My Divorce from Facebook

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I know, dramatic right?  But if you think about it, divorce is a good way to look at it.

Think about your relationship with Facebook.  When you first met him, you were excited, giddy.

Look at all these people you could find!  So & so from high school?!  Wow look at how much he aged!  Friend request!  Oh, and look at her!  Of course she married a doctor.  I never really liked her.  Friend request!  Oh boy.  Look at joe schmoe requesting me as a friend, like I don’t remember all the drama that he caused in high school.  Accept!  Omg, look at her!  I am so happy she found me!  Accept!  I wonder if she is still friends with that one; let me scroll her friends to see.  Wow, she IS!  Friend request!  I totally forgot about him too!  Friend request!

Remember how that went?

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Then, look at all you could do on Facebook!  You mean to tell me that I can play games WITH these ‘friends’?!  Sign me up!  I can grow virtual produce and have that farm I always wanted?  Yes, please!  I can ‘like’ Justin Beiber, Ellen Degeneres, Kanye West and Oprah Winfrey!?  Sounds great!  Do you think they will respond to me?

All of that excitement, like a relationship, is like the honeymoon phase of a relationship.  After a while you have 100+ ‘friends’, and you are sharing quips and memories of high school, college, or the old days.  You catch up with people, and laugh at their e-card posts, and cat videos.  What a way to relax at the end of a work day.

Then, and it is a different time period for everyone, you find yourself on Facebook, looking at all the posts made by your ‘friends’, and they all start to look the same.  You are getting annoyed at joe schmoe’s political posts now; you had no idea he leaned so far to the right!  You begin to wish there was a way to block his posts without offending him.  Then, you find out how and, whew, thank goodness that is over!  Whoa, when did so & so become so racist?  We went to the same high school and hung out together all the time.  How could this happen?  Delete.  Over and over you see posts that annoy you, but you still keep scrolling.  For what?  You wouldn’t take someone talking to you like that in person, why would you accept it on Facebook?  But you ignore and keep scrolling.

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Soon, you find that you are only communicating religiously with a few people, and the rest of your ‘friends’ really don’t care.  Or, out of the 100+ friends you have, some are just trolling your posts; virtual peeping toms watching your every move, but then still asking how life is when you speak to them.  You wouldn’t let someone peep into your window in real life, would you?

At the end stages of my personal relationship with Facebook, I found myself clicking ‘like’ on mediocre things, and only commenting on a handful of people’s posts.  I was wasting time scrolling and refreshing; television shows were the soundtrack to my loafing on the couch as I did.  I read articles about deleting Facebook in the past, but I didn’t think I would take them seriously.  I remember pinning on Pinterest a link to the steps to deleting Facebook for good, just in case.  Last week, I called for my divorce.

I messaged people I wanted to make sure knew I was gone, giving them my cell number and email address.  What is funny is the people I gave that information to, had it pre-Facebook anyhow.  Think about it.  Who on your Facebook ‘friends’ list would you, sincerely, want to give your personal information to?  It’s worth pondering!  Anyhow, I then began the process of deletion.  It was scary, but I did it.

On February 12, 2015, my emancipation from Facebook was complete.

What happened after I deleted was amazing.  People could not believe I did it!  Questions like, “How does it feel?”, “How was your first Facebook-free weekend?”, “So, why no more Facebook?” began to flood in.  My answer to all these questions were simple: I feel fine.  It went fine.  It was a distraction.  It is amazing to me how difficult that simple answer is for people to accept.  How could someone NOT want to be on Facebook?!  Here is what I learned in my brief time free of Facebook:

