So picture this: (no, no, put your iPhones back in your pocket and use your imagination) you're out for a day with your best friends. You do so many awesomely aesthetic things, you have so many genuine laughs, and you try so many new things, BUT, you never post a single insta or snapchat update, which raises the question, did it really happen? Will people still think you have a full, enriched life?
Of course those questions are silly, but in spite of that knowledge, we still feel a compulsive need to display all of our successful outings on every social media platform so that no one could possibly miss them. I hate spending the day with someone whose eyes are glued to their phone, constantly updating the world on our day out and nervously tallying their likes on instagram. Suddenly, I see their eyes, but, false alarm, it was only to take a quick selfie with me to show the world that they're not friendless, and I've lost them again to the digital world. I may as well have spent the day by myself.
I decided to take a break from social media. Not all social media, just the obsessive-compulsive inspiring ones, which for me, is Snapchat and Instagram. As soon as I experience anything remotely cool, my first reaction is to snap a picture and post it. Then I start to feel the anxiety creep in. I interrupt my experience several times to check on who has viewed my story, liked my photo, or sent me a snap. I can't just let it sit there; the suspense is too much.
One day, I was just over it. I realized I wanted to experience things for myself, and to experience them fully, uninterrupted and uncensored, with the people who were right beside me. When I post my experience online, in a way, I'm asking for a rating, whether its views, likes, replies, or comments. What's more, I'm asking for a rating from people whose opinion I'd never ask for in person, because I don't really care. As soon as their opinion becomes electronic, however, it's somehow suddenly validated by me. I don't need to advertise my life, my problems, my happinesses. I just need to live them. When I have downtime, I check all of the social media, and then wonder why I did. I don't feel enriched in any way, I don't learn anything except for the latest celebrity scandal, and my anxiety goes up as I compare my life to others.
Now that my snapchat and insta is gone, I react to life differently. If I have a fifteen minute break, I pick up a book or do a quick-write. If I'm loving an experience, I breathe deeply, smile wide, and soak it all in. The need to ask for others' validation of the experience is slowly sinking away, and it feels so good. I miss getting snaps of my friends' faces with outrageous filters, but that's the only thing I miss. I don't miss knowing everyone's business because now I know my own mind. I don't miss everyone's advertisements of themselves because I'm not looking for anything. I don't miss advertising myself to others because I'm not selling anything. I don't want to miss the highlights of people's lives, so I'm still on Facebook, but my newsfeed bores me. I don't spend hours compulsively scrolling. If I did, I'd throw that one out, too, because I'm done being controlled. It's back to being Miss Independent for me.