UN-PLUG - detach, be present.



I will hold my hands up and say that I used to spend too much time on my iPhone. My battery break down would show you just how long I spent on Instagram, on my Pinterest app and of course the power I used on iMessage. In my early twenties I found myself googling things like ‘can I get my phone surgically attached to my hand’. If there was an iPhone anonymous to deal with addiction; I would of been their hardest case to break.

But things are different now.

I woke up one morning and I instantly had anxiety checking my phone. I had turned ‘do not disturb’ on to make sure I had an undisturbed sleep. I was instantly panicking that for those six hours that I had slept - I hadn’t been available. No one in particular needed me; but I still sat there at twenty something panicking because I had been ‘off the grid’ for an entire night.  What if someone had texted me and I didn’t reply? What if I had an email waiting for a response?

The reality of it was - although I did have emails, texts and even a missed call; no one had been dramatically affected by the delay in my response. Someone having to wait for a reply wouldn’t alter the course of the world.  Yet I still found myself feeling guilty and admittedly I was panicking. Later when I sat down and really looked at the situation I realized that I needed to start unplugging. iPad, iPhone - everything on do not disturb. I needed to realize that my time was my own and being available 24/7 to people doesn't make me a better friend, a better girlfriend or a better daughter; and it definitely wasn’t good for my mental health.

We are told to unplug to meditate, to relax, to actually speak out loud - but we should also really be unplugging to understand and start valuing the weight and value of our time. We hand it to people on a silver platter. You can reach me on Instagram, iMessage, email even - Sometimes I would have honestly worried that I’d lose friendships because I wouldn’t be there for the 4am drunk phone calls.

The internet and our phones have become this new universe where we think that ‘liking’ someones Instagram photographs is a relationship. I find myself on the phone sometimes saying ‘and how was golf’ - when the person on the line hadn't told me that he had played golf that day;  but I had seen it on his story.

It’s at the stage where we are competing to make the best collages for our friends birthdays - but are we ringing them? Are we hugging them? Are we actually communicating? It’s only when you aren't on your phone that you realize how fake and immaterial social media relationships are.

Technology is incredible. The things that electronics and magic machines are creating for the world is beyond anything I could ever imagine but it does have a downside and for our generation I think it has two big red flags.

  1. The Instagram Comparison Compulsion : We are sitting and scrolling. Comparing our bodies, our boyfriends, our houses. It’s almost becoming a sick game to see just how perfect we can make our lives seem to the world. We are looking at pages of ‘influencers’ who have millions of followers but they also have a professional photographer and a degree in facetune. The reality is, none of it is real. All we are doing is creating this dark void in our selves filled with jealousy and insecurity that doesn’t need to be there.
  2. Social Media Relationships : We are forgetting how we used to love people BEFORE we had social media. I mean - I’m in my late twenties and when I was younger we didn’t have Instagram to post insta stories for our best friends birthdays. Yes we probably posted about it on Bebo in our late teens but - in reality we would of text them. Called them. Bought them balloons and crafted theme birthday posters. Now? We think a like is enough, we think a few tweets is communication. We feel like we are keeping up with people's lives because we are seeing it, but we aren’t actually a part of it. I mean we are going to be in the history books as the generation of falling in love via dating apps, sliding into the ‘dms’ and sending unsolicited nudes through whatsapp. But none of it is real, it can lead to something real and can even feel real at times but it's all just on a screen. 
I had started to become lost in my explore pages, crying because I didn't feel thin enough, blonde enough, accomplished enough. I would sit scroll for hours creating so much anxiety and hurt in my heart because of other people when in reality the only person I should be comparing myself to is the person I used to be and the person I want to become. I had become tied up in twitter threads of people saying things and expressing opinions that were putting so much toxic energy and thoughts into my mind; but I didn’t realise any of this till I stepped back. I had got lost in whatsapp group chats talking about things I wasn’t even really interested in, but I was also too afraid of missing out.

In those moments - when I was lost in it all; it was all I could think about.

So I might be available less. I might not answer your calls at 4am. I might not even text you back for a week. But it’s not because I don't care - or that I’m a bad friend. It’s that I need to put myself first, put my phone down and be present. I need to know what is going on in people's lives because they tell me or even better because I’m there to see it myself.




2 comments:

  1. You have literally hit the nail on the head here. I also find that I base my worth on who is contacting me and how busy my social media is. I remember waking up one birthday to see noone had text me or wrote on facebook and I never felt so alone in a house full of people. Worrying that after a week of having my phone off, the sad reality not even a single person realised and had even tried to text me. Thats where it gets me.

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    1. That makes total sense. I think we've spoke about it before. It's insane how much numbers or followers can dictate our happiness or self worth. For what it is worth though, I think you are the strongest, bravest, boldest, most beautiful woman in the world and anyone who fails to see that - doesn't deserve you xo

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