It’s funny, really. Last week I gave myself a time management makeover and here it is Monday and I’m already blowing it. But let me say first that it worked wonders yesterday. I got a nice juicy chapter of my novel written and it felt goooooood. This morning I’m supposed to be doing other things but inspiration struck during Morning Prayers. Inspiration can be the damndest thing, you know. It lands right between your eyes when it’s not scheduled and sits there threatening to wreak havoc on your future creativity unless you drop everything and handle it. Like when your kid poops in the bathtub. You may have been counting on a few minutes of sweet relief while splashy water and tub toys work their magic and then all of a sudden you’re letting your child marinate in fecal matter. Nice e. coli lake you’ve got there, Lady. And you let your kids play in it?
So let me say again that I’m not supposed to be writing right now. There’s a list. With a timetable. There are tasks I deemed important to accomplish right now that I’m blowing off to sit here and roll with inspiration. And it’s my fault for creating the structure in which I was supposed to thrive and it’s also my fault for breaking the structure because thriving started to happen off-schedule. I take full responsibility but I’m NOT sorry. It’s a holiday. I just had coffee and cheese and black pepper and Morning Prayers. I also just figured out that the best way to get my cat to stop chewing on the blinds is to raise them so she can sit in the windowsill and watch the birds. And the new name for my Selfie/Not Selfie project just came to me. Morning Prayers work, people. I’ll say it again–they work.
I’ve been struggling with the decision to break up with Facebook for so long now that I want to say “a year now” or “the better part of a year now” and be telling the truth. But I’m not inclined to go back and check to see if it’s really been a year or if it just feels that way because my inspirational kid just pooped in the tub. I’m going to go ahead and say it for effect knowing full well the math might be right. I haven’t had a Facebook news feed for a year now (or almost a year/feels like a year). It was the only way I could know for sure what living without Facebook would truly mean for my life. I am still a member of several Groups and I still have the option to visit the pages of my Friends but there is no daily feed to scroll.
As I wrestle with the decision to cut the cord completely I have these little mini-battles:
- Facebook makes me feel like shit. It triggers a lot of shitty thoughts. Wait. Let me rephrase to make it more authentic–I feel like shit when I use Facebook. It’s not Facebook’s fault. Exposure to Facebook content triggers a lot of shitty thinking that I generate myself. Should I work on that instead of quitting?
- Friends don’t like it when you don’t follow them on Facebook. It’s become a social mandate because this is one of the most important ways we stay connected. Refusing to be knowledgeable about your Friends through Facebook tells them you don’t care, you aren’t invested, and you aren’t interested in them. Shouldn’t I evolve with society and accept that this is now how we prove our devotion to each other? Why do I always have be so damn rebellious?
- Leaving Facebook doesn’t resolve my issues with Facebook because that’s what they are–my issues. Am I quitting Facebook or quitting on myself? Am I quitting because this is too hard?
- Doesn’t leaving make me part of the problem instead of advocating for a more meaningful Facebook experience? I can’t lead by example on Facebook if I’m not on Facebook, right?
- I’m only halfway through the 366 Days of Selfies (I’m getting to that) project. If I quit Facebook everyone will think I’ve bailed on the project.
In the spirit of living my truth I went to visit the pages of some Friends to try again to flesh out a reason to stay (aside from the blabber above). I have already identified why the news feed is a problem. I don’t get a choice about seeing the link to everything everyone has liked. I can’t opt out of the articles and shares and just see the personal posts. Every day I tell Facebook not to show me stuff like that but it keeps coming. I can’t escape the advertising or the algorithms that are slowly programming me into handing over the right to prioritize my own thoughts. Here, Facebook–you decide what I should read and you choose the things about which I should care. I don’t want to ingest all of that stuff. I don’t want to surrender my brain space to someone else to stock. Sifting through the clutter to get to what’s really going on with people is an enormous time and energy drain. So I have to page hop from person to person. Which is what I did.
I immediately felt like shit. I felt like shit because I don’t get invited to play or run or gather with my Friends anymore. Everyone is moving on with their lives without me. I’m gone. I’m not in there anymore. I’m not in the mix anymore. I’m not even invited. I internalize this in that all too familiar spiral down the drain of emotional wellness. You know how it goes.
Oh. Yes. You. Do.
Why don’t they invite me? They really must not like me.
Why do they act like they like me to my face but then leave me out? They really must not want me around.
When I invite myself they always say yes but unless I initiate it they don’t include me. Why? They’re just being nice. I’m obviously intruding.
