60 days ago, my husband and I were coming back from the gym when he reminded me we decided I was going to fast social media for 30 days. A couple weeks before I had seen a picture with a former friend. A friend that had hurt me deeply & abandoned our friendship without warning or reason. The anger that came from that picture was what led us to the idea that maybe I should ditch social media for a bit to “find myself” or something. Annoyed that he remembered I threw out one last post & deleted the apps from all my apple devices. There is a lot of responsibility I have with my job to post on a private Facebook group so we made the deal I could access that group from his laptop when needed.
The first 5 days were pretty tricky to be honest. I found myself taking pictures of what I was eating or days I did my hair and had no where to post them. I would text my husband and my friends because obviously someone in the world needed to know this was happening. At that moment the idea that I thought someone cared what I was reading eating doing thinking became very humbling. Like who are you to think that anyone cares. I promise you I was fully convinced that God had called me to this fast because I had become full of myself & needed humbled. Y’all we even bought puzzles to do late at night when I would normally be scrolling.
By the second week I was becoming familiar with an old friend … Google. I remember asking my husband where in the world do you go to when you have a question if you can’t poll the Facebook/Instagram world? As the month of August continued on I simply shoved myself more & more into my business convinced I would have the most epic month that ever was, so I could stand on a stage proclaiming why the world needed to ditch social media in order to truly be their most productive selves.
People were reaching out to me to see what I was up to … to update me on what was happening in the world … and I was reaching out to them simply to see how they were doing … letting them know how much they matter to me. I thought ahhh heck this is why high school reunions were created because without social media you don’t just know if they have kids but are they even ALIVE?!
At some point that month my friend Mandy and I had a good laugh about “if you don’t check in on Facebook are you really there?” I realized how much I travel … & not only how much I love to travel … but how much I enjoy sharing those experiences of growth with the world even if it only impacted one person. I didn’t see it at the time … but I think this is where the loneliness began to take root.
As August came to a close and the 30 day fast was nearing an end the anxiety was high. I wasn’t ready to go back … so I made the decision here we go again for 30 more days.
I’m a BIG believer that God sees things in our life that need to be dealt with. That when we choose to constantly keep pressing those things down He will eventually call you on a journey that forces them into the light. I probably should have known by the level of anxiety I had going back to social media that it was about so much more than deleting a source for comparison.
August really was a pretty cold turkey month … even though I had permission to get on for work … I barely did that because I simply didn’t want to. In September I recognized my presence in my private groups needed to be stepped up so my team didn’t literally think I was dead. This month also brought about some great travels with incredible memories I wanted to remember for the rest of my life so like any good millennial I quickly logged on to post a couple pictures so the annual “Facebook Memories” could bring me back to that moment.
It was the middle of September … late on a Sunday night I found myself sobbing silently on my kitchen floor. Like I said before … if you keep shoving down your troubles … God will eventually bring you on a journey that forces them into His light. That night I realized how lonely I was. I realized for a full year I was so stuck in the “not knowing” of why some friendships had to end … that I isolated myself into a paralyzed pit of analyzation. It was causing me to question everything from my faith to my career. It had me wishing appointments would cancel so I could have another day in my pajamas. It had me choosing not to play full out because I was determined somewhere deep in my subconscious I would do whatever it took to continue isolating myself from the pain of potential abandonment.
You may be asking but what does social media have to do with this?
Everything. Now I’m not saying to stay on it or delete it. Do I think everyone should pick one month a year to disconnect to re-center themselves? Absolutely. It provided immense clarity. But I also think we need to acknowledge what it DOES give us. That as alone as I was the 12 months prior to that 60 day fast there was a shred of connection being made through it. It made me feel like a part of a tribe and a community. That even as physically lonely as I became … social media lessened the pain through the connections we have through posts & stories.
Yesterday by pure accident a Super Soul edition with two of my favorite ladies, Oprah & Brene Brown, popped across my screen. Bless my husband’s soul he even sat with me as I wrote pages of notes & let God unveil His final pieces of wisdom through the journey of this fast. Brene said, “no one wants to own the SFD [shitty first draft] of their thoughts & story they’re telling themselves.” She said our brains require us to make a quick fast story of who’s good and who’s bad without ever considering the need to be brave & push through to that vulnerable point of connection. She said vulnerability is the measure of courage and for forgiveness to happen something must die and grief must begin.
Here I am 60 days later honestly still filled with that same anxiety I had 30 days ago about coming back to the world of Facebook & Instagram. Maybe because it’s a lot to keep up with … maybe because the mystery of the world not knowing what you are up to is kind of nice … or maybe it’s because God has brought to light the dark lonely place I put myself in and the idea of coming back with that raw pain makes me want to puke. But today I’m choosing courageous vulnerability. Starting the journey of re-connection by adding those silly little apps back to my phone & scheduling coffee dates with anyone I’ve isolated. Standing in gratitude for God’s crazy plans we can never quite understand until they play themselves out. It’s time to bring on another level of becoming brave.