This might be painful, but I need to do it

Sometimes, leaving and finding your own place is the best decision, even if it hurts a little bit.

In 1993, after a 16-hour shift at work, a coworker showed me the magic of the internet in the computer lab in Neihardt Hall. She showed me how to log onto ISCA BBS, which opened up a new world of discussion and probably addiction for me.

At the time, I used anything I could to escape the thoughts in my mind. About 15 hours later, she stopped by and asked if I was logging on quickly before my shift.

“Uh, no,” I said. “I haven’t been home yet.”

I had less than an hour to grab something to eat, so I headed over the Little King, a place that had subs close to proper subs I could get in New York. They also had the best chili I’ve ever eaten. I had an eight-hour shift and then I was off for 24 hours.

That was my introduction to the internet. From ISCA, I discovered Usenet, MUDs (didn’t care for those), the gopher protocol – which also involved learning how to do Archie, Jughead, and Veronica searches – and Brinta BBS. I eventually moved on to Internet Relay Chat (IRC) before instant messengers took over. As the new century dawned, I spent a lot of time on IRC as well as Direct Connect.

Yes, I pirated stuff, but I also ripped and encoded rare stuff and was at a low level in the scene. Still, the places I hung out at provided rich resources for learning and debate. Those times are hard to come by these days.

I don’t need to write any long explanation. I’ve spoken to friends over the last year about how much Facebook triggers me, makes me angry, makes me sad, and completely frustrates me. Those are not qualities I want in my life.

I’ve struggled for years to spend less time online. It’s a distraction from the real issues I need to face.

The majority of friends I have live far from me and they keep in touch via text and email. While I have friends in Scottsbluff, I am under no illusion these people have lived here most of their lives and have their group of friends already set. I am not going to be shoehorned in. Outside of Facebook, they rarely keep in contact. I know they are interested in my life, but it is a casual interest and no one is pretending it is anything more.

Back in 1993, I had high hopes for the internet, but if I take an honest look at it in my life, it has been more detrimental than benefit. The detrimental bits have been soul-crushing and destructive. I don’t want or need that in my life.

Discourse has faded, especially over the past five years, and I don’t want to be a part of the hatred anymore. I don’t want to try to see reason with others who are so dug into their ideology – left and right – and just want to argue. It’s not beneficial. It’s not productive. I just want to live my life the best as I can and eliminating social media is the start.

I deleted two of my three twitter accounts. I’ve had them since July 2009. I don’t use them. My Irene North Twitter account will be deleted a few days after I let anyone who wants to know where I’m going. The other two are already gone.

I tried to delete Instagram, but it asked for my password, which I don’t know, and I’m not sure if I delete it with my Facebook password if Facebook goes away, too. To remedy this situation, I deleted the nine photos plus my profile picture so there is nothing there.

I would delete my tumblr account except 1) I don’t know the password and 2) I don’t remember my usename. I guess that will stay there forever.

For the moment, Facebook will remain. I honestly don’t know what to do with it. I’m struggling to determine where it fits – if it fits – in my life.

So, in order to keep in touch with anyone who would like to, you can always text me at 308 672 2021 or email irenenorth [at] irenenorth.com. I have also set up a Discord server to talk, show cat memes, see what I’m up to, post links to my writing, and anything else I think might be fun or pertinent to my life in general.

If you’d like to join me, this link is valid for the next seven days. If you don’t want to do so, that’s okay, too. If you want to join at a later date, you can contact me and I can generate a link for you.

As always, you can sign up to receive an email here whenever I post something to the blog. You’ll receive a confirmation email and then you’re all set. If you don’t want to do this or follow me to Discord, I also understand. We all need to make our own decisions for what is healthy for ourselves.

I need to make me number one above everything else and this is the best way for me to do so now.


It was just a knock at the door


Things the pandemic has taught me


  1. Rick Myers

    You must take care of yourself. There are so many distractions right now. I deleted Twitter and it was a bit of a positive head clearing experience.
    Your message and personal journey are obviously important to many people, who really do care.

  2. Steve

    I’m always up for a hike. (I owe the Summit Trail one.) Let me know when you’re fully vaxxed and we can be more IRL social. Totally understand the rest. I’m your friend for reals.

    • Irene

      I read today the Summit Trail and the road is closed due to a landslide. I’ll text you here in a bit.

  3. Carol Sinner

    How is Discord different than Facebook? I’m wondering about deleting Facebook or at least significantly cleaning house. Glad to hear you are deleting some accounts to take care of yourself. Please don’t think some friendships are casual or not worthy. This has been a tough year for many.

    • Irene

      If you’re familiar with IRC, it’s similar to it. If not, each server is individualized for specific things. For example, I’m on a private F1 server and the majority of conversations are about F1. I set up a private server for me and people I know to chat and have a little fun without the bullshit. I pruned my Facebook last summer as best as I could and I still can’t avoid the things I need and want to avoid. So, I’m trying something new to see if that works.

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