I’ve deleted my Facebook app from my phone, and have challenged myself to go a month without checking it on my computer. Every time I’m tempted to open the site, I remember some of the gut-churning crap I’ve seen on there recently and the temptation evaporates. Twitter was looking to see a reprieve (and how bad is FB that Twitter looks good?!) until I noticed that some conspiracy-theorist MAGAhead recently followed me. Not sure what I did to catch her eye (I am almost never on Twitter these days), but it’s even more inspiration to stay away. So if you’re looking for me on social, Instagram’s the way to go. My Instagram feed is full of food and nature and babies. After spending the weekend in tears, I think I need to shut down for a while and focus on nature and babies. (Not so excited about the food. I’ve lost my appetite.)
Sensing that I’d had a hard week, Anya got up early on Saturday and started cleaning while I worked on a freelance project. Not to appease me, but because she wanted to lighten my load. (We still need to work on what will actually lighten my load — dusting the ceiling fans and scrubbing the inside of the stove isn’t exactly it. But bless her little heart for trying.) “You rest,” she told me after I sent off the draft layout. “You do so much. You need a break.” So I spent an hour or so trying to make the most of my Kohl’s cash without having to pay shipping. Like ya do.
Later on, I heard her admonish her brother for the racist treatment of certain characters in the cartoon he was watching. “All the black people are bad guys!” she told him. “Don’t support that. That’s garbage!” I’ve been teaching her about systemic and societal racism, and I knew it registered because she put a Black Lives Matter sign on my tea cup the other day to make me smile. But hearing her say this made me realize she’s internalized the lessons.
She gives me hope for the future, at a time when I most need it.
I eventually joined her in scrubbing the stove. I’m a stress cleaner: I may or may not feel better afterwards, but it’s always nicer to feel bad in a clean house. Anya asked me who my favorite musical artist was; I told her I couldn’t pick just one, but I’ve always been partial to Goo Goo Dolls. So she fired up her Spotify, put on Goo Goo Dolls, and pulled me into a discussion about our favorite GGD songs.
Side note: While I fell away from music — from the world in general — after she was born, the Goo Goo Dolls was for most of my adult life one of my top 3 bands. I’ve seen them in concert several times, and know all of the words to all of their albums from Hold Me Up to Gutterflower. (The title of this post is a reference to one of their songs, one that many people likely have never heard of.)
I don’t think anyone, not even my Rob Gordon-esque music nerd wasband, has ever asked me about my favorite GGD songs. It’s always just been understood that my musical taste is trash and a topic best not talked about. And while I know Anya doesn’t really like my music, the fact that she likes some of it and has given it enough thought to be able to discuss those songs with me validated me in a way I hadn’t realized I needed.
So we talked about their songs for a bit, and it was so nice. I mean, I was still queasy and sniffling and struggling under a feeling of impending doom, but for a moment I felt like a person again.
And that’s when I decided I need a social media fast. Because this is what I go to social media for. Even before the pandemic, I didn’t have friends that I interact with face to face on anything resembling a regular basis. Once or twice a year, I have lunch with a former coworker. The only thing we have in common these days is that I used to work for the company she still works for. And that’s it, really. R and I basically lost all our local friends when we had kids, and life’s been so hectic that we’ve not had a chance to make new ones. So I go to Facebook looking for human connection, and Facebook slathers me in snark and contempt and politics and paranoia and ultimatums and manipulations. I told myself I had to put up with it so I could still keep in touch with people. Then my kid shows me in an afternoon what I’ve been missing, and I deleted the app.
I still don’t really feel any better. Even though I’m not looking at it, I know all that garbage is still out there. But tomorrow’s another day, I suppose. Maybe it’ll even be a better one.