Daily Archives: February 12, 2013

What I Will Gain from Quitting – Journal Entry 1


I gave up Facebook and Twitter for Lent about three hours ago. This blog series will chronicle my experiences since the admission that it had become too much of a time suck and a distraction in my life. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna increase my posts here to make up for my lack of time online. I have children, a dog, the weather’s warming up, a book to edit, aging parents, and always: laundry.

Tuesday, February 12, 2016:

Lots of people talk about gaining something when they quit or stop something that’s toxic in their lives. When people quit smoking, they gain weight; when people quit drinking, they gain anxiety, they have to “feel the feelings” that they blocked by abusing their poison of choice.

Addictions are no joke and in my genetic make-up, I can really screw up my life in a huge way if I don’t stay on top of things. I just replied to a comment on my previous post:

“It’s all good to practice some self-awareness and rattle the chain every now and then. I knew in my heart what I needed to do. But what was causing me strife was the illusion of codependency, that I gave people meaning. I love the people I’ve met; I enjoy them immensely and if we were all together in the same neighborhood, we’d be inseparable, but FB is like an addiction for me. I didn’t get the twitches when I wasn’t online, but it was close. And then the anger at the envy knowing it was all [the content I refer to in the previous post] manufactured. I’m dealing with a child right now who badly wants to have a YouTube account because he wants to create content to be LIKED and APPROVED OF and have “hearts” and “shares” so he will become famous. So I can’t very well say it’s no big deal and still do all this. I’m 45. He’s a child, but I must model for him.”

For me, it came as a gift when I realized a couple days ago that I was truly, completely, totally and undeniably sick of Facebook. What had become an interest in 2008 became a fancy in 2009 and 2010; then a full-on habit little more than a year ago along with the deluded notion of self-import. I created a “fan page” for my blog, this blog you’re reading now.

It was all created with the best of intentions, but it wasn’t really an original idea, and for anyone who knows me personally: starting that fan page was the least likely thing you’d ever expect from me. It’s easy for me to say all this now, to blame someone I no longer speak to as the engine for my driving off the cliff, but she’s not responsible although she made it look easy. But having an intractable need to be liked by everyone makes those things easy. It’s the copy-cats, like me, who suck at it.

A real-life, delusional equivalent regarding my self-import would be this: how drinking too much makes me super charming, a scream at parties and an excellent dancer…

So what started as an interest, turned into a habit and then became a full-on obsession because I thought, in order to be a successful poet, artist, dancer, voice announcer, perfume salesperson, shoe seller, shoe maker, shoe reviewer, soap maker, painter, singer, musician, cook, potter, runner, lawyer, doctor, mother, baker, designer, architect, DJ, writer… you needed a Facebook page. You don’t and it doesn’t … whatever I just said. They are not interchangeable. They are apples and oranges. An apple will not taste better if you chill the orange before eating it.

I believed my own press. I thought what I was doing was providing a service, a ray of sunshine in some peoples’ day, but what I was doing, secretly (and if I honestly admit this to myself, which I am with you reading it), was luring them to come back, to stay online with me, to provide me with a relationship when there really wasn’t one. I am NOT saying the kindnesses were disingenuous. The exchanged kindnesses were absolutely sincere and I dig that. What I’m saying is this: it’s just online. It’s one dimensional, it’s not real. It’s nice, but they can’t run my errands nor can I run theirs.

What will make me a better writer? Facebook. Writing.

But that doesn’t matter at this point in the discussion although it was important to state — what matters is that I thought I needed to Be That Person. To Be A Success meant having a Facebook Fan Page. (I say to myself, “Self: look at the GM model … shit, if that company, which had a ton of cash said the scheme didn’t work, what the what do I think I can gain?”)

Facebook says this!: Forget what we thought about the old algorithms! Old business models are dead: no one talks to anyone anymore, they just Like one another now — but not you know, like-like… just like, like. Nothing too serious.


I started a blog a year before the FB page.

