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

 

Book Review: This Is Where I Leave You

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While thumbing through an Entertainment Magazine recently, I came across an article about the most anticipated movies of 2014.  In it, it featured a movie called, This Is Where I Leave You, based on a book by Jonathan Tropper.  The cast is both an amazing comedic and dramatic force with players like Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Dax Shepard, Rose Byrne, and Jane Fonda.  It was described to be a dark comedy, which I happen to enjoy, and I had a feeling that this book would deliver if I read it before the movie.  My assumption was correct.

I am a huge fan of books written in the first person; its like I am being told a story by a friend over coffee, which makes it personal to me.  This book is written from main character, Judd Foxman’s point-of-view, in a strong male voice.  Ladies, if you ever wanted to know how men think, this book is one to read. I was both amused and pained by Judd’s story telling about his life, family and angst.  His realistic voice made this novel easy to read, and very entertaining.

Judd Foxman comes home one day from work to find his wife cheating on him with his boss.  In them midst of his depression, he finds out that his father has passed away.  He heads home to sit Shiva for his father, a seven-day open house of sorts for the public to come and offer their condolences and share memories.  As you can imagine, getting together adult siblings at any function can be tough, but for an entire week, under these circumstances, and each having their own drama unfold beneath one roof, can make for both humorous and heartbreaking stories.

Looking ahead to the movie now, I am very happy to see how they cast it.  Jason Bateman as Judd Foxman is a spot on casting decision, in my opinion.  If you have ever seen him in movies like Horrible Bosses or The Change-Up, you are familiar with his sarcastic, quick-witted comments and fast comedic delivery.  Couple Bateman with Tina Fey, who plays Bateman’s sister, and who is equally as sharp with her tongue and quick with humor, and you have yourself a recipe for a fantastic movie.  The rest of the players certainly add to the dynamic of the movie as well.  Here is the trailer for the movie, due out in the fall:

I highly recommend this book.  It is a great summer read, with a movie to follow that seems like a wonderful compliment to it.  I am going to try to get my husband to read this book (BAHA!).  No.  Seriously.  I am going to try lol.

What have you read recently?

Young Literature, Revisited

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My original copy’s cover.

We all have a relationship with reading and books, whether it is a love affair, abusive relationship or one you would rather forget.  My affair with books has been a bit of all three of these.  The first book I remember meaning anything at all to me (outside of the Babysitter’s Club and Sweet Valley High series), was The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.  I even have a Christmas ornament for my tree depicting the movie.  But if you asked me which was the first piece of literature that stuck with me, I would have to answer, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.

I read this book in my English AP class in high school.  It spoke to the rebellion and coming of age attitude I had at the time.  I still own my original copy, with the cover shown above, with all the highlighting, side notes, rips and folds.  Holden Caufield’s attitude was equally appalling and endearing in this novel, and Salinger’s molding of his voice was beautiful and haunting.  I remember the debates and discussions in this class about this book.  There was a collective acceptance of its subject matter and we all enjoyed reading it.

As I start to resurrect my passion for reading and writing, I almost feel like I would be doing myself a disservice if I did not revisit where my love of the written word began.  So, I have decided to re-read this novel as an adult.  I wonder if my opinion of the book will change because I have changed?  Will I still find Holden a hero, or a piss pot?  Here’s to finding out!  I will post my thoughts in a future post!

I challenge you to re-read a book this summer that you held dear to your heart as a child.  Let me know what you think of it!

My Top 12 List Music Collaborations of All Time (So Far…)

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I’ve said it before and I will again, I am a music LOVER of all genres and all types. I believe that something magical happens when two artists come together to duet or collaborate on a song together. If the chemistry is right, a diamond emerges from the rough. In music today, there are some great collaborations (Pink & Nathan Ruess, Christina Aguilera & A Great Big World) and some bad (Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood, Lil Jon and anyone), which made me think about some of the ones that I really love and have touched my heart or rocked me hard.  A good song in general can span the generations, but a good collaboration can expand outside genres and through generations.

Here is my list, in no particular order:

 

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Linkin Park & Jay-Z – Dirt off your shoulder/Lying From You

This entire collaboration CD is amazing, but this particular song rocks me harder. The beat, how Mike Shinoda raps the Linkin Park classic to a Jay-Z beat, it was like they were written for one another.

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Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton – Islands in the Stream

All right, cheesy I know. But if you were born at any time in the 1970’s, you heard that song on the radio all of your life in the 1980’s. It was the backdrop for many romantic movies and on the lips of your parents, if they sang in the car like mine did. And yes, I do know all the words =)

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P.Diddy & Faith Evans – I’ll Be Missing You

In the heat of the east coast, west coast rap wars, there were casualties of some of our greatest rappers ever to hold a mic. When Notorious B.I.G. was murdered and rocked Diddy to the core, he sang about it, and the world listened. This song is one of the biggest collaborations of the 1990’s, and one of P. Diddy’s best.

