I decided in the last few days to de-activate my Facebook and go off of Instagram. I don’t plan on going back and if I do, it won’t be for a very long time.

I came to this decision for many reasons but the big ones are

  1. I’ve come to realize that it’s taking up a lot of time that I could be doing other, more productive things.
  2. It’s a snapshot of life that I’ve come to realize is fake. Your posts of how great your life looks make me question my life, as I am sure my posts do yours. But in reality, real life is far more complex than the curated life we post on Facebook/Instagram. I came to really realize this when I commented to my friend about how perfect two couples in our circle of acquaintances looked and she told me that one was on the verge of divorce and the other had a husband in rehab. I’ve also took a lot of comments recently about how great my life looks when in reality this has been one of the toughest years of my life. We’re not doing each other any favors in the perfection that we’re posting and I don’t want to be a part of it anymore.
  3. I’m addicted. When I made the decision to go off line, there was some real struggle in my mind. The devil on my shoulder asked “But Ciara, how are people going to know what’s going on with you?” …and then the angel said, “Ciara you little narcissist, the world will still rotate without your 2000 Facebook friends knowing your every thought and move” But really, I think a lot of us, truly are addicted. The second I felt maybe I couldn’t get myself off line was when I knew I needed to.
  4. What’s going on in the world right now is real and its scary, but I know I would be far better off, going out and doing something in my own little world that is positive, uniting and kind instead of reading a thread that’s hateful with people with differing political views going back and forth.
  5. I spend my free time robotically scrolling when I could be reading, or listening to music, or day dreaming. I can feel myself getting dumber through this one dimensional world.
  6. I want to focus more on my real life. My friends know what’s going on behind my carefully curated feed. They’ve talked to me on the phone when I’m in tears the same day I post a photo of me smiling, looking good, doing something fun. I have an accurate picture of what their real life is too that gives me a real sense of camaraderie that we are in the ups and downs of life together.
  7. In terms of staying connected, the people in my life that matter to me, have my phone number and they can call me or text me if they want to know what’s going on with me. Liking or commenting on photos isn’t deepening our friendship or showing that I care. Having real conversations about what is going on in each other’s lives and supporting my friends fills me far more up.
  8. By not being real and presenting a whole picture of the good and the bad, we are replacing compassion and care with judgement and envy.
marnie-ciara
This is me and my friend Marnie. We took this photo to send to our friend Leah in Thailand the day I went off line. The world has survived despite it not making to my Facebook or Instagram. We had dinner and shared real conversation about the ups and downs in our lives. It was delightful.

Our society is becoming increasingly inauthentic in a way that’s depressing.

But I’ve also come to realize that by being on Facebook and Instagram, I play in this game.

People say to me, “oh my God I love looking at your feed, you’re one of those people that just seem like they’re living such an amazing life, traveling, having fun.”

What they don’t realize, is that I’ve just come off of one of the toughest years of my life.

I didn’t post the mornings that I woke up having the beginning stages of panic attacks because of the anxiety that I was feeling. I didn’t make a status update, or take a post of my face when I found out that someone I had trusted completely with my finances for years had ripped me off for thousands if I’m lucky, or tens of thousands if I’m being realistic.

I didn’t post about how I sometimes think of the fact I’m in my late 30’s, everyone else my age seems to have life and their shit together and figured out, and I go through my checklist (partner, kids, great job, clear direction in life) and feel like a mess.

I didn’t post about being down to my last $20 and the kind of stress that that makes you feel.

You saw me in Thailand a lot this year, and maybe got jealous thinking man Ciara’s life is so great. But what you didn’t realize was that I was there because it was a very cheap place to live when my life was financially falling apart and where there were regular workouts that gave me a respite from the extreme stress that I was feeling.

You didn’t know that on my most recent trip when it looked like it was all fun because I posted it and made it seem that way, I was going through a break up. I woke up every morning feeling sad, heartbroken and missing the person I had spent months attached at the hip with, that at one point I thought I saw a long-term, real future with.

In this fake world, there are so few real moments that we share.

I think most of us have gone through periods of insecurity and doubt and its easy to project those feelings towards people that seem to have their shit figured out. Social media makes us feel that we have the information to have a clear picture to judge, even if consciously we know we don’t. And I say the people that “seem” to have their shit together, because anyone that acts like they have life figured out, are usually trying to sell you something whether it be a product, or their own brand of an image that’s caked in fake, or they are covering up their own doubts behind a wall of perfect. Or who knows, maybe they are God standing in front of you, but cnn.com hasn’t gotten wind of it yet.

With running my own business, I’ve come to realize that people just see the end product. They don’t see that a weekend clinic was the product of 6 months of work. I get comments and feel the judgement eluding to the fact of how easy I have it.

But I perpetuate that through what I choose to curate and post.

They don’t see the uncertainty behind the scenes with no safety net to fall back on. The immense amount of rejection coupled with the vulnerability of putting myself out there. They don’t see, the insane amount of hours you have to put in, without even knowing if there will be success at the end of it.

People don’t realize that to have the chance of a good end game, you have to go through the stress of being down to your last $20 because running your own business is far from the safe route and sometimes things go horribly wrong.

I love the imperfect and authentic out there, because its becoming so rare. But I do know that you find that in real life and not on social media. And it’s beautiful because it is real and there is no agenda behind it.

So my point is, real life is so much more complex, so much more intense, and I want to go back to living there. Where the only people I know what is going on with and what is going on with me, are the people that care enough to pick up a phone and spend real time wanting to find out.

So goodbye Facebook, goodbye Instagram, back to the real world I go. Twitter you’ve survived for now (@ciaramccormack), but only because I don’t go on you all that much but you’re out too if I feel that you’re starting to negatively affect my life.

If you have my number, give me a call and let’s keep in touch (and if you don’t and want it, feel free to just ask).

2 thoughts

  1. My names Martyn and I too am in my 30s and do not have my shit together 🙂
    More and more of my friends are only using Facebook periodically, most stick to using the groups or messaging apps alone and not the main FB app, it’s all too superficial as you have concluded.
    You’ve got the strength to pick yourself up and get to where you need to be, I look forwarded to reading about how you’ve done it in due course.
    Stay safe out there!

  2. Hey Martyn! I think another Vietnam adventure is in order, 2009 style! Hope you are doing well! Great to hear from you.

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