I’ve been off the radar for a while, with the exception of Twitter and my blog.
I deleted my Facebook account some time last month. I didn’t think too much about it, didn’t ask for advice, didn’t harp on about it to people. I just sat at my desk one morning, and click-I deleted my Facebook account,sort of on impulse.
Twitter is where I get my daily news,and it will take a while to wean myself off daily updates from CNN, Al Jazeera, Africa Updates,etc, so it won’t be deleted any time soon.
I don’t think I have to explain why I deleted Facebook (it’s not really deep), but I have to bring to light one or two experiences that might have contributed to that random act on a rainy Wednesday morning.
So, I lost my father in May. To be precise, my father had a heart attack at 2am in the morning and died 30 minutes later. This was five days after I had returned home to Freetown.
I didn’t tell many people, but friends found out.They either sent messages on Whatsapp,Facebook,or email. I appreciated all of them, I cherished their thoughts and prayers. I wasn’t regularly on Facebook then, but some messages went along accusatory lines of “Oh I didn’t see news about that on Facebook”.
I let those pass. I was living on Planet WTF My Father Just Died,and didn’t have the energy to explain why I hadn’t made an emotionally charged shakespearean status update about it.
Not too long after that, I had to send out withdrawal emails to three graduate schools I had gotten into. Reason: I didn’t have any money to pay the exorbitant tuition fees and I hadn’t qualified for any generous scholarships. This was barely two months after I had humble bragged on Facebook (where else??) that I had gained admission into these schools and that my life,future, and my intellectual capacity were in perfect order (I had actually cried to myself to sleep the evening of the Facebook announcement,please don’t ask).
Congratulations! had poured in left and right with the understanding that I also had the financial means to just make a selection and voila-to school I go,while every night before bed, I bit my nails and wished Aliko Dangote would magically make a confession the next day that I was his long lost love child and I would make him write that tuition check to the school of my choice, to make up for all those years of neglect .
And with each question from people I knew or complete strangers who had seen/heard the news “So when are you going to Grad school? Are you excited for New York/London?”, a bile of panic rose from my chest and a cloud of shame floated around my head. I wondered whether I needed to go back to Facebook and make the announcement that I wasn’t going to make it this year.
Over the past few months since my father’s death , I have had the chance to assess my reaction to those situations,and also examine how I feel whenever I share things on Facebook. One might say that death is tragic,and success should be celebrated …hence why I could not share my father’s death (or all the other really bad news that has happened this year for that matter) on Facebook ,and why I felt the need or the pressure to announce and let my heart race as I anticipated likes, shares and congratulatory comments about my admission to grad school.
I don’t think that is the answer in my case.
Unfortunately, I tend to care A LOT about how I am perceived by others, how I am accepted,how I fit into other people’s (whether real or constructed) ideas and expectations of who I am .
So on platforms like Facebook and Instagram-I strive to construct the perfect persona.Whatever is bad, unsuccessful,or shameful,or depressing about my life,I choose to leave out-as many of us do. And what good does it do…if I am trying to construct a perfect life on social media, and having to deal with grief and depression offline? What good is it if I’m not authentic? Who am I trying to impress? Others who are also constructing a perfect- life story ? I stopped liking who I was on Facebook,this carefully crafted persona,cringed at some of my past status updates (I was really obnoxious sometimes) ,and gradually fell out of love with Facebook altogether.
Social media has it’s good sides; you connect with friends,share witty posts and ideas etc. For me, life’s shit just got real and I had to be selective about which online spaces served me best. Facebook definitely stopped being such a space. Instagram…we’re working on it…actually we’re not,NO( I still can’t get a perfect selfie, or an on-point food shot, so that’s an unnecessary and exhausting source of pain). Twitter is bae (for now) and this blog is my baby. I also need to be gentle with myself, and if a certain space isn’t working for me, I have to let it go.
Oh and remember when I said the reason for going off Facebook isn’t that deep? The above 700 words explanation might suggest otherwise.