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Aerosmith & Run D.M.C. – Walk This Way

I know that this song is on EVERYONE’S list, but it has to be on mine as well. I am an Aerosmith fan for life, and this collaboration is on the soundtrack of my childhood. Classic.

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Jay Z & Kanye West – Otis

No, I am not an avid Kanye West fan, but when I heard about this partnership, I was excited on many levels. These two are a couple of the best rappers in the game, and them coming together for this track in particular makes me extremely happy. The beat is infectious!

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Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes – Up Where We Belong

Richard Gere. Debra Winger. One of the best romance/drama movies of my lifetime, An Officer and a Gentleman. Love. Love. Love. That is all.

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Boyz II Men & Mariah Carey – One Sweet Day

The year was 1996. This song was everywhere and I remember crying and crying and crying to this song. 1996 was a horrible year for me. But, music is always a cathartic experience for me. The voices in this song melt together and tear your heart out.

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Anthrax & Public Enemy – Bring the Noise

Yet another rock/rap collaboration that rocks my socks and one that is on that childhood soundtrack I spoke of prior. I remember singing songs like these in the back of a metro bus with my friends. High school memories.

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Michael Jackson & Siedah Garrett – I Just Can’t Stop Loving You

A good love song can extend itself across the generations, and this one does for me. It is heartbreaking and the angst in MJ’s voice is visceral. Again, this duet brings voices together that seem to intertwine together in the smoothest fashion. So good.

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Sonny & Cher – I Got You Babe

Yes, Sonny & Cher. 1970’s, bell bottoms and Sonny & Cher. This song spans decades, and most recently was on an episode of The Big Bang Theory. It’s fun and cute.

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You Don’t Bring Me Flowers – Barbra Streisand & Neil Diamond

Again, heartbreak. And Barbra & Neil. Nothing to dispute here.

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Queen & David Bowie – Under Pressure

We all know the beat, though some do not know where it comes from. We know the controversy about Vanilla Ice and the beat from his hit, “Ice, Ice, Baby” that almost matched this song’s original beat. But the lyrics are good, and the eclectic sounds of Bowie’s voice and Queen’s fabulousity (my own original adjective), and you have a classic.

 

What is one of your favorite song collaborations?

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5 Things Learned From The Jay-Z Massacre

Whether or not you wanted to, you definitely heard about the shots (and kicks) heard from The MET Gala involving Jay-Z, Beyonce and Solonge Knowles.  I will not always post about pop-culture and celebrity, but this was something I just could not let slip by this week.   I have seen it on television and the internet, heard about it on the radio and even discussed it with my guys at dinner time this week.

So, I give to you the 5 things I learned from the Jay-Z Massacre:

 

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#1 – Everyone has that one crazy family member, even A-List royals ~ It’s true and you know it.  We have that one family member who will snap shit on you out of nowhere and attempt to beat your ass in an elevator.  Admit it.  You know exactly who I am talking about.  Hell, if you don’t, it may just be you!  I know at times in my family it is me lol.  Solange snapped shit, for God knows what reason, and she was not afraid of Hova or his bodyguard.  She was going to let them know how she felt, and she did.  It was all reasonable until she decided that the Bruce Lee way of solving problems was appropriate.  Good for Jay for not snapping shit back.  Plus, they seemed used to her having an outburst like that, and were not surprised at all by her actions.

 

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#2 – Pissed off women are strong like oxen ~ Did you SEE the video?  Did you SEE how Solange fought to get to Jay through that huge bodyguard?  Hell hath no fury!  Not only did she fight through him, she actually got to him and LANDED a few hits!

 

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#3 – Queen B is not so “Sasha Fierce” in real life ~  It was as if I was watching a subservient wife stand there and know her role.  She didn’t aid her husband or her sister.  You see her mumble something, but she makes no eye contact and she does not participate in any actions.  Oh baby.

 

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#4 – Jay-Z really kept his cool under pressure ~ Admit it, if someone came at you like that, ESPECIALLY a family member, you would start swinging.  Yes, he is a guy and she is a girl, but if I went after one of my brothers-in-law like that, I would fully expect to be hit.  Period.  Did she take advantage of the fact that she knows he wouldn’t hit her back by physically attacking him?  It doesn’t look like it was her first go-round with her brother-in-law, and, again, he didn’t seem too surprised.   Bravo to his self control.

 

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#5 – Some people on the internet are funny as hell ~ The cartoons, memes and parodies of this incident that have been circulating the world wide web have been hilarious!  I have to admit that I laughed at a lot of them.  Here are a few of my personal favorites:

 

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A cartoon parody:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y904y7NcVwY

The funniest Vine video:    https://vine.co/v/Mg0HqdFi3QH

I just thought this whole thing was ridiculous and mindless entertainment, and a great way to end a long week.  =)

Don’t Touch That Skip Button!