  1. Facebook offers people a false sense of community.  Sure, you have 100+ friends, but when you are feeling low, or need someone, how many of those ‘friends’ are there for you?  This includes ‘family-as-friends’.  The same ones you would call off of Facebook are the same ones that are there for you on Facebook.  Nothing changes.  All those ‘likes’, and comments only assist you for a small amount of time.  Then, you are there with the same problem, calling the same people.  Facebook has done nothing to help you, has it?
  2. Facebook deals you drama that you wouldn’t normally accept in your life; just because it is on a computer screen doesn’t make it any different.  If you are democrat, pro-life, pro-equality, posts by your ‘friends’ and ‘family-as-friends’, are only going to annoy you if you share different views.  Often times, you don’t realize that these people have such rigid views.  Then, when you see them offline, you are supposed to pretend that you never read anything they wrote?  If you don’t accept something offline, don’t accept it online.
  3. Facebook only causes problems with the people you have offline relationships with.  How many times have you heard, “didn’t you see my post?”, “how come you didn’t ‘like’ it?”  It has become a platform for passive-aggressiveness all around.  I will admit, I used Facebook to release venom I had stored up in me as well at points in time, but it did nothing to solve my problems.  It exacerbated them.  What ever happened to having discussions with people?  Now people are throwing ‘friends’ and ‘family-as-friends’ shade online, and then expecting life to be wine and roses when you meet up at the annual barbecue.  Life doesn’t work that way, but Facebook has allowed people to think that it does.  Hell, that post got forty-three likes!
  4. Facebook makes you feel bad about your life.  Or, it makes you judge how you are living it.  Have you scrolled through someone’s vacation pictures thinking, “I make more money than they do.  Why can I not afford to take vacations like this?”  Or, “She is such a good mom.  Why didn’t I think to do that with my kids?”  I could go on and on with the comparisons we make, but it would take up the rest of this post.  Facebook makes us critically look at our lives and judge ourselves against other people’s lives.  There is that one ‘friend’ who posts that you always say, “Wow so & so, you really have your life together!”, or secretly loathe them for their successes.  Facebook certainly does nothing to boast your self-esteem.
  5. Facebook is a time sucker.  Days before my divorce, I was talking to a co-worker, and I asked her, “How do you find so much time to read with your crazy life?”  She volunteers for a dog rescue, has nine dogs in her home (some are fosters), has personal issues, attends regular college basketball games and is always busy with work.  She said she has much more quiet time than I do, even with all of those things happening in her life.  So, I assessed my time and what I did when I come home from work.  I have a million books I want to read, and I needed to find out why I had no time to do so.  After watching my hours go by, there it was.  Facebook.  Scrolling, reading, catching up on things with my ‘friends’ that I missed since I logged in that morning.  Then, logging in to see what I missed after that.  My laptop was open all the time, and when it wasn’t, I was on my cell phone.  Think about how often you are attached to electronics for no reason.  You will see how much time you have in life that is being wasted!

Now, I know the many advantages to social media, and I am not condemning social media as a whole.  I know that people are missing people are found, and lives are saved using Facebook.  I applaud Facebook for those one-in-a-million incidents.  Thank God for it!  But, on a daily basis, it does nothing for me.  So, on February 12, 2015, I signed my divorce document to leave Facebook.

In the six days I have been gone, I have finished a book, and half of another one.  Life is good.

Here is the link to the steps to take to leave Facebook.  If you feel a divorce is in your future, be sure to read it:

How To Delete Facebook

 

Heartbreak of Parenting, Pt. 1

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I am having difficulty lately accepting the fact that my son is going to be 14.  He is a freshman in high school, has a nice group of guy friends and hobbies I don’t understand.

Oh, and he has an official girlfriend.

As you can imagine, my thoughts race to my freshman year in high school, and I begin to reflect on all of the debauchery I was a part of.  I smoked cigarettes with my friends, swore a ton, kissed and made out with boys and lied and hid things from my parents.  These were not horrible, and certainly were typical of my age, but when I try to picture my son in all of these situations, I freeze mentally.  Could my son be doing these exact things under my nose?

The truth is, with the exception of swearing with friends, he isn’t.  As a matter of fact, he is going real well for his age.  He is growing up and going things very typical of a teenage boy.

And that is where my heart breaks.

I will be turning 40 in just under five months, and that is a lot to comprehend.  That compounded with watching my son mature, it forces me to cherish the little things that happen with him.  The time that he holds on longer than I do in a hug, when he thinks something I say is funny, when he wants to share that story about his friend with me.  I’m Mom, so I am already uncool to the boys, so I will take any morsel of attention or information I can get!

I feel as though this has all happened so fast.  One minute he needed me for everything, and now he knows everything and handles everything on his own.  I do still inch my way in to see if everything is all right and ask if he needs anything, but now the problems will be going to Dad.  Dad is cool.  Dad knows it all.

And that is ok.

My husband is a wonderful role model for my son.  There is not one character trait that he possesses that I think, “Man, I hope he doesn’t do THAT when he is older!”.  My husband has schooled my son on the ways of boyhood, sex, girls and life.  That makes it a little easier for me to handle being put in the corner.

