As one of the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” Brandi Glanville’s life played out on the small screen with tumultuous results. In her new memoir, “Drinking and Tweeting,” Glanville lays bare her life as a celebrity, a mother and a divorcee. Here’s an excerpt.
Remember the good old days when social media didn’t exist? When the first thing you grabbed in the morning was a cup of coffee and not your iPhone and when personal privacy wasn’t just a setting you have to select? I think of those pretech days as the golden years, when everything you said and did wasn’t an opportunity to alert five hundred of your “closest” friends (and something that could come back and bite you in the ass later).
Social media has completely changed the way we interact with one another. Instead of calling your best friend for a movie night, now you send him or her a Facebook message. Instead of mailing baby announcements when you have a child, you blast it out on Instagram. And instead of your casual one-night Vegas wedding to your former friend’s ex-husband one New Year’s Eve’s remaining between you, him, and the county clerk, it gets blasted to the Twitter-verse and ends up #Trending on every gossip site from here to Timbuktu. Oh, wait, that’s just me. Either way, social media has made even the most intimate events something you share with not only everyone you’ve ever met, but complete strangers—narcissism at its finest. It’s how people announce engagements, travel plans, weddings, pregnancies, new jobs, new relationships, new shoes, deaths, divorces, promotions, and even breakups.
I think social media is the enemy of anyone going through a split. Technology is no longer just how we connect with each other, it’s how we disconnect with each other. You used to be able to break up with someone (a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, or friend), and he or she virtually disappeared from your life. And that’s the way it’s supposed to be, isn’t it?
Sure, occasionally a certain sappy song or romantic movie would come on, and you’d wonder what he or she was up to, but there was no way to know. Of course, you could always pick up the phone (and more recently, text or e-mail), but that would require that person’s knowing you were thinking of him or her. Where’s the fun in that? You never want them to know you’re thinking of them, so you refrain. Before long the memories start to fade. One day, you realize you can’t quite remember how she smelled or the exact color of his eyes. Eventually, without ever knowing it, you just forget that person altogether. You replace old memories with new ones, and life goes on. It was the clean break you needed to move forward.
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Well, Facebook f____d that up, didn’t it? Welcome to 2013, ladies and gays. A breakup is no longer grabbing a tub of ice cream, a box of Kleenex, and watching The Notebook. Today, it’s the chance to enter into a second, extremely unhealthy phase of your breakup: cyber-stalking. You know what I’m talking about. It’s that impulse to constantly refresh his Twitter feed to see if he has posted anything new. Or that urge to routinely check Instagram for new photos of that face that you should already have long forgotten. So thanks to some dorky dude from Harvard—and the virtual parade of social media that followed—we can subject ourselves to this cruel form of self-torture. I was cursed with a front-row seat into my ex-husband’s brand-new life without me. Via his new girlfriend’s Twitter page, I was pretty much able to witness every moment of their lives—partially because I was obsessed with tracking him, and partially because she loved to post s__t to piss me off (and still does). #FML. I knew better. You know better. We all know better. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop. It’s completely masochistic, but strangely satisfying. After months of waffling, you finally decide that you have mustered enough courage to “unfollow” that person on Twitter or “defriend” him or her on Facebook—a decision you will undoubtedly regret when you’re psychotically driven to check whether his profile photo has changed or when you’re obsessively counting how many tweets he posted in your absence (especially if he is “private”). #CrazyTown. However, that’s better than the alternative when one day you go to check his profile and you’ve been defriended, or worse . . . BLOCKED. #Gut- Punch. Or perhaps you’re like me and never “friend” or “follow” your ex and his or her new partner to begin with. Instead, you stalk their profiles through mutual friends, because you don’t want to give them the satisfaction of knowing that you follow them.
In my opinion, social media can easily become this all-consuming obsession that drives you to other vices (such as countless bottles of white wine).
However, I’m not entirely sure if I subscribe to the idea of “twee-hab” (in which people seek professional help for social-media addictions). I can totally relate to those people who feel social media has taken over their lives, but cyber-rehab? Really? If you have the kind of money to check yourself into therapy because you can’t stop tweeting, go buy a plane ticket to Maui and take a vacation instead.
For those people with preexisting dependencies and addictive personalities, it can be especially dangerous. And if that’s the case, seeking medical treatment to help conquer those demons is commendable. I just don’t believe that regular people need treatment just because they can’t stop refreshing their news feeds.
But if you’re like me, and you used social media as an emotional crutch to maintain some kind of self-destructive connection with someone that you should already have let go of, you don’t need cyber-rehab, you need to take your life back. But like all things, it’s easier discussed than done (except sex, which is easier done than discussed!).
I blame Eddie for breaking my heart, but I blame social media for keeping it broken for so long.
From DRINKING AND TWEETING AND OTHER BRANDI BLUNDERS by Brandi Glanville. Copyright ©2013 by Brandi Glanville. Reprinted with permission from Gallery, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
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