I’ve had a love-hate relationship with social media for years. The past 2 years, I’ve been obligated to keep my Facebook for professional reasons, but finally I have found the loophole that helps me get rid of it once and for all. I’ve also spent a good part of the past year without Instagram.
When I finally decided to pull the plug on my accounts, I was met with nothing but a profound sense of relief. I was so tired of asking myself how my life choices would be received, what would this group of people say, what photo should I post, who was wearing what, etc, etc. This is a poisonous and detrimental way of living, and for so long I had fought against it but slid right back in.
What Is Life Like Now?
Life without social media is just that: Life. Life that is fuller: a little rounder, a little sweeter.
Just this morning, I opened my windows to the singing birds, and let the sun spill across my blankets. I brewed fresh coffee, let my thoughts drift to my valentines evening and my boyfriend with his glorious, championing heart. I held this moment in the sun, and kept it just for me. I did think “my what a pretty scene” and imagined the photo I could take. I had saved a mental picture of Steven, with his eyes alive and dancing as he talked about a dog he is adopting, last night at dinner. I flew to Texas this past weekend to support my family in the hardest moment we’ve had in my lifetime: I could have snapped some airport shots, or shared some lighter moments in that heavy time..but I did not. These scenes have become more dear to me because they are the pith of life, and I do not wish to broadcast them.
Time management is not a strong suit of mine. I can easily lose hours in a day by scrolling through beautifully curated lives of strangers, or Pinterest feeds. Hours in a day wasted. There is nothing at all productive about my time perusing social media. Not a thing accomplished. Without these things at my fingertips, I am stepping up to the plate and making sure my to-do lists are actually being accomplished.
In the slow moments of the evening, when I would have reached for my phone or pulled out my laptop, I try to reach for my sketchpad, notepad, or books. I have tools given to me, why would I let them grow dull? Sometimes watching others make art without making my own, is similar to the children I work with watching other children play games online, without actually playing themselves. Why do we do this?? Why do we take such a passive approach to creativity?
A Healthy Dose of Humble
Social media breeds narcissism. We as a society have been told that our thoughts, feelings, ideas, dreams, fears, meals, hairstyles, work-out routines, DIY crafts, religious beliefs, political leanings, etc. deserve to be publicized because we are GLORIOUS. We naturally need positivity and love to thrive as humans: what is a better way to shortcut that, than to acquire positive affirmation with the click of one simple button.
In the real world, you don’t matter as much as you think you do. You’re a small and yes, important, piece of a larger tapestry. You are beautiful and wonderful, but the people around you should matter more to you than your own self. Life is more than getting your own way, and living your own perfectly curated life. Life is the sum total of grey days, dark days, buttery warm days, bright shining days, and the nondescript days; all these days should be spent looking outwards at the people around us, upwards to the God who loves us, and not hyper-focused on the internal world of “me me me”.
I’m not perfect: some days I’m selfish and self-absorbed. Some days I waste away doing nothing of value. I’m just hoping that weening myself from the toxic lies of social media, will help me to value the flesh and blood around me, and the plumpness of days and grit of life.