Monday, February 22, 2021

Farewell Facebook

I did it.   I actually shut down my personal Facebook page.  

And OH. MY. GAWD.  It was not easy.  I'm still recovering.

So, here's what happened...

On January 6th, 2021, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and I began to have a physiological response to what I was seeing.  No joke.  My heart started pounding and it was a struggle to take a deep breath.  As many of you know, I've had an anxiety disorder for 20+ years now, so my first thought was Holy shit, Facebook is giving me an anxiety attack.

Then I remembered that I'm 48 years old and thought Holy F*ck! Am I having a God damned heart attack from mother f*cking Facebook!!!

Let me tell you, when you put all of those words together and consider that they could be a real possibility, you decide real quick that it's time to go.  Sayonara.  Hasta la vista.  Later taters.  I'm packing my toys and gettin' the eff outta here!

But let's not fool ourselves here.  Once my pulse returned to its normal resting rate, and I had a sugar-loaded snack to soothe my inner drama queen, I logged right the hell back on.  

Yup.  

I mean, it's so easy to just press that little blue Facebook icon floating on the home screen of your phone, especially when you've been doing it for 12 years.  There are neuropathways established by this point!  I could not help myself. 

And I'm fully aware that I'm a glutton for punishment, but don't you try to tell me that you haven't done the same damn thing!  You've tried to go off The Facebook and failed, too!  Fess up!


Anywho....you know what happened next?

I came to a full and final realization that I hate Facebook.  I hate it for so many reasons.  Here are just three of the skatey-eight quadrazillion reasons:

  1. I hate seeing photos of thin people and thinking 'I'm such a failure.  I'm still fat and they aren't.'  
  2. I hate reading my "friends" feelings and thinking 'How was I friends with someone who thinks that this is okay??? Are they serious?'
  3.  I hated seeing all of the insecurities and pontification and thinking 'Why do they feel the need to brag about this stuff?  Don't they see that they are special without pointing out every freaking win?'

My mom told me that my Grandma Louise used to say that 'we don't need to know so much about other people's lives.  There are parts of people's lives that we don't need to be aware of - for our sake and theirs.'  Grandma Louise was waaaaay ahead of her time.

My friend Arron said to me the other day, "Facebook. Toxic place for everyone to attack each other. The playground full of bullies that never closes."  And Sweet Jesus,  it seemed like such a perfect description!  

What sent me over the edge was seeing people who I care about and who I thought I knew so well posting the most racist and misogynist things.  Memes mocking people who looked, behaved, and/or believed in things that were different from them.  Photos with comments underneath, outing themselves for being something other than who I thought they were.  People with no political background spewing hate and ignorance, while miseducating others.  People who claimed to be part of a peace and love lifestyle screaming out disruption and hate!!!

And I cried.  

Let me say this as exactly as I felt it at that exact moment.  WHAT. THE FUCK. IS WRONG. WITH. PEOPLE????  What was wrong with me????  How could I love people who felt so strongly in a way so oppositional to the core of who I am????  

A whole group of people who bashed women and people of color... and **I** call them friends and/or family????

I was so ashamed.  How could I not know?  How could I be affiliated with them?  How could I love and adore them?

Grandma Lousie was right.  I don't need to know so much about other people's lives.  So, I'm done.  I'm done knowing and I'm done loving them.  

CHECK PLEASE!

(this one is especially for my fellow Stern fans)


NOW, on the flip side of this, I have to tell you that leaving was not all easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.   My main struggle was where in the hell to go to get advice.  I had no idea how often I went to Facebook groups to ask for guidance on stuff.  

Where can I find a good local gastroenterologist?

Which cordless Dyson stick vac is the best?

Anyone know what that email about snow days is all about?

How are the roads in town during the snowstorm?

Do these riding pants make me look fat?

Does anyone have a defibrillator I can borrow so I can maintain my social media connection and not DIE?

At least once a day I think of something I would normally dash on over to a Facebook group and ask questions about.  It's been over a month.  Google can't answer these kinda questions for me.  The struggle is real.