I am watching people have babies, celebrating all of those firsts, and I am counting my lasts with my son.  Granted, there are a lot of firsts yet to be celebrated, but those baby/childhood firsts are over.  I mourn that and long for my own youth.  Watching him makes me long for those days of self-discovery. It is when I met my husband, after all 🙂

Driving home from work yesterday, this song came on my radio and it immediately tugged at my heart.  Though I was not unhappy about finding out I was pregnant (like the beginning of this song says), the premise of “There Goes My Life” is the same.  I need to find me before I lose him. ❤  I love him with all I am and all I have.

10 Day Blogging Challenge – Days 8 & 9

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I have not been blogging on consecutive days, but I love this challenge put out by Sharons Book Nook.  I intend to finish 🙂  So here we go!

Day 8: Three things I want to say to three different people right now

  1. To My Husband:  How lucky am I to have married such a wonderful man like you?  How fortunate am I to have a man for whom I have known for more than half of my life, who knows the ins and outs, the ugly and the beautiful, the sad and the happy of me and still stays to accept and love me?  You are the only person walking this earth who knows every single molecule of me.  To be cliché, I married my best friend, literally.  You are a strong and caring man who sets a wonderful example for our son.  Even if he grows up to be a quarter of the man who you are, he will be amazing.  (But we both know that he is more of you than that!)  I am so thankful that, through all of these passing years, you have remained true to who you are, no matter what strife that the world has thrown at you.  You make me want to be a better person every single day.  I adore you, babe.
  2. To My In-Laws:  I love and care for you all more than you realize.  When I married Dan, I was excited to be gaining a family of people who seemed so close to one another.  Unfortunately, my baggage affected me, and that manifested in how I treated some of you. There is nothing else I can say in this situation except I love you guys.  Sincerely.
  3. To My Son:  Buddy, you taught me that the world does not work exactly how you hope it does, and that every winding road life takes us on is worth the ride.  You are an intelligent, caring, eclectic young man who this world is fortunate to have in its lifetime.  Your ability to adapt to life in the face of your struggles leaves me awestruck.  You are much more than your struggles, and they do not define you.  You are so smart, bud!  You make me shiver at the math you understand (I think we both know that it would make me cry!)  You are an amazing young man who I learn from every single day.  I am so lucky that God thought I was the best mom for you.  I love you very much!!

 

Day 9: Two Recent Pictures

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These are my beautiful doggies, Mika and Shae.  They are so loving and fun!  They really do make our house a home 🙂

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And this is me – a recent picture of me.  This was taken a couple of weeks ago – a work selfie.  Now, usually I don’t like pics of me, but this one I actually like!  So, hell friends!!

10 Day Blogging Challenge, Day 4

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This is one of the most difficult of Sharon’s Book Nook 10 Day Blogging Challenge.  I love all of my posts, so to choose seven is difficult.  But, I did it!  I give to you:

Day 4: 7 Favorite Blog Posts from My Blog

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A Very Pinterest Housewarming Party

I had such a blast planning and entertaining for the first time in my new home, I had to choose this as one of my favorites!  There are great links to quick and easy recipes that can be used for up and coming holiday parties!

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New Poem! Silence

As of this post, I had not written a new poem in a couple of years.  To write one and then share it is a big deal.  This is definitely one of my favorite posts!

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Casting Off My Shackles

Depression is a bitch.

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Pinned It, Did It Wednesday – Coffee Station

This, by far, is my favorite Pinned It, Did It!  I love my coffee station!

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Battle At The Family Reunion

I took the Blogging University, Blogging 101 class, and in this post I had to post original work using dialogue.  I am uncomfortable with it, but I think I did a pretty good job here!

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My Love Affair With Writing

This post reminds me why I love to write, and why I need to continue!

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My Hometown

Any time I can write about my home town is a good post.  This is my love letter to Buffalo.

A Very Pinterest Housewarming Party

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Last week, we were finally ready to open our home for our first celebration!   I have never been to a housewarming before, nor have I been a part of throwing one, so I headed off to Pinterest to see what others had posted for ideas.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted my pet together to look like, but I knew three things that I wanted: (1) I wanted it to be an Open House atmosphere so that people didn’t feel like they had to stay a long time and they could come and go as they wanted to; (2) I wanted the food to be bite sized and convenient in case people wanted to wander and eat.  Plates and silverware are cumbersome, so small plates were the way to go; (3) I wanted to incorporate a taste of our home town, Buffalo, NY, into our food.  A taste of the north in the south, if you will.  So, off to Pinterest I went!

