That time I nearly quit Facebook


Quitting Facebook seems to be the thing to do to make a statement these days.  Tired of the drama?  Pull yourself out of it by deleting your Facebook account.  The truth is, I know very few people who don’t have a Facebook account, and I can’t say I ever handle it gracefully when I find out.

The conversation usually goes pretty much exactly like this:

Me:  I’ll be in touch.  I’ll add you on Facebook and then just send you a message.
My Conversation Partner (CP):  I don’t have Facebook
Me:  *stunned silence* You don’t… have Facebook??  Why not??
CP:  It’s a big waste of time and I just don’t like dealing with all the drama.

(or something fairly similar to that)

I think that the reason it always shocks me so much is that I absolutely love Facebook.  To be honest, I spend an inordinately large amount of time on Facebook, and while the drama has gotten to me from time to time, I find I can usually solve the problem by unfollowing something or taking a break.  I have never wanted to quit before.

Until about two weeks ago.

I couldn’t bring myself to actually cut the cord, because the reasons I love Facebook are that I can keep up with family and friends that I don’t see regularly, and the idea that I wouldn’t be able to see what those peeps were up to broke me a little bit.  But those same reasons that I love it are also the reasons I was hating it.

I’m mostly an extrovert.  For the past 6 years, my entire summer has been spent at Camp, surrounded by people, and at most times with not enough alone time.  I’ve got a few introverted tendencies that pop out when I’ve just spent too much time surrounded by people, but I just need a couple hours to myself (usually with a book), and then I’m good to go again!  I would hands down consider myself an extrovert.  This summer though, I came home early.  I wasn’t working very hard and I missed my friends, so a week and a half before the end of the ministry season, I packed my car up and made the trek back South.  The first two days of unpacking, cleaning, and organizing while getting ready for another school year to start were amazing.  They were what my tired body and soul needed, even though it was exhausting.  I’ve never gone into a school year all unpacked with a clean house before…. likely because I tend to get home from Camp at 11:30 pm on Labour Day, and have to get up 7.5 hours later and go back to work.  I was loving every moment of my solitude, and I wasn’t spending a lot of time on Facebook OR Netflix (which was precisely what I told everyone I was going home to do).

Then I got lonely.  So, so lonely.  I had nothing really to do once I was unpacked and my basement was clean and organized, so I collapsed onto my couch with a bag of chips and logged into Netflix.  While binge watching Being Erica, I scrolled mindlessly through Facebook to catch up on things I’d missed from having limited and unreliable Internet access for 8 weeks.

But it made me sad!  Facebook isn’t supposed to make me sad, but I found that while I sat by myself, after more than enough alone time for an extrovert, I started looking at the cool things my friends were doing, and instead of being happy for them and enjoying the adventures of the people I care about, I got jealous.  And sad.  And lonely.

After a day or two of mindless scrolling, getting sadder and sadder and more and more lonely, I came to the fed-up conclusion that I needed to take a break from Facebook.  I needed to quit.  I needed to walk away from it, and even though I’d be sad not to see updates, it would better for my mental health.

Except I made it only a few hours before I wanted to share a picture.  And then I made it only another half an hour before someone commented on the picture and I wanted to see what they said… and so on.

What I discovered was that I didn’t need a break from Facebook.  Sure, I probably needed to not spend hours at a time just scrolling through my feed while I binge-watched Netflix…. I did go play my violin, play with my dog, write for a bit, organize more things, and get my back to school shopping done… because that much screen time isn’t helpful or healthy no matter what the circumstances… but I didn’t quit Facebook.  I discovered that it was my attitude toward the information I was receiving that I needed to change.

While I was scrolling, I came across this post from Blog Her written by a woman apologizing to a friend for unfollowing her on Facebook because she was jealous of the great life she appeared to have.  When I read it, I remembered some of the statistics I’ve read while looking into the effects of Social Media on my students.  Apparently I’m vulnerable to the effects myself….

If we compare ourselves to others, regardless of the circumstances, we will never be satisfied with what we have.  And how can we be happy and content when we’re constantly jealous of what others have?  But what I have to remember is that while I’m sitting on my couch and I’m sad because I’m bored and lonely, I’m comparing myself to the version of reality everyone else is posting.  Their best faces go forward on Facebook, just like mine does, and that’s what I think is one of the biggest dangers to the comparison game.

I stumbled across this yesterday, which is also apt here.


Image Source

The reality is that somewhere, someone may be scrolling through their feed and wishing their life was as cool as mine, but that doesn’t mean it’s ok for me to compare my life to anyone else’s.

