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Facebook Depression

I think I’m probably the last person
in the computer-using world to be holding out on Facebook, the
online club that everyone seems to be a member of except me. My
husband spends a not inconsiderable amount of his precious free
time surfing it, looking up acquaintances and re-connecting with
old friends, and is often shouting out to me to come look at
someone’s photo, or did I know that so-and-so is still
performing in New York?

Sometimes I’ll succumb and peek over his shoulder for a few
moments, and I admit it’s seductive. You click on one old
friend you haven’t seen in ten years, wonder if they’re
in touch with any other friends and look up their friends, then
find yourself ten degrees out and seeing folks you haven’t
thought about in a long time. I can easily see myself spending
hours wading through different pages, idly following threads and
ending up with my best friend from kindergarten staring me in the
face (hey Beth Caswell – where are you these days?).

Sometimes I’ll click on a
friend’s face and their photo is gratifyingly kind to me
– I see new lines, grayer hair, a messy house and evidence of
destructive toddlers filling out the frame, and am glad I’m
not the only one out there who gets whacked with the Time Stick
periodically. But many times I see friends who seem to be in the
exact place they were when I left them: doing eight shows a week,
still thin and gorgeous, their photos culled from opening night
parties and after-show drinks.

And this depresses me.

I love me girls – don’t get me wrong. But I can’t
help but notice that there’s nothing like Mommyhood to add a
few decades to your life, seemingly overnight. Even setting aside
the obvious – the extra baby weight, the haggard under-eye
circles, the grey hairs on a head that’s clearly not seen a
hairdresser for waaay too long – becoming a mom confers some
sort of instant gravity – weight – on your shoulders. I
don’t just look older, I feel older, in that depressing,
party-pooper sort of way. All-night parties with loud music and
tequila shots just sounds painful to me in light of my many
sleepless nights with a screaming infant; how did I ever consider
it fun and inflict it willingly upon myself?

I sometimes see life as a series of streams flowing along next to
each other, and about four years ago I jumped creeks and ended up
in the Lazy River with the inner tube rather than the white-water
rapids with the cooler of drinks waiting for me at the end. I see
my friends continuing on and can only manage to wave feebly from
the banks, convinced they wouldn’t even recognized me,
standing knee-deep in muck and covered in mud. And I wish –
just briefly- I were back in that rapids river.

Yet when I look at those friends who are the same place they were
in their early twenties, I also feel a bit sorry for them. Frozen
in time, trapped in amber – fossilized in the
“best” time of their lives, trying desperately to stay
in that place rather than start the slide into another, both easier
and harder, life. I know their photos may look glamorous, but that
comes with a price: I may be unkempt and, um, un-toned, but
I’m reasonably sure my friends are working their a$#es off to
simply stay where they are, fearful of the clock ticking over their

So I try to stop second-guessing myself; I ran willingly into this
life, and honestly can’t remember how I used to fill all my
time before I had toddlers who asked me how the
“supposal” in the kitchen sink works and why birds poop
on our swingset – don’t their mommies teach them to use
the big potty? For all the tedium and mind-numbing sameness that
goes with being a mom, there are those flashes of soaring joy and
gratification which act as an immediate amnesiac for all the bad
parts, and give you the energy – even eagerness – to go
on into another day.

I see my friends, think wistfully of “those days”, give
myself ten seconds to wallow in “what ifs”, and get
back into my inner tube. Who knows – maybe the Lazy River has
a few twists and surprises of its own. And I’ll never know
until I let go of the bank and float.


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