note: my capitalization is all over the place; i’m using a new app on my iPad, “iWriter” and it’s cool, but it allows me to be ee cummings withoutcorrectingitunlessyouseeit so, while i’ve cleaned up a lot of errors, i’m not going to bother with the caps.
this is my fifth post about taking a break from Facebook for Lent and how i’m processing my own assertion that i was likely addicted to it.
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when you give up a daily habit you started almost 4 and a half years ago with the intention of self-improvement, no matter what it is, you get twitchy at first. in the newness, the mandate is quite clear: don’t do that thing you’re giving up. (here is the first post about this.)
then after some time, you get a little comfortable, a little cocky and then if you’re like me, you slip a smidge and the doubt comes back: “can i do this? when will it truly end? will it work? how will i know? what is the benefit?” that ‘doubt’ is called life and life is what happens when you’re making other plans.
the good news is that you don’t have to beat yourself up over it. while we all have deficits and overages which deserve our examination and self-awareness, beware: the habit wants us to lose.
it’s the gloaming, the moments between the give-up and the self-awareness that can become the LMNOP, the distracting drama of life.
if we are mindful about what behavior we’re examining, we can stand vigilant against the LMNOP pitted against our success.
my experience as a publications manager, and public relations manager, as a mother and a PTA officer have taught me that A, maybe N or Q but definitely Z are all people really need to know. the GHIJKs are nice for a lunch date, but not for really getting things in order. and you know how those STUVWs can be.
i thought my deficit / my threat was Facebook. but it’s not. it’s drama, aka: LMNOP cloaked as Facebook. i am an ACOA, also known as someone who grew up in LMNOP, i have written extensively about it, in fact my book details in a fictional way, my own fight against an “addiction to chaos” that i was diagnosed with having in 2005. just because my LMNOP awareness is going on eight years, it does not mean that i’ve got drama / LMNOP licked.
ACOA or not, humans are fickle creatures. we can rationalize how much we wish to keep our habit: “it’s not all bad”; “just not too much,” “don’t deprive yourself…” that’s human nature and it’s expected. sometimes that’s prudent, but it also has great LMNOP potential.
i saw some LMNOP during the five minutes i was checking in with the Facebook groups i started. but even before i logged on, i felt the lmnop because i didn’t need to be online. it didn’t grow to LMNOP until i saw it, but i made an executive decision to take the LMNOP to beyond Z: off the grid. i had to for the sake of harmony and peace.
it’s not that complicated: if you don’t mean to stir up LMNOP, don’t stir up LMNOP. make sure your intentions line up with your actions, otherwise it’s LMNOP. awareness.
another trap of relevance is the lure of Becoming The Rationalization. i can become too self-involved and waste time explaining the rationalization. like now.
in short: i need to be careful not to let my FB/Lenten experience become my only experience. don’t worry, it’s not. i just agreed to be president of my son’s rowing club. don’t ask. it was a moment of weakness bolstered by rational and artful persuasion. (i’ll write more about that moment soon.) in a little while i’m going to take an online water motor safety test to become a certified launch (coach’s boat) driver.
are you still reading? i’m not.
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my ongoing break from Facebook has been extremely revealing. it’s not as though my life has changed monumentally, but it’s true that i went to it everyday seeking relevance, seeking community. it gave me a rush, that made me feel welcome. like the guys at Cheers yelling, “Mol!”
the speed and delivery of that relevance reminds me of how Bugs Bunny could order an anvil or a plane from ACME by post: he’d be at a mail box and all of a sudden a pen and paper would be in his hands. he’d write something down, seal it in an envelope which he’d drop into the mail box. within three seconds, a delivery truck would zoom up and screech on to the scene and a letter carrier in uniform would exclaim in a milky Minnesota accent, “Package for Bugs Bunny!” and Bugs would sign for it.
relevance is important, it helps us fit in with the outside world and it helps us learn to keep things private too, so that’s good. but if we get our sense of relevance ONLY from the online world, we’re losing out because more than 7/8 of the time, people won’t bother saving us from ourselves.
i’m coming to terms better with thinking of myself as a writer. last week when i wrote about Facebook, i branded my hiatus as a failure (because i’d replaced Facebook with my blog writing) and that was wrong. it’s really good that i replaced one thing: a time trap, with another thing: a skill that i want to improve; i’m learning my weaknesses.
i heard last week on NPR that the Facebook front page is changing once again. Zuckerberg wants to make FB even more image heavy. yay. more ADD.
for a little blogger and writer like me, it’s folly to imagine “winning” because of Facebook. the algorithms for content sharing are arbitrary and likely linked more to visibility than to clicks –meaning that poor guy who just paid $700 for an ad will have to hope that people are even online to see it much less click on it… and given the fact that according to the Pew Charitable Trust one in five adults has given up the network, that means it’s going to be even harder to reach people with the cash to buy what the $700 ad is promoting.
remember: no one ever gives anything away. (‘cept bloggers, we give this stuff away by the crate.) and remember again how Facebook started: as vengeance for a rejection. Zuckerberg has Relevance written all over his face.
i am learning that i don’t need to give Facebook that power of controlling my relevance, nor do i need to see it as The Enemy. i can use it for what it is: an elaborate communication tool, nothing more; as a marketing tool for writers, it stinks.
i hear the siren calls for artists and writers to develop their social media platform; they just have to be built smartly.
gah: as i type, one of my beloved cousins has sent me the cover art for her friend’s debut novel; flat water tuesday, a story about rowing and romance. it’s a real book on paper and everything. my eyes just rolled to the back of my head because i’m sitting here moaning and groaning about stupid Facebook and not writing My Book. again: the problem is me.
mudita to my cousin’s friend; the story sounds great!
ps – here’s a good post about this very thing: http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/is-technology-to-blame-for-emotional-barriers/
here’s the next and (i really hope) final post in this experience: https://mollyfielddotcom.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/what-ive-gained-by-quitting-6-final-entry-svasanahhhh/