Ok so… I’ve been here before… But not to this extent. This is my rant on social media. I’m examining the neurosis from different angles and sharing my experience honestly. I know what I say might not necessarily be universal, and there are many people who have healthy relationships with social media and can moderate their use. But, there are also people like me.
I’ve gone through the occasional instagram ”detox.” I posted and shared with my followers that I was logging off… (not that I think I’m someone important but because I don’t have a phone number so many people message me through instagram—I didn’t want to seem like I’m completely ignoring them) While I logged out of my personal account I still kept my business instagram active. I always thought I had a different relationship with that account based on the accounts I followed. It turns out it doesn’t matter what account I’m on… I will still mindlessly scroll and reach for the gram at any opportunity. On the toilet? IG. In between clients? IG. Before bed? IG. Just waking up? IG. Taking a pause or break between any activity??? This habit is a complete time suck. I have lost HOURS on social media. Unproductive, mindless hours that haven’t brought much value to my life. My screen time daily average was running on 3+ hours. Time that I could have spent hiking with my dog, meditating or practicing yoga, painting, drawing… literally anything that makes me feel joyful. I would even ”self soothe” through scrolling. When I was in a bad mood, instead of sitting with the emotion or shaking up the energy by changing my environment or engaging in an activity, I would numb out through social media.
Some people can have a healthy relationship with social media but it seems that I have somewhat of an escapist/addictive personality. I’ve used substances to numb discomforts in the past, and then I turned to social media. Maybe this sounds like an exaggeration but I’ve spent months off grid with wifi once a week and have been on different retreats without a phone and I have noticed the BUZZ that comes with overuse of devices. There’s a certain stillness thats more easily accessible when the mind isn’t seeing what hundreds of people are doing and saying in a matter of minutes. Growing up, I would never know what all of my friends were doing unless I called them or headed over to their house to knock for them. (Man… those days) But now we can see who’s online, what they’re doing, if they’re ”ignoring” us. Ya… ”Ignoring,” because now that everything is in the palm of our hands it’s as though we’re obligated to respond to everyone all the time. That can create anxiety for the one waiting for the response, and the responder who recognizes the expectancy to give an answer. Then there’s the part where people generally only share their best selves online. Not that this is wrong! It’s NICE to have nice things, to be joyful and share it with the world. It’s nice to celebrate that. But it can be easy for one to compare themselves or feel alone during the more challenging mental and emotional spaces. We don’t see jealousy, anger, guilt, anxiety, depression, shame, self loathing, and all the other tendencies that the mind has. Over the past few years, people have been more open about these things to end the stigma but we never really see the extent.
So we scroll… and then we go look at oursevles in the mirror, under a microscope, and see the perceived flaws that many have filtered out. How many times have I had a pimple and realized… ‘Oh! You can’t see it if I use this filter!’ Or, ‘my teeth don’t look as crooked if I turn my head slightly to the right.’ It’s all coming out. But it’s the truth… not THE TRUTH, but it’s my social media enhanced neurosis and I think many of us are developing a little bit of it. What about going somewhere just for the photo op? Or acting candid when it’s 100% posed? Counting likes? Refreshing? More likes? More comments? That little hit of validation. Some of us are a little more sensitive to that than others. What about a photo thats not getting as many likes? What’s wrong with me? People probably think I’m annoying. People don’t like me anymore. If this all sounds completely fucked to you then GOOD. I’m happy for you! Sincerely. You clearly have a stronger sense of self worth and haven’t had to go to the internet to try and feel better about yourself. Your mind is in a healthy place in that regard. But for some of us these voices are loud. And if this resonates with you, that’s not something to feel bad about either. It’s just something to notice.
As we walk through this life we accumulate STUFF. We are constantly taking in things from our environment, whether we are aware of it or not. Consciously or unconsciously. Our thoughts are completely based on memory. Every thought came from somewhere. That song that’s stuck in your head was background music at a shop and you didn’t even realize it was playing, that person you saw online showed up in your dream, the show you watched with that gruesome thing happened and now the garbage bag on the side of the road must be a dead body, the conversation you overheard, the way your parents spoke to each other while you were a child, the way they spoke to you… or maybe how they didn’t? That thing your childhood friend said to you that really hurt your feelings when you were 10. We don’t even realize how much enters the mind and influences our thought patterns. Again, this is not a bad thing. But it’s something to notice. For myself, I really had to start limiting and deciding what content I wanted to fill my mind with. And no matter how hard we try, of course things will slip through the cracks.
So it’s all something to notice. Nothing is bad or good. It’s just a matter of noticing how it makes YOU feel and what’s supportive for YOU. Noticing when these tendencies come up and allowing them to be that way. For me, when spending all that time on social media I would get really down on myself for being unproductive or in this repetitive state of comparison. The buzz and the busyness were not feeling good for me especially because I try hard to be aware of my mind. It’s harder to do when there’s more coming in… if that makes sense? So I’m logging out for a while. I’ve deleted all apps that have ”scrolling feeds.” I am hiring someone to take over my tattoo account and I’ll be in contact with them about my posts. I want to see how my life changes when I stay away from these things all together and how my mind and the quality of my thoughts change when I am putting in more of an effort to consciously choose the content I am taking in, and the way I decide to use my time. I’ve decided it will be fun for me to create blog posts here and there because they’re somewhat of a brain dump and an online journal of sorts! We’ll see how that goes.
I’m not judging social media use. It’s pretty much the reason why I have been able to become a successful tattooer and share my work. I think that there are so many positives to social media and how it’s connected so many who otherwise would not have been. Everything that I share is MY experience and while it can be colored with negativity at times this is the accumulation of this body that I’m in and everyday I work to become more aware of its tendencies. So this post is not to hate on IG or other forms of social media… It’s just my examination of it all in this moment. In another moment it may be different.
If you’ve made it this far… thanks for being here.