About two years ago, in the midst of a very dark night of the soul, I deleted my Facebook page. I was one of the early adopters and had been crafting my profile since I was in graduate school in 2006. I liked Facebook because it allowed me to keep connected with family and friends but gradually, it started to seem more and more “fake.” I was constantly comparing my life to the lives that my friends were portraying. My life felt so pathetic in comparison. I was going through so much suffering; I was sick, depressed and an emotional wreck with seemingly no end in sight. But all I saw on social media was what people wanted to portray, the happy story they wanted to tell. It seemed so inauthentic and made me resentful. This also was probably because my own life was feeling so inauthentic and fake. I was tired of trying to keep up my Facebook story, the story that everything was fine. Finally, I knew that staying on Facebook was not helping me. I needed to focus on myself. So first I deactivated my account, then later I deleted it completely in what seemed to me at the time, a symbolic act of deleting my past. I let go of that person who I thought I was.
I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone about the difficulties in my own life and so, I cut out more and more people. I felt like nobody could relate to what I was going through. I isolated myself. I retreated to a metaphorical cave where I could just be with myself and go through what I was going through. There was so much going on with me that there really wasn’t any room for anyone else. Retreating from life was relatively easy, especially since I am by nature an introverted person.
The past few months I have slowly felt the desire to come back out into life again and connect with the world. But I’ve been wondering, how do I come out as this new “awakening” person? The idea of starting up my old Facebook page felt bad. I just wasn’t that person anymore. I felt so different. How would I even relate to all my old friends and family from this new space? How could I come out as the real me, this human being experiencing enlightenment? How can I possibly explain the incredible changes in myself and my life to anyone that isn’t going through something similar?
I started by creating a new Facebook page with just a few photos and the highest privacy settings. Even this small act brought up so much fear! I was afraid of being seen, found out as a spiritual person, but the deeper desire to connect with others overruled the fear. I let that account sit for a while while I breathed through all the emotions. Ever so slowly, I’ve been coming out as the new me. I commented on a few blogs I liked, then I posted on some Facebook groups. Each time, it would bring up deep fears that I would have to be with for a while. Now I’m starting this blog. I still have a minimal Facebook page and nobody in my life other than my husband knows who I really am. Now the idea of posting my blog site on my Facebook page with my picture on it brings up panic and terror. What if people I know find it and read it? My cover will be blown, I will be out as a conscious, aware person. It’s terrifying! Coming back out into the world is much harder than retreating.
I’ve been visiting family and friends lately that I haven’t seen in years. I feel so different and I wonder if they see the changes in me. No one has mentioned anything. They ask why all of a sudden I’m feeling so much better these days and I find that I don’t know what to say. I know myself what’s happened but I don’t know how to explain it without sounding crazy. I’m still in the process of trying to figure out how to bridge the two worlds, the old Lindsay and her world of family and friends and this new experience of Lindsay. I’m trusting myself and the steps that I’m taking. Though they may seem small, they are exactly where I’m supposed to be and not a moment too soon.