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I love anything caprese, so these caprese bites were a must-have on my table.  I didn’t need a recipe for this one, but I did see a close up of the picture of it here.  I used decorative tooth picks with frills, and skewered a basil leaf, cube of fresh mozzarella cheese and cherry tomato on it, attaching the leaf at the top and the bottom, hugging the cheese and tomato.  I drizzled olive oil and balsamic vinegar on them at the last-minute before serving.  I knew that a crudite platter was something that is a must, so I made sure I had one.  I found an adorable way to house dips on Pinterest as well.  again, this is something I just did by looking at the picture, no recipe needed.

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On to the “entrée” and the tastes of home.  I made these tasty Beef on Weck Crescent Rolls and Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels.  If you are not familiar with what “weck” is, you are not alone.  The majority of the country doesn’t!  It is simply the caraway seeds and coarse salt on top of the crescent roll that makes it “weck”.  Traditionally in Buffalo, when you order a Beef on Weck, you would get a tender roast been sandwich on a roll with caraway and salt on top with beef au jus.  Here, the roast beef is rolled with mozzarella cheese and then topped with the weck topping and backed.  I found the idea for the rolls without the weck here.  The filling for the Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels is traditionally warmed up as a dip and served with celery, carrots and nacho chips, but this post showed how to spread the filling into a tortilla, wrap and cut it into pieces.  That fit right in to my “bites” theme, so I hopped on it!  These two were the biggest hit of the party!

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For dessert I found a post for Chocolate Dipped Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries, and I knew that had to be one of my choices!  I was preparing these the night before, and I was worried about the chocolate dip on the outside of the strawberries sweating off once they got to room temperature again, so I decided to fold mini chocolate chips into the cheesecake filling before I filled them.  I also made french vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting ala Duncan Hines for the cake lovers =)  Strawberries are light and sweet at this time of year, and they did not disappoint with that filling!

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Last, but not least, I wanted to my new friends off with a taste from our family kitchen.  We love making and canning salsa when tomatoes are in abundance, so we did just that!  We shared our recipe with them as well.   Our family could eat Mexican food forever, so salsa was the best choice to share!  We saw this idea to get addresses for thank you cards and future correspondence with our new friends, and did that as well.  I haven’t changed over my telephone book since 2005, and there were many changes to it since I started it.  With that, I used this idea as an excuse to re-do my phone book!  Does anyone else still use the traditional phone book anymore?  I know I live and die by it for cards, etc.

So that was that!  My very Pinterest housewarming party!  I was gifted a lot of wine, and shared laughs and made new friends in our new home.  I cannot wait to host my next shindig!

 

 

Casting Off My Shackles

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Yes, that does seem extreme for a Wednesday morning, doesn’t it?  But there is a logical explanation for that title this morning.

I have been having a difficult time with almost everything lately, and I wasn’t sure why.  I seemed to be causing trouble for myself with people I love and care about, and I just could not shake that feeling of heaviness and sadness that would wash over me periodically.  I am a woman living with anxiety/depression, but I had it under control, didn’t I?

Well, the answer is no, I didn’t.  So many things have happened in my life over the past two years that the stress has finally reared its ugly head into my happy life.  Maybe it was there all along, but it is boiling over and making me notice.  In two years:

  • I relocated from NY to VA with my family, leaving behind every single thing I knew to be familiar and true.  Leaving behind family, friends and almost finishing my degree in secondary education.
  • Established my family in out new state, only to be called back to my hometown after a mere six weeks of moving due to the loss of my step-father.  This is the first major death in my family since the death of my grandfather twelve years prior.
  • I was accepted into a new college in VA, but forced to wait due to finances.
  • Established myself in a new job.
  • Purchased a home on the other side of town and reestablished my family there.
  • Saw my son transition from middle school to high school.
  • Still, after a year and a half, have not met anyone I could call “friend” here yet.  Family is far away and my supportive best friend is too.

 

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So, when I look at that in black and white, how am I keeping my mind as together as it is?!  No wonder my psyche is giving me the middle finger!  It is as if it is screaming, “Take care of ME!!!”  So, that is exactly what I have begun doing.  I am casting off my shackles of guilt, sadness and self loathing and I am going to, sincerely, begin my journey back into the light; the place where I was consciously two years ago in my home town.  It is a journey that I know I have to take alone, despite my very supportive husband’s imploring to help.  It is a “me” thing.  I will get there.

