Social Media Detox

I am 23 days into a Facebook detox. I’m getting off the app indefinitely. This is a story about my first 23 days. Check it out on my site, Gettingoutmore.org. I hope you are all well!

All is quiet, on New Years Day

2021 has been rough. But it’s just a continuation of the insanity of 2020. Tomorrow is New Year’s Day. I walk into that year, leaving all my regrets in the steaming pile of crap 2021 turned out to be.

In 2020, after nine months of good communication, affection, falling in love, it all began after I had asked someone to be my girlfriend, almost like a Proposal. We talked about moving in together. What life would look like then. We talked every day on the phone. Saw each other nearly every weekend. We texted all the time, and she exceeded all the expectations of a relationship standard set by my first girlfriend when I was 17-21.

We didn’t survive the first six weeks of COVID lockdowns.

I was devastated. I did what they tell you to do to get over a loss like this. You strengthen your friendships with the people in your life. You keep yourself busy with things that help you grow. You grieve, you move on. You grieve some more. You keep moving forward.

Just over a year ago, a friend of mine sat with me and listened to me grieving the loss of this good relationship that I had. She sat with me and listened to how my former GF had no good reason to leave, only excuses.

“Lots of excuses mean lots of fears,” she told me.

Then she heard me say something that bothered her. She heard me say that I wasn’t worthy of that kind of love. She proceeded to kick my ass.

“You mean the world to me and I want you to see your worth! Yes, life is shit, it’s not perfect, you aren’t perfect, but god damn you are a great man with a heart of gold. These women who treat you less than that don’t deserve a second thought. Although I know it’s hard to heal and move on, especially when it’s what you’ve known for so long…because this shitty level you bring yourself down to attracts these women who match it.”

Today…I took that advice. Unfortunately, it was with the person who gave it to me. Situations had changed and feelings had grown. We were on the verge of something beautiful. Until…she changed. She put up her walls. We stopped talking. Our unique friendship soured. I was watering dead plants.

Today, I decided to start a hard conversation rather than linger in her orbit. The hardest thing about Boundaries is when you set them, you risk losing people. It is cold comfort that you will lose the people who cannot go with you when you have those boundaries, and that likely they are not the people you need in your life anyway. My Boundary was that I remembered my worth. She had been one to help me remember it back in 2020. Which is why it hurt so much to say what I had to say today, because I knew a possible outcome was ending a four year friendship, and so much more.

Today, I have lost a dear friend, and someone I cared deeply for. People do change, but sometimes they change back to their old, sad choices. Keeping people in their orbits and not being honest about it. (It’s hard to trust someone when you act in a way that is untrustworthy before you are “Facebook official.”) Putting themselves in danger when they should know better. Making lots of excuses. Then complaining about it when they are alone, or worse happens. She was a practicioner of this kind of self-harm. Most people these days just call it “dating.”

My former girlfriend, whom I mentioned before, had something to say about her situation all the way back in 2019. “Oh hell no! She, kind sir, is a douche lagoon.”

Tonight, I am alone, but I’m no longer lonely. Not the way that hoping we could talk though things–but never did–left me feeling. I decided after a lot of thought that I would have the conversation that needed to happen for months now. I wasn’t going to walk into 2022 with that empty feeling. The one I’ve been carrying around in the pit of my stomach since September. Life is too short for bad books, shitty friends, or regrets. I tried. I honestly fucking tried. I would have moved mountains for her.

On to the next chapter. We take what lessons we can from life and we try to do better the next time after our failures. It’s growth. Take good advice, even if it undoes a bond you shared with the one who gave it.

I wish her peace. I wish her love. Goobye, my dear friend.

What if

When I face moments of stress, it’s not hard to find myself slipping into a negative place. What ifs are a great way to stop a good day dead in its tracks. Today I decided to work on my book. The last three days has been dedicated to paid work, which is nice and all, but I need to fill my heart with something that fuels my soul. So, like a star cluster forming, I’m letting the dust and particles and plasma gather and form into the idea I want to ignite into the story today. One way to do this is to write my thoughts down and carry myself forward with the momentum.

The what ifs I face lately are stressful and enough to just throw a bucket of ice water on the whole creative process. They might be enough to tell me that instead of giving my brain a break, I need to recharge, otherwise the work I do will be sloppy and I’ll spend the next couple days doing rewrites. You have to pace yourself.

It’s not hard to manifest the negative. What if my book sucks? What if I am fooling myself? What if I’m everything my detractors say I am? A dreamer with no talent, a dillitante, a bum, a loser? What if I’m no longer living where I am in a year because everything has fallen to pieces? What if I’m not worthy of so many things. It is so easy to manifest all of these negative thoughts. On the other hand, what we look for to make these thoughts some kind of self-fulfilling prophesy can be worked the other way as well.

What if I continue to work hard and get better at what I do? What if I take risks? What if I keep my heart open? What if I seek out opportunities to improve myself? What if I am exactly where I need to be at this moment in my life so I can finally make that push to take myself to the next level? What if I detatch myself from the white noise of social media and feel that sting of loneliness a little more often because I am building something great for myself, and it deserves my full attention? That the number of “likes” you take that whole half second to give or receive from somebody else isn’t filling your buckets. That finishing a scene, or a chapter, isn’t so short-lived as that micro-dose of dopamine you get from social media. That I can sleep a full night or feel amazing for at least a day knowing that I accomplished another step in the direction I can sometimes see like land on the horizon.

What if all the stuff I’ve ever wanted is within arms reach? What if I will find the freedom to go where I want? What if I can have that library with the big comfy leather chairs that I keep liking on Pinterest instead of just daydreaming about them? What if I can do what I love and feel like I’m cheating the system because whoever heard of doing what they love and getting paid for it?! What if you can manifest all the good things just as easily as the bad?

Anyway, the cosmic dust has collected. Time to throw a match into the whole thing and watch it explode.