The Last Social Media Post

Dear *Friends*,

This will be my last social media post. Not for a while, forever. Not that I’m planning on dying anytime soon, but I am never coming back to the cold glowing bonfire of posting.

Before I go, I wanted to clear up a few things that I have been silent about.

I’ve never posted a single pink ribbon on my site but: I am against breast cancer, and for breast cancer awareness. I mean, I am really, really anti-breast cancer but never said it here. I am against all cancer for that matter and for all cancer awareness and as I go I exhort you to get a colonoscopy. You don’t have to post about it. I didn’t post about mine. I do refer to colonoscopy prep as the long dark night of the colon, words which I’ve never posted. I didn’t even post that the doctor told me I had a beautiful colon. I should have posted a picture of my beautiful colon, but the lighting was weird.

Also, I am for mental health awareness even though I never reposted what you posted about mental health awareness telling me that if I was really a *friend* and cared I would repost it as proof of our *friend*ship. Which, to be honest, if that’s the level of our *friend*ship, that I am exhorted to respond to a vaguely threatening post by reposting it so you know we are really, truly friends then I suspect we should hang up our dancing shoes.

I don’t post about shows I go to, because I’ve been living in the same theater community for 26 years and posting a positive show about one means you must post glowingly about everything you see. And if I’m out of town seeing plays I don’t post because I don’t believe in announcing to my 1300 closest *friends* that I’m out of town in case one or more of them have hit on hard times and need a little somethin’ somethin’ from our house.

I don’t post from vacations for the same reason. Also because I am painfully aware that many people can’t afford vacations. Sometimes when I get home I post. Clearly I’m conflicted on this one. Private message me before I go if you’ve got answers.

Speaking of kids, and families. I’ve got 2 kids and 1 husband and though I do post the occasional photo, not nearly as much as you might expect considering we are a loving quartet. Because? Well, my kids are smarter than me and have little to no social media interaction. Thanks the goddesses there was no Facebook when they were little because 1) they were the cutest ever (and I would fight you on that but I’m a pacifist) and I would have posted lots of babies-in-the-bath photos which I would now regret in regards to their privacy and 2) when I was with them we were doing just that, being with each other and I was not composing posts in my head about what a good/struggling/funny/weary/ferocious/fill-in-the-blank mother I was. I talked to them and sang to them and read to them and loved them with all my heart. The 1 husband has never been on social media of any kind and so never, ever posts anywhere about how much he loves me and how besotted he still is with me and how every day of our 30 year marriage has been a magical and thrilling adventure so your job is to assume all that is true and imagine what he looks like swooning over me while I floss my teeth. Many people who meet him tell me they thought he’d be taller. I always feel as if I’ve disappointed them somehow by not having a tall husband. So a thing about me is, I wasn’t thinking about height when I fell in love. He played the digeridoo, threw knives, rode a motorcycle and cooked really well. He also loved music so I turned him into a sound designer, the best you could ever hope to work with. I took all that over being able to produce photos where I could be seen gazing lovingly up at my husband.

I haven’t posted food pictures, or recipe adventures but I can tell you before I go I’m a middling to decent cook and I make a killer banana bread from a NY Times recipe. It’s got white miso in it! The other day I tried to send it to a *friend* and the message was blocked for indecency. That’s what the internet does to our tender brains, white miso banana bread is an obscenity but someone getting seriously injured doing a stunt is hilarity.

I don’t post my workouts and certainly no photos of my abs. I don’t post diets. The word alone makes me hungry. But I work out all the time and eat really well but why would I post that? It’s more likely to make people feel competitive or bad about themselves than inspired. I know it’s called Facebook but me, I try to keep photos of my face and bod to a minimum. Maybe I’m leaving because I’m just bad at social media.

Anyway, you should know that I once tried that test to find out what kind of classical painting I most represented, and it turns out I look like an old Dutch man in a Vermeer painting. I never posted that either.

I didn’t post when my big sister, my half-sister, my father, my mother and my stepfather died, even though I know I could have gotten oodles of attention. Other people post complex emotions and rocky mental health journeys and sobriety anniversaries. I come from history and share those things selectively. I am ever hopeful though, that for those who share life’s strifes and strains that plenty of feeling truly supported comes from it.

I don’t post accidents, surgeries, illness, hospitalization. Sometimes I want friends and *friends* to know, but I believe that insurance companies can, will and do use that information against us which is as close to a conspiracy theorist as I get.

