I had to take a break from social media.

I was in a darker place than normal and seeing all the images curated for social consumption made me feel empty. I have a social media filter. I know that “real life” is not what I see. But it’s still hard to be blasted with these images, quotes, and stories day in and day out.

I knew some whose lives were falling apart and when I saw what they put on Facebook…maybe they’re lying, maybe they’re not. But there was a sense of wrong-ness of knowing one truth and seeing it’s opposite. I couldn’t look at it. I’m tired of seeing the perfectly curated life, the turns of phrases that are only an iota of the full, multi-faceted life that harnesses the spectrum of human emotion.

I’m tired of living life in one-dimension.

I’m tired of the games. I’m tired of having to be “on” all the time. I’m tired of having to manufacture a life that presents as worthwhile. I’m tired of seeing manufactured pieces. It’s the old how-are-you?-I’m-good! in snapshot form.

It’s like we’ve become the advertisements and the catalogues we get in the mail…except now they’re “my friends.” I throw the catalogues away (or use them for art journaling). What do I do with “my friends”?

She’s going to buy a new house. I know how much they’re able to spend and where they’re looking. It’s the area I crave to be in; it’s the amount we don’t have to spend. It’s hard enough fighting the jealousy when I have a real investment in the relationship and want to celebrate with her. But day after day when I confront “perfect” images from people I know less well…I think a piece of my dies a little at a time. It’s too much…or I’m too human.

I want connection that goes beyond words on a screen. I want to see completed Pinterest projects in real life, rather than the photograph snapped at the height of perfection. I want to sit on your couch and see the empty wine glasses and the dirty coffee mugs littering the table from the night before. I want to see your daughter slamming doors. And the toddlers not potty trained in a day. I want to see what’s real. I want to be real.

What I learned is that there are seasons when I can accept the social media world for what it is and what it offers. I can enjoy the superficial connections and small talk. And then there are seasons—usually these are the darker ones for me—when I need to step back. I can’t fight through the lies, so it’s healthier for me to take a break.

I’m holding it loosely now. I’m not trying to manipulate the system or learn the rules. And I’m trying to value the people who touch my hands every day. The ones whose faces I see and who see mine. Fewer images for the world at large, and more for me and the ones who love me.

2 Comments on on social media

  1. Sarah, this is wonderful! You are an eloquent and powerful writer. This moved us deeply and makes us want to celebrate, connect deeper, and live life with true friends. You have profoundly articulated what’s on many people’s hearts. Thank you!

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