Every couple of days or so, or maybe a few times a month, I open Facebook and start sweeping up. It’s tedious, partly because it’s engineered to be an ouroboros and you’re the end of the tail, and partly because it is so hard for me to remember why I was connected to these people, or these pages, or these things.
When did I like this page? Are these the people I friended because we were all in the same class? Did I friend-request this person because I wanted the ego boost of being Facebook friends with someone I’ll never actually meet?
Why did I do this? Why did I make this weird knotted mess that I’m not sure how to untangle?
I am an onion. I may accidentally make you cry. You may never get past two or three outer layers. Or maybe you’re not allergic to onions, which is great, because I am allergic to onions and this is not a good metaphor any more.
I talk intimately with a relatively small group of people; I talk into the federated void on my Mastodon account; I write to my people on my two (three) Substacks and this fills my cup very well. One of the things I’m continually reminding myself is that — I might feel bad about clicking an ‘unfriend’ or ‘unlike’ button, but none of those people, even if I can think of their avatars fondly, have spoken to me in years, if at all.
Which is okay! I think we all have either dozens or hundreds of people on our Facebook friends list, or Instagram followers, but genuine connection is rare. I’m glad I am not trying to be an influencer. I don’t want to make sponsored content. I don’t want to sell anything. I just want that little bit of connection here and there.
So if you happen upon this site (I will be marvelously surprised), and you miss me and don’t know why I’ve unfriended you, it’s a chance to reconnect, if we both want to. I mean, maybe I unfriended you because I don’t actually want to talk to you, but more than likely it’s because Facebook isn’t made for community the way that I want to be in community.
Hello, and goodbye, and see you around, to all my ghosts of friends. I hope your life is able to be full to the brim with sweetness in the ways that you crave sweetness and safety.