After my (now ex) boyfriend cheated on me, just three months after he begged me to go Facebook official with our relationship and tell the world (read: our intermingled social circles) of our love, I was too ashamed to stay on Facebook. I deactivated my account the same day I broke up with him.
I was mortified. Here I was, humiliated by the man I thought loved me, the man I knew I loved, in front of our entire world. And what’s more, his cheating was indiscriminate — committing heinous sexual acts with anyone he could find on Tinder, and then coming home and kissing me. At 22 years old, I had never been in a relationship significant enough to change my Facebook status. Having the first one that did, fail so miserably, was a profound blow to my pride.
I stayed off the platform for two and a half years. I needed to heal. I couldn’t face my community — filled with happy, oblivious lovebirds and an entire church who refused to vindicate me — with anything less than disgust. I hated the happiness of those around me. Moreover, I hated a church that betrayed me, and every Christian within it. I wanted nothing to do with any of them.
I finally returned to Facebook one month ago, hopeful that my hiatus had proven healing. I asked my mother to reactivate my profile before I got on, and block every one of my ex-boyfriend’s family members. I worked for his mother for a year after we broke up. The damage she did to me was worse than her son ever could have, and I didn’t want to see her face ever again.
Once my mother completed her task, I returned to the platform, trudging through the task of removing all evidence of him. I scrolled down my timeline, looking for his first comment with baited breath, afraid of the rush of memories that would intoxicate me at first glance of his name. I was surprised by joy instead.
With each deletion I made, peace grew more and more apparent, and I found myself thanking the God I once cursed that I had been saved from such a monster. The past two and a half years have been a time where I have questioned, intensely, the love of God. Even in such a time of doubt, I was certain, if only for a moment, of His love for me. My confidence in Him ebbs and flows, but in this time of need, He was there for me.
After I took out the trash that was my former relationship, I took a look around, thinking that surely my suffering was unique. After all, life for most people was sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows. I owned the corner on the market in suffering. Right?
I saw people going through divorces, people battling cancer. I saw sisters burying brothers, wives burying husbands, mothers welcoming profoundly disabled children into the world. I saw pain — great and terrible pain — and while I grieved with those who ached, I became increasingly aware of just how inconsequential my suffering was. Yes, what I had been through was difficult. I felt just as betrayed by God as anyone else. But when affronted by the scales of pain, the suffering that I formerly considered so uniquely heavy suddenly felt unusually light.
After such a significant hiatus, the platform I once hated increased in fondness in my heart. And, for the first time in two and a half years, I felt maybe just a little bit less alone. We were all suffering, but we were all together in it.
I advocate for social media, not as someone who formerly used the platform to make my “friends” aware of my significance; my success. Rather, I advocate for social media because when we share our suffering with one another, it makes us feel a whole lot more together. A whole lot smaller, but a whole lot more seen. More loved. And maybe just a little bit more whole, too.
And as for me? Well, let’s just say maybe the God we speak of really does love me, after all.