My life is great.  I have fantastic friends, and an exciting new job adventure starting on Tuesday, and so I don’t need to read what my friends, family, and acquaintances are up to and be sad.  I instead can praise God for the great things they have going for them, and I can be thrilled for their successes.

It’s when I stop being able to do that that it may genuinely be time to get off Facebook… because otherwise what’s the point?

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One Word for 2014. Some goals, and my favourite posts from 2013.


I had actually already thought about my New Year’s Resolutions for 2014 when I read She Loves Magazine’s One Word idea for the year.  I’ve decided to combine this with Mama Kat’s writing prompts, and add in my top 12 blog posts from 2013 and to talk about some Resolutions, or anti-resolutions if you will.

Here’s what I love about this one-word idea, to get myself back on track.

You pick one word for 2014.  Not a bunch of New Years’ Resolutions.  Not a bunch of lofty probably unattainable goals that you’ll be discouraged over later.  No.  One word.  I had already thought about it.  I had already given 2014 enough thought to decide that the only thing I’ll be ‘resolving’ is this:  value.  I will value myself.  I will value those around me.  I will refuse to devalue myself on account of things of this world.  I will wrap my value up in things of Christ, knowing that that’s where my true value is to be found.  I described this idea to my parents as “I will be less hard on myself,” but when I saw the One Word idea put out by She Loves, I wracked my brain for one word.

So the things I’m not resolving to this year, because I’ve resolved to them every year and failed:

I’m not going to put a number on weight loss.  Instead, I’ll value myself enough to make healthy choices, and if that results in weight loss — awesome.

I’m not going to put a kilometre goal on running.  I haven’t been able to run in such a long time because of a stupid ankle injury from LAST CHRISTMAS that I may stick with boxing and take up swimming instead anyway :p  I will value myself enough to know that I don’t need to obsess, and that if I don’t get in a certain number of kilometres or minutes or whatever… accomplished in a week, that doesn’t mean I’m a failure or that I should be so hard on myself.

I’m not going to put a ‘I hope to be in a committed relationship before I’m 30’ marker on this year, because that doesn’t value my singleness or myself AS a single individual.  I will instead recognize that I have value whether single or coupled.  Besides, I’m currently rocking the preferable term, ‘independently owned and operated.’

I have a few things I’d like to accomplish this year, certainly, but these things have less to do with beginning a new year, and more to do with being a person who likes to set goals for herself.  Most notably, I’d like to rock the violin this year.  I’m starting a 52 week money saving challenge with the end goal being a stellar (probably refurbished) violin which was not made in China and which will not break as easily (mine’s currently with a repair guy and I have a borrowed one.  Handing it over to a stranger was like turning over my baby.  It was sad).  I actually may have a resolution for 2015… I’d really like to enter the Canadian Open Fiddling Competition held every year in Shelburne.  I went with my Grandparents for the first time this past August… and I was enraptured.  I don’t think I’ll be ready for this August.  Maybe next year though 😉

Ann Voskamp summarizes really well my thoughts on heading into 2014.  I want to fall forward, not stumble backwards.  Check this out.  Wonderful words, here.

And as I get ready to usher in 2014 with One Word, I’m going to bid 2013 farewell with a few of my favourite blogs from this year (both my posts and those that I follow).  I’ll do 12 of each.  One for each month, I suppose.  Check out Sarah Bessey’s post along the same idea.

First:  Blogs I followed.

Tim and Olive, Olive To Run, A Holy Experience (Ann Voskamp), Jen Hatmaker, Sarah Bessey, Megan Gahan, Sometimes Screaming Helps (Sarah Richardson), Holley Gerth, She Loves Magazine, The Young Woman’s Bucket List, Mama’s Losin It, Darcie the Kindred Spirit, The Road To Rome, Avoiding Neverland (I know… that’s 14.)

Second:  My top 12 posts from 2013.

1.  My ‘2nd Blogiversary Post — I Will Not Humour the Cray Crays.‘  I wrote this just kind of summarizing my most recent dating experiences, and didn’t expect it to get kind of out of hand.  Blog Her picked it up and featured it and it got like 1300 views or something insane like that.  For a fairly newbie blogger, it just blew my mind.

2.  I Am Not Bible Barbie.  This was another one that kind of blew up on me.  I had decided that I’d had enough of being held to this impossible standard by potential suitors, and some friends and I were talking about it at church, and this happened.  And then 450 views happened.  It was my first big post, and the first one that blew up without help from anything else.

