By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3
We need to talk. I think we need to take a break. It’s not you, it’s me. Okay, maybe it’s a little bit you.
It’s not that you’re a “bad” social media platform. You’re not. It’s just that when I spend time with you, I feel like a loser. And I just don’t think my self-esteem can take much more of this relationship.
Please don’t take this the wrong way. There’s a lot to like about you. Thanks to you, I get to see adorable pictures of nieces and nephews and watch them grow up even though we’re hundreds of miles away. And I love the way you make me laugh sometimes. That video of the hamsters spinning around in that wheel, and then that one with the dancing cockatoo? Oh my gosh, those were good times.
You always go the extra mile on my birthday with all those unexpected messages and posts from friends. Sometimes you really know how to make a girl feel special.
But I can’t ignore the fact that, most of the time, I feel anything but special when we’re together. In fact, I feel downright “less than.”
My food’s not photogenic enough. And I’m not feeling incredible ever since I started eating “clean.”
I haven’t walked enough steps or run enough miles.
I’m not accomplished enough.
Not clever enough.
Not reading enough. Or meditating enough. Or reading about meditation.
I don’t know how to refinish my own dresser.
I’m not going to cool places. (A gorgeous vacation in Italy? I’m sincerely happy for you but suddenly my trip to Branson feels pretty lame.)
I have no inspirational quotes typeset on sunsets.
I can’t figure out what you mean when you say things like “I just saw something that blew my mind!” And I don’t want to reward that kind of vague behavior by asking what you’re talking about. (Sometimes I just wish you’d shut up and show me a video with spinning hamsters instead.)
And I know how much you relish a good political debate, but you wear me out with all the arguing and condescension. Didn’t your digital mother ever tell you that if you can’t say something nice, you shouldn’t say anything at all?
And finally, Facebook, the stream of selfies proves you’re ignoring the unwritten rule that says nobody needs to see more than one selfie in a six-month period. That’s six months. Not six minutes.
I know women usually beg for more communication in a relationship, and you’ve never held back when it comes to sharing feelings. You’ve got so many words. All the time. Every day. Every minute. Even when I think I’ve scrolled down and processed them all – ta-da! Magically, even more words appear. I want to put my hands over my ears and run away from all that digital noise.
Can’t you see you’re suffocating me with this daily deluge of details? I’ve either got to become a world traveling, clean-eating, marathon-running, corporate ladder-climbing phenomenon with really good hair and a great camera, or I’ve got to climb out of this always-beckoning comparison trap. I’m going with the latter, mostly because I can’t give up waffle fries.
But hey, we can still be friends, okay? I’ll check in occasionally and see what’s up. But for now I need some space to feel good about myself in the real world, not the digital one. Let’s just call it a break, not a break-up. You’re still a great social media platform. It’s just that sometimes I fall out of “like.”
Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of nwaMotherlode.com. To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here. To check out Gwen’s book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.