Don't confuse this with me getting rid of all technology for the week. I still indulged in Netflix, scrolled through Pinterest and wrote all on my laptop. Cranked the stereo to WAXX 104.5 which is my go-to radio station and when that was static, I threw in the old CDs I had collected when I was fifteen. Used a landline to schedule appointments and relied on an old-fashioned alarm clock to wake me up on time. There was just something about that iPhone 8 that I needed to rid myself of.
Maybe it was the fact that Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are all available 24/7 at my fingertips. That the boy I pine for is always one phone call or one text message away but never beside me in person. That I have health and fitness goals and I am achieving them, but they never seem as successful or look as good as the girl with 100k likes on her booty pic. One of those likes usually being that boy that I pine after. That talking to my mom every single day on the phone is something I cherish but being with her multiple times this week was even better. Maybe it is the simple fact that after a while it becomes hard to determine who is actually there for you versus who is just replying to your message in the conversation you had to be the one to start.
It hadn't even been a full hour after waking up on day one and I felt so free. I took Ember outside to play and I didn't notice until this very moment as I was sitting on the porch watching her prance around carefree, how beautiful she really is. Usually, I would be trying to capture the perfect Instagram worthy photo of her, without that distraction I could observe every single detail about her. With my eyes glued to her, I wondered if I had been missing all this beauty in the dog that I see every single day, what else had I been missing out on?
It's easy to say, "I can do that too." Go without your cell phone and social media for a week. Can you actually though? Because saying that it would be easy and doing it are two different things. Prior to swiping the slide to power off button on my iPhone I thought, this is an excellent idea BUT what if someone needs to contact me, what if so and so finally replies to the message I sent them two days ago, what if I get an important email. So many what ifs. While ignoring the anxiety that I had about going MIA for a week, I powered off. It wasn't a decision I made to write this article or to say that I was able to do it. I did it for some mental clarity, peace of mind, mostly I did it to be present. To stop waking up every morning and immediately reach for my cell phone. To stop getting validation in my worth from how many likes I get. To find out who I couldn't live without along with who couldn't live without me.
I read poetry books all week long, my favorite thing to do in my downtime unfortunately often gets replaced by scrolling through my news feed. I visited with my grandparents without breaking eye contact every couple of minutes to check my notifications. I physically went to my parents' house to have a conversation with them instead of just clicking Momma or Papa in my contacts. I watched my dog enjoy life and in all these moments, I realized how enjoyable life really is when you look up from that little square device attached to the palm of your hand.
It was a very personal and therapeutic experience. I don't spend enough time dealing with my thoughts and emotions, as soon as they overwhelm me, I check my phone. For what? I'm not sure. It obviously never provides me with the answers I need. It is a great distraction that's for sure. This week, however, it was just myself alone with my thoughts and nobody or anything from inside a screen to influence them.
Stop letting the number of likes, followers, or messages you get to determine your happiness. Stop worrying about the people who make negative comments on your posts because chances are, they don't even really know you. Stop comparing yourself to other people, everyone's life looks like a fairytale online. Seriously stop pining for the boy who likes other girl's booty pics, seriously. Most importantly be present, rid yourself of the false world inside a screen and live in the real one surrounding you.
"Madness is no notifications and a Read." -Komal Kapoor