Why do I always have to invite myself? Indeed. If they wanted to include me they would invite me. This is not brain surgery, Sassy.
Now I KNOW they don’t like that girl! They’ve told me so. They can’t stand her! Why do they include her and not me? It must not be that simple. She must have something I don’t have. She must do something I don’t do so they overlook all the other stuff. I really don’t know. Maybe they forgave her. Maybe she made amends. Maybe she’s blessed to be Redemption Girl and I’m cursed to be Girl Who Doesn’t Get It.
What did I do wrong? There’s no way to know. I can’t ask. They won’t tell me but I can bet they are telling each other.
Well wouldn’t I join that conversation if I was lucky enough to still be on the inside? If past behavior is any indicator, yes I would.
What’s wrong with me? Nothing. Everything. I brought this on myself. I’m not a good Friend.
Is it because I don’t Like all their stuff on Facebook? Could be.
Don’t they know I’m not following anyone on Facebook anymore? Probably not. Even if they did it doesn’t mean they would forgive me for what amounts to social withdrawal from their lives via today’s primary conduit of friendship. To them I’ve opted out of Friendship. If I appear to be ignoring them why shouldn’t they ignore me?
Shouldn’t I just be happy that they are all having a great time and bonding and loving each other so much and look so happy? Yes. I definitely should.
Why do I have to make this about me? Oh, now that’s a laugh. I think everything is about me; it’s probably why no one wants to spend time with me. Maybe it’s just because I am smug, arrogant, lacking in humility, irresponsible and unreliable. At least people have been honest with me about that much. Plus, I’m holiest of thou. I know all. I say things like I’m the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I glorify my selfies. Could be I’m just obnoxious.
So I should just delete my account so I won’t be bothered by this? Stop engaging in behaviors that only make me feel shitty about myself? Feels like denial. Feels like running away. Hiding from problems doesn’t make them go away. Facebook will still be there and it will still be teeming with celebration circles and girl squads and public bonding that does not include me.
So what’s the real problem here? I think I’m missing out. I feel rejected. I feel defective. I feel not good enough. I’m not one of the cool kids anymore. I was never one of the cool kids. They sometimes tolerate me to be polite and I exaggerate it to mean they like me. But the next time they leave me out the exclusion overrules my delusion. There’s got to be more to friendship than Facebook. Whatever that is, I don’t have it.
What am I supposed to do about this? Nothing really. No one is hurting me but me. No one is doing anything to me, I’m just choosing to interpret it that way. And even if I’m right there’s nothing I can do about people not liking me. Might as well learn to live with it. Retreat back into solitude and self-love. Go for a run. Do some yoga. Sit with it. Not everyone must like me. I like me. So I’ll just recommit to being my own best friend. I should send them love and light hold them in my heart with compassion. And then hold me in my heart with compassion too. No wait; that’s backwards. I should hold me with compassion first.
And then I’m right back where I started. Go ahead and judge. It’s okay. You can’t possibly judge any more harshly than I can, so have yourself a nice satisfying finger-point. I can take it. This is what comes from stripping away all the bullshit. No filters. No app to edit all the ugly parts. As my friend Bella puts it–show me the crooked teeth and the saggy neck and your living spaces in natural light and then talk to me about self-love. You don’t get to love only the pretty parts. You have to love all of it which means you have to accept all of it. And you don’t just get to say it. You have to show it. I went to sleep last night thinking about all of this so of course all of this bled into Morning Prayers. Arrested regular scheduled activities. Poop in the tub. Deal with me now, not later.
The good news is that while this rumination moved through its phases I chased a rabbit down the selfie trail. While fishing the turds out of the water I asked myself if I wanted to re-name the selfie project simply because I keep reading and hearing so many negative comments about selfies. I wondered if I should use this as my new excuse to get off Facebook. Simplify it down to something less cumbersome. Leave Facebook because I only use it for Groups and the selfie project and everyone hates selfies. Even Jenny Lawson–it’s down around 20 or 21 on her list. Not that I blame her. I love it when she’s being a real fucker again. According to her rules I hate Jesus/Freedom/America/Babies anyway so it’s really no wonder no one wants to be my friend. I’ll amend my previous paragraph to say I’ll retreat back into solitude, self-Love, and Jenny Lawson (if she’ll have me/why won’t she have me).
