In September 2017, I made a heavily pondered yet hasty decision to rid myself of social media. For the past few years, I had been feeling guilty about my over-use of social media, mainly Facebook and Instagram. I used them to fill idle time and distract myself from life, and part of me had forgotten how to function without this constant distraction.
I was also getting more and more concerned about how wanting to look funny or smart in short posts was affecting my thinking. The amount of time I spent trying to come up with succinct witticisms was starting to bleed into my automatic thoughts. I’d be in the shower, and my mind would randomly produce the kind of truncated pseudo thoughts that filled my facebook and instagram accounts. I had gotten worried that this type of stunted communication would erode my ability to have complete thoughts.
I had also found that social media was bad for my self esteem. I have always struggled with the temptation to try to be something or someone other than myself, and social media had made it easy for me to publish an idea of myself that I wanted everyone to see while ignoring things that were less share-able. Even my attempts to be authentic were shrouded in promoting something about myself I wanted everyone to notice. Posting ugly pictures of myself after working out seemed like an attempt to be “real” but still brought attention to the fact that I was trying to be healthy, which I’d much rather people know about me than the fact that I hate gaining weight and feel disgusted by my body when it doesn’t look like the image I’ve been programmed to want.
It all came to a front when I saw the movie Ingrid Goes West. It’s a beautiful film that walks the line between being dark, truthful, and hilarious and has a lot to say without seeming preachy. It reminds me of Get Out in terms of its ability to expose some of the grossest aspects of our culture without trying to motivate the audience to take a certain action. It just made me sit with my discomfort, which sent me home wondering why I hadn’t taken control of my social media abuse before. With the spotlight on this issue, I ran out of excuses and justifications and finally acted.
I’m not sure how a blog is meant to help with any of this, other than giving me a place to write and reflect in a way that is hopefully much more realistic, cathartic, and thoughtful than my social media posts. Maybe it’s my social media detox protocol and will help ease me into fully unplugging one day. Social media distracted me from writing, which has always been a hobby of mine, and I’m looking forward to sharing my stories and opinions in a more meaningful way.