Not long ago, I was over at Guilford College watching some high school soccer with friends in town for the game. Okay, I wasn’t watching so much as I was sitting, tailgate style at the back of the car, beer in hand, laughing our asses off. We have been friends for years and all graduated high school together. I love that we all still manage to keep in touch after all these years. We have be the best stories and not one of them is documented on social media. The strangest thing about our conversation was realizing it had been YEARS since we’d had the chance to get together and laugh. Yet, we just picked up like we had been together last week. Those are what I call REAL friends.
I don’t know how we got on the subject, but in 5th grade, Justin gave me a Valentine. My shy self did not like the attention, but clearly, I liked the card because I still have it. It’s tucked away in my scrap book from childhood. I was telling him about it, some 40 or so odd years later. He didn’t even remember giving it to me. He said, “Did it have the boxes on it? You know, ‘do you like me? Check Yes or No?” It wasn’t that kind of card. It was a real card. Not some box of valentine’s from the drugstore, but a real Hallmark card. We laughed. It did get me thinking, though.
Our version of ‘do you like me? check yes or no’ comes to us every day, all the time. Almost non-stop through social media. For example, just before I sat down to write this post, I put a post of my dog on my personal Instagram. It’s not hard to find, it’s just like this one sans the art. My dog was guilty of eating 5 large banana muffins I had just made and put in a Ziploc. They were still warm, so I hadn’t zipped it up. She was fighting a battle of temptation that she was not strong enough to win. She was 4 muffins in with the last on in her mouth when she was caught red-handed. Now, this story is funny to us (sort of) and now that I have researched enough to find she won’t die from them, its all okay. So, she needed public shaming. And whether anyone likes the post or not…..you know I’ll be checking.
Quite possibly the worst thing to ever come from social media is the LIKE button. You’ll hear it all the time…it’s all about the likes. The click bait. I’ll admit, I’ve even had a click bait post. I know this because a friend of mine sent me a text one day telling me he had to go read my blog post based on the photo I posted (it’s a ton of tiny school pics from 8th and 9th grade. Who wouldn’t be curious what that going to reference, right?
Anyway, we want people to know we read their posts. We agree with their posts. We hear them loud and clear. We like them. And sometimes, I wish there was a dislike button, but only for bad things that happen. Things we wish hadn’t happened. Not to tell someone I don’t like their post because of ….fill in your own because. We aren’t animals like on Twitter. That’s a whole other (or as I like to say in my deepest Southern accent –a whole ‘nother) post about people on Twitter.
In our life today, we spend too much time worrying about how many likes we have and who is liking our posts. I’ve stepped away from my personal Facebook profile. I wanted to delete it all together, but no profile means, no business pages. And how would you read my blog otherwise? Well, you could sign up to receive it via email….hint hint. Anyway, I needed a break and I’m not posting there currently. I am only using my LM Art page to post my blog posts and any old random thing that comes to mind from my Instagram.
The like factor for me is about whether what I am writing is speaking to you. I don’t care if you like me personally or not, but I love writing. I hope what I’m writing makes a difference to someone. Not everyone. You cannot be all things to all people. To talk about stuff, like food addiction or loving yourself or friendships or struggling with alcohol and addiction, is important to me because when I was growing up I didn’t have someone relate-able. I didn’t know that comparison is the thief of joy. I didn’t know that anything I ever did made a difference. I didn’t know that some kind of enlightenment would arrive one day, but that it would take a lot of courage, pain, and tears to get there.
I have a better question. Do I like me? Would I give myself a thumbs up? A heart? A like? It’s taken what feels like a million years, but yes. Yes, I do.