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I was driving my son home from school a couple of weeks ago when an interesting conversation unfolded about music. We finished recapping our work/school day happenings, and it was time to listen to my iPhone for some music. I skip songs on my iPhone like a stereotypical male changes channels; sometimes you can even hear me say, “Nope. Nope. Nope.” On this particular day, I was doing just that. Originally I was trying to find a song that suited my son’s taste, when all of the sudden that one song came on. You know the one; the one that makes you stop and immediately turn up the volume because it is THE song, YOUR jam. I found myself justifying this choice to my son by saying, “Sorry Nate. There are some songs that you just cannot skip.” He didn’t understand, and he didn’t like the song, but it filled my soul up for the couple of minutes it was on the radio.

 

Music has a funny way of doing that to you doesn’t it? I posted last week about a “mix tape” that my husband made me and how those particular songs related to our relationship. But we all have that cluster of songs that you would break someone’s fingers off if they decided to touch your radio! I have a very broad taste in music and joke often that my iPhone has multiple personalities. There are days I can flip through my songs for the entire ride in the car and not stop to listen to one fully. But then that one song comes on and I freeze.

 

Here are some of the songs I am talking about and why they are favorites:

  1. Bootylicious – Destiny’s Child: Well, I am a big girl, and any song that sings about flaunting your big butt is pretty much an anthem to me. Plus, it helps that my husband is an ass man. There is just something about this song that makes me dance in my seat.
  2. Purple Rain – Prince: Why? Because Prince, that’s why. From the very first guitar rift I am hooked and I turn my volume to its highest! Being a product of the 1980’s, there is no way this song couldn’t be on my list.
  3. The Change – Garth Brooks: I like to think I am a positive person and I try to live my life that way, but there are people and obstacles in my way every day. This song has a line where Garth sings, “And I hear them saying, you’ll never change things. And no matter what you do it’s still the same thing. But it’s not the world that I am changing. I do this so this world will know that it will not change me”. Staying true to me, this is what this song says.
  4. Umbrella – Rihanna: The beat gets to my core, and who doesn’t want to sing, “Umbrella, ella, ella…”?
  5. Fuck You – Lily Allen: This song speaks to intolerance of bigots of all kinds and blatantly states, shut up, fuck you and please don’t stay in touch. I love it.
  6. In The Air Tonight – Phil Collins: Once in a Facebook status, after listening to this song, I posted, “When the drums play in that song, ‘In the Air Tonight’, you beat those air drums. You.Beat.Them.” There is just something haunting in the lyrics and music of this song and pisses you off and empowers you all at the same time.
  7. Let Her Cry – Hootie & The Blowfish: This was the song that was playing when I told my son I couldn’t skip the song in the car. I just love the angst in this song and how the lyrics tell the story of a man who wants to help a woman, but he lets her do her thing.
  8. Operator – Jim Croce: Ok, this is not of my generation, but it is still close to my heart. When I was four years old, my parents divorced. My father always started a fight asking for his Jim Croce album back from my mom, who adamantly claimed she did not have it. As an adult, I was speaking with my father about music and he said he loved this song, especially after the break up with my mother. It is now forever in my heart and on my playlist.
  9. What A Good Boy – Barenaked Ladies: This song takes me right back to high school. I had a solid group of friends and we loved BNL. This song makes me think about how we had all of these expectations put upon our shoulders on who people wanted us to be and act, but we were all uniquely ourselves, disappointing many. I sing this loudly behind the wheel of my car. L-O-U-D-L-Y.
  10. Let Him Fly – Dixie Chicks: There was a moment in my life that I will never forget. I was on an airplane in February 2013, flying home to Virginia from Buffalo after burying my step-father and leaving my mother in the hospital after a heart episode in the same week. I had a window seat all to myself, and I stared outside at the fluffy marshmallow clouds, and this song came on. Tears streamed down my face as I thought about losing my step-father and how it was unfair that this happened. It was only six weeks since I left my hometown to live in Virginia. He had cancer, but was in remission, then had a cold and it was all downhill for him. His body rejected some treatments to keep him alive, and we had to make the decision let him go. There is a line in this song, probably meant for a break up, but I felt it for this situation, “Ain’t no talkin’ to this man. He’s been trying to tell me so. It took a while to understand the beauty of just letting go. There was really nothing to it, I just went and cut right through it. I’m going to let him fly.” I got teary typing that. What a decision to make to let someone go. When I hear the first strums of that acoustic guitar to begin this version of this song, I freeze.

 

This was just a sampling of songs that stop me in my tracks. That is what I love about music, it is a universal language that can control every emotion, bring back any memory, guide you through struggle and celebrate with you when you have no one else to celebrate with. I am thankful for music!

What song touches you to your core?

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