But the rewards outweigh the losses.  I have so much more time.  I'm a lot less angry.  I am not subjected to personal views that make me have chest pains.  And I also don't have to stay in touch with people who I now know I don't vibe with.  

I talk to my husband a lot more too!  Mind you, he may not see this as a reward.  

I also don't have "drama queen snack time" to soothe my sensitivities and boost my serotonin.  Extra bonus right there.  I lost four pounds just by eliminating my personal Facebook page.  True story.

Wishing you all love and many blessings,

Vicki



Sunday, December 27, 2020

Facebook and 2020

Sweet Jesus....is this damn year over yet?

I'm going to use my husband's favorite expression of mine.  You have to imagine my look of exasperation and annoyance, but here it goes.

For fuck's sake.

I've been reviewing 2020 in my mind and thinking of all of the crap that has happened in my personal life that completely sucked.  With the exception of the loss of my step-father, Ben 💕, I found one common element in most of my 2020 stress.

Facebook.

Swear to God.

I know I'm not alone in this.  There have been a number of people who have mentioned that they quit or paused Facebook because it was just too much to deal with.  The social media monopoly seemed to amplify and exasperate all of the other stressful things that are going on.  Let me think of a few....

  • Global pandemic (who was getting COVID and where did they live)
  • COVID-19 (who thought it didn't really exist or that it wasn't that serious)
  • Social distancing (who wasn't doing a good job of it and needed to be shamed)
  • Masks (who doesn't know how to wear one correctly and which ones are crap)
  • Sheltering in place (who didn't wanna comply and why why why)
  • Education (who was inconvenienced by the schedule and remote learning) (guilty party right here!)
  • Toilet paper and cleaning supplies (who was hoarding, who was deprived and WHY toilet paper?)
  • Politics (who was slinging mud and who was getting muddy)
  • Election (let's just not go there....it's still not even wrapped up completely)
  • Children (who was losing their mind being trapped at home with their kids and who was grateful that they didn't have any)
  • Elderly (who was paying attention to their vulnerability and who had loved ones stuck in nursing homes)
  • First responders (who didn't appreciate their tireless work and who was exhausted from being essential)
  • Relationships (which unions were going to crumble under the stress and who was "flourishing and blossoming in the most loving ways" 🙄) (I call BULLSHIT!!)
  • Work (who was forced to go to work and who lost their income)
  • Racism (whose lives mattered and who felt that racism was/wasn't prevalent) (It IS, for the record)
Those are just the broad topics.  There are a slew of subtopics in there as well, but let's be honest, we don't have all damn day.  You know them.  

What should have been a means of staying connected with our friends, family and community was being turned into a vehicle for venting anger and spouting off opinions with no repercussions or any reparations. Keyboard warriors were running the show and getting stronger with every added tragedy or societal concern.



In the midst of it all, I learned a very valuable lesson:  I bring out the worst in people on Facebook and Facebook brings out the worst in me.  

What was once a source of fun and giggles was now something that made me angry and hate human beings.   I'm a pretty positive, happy person for the most part.  I lean in to relationships that make me happy and hide from people who make me feel anger or emotional pain.  However, I am a true Gemini and I'm either super joyous or extra pissed off.  There isn't much gray area there.

I'd look through my Facebook timeline and start ripping!  "Can you believe that (so-and-so) is a (political candidate) supporter???"  "Look at these two miserable bastards pretending they have the perfect relationship!"  "How is this person on vacation when there is a global pandemic???"  "Why would (so-and-so) be showing off that they just bought a (expensive item) when so many of us have almost no income??" It went on and on and on.  I was just judging and criticizing and hating everyone.  And when I would post something positive, SOMEONE would inevitiably respond with their own judgement of me!  That was where started the cycle of hate began.



But then something changed. 

I grew tired of the anger.  I realized that every time I clicked on that little blue icon with the annoying lowercase "f" on my phone, I was bored by most of what I saw.  I discovered that I was looking for a good laugh or something uplifting and coming away uninspired and blah.  Yes, blah.  Commonly known as "meh".



Today, I was scrolling through Instagram and was giggling over a super judgey, feral cat who is literally a peeping tom, when I turned to Justin and said, "The guy eventually won the cat over....I freaking love people!"

