Here we are again.. it’s always such a pleasure.
(Don’t know why that Portal 2 reference came to me, but it did.)
(Also, this post will not address chicken noodle soup. I think of this soup as comfort food, a way to sooth sore throats and heal sick bodies. Take it as a metaphor, or however you want.)
|this pic has nothing to do with anything just letting ya know
Just gonna spew some thoughts about some things.
Recently, I’ve had kind of some… (revelations? Realizations? Noticings?) ideas… surface lately. Basically, between all of the books and the class time and the somewhat meaningful in-person conversations I have had over the past week, I’ve decided to take a bit of a hiatus.
From social media, from my phone… etc.
Apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and, almost super hesitantly, Snapchat… are all gone from my phone. I have restricted phone use to calling and important texts, along with the apps that enable me to be proficient in my online job.
With recent events like the Women’s March (as awesome as that was…!!– no, sadly I didn’t get to go 😩), the inauguration, the unraveling world politics… It was just so tiring to feel a need to check on things, read people’s non-stop opinions, (or, even worse, read people’s non-stop rants doing nothing but bashing on other people…), to post, to grab attention, etc. There was a lot of positive but also a ton of negative.
In terms of some of the negative effects, I felt, there was somewhat of a psychological shift. Lack of attention. Lack of being present. Impulse to have my phone glued to my hip/hand/ear.
I have been taking at least one thing seriously on my New Years resolutions so far, and that is reading for pleasure. As I threw out in my most recent Life as of Lately update post, I’m currently engrossed in a great book. When I started reading, I noticed “wow, this is… a bit odd. I’m sitting here and I’m reading an actual book, with pages, for fun, and no vibrations or dings are disturbing me.”
I’m not gonna lie, it was slow at first. I would call myself a swift reader, but sometimes stumbling over blocks of text was intimidating (especially when you get super accustomed to bits and pieces and factoids here and there and everything at once and multitasking…).
But as I got into it, I felt the pleasure of just existing behind the pages and letting my mind wander into constructions of scenes in my imagination, and it felt like I was returning to a place that I loved dear. Like the beach, or Disney World, or my grandmother’s house.
And so. I’ve kind of made up my mind that in order to be a bit more present, and enjoy physical things, I’m giving this a shot.
Cuz I mean think about it. How awkward is the silence when you get on a bus and all anyone is doing is looking at their phones? I looked up the other day and noticed that and was determined to put mine away, and continue observing what was going on around me.
How awkward is it when the teacher asks a question, no one answers… because everyone’s so afraid that they’re gonna be judged by what comes out of their mouths, right or wrong?
We’re so wrapped up (and I’m not criticizing here, because I am guilty of this as well. So guilty.) in our own selves and our own bubble that we don’t enjoy breaking out. It makes us feel uncomfortable. Anxious. Depressed. Starving.
Recently when I was talking with a professor about a project I was doing (maybe I’ll showcase that here– or parts of it, anyways), I brought up a time from earlier this semester where my phone decided not to work and completely malfunction on me. I spent hours on the phone with Apple, with my carrier, trying to get a new SIM card and figure out what was wrong.
I felt panicky and I didn’t know what to do when it completely shut off. I obsessed over it.
My senior year when I dropped my old phone in class by accident (and I didn’t realize I had broken it from the inside until later), I went home thinking I have to fix it, I have to get a new one, I have to fix it and then just up and dumped $300 on a new phone, in a span of 23 hours.
Isn’t that insane?
Returning again to the beginning of this semester… when the screen went absolutely black and there was nothing I could do, I did feel panic. A bit of distress.
But then something wild happened. I even remember exactly where I was when I felt this way: I was sitting at a picnic table and I got up suddenly, with the intent on going back to my dorm, when I was hit with a shock-wave (almost) of…liberation.
There was nothing to look at in my palm. No one could contact me. No one knew where I was. I was impressing no one, I was caring about no one, I was completely free of online/textual judgement.
This sounds crazy but it honestly was like an addiction. I read somewhere recently that we check our phones anywhere from 100-200 times a day, if not more, and that just doesn’t settle with me.
What’s new, what’s happening, who likes what, who has liked what
If I think about it, I honestly don’t really give a flying fuck about the answer to these questions.
What I do care about, however, is how I can get to feeling like my own person again, my own, real, in the moment person… who can stand up from a picnic table and feel the warm breeze and laughter in the trees and realize for the first time in a mind-numbing long time that I’m alive and I have the potential to physically do so much more.
That being said.
This is, by not that much means, a rant against technology.
Hell, I love technology. How else would I be able to write this post? How else would I be able to have a virtual job? How else would I be able to live stream and chat with people in Ireland? Or text J? Or call my mother or collaborate on documents in groups?
But what I don’t like is when I feel like it starts running me. My life. My interests, my moods.
A single tweet/FB post/Instagram comment can affect my entire day.
Isn’t that fucked up?
Today I thought back to my experience at the German academy— 3 weeks, no phones, German only, full immersion… We didn’t turn to screens to distract ourselves. We played cards. We made music. We played pool. We ran. We swam. We made art. We laughed. We made bonds.
Our human-to-human connection skills must have skyrocketed that week, in comparison to the level they were previously at.
For the first time in a long time I got to help someone edit an essay for a class. I savored the ability to pour over syntax, adjectives, word placement, connotations… to mix and match them until they conveyed meaning that was. in its own right, raw and concise to its purpose.
Maybe this is just me, but with some media influence, I feel compelled to simplify. To dumb down, to skim, to jump from one idea to the next without any real reflection of what was said or what is being planned to say. I feel compelled to update, to share, to filter (my personality, my language, my pictures, etc) to judge, to follow, to envy.
And it’s because I put myself into a trap.
Yes, I’m searching for gratification. We all are. Hell, maybe even writing this post is proof of that.
Thing is, I’m tired of searching for it where I’ll never find it.
I’m going out and grabbing it. I’m leaving the metal at home and I’m going to
and live outside myself explicitly, voraciously, and unapologetically
Not looking down at my hand, but looking around
and most importantly,