Thursday, December 11, 2014

It's not you, facebook, it's me

I'm a people hoarder.

I didn't know this about myself until a recent epiphany, but it's true. I collect people and can't seem to let them go. 

My "aha" moment occurred with Facebook over the past two weeks. I've got close to 800 "friends" on there and while most of them I have no personal connection to anymore, I can't seem to let them move on.

Despite joining Facebook quite a few years ago, I have only unfriended four people ever. Two for bullying, and two were husbands of women that unfriended me. It's amazing to think that somehow I can't seem to click that unfriend button, even if a person hasn't crossed my path for years.

I have my best friend from high school who shared an afterschool job at Long John Silvers.

I have my housemate from college, and her husband, a neighbor from my childhood home.

I have my favorite roommate (I had seven total) from my internship at Walt Disney World.

I have friends from every single mother's groups I've been a part of over the years.

I have friends from old jobs as an arts commissioner, board member, docent, dj at a radio station, waitress, Microsoftie, art gallery manager, merchandise hostess, teacher, book club, craft meet ups, student, the list is endless.

You name any continent, I've probably got a friend in it.

My epiphany occurred the week of Thanksgiving when I had two of these friends stand me up on two different occasions. On Thanksgiving day, I found myself not invited to a gathering of friends I've known for close to 10 years.

Some call it a hat trick, but having all three events happen within days of each other hurt my heart deep and hard.  Something snapped in my brain and I found myself, for my first time ever, searching for the Facebok Deactivate button on Thanksgiving night. I needed a friend break. More importantly, I needed to put my heart back together.

Suddenly, everyone was gone.

I wasn't getting hourly updates of my girlfriend's new baby that arrived on Monday.

I received no posts on Ferguson, #ICantBreath, or names of police officers that are members of the KKK.

I didn't see any photos of headless children from Palestine.

My girlfriend who is traveling with her daughters in Spain and was posting photos of Miro's studio disappeared.

Poetry writings, both in Arabic and English, and Harlequin romance novel quotes were gone from my life.

Videos of cats showing dogs who was boss, kids being cute, and a parody called All About the Paste were no longer attacking my eyes.

For days, my world was cut off, except for Twitter, where I had just unfollowed over 1,000 people in October.  I had done it after reading an article about clutter. So things were pretty quiet over there too.

Interestingly enough, disappearing on Facebook caused real friends that needed to find me contacted me via other means to make sure I was alive.  I got flowers with a heartfelt apology from the gathering that hadn't invited me and it was sweet.  Inquiries were coming in from Pinterest, my website contact form, emails, evite and phone calls. The friends that noticed I was gone and needed to check on me found a way to do it not on Facebook.

Now, almost two weeks later, I am amazed at the amount of work I have gotten done. I'm ahead on my products for one store, I made three custom pieces, two Arabic clocks, 26 sets of earrings, 109 sarcastic cards, I planned and taught two art class to second graders, I cleaned my studio top to bottom, my daughters and I completed three craft projects, we also made cookies for an upcoming cookie exchange, I made an Andy Warhol dress for a holiday party, I wrote up a time management plan, I went into Seattle midweek to take an optional museum class, I finished a book, caught up on my movies list and started my business plan. My To Do List was getting done at the speed of light as projecs were getting being completed left and right.

Not having Facebook on 12 times a day has made me realized that I'm a people hoarder and I need to stop. I've decided I'm only holding on to the people that I've physically seen in 2014, or have Liked my business, or that I'd have no problem calling up today and inviting to lunch.

Starting in January, I need to let go of those that I haven't laid eyes on in awhile or aren't invested in my passion. I have some big business goals for 2015 and need to make sure I'm not distracted by a friend's videos of cats getting into tight boxes.  

After two weeks without 800 friends, I've realized it's not you, it's me.  I need to stop hoarding you and set you free.

How can all not be forgiven with such a beautiful apology?

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