This post is special because it includes audio! Start it below or read if you can’t listen! 🙂
“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” -Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
I wake up each morning and the first thing I check is my iPhone and that’s if my kitten isn’t walking on my face. What texts are waiting? Did anything happen on Facebook or Twitter while I was asleep? I get up, feed the cats, and make some coffee with this glorious creation that is a Keurig.
Throughout my day, I check my phone ofen. Sometimes it’s to check the time. Sometimes it’s to pretend I’m checking the time. A lot of the time it’s to see what the rest of the world is up to. It’s so easy to get lost. It’s so tempting to spend my life looking outwards, wondering what people think, what other people are doing and whether or not they cook a better looking orange chicken than I can.
We live in a Facebook and Instagram oriented world. What a teacher tweets magically affects hundreds of parents so dramatically that they spend hours blowing up the school board. What our President posts makes national headlines for a week. We see the world through our over-sized smartphone AMOLED screens, swiping left and right, liking, hearting, sharing and commenting.
I started watching this series on Netflix called the Black Mirror, which is best described as a reworked version of the Twilight Zone bringing a lot of nightmarish outcomes of the future to life. One of the main characters is stuck in a fake world with these fake people with fake lives that are only measured in worth by a numerical ranking earned by interactions with other superficial people. It’s the people that refuse to give a shit that find happiness while the others are enslaved to a system where their success is dependent on how close to a 4.2 out of 5 they are. It’s ridiculous because in some ways, we’re already in that world. My generation is.
Too often we compare likes and hearts and we act like that matters when we fall asleep or wake up and it’s a filtered world in the sense that we think happiness and life is what we browse on Instagram and Facebook. Maybe, just like the show, we’re all unhappy and our failed attempt to find it has left a lot of us depressed, yet hiding that. It’s left us disappointed, but our statuses and Tweets read otherwise because it’s pride or maybe it’s denial.
I made a friend earlier this week who was nearly terrified to tell me she liked girls because guys leave her eating dust because of that and it’s screwed up because our priorities are so off. Members of the opposite sex (or same sex if you’re into that) are not just potential hook-ups or potential dates. We have so many applications built to help us hook up or to have a good time that we forget that maybe what we need is a real relationship that builds each other up instead of sucking happiness out of someone else so we don’t feel as empty. Who’s got that? How many of us actually have prioritized finding a platonic relationship over falling in love? And if you’re in a relationship, that’s fantastic. I wish you the best but don’t make it your only lifeline to avoid being alone.
And we’ve demonized the idea of being alone. We’ve made loneliness and being alone synonymous when they aren’t. Unplug. Disconnect for once. Shut off your phone and be by yourself. Take a breather and stop looking outwards and look inwards. Reflect.
Buddhism has this thing about finding peace, right? Magnanimity is peace with the world around you but before you can ever master that you have to find some inner peace. You have calm whatever is within you. Equanimity. Too many of us are in turmoil and I’m sorry but I don’t think medicating it is the only solution and sometimes it’s the wrong solution.
Unplug. Disconnect. And let it out. Cry if you have to, scream if you can’t and do it until you do. Listen to a soft song. Listen to something loud and outrageous. Run until you can’t then take an Uber back because you ran too far and you’re out of shape. Realize you can’t because you shut off your phone and left it back at your place. Cry some more.
All of these social networks try to get us to buy into the fact that togetherness is the only solution and it can be and it’s healthy but so is being alone. You don’t have to be lonely. Take some time to be by yourself. I promise you, it will change everything.
I wrote in another post about our fantastic President that the best way to move forward from this juncture is to do all things in love and you’ll more than likely make it out alive. I get it, you can do all of that via Facebook message or short recordings on SnapChat, but it’s limited. Pick up the phone. Talk. Laugh. Do it without “LOL’s” and emojis. That’s why for the first time I included audio with this post so you can hear me say each word because hopefully that will keep your attention and mean something more.
It’s hard to be soft in this world. It’s hard to pick one or two or a dozen different tragic issues to write about because there’s so much and social media, the news… it all thrives on these negative things. And while we’re sharing all of our meals and adorable pictures of kittens–check out my Insta–we’re subconsciously taking in all of this negative bullshit and it keeps me up at night and it bothers me and causes this chaotic mess inside my head and that’s why I write because I need this time to express my thoughts no matter how weird or jumbled they are.
We need something to believe in and it won’t be behind the number of likes or shares we get but in each other and not just through subtweets and mentions.
Disconnect. Unplug. See the world through your eyes and not your cell phone and connect with someone.
And if you’re doing it right, I implore you, don’t keep this to yourself. Share it with others. Not my bloody blog post, but the idea. This world needs to pull away and let loose.
It’s so easy to get caught up in it. It’ll happen quick and everyone’s expectations of you and all the stress that goes with that will slow you down and drag you to the ground to the point that you can barely crawl. It’s a heavy weight, living is. But it can be lighter if you let others help you carry it and if you chose to help someone else out, too, but not because it’ll get you points in a fictional society or likes on social media but because you are a light and you want to shine and loving the person next to you is the best way to do that.
When was the last time that you sat outside and looked at the stars? I wouldn’t recommend doing that now because the air will literally hurt your face but maybe it’ll be worth it. Simply look up and see how big this world is but don’t forget to look in, as well.
This world is a beautiful place but there’s a lot of bullshit and these smart phones and websites sometimes deter us from seeing it that way.
You see, we’ve lost the point of what social media is about. It’s not there to validate us, it’s there to make it easier to connect, but not remain as the only doorway into someone else’s life.
I guess with this post that’s nearly fifteen hundred words long, I just want you to know that there’s a world outside of your smart phone and there are things that are more worth your energy than a comment debate about whether or not Mexico should pay for what I think will be an ineffective and expensive wall. Just like how America’s political problems won’t be solved behind a computer typing angry or criticizing Facebook statuses, peace, happiness and strong relationships won’t be caused by the constant and overwhelming engagement all these platforms have to offer.
I dare you. Tomorrow night, link up with a friend or a family member. Turn off the phones and do something together for a few hours. Spend your Friday night like that and tell me how it goes. Maybe it’s tragic. I hope not. But I bet you you’ll have the time of your life. Anyway, that’s enough ranting for one night. I hope you enjoyed this. I certainly enjoy you tuning in!