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!!

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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#100HappyDays

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Have you heard about this initiative to spread happiness by posting a picture to your favorite social media website of something that makes you happy for 100 straight days?  Chances are, you probably have a friend who is well on their way through the challenge.  I was going to start it with them, but I chose not to at the time because I thought, “I won’t have time for this”.  When I went to their website yesterday to read more about it, the first thing it says on the site is:

You don’t have time for this, right?

Haha!  Talk about irony!  So, I took that as a call out and accepted the challenge. Why?  Because, like the atop this post, I sometimes feel like I am smiling when everyone around me is miserable, and after a while it dulls my light.  Also, I have a tendency of allowing myself think of things I am missing, rather than staying present in my life at the moment and appreciating what is happening right in front of me.  This challenge will force me to stay alert to my smiles and the happiness that is in my life everyday.

One hundred days seems like a LONG time to remember to post, doesn’t it?  I started yesterday, so that means that (ok, let me wake up my basic math skills here) I will have to post everyday until October 8th to meet my challenge.  I am ready!  Are YOU?  Here is the link to the website so that you can read more and take part!

With all of the negative things happening in this world, it is good to force a little sunshine into your life, and maybe light a spark in someone else!  Here was my post from yesterday:

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My refrigerator was out of commission due to a broken compressor.  We went through our home warranty company, who contracts out repairs like this, and it took over three weeks to get our fridge fixed!  We were stopping at the store each and every day for ice and for the day’s meal, which always costs a lot more than a shopping trip.  Finally, our fridge was fixed on Monday and I was able to grocery shop yesterday after work.  So, yay for refrigeration!  It’s something you take for granted until it is gone!

Happiness is something we create; it does not tap us on the shoulder and say, “Ok, it is time to be happy now!”  Choose to smile and to be gracious.  Join #100HappyDays!

Let me know below if you are participating already or are signing up to!

Woes of Relocation

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That is such a difficult concept to digest for me: letting go of the live we have planned.

Certainly, it was not in my life plan to suddenly have to relocate out-of-state, away from every single person I know, because my husband’s job called for it.  But I did, because I had to.  But the concept of “letting go” is a difficult one to accept.  My husband has dealt with the change fantastically, and even my son (who has Aspergers Syndrome, which is synonymous with having difficulty with changes) is accepting the change and growing from it.  Me, not so much.

We just visited home last week, and we saw family and friends and celebrated my parents-in-law 50th Anniversary.  It was a wonderful four days of visits, laughter and celebration, however, inside I felt sad for it all to end.  I was where I was most familiar, family drama and all.  I was not at a point in my life where I could just enjoy the moments that were before me; instead I was waiting for the moments to pass and the dread of having it end.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my new hometown.  My new job is fulfilling, my son is thriving, and my husband’s career is more successful than ever.  We have our health, a brand new home and pets that love us unconditionally.  We seemingly have it all!  Why do I constantly look back?

During my visit, I felt like the outsider.  Of course, the world keeps turning and life goes on despite our relocation, but it is agonizing to me to feel like I am outside of a circle that I was so much a part of just a year and a half ago.  Family and life events, milestone events, are happening and we cannot be a part of it.  Such is life, right?  Then why does it hurt so bad?

So this is where I find myself these days: trying to move on, and being all right inside with that.  I think I am torturing myself more than I need to, but letting go and moving on is so difficult.  I read this post from a fellow blogger, and it resonated with me, maybe it will with you too.  This is about letting go:

http://insidethelifeofmoi.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/balloons-the-art-of-letting-go/

So, I breathe the bad feelings away and try to move forward.  The road is long, but I will get there.

Have you had to relocate?  How did you cope?

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