3.  The More Boys I Meet, The More I Love My Dog.  I’d been on an AWFUL date.  Seriously, read the story.  I decided that I’d better channel it into good writing that would get new readers, lest I sit around and mope.  It was good therapy 🙂

4.  I Don’t Want to Marry Bible Ken.  The day after I wrote I Am Not Bible Barbie, it occurred to me that I had picked on guys for holding us women to this impossible standard, when we do the same thing to them, and that I don’t want to keep looking for the ‘perfect’ guy.  Read on to find out why 🙂

5.  Singleness is not a disease, nor a curse, nor an affliction… nor is it a problem of mine for others to solve.  I wrote this post about a year ago.  Someone obviously had a ‘solution’ to my singleness problem.  I haven’t re-read these posts, so I don’t remember what prompted it, but it sounds angsty.

6, 7, 8, and 9 were parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 in a series of stories I wrote about a girl named Anna (fictional) who was sold into the sex trade.  I wrote it for The Exodus Road, an organization which works to spread awareness about sex trafficking and the work that’s being done to combat it.  Read Part 1 here.  Part 2 is herePart 3 is hereAnd Part 4 is here. Please read them.  They were hard to write because the details were supplied by Exodus Road, and I knew they were technically fictional, but it was gut-wrenching to think that even though I was making this up, it could very easily have happened in real life.

10.  How I Feel About Endings — A Tribute to My Buddy, Jack.  Hardest post to write this year probably.  I wrote it in the days before we had to have one of my Mom’s dogs, Jack, put down… he was very sick, we had no choice, really.  But it was really hard.  So hard.

11. A Picture’s Worth A Whole Lot… Apparently.  I updated my profile pictures on the dating sites I was registered on because a friend of mine showed me how to use makeup…. and like magic, I had a whole bunch of interest generated.  It caused me to reflect on the value we place on looks.

And tied for number 12 (yes, I know that means I have 13… but I have 4 tied into one story that took 4 months to finish, so I think it’s fair.  Also — it’s my blog.  #idowhatiwant)  “My ‘come-to-Jesus’ moment about Rob Ford’ and ‘A Duck Call for Love.’  Both of these posts were written in response to public figures blowing it in view of the entire Western World, and how I feel like there has to be a better way to do things than we’ve been doing it.  As Christians, we’re called to love, and that’s what both of these posts are aimed at.

favourite TV

Bones, NCIS, NCIS Los Angeles, Nashville, Chicago Fire, Rick Mercer Report, Elementary, Castle, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, and… apparently there are only 11 of these.  That’s ok.

Books:  Confession ~ I didn’t read anywhere close to 12 books this year.  I’d like to read more in this next year.  I guess that comes with valuing my intelligence and not squandering so much time on Facebook?  We’ll see how that goes.

Pirates of Savannah, The Sacred Search, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, Made To Crave, Every Body Matters, The Sweet By and By, Love Lifted Me, Softly And Tenderly, Flabbergasted.  I can’t think of any more that I read this past year.  There might be more, though that number in itself kind of shocked me.  I have a giant stack beside my bed to get through still, so… we’ll see how that goes :p  Next on the list, which I’m really excited about (just have to finish The Sacred Search first), is Real Men Don’t Text, by Ruthie Dean.  Can’t wait.

Movies: I should preface this — I’m not super picky when it comes to movies.  I’m pretty easy to please.  The only one I really didn’t like was The Heat.

The Hobbit, Frozen, The Butler, Captain Phillips, 12 Years A Slave, The Family, Oz the Great and Powerful, Gangster Squad, Safe Haven, Olympus Has Fallen, 42, Runner Runner.  Those are just ones I saw in theatres.  Like I said, I’m pretty indiscriminate.

Music:  I could never pick just 12 songs.  I guess I can pick 12 artists, though.  Note:  I fell in love with Eastern Canadian Folk Music this year.  So…. get ready for this.  That’s right… The Rankins are in there.  Classic, 1990s Rankin Family.  On repeat in the car for the last 5 days.  Straight.  Legit.

Charlie Worsham, Natalie MacMaster, Leahy, The Rankins, The Band Perry, Luke Bryan, Third Day, Dixie Chicks, Sugarland, Duelling Fiddlers, The Piano Guys, Lady Antebellum, Lindsey Stirling.  I know, I know, that’s 13.  It’s the best I could do.

