It has been almost two weeks since I posted on my Instagram account. In fact, I haven’t even scrolled through my feed. I did log onto Facebook to post something to my business page and check on my notifications, but I didn’t miss much. I wonder, a little, if anyone has noticed my absence in the vast sea that is social media. I worry if someone thinks I am purposefully distancing myself from them by not engaging with their posts. Funny that this is the reality I live in, people thinking I am angry because I do not respond, our main source of validation coming from a tiny blue icon of a hand gesture.
I haven’t had any very profound moments since I “unplugged” a little, but the margins created in my day-to-day life without checking notifications and mindlessly scrolling feeds have provided much needed space.
Space to sit and listen and think without being prompted by a meme or inspirational quote; to dream and imagine and wonder without comparing myself to the accomplishments of someone else. I have grabbed my “real” camera more in the past two weeks than I have in the past 5 months and have been reading books, rather than stare at a screen.
I am also learning something interesting about myself. About what it means to do something without the appeal of being able to show it off, without it being a means to an end of praise and approval. Without Instagram on my phone, I can’t simply snap a picture and post with a humble hashtag or two. I know how many times I have raced to finish a product, only because I wanted to be able to post it so my friends could see.
The strange thing about myself is that I crave acknowledgement and admiration (who doesn’t?), but I don’t know what to do with the attention. I wish I could just stuff it into a little bottle and take a look at it whenever I need it, when I begin to doubt myself and wonder about what I do and why it matters. When I begin to doubt that anyone genuinely likes me.
We want the things that we do to be of importance. We want to share our lives with others. Yet, what happens after a day or two when we haven’t shared? We are all but forgotten. The notifications disappear and the images fade from our friend’s daily scroll and that amazing moment or clever post is no longer present in anyone’s mind. We are all too involved in what is happening next. We are all too concerned with our own search for connection and the next thing to keep our voice in the mix.
So, I’ve committed to going the summer more unplugged. I deleted my FB and IG apps off of my phone and I have decided to not scroll through my feeds. I am allowed to log into Facebook to check notifications and perhaps post on my business account when needed, but otherwise, I am checking out. I find that as more time passes, the less I check or even think to log in.
And, I am hoping to write more again without the anxiety that comes with sharing a post on Facebook, or the obsessive checking if anyone is “liking” it or wanting to delete it if no one does within a couple of hours.