My husband and I recently celebrated twenty-four years of marriage. When we began dating he said to me, "You can smoke or you can kiss me, but not both." I gave up smoking immediately, never gave it a second thought. Which was great, considering at the age of twenty-two I was up to a pack of cigarettes a day. I am embarrassed to say I had a three-year-old at the time, and his health as well as mine were not enough of a reason to get me to change the habit. Though I had "attempted" on and off to smoke less...
A similar situation presented itself last week with Facebook. No, my husband didn't tell me I could look at Facebook or kiss him (LOL)...I had been feeling all sorts of ick around social media for a while, I had even "attempted" on several occasions to only look at it here and there, but that really did not work for me.
Like smoking, Facebook in moderation is something I can't do.
I argued with myself for months about the importance of being on social media as a writer trying to gain an audience. How will I grow without the use of posts and tweets?
The gods honest truth is I haven't grown all that much, or all that quickly in the four years I have been writing and publishing my stories about parenting, marriage, and personal growth, even while on social media.
Some people have great "luck" in creating booming success and a multitude of fans with their writing through social media.
And that, I found, was another problem.
Constantly reading other writer's posts about parenting, self-improvement, self-image, marriage...all of the topics so close to my heart, and so well done by others in my eyes, made me feel jealous. I spent more time than I wanted to comparing my worth to others in the writing arena.
This is not who I want to be.
Continuing to use Facebook also caused me to make a lot of judgments about other people.
Who went on what vacation where and how often, who's kid got in to NJHS when mine had no desire to apply, and don't even get me started on who was taking selfies for what reason...judging others for the quality, content, and underlying reasons for their posts is not who I want to be.
Social media is also a HUGE time sucker. (At least it was for me). In the last week I have made more quality "real world" connections than anything I ever found in the alternate reality of social media. Will I miss those grade school friends I never would have connected with otherwise? Yes. But, there are other ways to remain in contact.
We have only one shot at life (at least that I am aware of in this moment), and I want to be fully myself while connecting in the REAL world with other people who want to do the same thing.
This post will go automatically to a few social media outlets...but I won't be checking to see how many likes it got, or if anyone commented below the post, or if the message meant enough to someone to hit the share button. Because at the end of the day it doesn't matter to me.
The only thing that has ever really mattered to me in my writing is that I am able to share honestly and continue to figure out who I really am.
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I am always available to connect via email at email@example.com.