help but feel that pull to let you know that you are wrong. I realize you believe I am in the wrong. I think you’re absolutely crazy for not seeing the truth. You feel that way about me. I let you win. You post an article. I don’t debate it. The truth is, I can post an opposing article by a respected educator just as often as you can. We can do this all day long. But I’m too tired. I literally lose sleep over it.
Neither of us become greater as a result of the interaction. Instead, we become deflated and discouraged. That makes us become less. We are then less for the real life and the real people who need us. The ones who can touch us are the ones that matter.
Recently my world got exhausting. I needed a change. I took the kids to my mom and dad’s and we have just been staying there a few weeks. They have some acreage on the lake. All of Hall and Forsyth counties have changed and grown, but that little piece of the world in the corner of them both has stayed exactly the same since 1970-something.
We have picked blueberries, rolled down the grassy hill, ran in just ahead of the storm. We watched papa mow the field and mama go through old photos. They don’t have internet. They do have antenna t.v. I try to look at Facebook before bed (old habits die hard) and I get a constant circle loading something that never comes.
There’s no race tension there. Only love. I can teach my kids what I want them to know about the beautiful skin of others. There’s no masks and social distancing. No one judges me from snuggling in the bed with my kids. There’s no worry, no arguments, no fear. Just simple living. It’s like being a child again.
I can’t escape forever, but maybe I need to escape more. Life is too short to live it tired and discouraged.
Life isn’t about entering battles I am destined to lose. Even if I “win” momentarily, I can lose on the exact same subject by the very next thread posted by people who haven’t been true friends in a long time, if ever.
I want to make a conscious decision to step down, out of the virtual bubble that defeats me, and into the real life that beckons joy and peace.
Honestly, blueberries aren’t even good. They are bitter and tart-tasting to me. Yet picking them is exactly where I need to be. The thorn of a blueberry bush in my hand is just a sweet reminder that life doesn’t have to be as prickly as I have made it.