If I’m being completely honest, I never enjoyed viewing my step-mother’s life on parade bogging down my Facebook feeds. She was a postaholic, sharing photos of my 10-year-old half brother’s tennis lessons, playdates, and their twice yearly vacations. She was younger than my father by 30 years and a generation ahead in social media.
Last March, my dad and his new family went on a cruise. I noticed a lack of the standard #BestVacationEver photos in my feed. I blamed the bad WiFi on the cruise.
A few weeks passed and still no status updates. Curiously I checked her page and discovered I was no longer a friend. My step-mother deleted ME? Me, who accepted this woman with open arms when she came joined our family at age 21 (I was 25, my father was 51) after he divorced my mother after 25 years of marriage? I was expected to harbor no bad feelings, keep smiling and pretend life was normal. Now, 15 YEARS LATER, on a random March day, I’M DELETED?
I blamed it on my writing. In my 365 Project, I’m writing autobiographical essays every day and sharing them with, well, the Universe! She must have taken offense with something I wrote.
I called my sister to discuss these #FirstWorldProblems: “MASHA DELETED ME FROM FACEBOOK!”
“What? Why would she delete you? Are you sure? It must have been a technical glitch. I wonder if she’s still MY friend.”
My sister logged in to discover, NO.
“What the hell? You really think it’s about your writing?” She was clicking around to see who else remained in the precious friend list.
The investigation revealed in addition to my sister and me, she also deleted my husband, his clown persona, my sister, my two good friends, my father’s boss’ wife, and their daughter, and son. I deduced this was anyone mutually friends with me.
“I never shared any of the potentially misconstrued pieces on Facebook and she doesn’t go directly on my blog anyway. Besides, I’m giving my side of the story. Writing is how I cope with life. If something really bothered her, why wouldn’t she have a grown up conversation with me?”
In an effort to balance the power in my favor, I immediately found her on all my social media platforms and BLOCKED her. If she ever wanted to see anything, she was banished! I remained flabbergasted for two solid days, wondering if my conversations with my father would be any different. They weren’t. Days passed and I got over it quite easily. I realized I didn’t have to be taunted by the life my father was having without me in it. I didn’t need to ghost his new life any more than I wanted his new life in my old stories.
Last week I invited my father and his family over for the first time since the delete. Everyone arrived chipper. I anticipated an elephant in the room but there wasn’t one. The pool on our roof was open for the first time in the season and Masha sat next to my husband, friendly as ever; I was two seats away, with my eyes closed, just listening. She began talking about Facebook.
“I don’t do Facebook much anymore. I deleted almost everyone. My husband got so annoyed. His boss kept saying to him ‘Oh your wife she is all over that Facebook’ and he got sick of hearing it every day so I deleted everyone connected to him.”
So there you have it. Mystery revealed – apparently. She did it because my father said something. Deleted everyone connected to him (who’s not even on Facebook).
I call bullshit. Why wouldn’t she have told me “I’m deleting you, don’t take it personally, but I’m making a point to your father?” Why wait three months before saying anything at all?
Let’s remember to take Facebook at face value and not let it penetrate deeper. It’s best used as a high school reunion eliminator, an ex-boyfriend stalker, and the place where your stepmother can still one up you.