Thinking about this journey, I have to ask the question: why are we so hard on ourselves?  Why can’t we just answer no to something we don’t want to do without guilt?  Why can’t we be happy with ourselves?  Why can’t we allow ourselves to cry when we need to?  Why do we force ourselves to stand stoically while out insides are screaming to be rested?  Women go through this doubly over men, but men go through it as well.  Women, especially once we start reaching milestone ages (like me, 40 is approaching!), start to question everything.  Our bodies start betraying us and we have to become acquainted with ourselves all over again, inside and out.  It is a chore!  But I am starting to gain the tools to move toward that light.

So, we should all cast off our shackles and start to move into personal acceptance and self-love again.  Today.  There is no greater gift we can give ourselves than giving ourselves a break!

I give YOU permission today to give yourself a break!  Will you take one?

 

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Fathers

I am sure that there are a lot of “ode to my father” posts going on today, but this one is different.

See, I never had a constant father figure in my life from birth until now.  I have had shitty experiences with father figures.  Let me explain:

 

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Oh yes.  A dad IS a daughter’s first love, at least that is the case with me.  I loved my biological father, with all my heart and soul.  I still do.  Growing up, he was tenderness, strength and laughter to me.  This was in my first four years of life, prior to my parents divorcing.  Even after the divorce, I still had a place in my heart for him.  A place in my heart even when he didn’t come to visit, when he showed up at birthday parties and only stayed for ten minutes because of the tension in the room when he arrived, when he only called (drunk) to talk to my mom because he seemed to miss her more than me.  Even after he said I couldn’t visit anymore because of his new wife and her attitude problem.  I loved him, cried for him, let the ghost of him ruin a piece of me, but I loved him.  Even when he looked me in my eyes, drunk and near death in a hospital bed after I saved him, and said “You should have let me die”, I still loved him.  Just in a different way.  From a distance.  Long distance.  Letter after letter, call after call, I would tell him off, hoping that it would shake him awake and say, “What am I doing to my daughter?!”  But it never did.  So I lived with that.

About five years ago I got a phone call on my birthday from my father, whom I have not heard from for years prior to that.  He was sober, apologetic and wanting to bury the hatchet and connect.  Thank God I did because I finally have a relationship with my father.  Granted, it is over the phone and texting; he seems apprehensive about seeing me, and that is all right.  I know that is his own issue, not mine.  All I know is that I hear from him than I do my own mother.  Funny how times have changed.

My stepfather entered my life at five years old.  He was a man my mother dated, who ended up moving in with us, and suddenly there was a male presence to answer to.  My mother made it clear that we here HER kids, but that never seemed to stop her from going to him when she thought we needed discipline.  I was struggling with the connection with my own father and never awarded my step father that title; I always called him by his first name.  After years went by, I began to love him like a father.  He was a quiet force in my life, always sitting in the background but knew everything that was happening.  We had fun, and I did learn a lot from him.  We fought a lot too within the past five years.  When I moved away from my hometown a year and a half ago, I never thought that six weeks later I would be flying home to bury him.  I was sad for the time we missed and the lack of connection we should have had when I was younger.  But, no matter how much I denied it, my biological father had my heart, and it was difficult to take away.  Though my step father walked me down the aisle and greeted my son when he was born, there seemed to be something missing.  But I always knew he loved me, even though he was quiet about it.  And I loved him.

I see other fathers in my life, from my father-in-law, to my brothers-in-law, to my friends husbands, to my own husband, and I watch how they are with their children.  They all have a different way of handling, disciplining and loving their children.  I wish in my lifetime I could say I had a constant of any of that.

But I get to see my husband father my son.  I watch him and how he explains things to him, how they are connected and how hard they love one another, and I am so proud of him.  My son is the luckiest child on earth for having my husband as his father, and I am the luckiest woman in the world having him as my husband.  God has blessed me with that, and I am truly grateful for it.

So yeah, I may not have had the solid “father figure” in my life, but I certainly learned lessons from all the men in my life.  I miss my step father and it is sad that I don’t have to buy cards or call him anymore.  And every time my phone dings with the notice of a text from my father, I smile.  I am loved, and always was.

Happy Fathers Day to all the fathers out there, step, grand, biological, adoptive, foster, single mom or otherwise.  Love hard.  Your kids will thank you for it.

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