This week I abruptly decided to take a social media sabbatical. After feeling a bit too tethered of late, I chose to log off.
For the first few days, I stared at my phone for seemingly the same amount of time as if I still had Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter installed. I kept turning toward the screen like a phantom limb.
I organized a few photo albums. I read articles saved to Instapaper.
One of those articles was one published in January of this year, How Nothingness Became Everything We Wanted by Kyle Chayka.https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/19/magazine/negation-culture.html
In the article, Chayka argues that the pandemic accelerated and magnified our cultural preference for “nothingness”.
Many opt to simply stay home, pursuing as uncomplicated and swaddled a life as possible, surrounded by things that feel if not good then at least neutral. “It’s not pure subtraction of public sensations; it’s the addition of private sensation,” Rao told me over the phone, long before the pandemic. “Hot cocoa, gravity blankets, sensory deprivation.” We create an acceptable layer between our internal and external environments, a barrier that’s still under our control even as the outside world grows increasingly chaotic. “It’s an essentially defensive posture,” he said, “an instinctive adaptive response.”
I started to look at my social media sabbatical through this lens. Was I logging off to feel less? Defensively protecting myself to avoid the chaos?
Maybe, yes. I find the stimulus of social media (especially Instagram) exhausting. Too many inputs.
But I didn’t log off because I want to feel less. I logged off because I want to feel more. More connected with myself so that I can wholeheartedly connect with you and everyone else in my life that I care about.
You see, there may be a yuppie Western bent to sensory deprivation, meditation, logging off, and energy healing. But I genuinely use these tools to feel the deep stuff and let it out, so that I can more easily exist in the world as me.
I logged off because I want to remove anything that is in the way of god and my usefulness. I logged off because I’m so tired of feeling fragmented. It’s time to collect my energy. It’s time to be whole.
I don’t want nothingness. I want the good and the bad of being human. And I want to experience more of it offline.
Capturing screenshots of songs I like that come up on Spotify instead of saving them to my library?? Why do I do this?
Playing on the pole at a friend’s house. Actually reaching out to a friend and planning a fun activity!? Revolutionary.
Noticing the color yellow everywhere
Ordering too many skincare products online
This really amazing sloppy joes recipe. I like to add mustard and pickles on top. Anyone else?
Also this ramen recipe! So easy and tasty.
Writing postcards to friends because I all of a sudden found myself with so much free time
Sifting through old memorabilia and letters from high school that made me painfully nostalgic
Delivering Thai food to a friend who had a shit week