A few weeks back I had the opportunity to catch up with a friend. We touched on the idea of going on a social media detox. Honestly, that’s one of the triggers of us being able to reconnect. He posted an Instagram story of just taking time off social media and if ever anyone wanted to just keep in touch, people could reach him through his number. And, so I did.
That conversation led me to finally have the willpower to deactivate my Instagram account, and at the same time remove the Twitter and Facebook applications on my phone—I would have deactivated both as well, but in my line of work, I have to know generally what’s happening in the country and in the world.
That was last week. It has been 7 days since I’ve been out of Instagram, and honestly, that’s quite a feat for me. Someone who has gotten used to sharing so much of his life out there. Someone who has a tendency to be too raw and honest, publicly, shamelessly. It’s interesting that it also coincided in this period when I took time off from work, and when I also did an “overnight staycation” in this beautiful airbnb. I could say a lot has happened since I got off IG, and I’ve had a lot of thoughts and discoveries I normally would share indiscriminately. But, I haven’t been tempted—not even once—to bring my account back. In fact, interestingly, I’ve been enjoying not reaching out to my phone to browse through social media.
Perhaps, it’s a point of me realizing that I’ve been sharing so much pieces of myself to the world that I forget to keep things to myself. Perhaps, it was me realizing that these social media applications are hallways in school where I see friends and people I know by chance, but not so intentionally. And because it’s all by chance, it begs the question, is there similar authenticity when they reach out, when they react to what I share? How do I determine if they’re really interested to know of what has been keeping me busy? Of what has been bringing me joy, sadness, and so on?
So much perspectives now that I have taken time to ponder on all these. I enjoy the solitude and the silence. I no longer feel left out when I see some people having moments with others. There is happiness not feeling beaten down and think of myself being inferior compared to others. I am able to have a better idea who are the people for keeps because I think of them and I make an effort to reach out to them rather than leaving it to chance of seeing them in my feed. I am able to have a better sense of who are friends and who are home to me—if that makes sense.
I guess this is the bliss of keeping things to myself. This is the feeling of being selfish about my life, a sense of purposefully interacting with people, of being deliberate who I let in, of being conscious and finally being a bit more discriminating who deserve to have a place in my life.
It’s been a week of relative silence and I love it. I guess I’m coming to my season where I could genuinely say I am taking steps to realize that I am deserving to keep me to myself. And until when this season will last is something I am uncertain of, but while I’m here, I’ll enjoy it.
This year taught me so much about solitude, and safe spaces and people. And I’m grateful for that. For discovering that some people I choose everytime turned out not to feel the same way, that I perhaps failed to provide them a safe space, or perhaps, the friendship wasn’t just equally reciprocated. For connecting with people I didn’t expect I would be comfortable with, and would actually create safe spaces for me. For the silence and solitude which allowed me to make time for myself.