About three months later, I learned I could see my blog stats.

Ooh! Comments!

No! Spam. From Norwegian porn pages and Russian pharmaceutical brokers dealers.


Then I learned I could watch my stats increase the more often I posted. That made sense.

Then I learned I could see what happens with the addition of the FB page.

Oh! Someone shared my FB page! How great! Five Likes! WOW! I’ll be a famous writer! Because THAT’S what makes me a Famous Writer: fans. Not writing… shhhh. Stop that. Writing has nothing to do with it; it’s all about appeal! Get back in your hole!! NnnnnNnnn.

Oh! To show up on a News Feed (what the what is that? — like US / Arab relations, like US GDP news, newsfeed? Oh! Like, Facebook news: “I just got an A” or “My kid just threw up in my lunch” or “Sven just stood up!” newsfeed. Got it…) I need to post more.

Post more what?

Post more stuff. More status updates. And blog posts. And posters. Posters that say nice things. Or things I say. Ok. Then people will share them. And that will get me more Likes. But I need to remember to put my website address or a watermark on the poster because then people will just steal it for their own.


No! Oh. But no one shared. Ok! I’m an optimist! I’m chipper! I’m doing the same things and expecting different results!

Then I saw other fan pages.

For other blogs.

This is fun! I’ll share your 10,000-strong fan page to my 34 fans and you can share mine which has 34 fans to your 10,000 fans.


I appreciate the kick-start, but your fans not so much? Ok… well, I’ll still Like you and share your stuff because THAT’s what makes us popular and excellent writers. Because I’m a GOOD TEAM PLAYER! So if some of my fans see me share your stuff and they Like your stuff, but shows up on my page, then I get a Like and their friends see that They Liked…. your …. stuff………. on… my… page.

Oh. Ok. Well, I’m here now… let’s see what else is going on.

Oh! “Pimping!”

Page Pimping”? That sounds horrid. What the hell is that?

Your page, with “Bitches” and “Hos” and “F*ck” and “Butt Sex” in the titles will share my page named after a nickname my son gave to a dinner I made? Hmm… I’m seeing this as a no-win for me… But it’s different? But sort of similar to “S4Ss” — what’s that? “Shares for Shares?” Oh… sort of like what I tried three months ago. Ok, I’ll try again. I get that my page, Grass Oil, means NOTHING, really… but that was sort of the point. And I’m good with that because that means it’s working: that my fans are the most brilliant ever. They know that if I start putting cat memes or pictures of Lara Croft on my page that I’ve been abducted and replaced by aliens. Hey, they stick around and I don’t know why… but they do and I dig that about them, so the fault is mine that I’m not more famous than a page devoted to a ceramic copy of Lionel Richie’s head. Not kidding…

Then the Facebook IPO. If you didn’t have 300 fans by then, you were hosed. Because remember, this is what life is really all about: Facebook fans.

But I’ll just click here… and see what these other pages who like your page are doing…

And then began the foray into other fan pages for … what?

Political ads.

Hate Obama?

Love Obama.

Hate Gingrich? Love him?

And then there were the memes.



Cat memes.

Willy Wonka memes.

What’s a meme?

Oh. That's a meme. Well... what the what? I mean... really? And we spend time on this? Reading this? Reading off a screen and reading what cats would say? Augh. Sigh.

Oh. That’s a meme. Well… what the what? I mean… really? And we spend time on this? Reading this? Reading off a screen and reading what cats would say? Augh. Sigh. I am old.

So go ahead and read just the definition. I dare you to read the origin. “The Selfish Gene.” I don’t want that disease or infection. I’m done. No, I already gave at the office.

So then I had this epiphany when I was vomiting last week from norovirus: GET OFFLINE. It was real brief, just like that. NONE OF THIS IS REAL. I MEAN, IT IS REAL, BECAUSE PEOPLE TYPE THESE THINGS, BUT NONE OF IT HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH DINNER, YOUR SON’S ALGEBRA HOMEWORK OR THE CARPOOL.

