I can not tell you the number of times I’ve sat in front of this very screen, typed a sentence, backspaced it, typed it again, closed the tab, then just greatly condensed what I wanted to say and posted it on Facebook instead.
So many times.
Over and over.
It’s not that I hate Facebook, it’s just that Facebook has made it very easy to be very lazy. Why tell a story in five paragraphs and know that maybe ten people will see it? I can tell the story in five sentences and get the instant gratification of likes and hearts and comments. I wrote my English 1A final paper on how social media grants us instant dopamine hits that keep us coming back for more. Refreshing, sharing, refreshing, sharing. Always in search of that high of validation. I wrote eight pages on this but I’m still I’m a slave to it. I know it’s happening and I don’t care. I want more. We all do. Maybe some of us are more self aware about it. Maybe that makes it worse.
But now, right this second, I’m sitting in an airport bar, I’m trying to forget about the anxiety I always feel before flying, drowning that fear in Moscow mules, and jumping between social media platforms hoping that other people out there have felt what I’m feeling. Looking for that validation that I’m not alone in feeling this way but painfully aware that “misery loves company” isn’t the best coping mechanism. Probably alcohol isn’t either but this is delicious so I’m ordering another one.
A few weeks ago somebody in one of the many groups I’m part of on Facebook said she wanted to start a blog and if anybody had one, if they had advice on how to grow her audience. She had started a few in the past but had not had a lot of luck growing a readership. My advice to her was to stop writing to grow her audience and to just write about what she really loved. That if she was passionate about something, people who were also passionate about the same things would find her and support her and tell all their passionate friends about it and THAT is the kind of audience she wanted.
And then I refreshed and waited for her to like my comment.
It wasn’t till later that night that I realize the irony in telling her what I did. As with most advice it was really easy to dispense it while ignoring the fact that I’ve basically been doing the exact opposite for almost two years now.
So I’m going to try and do better. I miss this so terribly. I miss just putting my words out into the world. I miss telling a story. Writing it down. Reading about it 3 years later and laughing about that thing that happened. I miss using my fingers to release the anxiety and the depression. I miss having a place to be brutally honest about where I am mentally and not having to feel like I need to hide it behind filters.
I miss it.