This morning I checked Facebook. Then I went to work. Then I checked Facebook again. I spent the first hour of the day working and checking Facebook until I read something that made my heart twist. See, I have several Facebook friends who are pregnant and who got pregnant around the same time I did. However, their babies are healthy. I had a miscarriage. I would have found out whether my baby was a boy or girl this month...and that means that THEY are all finding out and excitedly posting their news to Facebook. Meanwhile, I'm torturing myself by obsessively reading their updates and looking at pictures of their cute bellies and the sweet baby socks and clothes and books that they're receiving as gifts. I am not even close to being over my miscarriage. I feel like a mother without a child. I am jealous, angry, empty, and sad every time I see one of those updates. It's hard, REALLY hard to be happy for people who are getting what I thought I'd have. I lost it, seemingly at random, seemingly by chance, seemingly for no reason, and arbitrarily they didn't. But I digress. Because the point is that after I saw this girl's update and felt that familiar sinking, empty, drowning-in-a-well-filled-with-my-own-emotions-blaaaaah feeling, I got PISSED.
I'm mad! WHY am I doing this to myself?! Is this REALLY how I want to feel?? No one is forcing me to look! I sat there, staring at the computer screen for at least five minutes, realizing that I am torturing myself. I have a wound that's trying to heal, and I keep ripping it open and examining it. What is wrong with me? I'm not a jealous person. I'm not a person who doesn't rejoice in the happiness of others. I'm not a wallower. In the past I've always been able to muster up enthusiasm and joy for people who have what I want.
See, without Facebook, I wouldn't even know that these friends are all having girls so far. They could tell me or I could find out on a better timeline, one where I don't have to crumple into a pathetic pile of sadness in secret and they don't have to feel guilty for sharing their good news. I actually am not sure if they all even know, but I don't want them to feel bad when they post a picture of an ultrasound.
I've realized that being a part of every single thing that every other person does is a responsibility. If we're going to have that much knowledge about the lives of one another, if we're going to give ourselves so much freaking ability to be connected at all times, then we have to learn not to abuse it. Torturing ourselves with Facebook is NOT responsible behavior. It's insane. It's kind of sick. I do it all the time. It's not just the miscarriage, either. I can't count how many times I've felt awful after comparing myself to other people, particularly other people I hardly even know. And when was the last time I argued for hours on end over some stupid political opinion in real life? Facebook is the perfect forum for that, unfortunately. I get to watch some awesome things happen in the lives of my friends, but I also get to feel just sick to death because of all the negativity. It's negativity I force upon myself.
Not everyone needs to know what I'm thinking! I don't need to know what everyone else is thinking, either. I don't need to hurt over someone else's baby when I'm not even finished hurting over mine. Seeing other women's pregnancies work out so up close and personally makes me forget the peace that God has given me after hours of prayer and thought. It makes me forget that sometimes I need to focus on my own personal tragedies before I can heal enough to face the world. After my miscarriage, I shut myself into my apartment and took a week of alone time, some of it with my husband, some without. It felt good to just deal on my own. But I wasn't ever really alone with my grief, because I was on Facebook. Because even when I was weighed down with my own suffering, I was still involved, however indirectly, in the affairs of other people. Their lives just went on while mine was utterly halted for a while and watching that makes a cynic out of anyone. I have enough stress in my life without everyone else's on top of it.
This post was originally supposed to be a lighthearted humor piece about how much Facebook sucks. I even had ms paint up to draw some hilarious pictures of myself curled up in a deprived ball on the floor. I probably should have written this after the anger subsided and I may even go back and delete it because I'm not sure I'm ready to share yet, but I've gotta say, it feels good. I cannot believe it took me this long to figure this crap out.
So here's my plan to start getting my Facebook habit under control: I'm not going to be on Facebook until Saturday at the earliest, longer if I can handle it, just to see how it feels. Then I'll have to come up with some sort of battle plan, because this sucks and I'm not letting a stupid website control my emotions anymore. Who knows? Maybe I'll even be able to come to terms with my feelings on my own without interference, however indirect or unintentional, from anyone else.