Tag Archives: happiness

Facebook Depresses Me

I took a 5 month hiatus from Facebook a while back. For various reasons, one being I just didn’t need or want my personal life spilled out there for everyone to see, I needed to get “off the grid” FB style.

Coerced by coworkers to get in the loop of our funny office photos I recently got back on.

Immediately two comments popped up. Glad you’re back! They read. Wow I hadn’t realized I’d been missed.

I have been slow to get back into the trappings of Facebook. And I don’t think I’ll ever have the love affair (or perhaps it was just obsession) I once had. And thank goodness. Because there were so many times after I spent 45 minutes trolling my news feed I would walk away with this heavy and negative feeling in my soul. These things did not add happiness to my life:

Photos of me two years ago. Young and fit. Damn I’ve aged.

Ridiculously happy families/couples.

People I never see anymore.

Family I lost touch with.

Babies I didn’t know people had.

Birthdays I missed.

Extravagant meals which make my shitty excuse for dinner depressing and demoralizing.

Movies/TV shows/news/celebrities I know nothing about because I live in my own self-imposed hibernation.

Political rants from friends I thought were more open and accepting.

And for those reasons I do not spend endless wasted minutes watching to see what everyone else is doing or saying while I should be on WordPress tapping into my creative soul! Or outside listening to the birds sing and watching the tree limbs sway. Or engaging with the person in front of me instead of my face stuck in my phone.

But I am not a total begrudged hater. Facebook does have its positives. Maybe I shouldn’t be blaming Facebook. I mean what did Facebook do but merely exist? Just trying to connect people and ideas and photos and lives? These are the reasons I still have an account:

I get to see photos of my nephews living their lives. Without this I would not have such a sweet visual insight into their daily/weekly lives.

All my awesome high school and college friends and the success of their creative endeavors.

The first neighbor I can ever remember and how she still has those curly locks and now a family and house of her own.

That friends and family alike are still out there, breathing, baring their souls or just sharing a recipe.

I can spend as little or as much time on Facebook as I wish. No one is force cramming it down my throat. It is my choice. So I choose to troll occasionally. And not deem it necessary to post every thought I have or every place I go. And to brag about my kid or not. And to try to take away the things that make me smile. And the things that leave a heavy space will just have to be let go and float away with all the other negativity that does not have a place here.

facebook depression

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The Charm in the Unsightly

There’s this back of a building I pass on my morning bike ride that makes me smile. Even though the dull white paint is chipped and molded and weeds flank the edges there is something poetic about it. But I’ll have to give its spray paint graffiti the credit. Right next to a red, boyishly printed “I love Julie” there’s “Life is Beautiful” in sweeping purple letters. On one of my rides I thought to stop and take a photo in case I need this affirmation when I’m not pumping the pedals on my favorite trail.

I’ve thought of this space very often. Who is the artist who thought to display this work? What was their motivation? I give them a nod and thank you to the atmosphere when I pass by.

Today the graffiti was gone.

The building was coated in a sandy beige that gleamed in the morning sun. Even the weeds were trimmed. I’m sure the owner of the building meant well while refreshing its facade. But I wasn’t too happy about it.

Blank Space

Don’t get me wrong. I love a manicured landscape, fresh paint, neatness, organization. But some things have more character when they aren’t, well, perfect.

Take people for instance. I’ve often said if you put all my ex-boyfriends in a row you might think you’re at the circus. And that’s not because I dated a bearded lady. I guess I’ve found attractiveness in all kinds. I never thought Tom Cruise was particularly hot. He’s just too damn normal. Give me a guy with a crooked (but clean) tooth, an unruly brow, or a laugh that makes the walls vibrate.

In college I had this dull and depressing drive from home to classes. Especially in the rainy winter. I saw no beauty in anything around me. My eyes only saw the dark, the dead, the sad. There have been other times in my life when this negative thinking took precedence over the glass-is-half-full mentality. Depression and anxiety were at their height. I think it all goes hand in hand. And even if I saw the most gorgeous of artwork on a wall in an alley I would not have recognized its charm.

My New Year’s resolution for 2014 was to continue to see the world in wonder instead of fear. So far, so good. Some of us have to train our brains to think this way. I’ve been in this training for many many months now. I sometimes get engulfed in the unsightliness of my surroundings when the dopamine is barely dripping. And I don’t live in an ugly place. But there is fear and unattractiveness all around if that is what you see. There may have even been times I thought a scarred Keanu Reeves wasn’t so hot. Okay, yeah, not really.

A field of weeds brings forth a bright yellow dandelion. A strip mall includes a shop of happy Vietnamese ladies eager to refresh tired tootsies. A junk yard is a photo-op. A scribble of tasteful graffiti is a mantra burned into a retrained brain.

And Julie, I’m sure you’re still loved. Just as life is still beautiful.

Beautiful Graffiti

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