What I Learned From My Internet Obsession and Abstinence
“I am obsessed with the Internet” is a phrase that doesn’t need to be said these days, because, well, almost everyone (if not everyone) is. It’s like telling people that you’re breathing. In which case, I think most people are close to tweeting that just so they can tell the world that they are, otherwise, it didn’t or is not happening.
Currently flat broke, I am unable to avail of unlimited Internet which made my Social Media life very limited. The first two days of not having access to anything 24/7 was such a drag. I felt like a drug-addict quitting cold turkey. I was anxious, I was pulling my hair and I was throwing things out of paranoia that something was happening and I was missing out.
That’s when I knew I had to do something about it.
During the past few weeks, I would sometimes switch off my Internet phone or simply disable Cellular Service. It didn’t take very long before I felt something I haven’t felt in a while : Peace.
One day, while in the loo, I suddenly came up with a few things I learned from being obsessed, to practicing partial abstinence from connecting to the Interwebz. Some of which, we already know (sadly. I say this because I don’t think we’re doing something about it) :
1.) I LEARNED WHO MY TRUE FRIENDS ARE.
This shouldn’t be surprising. When I was online every hour of every day, I would ALWAYS post about my rants to the point that it pissed off a few “friends”. They said they didn’t like how comfortable I was with expressing my thoughts and feelings (by the way, that’s what the Unfriend or Unfollow button is for). But it was through this that I found out who truly respected me for being … myself. And how immature people are for not knowing that not everyone sees things the way they do and they just have to take it against people like me because of it.
2.) I LEARNED THE “TRUE” VALUE / MEANING / IMPORTANCE OF ‘NOW’.
Okay, haven’t exactly “learned” this yet – I’m still in the process of. I don’t always look up when people talk to me and it’s sad that we all think that giving our full attention to people isn’t mandatory anymore. I mean, people used to apologise for TAKING A CALL during a conversation. Now, we don’t even care if we tweet in the middle of it, sometimes even during a Meal with Friends and Family. We are obsessed with the thought that we have to get everything out there, which could be quite a struggle because I know what it’s like to come up with something you want to say, and wouldn’t want the moment to pass (maybe you can quickly type in a draft in Notes or something?). But then, that photo you took of your meal (or of everyone you’re with), that can wait until after you’ve eaten, even until after you’ve reached home or something (and not to mention, applying your filter and frame for IG Feed uniformity takes a LOT of time). I don’t know why we just HAVE to (H A V E T O) let the World know what we’re up to right to the second, which actually takes you away from experiencing it first hand (ironic, because you’re ACTUALLY there experiencing it, but at the same time you’re not). By all means, document what’s happening around you. But you don’t always have to divide your attention by telling the rest of the world what’s going on with you #AtTheMoment, all the time. Also, sidenote : There are so many photos and stuff I don’t post in all Social Media accounts (everything mostly goes on my Blog these days, but I still don’t put everything out there), and it’s a beautiful thing to keep a few things to yourself and to the people who were with you – it makes the moment more sacred, and more special.
3.) I LEARNED HOW TO SAVE / WHERE TO CHANNEL MY ENERGY.
I’m very sensitive when it comes to a lot of things. If a post gets to me, I immediately try to say something to retaliate. And then I turn into a wet blanket. I go through my own Twitter feed and it stresses me out. There’s nothing wrong with expressing yourself, but maybe try to find the right outlet for it. In my case, I blog. In that way, no one is obliged at all to read about why people hating on your Presidential Candidate is hitting so many nerves (also, like you need to put yourself in that position? It’s fucking crowded, everyone’s talking about it, everyone’s pissed, it’s not like your opinion could stop them from spreading negativity, ugh). So I go with the healthy way of releasing my feelings. I now blog about it, or work the bijeezwax out of my anger. It’s glorious. I also talk to myself a lot
4.) I LEARNED TO NOT NEED VALIDATION.
One of the habits I’m known to have (and I hope I could live up to this when I say) “in the past”. When Bowie died, I did not feel the need to write a short tribute to how at one point in my life, all I did was listen to his songs. When Alan Rickman died, I did not feel the need to justify how much of a fan of his I was even if I didn’t get to see all his movies. The Internet does not owe me anything, nor do I owe anything to the Internet. My feelings are still my feelings, whether or not I send it out there, whether or not people see it, or read it, or hear it. I still did feel very sad hearing about these passings, it doesn’t change anything. When Star Wars came out, I didn’t have to brag about how my Mum made me watch them as a Child, or how I had a Padme phase when I was in High School (actually I will always have a Natalie Portman phase) or how much I loved The Ewoks, blablabla. Although there’s nothing wrong with keeping the Fandom strong, it’s just not … I just felt like it wasn’t doing anything for me. Everyone’s a fan of something. These days, unless I feel like it’s necessary for me to express myself, I turn full fangirl. Otherwise, I keep it to myself, because whether or not I choose to share it with the World, or even one person, doesn’t change the fact that I am a Fan, and that my feelings of eternal love for something is still there.
5.) I LEARNED HOW TO DISPROVE THE PHRASE “PICS OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN”.
Also applies to tweeting about an experience or something awesome that just happened. “I worked out today, and if I don’t tell the World about it, it means it didn’t happen”, is an internal monologue I have for about almost everything. Why do I need to prove this to / share this with the World? I don’t know (Sidenote :I remember tweeting last year, “if I don’t tweet about an event that happened in my life, does that mean it didn’t happen?”), but it’s a legit question. Not that it’s a bad thing if you do that, I mean, to each his own – but it’s just something I don’t feel the need for me to do anymore.
And I think that’s what works best for me. I’m no longer shoving anything down people’s throats. And I am free of the want to share every single little thing to the World. It’s kind of beautiful, once learned, or at least, controlled.
Oh, and there’s this super cool article written by Baratunde Thurston on disconnecting / unplugging from the Internet, and is definitely worth the read. It’s got tips too if you want to go a full month of Digital Cleansing or “Detox”, as they call it. I would like to try this. But BLOGGING!
Hope I can learn how to stay this way.
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