Fasting from Social Media

Social Media can be a topsy-turvy, tumultuous, trying and utterly tainted thing. I can remember first signing up for Facebook in the 6th Grade. I remember being so happy to connect with friends, and people who I wanted to be my friend. I remember having all the upperclassmen in my magnet school on Facebook, and somewhat stalking them because I either 1. thought they were cute, or 2. thought that they wanted to actually be my friend. I remember not knowing how to channel my excitement for people's posts and accomplishments, which resulted in me being overly excited and using every type of character to express my excitement. For example:

"OMGGGGGGGGGG, I am SOOOOOOO happppy for YOUUUUU :DDDDDDDDD" -12 year old me

 I don't know how or why anyone was my friend on Facebook before I turned 15, because my maturity level hadn't quite tapped in as a pre-teenager. One thing social media did do for me, though, was expose me to the world of perfectionism, and it forced its way into my view and hasn't really looked back since. What I mean is, I was so overly consumed with social media, even in its earlier days, that I didn't have an opportunity to really learn myself, rather than learning the habits of comparing myself to everyone else. Remember the days of posting shirtless camera pics from your digital camera because we didn't have iPhones? I was the kid who not only lusted after such pictures, but constantly compared myself to that poor quality photograph. I really used to wonder when I was going to drop all of my weight and reemerge as a ripped and gorgeously handsome alpha male... To my dismay, that day never came. What did come, however, was an overglorification of all things "perfect". Perfect health, perfect body, perfect skin, perfect teeth, perfect feet (don't judge me, I have the flattest feet on earth and I'm really self conscious about it), perfect life, perfect job, perfect story, perfect EVERYTHING. On top of everything else we already deal with as teens/young adults, being overly critical of self and not fitting into the mold of what the law abiding body of social media tells you to be, is a recipe for personal destruction.

What's even crazier about all of this is that I am a blogger. So I'm expected to be confident, influential, and really keen on being myself. However, that was the most difficult part of it all. I was writing, dressing, photographing and living how I felt like I should because I wanted my public persona to be as polished and manicured as possible, when in all actually, I was failing miserably to be myself. Thus, leading me to the point where social media, my blog, and all of my outside influences were taking a major toll on my mental health, and I was right to fly instead of fight through and really be myself.


Last October, however, I decided it was time to take a break from Social Media. I deleted all apps from my phone that scratched the surface of Social Media. The only apps I used were Facebook Messenger (which I only used to buy things from the Marketplace), and Pinterest, which I never really used because finding time to sit down and pin things is almost impossible for me. I brought my apps back to surface around Christmas time, and spent my time away reading Michael Arcenaux's "I Can't Date Jesus", listening to my favorite podcast "The Read" and only consuming media via NPR, CNN, and the Golden Girls before I went to work.

I didn't realize just how much of my time on my phone was spent using social media. I also didn't realize how significant I had made it in my life. What I mean by that is, I didn't see social media as being a negative contributor to my self-image until I removed it. Once I removed it from my mortal equation, I thought about my place in the world, the real world. I thought about my skillset, I thought about the impact that I'm going to make, and I thought about how much of the world operates outside of Twitter and Instagram. I will honestly say, giving up Twitter was the hardest. I'm a social person, so I realize that I don't have to have a ton of pictures of myself for me to feel validated. My personality is best showcased through my words.

I tried a YouTube channel, and actually loved it for a while, but again that little devil called self-doubt made me focus on my weight, my nasally voice, and why I didn't get haircuts often, instead of the content that I was producing. My time away from social media helped me to concentrate on the way I look, and be happy and proud of it. My weight is still a work in progress, but I'm more focused now on my overall health instead of looking good for Instagram. Also, not looking at other people all day long really helps in the battle of confronting what you look like.

If you've been struggling with comparison to others based on your social media usage, maybe it's time to do some self-reflection away from it to give yourself the time to see just how amazing you are.