When ‘no social media’ was not my main problem
When I was younger (teens), my days were determined by my hairbrush or curling iron. If I were on a “bad hair” day, I was destined to have a bad day, period. It wouldn’t matter. I’d leave the bathroom grumpy and ready for a fight. Sometimes near tears. And, it was the 80s, so you know I had ALL sorts of lousy hair days back then! Add the fact that I was a teenager AND female. UGH! My poor father! And, for that matter, my poor mom! Teenage girls are the worst! And, when she’s having a bad hair day… look out!
As I got a little older, had a few kids of my own (boys, thank goodness!), the scales became my fortune teller. If I stepped on that thing and he even came close to revealing a number that I didn’t like… oh, heaven help anyone around me! My mood was so easily influenced by that monster that I dreaded standing on it, but I couldn’t start my day without it. It was like a bad habit. I KNEW the number really didn’t matter, and I KNEW the number was skewed in my head. I KNEW it. But it was this weird trigger. If the number was larger than I wanted it to be, the clothes I put on simply didn’t fit (even if they did the day before). The mirror made me look like a chunky monkey looking for rocky road ice cream to dip my bananas in. If the number was lower than I was expecting, you’d think I’d just walked off the high-fashion runway! I’d smile more, laugh more, simply enjoy the day more. And the number could have been only 1 digit different from the day before when I was sure the circus had come to town looking for me. The scales were a horrific creature.
And then, once I slew that dragon, other things determined how my day would go, and lately, I realised it was social media that was my new benchmark. And, how sick is that? I really should see a therapist.
Can you imagine life with no social media?
Our world is so immersed in the aspect of being “social”. Our smartphones have a gazillion apps so that we can stay in touch with family, friends, and complete strangers near and far. Everyone has an opinion. Most people don’t have a filter. And, I was eating it up just like everyone else. I was a sheep, I’d wake up every morning, grab my phone and flip through my different apps to see what was going on in the world. And then I send my “news” into cyberspace and wait to see who responded or how they responded. I’d check my phone a bazillion times a day. Again, perusing every app. And, I don’t even use a tenth of what’s available. My apps of choice are Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Foursquare (now Swarm), Runkeeper, Meetup, and WordPress. Just these few could keep me on my phone for HOURS, and I could get nothing else done. And, these apps would sort of determine how my day would be. Obviously, if people “liked” my posts or my photos, that would make me happy and since there isn’t a dislike button (thank goodness!), all the negative posts that I would read dragged me down. I felt the weight of all the unhappiness, the unfairness, the ugliness of humankind. All of it would just be too much, and I’d roll out of bed defeated, rejected and insecure. And most times, the posts had absolutely nothing to do with me, nor would they even affect my day. But still… I couldn’t start my day without all of that nonsense. I had to know. And, I’d try to put my little “normalcy” out into the universe—my shot of positivity. My dose of “you’ve got this!”. And it just seemed to go on deaf ears. Did anyone hear me? Did anyone care? More and more of my days were destined to be doomed because my social media accounts were bursting with negativity, and I couldn’t fix it. And, I let those bad vibes permeate into my soul.
I had to get away, regroup. I can’t solve all the world’s problems. Heck, I can’t even solve my own.
No social media: The first days
The first couple of days of not posting or looking on the sites about drove me crazy. It seemed like all this fun stuff was happening to me, and I just wanted to share it with everyone! Every 2 hours, I was about to say, “I would so post this!” My husband was beside himself. Finally, he shouted, “so post it!”.
At first, I was hurt. Didn’t he understand that I couldn’t post? I couldn’t look to see what was going on in the social world. I had called a 31 day fast from it. And once I set a goal, it ain’t gonna change. Didn’t he get it? No, actually, he didn’t. And at the time, I didn’t even get it. Why couldn’t I? What was the harm? What was the big deal? But as the days went on and my withdrawal felt normal, I realised that I didn’t need to know all that stuff. I had more going on in my own little patch of land, and I didn’t need to share it with everyone and get their opinion of it.
I did wonder if anyone missed me. Did anyone notice that I had gone “dark”? Did my quiet voice cause concern? Or did the world just go on without me, and I was just another blip on the screen?
I did receive a few calls from family members. “Why haven’t you been on FB?” “Did you see so and so’s picture on Instagram?” I’d tell them all is okay; I just needed to get away from it for a while, and no, I didn’t see the picture. I did get a few texts from friends. Usually, the question was, “are you still running?” I guess 99% of my posts are about running. LOL! Since that’s what I do 99% of my time… Go figure. And, I’d bump into people in public. You know, like face-to-face, and we could actually have a conversation. It would be a full-on dialogue! In the past, I’d run into people I knew on Facebook, and the conversation always revolved around what was on Facebook. But, if you’re not on there, you get to have a back and forth conversation that is engaging and enlightening. You see facial expressions; you hear voice inflection. It’s crazy! Just like the old days when you chatted with each other while looking at each other. Amazing!So, just like the hairbrush and curling iron… they can still drive me crazy, but typically if my hair is not cooperating, I just yank it back in a ponytail and go on my way. Every once in a while, I step on the monster in the bathroom. The number doesn’t really mean anything to me, but I look at it. Sometimes I think, “yeah, I should probably run another mile”, and sometimes I think “, wow, can’t even tell I ate all that pasta last night!” And my social media fetish? Well, I hope I’ve broken its spell on me. I hope whatever I post adds a smile to someone’s face. If you feel you’ve become addicted, try a no social media period once in a while and let yourself experience the old good face-to-face interaction with your friends and family.