*City Girls voice:* “Period!”
[In walks Rod Serling]
If you’re up at 3am wandering down the rabbit hole into the weird part of YouTube, you may find yourself watching a “documentary”. This documentary will at some point, if conspiratorial enough, suggest that the world you know is a simulation or otherwise unreal. It’ll point to some dystopian future where every corner is lit up with Times Square-esque billboards and advertisements are beamed directly onto your retina. 🛸 👽
Well, we’re not so far off. 🤷🏾♀️
Times Square is in our phones. Always beeping, always on, always accessible. I know, Despite how I sound, I own zero cats. 🐈 🐱
My Matrix is Instagram. It has me firmly by the spinal cord pumping #FOMO and #fitspo directly into my brain. It simultaneously connects and isolates me. It binds us with tangible proof of our shared experiences while celebrating our differences in culture and cause; all the while making us clones. 📠
I know these things. Deep in my big thinky brain I know this, and I still let it get me. 📱👉🏾🧠 I’m worse off than my preteen sister! I grew up with a landline and PBS. Bob Ross was my therapy! How did this happen to me!?
How I know I’m an addict…
1. I’m willfully on the app all the time. I use it to fill my downtime.
2. My thumb can find and open the app subconsciously. Sometimes first thing in the morning; unfortunately setting the tone for a frazzled and preoccupied day.
⏰ 📱🏃🏾♀️💨 instead of 🧘🏾♀️🙏🏾📿 ✌🏾
3. The number of accounts I follow is disproportionate to the number that follow me. Not that I track it for influence or money, but it shows me that I primarily consume media despite my talent and desire to create it.
4. I label everything #goals. What then must I think of my life if I aspire so hard to take pages from other people’s books? Instagram is a perpetual motion machine cranking out envy and comparison.
5. I am noticeably preoccupied. You know you have a problem when you are constantly stashing your phone. I’m afraid it’s affecting my productivity and ability to have quiet moments with others. Simple intimacy. 🙅🏾♀️
They say acceptance and admission come first.
In the spirit of coming clean, I’ll make a few more admissions. I’m also addicted to sugar, I binge watch, and I’m terminally tardy. Please send help. 🚨🚑
What I’m doing to get clean…
1. 9-5 fast. During the working day I delete Instagram. The temptation gets real around lunch time, but it feels good to be productive. I’ve also been purging. I unfollow the accounts I can’t see benefiting me. Ones that me feel like I’m not enough.
2. Screen Time Limit. This new iPhone function tells you exactly how much time you spend BS-ing, and you can set a limit for app accessibility.
⚠️ Warning! ⚠️ It will cut you off mid-post, mid-comment, mid-like. It’s abrupt and effective, but not without temptation. You can delay and essentially press snooze on the limit for an additional 15 minutes, or for the rest of the day. AVOID SNOOZE!
3. “Productivity Blocks”. Set periods of time devoted to getting 🤬 done! At the end I can reward myself with a teeny bump of that good sweet social media. *snorts*
I’m slowly working on it. Choosing to redirect my energies. Sometimes I need reminding. Sometimes I slip. But more than anything I want to be creating moments worth documenting. But I won’t let chasing the perfect lighting take priority. I’ll actually reach out to people. I’ll work at my goals.
However, I will never stop taking pictures of delicious food. Never.
But y’all accept me.
Free yourselves. Find your hang ups, name them, and stare them down.
Here’s an additional resource in the form of a podcast “Therapy for Black Girls” … or any colored persons…
I’ve kept up with the 9-5 fast, but unfortunately that now includes Twitter; my paltry drug of second-choice. Thankfully, Snapchat is so unappealing that it has not yet hooked my attention.
I’ve also added an off-the-grid day. Usually a Saturday, most of which I spend with a dead phone. Guiltlessly binge watching on some other device, while washing/folding laundry or cleaning my bathroom.
Plot twist: you can both be a recluse, and a productive young person. Who’d have thunk!?
The holidays were rough. Tucked in at home desperatelyburying yo avoid the “What would you be doing if you were in Miami?” conversations. I spent so much time glued to my screen that I had to take whole naps to rest my eyes. Entire siestas to counteract the phone fiestas! I’m am torn between hiding away from, and actively participating in, my own life. A conundrum.
Caught up in the year-end twilight zone of reflection, aspiration, and regret, I spent what felt like eons looking over my accounts.
Why didn’t I post more? Why don’t I post more? Write more? Travel more? Why isn’t my Instagram more cohesively branded? My messaging more consistent? Why hasn’t my blog taken off? What aren’t I so flawlessly fleek celebrating the New Year in a distant locale?
The comparison monster stuffed my stocking with envy.
On an on. Please help! It’s an ongoing battle: getting clean.