And that’s it, guys!  That’s it for 2013!  Stay tuned for January.  Another NaBloPoMo kicks off January 1.  Am I insane for taking the challenge during a Report Card month?  Probably, but it could lead to some really entertaining (albeit brief) posts 😉

On Giving Advice


I was reading through Blogs tonight – something I haven’t had a ton of time to do in the last few days, so I had 22 new post notification emails to sift through when I got home tonight. One of them referenced Word Press’s Weekly Writing Challenge, which I’d stumbled upon in August, bookmarked, and promptly forgotten. This week’s is on advice. Mrs. Roberson over at Finding Neverland, in keeping with this week’s theme, wrote some advice on How to Make a Good First Impression on a Room Full of Teenagers.

I’ve decided to summarize both the best and worst pieces of advice I’ve ever received.

I’ve struggled with being single off and on for a while now. Sometimes I’m completely content being single (where I’m sitting right now, mere days after a wretched date – see the story about George* here – this is especially true). You see, I’ve had expectations of where I’d be by now many times, and every time I was disappointed because reality didn’t match my expectations, I’d go through a bit of a discouraged stint and wallow – until I reset the goal time for “getting married” back a little bit, and convinced myself I was regrouping and refocusing. I’ve realized now that the ‘when’ is irrelevant.

The best advice I’ve received to this in my life has come from people whose opinions and advice I truly value. They also happen to be people either in crappy marriages or those who escaped them. I mean, it sounds cliché… “it’s better to be single and happy than stuck in a bad relationship and miserable.” It sounds like the easiest answer to give anyone who suggests they’re lonely because they can’t find a ‘special friend,’ as my Grandmother loves to call them. But it’s the best piece of advice anyone could ever have given me. The first time I heard it, I’m pretty sure I shrugged it off, and thought “that’s rich, coming from someone who married their high school sweetheart…” You know what, though? Those people who got married young or who didn’t find dating all that difficult… they’re still married…. and being married is hard. Maybe they had regrets when they gave me this advice, or maybe they were just wise enough to see that being married would be so much more difficult if it wasn’t to the right person. Either way, why argue that?

It comes up during “would you rather?” games late at girls’ nights. It comes up when I’m trying to honestly reassure people that I’m fine not being in a relationship at nearly 29 years old. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to be in one, trust me, I do… but I don’t want to be in one just to be in one. I’ve seen FAR TOO MANY crappy ones to be alright with settling. From where I stand, I’ve been single for 29 years… and for 10 of those I’ve been keenly aware of it. I can see the temptation to give up and settle just because of the fear that no one else may come along… but I can also (and more so) get behind the idea that given how settled into the path I’m on, and how great my life is and my friends are, why would I give all of this up for less than great?

This brings me to the worst piece of advice I’ve ever received.

It was the middle of summer. I’d been talking to a guy I found on eharmony for about four months. We hadn’t met in person yet, with him being on the East Coast and having a job that made travelling rather difficult. It had been a while since I’d heard from him, and this is something I’m a touch insecure about. It seems to happen to me a lot – I talk to someone for a while, then for whatever reason (I never get to find out), they decide they’re not interested in me anymore, but they don’t tell me – they just stop talking. Maybe they think they’re going easy on me, by not coming right out and saying it… but if you’re reading this and would ever consider doing that – please know I’ve never met anyone who found it better to wonder for a week or two while waiting to hear from the guy. At any rate, I was upset, because we’d been talking for months and then he just stopped talking … it was at two weeks and counting.

A long-time friend, whose advice I’d valued until this point, gave me advice that left me in a puddle of confused, angry, insecure, tears. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I sobbed myself to sleep after this conversation, and it took hours to get there..

He expressed to me that perhaps the reason I was still single and was having limited success with my attempts at not still being single was a direct result of my attitude that makes me unwilling to settle. Perhaps if I stopped saying “if he can’t accept that part of me, he can shove off” to parts of my personality, and molded myself into a more acceptable person in the eyes of those I’m trying to attract, I wouldn’t still find myself unfortunately boyfriend-less. Perhaps if I stopped saying that some of my evidently inherent character flaws were part of my personality that need to be accepted, and were more in tune with what others find attractive, I’d BE more attractive to those I’m trying to attract. Because apparently my shape and my face are plenty attractive enough, but the essence of who I am needs a bit of work. To be fair, he didn’t really have concrete examples – other than like… I’m intense. Yes, I am. I’m intense. And somewhere out there is a guy who will love that about me. Oh, also, I’m boisterous. Yup. I’ll own that. I’m that, too. Yet another thing I’m not going to give up just to find a guy… because I will be miserable. Those two things are a very big part of who I am, and I know many people who love both of those things about me. SO essentially… the advice giver got a ‘shove-off’ for a long time. We’re talking again, but not like we have in years past. Even if any of it were true, he didn’t have the right to speak over me in that way, especially not with the justification “I felt if I didn’t tell you, no one would.”

