Maybe you’re the same? I get teased a lot about my Facebook use. But not by people who get it.
Five years ago, I was in a miserable marriage and experiencing phenomenally low energy levels. I wonder now if I was bordering on depression. I had a nine year-old, a six year-old and a two year-old, and my life pretty much revolved around them because I had to choose to do one thing well. I was 43 and experiencing some intense bleeding as part of peri-menopause and my iron levels were teeny as a result, I was seriously sleep-deprived and I was trying to convince the world I was right about everything.
I was prickly to those who annoyed me and many people annoyed me. I was very, very fragile. I was trying to keep my boys protected from some intense dysfunction within their wider world, and ensure they felt loved but not entitled. I felt isolated and I had some serious self-development to do. I had baggage I needed to sort out. It wasn’t my fault I was in this state but it was my responsibility to change it.
To be clear: I have many dear friends in real life and lots of things I can talk about. I am interested in stuff. But most of my people are busy parents who aren’t always available. My interests have always been eclectic, so finding those who can sensibly discuss things I want to discuss is rare, when in survival mode, it was impossible. Personal development wasn’t new to me but it was on the backburner because there was no space in my head. So I joined Facebook, and it began.
Have you changed after using Facebook? It may seem weird to those who haven’t had it as a lifeline. I did. I found one mini tribe after another that shared my interests: I could be part of a group that got *this* but didn’t have to know *that* about me. I was given new information and new skills to learn. I became more circumspect about whom I told what. I could chat with people at 5.00am or 12.00pm, when no one in my real world was around. I had proper fun for the first time in years. I learned to laugh and tease and flirt with men, and to put in boundaries to maintain greater self-respect, and not be fazed when people didn’t resonate with me and ghosted. I learned a lot about speaking in a way that I could be heard and listening to understand, not to respond. I learned about some really alternative ways of looking at the world.
I learned to be the me I had been before other people had convinced me to be something else that suited them. I ditched the shell and found a spine.
And the response has been outstandingly positive. My sense of self has soared. I have slowly translated all my new self into the real world and am loving life in a way I could never have predicted. I am healthy all round. How about you? Does your online life reflect your real life? It’s an interesting thing to ponder.
As things do, this has cycled around: I am now faced with the reality that some of my online people are Trump people and therefore, not my people. The internet has limitations: no tone of voice, no body language, no instantaneous vibe to resonate with… or not. Interpersonal cues take longer to decipher. It’s a curious thing and I understand why those who don’t get it, don’t get it. In the end it comes down to this: I value my mini-tribes in ways that anti-Facebook people will probably never understand. Cheers to you all and a heartfelt, thank you.
What’s your Facebook experience been like? Are you even on Facebook?
I feel you. You made me laugh ? I am glad you found this life-line within Facebook. It can be admitted that Facebook can become a waste of time but I do not believe it is itself that causes the waste of time, rather our own time that we don’t manage well. It could be anything else…. Long trips to the grocery store when all you come out with is 3 things. With self-discipline Facebook can be a real connector. You can choose to be on there for hours, at whatever time of day (as you mentioned), or be there for ‘meetings’. Lol. Like you know you’ll go visit Mary from 2-3pm, well, you also know that on FB you can visit with Mary for 20 minutes and move on.
All that to say….. I think Facebook can be a great tool to learn more about family, friends, and self.
Thank you for the post!!!
I couldn’t agree more!
It’s a strange fact that most of “my people” live on different continents, and we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to “meet” and grow together if not for Facebook! I’m severely “technologically challenged” but I’m blessed with a daughter who regularly teaches me more things. 🙂
I live in South Africa, and recently one of my FB friends from Canada and I had the opportunity to meet in person. Anyone who says that FB relationships are not real, clearly doesn’t “use FB” in the right way! The online love, respect and support was all there. The only surprise was our respective accents … that’s one thing that doesn’t come across in written exchanges. 🙂 It was fabulous to hug for real instead of “virtually”.
The way I see it, Facebook is a tool and (like any tool) can be used for good or for bad. Think about something as simple as a hammer … good if you use it to build something, but bad if you use it to kill someone by beating them with it! I’ve learnt *so much* about myself and others through the judicious use of Facebook. Also, since most of my family lives in different countries, without Facebook it would be *much* more difficult to stay connected, share photos etc.
I also value my mini-tribes more than can adequately be explained in words. 🙂
I don’t know much about Facebook but I can tell that the blogging world opened me doors too, the same ones as you.
People don’t know and jusge.
But you’re right what is important is the fact that we create sane relationships that help us go through tough times. And who knows what there is behind the scene – sometime sweet and loving friendships.
Glad you found support this way Karyn. Take care
Facebook brought me you.
For me, it made a huge change. But it began when I joined an online dating site, with a chat box. I discovered I could easily make friends online. AS a single mom with a 40 hour teaching job in a new city and no friends or family, this was the equivalent of a pub. Then we got Hyves here in the Netherlands, a Dutch kind of Facebook. But when Facebook came to Europe, I switched: Hyves totally reflected the cozy, narrow minded state we were in, and Facebook literally and figuratively opened the world to me. ALthough lately, I’ve had the urge to take a break, because of the whole election thing. If you’re not American and you can’t change a damn thing about it but wait and see, it’s quite a circus. Not mine though, and not my monkeys, and all this scrolling makes me weary.
But glad to have found you ?❤
Oh, Karyn, I love your post!
For me it has been twitter and blogging, but I know exactly what you mean.
It still surprises me that there are so many people that have the wrong idea about social media.
Social media helped me to grow as a person in a time when I was stuck.
I am now much more confident and much more open when I engage with people in real live.