His response?  "Wow.  I don't think I've heard you say anything beyond 'I hate people' in eons!"

How sad is that?  I'm not a people hater!  Or at least I wasn't.   I may be a people loather now though.  I have my select peeps and if you aren't one of them, I've got a bit of a bubble around me that's not going to permit you to access my Natural Vickness.

My friend, Lynn, left Facebook about a month ago.  She didn't want to be surrounded by the negativity any longer, so in one swift motion, she disconnected.   I was jealous and in complete awe of her.   It was such badassery!  

"So, it's been a week now.  How does it feel to not have Facebook any more?"  I was dying to know what life was like on the other side!  Someone disconnected and lived to tell the tale!

"Awesome!  I totally don't miss it at all," she said.  And she meant it.  I could tell.  And I LOVED IT.

Maybe it's time for me to disconnect too.  I want to find the "awesome."  Is leaving Facebook behind the answer to some of my woes?  Or am I just too sensitive to be a part of the gang?  Regardless, Facebook needs to find a way to stop the anger and 'find the funny' again.

We need decency among humans.  We need compassion, not indifference, for others.  We need to support each other.  We need to focus on what we completes us, not what destroys us.  

We need love.

xoxox 💖


ps. Yes, I am aware that Instagram is affiliated with Facebook.  It's like the happy place for those of us who can't handle the judgement and bullshit of the Big FU FB 😉



 



Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Tough Times

 I'm writing today's blog with no intention.  This is a first.  I usually sit down with a subject that I want to chat about and then work on covering all of my points.  It's the Project Paper lover in me.

Yes, I was one of those dorks who loved to write essays or term papers in school.  "What?  We have a project due?  Excellent!  This should balance out those shitty test grades I got from never studying."  

(My mother is cringing if she's reading this.  She's fully aware that I had the worst study habits and it's done nothing but burn her biscuits all of these years.)

Today I'm gonna just sit my arse down and write.....let all of those lovely words in my brain flow out.  No subject.  

(this is me staring at the page)

You know what?

I'm freaking tired.

I'm tired of all of the bullshit going on around us.  I'm tired of the political chaos.  I'm tired of logging onto social media and seeing people argue as if their nasty words mean anything more than a way to cause pain.  I'm tired of the hate.  I'm tired of the schedule of life being flip flopped every time I think I'm getting used to the 'new normal'.  I'm tired of seeing no toilet paper on the shelves at the damn store.  And I'm tired of being tired.

To go even deeper, I have a whole list of crap that exhausts me on an internal level.

I don't sleep well, yet I always want to lay down.  I'm depressed after discovering that I had bunch of friends who say hateful things on Facebook that don't match my beliefs.  I'm hurt because I have people in my life who I adore, yet don't reciprocate my level of personal investment, so I must "let them be."  I'm anxious about my daughter getting a good education and what it will mean if I don't do my part at a home well and she begins to slide.   And chocolate doesn't taste right anymore.

Yet, there are people who have far larger worries than I do.  And we all need to keep that in mind.  We need to maintain perspective.  It will foster gratitude.

Positive mindset, my peoples.  I'm struggling to maintain it, but I'm trying.

We have a popular saying at our house that makes us giggle.  We got it from my friend, Trish.

Trish and I were standing in the yard between our houses, talking about life and when there was a pause, she sighed, crossed her arms over her chest, eyebrows raised, and nodded knowingly, while saying, "Tough times, Vic.  Tough times."  

I don't know what it struck me as funny.  It was so worldly and knowledgable, but it also made me think, "These things ARE tough, but it could be so much worse."

Also, she has the BEST facial expressions EVER and makes me laugh constantly, so I'm sure that factored into it.  

So, as we approach the season of giving thanks, I say two things to you:

Yes, these are indeed tough times.  We must cut ourselves some slack and just try our best.

But we need to remember that times are tougher elsewhere.  Be compassionate.  Use your gratitude to bring awareness to what's going on around you.  And be gentle with those who are experiencing something different.  We all are on separate paths.

I can't just end this on such a serious note.  

