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I scrolled and scrolled, and I was being reeled in like a fish who couldn’t resist the tie line.  It had me in it’s grip and with each new post about Trump, Bannon or Devos I tapped on the article and read it like a soap opera addict, I couldn’t wait for the new plot line to come out each day.  However, unlike a soap opera which isn’t real, what I was reading was and I became engrossed in it, scrolling to find more stories and replying with intensity and a sense of feeling I was doing my duty in trying to get others to see what was happening to this country…but was I? or was I just involving myself in heavy drama and having this be a focus to steer me away from the death of my best friend.  Whatever the reason being, I noticed that I was experiencing stomach pains and nausea while I would be engrossed in political conversations and that when I stopped writing and got out of Facebook, my stomach started to calm down. I was having Trump stress pains and it wasn’t good.  I decided this wasn’t worth my health, it wasn’t worth getting so upset that I wanted to kick something or reach through my computer and yell at certain people who refused to see the hatred, it was causing me to be angry, that which I was upset for seeing happen, was happening to me. I decided to pull away.  I wondered, what will it be like if I change my role here?  What if I just become a silent observer? Can I do this? Can I read a news story or a post about something that infuriates me and not give my opinion about it?  It was time to find out.  I also wanted to know in this world of “socialness” what would happen if I stopped being social.  Did the world need to read about my viewpoints or see my posts on my dating foibles or viewpoints, I wasn’t sure but thought it would make an interesting experiment to not say a thing.  The exception to this was I did allow myself to post in the classified sections of Facebook.  I sell things here and there and didn’t want to stop myself from being able to make a little money here and there.

 

The silent journey begins….

 

The first week was hard, I would read a post and immediately click on the comment button and start to furiously write but then I would stop, hit back space and take a deep breath.  I would remind myself that I didn’t’ have to give my 2 cents on everything out there.  I just became about scrolling and reading and taking it in.  It was hard though to not comment when people would post a picture or video of an event that they were participating in or a birthday they were having.  To those birthdays I haven’t written a Happy Birthday to , I apologize but I am sending you hugs and love.  I would still watch cute cat videos but this time not post them. I would still look at the posts that asked all sorts of questions but not answer them.  Three weeks in and it was a little bit easier.  I would still get notifications but now they were mainly for classified ads or groups I was a part of.  The content on my page also changed drastically, from showing friends videos to showing more stories from 22 words and the Los Angeles Times.  My ads even changed, for some reason Facebook thinks I am bulimic because I must have read a story on it…and no I am not bulimic or anorexic.   I noticed that my friends still thought I was online based on answers they put on the questionnaires the filled out.  You know those posts that ask you things like name 4 places you have been, name 4 of your nick names.  These almost always have a question at that bottom saying name someone you know will respond or repost this.  My friends, even a month and a half after I stopped posting, still put my name.  I didn’t respond or say anything but I was amused by it.  I felt like the girl who wasn’t invited to the party but everyone keeps acting like I was there.  Oh you remember when so and so did this at the party and it was so funny and my response being, no I don’t know I wasn’t there.  They give you that inquisitive look, no, no you were there, I remember.  You shake your head and say flatly, nope it wasn’t me and they aren’t sure what to say because they really thought you had been invited or had been there but you weren’t.  I did have one friend who wrote to me on messenger, about 2 ½ weeks after I had stopped writing. I almost always replied to her sweet posts about her children and wonderful mate and she wanted to make sure I was okay.  It was very touching to me and I wrote her back explaining what I was doing.  I did write to her on and off through out the 2 months.

Not being contacted or having most people notice I was gone made me  wonder about my presence as a person and how strong is it really?  Not very when it comes to social media.   It hurt to some degree but I just took it in and realized it was something I needed to work through and figure out.  How I do this I am not 100% sure of but I know I am open to growing and also open to connecting with people on a deeper level.

I do need to note that I have certain people on Facebook, such as Family and close friends that I talked to outside of the Facebook world.  It is interesting because none of them said anything to me about not posting or not seeing me not commenting on their feeds.  I wasn’t completely void of connection with people.

In the last few weeks of not posting on Facebook, I find myself wanting to comment on certain posts of people who are going through specific things. I have a friend who just had a baby, a beautiful boy. I am so incredibly happy for her and her husband. I love seeing the pictures even though I think she worries she will be one of those moms who is in overkill mode with the pictures, she is not and believe me with all the trauma going on in the world, seeing a sweet baby sleeping in his father’s arms is something I want to see more of.

I am ready to enter the world of Facebook again but this time realizing that it is just a website, not a home. It is social…yes but more in a acquaintance sort of way. I also realize that in life I don’t want to be a part of a lot of the surface stuff, the how’s the weather conversations or what is considered to be small talk but I also don’t want to be in a war all the time with the political turmoil that is all around us.  Peace within myself and my body is more important now. It is more important to connect with people who want to go somewhere and have coffee or who want to connect and see how each other are doing.  I step back into this wondering what is next with it….How do I use this social media to enhance my life?  Do I use it to report to those I know what I am doing, after all a lot of the people on Facebook that I am friends with don’t live in the same city or even state, some don’t’ even live in the same country so it is not like I can sit down and have  a coffee with them. One of the reasons I love Facebook is for just this reason. I can see the people (whom I used to hang out with when they lived in LA ), what they are up to, what their children are doing.

