Liz is going through a Facebook detox for Advent – she says she’s starting a little early. Which is the thing I wanted to bring up here.
But first I have to confess that I wrote that first sentence and then realized that I wasn’t totally sure when Advent was supposed to start. Or if the word “Advent” was supposed to be capitalized.
I’m also not completely positive what Advent is.
Look, I’m not an idiot – I know it’s around December. And I know it has to do with the Christmas season because we have an Advent Calendar. You open these little doors every day and bam – chocolate.
I use the word Advent for one reason – I’m a Christian and I’m supposed to know what it means. I’m pretty good at using the word in a sentence to sound like I know what I’m talking about. For example, if I’m walking through the lobby in church and I pass some cinnamon-scented potpourri or something, I’ll smile serenely at the person next to me and say, “Don’t you just love this holy season of Advent?”
There are times when I find myself caught up in the air using a Christian term and I realize that I don’t actually know precisely what I’m talking about. And I know that I should know, but I became a Christian in my thirties and so I have these embarrassing gaps in my knowledge. I also know that the first commandment ain’t “learn what Advent is,” it’s “Love Your Neighbor” and so I’m gonna focus on that one. For everything else I have Wikipedia.
But here’s the thing – I’m not one to actually admit that I don’t know things like that.
I, my friends, am a gifted faker.
I became a gifted faker by working hard at it. I was driven to it (thanks for asking!) because I don’t like people to know that I don’t know something. Especially when I strive to be what we call the spiritual leader of our family (which, to non-Christians, probably sounds like some kind of dead-eyed shaman). That means I am supposed to be a model of servant-leadership. You know, like Jesus. And nothing screams Jesus like faking like you know vocabulary words so you won’t look like an idiot.
So as you can imagine, with all my fakery-talent, I’m an ideal Facebook user: All image, All the time. You think I’m posting photos on Facebook of what I’m doing right now? Hanging out in sweatpants eating old Halloween candy?
And next thing you know I’m eating Milk Duds.
Man, I don’t even like Milk Duds.
So why is Liz doing a Facebook detox through Christmas? Because of people like her husband. Because I am determined to show my super-ultra best self on social media.
No– wait. Even that’s not true.
It’s not true because me on a beach in Cape Cod with my daughter on my shoulders, hair coiffed, with just the right filter, on an autumn day? That’s not the best Conor at all. That’s the Conor I hide behind so that nobody asks me if anything’s wrong. Or worse, people thinking something’s wrong and not asking me and instead just talking about how something’s wrong with me behind my back. And of course something’s wrong! Because that’s life! But ain’t no way I’m gonna share that on social media. My problems are mine alone, and I’ll deal with them like a man: By sitting around in sweatpants with college football on in the background, eating old candy that he stole from his kids.
Now, the right thing to say – the rallying cry – is that I’m going to start posting REAL STUFF on Facebook, right? Yeah! The revolution begins now, people! Who’s with me!?
But I’m not going to do that. Because I have my limits, friends. And I don’t need to be prancing around Facebook with caramel stuck in my beard and posting updates about how I just burned dinner but somehow found a way to blame my third grade son because he was asking me for help on his homework while I was cooking.
Check my feed. That picture ain’t there, people.
Facebook can be poisonous to our psyche. Liz is right to call it a detox.
The reason I restarted this blog was to try to work out where I’m failing. Not to beat myself up, but because I am human and deeply flawed. And the sooner I recognize that, the sooner I can be humble in front of my wife and my kids and ask for forgiveness when I screw up.
Then maybe I can tell my kids that it’s okay when they don’t know precisely what “Advent” means because I didn’t really know what it meant either and I’m forty three.
Speaking of which, I looked up Advent. “The first season of the Christian church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays.” So technically it starts next week. In case you were wondering. But at least I know now. Because being ignorant doesn’t mean you can’t start learning new stuff. I encourage my kids all the time. And forty three seems like a good age to start encouraging myself, too.