My original compulsion to stop calling them selfies was to separate them from the kind of photos that prompted Jenny’s brillarious (that’s brilliant + hilarious) Tell Me I’m Pretty analysis. Heavy emphasis on the anal. Jenny loves asshole references. She’s gonna be my friend any minute now. (#waitingforJenny) (#JennyistheMessiah) So I reasoned that if I couldn’t come up with a better name for them I should go ahead and take the project off of Facebook. Or follow Jenny’s suggestion and leave it on Facebook but label it appropriately. I envisioned Thursday rolling around and me posting an all-caps disclaimer above my weekly collage:
THIS IS NOT A SELFIE.
And suddenly there it was. See it? It’s like magic the way these things come out of me. Not like magic. Actual magic.
THIS IS NOT A SELFIE.
Oh my glob, y’all. It’s just cheesy enough. And people who don’t read this blog will not get it and that’s a little bit delicious. Because my name is not Tina. And I’ve never even liked the name Tina much, except now I think I do. Say it with me–366 Days of TINAS. Maybe lower the caps to help build the mystery. 366 Days of Tinas. I’m over-explaining it. But this is probably the only chance I’ll get because if I do this I’m going to have to let the mystery stand. And refuse to answer any questions about it because if those tools were really my friends wouldn’t they already be reading my blog and liking the shit out of everything? (#waitingforJenny) (#JennyisBatman) (#IwillbeRobin)
I really don’t want friendship to be reduced to an act of spite but I will say I’m an expert at reductions. I can distill just about anything down to base elements. That’s a poetic way of saying I’m good at breaking things. All this time alone; sometimes it’s a gift. But seriously, my method says if you can’t fix it, strip it for parts and write them each a new job description. Just imagine:
Tina? Who’s Tina? Tina must be her real name. Nope. WTF? She’s an asshole. Seriously. Nobody likes her. She’s such an asshole she brags about nobody liking her all over her blog. And get this–it’s supposed to be a wellness blog. Yeah, I know. It’s like she can’t just be rejected like a normal person, she’s got to act like she owns it. And I’ve been friends with her on Facebook for like a million years and she won’t like anything I post! She blames it on not feeding data into the algorithm thing but it’s really just because she’s a shitty friend. And she’s obsessed with poop. Yeah, it’s all we talk about whenever we get together without her. It’s not our fault that the only people who can stand her are weirdos like Jenny Lawson.
#waitingforJenny #whatdoIhavetodoJenny? #tellmeIamfunnyJenny
And just because I can feel a wave of toilet water rising out there, let me go ahead and say that Yes, I believe a little healthy sarcasm is an important element of wellness too. On days like today it takes more than a little but if the scales come back into balance it is all still part of the practice. At the end of the day no one should ever be able to mock me better than I can mock myself. When it comes to being self-absorbed I strive to be the very best. It’s probably a super-power that no one has the guts to recognize. Yet. It’s probably a Group on Facebook and I just haven’t found it yet. Or maybe this is a Facebook Group I need to create–The Itty Bitty Shitty Committee. Our motto will be Satire Is Love. (#JennyforPresident)
In the spirit of distillation of I am taking the 366 Days of Tinas project off of Facebook, effective immediately. The dailies will still be on Instagram. The semi-weekly posts will still be posted here under the new name. I’ll probably add in the collages I used to post on Facebook with an acknowledgment that honors this process and the way it has grown over the last six months. Also because it was fun making the collages. I’ll give them sub-headings or captions with just enough punch to make it feel like a bonus. Something classy and high-road like:
This Is Too Good For Facebook
This is What the Asshats on Facebook are Missing
This is the Stuff that Could Have Saved Facebook
Rejection Makes Good Writing Material (If You’re Sassy)
This Will Make Jenny Want Me
If It’s Not on Facebook There Can Be More Nudity
Enjoy your fireworks tonight, America. Happy Birthday, USA. I’ll be too busy working on the stuff I didn’t do because I sat here writing this and used up all my time. #worthitifJennylikesit
P.S. I feel a strong urge to turn off the comments for this post because I do not want anyone from Facebook to feel manipulated and then guilt-post something like No, no, we really do love you. It’s just that you act like you’re too good for us. Or maybe You’re just too complicated and all we want to do is have fun. Or probably Up yours, bitch. Let me be clear that I’m not hoping to force contact from anyone who wasn’t already inclined to do so before I wrote this. I thought I might prove it by removing the option to comment. However, it can be argued that shutting down communication will only serve to conveniently validate my own perspective and allow me to remain unchallenged on my own bullshit. It feels like cheating, which does not support wellness. So I’m not going to do that. I’m just going to go clean the bathtub. And #waitforJenny.