2017 January 31
Today I decided to take a break from Facebook. The decision came after yet another day spent in anger and frustration, which has become my default emotional setting since early November. The election of Donald Trump, what it represents to those of us who consider ourselves relatively centrist, has been too much of a dividing factor. Too often, I find myself reading things on Facebook, posted by people to whom I am related either by blood, marriage, friendship, or deep caring, even love, and theses things anger me. The anger comes because I cannot fathom the way they are thinking. The anger comes because I KNOW the people to be kind, caring people, people I trust. Yet, each time someone says, "Give him a chance", my blood pressure rises, because I cannot simply wait and give a chance to a man I feel is unqualified to lead. And I cannot understand the people who do not see him as unqualified.
I have many friends with whom I stay in touch using Facebook. There are people whom I count among my closest friends, whom I touch base with daily via Facebook. There are people whom I initially met online, who I have come to think of as good friends. Some I have had the pleasure and joy to meet in real life, others remain online friends until such time as our paths should cross. There are people numbered among my Facebook friends whom I met because of our period of living an RVing lifestyle. Some people I have known in my past, and have been lucky enough to reconnect with because of Facebook. Some are former employers, former co-workers, former members of my old Church, and family and extended family - I value these friends, all of them.
In spite of the deep need I have to somehow remain connected to these people, MY people, I am facing a conundrum: to continue along as I have been for the past few months, or to take a break. I need to explore possibilities, because to continue along as I have been would be detrimental to my fragile emotional health. I tend to see the world in black or white, lacking shades of grey. It is a tedious mindset - one that tends toward the "all or nothing" kind of thinking. Over my adult life I have tried desperately to change that thinking, so that I could embrace the full spectrum of people and events, experiencing them in all their shading from darkest through all the in-betweens to lightest, with every nuance possible. Most times, I am able to function in this manner, seeing that few things in life are all bad, or all good. I recognize that people and ideas are complex and I try to refrain from making judgments based on limited information, whether about people or their ideas.
However, in the time since the election in November, I find myself thrown for a loop. I am too often inundated by opinions of people I care about, but find myself with absolutely no understanding of how or why they have arrived at these opinions. It seems as if there has been a terrible breakdown in our ability to communicate, because if I disagree with them, or they with me, anger seems to result as people’s default position. I cannot do this anymore.
I have spent the past two days simply wanting to cry, because of all this turmoil. I feel isolated. This is not how I want to feel, nor is it how I wish to live.
Addendum to the portion written on January 31:
I took a very brief vacation from FB. I adjusted my social media settings, my friends list, and my expectations. In addition, I took a step back in an attempt to get greater perspective. But, in rereading what I initially wrote, I realized that some of my frustration and anger had originated as a result, not of the election, though that was contributory, but rather, came from the accident that occurred during our return from the vacation trip to North Carolina. Having been the sixth car of a seven car pile up affected me deeply, in ways I never would have anticipated. But that’s a subject for another blog post, yet it seemed important to document that here, now. If only to document that there is never simply one cause for anger, and/or frustration, because nothing is that black or white.