Cleansing

So if you didn’t already know, I have a pretty big social media presence. I have 3 Instagrams, a Snapchat, 3 Twitters, a Facebook, a blog, a LinkedIn, and probably a bunch of other social media accounts that I can’t think of right now.

To some, it seems pathetic.

How can someone enjoy spending so much time behind a screen instead of building and contributing to live, organic relationships? What kind of hobbies are blogging or tweeting or snapchatting? What happened to reading books or going on adventures?

To others, who have experienced firsthand the benefits of social media, they understand you can have the best of both worlds.

I owe my entire social media presence to Twitter, no doubt. My first account taught me so much about networking, marketing myself, and creating a brand. I was able to use that platform to promote other legs of my internet presence, which supported and promoted each other, allowing me to create, arguably, an internet empire.

Aside from a marketing perspective, building my social media presence allowed me to connect with people I otherwise never would have. Thanks to social media, I have friends from Oregon, Ohio, Massachusetts, Colorado, California, Hawaii, Florida…(should I go on? No? Fine, I’ll just list a couple more)…Italy, Russia, Australia, Sweden, Denmark, and so many more. And when I call these people friends, I truly mean it. Sure, we have never met face to face, and probably never will, but through personal conversations, we have shared advice, fears, aspirations, family affairs, insecurities, successes, failures, and even secrets that some of our “irl” friends have no idea about. I have exposed and been exposed to the most vulnerable sides of people in completely different walks of life from me, and because of that, I feel like I have lived a thousand lives outside of my own.

The knowledge, insight, and perspective I acquired from my “internet friends” combined with my multi-media social platform allowed my voice to be heard in places I never thought it could reach. Between my tweets, blogs, and Instagram posts, I receive endless messages from people I haven’t spoken to in over a decade, and people I have never met in my life, telling me how much my words resonated with them. Through blasting my most vulnerable self all over the internet, it allowed friends and strangers alike to feel like they  had a friend in me and can trust me with their most personal thoughts–a position I am so honored to have been able to hold.

But while I can go on and on about how much social media has positively influenced my life, I cannot deny that it does have a darker side.

No, I’m actually not going to say what you think I am going to say. No aspects of my life outside of a screen (working out, “real life” friendships, family, hobbies) are ever competing with my life in a screen. I am actually surprisingly good at setting aside time for both. The real evil is what so much exposure can, and has done, to my mental health.

There were so many times when I would be out living life, having a good time, no worries. Then I would go into the bathroom, and in those 5 minutes, I had scrolled through Instagram so far that I somehow ended up on the page of the sister of this girl who is dating this guy who commented on a picture my friend was tagged in. I would have walked in to the bathroom, and while waiting in line for a stall, admired how great my hair looked that day or how flattering my outfit was. But after having scrolled through her page, I look at myself in the same mirror, this time washing my hands and thinking how much fatter I am than her, or how I wish I had long blonde hair because it was more aesthetic, or that I’m “not doing college right” compared to her. My mood and self image took a 180 all. Within. Five. Minutes.

Or other times (sorry, my crazy is about to show so hard) I would text someone, and when they didn’t respond to me, assume they were busy with something and would get back to me later. But when hours passed, and I logged on to Facebook and saw “Active 5 minutes ago” next to their name, or their snapchat points went up, or they liked something on Instagram, I would immediately erupt in fury/curiosity/disdain, and jumping to conclusions. “Why would she ignore me omg is she mad at me??” “Who are they snap chatting right now, but won’t respond to mine” “He totally liked her picture because he’s trying to talk to her again”

*cue destructive hyper analysis*

I mean yea, sure, the psycho isn’t because of social media alone. My varying moods, physical states, and levels of self-worth play huge roles in how I would interpret what I saw. For example, if I had an exam coming up and my sleep deprivation and caffeine consumption were at an all time high, my bad habit of jumping to conclusions would be at levels just as high. But the more I let social media guide my assumptions in my vulnerable states, the less I would resist the urge to do it when I was happy, healthy, and well taken-care of. Sure, some of my conclusions actually held true (in fact, they were true most of the time), but sometimes I wish I just didn’t know, and it would have turned out better if I didn’t.

And other times, I am guilty of posting solely to serve the purpose of feeding my ego, impressing a guy, or building an image. While most of the time, it wasn’t too bad, sometimes I would get so wrapped up in my image and how people perceived me and my life that I started to feel like I couldn’t live my life contrary to the image I was publicizing. Or when a picture I posted was positively received, I equated the comments and likes not to the picture, but to the side of myself that the picture showed. I worshipped that self, not my whole self. Essentially, I went from showing certain sides of my life to only letting myself live on those sides, denying the parts of me that didn’t fit my image. I felt like I was living my life on display, worshipping my ego.  And while the solution is simply “stop posting so much” I would always have some sort of justification for posting something so that I didn’t have to face the reality that I was addicted to the person I was showing, not the whole person that I am. So, the solution wasn’t that simple.

While a solid 85% of my social media activity is harmless, that 15% really took a toll on my mental health. Between Instagram stalking away my self-worth, psychoanalyzing every relationship in my life, and denying the part of myself that didn’t fit my internet image, I decided that I needed to take a break from social media for a while (until January 21st to be exact) to recenter, refocus, and reevaluate. With that being said, I have given my Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat passwords to one of my friends who changed them so I wouldn’t be tempted to fall back into bad habits. {I guess it’s also good because I’m studying for my MCAT all break while all of my friends are out living their lives, so I won’t suffer too much fomo since I won’t be seeing it.}

While I’ll miss all your snap stories, twitter rumors, and instagram posts, I’m excited to see where this takes me. Love u guys.

Stay Fierce,

Myrnabeyonce

P.S. I’m totally keeping my blog though to update you guys on how my cleanse is going, but also because I need to vent every now and then. Ily ily.

 

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