Hello hello hello beautiful people!
This blog post today, WOW, I have been working on this forever. Do you ever have like a really good idea and you spend so much time on it because when it comes out, you want it to be just right?
That is me with this post right now. I have been grasping at the right words to say, the right ideas to share with you guys. I want to do right by you in this post, so here is me trying my best to do just that….
Where do I even begin?
I guess I will start at the very beginning…
What is social media?
To me, I sort-of grew up alongside what we now call social media. I was in early middle school when sites like Facebook and Myspace became popular. I was in probably late middle school to early high school as places like Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat came onto the scene.
I was in that mix of people who were old enough to make an account on those websites, apps, etc… as they were coming out. I was learning to use them alongside the people learning to create them.
And okay, I wasn’t actually allowed to have a Facebook or Myspace in middle school but I defiantly did anyway….
Sorry mom and Dad.
I remember deleting my internet history after logging onto myspace before anyone would see what I was doing.
As the years went on, slowly but surely, social media was woven into my everyday life. It’s so strange but I couldn’t imagine living my life without having places like Facebook and Instagram to post pictures, highlighting my everyday life. I can’t imagine what it was like before we could see what everyone was up to in their picture sharing and posting.
And I eagerly joined in on them.
Did it even happen if you don’t post about it?
Did you really get asked to homecoming if you didn’t post a picture of it? Did you get into that college, make the team, join the band if you didn’t post about it? Did you really go to prom unless you upload hundreds of pictures to Facebook?
The constant urge to chronicle our everyday lives is so weird when you really think about it.
And I am in no way bashing those people who post everything on the internet because, I am one of them. I think it is great that we can share our personal experiences with our Facebook friends, followers, etc…
But I do, at times, think about how it takes away from just living in the moment and being happy making memories. We are too worried about taking that perfect Instagram-worthy shot.
Or at least I am that way.
So to make a long rambling story short, social media has become, since its creation, a big part of my everyday life.
But there’s a downside to it as well.
I love Instagram. Surprise, surprise. I am a photography enthusiast so I enjoy a platform where we can share photos we’ve taken. I love the idea of a social media page that centers around just posting photos because, in all seriousness, that is what I am most passionate about.
But I became so obsessed with this app, so transfixed with not only the photos other people were posting but about my profile as well. I became OBSESSED with what my personal Instagram feed looked like. I wanted all my photos to match or have a theme to them and look good together on my feed. I began (and this is when you just know you’re a psychopath) to plan out what I would post so that they would match the photos next to them.
It was important to me.
So in a very real way, my Instagram was actually taking up time in my life for such unnecessary things. Like MATCHING YOUR PICTURES.
I’m sorry. I just can’t get over that. That is so crazy.
Do you ever want to punch your old self in the face?
As far as twitter goes, I love twitter. I love the connection that Twitter gives us to people all over the world. We can follow our close friends, family, and keep up with their funny tweets and life updates in the same place that we can follow the President, Ellen Degeneres, J.K. Rowling, to name a few. There’s such a sense of connection with the world there. I follow people from Australia, Europe, Hawaii, New York City, and other places all over the globe.
Somehow, following these people on Twitter makes me feel connected to them, like we are friends. Makes the world feel like a smaller place. And I love Twitter for the single fact that it’s hilarious. So many funny people, funny tweets, and they’re making more hilarious content by the hour.
If you want a laugh, go to Twitter.
But it has its drawbacks.
There’s a thing called sub-tweeting that should’ve just been left in 2014.
Indirectly tweeting something about someone without mentioning their name. Even though their name is not mentioned, it is clear who the person tweeting is referring to.
And most of the time, okay all of the time, subtweeting is done with pretty malicious intent.
But hey, I’ve done it, we’ve all done it.
But I am grown now and I don’t see the point in creating pointless internet drama with other people. I’m 21 years old and I am trying my best to be an adult and follow my dreams and yet I still encounter subtweeting and I just don’t get it.
You’re my age and you’re subtweeting-get a life.
Months ago, before the social media cleanse, there was a person subtweeting mean things very clearly about me and I don’t know why but as stupid as it sounds, my feelings were very hurt. I cried. I was upset. Mostly because it was from someone I used to consider a close friend.
But I remember saying that’s it! I’m done! I’m never logging back onto twitter again (that lasted like an hour 🙂 )
And this is where I was just over social media. I started to see all of it in its most negative light.
What even is subtweeting? That is literally so stupid..
Insert fancy transitional phrases because I don’t know what to say before we get into this part……
The religion that I consider myself, at this stage of my life, is Catholic. I was raised Catholic by my two Catholic parents. As the Easter season approached, we celebrate what is known as lent.
I’m sure you’ve all heard of it but just in case you have no idea what I am talking about, it’s a period of 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday (a week before Easter) where we are made to give up something we like- chocolate, soda, alcohol, meat, fast-food, whatever we like a great deal as it is meant to be a sacrifice.