If you’re reading this carefully, and if we are really friends you will, you will find 23 things about me buried in the screed, but you won’t find any 23 and Me results posted because I’ve never taken the test, and neither has my dog. If you really want to know I’ll tell you what my family has always known. Looking at any one picture of me will inform you: we are a pale people from damp, cold Northern climes; Wales and Sweden to be exact. We feature the recessive genes for blue eyes and red hair and I promise you we won’t be around for many more generations. Our blue eyes are too sensitive to light and we sunburn at dawn. If you sneeze near us we bruise and our pain tolerance hovers around zero. Dentists and Obstetricians know this. Our skin is fragile and tears easily, a lesson I had reinforced during childbirth but gosh darn it I never posted a video of me giving birth. Tell you what, if you come to my house, I’ll re-enact it for you so it can live in your memory for ever. And ever. The bonus reel includes live sound and the doctor’s puzzled face as he began to sew the pieces back together.

The truth is that social media often makes me feel like a loser, like I am actively losing each day. All the bold and certain political statements and righteous anger makes me feel wobbly and weak-minded. And man, other people’s vacations look amazing, their food looks extraordinary, their families look so fun and together, their gigs and digs look superior, their craft projects ambitious and successful, and they are selfie-ing on the regular with much more interesting well-known people. As the kids say “I just…can’t…”

Lately I have found that the more I am enjoying an event, the less likely I am to take any photos at all. Except of my dog and other dogs which my feed is filled with. Dogs are endlessly fascinating because they are where they are from moment to moment. Squirrel! They aren’t thinking at all of how cute they look, or how to look skinnier by twisting their hips just so or what clever thing they have to say about the fun romp they just had. And if I’m around, they don’t have to, because I will do it for them.

A few more things before I go: I am against racism and I believe white privilege exists and that I have benefited from it. I strive to be actively anti-racist but fear that I flail and fail at that. I am pro LBGTQ and think the trans backlash is a lizard brain response to our magnificent brave new world. I am against all forms of war and violence; for serious gun reform; universal health care; universal pre-K; on-site daycare at places of employment; reproductive rights – safe medical abortion on demand and birth control. Whew. Things I never post because if you knew me, you would know.

I do post when I go to a protest or a march, which I have been doing since 1984, only because I hope it encourages other people to get out there too. But I’m not sure my voice adds all that much to the daily once-in-a-100-year flood of voices on social media. I’m not sure that it’s not time for people like me, white, privileged, literally thin-skinned to become full-time listeners. Maybe that’s what I can bring to the chaos. Talking less, listening more.

Mostly I’m on because I’m a free-lance theater person, and we provide our own publicity these days, and work begets work. I don’t post auditions except for that one reel I made “101 Auditions, or How I Spent my Pandemic” which cracked me up. I hope you saw that. I don’t work much, or as much as I would like, but I post about work so much that when I see people IRL they say “Boy you’ve been working a lot” so maybe it’s been backfiring, and they think I’m too busy to call for a gig.

Every day I ride the bumper car of emotions: serenity, rage, frustration, gratitude, sadness, joy, exhaustion, love, disgust (those are just some samples of my emotional smorgasbord. You’re welcome). And never, ever do I post that spinning wheel of feels for*friends*.

It’s been wild, all this sharing and righteousness and demands and neediness and beauty and I will truly miss updates on your gigs, vacations and pictures of your babies. But I’m going back now, back to an earlier time when the phone would ring and you’d think: I wonder who that is? back to the wilds of my mind and whoever is near me in real life. Like people I can hear coming down the stairs or driving up to my house. Maybe life will be tinier. Maybe life will be kinder. I want to kidnap my concentration back so that it will range far and wide again, like a hungry wolf, instead of these brief heartbeats of focus followed by 12 reasons to look at my – omg a baby elephant!

And when I do die, like ya do, hopefully you’ll feel a little ping in your heart, a kind of small “aw” and you will want to go on social media to express your grief. But also, maybe, don’t. Instead, go on out into that day and talk to a person IRL and tell them about this person you once knew. And hear your voice as it journeys through the changes of memory, then, if this induces crying (and let’s be honest I’m kind of hoping it will) blow your nose, lick your tears and then, please, put on some loud music (afro-pop, hip hop and good old rock n’roll all accepted) and dance till sweaty. Or find yourself a dog to sit with. Because that dog could be me, in the moment, with you.


Leigh Strimbeck Writer’s Biography

Plays written include: Dog People, Poor Bastard, Loss for Words; as well as the one woman show The Queen of Fenway Court: Isabella Stewart Gardner; all with the support of Berkshire Voices. Other plays include Yours: A Centennial Celebration of Russell Sage College; This House Builded; devised plays MIRROR, MIRROR; I’m Not a Feminist But...; plays co-written include: Berwick, America!, with Gerard Stropnicky; Here Be Dragons with Paul Outlaw; Letters to the Editor with the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble (BTE). Associate member of BTE; former artist in residence in the theater program at Russell Sage College and adjunct acting professor at SUNY Albany. Head of the Actors Program for NY State Defenders Association Basic Trial Skills Program.

Proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG/AFTRA. For reel and more info: