They say you shouldn’t use the word hate, because it’s very strong. It makes you look nasty, and mean-spirited. Well guess what? Sometimes, I hate this interconnected online world. I hate the way my Gmail is linked to my Facebook and my cell contacts are synced with everyone I know on Twitter, and Pinterest and every other account I’ve ever had. I hate the way Skype is now a Microsoft account thing, and the way my contacts are duplicated because there’s Facebook friends, and Outlook contacts (whatever happened to Hotmail anyway?) and something called a Yahoo Friend.
Want to know why I hate it? Want to know why it sucks? Because you won’t go away, even after I’ve cut you so painfully from my life.
Even after I’ve hacked at my heart to get rid of you, torn you like a mass of entangled nerves, woven into me, from my spirit, you just won’t go away. It’s been three months, and I’m idly whizzing through my contacts, stuck in a doctor’s office, and whoops. There you are, with that picture I picked out for you, that you insisted you hated. There is momentary alarm. Didn’t I delete you?
Oh, I realize: My phone auto-synced my contacts with my Facebook. Delete.
It’s been six months. I’ve gone through three crazy anxiety cycles, willing myself not to think about you. We haven’t spoken once, but a thousand conversations have played out in my mind. My friends keep telling me to chill, sympathy in their eyes, but I wish there was an actual pill for that, because I can’t seem to handle this on my own. I wake up telling myself I’m good, this is a better day, I haven’t thought about you in thirteen hours and 47 minutes and 3 seconds. I’m having Cheerios at the dining table, streaming some Vampire Diaries, and a little Skype blurb pops up.
You’re online. The spoon tumbles from my lips.
Why are you on my Skype? Why is there an option to call you? To video call you? Oh, God. My Outlook contacts are integrated with my Skype now, and it’s asking me if I’d like to add 417 other friends. I wish I had never sent you an email from my Outlook. Delete.
It’s been a year. My online presence has been cleansed of you. You are not my Facebook friend, LinkedIn connection, fellow Pinner, Twitter follower, or Insta-buddy. I’ve even gone on a paranoid social-media purging bender and kicked you out of my Google + circles. Your favorite songs have been kicked off my iTunes playlists, and the <3 list on my Soundcloud. It’s done. I’m clean. And then, like a thief in the night, you’re where I never expected you to be.
I’m digging through the caverns of my Dropbox (100 GB) and it turns out it’s been syncing every photo I’ve ever taken – including dozens of you. You, you, you, that I hadn’t even remembered. That quick smile from the driver’s seat as you realized I had my camera app open, a blurry close up of your hand as you try to knock it away from me, a couple of crazy laughing ones, water streaming down our happy faces – preserving memories that I loved.
That I need to get rid of.
It’s been 14 months. You’re gone, and more importantly, the reminders of you are gone. I can move on with my life, and I hope you have already done so. Maybe I don’t hate the interconnected world quite as much as I thought I did. Maybe hate is too strong a word. Maybe I’ve forgotten something, and one day you’ll pop up in a notification somewhere; if you do, I’ll be okay.
I’ll be okay.
PS: This post was written to support everyone out there struggling with letting go, because it’s only natural. Hang in there, friends.