I do not believe Facebook is the future anymore. And if it is, it will be more screwed up than it already is and therefore I really do not want any part of it. Many of my friends and family members are frustrated with my decision to not utilize Facebook while I am in Australia. The truth is, I haven’t had an active Facebook account for months now and I have several reasons for continuing to not have one. I originally deactivated my account because I was burnt out, felt it was pointless, hated the nagging obligation at the back of my mind to post and read the daily happenings of people I barely knew (or, to be completely honest, cared about) anymore. I hated the mindless scrolling that would eat up the time I should have spent living in the moment. The moments that I could have posted about later.
I have heard repeatedly that I need to keep in touch via Facebook when I’m gone. But why? I never posted anything on there anyway, and had long since stopped posting new photos thanks to Facebook’s questionable copyright and user policies. In some instances, the people who have suggested I keep in touch have failed to notice my absence thus, which I find highly amusing in and of itself.
I have in fact spent the past couple of hours on Facebook and I started with the intention of deleting my old photos before I requested to permanently delete my account. I was immediately sucked into reading my news feed and after about 20-30 minutes of scrolling, I gained only four bits of information that could realistically be used to start a conversation in real life. The birth of two babies, a friend who has an in-law moving in with them, and another family is moving.
Out of hundreds of posts and memes and photos of children who will never know a life without social media, two babies were born and two people are moving.
When I read that the one family was moving, I was hit with that familiar punch in the gut. Ever since I graduated high school I have only ever experienced dear loved ones leaving. To school, for a job, on church missions, dying. I have never been on the leaving side until now. To feel both positions starkly contrasted side by side was a little unnerving. Since my decision to move, I hadn’t been able to recall that feeling of being left. That emptiness that only shows its head when the familiar changes and that loss makes itself known. Until this evening when I felt it again. But ultimately, I know this move to Australia is the right thing for me and that deep, resounding knowledge is what has kept me moving forward this whole time.
My next stop was to delete every post and photograph from my photography business account. As I was eliminating old posts, it brought back some heavy feelings of defeat that I had experienced while trying so hard to engage an audience that I doubt even existed. I was reminded of that struggle all over again as the numbers stared me in the face. It was a crushing time for me, and I believe that it stifled my creativity by being more concerned with what would get more “likes” instead of focusing inward and deciding if I even liked my work. It’s truly overwhelming to try gaining acceptance and encouragement from low, impersonal numbers. Square peg, round hole.
It has been empowering, and incredibly appropriate in my opinion, to sift through my old photos and posts and recall the life I had, some of the people who were in it that do not have a place anymore, and to hit the delete button. To shed off these layers of the person I was once but no longer am. A metaphor for starting fresh. I would much rather build my relationships and any business I may have some day the old-fashioned way with face to face contact, sincere letters and emails, and very occasional photos of life’s happenings… probably printed on real paper so that they make us take a moment and pause and the wonder of once again holding something tangible and precious.
The following video was one that I had completely forgotten about until I was deleting the very first posts from my photography business site. It was posted, appropriately, with much passion and optimism. I want to get back to that person.
Days until I leave: 12