I've been sending my daughter to school with a joke of the day.  It started out as just ONE joke for ONE day.  I thought it would be cute to put on her note in her lunch.  (What is a cat's favorite color?  Purrrrrple.)

The following school day, she asks, "Mommy, can you do another joke?"

Okay.  No problem.  I get on the internet and find another one.  (What do you call a big pile of kittens?  A MEOWntain.)

The following school day, she's getting dressed and she says, "Mommy, you better get down stairs and get working on your joke for today.  I share them with the whole class."

Excuse me?  Suddenly, I'm required to provide humor for her 4th grade class?  Like, this went from something cute, to a job.  Add that to my list of shit that will stress me out.

And then I think, 'One day she won't want jokes.  And maybe she feels good entertaining the kids.  And the teacher seems to be cool with it.  Bust out your funnies, girl.  These are tough times."

I will leave you with a few clean jokes I found along the way.  I find them to be more entertaining when you try to imagine them when reading them the second time.  Cuz you always have to read them twice. Enjoy.

  • Two fish are in a tank. One says to the other, “How do you drive this thing?”       (get it? The OTHER kinda tank)
  • Just got attacked by 6 dwarves. Not Happy.        
  • Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says, “Dam.”
  • Larry was an old piece of lasso who steps into a bar one day for a drink. The bartender looks at him suspiciously and says, “Hey, Pal, we don’t serve ropes here.”  Larry steps outside, ties himself into a clove hitch and unravels one of his ends into a feathery mess. He goes back inside and in a low voice says, “Beer, please.” Bartender says, “Hey. aren’t you that rope who was just in here?” Larry replies, “No, I’m a frayed knot.”
Oh, what the hell, why not?  Here are some memes I got from my favorite Facebook page Quaramemes







(FYI, my friend Lynn obviously cut this - you should see her with a birthday cake!)




Friday, August 7, 2020

The Workout Worked Out

Wow.  That was a long "24 hour"s.  🙄

Let me start where I left off.

I went to the workout.  I was soooooo nervous and totally freaked out and completely anxiety- ridden.  All I kept thinking about was how out of shape I was going to be compared to everyone else.  And, really, it did me no good.

Everyone starts somewhere.  Nobody is born looking like an Olympic athlete.  You never hear about babies bursting out of the womb and bench pressing the changing table.   "Drop and give me 50" said no pediatrician ever.

Except for maybe this baby's doctor

Anyway, my therapist, Steve, always says to "identify the fear" when I get like this.   And then determine "if it's a rational fear or not".

Just the word FEAR kind of straightened me out.  It's a freakin' workout class.....with friends.....taught by someone I trust more than most family members.  What is there to be AFRAID of?   

Nothing.  And as I pulled into the parking lot, I became blessedly fearless and totally psyched.  I was a tad nervous, but I think that's a rational reaction.

I was definitely a new kid on the block in the workout world, but it all felt very normal to not be able to lift a lot of weight, or do reverse lunges with my knee far from touching the floor.  I giggled with Lynn when we lost our balance using our resistance bands for curls.  And Rose and I shot each other desperate looks when Trish called out, "Okay....let's do it all again" after a grueling set of side planks and crunches.  

Again, everyone starts somewhere.  I looked at that class as being my baseline by which I would measure every workout to come.  Cuz I was gonna go back.  I knew it when I packed up my equipment.  I accomplished stuff and I felt completely awesome afterward!  

Don't we look happy post-workout?  I love them ever so.  Me and my girls......


Flash forward to yesterday and, while I still can't do some things well, I know that my knee was waaaaaay closer to the floor than it was two months ago while doing my reverse lunges.  And I have increased weight and amount of resistance to my workout.  My biceps jiggle a lot less when I shake my arms and I can do some killer squats.  

Here is the biggest shocker of them all.....

I'm having hand surgery in a few days and I'M GOING TO MISS GOING TO MY CLASS!  

I can't believe I just typed those words in reference to working out, and yet I mean them with every fiber of my being.  In June, if you told me that I would be longing for the exact thing that I was totally freaked out to even start, I would've told you that you were completely bonkers.   

But it's true.  Totally true story.

xoxo

Vicki


Friday, June 12, 2020

Linus Says CRACK!