For Catholics and most Christians, Easter is the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. It is a time to be thankful for the sacrifice He made in giving up His life for us.
He made the ultimate sacrifice and that idea was very near to my heart as I started to think of what I wanted to give up myself for lent.
I realized one the hardest things to give up for 6 weeks would probably be social media. It would be Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook. They have become such a huge part of my everyday life, it seemed so difficult.
Jesus is my best friend. I can’t even put into words the amount of love He has for us. He gave His life so that we may spend forever with Him in the kingdom of Heaven.
Wow. No social media is a pretty measly feat.
I wanted to use this newfound “free time” I had to get closer to God. I wanted to prepare my heart for the celebration of His resurrection. In the spare moments I had, sitting in waiting rooms, trying to relax on my lunch break, I would say a prayer. Instead of using free moments to check Instagram, send a snapchat, I would say a little prayer for someone.
And I used to check these apps several times a day.
So after Valentine’s Day, I deleted the Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter app from my phone.
**Real quick side quote: I know I did not give up Youtube and that is still considered social media. I don’t want people to think I was lying or invalidate what I am sharing in this post because I didn’t give that particular form of social media up. For me, I didn’t see Youtube as an app that I was addicted to or that I found myself caught up in drama on. Before about a month ago, I was not a Youtube creator. I watch videos from other creators on the app pretty regularly but wasn’t making posts of my own. I did decide to start my own channel in this time period (mostly because it was just something I have always wanted to do and like always, I got super inspired randomly). Anyway, even after posting myself I still didn’t lump it in the same category as other forms of social media because first of all, my mom is the only person whose ever watched those videos (hey mom). Second of all, it still wasn’t this place of hatred or cyber fights that I often experienced on Twitter and also wasn’t obsessing over photos and which ones I should post like I experienced on Instagram. Basically, taking away Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter was where I really struggled and I really made more room and time for God.
I guess after getting over the initial shock of just having no connection to the people I follow on social media, I was always wanting to check things. It was like my fingers had to be constantly opening apps on my phone and checking them. So, when I ran out of social media apps to check regularly throughout the day, I found myself checking my school email just to satisfy that urge.
I never check my school email.
And as far as I can tell you, in regards to how this break from social media has helped me, it changed my entire perspective on how I have been living my life up to this point. When I was forced to see that social media is not reality, my whole world was kind-of broken. I was faced with some tough questions I had to ask myself.
Who am I doing this for? Am I still posting content on the internet for me? Has it become about someone or something else?
Does it still make me happy? Or does it pressure me into presenting myself in a way that is photogenically pleasing?
I have reached into myself and learned that I do not have present myself as wholesome, put-together, aesthetically appealing on the internet because it is not and will never be, a real place. The internet, your Facebook wall, is not reality. How you present yourself online means very little in the real world.
In the world outside of the computer/phone/tablet screen.
This whole experience has literally been a reality check for me. Social media has evolved into almost this bubble that is easily intertwined with reality. Sometimes, it is difficult to tell one from another. It was a wake up call to dissect and separate the two. I hope that going forward, I can keep them that way.
And this experience has also been incredible for my mental health. As someone who has struggled with this, I cannot stress to you how important it is that we take care of our mental health. Taking a step back and evaluating the toll that social media had on my mental health was very insightful. I was allowing negativity, conflict, hatred, judgement in the various forms it can take on through social media into my life without realizing it.
And it all means nothing. At the end of the day, the likes, the comments, the heated debates, the arguing doesn’t mean a single thing.
I am creating, for myself, a new attitude going forward and taking everything I have learned over the past six weeks with me.
If you don’t like someone, don’t agree with the content they are posting whether it is starting arguments, spewing hateful opinions, or just in general putting a negative twist on the world around them- UNFOLLOW THEM.
You do not need that kind of negativity in your life. People will understand. Your mindsets and what you want to spread to the world and share via social media just don’t match up. And that is okay.
Post whatever the hell you want to post. And I mean that. Your pages, your feeds, they are yours. One of the best things about social media (in my opinion) is that they are almost always free sites and apps for anyone to make their own. It’s your place, your digital space, make it exactly how you want it and don’t apologize.
To close (because this post is so long I apologize already 🙂 ):
If you ever find yourself in a situation where social media seems to be doing more harm than good in your life-people are painting the walls with their negative opinions, attacking you personally, or making you feel pressured to present yourself in a different way, I encourage you to take a break. You can always come back to social media when you are ready, whether it’s been 3 hours, 3 days, or 3 weeks. It is always okay to take a break. Sometimes, it is the best thing you can do for your mental health and well-being.
Just remember: God loves you just the way you are. He can see the positive light you are trying to shine on the world and He knows your heart. That will never be based on likes, comments, or the way you present yourself to the world via social media.
If you are still reading this, thank you so much for not ignoring me because I took a little break fro social media for awhile 🙂
Love and Hugs,