Thursday, January 12, 2012

Guest Blogger! Anna (Facebook Free Living)

I am BEYOND excited to feature my first guest Blogger, Anna Tegin! Anna is my lovely friend who decided (in mid December) that she would join me in my Facebook cleanse this month. I am so glad that Anna and I are teaming up. For one, it provides accountability. For two, we can share our experiences. For three, hopefully we can inspire others to join the effort.

I asked Anna to give me her feedback on how her experience has been thus far at roughly the "halfway point" of the month. Here is her incredibly honest and awesome feedback...


If you have seen the show “Hoarders” or even just the commercials for it, you know that the people featured on that show are mostly level five. And if there were a show called “Facebookers” I would be on it as a level five offender.

When I wake up in the morning, my eyes and brain aren’t exposed to a computer screen until I arrive at work about 2 hours later. 3 weeks ago I was a hit-alarm-grab-computer-check-Facebook kind of girl. Physically, this change meant that my neurons did not have ads, status updates, and album uploads violently thrust upon them first thing in the morning. Now, I give my soul at least an hour to catch up to my body before I start feeding it information and the end result is that I don’t feel so tired and I am overall more productive at work.

I have rediscovered what I like to call ‘creative boredom’. In fact, I have found that I am a creative cook at heart. I’m not saying that Facebook stopped me from using my groceries, but somehow ;) I have not had to throw out any produce in 3 weeks. You know, sometimes I don’t want to work on our wedding plans (blasphemy!!!) - I end up staring at all the stuff in our pantry until my mind finds really cool recipe ideas. The other day I realized that the asparagus was getting to a ‘use or lose’ stage and I quickly whipped up an asparagus soup that was amazing. It was also a great excuse to use my favorite tool the immersion blender, which Seth thinks is my replacement addiction.

Facebook was teaching me self-hatred. We are not born with the knowledge of self-hatred – this is taught to us in various ways and we mostly recognize it in the media. As a level five Facebooker I was constantly inhaling updates, links, pictures. All of them showed me how awesome everyone’s life was. Masters degrees, expensive weddings, lavish vacations, rocking parties, skinny bodies, shiny jewelry. Give a girl a break. Am I really the only idiot with credit card debt in the entire world of my 423 friends? Really? But I never ever questioned the authenticity of the posts I was reading. I questioned myself. The choices I had made. The path I was walking.

Facebook was breaking down my communication skills. I mean, for crying out loud, I was thinking in status updates. Super lame. I was relying on Facebook to tell me how my friends were doing. If I had been bad about staying in touch, I would just throw a “Hey Gurl. Love and miss ya sooo much” on her ‘wall’ and all was good. Right? Wrong! I neglected one of my friends because according to Facebook she was on top of the world. When we finally connected and TRULY CO-MU-NI-CA-TING, I discovered that her marriage was falling apart and that she needed a friend. Sometimes we don’t know how to ask for help. When we don’t make ourselves available to our friends and family, we inadvertently fail them. And we fail ourselves.

That, dear reader, is an important prelude to my mid-detox check-in.

A little under three weeks ago I accepted a challenge from Miss Margie and quit Facebook cold turkey (ok, I invited myself to the challenge). You might be asking yourself ‘what could possibly have changed, improved, transformed in just three weeks?’ Stop. Find an ex-smoker. Ask them how long the first three weeks of non-smoking felt. As a recovering smoker I can tell you.

Ok, all joking and dramatic preludes aside, giving up Facebook has quite literally changed my life. Because I’m a skeptic sometimes, I want to address those of you first (we’ll get to the good stuff later). Here are some concrete changes that happened because I have not logged-in in 3 weeks:

The other changes that Facebook has brought to my life are harder to explain. Both because it’s hard to describe and because it’s really hard to tell people the truth, when the truth doesn’t make you look like a bad-ass rock-star:

All this said I do miss Facebook. Not like I miss smoking. No, the desire to reunite with your smoky friend comes when you least expect it: at the bottom of a glass of Merlot and at the end of an epic feast. Unlike my BFF the cigarette, I miss Facebook because I want to see my friends. You see, I moved across the world only to fall in love with a city in which no one stays for very long (Washington, DC). So Facebook, in all its deceptiveness, allows me to visit with my girlfriends who live anywhere from Seattle to Boston to New York to Johannesburg to Hamburg.

In two weeks my Facebook ban will be lifted. Though absence often makes the heart grown fonder, I think absence has made this heart grow wiser. I will likely rejoin with a little bit of a friend-clean-up (yeah, I don’t actually think I know 423 people), some privacy settings, and a whole lot of personal boundaries.

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