The world we live in now has connection through online means.  It is a vessel but it is not the complete ship, I have realized that I need more, more people to laugh with, more people to sit across a table and see their smile light up or be in a movie theatre eating popcorn together and bonding over our love for the Jedi’s.  This is a connection that isn’t the same through a screen, it can’t hug me or bring me food when a friend has died and these are the connections I seek.  I love Facebook for the people, for the funny cat videos, for the inspiring stories and for seeing people whom I love dearly and miss across the miles but it is time, time for me to be in a non virtual world so that I can one day post about me and my friends being at a dinner table and laughing and connecting, instead of scrolling though my feed and seeing others do this and wishing it was me.

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I watch the repeats of Sex and the City and find myself thinking that Carrie is my least favorite character, most of the time. She dates big, over and over again, even though she gets her heart broken each time. Where was writer Greg Berendht’s input in this (consultant and writer on the show and wrote the book, he is just not that into you).

She opens herself up to Big, she is the epitimy of what drives me nuts about media’s portrayal of women. We are either pushy bitches who will stomp on anyone to get anything we want or we are powerless over love, repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Of course the reasoning is always, We Can’t Choose Who We Love or I can’t help. The I love him so what ever am I to do, I can’t help myself. I believe it may be difficult to not have feelings for someone but we have a choice as to whether we take action on those feelings. We are a reactionary society however that feeds of thinking we have to have it, and we are taught to go with our first reaction, instead of being taught to stop and think about what we are doing, what the consequences of our actions will be or remembering perhaps a lesson learned in the last time we went through this and realizing, hey I am not going down that path again.

Every time I see the episode where Carrie tells Aidan that she slept with BIG, I get upset. She tells him right before they are to go to Charlotte’s wedding.She is looking at him with sad eyes, as if to say, okay come with me to this wedding, after she just dropped this huge bomb on him. He leaves and I get the feeling we are to feel bad for her but all I can think of is, why did you cheat on such a great man, I would love to have a man who was like Aidan. Then when they get back together and he has a difficult time dealing with trusting her, she comes to him and pleads, “You have to forgive me, You Have to” To keep a relationship going where someone has cheated, it is very difficult for the person who got cheated on to trust. Sometimes it takes years, and from most of the people I know, the relationship usually ends because it is so difficult to trust the person. Well this is television however, the place where most people are supposed to just get over things in an instant. A great example of this is when a person dies, and the widow is single six months later and her friends are saying, you need to get out and date. Our society is afraid to be alone, afraid to be with who we are. The thinking is always, you will be happy if you have someone. When someone gets married, what do most people say, Oh now they can be happy or happily ever after? No wonder there are so many dysfunctional people out there, and believe me I am guilty of being one. I haven’t always made the greatest choices but I realize they were mine and I do all I can to learn from them.

This fairytale all starts when we are young girls…fairytales where there is a maiden or young girl, trapped by some evil witch and the only way we can get out is to be rescued from a tower or to break the coma she is in to be kissed by a dashing prince. How unrealistic is this in the real world? We see on Television shows and movies that a girl who doesn’t get asked to the dance is a loser or pathetic. To quote one show where a girl didn’t get asked to the big dance ” I will probably end up an old maid”. Where is the teaching to our children that hey, don’t wait, you don’t get invited to a dance, then go with friends, or gather a group of people who didn’t get invited and go as a group or even better go by yourself. Yes it is hard to be independent. I have struggled with this my whole life and still do but when I do go out to a coffee house, a movie by myself it is getting easier. I am lucky to have been surrounded at times by strong women. I had a good friend who used to tell me when we would go dancing, you want to dance, then get out there. Men were so shocked at times to see me out there dancing by myself, and not sitting demurely waiting for someone else to have fun. One time while at a club I had a guy yell outloud in front of a bunch of people (trying to embarass me), “what you couldn’t find someone to dance with you” to which I replied, I don’t have to have someone to ask me to dance, I am not trapped in the 50’s, I can dance with myself and that is just fine. The crowd around me clapped for me. I felt good.

I am not saying we don’t need love nor am I saying not to want another to share your life. I am talking about loving life even if you don’t have that person, or as Inyala says, In the Meantime. To dance with yourself and your heart is a devine and powerful thing, filled with mysterious wonder and magic.

Even after bra burning, and woman’s rights, there is still an imbalance. There still are so many people out there teaching young girls that her happiness will come when she meets Mr. Right. That if we are to loud or speak our mind, we are bitches or obnoxius. Did anyone call Kurt Cobain obnoxious, okay probably some did but the masses of critics called him a genius, I don’t disgree but what about Alanis when Jagged Little Pill came out…she was labeled an angry woman. She still is by some people though her music reflects a whole new person who has emerged and I have seen anger is just an emotion she expresses, just like Kurt did.

The messages for both sexes are not easy. Men being taught not to show emotion and woman being portrayed as only emotional or if they have to much emotion, they are crazy. Men being taught to be fighters, to be bread winners, and to be rescuers. Women being taught that if they aren’t pretty enough or sweet enough no man will want them. The pressure for both sexes is crazy. I say teach the children to love themselves and those around them. To appreciate the talents and skills that they have. That happiness is something that is created not something you wait to have happen. I say this for them but also for myself.

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