But… I won’t be popular anymore. I won’t see any more cat memes. Or offensive jokes or sexist comments or anti-gay slurs or things that scare me, like Guns for Girls. I won’t be popular anymore. I won’t be popular anymore. I won’t be popular anymore.

I won’t be popular anymore? To the 1 billion registered users, 462 of which “like” my fan page? That’s OK. That’s like this: there are 600 kids in my son’s school. I would say about 30 of them know me by sight. So, what’s 30 of 600… 55%? (hahahahaaaaa. i hate math.) but you see my point? It doesn’t matter. What does matter is the bricks and mortar, and phone calls and the true friendships I’ve made with some fantastic bloggers and artists.

I will establish a diet. I will ration my time online, but only after this time of relief. I will keep my account open for that stuff, and to stay in touch with those people, but if I go back, I’m not gonna let this stuff get to me anymore. Let it invade my dreams and my psyche and distort my thinking. I want my fictional characters to do that instead. Then I’ll really be crazy. Because they’re made up.

So here we are. I am at my blog tap-tap-tapping away. It’s only been about four hours, but I can tell you I will have some behavioral habits to break.

The first will be to take the apps off my phone and my iPad. Check.

The next will be to not logon to FB first thing. Then stay there, for some stupid reason, as I had for many days in a row.

The second will be, after I hit “publish” on this post, to not go searching for my stats and wait for comments. I think what I will do is automate or schedule these posts, so I won’t be here when they upload. That will help.

Then shut off the wifi for my laptop so I can edit my book, which I hope I can release within the next 12 months and then… who knows.

By the way, Twitter, it’s easy. It’s fun, but I’m barely ever on. It brings me next-to-no views; literally: maybe 2 per post.

Being in the moment is the first remedy. Here we go.

Because she says it better than I do: “Eff you, FB.”

Thank you.

update: here is my second entry: https://mollyfielddotcom.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/what-i-will-gained-by-quitting-2-five-days-after-facebook-lent-give-up/

Tuesday Morning Press 17 — Vulnerability in Real Time


I just shouted at one of our cats, “YOU WANT TO DIE TODAY, DON’T YOU?!” She was on the kitchen table, padding toward our butter. Cats live a long freakin’ time…

Good lord, I’ve been going about this post, this is the third edition, all the wrong way.

I started out feeling sorry for myself and being embarrassed about it. So what did I do when I feel embarrassed? I lash out. I blame other people and pick at their faults.

Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 1.35.23 PM

“snap the chain of our own disbelief.” -me

I will say this: some of my fault picking is appropriate.

I’m grossed out by the Internet lately and its warehouses of data of peoples’ appeals for attention, all the things people are willing to do for a “like” and all the stuff that’s out there — have you looked sometimes? I mean, there’s a lot of stuff out there. And here I am adding myself to the pile.

Specifically, I found fault with a blogger who posts insanely staged photos of herself and her children and her spouse online. And yet, right now, as I try to “be OK” with it, I can’t help myself, I’m sorta grossed out and envious, truth be told. It’s like a toxic mix of all the rings of the inferno. I’m grossed out because I’m a traditionalist: “Keep some of that private!” I shout at the monitor, as I click at more pictures. It’s not illicit or in bad taste, it’s just a sentiment of “really?!  who cares?!” and yet here I am. It’s so odd…

Then there’s a blog contest. I steer away from those things because they aren’t my style. What is my style? Apparently standing in judgement of other people. But that’s cool; I voted for my friends. I admire their courage.

Then I think some more. I have been doing that lately instead of actually acting. My SIL has two published author friends: hardcover, actual printing houses and everything. One is on her third book, the other wrote a memoir, which I loved. She gives me free copies; by way of inspiring me and being a great marketer for her friends. I am authentically grateful.