The advice given to me by a very trusted friend the next morning was like a breath of fresh air as I struggled with my own sense of self because of the words spoken to me. I was told that, in fact, those things WERE endearing qualities of mine, and that those aren’t things I should need to change in order to make myself attractive.

Long story short: There’s someone out there. He’s going to love my passion and moments of high intensity. He’s going to love my high energy, and my bouncy boisterousness. And between the super wise advice of my amazing, trusted friends… paired with some dangerous untruths, I have fully embraced my quirks, and hold true to the idea that since they are not in fact flaws, and are in fact personality traits, I will not settle for anyone who doesn’t love me for them, along with the rest of me.

Oh, and ps — if this is too serious for you, please stay tuned for a Red Flags (like the good old days!) post scheduled to release on November 6, 2013 — my two year blog-iversary.

Image is Everything (I’m Done)


I follow a lot of other bloggers’ blogs.  I find it gives me inspiration for topics, it informs a lot of my stylistic choices — I would never have thought to bold things that I want to stick out on my own… and also — I have learned just how verbose and overly wordy I can be when I started reading others’ writing.  1000 words…. I can say that in 6000!  haha… I digress.

I read a post just now… about five minutes ago… on OlivetoRun.  I love this girl’s writing so much.  She speaks to me.  She pretty much slays me with her serious posts, and her confession posts make me laugh.  Her workout ethic inspires me, and I just love following along with her.  This makes me sound creepy and #awkwardfangirl ish…. but I promise, I just really admire her as a writer because I feel like she’s real.

Tonight’s post that fell into my inbox was about healthy being the new skinny.  I opened it up, thinking to myself “there will be nothing new here — people have been saying this for a while now.”

I tell people I believe that… but when I really look into the core of who I am, I don’t.  I would almost always rather be skinny than healthy if I got to choose.  I’ve talked before about my own journey toward a goal weight, that ended disastrously in my almost controlling myself to an eating disorder.  Disordered thinking ran rampant at the very best.  (I can’t link it, I don’t remember what post it was.)

But read this…. read it twice if you have to to get it to sink in.

I read it, and I wonder how much of my poor self esteem and my poor body image and my self loathing every time I look in the mirror rub off on the precious minds of the beautiful young children that I teach.  When I try to scooch through two chairs and don’t fit, and tell the kids jokingly that “I’m not that skinny” (even though I’ve never seen anyone who is skinny enough to fit between two back to back chairs that are almost touching), I wonder what kind of a message I send.

I wonder if any of them go home and think “I’m not that skinny, either.”

Maybe I’m being over dramatic.

But maybe I’m not.

And if my bad attitudes about food, weight, and self esteem negatively impact even one of those precious kids…. isn’t that enough damage?

I read the opening quote, “I weigh myself three times a day. Once when I get up, once when I get home, and once before bed.” and I thought “yeah… that’s bad… no one should be that dependent on the number on a scale… I check a few times a week, but…”

And I kept reading.

And when I read that that quote came out of the mouth of a ten year old girl, my heart broke.  Shattered.  I literally sat alone in my rec room and gasped for air for a second because I couldn’t fathom how a ten year old girl got to a place where she felt that she needed to make sure her weight was in check three times a day.

I don’t ever want to be even a contributing factor to a kid who feels like that.

I want to help kids see their pure beauty.  The beauty within, and the beauty on the outside.  I mean, when I look at people with a God-centered focus and I get rid of my worldly lens, I find it truly difficult to be able to label anyone ugly.  It’s time I start looking at myself through that very same lens and I go back to trying to be healthy, rather than skinny….

I will not worship a number on a scale.  I will not look in the mirror and call myself fat, ugly, or disgusting.

I will not make self deprecating jokes in front of my precious little kindergartens, grade 1s, and grade 2s…. especially the girls, but all of them.  I refuse.  I won’t contribute.

This ends here.

p.s. this was written Monday, October 21st.  I have discovered the joy of being able to schedule the publishing of blog posts so that I can write four posts in 2 days and not release them all on top of one another.  It’s amazing.  (You might be a writer if….)