"Ladies and gentlemen, listen up please,
I don't want to be your hero..."
~Darren Hayes - Hero
My willpower is quite strong. I have had a packet of Tim Tams in my fridge for over a month and there are still seven left in the packet. I don't eat chips much because they make my tummy sore. I am not phased if I drink alcohol or not, I can stop at one (but tonight I shall be stopping at one bottle). I don't drink coffee - I only drink herbal tea. And I've not had sex for one year and four days, and I'm ok with that - maybe due to situation rather than willpower - though I'd kill to be held by someone I love sometime soon. And tonight I deactivated my Facebook account. The point I am getting to in this entry is longwinded, but bear with me.
I'm not going to make some grand statement declaring that I've activated it for good. Because it probably will be reactivated sooner than it should be. And it seems pretty damn easy to reactivate - it just takes entering your email address and password. Hell I could have logged out for the same effect. My willpower is not that strong. I'll miss the contact. And Facebook is part of my media career strategy. (I still have my Facebook page though. Become a fan!) But I do think it has become a time waster and a heart breaker. And there's more. I've lived without Facebook until 2007, I can live without it (Clem Bastow has written a wonderful and sad blog entry about giving up social media, and I can relate.)
Facebook is looking into peoples' lives. You can't really choose what you are being fed - even if you hide newsfeeds. I see pictures I can't unsee. Statuses with hideous spelling. And worse, friends' viewpoints that are racist, sexist, and discriminatory. And I see the one I love with someone else. I can't deal with communication through Facebook likes alone. And that's not all.
I am pretty lax with my Facebook friends. If friends is the right term. I have over 1300 Facebook contacts. I would say I know 900 of them in some form - friend, family, colleague at work or uni, school friend (?) or blogger (even if we have not met) but I also have a lot of people that I don't know accessing my Facebook profile. I am not fussed with strangers seeing my life. I put a lot on my blog for the world to see. But as I mentioned last month, I have come to censor what I write on Facebook, and take my frustration over to Twitter, maybe it's because my Twitter contacts know me less.
Having somewhat a public profile with this blog, my media appearances and general magnetising personality (haha) means I get contacted by a lot of people. The majority of it is fantastic contact. it is flattering. I take the time to respond to those who contact me, add them as Facebook friends even. I get asked a lot of advice, particularly about ichthyosis. From people with ichthyosis, and families of those with the condition. It puts some pressure on me. Of course I don't mind providing advice, but advice based on my experiences is all I can provide.
I rarely provide medical advice to people. I'd hate for a mum to put some cream I recommended onto their baby's skin and it have an adverse reaction. I leave that to the other people. Can't risk it. There are also those who hope that contact with me that would change their lives. It is flattering, but also a bit of pressure.
It is not like I don't want to help people. It is just that I can't be everything to everyone. All the time. My day job as an events planner at times means I need to be everything to everyone. I love my job. But when being everything to everyone spills into my other life, it can be tiring.
And sometimes this somewhat public profile means I can't just vent anonymously. So I have to leave the subjects I am venting about anonymous. We all need to vent.
It's like some people forget that social etiquette still applies online. I discovered that when online dating. Last week I received two bits of unwanted contact. One via email - ranting about why I didn't show the same respect and support to them like I did to the one I love. This ranter is almost a stranger. Yep. And I was on the receiving end of a ranty, lengthy email.
The other was a message from person who had come into contact with me after I appeared in New Idea. They imagined that meeting me would change their life. We haven't met. Just a few Facebook messages exchanged. The message from them last week was one of the most confrontating, vile and sad emails I have received. That message should never have been put on me. What are the right words to say?
When I received those two messages, I shuddered. How contactable how am I? How accountable do I have to be? When does my role as being the life lesson for someone stop, and I just live my life? And how many stories of personal struggles and triumphs should I be putting out there if it means my experiences are what people relate to and therefore trust enough to approach and spill it all out?
I cannot deal. I can't be everything to everyone. I can't expect to pick up and support almost strangers. Supporting people I know and love, plus looking after myself often doesn't give me much buoyancy. Sometimes I feel like I am drowning.
And I think that deactivating Facebook - even for just a short while - will help me stay afloat, and become more productive again. It has been a big contributor to my sadness, to the overwhelming feelings lately. Catch you round on Twitter, on the phone, or in real life. Back on Facebook when I can float better.
PS: tonight I plan to be productive without Facebook. I need to sew a button on, select three wardrobe changes for filming tomorrow and make my birthday party invitations. Can I do it? Yes I can!
PPS: check out my new site - carlyfindlay.com