I Deleted The Facebook Account I’ve Had For Over Half My Life

When I joined Facebook in 2007, I was 13. I was in the 8th grade.

This was back when someone attending high school or college had to approve your entry. I have no idea when they stopped doing that, but it was a real thing that you used to have to do. I had a friend in 9th grade who approved me.

I don’t really remember why I wanted to join Facebook, I already had a Myspace. But I joined it.

14 years later (a.k.a February 19 at 12:40 P.M. today), I deleted it.

I am currently sitting here, sorting through my anxiety feelings.

It’s not like I ever go on it. I probably haven’t been an “avid” Facebook user since I posted all those photos from my senior year study abroad. I mostly use Facebook to log in to the Shake Shack app and Spotify. Facebook is how I confirm that someone got married or died or how I find dining room furniture at a discount price. It’s where your elderly relatives wish you happy birthday. It’s not Instagram (even though Facebook owns IG). I haven’t posted a photo of myself to Facebook since 2017.

But I have had Facebook in my life longer than I have without it. It’s a place where photos of me in braces exist, photos where I am wearing a sequined shirt and singing with my fellow sparkly show choir friends. Facebook is where you can find the first photos of me in my navy and tan high school uniform, awkward photos of me performing on cheer squad and oh my god “group bonding” on Kairos.

My Facebook is a graveyard for statuses that in hind-sight were so unbelievably cringe-y, I am going to need a medical professional to come over and lower my shoulders. My Facebook is an archive of messages and posts to friends and crushes that make me wish I could go back in time and teach little me about boundaries!

I made groups like “Spring Awakening Runs My Life” and “I Want All The Jonas Brothers To Lick Me” because I thought Facebook groups were just like Neopets guilds—which holy shit, I hope my Neopets account isn’t still online.

To be totally honest, my Facebook account is also a place with a lot of fucking trauma.

For me, my account holds the memory of my high school sexual assault and its social aftermath. Feeling incredibly lonely, trying to lose myself in a community of other weird girls online, getting mean messages, feeling like I never fit in, etc… When I look at this godforsaken social media site I think about all the people who have tried to “friend” me over the years for one reason or another and sometimes I feel rage. How dare you find me. How dare you request to be my friend?? Don’t you remember what you said and did? Followed by gaslighting myself about my own feelings. “It’s just Facebook! Who cares!”

We all exist so easily, almost thoughtlessly online. For whatever reason, the accessibility (that I have allowed) has been feeling like a giant F U to myself for a long, long time.

And I get it, I’m on Instagram. I’m on TikTok. I only recently deleted Twitter. But I have the ability to curate and share (and honestly just protect) what’s new without having the weight of 2,000 photos and posts from the 11th grade behind it. Maybe I would feel differently had it been a positive experience. But, it wasn’t and it will never be!

And that’s actually fine.

By deleting Facebook I have lost hundreds of black and white and sepia high school MacBook photo booth pics, Winter Formal shots from the year I dyed my hair brown (don’t worry I still have physical copies if you really want to see), pieces of Facebook Flair, messages with my friend Becca who died, the ability to list myself as “single” or “in a relationship” and have my followers react to it, any idea of what my fourth cousin twice-removed’s baby looks like or will look like in the future and also probably the easiest way to log in to my Everlane account.

But it’s all worth it, because I also feel pretty fucking free.

I am letting go of something that no longer serves me.

I wish that I could have made this post about how Facebook is evil and stealing my privacy or something. But I have already uploaded multiple photos of myself to that one app that makes you look like a boy or old. Plus, I think I might have shared my social security number on Neopets many years ago.

So unfortunately for you, this is just about me, breaking the link on an invisible chain that has been causing me mental anguish for no reason other than, it just has. For a while.

If you’ve been thinking of deleting, I say do it! It takes about 30 seconds of your life. It might be a little scary at first or it might feel like nothing. Maybe it will feel like both.

I FULLY RECOGNIZE THAT SOME PEOPLE READING THIS CAN’T QUIT FACEBOOK BECAUSE OF THEIR JOB.

BUT THIS IS NOT ME TELLING YOU THAT YOU SHOULD DELETE YOUR ACCOUNT!

THIS IS ALSO NOT ME TELLING YOU NOT TO LIKE FACEBOOK.

LIKE IT! LOVE IT! MARRY IT!

I am not even saying that social media is evil. I love social media!

I put this out here because I DO have a need to chronicle my tiny existence. Who knows! Maybe in another 14 years this will seem deeply embarrassing and I will delete it and write a piece about how my blog was full of trauma and embarrassing twenties-something stuff for Mars Magazine (this is assuming we all move to Mars at some point).

But I am also putting this out there on the off chance that maybe someone can relate. Maybe you already deleted for a similar reason and you read this and you feel validated for your choices. Or you want to delete but you’re worried about what it’s going to be like and you want to see if I have dissolved into nothingness because of it.

Well.

Right now, it is 2:35 P.M.

I told my boyfriend I deleted and he seemed surprised but not shocked. I did not fall off the face of the Earth. My grandpa’s cousin who wishes me Happy Birthday every year on Facebook stills knows that I exist. In the past two hours I have not had the burning need to access those high school rally pics I took in 2009. I still feel a little anxious, but that’s because I’m never totally not.

So don’t worry. There is life after Facebook.

Plus, you can still find me on Instagram!

Unless you’re blocked.

xx

L

2 thoughts on “I Deleted The Facebook Account I’ve Had For Over Half My Life”

  1. But, Facebook IS evil, and DOES invade one’s privacy, even while lying that they don’t. Delete it. It’s a monstrosity beyond what you could possibly imagine. Set yourself free. You’re better than FB. Much, much better. Enjoy the real world, with real people and not your hundreds of virtual “friends”. The time is now. Go.

    Liked by 1 person

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