I mentioned in my last post that I’d taken a timeout from social media recently. I’ve known for a long time I needed to make a change in that department. Still, it took a couple friends doing it in January for me to take the plunge. Nothing like some positive peer influence.
I was pretty certain it would be really fucking tough for me. I unconsciously checked twitter and insta (my drugs of choice) several times a day. It was just a nice little distraction that often led down vacuous holes of comment trails or I’d come up for air on some stranger’s page, no idea how I got there.
And so I signed out. I wasn’t quite ready to delete the precious little apps, but it still felt pretty significant. After all, I couldn’t remember my passwords. Who can?
And you know what? Instead of feeling lost for what to do, I surprised myself by feeling utter relief. The first couple of days my thumb still unconsciously tapped the little blue bird or camera lens, but it just made me more conscious of the reflex. After just a few days, I stopped altogether. Blink blink. Hello world! It was so refreshing. Not to say I couldn’t find other ways to distract myself–oh I have wayyyyys–but there’s something very specific about the way those two apps were making me feel. Spoiler: it wasn’t good.
Instagram had morphed from a fun, creative little outlet and connection tool to something that just made me feel mostly kind of insecure and inadequate. Twitter, on the other hand, started as an easy way to get updated on current events and have little bite-sized entertainment. What it became–for me anyway–was just another bottomless distraction tool, mostly taking me from one political or social crisis to the next. And frankly, I was getting exposed to far too many Trump twitter storms for someone who has never followed the nutter.
Suffice it to say, I took a big step back for a few weeks. By the time I’d deprived myself sufficiently–about 6 weeks in–I started to pop back here and there. I’m finding, for now I can still forget about it for days at a time. Having said that, even 5 minutes a couple times per week can leave me feeling bummed out. What’s that all about?
It’s really made me meditate about my own posts too. Are my pictures making people feel like shit? I’m not sure I have even the slightest influence, but if I did would it be positive or not? It’s only the highlight reel and there’s a good chance someone else sees my filtered photos of shiny, clean, smiling kids and thinks they’re failing because their day-to-day looks different. So does mine PS, but I’m not posting those pictures either. There’s a huge disconnect. And there is nothing wrong with only posting the nice bits. At all. You do you. I know logically no one is posting with the intention to make anyone feel less-than. Far from it. I just find it’s not super healthy for me at the moment. I can’t seem to stop the comparisons.
As for twitter, well, I do kind of love it sometimes. However, I’m trying my darndest to fill my free moments in ways that serve me better. Entering the minefield of twitter doesn’t always feel like the best use of my time. Not right now anyway.
So that’s where I’m at and hence why social media is taking a back seat for me. Why there’s dust on my Feather and Pine instagram page. I’m kind of hopeful this’ll be a long-term thing if I’m honest, unless I have a huge shift in my ability to keep it super light. Or who knows? Maybe it’ll transform into a mostly positive platform again.
In the meantime, I’m experimenting with different ways to fill those spaces. The other day instead of staring at my phone while Finn napped, I made a whole photo book. A few days later, I restarted an old cross-stitching project. Sometimes I nap or write for a bit or clean. Sometimes I watch a show I’ve been saving or a podcast. The point is that I’m reclaiming that brief respite in the middle of the day for things that are nourishing for me. I ask myself, what do I actually want to do? I’d say 98% of the time the answer is not look at my phone. It doesn’t mean reading stuff on the internet is all bad either. It just has had a really unhealthy hold on me that I’m working to sever. It is not easy, man. And yet I can feel it is getting better all the time. I’m hopeful.
And now that the buds are popping and the actual birds are twittering again, it feels harder to resist the pull of the world around me. To look and listen and be present. I’m like a mole person seeing the daylight again! Blinding, warm and alluring.