When a social media addict cuts herself off for the day.

When I was younger, I was the girl so obsessed with books and movies that I would seize any occasion to escape reality and jump into the wonderful world of fiction. I was the one at the back of the class hiding behind a not-so-subtle pile of manuals while trying to finish the last chapter of Jonathan Strange or the one skipping a boring economics class to go watch a movie at the theatre two streets away from the University (sorry mom). With time, I found another kind of evasion in the virtual paradise of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other apps good for self-validation.

 

There is something kind of exciting – and deeply narcissistic, let’s be real- about getting the validation of others click after click after click. Some days, if I feel like shit, I can simply post a selfie with a vague caption to get some virtual love from others instead of simply dealing with my problems. It’s the same with Facebook, where I have the tendency to overshare my thoughts and emotions with half a bunch of strangers or people that I met once at a party. Why this constant need for feedback and validation? I mean, my food will taste the same even if random people don’t think it looks appetizing on my Instagram feed. I also know deep down that the fact that my half cousin living far away just liked my status about some song’s lyrics won’t change the fact that I am actually crying like a baby while listening to the song. But I still do it. Out of habit and also because I don’t know if I can go without it. It’s kinda fucked up, isn’t it?

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That is partially why I decided yesterday to try to live a day without Mark Zuckerberg’s evil baby in my life. I went into the settings section and took a deep breath before clicking on the “deactivate your account” button, without telling anyone. And it felt so good. I don’t know if it was some twisted sign from the Universe, but at the exact same time, the battery of my phone decided to expire, even though it was half charged the minute before. I was officially unreachable, except via email, for the rest of the day. So what does a girl, who is usually always virtually accessible, do with her freedom? Well, she starts by being crazy productive goddammit. In one hour, I finally replied back to all the poor emails that were dying in my mailbox and I set all my appointments for the rest of the month. I also finished writing all the articles I had on my “to-do list” for the day and even the day after. I was feeling high on some kind of new energy.

Once I was done with my tasks for the day, I decided to do something even crazier – yes, I have a taste for drama. I left home without my phone, using only my old iPod to get my dose of “walking alone around my neighbourhood” music. Without being harassed by constant notifications and phone calls, I was simply enjoying the present moment, something that I’ve always been really bad at. That is when I realized that the last moments I’ve been truly happy lately were in some sort of way all related to not being reachable: when I was on a road trip in Burlington with my cellphone shut off, when my iPhone died somewhere in the middle of the East Village while I was reading my favourite book on a park bench, or even when I went to watch a movie at the theatre instead of staying home for a hot date with Netflix.

 

By being so accessible to others and constantly oversharing parts of our lives, do we simply forget to keep for ourselves what makes us happy? By giving them too much, do we end up with nothing left for ourselves to enjoy? Or do we simply have to learn how to establish some limits? These are all the questions that I had in mind when the time to finally rejoin the virtual world arrived this morning. I would have honestly enjoyed my detox a little bit longer, but it’s kind of hard considering the field I am evolving in. This (short) experience made me realize that it’s okay sometimes to be a little selfish and to stop being so freaking emotionally slutty. And you know what I missed while I was away in my own bubble? Absolutely nothing! I just made some of my friends freak out a little. Sorry guys!

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