I want to be as human as possible: to not hide or run or destroy or prove anything but to see and be seen.
It was bound to happen. Snow is falling, it’s cold, and I’m going into hibernation mode. While my deepest yearning is to connect with people, I’m super comfortable with being alone, so I’m not going to fight it. After all, I have Jupiter in my 12th house right now and that’s the best time to spend a little quality alone time.
I’ve struggled to connect with people for most of my life. I started drinking so that I could be more open with people and have a little fun. It was hard for me to do sober, because I had been trained that fun was selfish and being responsible was the only way I could get approval. However, as you can see from previous posts, drinking became a big problem and I had to quit. Without that social lubrication, though, the armor hardened up even more and it’s taken me several years of therapy to soften it up.
Six or seven years ago, I signed up for Facebook so that I could connect and play with people. Everyone kept talking about how great it was and how they’d made so many new friends, so I was thrilled to try this introverted way to make friends.
The thrill was short-lived. I struggled with feelings of rejection when my posts got few likes or comments. I couldn’t understand why someone’s terrible meme got all kinds of likes, while my posts got nothing. I compared my measly 50 friends to someone else’s 250, which was infuriating because more often than not, they never posted anything at all. How could they have so many friends? One day, I got mad and started posting only to a small group of friends who normally responded with at least a like, but that didn’t work.
The next several years were an attempt to figure out the key to getting people to play with me on Facebook. I tried everything. I posted feel-good memes, so I wouldn’t be seen as a sad sack. I tried not to fish for attention. My posts were almost always straightforward and honest. I tried to be funny. I occasionally posted rants when I got worked up, but all I got was crickets.
Occasionally, I would make new friends who would play with me for a while, making me believe that I was connecting better, but inevitably they got bored with me. Finally, I noticed that photos got more likes, so I started posting photos that I thought were really good, but my photos are not the kind that draw likes. I take mostly landscapes and macros and that’s not “like-worthy”. I did try to start taking photos with people in them, because I thought that’s what people wanted, but I couldn’t compete with those professional Facebookers who could rapid-fire shoot, edit, and post before I even got my camera out.
The final straw for me, though, was when I posted a links to this blog. I didn’t write a lot and I didn’t inundate people with blog posts, so I expected at least a handful of people to want to read them, after all, other people’s blogs got plenty of attention. Maybe that’s my in, I thought. Once blog post did really well. It was about my life with my mom, which was very tragic and got quite a bit of response, as tragic stories often do, but it was a fluke. I thought I had found the key. Be vulnerable. Be open. Tell your story. Brené Brown says that owning your story is the bravest thing you can do and I did that. I guess she forgot to mention that that doesn’t necessarily mean you will acknowledged. Subsequent posts got fewer and fewer responses, especially my personal stories, which of course, fed right into my insecurities.
I give up.
Try as I might, I can’t find the magic potion that will engage people. I’m not vapid. I’m not super entertaining. I don’t travel to far-off places or have much of a social life at all, so my posts are more introspective and personal and nobody wants to read that. Nobody wants to know your truth through Facebook. They don’t want to see you, because they are too busy trying to be seen themselves. (If everyone wants to be seen, but nobody’s looking, how are any of us ever seen?) In Facebook-land, I feel like that oddball girl on the playground, begging kids to play with me, but kids can spot needy a mile away and they don’t respond to needy. They like the cool kid who does whatever she wants and doesn’t care if you play with her or not.
So, as they say, I’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places and Facebook is a cold, heartless lover. It lures you in with the promise of love and affection. It gets you hooked with a little attention, then when the hook is set, it takes its attention away and starts looking for something else to entertain it.
Of course, this is just me and my insecurities talking. Facebook itself is harmless, but it does hold up a mirror that reflects your weaknesses back at you. I don’t need Facebook to show me my weaknesses. I know what they are, which is why I’m quitting Facebook for a while and going into isolation mode.
Fakery and game playing are not the kind of connection that I want and as long as I keep wasting my time on something that I know doesn’t work for me, I will never find the true connection that I desire.
Adios for now, Facebook. I’ll pay attention to my own self for a while and maybe I’ll come back and not give a rat’s ass if anyone likes me or not. Or perhaps I’ll finally see that I don’t need you at all.