Until recently, every job I have held up to this point has involved social media in some way. While managing social media campaigns, I became hyper-obsessive with Facebook. Not just the posting – but the analytics that followed. The “Why” behind good posts and bad posts. I became obsessed with having the best pictures, picking the perfect words, and always challenging myself to do better. Gain more likes. More shares. More comments. I really only spent an hour a week actually creating posts – but it was the constant analytical monitoring that consumed my free time. I justified such behavior because I was “working.” Running an amazing social media campaign was my job. Spending an entire event taking photos, editing, and uploading to capture a digital audience when a real audience was right in front of me….that was my job. I had to. Phrases such as, “DON’T EAT THAT YET. NOT TIL I’VE SNAPPED A PHOTO FOR FACEBOOK!” were said on the reg. And then I quit my jobs managing social media. So here I was with a regular, obsessive habit (checking my Facebook 312 times a day) and nothing but free time to do so.
Every time I checked my newsfeed, it was like a part of me died a little. “So and so” was engaged. Her sister was also engaged. Oh, and her other sister was recently married. “So and so” just took a job working at the coolest, up and coming company in the heart of San Francisco. And his brother recently got back from traveling the entire Eastern Hemisphere. And his profile picture is of him riding a camel. By the ocean. With the sun setting. And his girlfriend is gorgeous. And he will probably propose on Christmas in a butterfly garden. Oh and “so and so”? She just got back from her six-months abroad where she became best friends with Victoria Beckham, and now she is working as a model in Miami. And she doesn’t have a boyfriend, but she will no doubt get proposed to, because everyone and their mom is getting proposed to. And then my profile. Here’s a picture of me doing yoga. Again. Oh. And here’s a picture of a sandwich I ate.
It was pretty obvious that every person on the planet was happy but me. I mean, all I was doing was taking an awesome job in a new city, where my very best friend in the world lived, in a brand new apartment with granite counter tops and dishwasher, and I was about to spend three weeks in Boston with my unconditionally loving family and see Blue Man Group on New Years Eve, and eat homemade, smoked BBQ chicken wings while watching football with my new seven-month-old puppy named Meatball. Yup. Everyone was definitely happier (prettier, cooler, funnier, smarter) than me.
It was very hard to vocalize how I was feeling because I knew I was being completely irrational. So naturally I turned to Janelle – a godsend from Craigslist that has been the answer to all my problems for many years now. Perhaps the reason she is always so helpful is because she is just as irrational and dramatic as me (luv ya gurllll). So it was no surprise that when I texted her to tell her I was deleting Facebook, her response was “Oh my God, me too. Everyone is happier than me.” Soul mates. I didn’t have the balls to do away with my Facebook account entirely. After all, how would I remember when anyone’s birthday was? But I did delete the app from my phone. Because it was always in moments of boredom or free-time that I would check on my phone. And it only took about four minutes and five newsfeed stories to feel insecure and worthless.
Janelle and I theorize that without the app, we will be happier. Without the constant comparing of our lives to others, maybe it will give us a chance to just focus on our own. And to stop being jealous of a life that is probably inaccurately portrayed. But I want it to be so much more than dropping the judgments and the unnecessary comparisons. I want to stop assuming that everyone is happy all the time. My bet is that for every picture posted in happiness, there’s probably about 100 unhappy life moments that go un-posted. Cuz who wants to read that shit? Well. You just did. About how I went through a two-month period before Christmas where I was extremely unhappy.
There. I said it.
My life isn’t perfect. And neither is hers. And neither is his. And neither is his brother’s. Or his fiance’s. Hell, Victoria Beckham’s life probably isn’t perfect (but I’m still gonna need someone to provide hard and factual evidence before I really believe that). I don’t plan on getting rid of Facebook entirely any time soon. And I don’t expect you beautiful people to stop posting all the Facebook-worthy moments of happiness that lead me to believe you are happier than me. What I think I am trying to say is “Count your blessings.” The next time you get on Facebook and feel like crap, know that you aren’t the only one. And if you know what’s good for you, you’ll log off, pull out pen and paper, and write down three things you are grateful for. You’ll be amazed at how different things feel moments later. Now. To post a pic of the sandwich I am eating.