The past six months have been an education in so many things. What loss really feels like, what love really is. And who my friends really are. And after over fifteen years of being active on several social media platforms, I found myself slowly removing myself from all of them. Twitter first, then Facebook, and finally a few weeks ago-Instagram and my old website.
Believe it or not, the only reaction I got was anger. People took it personally that I was no longer sharing my life with the world wide web. I admit this shocked me. Why on earth would anyone get mad that I no longer was posting photos of my toddler acting cute, my husband practicing his violin, or my daughters school activities? Is this the world we now live in? Where people take it personally when we decide to not share something? What happened to letting people live their lives, without sharing them with the rest of the world?
Forget the fact that the world we show to social media is usually false, filled with carefully posed and filtered photos, short overly-false happy missives, and lots of details about what we eat and where we are eating it. While it may have seemed my life was going great…in reality I was going through the roughest period of my life and the few people I chose to share it with, I shared it with them offline. I found myself depressed and disgusted by what Facebook had become. So I deleted my account and found, much to my surprise, a welcome sense of peace. I realized that my so-called “friends” weren’t friends at all, and I wasn’t upset by that.
Then I was hit hard, and by some people that should have been offering love, instead offered me hate. So I shut it all down. My only remaining social media-Instagram, and my previous website. And by doing so, lost a community I had built of other mothers and makers.
As an introverted stay-at-home-mom who recently moved to an new community, finding support and friendship isn’t easy for me. If it wasn’t for my kids and my husband, I’d probably only leave the house to go grocery shopping (and even that I’m doing more and more online and having delivered to my door). Luckily my family has a very busy schedule and being there for them forces me-in a good way-to leave my house and interact with the real world. Without them, I’d probably never speak to anyone, and that’s just not healthy.
However, online I have found other like-minded people. Other makers, other photographers, other writers, other moms, other introverts. And the fact I let myself be scared off made me angry. At myself.
As parents, we strive to set a good example for our children. And I was struck by the realization that if this had happened to one of my kids, I’d tell them to stand up for themselves and tell those online bullies and cyber-stalkers to eff off.
So I’m starting over. I don’t regret deleting my old accounts-to be honest they needed to be cleaned up and a large part of them represented a part of my life that has been over for quite some time. And as I look to the future, I look forward to focusing on what I love about being online-the community of mothers, makers, bloggers and others who are just simply trying to live their lives and raise their kids and enjoy their lives.
That’s what this space is all about-me sharing my passions, the bits of my life I connect with others, and hopefully, rebuilding my community. I hope you join me for the ride.