Y’all, the upcoming election is really fucking up my life. Everyone is angry about something, most of us are scared about lots more things, and there is currently a 42% chance that America’s next president will be the reanimated corpse of a white supremacist’s jack-o-lantern. For the past few months, I’ve felt helpless, overwhelmed, and close to a rage-coma every time I log onto Facebook. So last week, I temporarily deactivated my account.
I know. I am so #brave.
A few friends have asked me, “why don’t you just block the people who are upsetting you?” Since a lot of this blog’s traffic comes from Facebook, I want to make it clear that the break wasn’t because I was upset about anyone sharing their opinions on the internet. That’s what it’s for! On a general level, I agree with most of my friends politically, and even the ones I disagree with aren’t posting racial slurs or calling Hillary the C-word. The whole kit and caboodle just got to be entirely too much. The constant outrage. Person A getting into a fight with Person B’s family member on Person B’s status. “Here’s what the circus peanut monster said today! Feed him some more attention or he might go away!” from every single page I follow. If your page is about makeup tips, I want makeup tips, not your junior staff writer’s hot take regarding Trump’s VP pick. Pick a lane and stay in it.
I’ve taken several Facebook breaks before, usually after breakups (“WHO IS SHE?”) or during finals week, so I’m familiar with the process of extricating myself from this particular timesuck. Here are a few stages you might go through if you, too, are considering a temporary break from the ol’ FB.
1. BREAKING THE HABIT
If you’re a “power user” (what a gross phrase), the first day or two might be rough. I’m used to… what’s a gentler word for “compulsively”?… checking my Facebook, both on my computer and on my phone. Tip: delete the app, and put something productive in its exact spot on your home screen. I chose Plant Nanny. Now, whenever my right thumb absentmindedly wanders over to The Facebook Spot, instead of being bombarded by the latest horseshit viral video of a white man “telling it like it is” to his GoPro, I get a reminder from a cute alien plant to drink a glass of water.
Precious! Can jet fuel melt steel beams? I’m not sure, but I do know that I pee SO much now!
*hunched over, scratching neck, gazing around wildly*
Guys? Anyone out there? H…how’s it going? Pets and babies still cute? Everyone still casually humblebragging about their boyfriends? What’s for dinner????
3. TWERKIN’ IT OUT
You’re going to have a lot of free time. Why not use it to exercise?
(I know- I also hate me.)
But seriously: if you’re buckling under crushing yet totally avoidable stress, like I am at almost every moment of my life, endorphins (or more endorphins if you are already A Person Who Exercises Regularly) might help.
Since I’m currently masquerading as A Very Chill And Also Very Attractive Woman Who Doesn’t Need a Facebook Account Or Anyone Else’s Approval, I have purchased a one-month membership to a spinning/hot yoga studio in my neighborhood. It is WONDERFUL. It is also EXPENSIVE (during my regularly scheduled life, I am A Poor). I’d previously wondered how A-list celebrities stay in shape, given that they can afford and acquire literally any food on the planet in under an hour.
Now I realize that Gwyneth Paltrow probably pays my annual salary for one month with her private Suspended Yogabarreilates And Upside Down Treadmill instructor. After my trial yoga/spin month is over, I am confident that it will only take several million dollars for me to continue being hot. And have I mentioned how chill I am? I am the perfect woman.
4. MISPLACED AFFECTION
Look, I’m not saying you need to shut down EVERY social media account. Even without Facebook, you’re going to have a lot of feelings regarding this season of The Bachelorette (#TeamWells) and a LOT of artful pictures from Sunday brunch. You’ve gotta put them somewhere!
During this fragile transition period, you may be tempted to direct a disproportionate amount of attention to your other social media sites and flood them with posts. Unfortunately, this defeats the whole point. In the last week, for example, I’ve realized that it is actually EASIER to spread hate—whether it’s about politics, race relations, or Kim vs. Taylor— on Twitter than on Facebook. On Twitter, you can let OTHER smart people write the hot takes, and pass them off as your own via retweet. Effort saved on manufacturing indignance: immeasurable.
The point is, try your best to continue using your other accounts the same way you used to, instead of plugging them into the gaping, Facebook-sized hole in your life. If anyone made it to this blog from my Twitter: I am so sorry. I am learning. (I AM ALSO TEAM KIM.)
5. SUPERIORITY COMPLEX
This step usually occurs about a week after the deactivation. “Face-WHAT? Um, no thanks, I prefer to live in The Now? Y’know, where people actually talk to each other, using their REAL faces?” *tosses hair like Real Housewife* “Anyway, I’ve just been so busy finding my center that I haven’t even missed that boring ol website at all. Also, I can do a handstand for 6 minutes, and spontaneously orgasm by thinking about quinoa. I am going to steal your husband in a way that makes everyone think it was your fault.”
6. WELCOME (BACK) TO THE JUNGLE
The fact of the matter is, almost all the people you want to keep in touch with (and many people that you don’t!) are on Facebook. We all know the old saying: “Opinions are like assholes- all of them except Carly’s are *super* gross.” But after each Facebook mini-break, I always go back. Being permanently “off the grid” isn’t worth missing the top quality content that my friends are always sharing (college football hot takes, dick jokes, and gifs of baby animals being friends.)
So for now– excepting the first two weeks of November, when I will break into Area 51, stand in the middle of an open field, and shout “PLEASE, TRANSCENDENT BEINGS, TAKE ME WITH YOU”– I’m back in the dick joke trenches with the best of them. Because I love you guys, which means I also love your assholes. I mean, your opinions.