If I stare at my picture long enough, all of my positive features begin to fade to the background while my imperfections zoom in and laugh at me. I love selfies, but they mock me.
If I’m the one taking the photo, I have to take between fifteen and twenty before finding a decent one, all while muttering, “No darling, that’s wrong, so wrong. Try a new angle. Don’t smile like that. Don’t grimace. Why is one of your eyes more open than the other? Don’t open your eyes so much, you look like a crazy person.”
I started living when I stopped taking selfies. I also stopped looking at other people’s selfies, which made me like them more.
I was addicted to the constant eavesdropping into the lives of people I loved, envied and loathed. My days were a series of mini-searches for something salacious, inspiring, engaging, endearing or so stupid I would feel righteous I hadn’t been the one to post it.
The more entrenched I became in the networks of social media I swam in, the less I had anything valuable to contribute. I was so busy living in other people’s pseudo-lives, I had stopped living my real one.
If I was writing an article and got to a difficult sentence, I would switch over to Facebook, hoping for “inspiration” that would spiral into my son and me watching two otters cuddling — then I would give up on my writing for the day.
I’m an unintentional digi-addict who preaches what I do not practice.
“Only one hour of screen time,” I righteously recite to my son, as I scroll through my email looking for something new and exciting.
I sometimes get so absorbed in this vortex it takes my eyes a few moments to adjust to reality when I eventually break away from the scrolling staring-contest.
I’ve been nursing my son, while tapping though feed updates on some site or another, to look down to see his sweet little eyes staring up at me.
“Holy bad-mothering! I’m staring at a screen while tiny windows into a beautiful Universe are looking up at me.” (Insert extreme mother-guilt here.)
I need to slow my roll (or scroll.)
A compulsion to find the next exciting revelation on our social media feed, email, or beyond has become rampant in our society. And I’m not on a soap box, because I’m one of the worst perps.
But the buck (screen) stops here.
I’m claiming my compulsion and attempting to do something about it.
I found my mom’s old-school stop watch (because using the timer on my iPhone is part of the machine I’m trying to avoid) and will start setting a daily timer for one hour, starting today, only allowing myself to tap-scroll-stare on my laptop until the timer beep-bop-boops. (I’m adding the caveat that my writing is not included in this one hour.)
I’m also going to delete the social media apps on my phone. (Gasp!) I’ll let you know if I end up reloading them in my sleep. Compulsions (addictions) are hard to break.
I have a visceral need to fully immerse myself in my 3D reality. I suppose “fully” isn’t the appropriate words because I will still be dipping my toes in the digital waters daily, but at least I won’t be drowning in them.