September 17, 2018. There is nothing special about this day. Nothing notable that happened, and I have no real reason as to why I deleted my social media. I just did. I was scrolling through, and a feeling came over me “I’m tired of this!” I said to myself. Then my other mind whispers sardonically “you aint gone do nothin about it…” I roll my eyes, and BOOM, challenge accepted. I deleted my Facebook and Instagram application.
There was no pause, no hesitation, no regret. I just did it, without a real reason why. And no expiration date or plan of when to return. Something in me needed to be refreshed and renewed, and this was the starting place.
At first I found myself randomly picking up my phone and looking for things to do with it. After about a week of this impulse I realized all you can really do with this thing is text, call, read the news, and shop online (which by the way, I did more of in the absence of my social media leash, it’s all bad y’all).
It was no longer a social device that I used to market my business, post my food, kids, and reflections. Now its just an electronic attachment that allows people to get a hold of me when they want to.
As the days progressed, I noticed small changes taking place. I started reading more (seriously, I devoured like 4 books in two weeks), spending longer at the dinner table chatting with the kids, and implementing more self care activities. I was taking baths, meditating, stretching, writing, reflecting. I really started to nestle into myself.
I also started calling people I cared about and actually talking to them on the phone. If someone popped into my mind I would call them right then and there, to let them know I was thinking of them. Even if they didn’t answer, I would leave a message. Doing this made me have a greater realization of how important it is to tell people you love them, and often. I hadn’t had such meaningful conversations in quiet sometime. It was as if the universe was trying to remind me of what was important in the absence of the social chatter.
People also started reaching out to me. Even some random folks I don’t really have a real relationship with started to text and call me.
“Hey I know we’re not that close but I miss seeing your encouraging posts online.”
“T you haven’t posted in a while, you good?”
“Sis, don’t know what’s going on with you, but I hope all is well...”
This made me realize a few things. For one, my online presence is meaningful to only a handful of people, and two, most people don’t even care if I’m there or not lol. Lastly, this realization made me beg the question: do we put too much energy into our social image?
The last thought really got my wheels turning. Think about it, we collectively post our lives all day, everyday. So much so that mundane simple moments get recorded. Like bobbing your head and listening to a song you like, or recording the road while you’re driving (which is hella dangerous btw), or even just eating. We. Record. Everything!
And for what? Why do we feel such a need to be... seen? Even when it’s not our true selves?!I for one am very guilty of this. Try as I might to be transparent as possible, if I’m being honest with myself, I posture a lot. A lot a lot. Partly because I don’t want the world to know just how sad I can be sometimes, so I fake it until I make it.
But sometimes, I. Just. Can’t. Make. It.
Sometimes the world is just too harsh, and my gentle spirit can’t take it. So I don’t post on those days. But, I think I should start. I mean, if we’re going to use this tool, why don’t we use it to collectively heal each other? Are we really pretending to care about people online, or do we actually care? That’s the question we must ask ourselves. What if we really took ownership for every person we “friended” online? Do you think we would choose the people we follow more carefully?! I certainly would.
These are the questions that entered my head during my social hiatus. Oh and btw, there was also fun. Lots of it. I went to a bunch of concerts (Wynton Marsalis, Chic Correa, Gregory Porter), hiked, fell in love, laughed a lot, went to charity dinners, hosted parties at my house, and even joined taekwondo with my kids! All without posting it online. I created memories for myself!
Can you believe it? A part of me can’t lol. I so wanted to post photos and share the excitement of what I was doing. But I didn’t, and you know what? I found myself more engaged in the present moment. At times I was in sheer bliss. I had hysterical laughing fits. I played, like really played (which adults should really do more of), and became more self disciplined. I created small daily habits (after reading The Compound Effect), that I know in the long run will really pay off.
At the end of the day, I am obviously back online. Here I am, back in the social abyss that is our world today. But taking a break really gave me the space I needed to reflect and work on myself. I needed it, and I didn't even know it. I am so glad I followed my intuition because there have been so many benefits to taking this time to myself. More than I can list because I am sure you are all tired of my humble and boastful bragging by now!
Have you ever done a social cleanse? What were some of the benefits and disadvantages that you faced? Lets chat, comment below!