Self Love: How Hating Twitter Taught Me To Love Myself

So, I’m trying to update my social media skills. And by update, I mean actually create some.

I’ll start by admitting I was a reluctant Facebook “joiner”. When I was on maternity leave for the twins, one of my friends convinced me to join Facebook to look up what old friends were doing. But, if we are being perfectly honest, I joined for the same reason most people join: to spy on what a lot of other “acquaintances” in my life-past or present-were doing.

But, waking up for 3 am (and 12 am and 6 am) feedings another Facebook addict makes. And lo and behold I was hooked. Not only would I use FB to pass time or to procrastinate, but I also started to become almost obsessive: and even found myself repeatedly returning to certain profiles, only to compare (shocker) my life to theirs. Very often it was just what I needed to turn up the volume on my inner voice telling me how much I sucked at everything. Why did these people seem to have it together, have it all, when I felt like my new mommy life was in complete clutter and chaos. It wasn’t a great time for me, particularly when also battling raging postpartum hormones, sleep deprivation and trying to figure out how the hell to be a mother to these two amazingly innocent lives. It was affecting me so much so that my husband demanded I take a Facebook vacation. True, it was not a 10-day getaway to Hawaii that you wish was the type of vacation suggested to you but never was my hubby’s travel planning so timely and dead on. I had to stop. And for a couple of months, stop I did. Facebook and I were “on a break”.

You would think this get away from all things Facebook would have broken our intimate social media relationship. But instead, it made me re-evaluate it.

I learned to appreciate Facebook. Because of it, I have gotten back in touch with people I was truly missing in my life. Because of it, I was able to fully engage in “conversation” with professional groups and colleagues I otherwise would have a difficult time learning from because of geographical distance. I have resurged and created friendships. I am able to share (albeit sparingly) updates on my family, life and kids for friends and relatives I no longer see regularly. I am able to put updates up about The Restoration Space for our workshops and events and classes. And occasionally I am able to put up a cute story, fun picture or witty quote or caption and receive instant gratification watching the number of likes multiply within minutes, or better yet, getting a positive comment from a friend or mentor.

So now I GET Facebook. And due to our evolving relationship, I decided that in preparation for bigger things to come, I needed to further venture out into social media. I joined Instagram (but really that was to be able to do cool things with my limited picture taking skills. And, truthfully, I still struggle with the boomerang and creating a collage). And then I started tweeting.

I thought it would be great to be able to reach all ends of the earth with my creative babble and inspirational brain vomit in 150 characters or less. A briefer version of my emails and facebook and insta (see? I’m cool, I called it “insta”!) posts. So, done. @bolaspencer was created. #iamhipnow.

At least I THOUGHT I was until I “tweeted”…and got nothing in return. I tweeted again…and nothing. What I mean is, I didn’t get any feedback. No “likes” about my post. No comments. Not even a number of viewers. Nothing. No instant gratification.

And then, as if in a movie…or at the very least in an after-school special… I was instantly taken back to 1st grade. Sitting at my desk, holding a freshly sharpened number 2 pencil in my right hand, my left hand spread out like a jazz hand perfectly set at the top left corner of the paper. The eraser of my pencil was angled at (what I like to think was exactly) 45 degrees, pointing directly over my right shoulder. I have NO idea what I was writing, but I DO remember my teacher (the amazing Mrs. O’Donnell) coming over to me and literally patting me on the back. “Excellent work, Julie. Look (insert name of random classmate sitting on my left, who also happened to be a lefty. And a boy. And we all know how sloppy boys write), watch how Julie holds her pencil”. And with that, she placed a gold star on my page.

I remember beaming then. Still beaming now, basking in my flashback as the haze rolls away and I am snapped back to reality. I want a gold star. And I want one all of the time. I want validation. I want to be told that what I am doing is correct and that I’m doing a great job. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing. Or why I’m doing it. I realize that I just want the recognition.

When you are “favorited” on Twitter, you LITERALLY get a gold star. And I was not getting one. I wasn’t getting anything. And I HATED it. I want the freaking gold star. I hated Twitter.

And then my Oprah “aha” moment came: I realized was that I shouldn’t be tweeting for someone else to love what I am saying (although I’d be lying if I didn’t still hold out for that).

How often are we doing things, DREAMING things, and then acting on them (Or more likely NOT acting on them) because of what we feel we SHOULD be doing? Based on somebody ELSE’S opinion, though or standards? How many times have you thought you should look a certain way and compared yourself to that standard that SOMEONE ELSE set? How many times have you thought you weren’t good enough, smart enough, or for goodness sake anything-enough because of the narrow mindedness of someone else’s opinion? Isn’t it crazy? When is the last time you did or said something for YOU and did not turn around and wonder what someone would say or think about it? If you were going to please someone or piss someone off? If you were going to get a slap on the wrist…or a gold star?

Here is my quote of the week: “There is no one better at being you than YOU”. Aha.

It is time to sit quietly and return to MY dream and MY intention. It’s time to recognize that the path I choose to take, the actions I choose to perform or for ME. For what I believe is good and creative and witty and healthy and loving. I should not be focused on the naysayer, the hater, or the pessimist. Instead, I should be tweeting, or Instagramming, or blogging, Facebooking because I believe in what I am saying. I believe that I have something that is meant to be shared. That I love it for myself. It doesn’t matter if my pencil is in my right hand, my left hand, or if I’m writing with a damn sparkly pink glitter pen in half cursive and half capitals. It is WHAT I AM SAYING that matters, as long as I am saying it, or doing it for me. And if I believe in it, then my words and my actions have power.

So to this, I tweet:

@bolaspencer: dear me, #goldstar. love, me. #shifthappens

Julie Spencer