Have you ever thought something was a great idea and been truly psyched about doing it, only to think about it as the time approached......and totally panicked?

OMG....what was I thinking?  I can't DO that?  I hear my couch calling.....I'm cancelling.

That was me this week.  That is me right now.  That will be me until 8:31am tomorrow.

But here's the thing.  I'm not cancelling.  

And you can bet your bippy that I reeeeeeeeally wanna cancel!

But I'm not.


'Cuz it's not what's good for me.

This, my friend, is all very new to me.  As a person who has suffered with a panic/anxiety disorder for 25 years, when I feel social anxiety, my ass cancels.  

I don't know WHY I get social anxiety.  I like a whole lot of people.  I love my group of friends.  I have whittled it down to a small select group of people who make me feel loved and safe.  I have a tribe.  Yup.  These are people who I would be more than happy to live out the rest of my life with on a large piece of property and I know that I will always feel, again, safe and loved by them.

Let me get to the point and explain my cancel/non-cancel situation.

As I mentioned in my last blog entry, I've been working with Trish for almost a year now to learn how to eat and exercise and take care of myself like a normal person.  I'm getting pretty good at this!  I have an enormous pile of super bad habits that are 30+ years old to undo, so I knew this was not going to be a permanent change that happens in 2 months.  

I told Trish recently, "A year ago, I had no idea how to eat things that weren't full of carbs.  Like, adding a salad was me being healthy.  And we maybe cooked 2xs a week.  And if you had told me a year ago that I would be doing 2 workouts a week, I would've been like "ummmmm....I doubt it!"  

But here I am, using weights 2xs a week and cooking every day and doing some sort of enjoyable cardio 3xs a week.  It's just shocking.

Anyway, earlier this week, she came to me and said, "I'm offering a workout on Saturday morning at the park to people I've trained or people who might be interested.  Come over! I'll text you the information."

And you know what I said?  I said, "Definitely!  That sounds great!  Count me in!  I'll invite Rose & Lynn and we will all come together."

I was psyched! This was a great idea.  And I wanted to go.  I had just worked out the night before and it had felt awesome when I finished, so why wouldn't I go???

Then I walked into my house.


Shit.

And then the text came in.  All of the details in a lovely text with excitement and happy emojis and completely reflective of how I felt when I was getting the invitation.  

I couldn't do this!  I couldn't go workout with a bunch of people I didn't know who were probably in great shape and knew how to do all of the exercises in the whole wide world with absolute perfection and look stunning while doing them!  Nay nay! I ain't goin'.

I swear, if the clouds had opened and a ray of light from God had shined down upon me at that moment, I wouldn't have been surprised.  Because it was the little miracle I needed to push through this moment.

Out of nowhere, I could hear my therapist, Steve, say to me, "So many people get social anxiety.  Anxiety is fear related.  You just need to ask yourself what you're afraid of and then determine if it's a rational fear.  It usually isn't."

What was I afraid of?  I could make a huge list, but the top fears were as follows:
  1. Looking like an out of shape klutz and being totally spastic while exercising.
  2. Not being able to keep up with everyone else.
  3. Being judged.
Suddenly the answer was upon me!  

I needed a security blanket.  Slap me on the arse and call me Linus!  THIS TIME I was going to conquer all of the  ridiculous anxiety crap like a badass Linus would've done!



Remember my tribe that I mentioned?  I needed to feel safe and loved and I was going to pluck two of my girls up out of the gang and call 'em to town.  I had already given myself the answer when I told Trish I was coming.  The girls already know I'm a big klutzy doofus.  And if I spaz out or cant keep up or feel judged, I just have to look over and they will be ready to laugh with me, armed with some sort of hilarious feedback that makes me feel like none of that even matters.  

Every time that anxious demon pops up in my head and I think, "Just cancel.  You can work out at home.  No one will even notice that you aren't there," I remember that I committed to this with my friends and they will be there to support me just like I will be there to support them.  Linus says CRACK!

Wish me luck.  It's tomorrow.  I'll let you know how it goes.  

Because I AM going to be there.

xoxo,
Vicki