So I take the books graciously because I really enjoy them and I appreciate the generosity and I even say, “Hey! Maybe my name will be on one of these sometime…” and we all smile and nod and then I curl into myself and I say… “Nope.” And then I make excuses, “Naaaah. I’m gonna go the self-pub, eBook route, because traditional publishing is a rat race… and it’s evolving, you know, the whole publishing thing.” And then my inner Hilter-mustachioed Oliver Hardy part says to me, “With what? Your three-ring binder? While you cruise the web?”

And then I feel all Stan Laurel about myself and cover my whimpering mouth with my tiny tie, waddle in place, scratch my crazy hair with my pale fingers and say, “Mmemonononominionommmooooooo hoooo…nonananynonommmoooooo hoo.”

I make me sick sometimes.

Ouch. Hot plates.

So the reason I sit all judgey is because I would rather do that than take a chance, than get the book done. So I go online because it’s a TOTAL WASTE OF MY TIME and I cruise stupid stuff and I don’t edit my book.

Why? Because yet again, as I said before: I am afraid of failure.

And here is the moment of truth: I know now, how my mother felt all those years ago, and she didn’t have the Internet: terror. She believed what she was thinking, and she stayed there sometimes.


My pulse is quickening as a type and I know the fear is real. I am not an anxious person; I am very comme ci, comme ça (“like this, like that”) about life. I’ve read many books about tending to mySelf; I’m writing one. It’s the one I have, the one I won’t crack, the one that sighs from my book case that needs the most attention: the ones on vulnerability. The one by Bréne Brown, Daring Greatly, that I need to open, drink in, nod to, argue with, highlight, read and apply.

Good God… I’m not really jealous of all those people on the net with their photos and their specialness; but I am grossed out by their apparent need for approval and acceptance, and that’s the part that sounds like it’s afraid of vulnerability. Because when we think of vulnerability, we think of neediness, of kowtowing (I did NOT know it was spelled that way!), we think of obsequiousness, of which I must admit I am incapable. Not because I’m brawny and heroic, but because I don’t find much virtue in that either. It’s too familiar to me. ‘Nuff said there.

I’m just afraid of doing what they are sort of doing: putting it all out there, in the sun for people to pick apart. But how do you pick apart perfection? You find someone like me… and I’ll be only to happy to show you how you are demonstrating only your perfect life. Because: You will not see a picture of me fresh out of bed without so much as a sleepy heavy hand swiping my rubbery face, without protest or threat of imminent injury to the person who posted it. But I do get the idea of vulnerability, in which we find strength.

But I am digressing, rationalizing. “Feel the feelings” they say; don’t walk away. Listen to what the feeling, the vulnerability, is saying. What is it saying? Don’t think of something pithy to share… feel the feeling and write what it says. Close the eyes and type.

The feeling says:  

You aren’t good enough. You can’t do this. Taking chances makes you hurt. Falling down is nature’s way of telling you to stay out. Don’t bother. You are not one of those people. There is nothing unique about you. Don’t risk it.

And yet, here I am. I open my eyes to see what I type. I correct the typos and I don’t edit.

Here I am… sitting just two days after my 200th post when I said to live without regret, take a chance and be present. Oh, I’m being present alright. But doing something different is the only way out of this rut. And I don’t stay here for long, in this bowl of self-pity soup, because I know part of what I’m feeling is due to being home with a sick child again, Thing 3 this time, and just feeling frustrated. With all of it: with his being unwell, with my not being able to go to yoga, with the Internet.

But I won’t rationalize it away, because it’s real, the vulnerability, and I’m in my own way. Constantly. I swear, if this were a paid gig, I’d be a millionaire and I wouldn’t give a toot about the Internet and all the souls out there trying to be something.

I wrote a book. It’s time to stop avoiding it. It really is. It’s time to do something with it. I don’t know when I’ll be back next. All I know is that when I’m posting, I’m not editing or writing. I’ve got to unload this book because it’s really holding me down. It’s like a purge and it has to go. Somewhere.

Thank you.