Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Goodbye Facebook

Dear Facebook,

You’ve introduced me to some of my closest friends, which I know sounds creepy, but in the world of adoption it truly isn’t that unusual.

In fact, social media seems the least threatening place for me to share my parenting struggles with friends, most of whom I’ve never met in person, because they live too far away to be in relationship with my children. On my blog, I’m able to mostly share my part of the struggle- the part that shares few details of my children’s behavior. With my Facebook friends, I’m able to share the other part without compromising my children’s safety or trust. Without the camaraderie of these friends, I feel as if frustration and repression would have killed me years ago.

This journey has given me an unusual sense of humor, but it hasn’t killed my need for laughter. With my Facebook friends, I can laugh at instances the majority of people would find inappropriate for discussion or would shock them into putting as much distance as possible between our family and their family. Tell me your toddler found a chair to climb on, opened the fridge, and took a bite of Daddy’s surprise birthday cheesecake and I might crack a smile. Tell me your seventeen-year-old underhandedly acquired twenty-one cheesecakes from Costco because he felt hungry for a snack and was surprised when you noticed them stored in your fridge, and I’ll cackle.

I’m sure you’re now thinking, “You can’t leave. You meet some of your closest  friends through me. You keep in touch with your old friends through me. Because of me, you realize some of your “old friends” share your current struggles. Where would you be without me?”

All of the above is true and I’m truly thankful you’ve helped me build community, Facebook, but lately the cost of logging into you seems to outweigh the benefits. As I look back through my timeline, I notice how my posts increased in intensity over twelve years time. Some of the intensity is due to my own life experiences, but, honestly, very little of it. Since your sidebar now includes a constant stream of overwhelming and discouraging news and my feed is also filled with acute posts, I can’t merely visit you to get a break while connecting with good friends like I used to. Your ads are also a distraction and I’m discouraged by their ability to drag me in and cause me to question whether or not I’m content with what I currently have.

I notice the more time I spend with you, Facebook, the less patience I have with the people closest to me and that breaks my heart.

I know you’re thinking, “Yes, but you blog, so you’re stuck with me. Without me you wouldn’t have half of the blog traffic you have. Would anyone even read your blog if it weren’t for me?”

Truthfully, I have to say I no longer care. I care that the people who will be encouraged by my writing will read it, but I don’t care about numbers of pageviews. If I decided to put my hope in numbers, I would stick with you, Facebook. I’d have to, but I know that decision would be made out of fear. For now, I’m going to trust that my friends parenting children from hard places will share my writing if they think it will be helpful to their peers. I have to remind myself that my intended audience can grow even if my overall audience shrinks dramatically.

I have to remind myself that that would be a blessing.

One of my wonderful friends (whom I have never met in person) and I were chatting the other day and I told her how now that I’ve found solid friends, I yearn to dive deeper in those friendships. I’ve even considered committing a year to write actual letters each month to a handful of friends. Why is it this feels like a special project rather than just what good friends do to share life with each other?

Please don’t think I’m going to end this letter without answering your question. As I’ve already noted, I don’t know where I’d be without the friends I’ve met through you. For that, I am grateful to you, Facebook. I don’t know how I would have met some of the most admirable and brave women I know had it not been for your initial introduction. But, I now know them. We don’t have to login to be in relationship with each other. We can call. We can email. Maybe one day we’ll be able to visit in person. With the extra time I’ll have by avoiding all you have to offer, I might even take the opportunity to write a few of those letters.

It isn’t because of you, Facebook. It’s because I’ve allowed you to become a replacement for something I desperately need. I search you and search you and can’t find the depth I’m looking for.

But depth was never your intention. You are not to blame.

I am.

And I’m ready to make a change.



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