Thursday, February 13 2014
I Have a Confession to Make
I have never thought of myself as having an addictive personality. I always wondered how someone could let something consume their life the way drugs do. But, I recently realized I was addicted to something else. I know I am not alone in my addiction. I have some friends who are addicts and its quite possible that you are an addict too.
If I were to go to a support meeting for my addiction, this is what my introduction would sound like:
“Hi, my name is Alyssa, and I am addicted to ‘likes.’”
This is where everyone says, in unison, “Hi Alyssa.”
I started a Facebook page for my son Jaxon, mainly to keep my family and friends updated on his journey with Peter’s Anomaly, a rare eye disorder. Very quickly I realized we were getting a lot more followers than I had ever imagined we would. What can I say, my 9 month old in glasses is adorable, and who wouldn’t want to see pictures of that sweet face?
As the number of followers approached one thousand, I found myself getting a rush. “Oh my God babe! We just got 200 more ‘likes’!” was a common exclamation in our house. I found myself refreshing the page every five minutes just to see the number go up. It didn’t take long and I was hooked. I have never done heroine, but I imagine how a heroine addict feels when they find their next high. I was receiving dopamine to my brain, my heart would beat a little faster and a smile would appear on my face. People think my baby is cute! This is fun!
Then, I started doing things I wouldn’t normally do, just to feed my addiction. I started getting messages from other Facebook pages asking to participate in “share for shares” and yeah, I will admit, I ate it all up. I even sent messages to people asking them to share my page. Like a junkie, I wanted more, more, more.
This sounds pathetic, but if there was a day when our new “likes” were down, I had to find a way to get those babies flowin’ in again. I would search through my computer to find the most precious picture of my baby to entice new followers. It would work and I would feel a little better.
I know everyone knows someone out there who posts a selfie everyday and it appears their self-esteem hinges on how many “likes” they receive for each post. How about those people that post the very vague status that is clearly begging for attention? I never want to be seen as an attention-seeker, especially one who uses my child for attention.
I know I have said to my mom, “OMG, did you see how many likes I got on that last post?” I have also seen pictures of people that have huge followings and I think to myself, “I don’t understand how she got so many ‘likes’ on that picture. It isn’t even that cute.” Now I’m thinking to myself, “Really Alyssa, you sound like a jealous high school biotch.”
It’s embarrassing for me to admit this, but you know what they say, admitting your problem is the first step to overcoming it. Luckily for me, I caught myself early. One day, after I had checked my kid’s page for the thousandth time, I realized I hadn’t showered in 3 days, my son was missing, and I had been feeding my dog in the high chair instead of my kid.
Okay, that was an exaggeration, but I realized I was forgetting the reason I started the page in the first place because I got too caught up in the number of “likes” I was getting. I can’t live a life revolved around Facebook “likes.” I mean for Pete’s sake, I would be sitting at my computer on Facebook then accidentaly pick up my phone and check my Facebook.
My point is, I don’t want my self-worth measured by the number of followers I have. What if I miss my son’s first steps or the first time he says mama? Okay, another exaggeration. But, it seriously became an issue for me.
When I stepped back and realized how silly I was being, I asked myself, what could I do with this ability to reach thousands of people? I could inspire, make people’s day, and teach others. This isn’t about me, this is about finding a way to teach the world about my baby so his life, and the lives of children like him, will be better. I will gladly accept the followers I earn because they like the message I am trying to spread, but I am not going to beg for them.
I don't want to miss one precious moment with my little guy due to the fact that I was too busy finding ways to get new "likes." Afterall, my Jaxon is my superhero. He is, and always will by, my true addiction.