1

I haven’t blogged in months.  I’ve been busy with things like my third pregnancy, working, mothering, being broke, trying to harness some control over my life, and trying not to lose my shit at the world every day.  I have made some half-hearted attempts at writing, online and offline, on computer and on paper, but most of the words have stayed in my head, and the conclusion I have come to is that I have no one to blame but myself for being a writer who doesn’t write.

But it’s November and I want to do something about that.  Last November I wrote a novel in 30 days when I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month); this year I am not quite as ambitious and will instead go for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month).  So my intention is to blog every day for the month of November.

Last night I deleted the Facebook app off my iPhone.  That was big, even though I still have access to Facebook on my computer – it’s just that I use my computer much less than my phone.  I am a pretty avid Facebooker.  I’m able to keep up with people who are important to me, have interesting conversations, and remain somewhat involved in the world despite the isolation of being at stay-at-home (daytime) parent.  There are definite downsides to being so connected, though, and I have become acutely reacquainted with them.

The election is next week, and things have been ugly for months.  Facebook has become an ugly place, where people can post whatever they want about whoever they want with no regard for anything but their own misconceptions.  Complex issues have been reduced to memes.  Lies have been spread.  There’s talk about what a horrible state our country is in.  There are those who want to lay the blame at the feet of one or two people.  There are those who point the finger at everyone who thinks differently and label them ignorant, without any regard for their own ignorance.  People I care about do these things, these hurtful and misguided things.  It’s an awful feeling to come face to face (virtually) with people you love and respect and see a stranger instead.  For me, it challenges my entire worldview.

I’m kind of a Pollyanna, to be honest.  I don’t like to think badly of others; in fact, I believe most people are good.  I give others the benefit of the doubt.  I make a real effort to be understanding and compassionate instead of dismissive.  In fact, I tend to give others more free passes than I give myself.

The kind of behavior I’ve seen, though, is hard to grant a free pass to.  It’s hard to excuse bigotry and willful ignorance.  My frustration at having to hear yet another person refer to Barack Obama as a Communist/socialist/Nazi/Marxist/fascist/dictator (for example) finally got the best of me.  Two days ago, I found myself completely frazzled over Sandy, the storm that has devastated some parts of the East Coast, along with the normal political commentary, and as the day wore on, I began to have trouble breathing.  I felt a heaviness in my chest that went far beyond the normal pregnancy shortness of breath.  It happened again yesterday, and I went to see the doctor.  There are no real signs of anything physically wrong with me (other than a slightly elevated heartbeat), so the diagnosis was typical pregnancy hyperventilation combined with some anxiety.

I have been anxious for a long time, actually, and there are many reasons why, and one of them is Facebook.  Facebook is a forum for people to say whatever they want.  Free speech!  Yay, right?  Well, right, except when you use your right to free speech to tell lies and spread intolerance and bigotry.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: just because you can say anything you want doesn’t mean you should.

It is extremely difficult for me to believe that people I love and respect are capable of spreading malicious lies, that critical thinking has been thrown aside in favor of one-dimensional, black-and-white approaches to the world and the species within it.

I am terribly disappointed in some of the behavior I’ve seen on Facebook.

To the point of not being able to sleep at night.  To the point of having to reduce communication with certain people.  To the point of (possible) anxiety attacks.

And it’s not worth it.  Hence the Facebook app deletion.  A first step that I suppose could lead to a lengthy deactivation if I need it to.  Imagine what I could do if I re-harnessed some of that emotion I’ve been putting into Facebook and put it here instead?  Or on paper?  I imagine what I could be capable of if I remove my own negative energy from the equation.  I could write something.  Something good, maybe.  Or maybe it doesn’t matter.  Maybe it’s the doing that matters.

Here we go.  Day 1 of doing something different.

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3 thoughts on “1

  1. There are things we can’t control, like Sandy. The election. The idiocy of so many otherwise good people. These are things to think about, while evaluating, how much of my thinking energy is beneficial for me to put into this.

    There are things we kinda can control, like the current constantly broke state of most of us. That requires a lot of thinking energy, long term and minute by minute. That never ends.

    There are things we absolutely can control, like, how will Facebook fit into my life.

    For me FB is not a window to let in stress. FB is where I dream a bit, I post pics of places I’d love to see and pics that spark my imagination. I post things that make me laugh and things that make me reflective. I do play a game or two with my grandkids or with some nice friends, but nothing stressful. Once a game feels like work or gets stressful, I delete it. I “like” things people post that make me think, whether I actually like them or not. My ‘like’ button, my rules.

    I have noticed however that Facebook is not a diving board, it doesn’t inspire me to write. I suspect it’s more like latent source material, just keeping a finger on the pulse of current people’s streams of consciousness.

    If someone I would like/’have to’ keep as a ‘friend’ posts things that stress me out, I unsubscribe to them on my feed. That way I can only see their posts if I deliberately go to their wall and look. Which I never do.

    Conversely, I have had people read vicious messages into my posts that were not there, and even go so far as to construe random snarky comics I would post as a backhanded attack directed at them. I even got blamed if someone else responded to one of my posts in a way that offended them, even if I new nothing about the response.

    So there is a specially created list of people that cannot see any of my posts, even if they come to my wall. If they are determined to ramp themselves into an ugly victimized frame of mind today, it won’t be because of me.

    You and Roy are NOT on that list btw 😀

  2. I had an anxiety attack because of the storm, too. Ugh, my girl was sick with a high fever and I have so many friends in new york, and people were talking about the storm getting bad here, and there was wind and rain and gray outside and I just kind of lost it for a day or two. I wrote about it, too. About trying to make more space for love inside of me, by squeezing out all the fear.

    I’m sorry you had to go through those feelings of panic. I love your choice to step back from the thing that’s affecting you. I love that you’re writing here for A WHOLE MONTH, too. I love you.

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